Local favorites for many years, Dave Howard and The Highrollers now have a new disc. Packed with original songs and some well chosen covers, the disc spans the blues spectrum.
“Good To Go” gets things off to a flying start with no letup till maybe “Sucker For A Love Song” and even then I would hesitate to say that this qualifies as a let up. The disc has no exceptionally slow moments. That is a good thing. Some discs get bogged down by slow stuff. No danger of that on this disc.
With so many good songs it’s hard to pick any standouts. The originals, of which there are 8, are all good. “Good To Go” and “Marie Marie” are the first two songs. “Good To Go” is a tune heavy on Howard’s harmonica while “Marie Marie” is quick jumpy tune that features Howard’s harmonica and also Tom Ferraro’s guitar. “Sweet Petite” is one of those swing influenced songs. With just three songs gone by you can see that Howard is comfortable with just about any vocal style. The title cut “Ride Past Midnight” is a heavier style tune. Written by bass player “Chicago Vin” Barnshaw. The tune has a sound reminiscent of The Paladins if you have ever heard them.
“Drives Me Wild” merits mention not just because it is a good song, which it is, but because it was co-written by Howard and Neal Vitullo. I’m sure I don’t have to mention the connection here for you locals. For you others Howard and (Young Neal) Vitullo have been band mates on and off. Written by Howard “Sucker For A Love Song” is the one change of pace tune that this disc has. Howard’s vocals and Ferraro’s guitar shine on this tune.
The last two songs are “Cut You Loose” and an instrumental “Wray-Gunn”. Their version of “Cut You Loose” is different from most I have heard, but it’s good. “Wray-Gunn” is an instrumental and I don’t know if the spelling of Wray-Gunn is in reference to Link Wray and the theme from “Peter Gunn,” but it makes no difference. It was written by the members of The Highrollers and not Howard.
I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by this disc. It’s really good. I have heard some discs by other locals that just were not that good. Howard proves to be a very good vocalist and harmonica player and the Highrollers are rock steady. “Ride Past Midnight” is worth every minute of the ride.
- Patrick Furey