I’ll level with you; I had to check the calendar when I saw this. I thought it might be a belated April Fools’ joke. But it isn’t.
Everyone remembers Black Country glam-cum-hard rockers Slade – Merry Christmas Everyone – and in fact they’re still going strong, as is drummer Don Powell, who’s had a colourful life in and out of the band, moving on from Wolverhampton first to Bexhill-on-Sea, a retirement haven on the English south coast which is also home to one of the UK’s most famous music and art venues and then 20 years ago to Silkeborg in Denmark, where he lives with his Danish wife.
Now 75, Don is still thrashing the kit with several bands, one of which is Don & The Dreamers, (what happened to Freddie?) a Danish-Norwegian-English collective five-piece formed as recently as the summer of 2021 when one of the band members, Henrik Littauer – a retired doctor – encouraged its establishment as a means to combat communal pandemic depression. Don Powell was considered from the off to be a centrepiece of the band in the same way Roy Orbison was to The Travelling Wilburys.
For this new single, ‘Something Else,’ they co-opted Danish singer Michelle Birkballe, and Jørgen Lang on mouth organ. The song is also part of a three-track EP with the same title that was released on May 31st.
I thought it might be a cover, indeed my first impression is that it was a take on Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Great Balls of Fire’ but it turns out it is an Eddie Cochran number that was first released in 1960 and interpreted since by many bands including Sex Pistols, Stray Cats and Led Zeppelin. A version by Tanya Tucker and Little Richard from 1994 was the catalyst for the search for a female who could duet together with the band’s regular singer Krølle (Curly) Erik and Michelle Birkballe was the solution, even though she’s half the age of other band members.
Before you listen to it I suggest you slick back your hair, put on your best long drape jacket and blue suede shoes and turn the clock back 60 years to when you probably didn’t exist because it rocks; Michelle Birkballe’s husky vocal playing off that of Curly to perfection. (I hope she isn’t less than average height lest they are labelled as ‘Short and Curlys’).
For a sound that is so old it comes across as crisp and fresh and that’s probably the best compliment I can pay it because that isn’t easy to achieve.
And has Don retained his touch? Is the Pope Catholic?
Don & The Dreamers have just been to Lundgård Studios to record the basic tracks for a forthcoming album expected to be released later this year. Just in time for Christmas perhaps?
The regular band:
Krølle Erik – Guitar/vocals
Knud Møller – Guitar
Helge Solberg – Bass
Henrik Littauer – Piano
Don Powell – Drums
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