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DownTown Mystic - Standing Still (AGR Television Records)
The opening few bars of Modern Ways from this third album release by Sha-La Music president Robert Allen, otherwise known as DownTown Mystic, points in the general direction of Chuck Berry as a fitting starting point for this collection of rockers on STANDING STILL. With an immediately hard rocking opener Backdoor, co-written with GT Sullivan, the album maintains a close attachment to the ethos of vintage guitars, juke box dance tunes and good old 1950s rock n roll throughout. Allen returns to the giants of Rock n Roll for inspiration for this latest release, which joins a steadily growing body of work that also includes the earlier ROCK N ROLL 4 THE SOUL (2006) and READ THE SIGNS (2007). Borrowing his rhythm section of Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band on Hard Enough, Allen also appears to be rubbing the right shoulders in the right places. For the most part though, the band consists of Paul Page (Dion/Ian Hunter) on bass and Steve Holley (Paul McCartney/Elton John/Ian Hunter) on drums, an equally inspiring rhythm section, with further contributions from Lance Doss on guitar, mandolin and banjo and Bruce Engler on guitars and vocals. With just the one solo acoustic numbers A New Friend and a closing homage to bluegrass with Shade of White Bluegrass, STANDING STILL remains a pretty solid rock n roll album, which curiously has the track listing appearing as two sides, presumably reflecting the vinyl version.