Let The Chicks Fall Where They May

The Sprague Brothers

Hightone Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


These days, it almost seems like more bands are doing rockabilly than there were bands who originally created the genre back in the '50s. This type of "retro rock" can help the listener gain an appreciation for the roots of the music they've grown up with - if done correctly.

One look at Let The Chicks Fall Where They May, the debut release from The Sprague Brothers, and you know that there's something wrong with this picture. At first, I honestly thought this was going to be a novelty record with a focux on sex. I mean, with cover art featuring two scantily-clad women reaching up for the artists' groins, that would be a natural expectation, right? (Then again, who knows? With that kind of art, this could have been Aerosmith going incognito.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Instead, what Chris and Frank Sprague create is a hybrid of rockabilly and swing, and roll it into one package. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When the band is on, the music can do no wrong. When they're off, though, it's hard keeping your eyes open.

The actual core of the band is sparse, with Frank on lead guitar and vocals, and Chris on drums and vocals. With an array of friends filling in on the missing instruments, the sound of The Sprague Brothers is made richer - good thing, too, 'cause I honestly couldn't picture just the two instruments making up the music.

Initially, there is a lot to smile about on Let The Chicks Fall Where They May. Songs like "Deceived," "Hardship" and "She's Lost" all demonstrate that this form of roots rock is alive, well and thriving. It's also worthwhile noting that almost every song on this album came from the pen of at least one Sprague, and the covers all pay fitting homage to their authors, like their take on Fats Domino's "I'm Ready".

But Let The Chicks Fall Where They May has one true enemy on its side: indifference. While they may be talented songwriters and musicians, sometimes the music doesn't come across with this information, leaving the listener a bit bored. (It took me several tries before I could get through this album - which is still relatively short - in one sitting and with comprehension of everything I had listened to.) Tracks like "Battle Of The Bands" and "How Far Will I Fall" just don't have the kind of pizazz needed to convince the typical listener that rockabilly is still relevant today.

Granted, this is a first recorded effort from The Sprague Brothers, and I'm sure that the passage of time will cure some of the ills that ail this album. But unless you're a diehard rockabilly fan, Let The Chicks Fall Where They May is an album that doesn't show nearly as much of the promise that it had in the beginning.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hightone Records, and is used for informational purposes only.