Music Review: The Kingbees’ ‘The Big Rock’

The Kingbees - The Big Rock

The Big Rock, the newly reissued second album from the Kingbees, first appeared 35 years ago, and the group’s influences go back even further. The record has its roots in early rock ’n’ roll and rockabilly, albeit with a dash of 80s punk attitude thrown into the mix. The band broke up after The Big Rock’s release, a victim, perhaps, of bad timing, as their heyday slightly predated a rockabilly revival. But their music—which eschews studio gimmickry and features ringing guitars and infectious call-and-response vocals—holds up. There are lots of strong originals here, plus a sweet cover of Buddy Holly’s “Wishin’” and a version of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Rockin’ My Life Away” that could give the Killer a run for his money. Four post-breakup bonus tracks find group leader Jamie James still in fine form with a new rhythm section.

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