The Little Rockers Band are a duo from New Jersey, USA, and their most recent album Getting to the Gig provides a much needed tonic for the troops. This album is seemingly dedicated to all the kids out there, who may have missed out recently as a result of the pandemic. It's superbly put together, and is essentially a concept album, which focuses on travel and movement, with a particular emphasis on children's fascination with travel generally. The songs on display here, entice the children to both have fun and use their imaginations on this magical journey of wonder and intrigue.
The album begins its intrepid journey with the opening track "Travelling Rock", a flirtation with twelve bar blues which you are sure to love if if you are an Elvis fan. Shades of "Jail House Rock" come to mind, but this time around the lyrics anticipates all the excitement that lies ahead 'all the way across the country'. The song also features some superb harmonies which add both melody and texture to the track. The song also includes a mesmerising guitar break, followed by some intricate piano playing, that is sure to have everybody's feet tapping.
"Anywhere" features a Hammond organ, and a rhythm pattern slightly reminiscent of the Kinks "See My Friends". The song is quite rich in texture and provides a running narrative of this particular magical mystery tour. In this world, it doesn't really matter where we are going, or when we get there, we just kick back and enjoy the trip. Here we are 'riding round without a care', all is well with the world because I have 'you by my side', and 'you can take me anywhere'. Great stuff!
"Riding on My Bike" is slightly funkier, featuring a clean guitar sound sparring with a quite sophisticated drum pattern and an almost reggae inspired bass. The lyrics are tight and compressed, creating the necessary tension for the chorus to really explode. Again, the song reflects on the simple pleasure of enjoying a bicycle ride as we take in a bit of sightseeing and 'make friends with the clouds up here'. Being an avid cyclist myself, I can really relate to this song, with its cool, laid-back delivery.
"Super Kid" also incorporates a funkier approach, with the Hammond organ once again taking centre stage. The bass and drums create a sublime groove with effortless expertise. I also love the reciprocal vocal, which blends together with noticeable clarity throughout. Again a clean guitar with a hint of delay provides a superb introduction for the bridge to fully materialise. Now I'm only guessing here because I don't have the sleeve notes, but are the lyrics here referring to the quiet achievers who don't always get noticed, but make a huge difference? I'll leave that for you to decide.
"Looking Out My Back Door" provides a wonderful rendition of the famous Creedence song, beginning with a guitar sound that could have been lifted from David Bowie's "Let's Dance". This is an excellent rendition of a classic song, by one of my favourite US bands. You are sure to love this, the musicianship is exquisite, as are the vocals, which blend together perfectly.
"Smoothie Shake" provides a surprising musical departure, featuring a drum machine, which could sit quite comfortably on an OMD or Human League album. Despite this seemingly eighties vibe, the lyrical imagery is steeped in fifties nostalgia, as we 'do the smoothie shake'; a dance which turns out to be suitable 'for both young and old'. The lyrics really hit the mark, and you could almost imagine Fonzie grooving along to this song with the rest of the gang on the set of Happy Days.
"I Wanna Have Some Fun" is a real foot stomper, and in true eighties fashion, sounds like Robert Smith has been drafted in to write the backing track. The bass and drums really drive the song along with exquisite power and minimalism. The message is clear and to the point 'I wanna have some fun', don't we all? This is a truly uplifting song, that attempts to move and groove in time with the heartbeat of the universe.
"Shooting Star" is slightly heavier, incorporating a more distorted guitar, along with a hypnotic keyboard. The arrangement on the verse creates the type of tension and release that allows the chorus to really soar. The message here is clear, get out there and try and reach your potential, because you too can be a 'shooting star'. The song also features a truly fabulous solo on the bridge, adding additional vitality to the track. The music finally draws to a close with some delightful piano, serenading a somewhat sweet and yet powerful vocal.
I guess you can't have a song about a road trip without mentioning "Traffic Lights;" a song which describes the regimental directions emanating from traffic lights, which we are sure to encounter on our way. The lights are then cleverly utilised to dictate the movement of the song, resulting in the lyrics inspiring the musical arrangement. There are also some interesting musical hooks dispersed throughout, with some tasteful guitar playing adding a certain ambience to the overall sound.
"The Wheels on the Tour Bus" actually plays homage to the famous nursery rhyme, although this particular rendition features a bass line which reminded me a little of T. Rex's "Hot Love". The song is incredibly catchy, and a great way to finish off the album, with a lively rendition of a famous children's song, executed with a quite detached and yet whimsical delivery.
This duo have created a soundtrack to a wonderful uplifting journey, where children are entertained and inspired in turn. Although the album appears to be firmly entrenched in fifties nostalgia, it also references musical influences from other decades and does so seamlessly. The harmonies are superb and the musicianship is thought-provoking and tasteful throughout. All in all a magical journey of melodic delight, which is sure to have wide appeal.
The Little Rockers Band - the golden age of rock 'n' roll.