July 2008

Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros - Someday
Jezebel Records JR-5626
Format: CD
Released: 2008

by Joseph Taylor

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Frank Carillo has been a journeyman rocker for more than 30 years, playing guitar with Peter Frampton, writing songs for Carly Simon and Joan Jett, and recording his own music for labels big and small. Someday is, by my count, his seventh release under his own name. Carillo writes roots music that brings to mind Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, and if he wasn’t such a strong songwriter it would be easy to shrug him off as derivative. But when a guy writes great rock‘n’roll like "Somebody Poisoned the Well" and "Burn the Whole House Down" it’s clear that he just went to the same well for inspiration that Springsteen and Mellencamp did.

Carillo’s wide experience shows in every note he plays, and he lets his skills serve the song. His haunting slide guitar in "The Blue Room" (which gives Van Morrison a run for his money in strafing the music biz) sets the atmosphere for the tune and doesn’t dominate it. On the other hand, he stretches out on "The Way Out," with a solo that enhances the song while showing his formidable skills. Carillo’s band, the Bandoleros, is a tight, responsive unit that plays with conviction. Karl Allweier’s fluid upright bass playing gives the band a unique bounce.

Someday is well recorded, with Carillo’s vocals well focused and the band arrayed behind him in the soundstage. Every song isn’t a gem, but I’ve been playing "Somebody Poisoned the Well" and a few others repeatedly and they haven’t worn thin.