Jimmy Regal & The Royals stick to their roots while embroidering with an influence or several.
Release date: 28th July 2023
Label: Lunaria Records
Format: digital / CD
The latest album, First And Last Stop is an all original release, which successfully sees the band’s ever-evolving style stepping boldly forward whilst picking up familiar threads – the ‘South London meets West Africa meets North Mississippi meets New Orleans in 2023’ sort of thing cited by CJ Williams, all coming together with the backdrop of the Thames delta. Delta blues pub rock fusion, if you will.
Having said that, CJ also adds “We have a lot more variety on this album – new rhythms, horn sections, backing vocals and lots of djembe and percussion.” And having said that, the reassuring and regular honk of the harmonica reminds us that we’re on familiar ground; don’t expect any ‘Judas’ moments.
Bright and brassy, straight out of Pulp Fiction, (Gotta Make A) New Flame acts as a wake up reminder that there’s likely to be an outpouring of soul, seeping from every pore. Chuggin along with the sort of guitar break that would have Richard Hawley weak at the knees. Can’t Keep From Loving You sets the alternative ball rolling with a lil’ bit o’ country and while Hawley is on the radar, there’s a suggestion of RH and the Big ‘O’ about the vocal.
Slow rustic blues, twangy riffs and grooves come a visiting ahead of a rolling waltz through life as Show Time returns from the band’s previous E.P. and Toby Kinder once again provides some slick organ playing on this re-recorded version. Mickey Two Suits brings a funky instrumental to the party. Perfect freaky dancing fayre, a track made for strutting some sort of stuff encouraged by some punchy, dipping and diving harmonica.
Sammy Samuels’ Bones To Dust follows a more traditional Rock route while You Can’t Run blends those Mississippi roots with West African rhythms – the continued influence of Diabel Cissokho from Late Night Chicken and a tribute to Fela Kuti all in one pair of trousers.
And if you take away nothing else from First And Last Stop, always remember, “never put your hands on a fat man’s chicken” – the rustic ramble that jives along with a Bo Diddlyesque rumble, could come from Sun Studios For all the influences, First And Last Stop retains a distinct live and raw feel. “There’s been a lot more collaboration on this album with some terrific musicians,” says CJ. “But it’s still definitely a South London record.” No escaping your roots.
Here’s the second single, Got To Make A New Flame: