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Monday, May 23, 2022

Los Borrachos : Eddie and the Gravediggers – A Review



 "I don't know about digging graves, 
but I certainly dig the music!"

I have to be honest, I requested a copy of Eddie and the Gravediggers because the “lead” guitarist on it is an old friend and I was curious as to just what he was up to on the album.

Los Borrachos is the “baby” of front-man Kevin Falkenberg and that is in many ways should be sufficient to pique the interest of any music officianado.

Kevin is an expat Canadian who has an impressive eleven years of writing music and sitting comfortably as the front-man for a great number of pro-rock bands.

Los Borrachos has had a number of great musicians in its 9 years of existence as Kevin has charged through an impressive number of countries with the group including Sweden, Finland, Holland, Portugal, Vietnam, Costa Rica to name but a few.

Now Los Borrachos – the Aussie version, is established quite comfortably in Melbourne, Australia with, a brilliant and talent laden line-up.

  • Kevin remains the “main” man upfront and provides vocals, guitar and Harp (No Virginia, not the string variety – the Mississippi saxophone; the Hobo Harp; the blues harp – the mouth organ!);
Kevin Flakenberg
  • Mick Elliott – who is a legend among Melbourne guitarists having provided seriously excellent guitar work for over 50 years in some of our best bands, in fact provides a real power through both lightning fast licks and beautifully tasteful guitar work;
Mick Elliott
  • Lukas Goodchild plays the Bone (Yup Virginia – Trombone) and percussion and is quite a talented young musician with a real future;
Lukas Goodchild
  • Norbert Mancusi provides both a rock-solid beat and some delicious power punch on drums; and
Norbert Mancusi
  • Eryn Mitchell provides the Bass, she is incredibly talented on both Double bass and Electric, and, provides backing vocals

So this is indeed a fabulous line-up that is a mixture of skill, experience, talent, youth and a real commitment to making their music the best.

How can I back this statement up? Easy!

Through this album!

Now there is a wonderful line in the track “Bhindi Bhagee” by Joe Strummer and the Mescalito’s, when Joe relates a story of meeting a new comer in their neighbourhood, and on learning that Joe is in a band asks, “What’s your music like?”

I think that is one of the questions most often asked to a muso – and one that is generally hardest to answer, so when Joe replies, “ Umm…..Err……It’s kinda like…..It’s got a bit of…..” well, that provides part of my answer if you were to ask, “What is this music like”?

But I’m not one for cop-outs so I would say, “OK…..it’s grounded in rock but, you can put any of these other labels in front of that word depending on the track!

  • Psychobilly
  • Rockabilly
  • Power
  • Country
  • Straight

And, if you were to answer, “Oh, OK I get it!”, then I would have to say, “Sorry, there’s more!”

Track Listing:

  1. Gone
  2. Pirate Song
  3. The Hanging Tree
  4. Moonlight Wheelin’
  5. Mary
  6. Maggie Pie
  7. The Cowboy From The East

Overall some 34 minutes of bloody well highly entertaining music.

Now I have never reviewed an album without some examples of the music on the album.

At first I used to provide full tracks in full fidelity only to find in this era of belief that if it’s music it should be free, that people downloaded the track I provided and never bought the album.

So being one that believes musicians are already ripped off enough, I tried providing full tracks in low fidelity. Only problem there is that it does the creative process of the musicians no favour indeed.

So, my compromise is to the tracks in as high a sample rate as possible but, only part of the track. The trade-off is, that you get an idea of the track but sadly, not the piece in its full conceptualisation.

I’ll say this now, and then again. If you like any of what you hear, do yourself and the musicians a favour and go buy a copy of Los Borrachos – Eddie & the Gravediggers!

I am a firm believer that the opening track of any album should be seen as the “calling card” of the group in the context of the album. So, that’s where we start.

Track #1Gone. The track kicks us off with a slide up the the guitar fret not unlike the start of the 60’s track – Roadrunner, but that’s where the similarity starts and ends. A very evocative sound on the lead guitar takes us into what can be properly called a real “shit-kickin'” track.  If your feet don’t move to this track either they are nailed to the floor or you’re dead.

