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Atomic Roots Orchestra – Vol. 1 Border Radio Gamble

Conjur Root Records / Federated

(no website –Band bio and purchase at CD Baby)

14 songs; 44:48 minutes

Styles: Juke Joint Blues; Roots Rock; Blues and Rhythm; Rock and Roll; Rockabilly

There's a phenomenon in nature and social relationships called the “propinquity effect.” According to Wikipedia, it is “the tendency for people to form friendships or romantic relationships with those whom they encounter often. In other words, relationships tend to be formed between those who have a high propinquity.” In even plainer words, people tend to “grow on you.” Such is also the case with the Atomic Roots Orchestra – Vol. 1 and their debut album, “Border Radio Gamble”!

Consisting of Job Striles – lead guitar and vocals, John Lee Williamson – Rhythm guitar and vocals, Bill Flores - sax , Rick Reed - bass, and Max Bangwell – drums and vocals, the Atomic Roots Orchestra “is on a mission to bring back Border Radio Music like was layed [sic] down by the 1949 to 1959 DJ around America.” This CD's liner notes merrily continue: “In ordre [sic] to get er done, a top flite [sic] group of artists has assembled to lay it out in one day with no rehearsals and no playing around—Show and Blow a whole Album right now! The Players have to be supurb [sic] and on a mission to create an authentic recording session and sound!” If one seeks to find out more about this band, one should NOT continue reading—doing that will only induce a migraine. Instead, pop this CD in and bask in the glow of these retro, radio-active tunes!

Border Radio Gamble pays homage to the postwar Los Angeles Blues and Rhythm and Jump Swing explosion by inducting 14 (apparently) original songs into a 21st Century kick butt album.

The Atomic Roots Orchestra's music may be an acquired taste for some: there's lots of horns, for starters. Secondly, many of their numbers are crazy mishmashes of blues, swing, and rock. The more one hits the “play” button, however, the more endearing this album becomes. These are five fellows who love music the way it was played around the middle of the 20th century. Leading off with “Home on Alcatraz,” the Orchestra shows off its spicy style and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. For a more serious tale, check out “Love in Vein”—the best slow blues song on the album. Winding up in court is never fun, and this ballad proves it. “S & T Scrunch” and “Zip Gun Yakuza” are downright perplexing earworms, while “Waterbed Cadillac” will bring sly grins and knowing chuckles! For a final treat, check out “That's What the Good Book Said,” rehashing well-known Bible stories. Overall, the more you experience the “propinquity effect,” the more you'll enjoy the Atomic Roots Orchestra!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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