Hard To Rock Alone

DATE: 1987


Hard to Rock Alone
Suspicious Records

Speaking of Northwest Rock, Kent Morrill of the Fabulous Wailers has released a new album. It actually came out over a year ago, but since it's timeless great rock and roll,  why not review it here?

Opening with a vocal line that echoes another Northwest Hall of Famer Gerry Roslie (of the Sonics), this album kicks off hard in an uncompromising statement with the title tune "Hard To Rock Alone". It's a great tune, so great that you can't possibly feel alone if there's you and this record.

Morrill is just as good at the soulful belly rubbers, too. On the third tune "I've Slipped Her Mind" - that's when you can really feel how it's "Hard To Rock Alone". Kent pays tribute to one of his heroes  and influences (and a former Northwest artist, too) in Ray Charles on "What'd I Say". If you want to have a rock and roll dance party there's no way this album could disappoint you. It's all right there in the grooves.

What can I say? This thing just kicks ass all the way through. If it was any better, my record player would explode. Am I getting my point across? The Wailers were the definitive Northwest Rock/R &B band in the '60s and it's all back and then some on this record. I don't see how anyone who loves the great Rhythm & Blues and Rock and Roll of the fifties could fail to love this album. I didn't notice any attempts here to make...concessions to the "modern" sound, other than in the fact that this was produced on 24-tracks (at Steve Lawson's in Seattle) and sounds like a million bucks. I don't need the '80s sound (whatever that is) anyway. Morrill's remaKe of the Wailers "Dirty Robber" - he sang the original - is, I think, even better than the first version.

Kudos to producer Buck Ormsby. This album is so good that whether they ever (make) money on it, it's something to be really proud of...I couldn't possibly be more satisfied by music than I am by what these grooves deliver.

Kent Morrill is currently making big bucks portraying Roy Orbison a few minutes a night in a Vegas show. I'm sure that's great, too, but its a shame that a man this great isn't out there welding folks souls to their bodies in sweaty eCtasy every night. I hope it happens again.

The preceding was adapted from Blue Suede News Vol. 3, #1,Spring, 1989  Pg. 14.  Courtesy Marc Bristol.

Side 1
1. Hard To Rock Alone (K. Morrill - J. Ormsby)
2. Girl Don't Fight It (K. Morrill)
3. I've Slipped Her Mind (Dennis Walker)
4. What'd I Say (R. Charles)
5. Leave My Kitten Alone (Willie John - J. McDougal - Titus Turner)

Side 2
1. Sugaree (Marty Robbins)
2. One More Time (K. Morrill - R. French)
3. I Want The One (K. Morrill - N. Neltner)
4. Close Your Eyes (K. Morrill - N. Neltner)
5. Dirty Robber (K. Morrill - R. Dangel)
6. Fine White Mare (K. Morrill - S. Crocker)

RECORDING PERSONNEL:  Musicians = Kent Morrill [vocals, piano]; Richard Dangel [lead guitar]; Stan Eicke [lead guitar, guitars]; Les Merrihew [drums]; Andy Parypa [bass]; Dick Powell [organ, harp]; Paul Layton [piano, electric piano]; Kim Eggers [tenor sax]; Jon Goforth [alto sax]; Denny Goodhew [alto sax]; Les Clinkingbeard [baritone sax]; Tim Huckenberry [trombone]

Additional musicians =  Orville Johnson [steel guitar]; Darrow Hoat, Bob Hosko [tenor sax]; Rommel Westwood [bass]; Paul Gillingham [guitar]

Background vocals: Featuring The Cheeky Dames = Missy Scott, Sheila Powers, Kelle Boyd

Additional background vocals: Nancy Claire, Valerie Rosa, Penny Anderson
RECORDING STUDIO: Steve Lawson Studio
MIXING ENGINEER:   Buck Ormsby and Bruce Calder

FORMAT: disc
SIZE: 12"
SPEED: 33 1/3 rpm

A-SIDE MATRIX: SUSLP - 101 - A   RE - `1      L 27573

B-SIDE MATRIX: SUSLP - 101 - B   RE - 1   L 27573 - X