Already we can hear why Kevin is such a success as a vocalist, his delivery and ability to promote power through his delivery is superb.  One sign of a tight outfit is that oh so necessary bass-drum combo and these guys achieve that with ease. Erin and Norbert really push the track along at it’s frantic, but controlled pace.  

GONE – [A sample]

As a “calling card” – track one calls right out, there’s more to come!

I was drawn to track 2Pirate Song, because it is so very different to track one.  Track one might be labelled as a power-psychobilly type track while this track, is far more a country rock track, with Trombone!

Kevin’s work with the acoustic guitar is indeed most lay-back and pleasant, and while we are lulled into a false sense of security that this is strictly a country-rock acoustic based track, the use of the “Bone” featuring Lukas Goodchild gives it an interesting difference, but then, in comes Mick Elliott with his energetic electric lead, before we fall back into the acoustic based style.

A most contagious song that is hard not to want to sing along with!

Pirate Song – [A sample]

Moving along through to track 6Mary  This track grabbed me by the proverbial balls. It has an infectious rhythm, what appears to be a complex timing which really, is far more to do with the arrangement. The track somehow manages to feature all that is fantastic about this group. Kevin’s words and delivery, the mighty drum-bass combo, Elliott’s unbelievable guitar licks and, yet again, the most unusual accompaniment of the Trombone – it all not just works, it works brilliantly.

What a great dance track!

Mary  [A sample]

The final track on the CD is my final track. Track 8 is Cowboy From The East is another great rock ‘n rollicking track that is one of those audience involvement tracks, where you can imagine the audience joining in with the appropriate “Hey, hey hey’s!” 

Old man laying down his head at the end                                                                          he ain’t about to grown he ain’t about to grin                                                                    he knows where he’s going that nobody wins                                                                    and this time the angels call for him…..

And what do they say?                                                                                                  HEY, HEY, HEY                                                                                                              HEY, HEY, HEY                                                                                                              HEY, HEY, HEY                                                                                                            HEY, HEY, HEY

I love this track!

Cowboy from The East [A sample]

In fact, I love this album.  Eddie & the Gravediggers is an album that needs to be in the collection of everyone who enjoys quality Australian music, who enjoys great varieties of the forms of what we loosely call “Rock”.

You can kick back and just listen, you can get up and dance, hell, after a few listens you will find yourself singing along.

Eryn and Kevin

One of the measures of a great band is, are the members having a good time. if this track is an indicator of having fun, then these guys had a real ball. Hell, the single form of Los Borrachos – borracho does roughly translate as drunk (an individual who is currently or often drunk).

Throughout the entire album I could not but be impressed by the production and recording quality. Then I checked the liner notes to find that  it was recorded by another legend of the Aussie music scene – Gil Mathews. Enough said – quality will always show through, and it does – in spades!

The four panels that make up the covers inner and outer, are incredibly eye catching and no wonder. Michael Salmon created the design from sketches given to him by Kevin, designing 3 of the 4 panels, and then handed the design across to the master hand of Dominic Barbuto from Visible Ink Design. 

The end result is a fabulous 4-panel design thanks to a team effort.

You know in the end, there is one thing better than listening to this album, and that is seeing the group live, something i have had the pleasure to do.

But if for whatever reason you can’t do that, then buy the album, turn up the volume of your amp to 10! Hit play and then press the “loudness button”.

The CD Eddie & the Gravediggers will set you back a modest $20.00 and can be bought at gigs or through the Los Borrachos Facebook page – click the image!

In a late update to this review, I have learned the very shortly Los Borrachos will be travelling to Vietnam to play.  The Vietnamese won’t know what hit them – but they will be mighty pleased that it has!

This review was written by:
Rob Greaves – [Senior Editor, Toorak Times]


Rob Greaves
I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I work as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times, but I also think of myself as senior contributor. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were paper ), serious experience in audio editing, and a lot of video editing experience. Currently I'm working as a radio program producer for a national interview program as well as my work with the Toorak Times