Rick Saucedo has released his 2013 album titled, “City of Night Lights”. An album bathed in Rockabilly, Memphis Soul and Chicago Power Pop influences. But before we even begin to uncover this rare aural jewel among the masses of Auto-tuned computer productions, we need to take a step back and discover just where the legendary Rick Saucedo comes from. His official bio is nothing short of awe-inspiring and reads exactly as follows…
With nearly half a century of musical experience, Rick’s love and life of music dates back to Chicago in the ’60s when he and his brother would listen to Elvis and The Beatles. Beginning with his junior high band, The Britains, Rick began experimenting in songwriting and playing the latest hits of the ’50s and ’60s,
including some songs from The King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley. As the ’60s came to a close, a new journey was beginning for this young teenager from Halsted and Armitage.
Rick Saucedo began his professional career in 1972 at the age of seventeen, while still attending Schurz High School. He and his newly-joined band, “The Ambassadors”, worked nightly at many local clubs and lounges. As people began to take notice of this young, talented kid with the Elvis act, he was approached by larger venues and talents. A few years later, he would be opening for The Monkees at the Chicago Theater and performing at other large-scale venues. Much as Elvis was doing at the time, Rick was touring with his band.
In ’76, he released his first album, Rick Saucedo Live, on vinyl. By 1977 Rick had performed at the Cabaret in Winnipeg, Canada and from there he was asked to star in the Broadway play, “The Legend Lives On” in 1978, following the passing of Presley. He performed six nights a week for five months, never using a stand-in. He helped arrange the music for the title song, “The Legend Lives On”, also written by veteran Elvis songwriter – Doc Pomus. Elvis’ background vocal group, The Jordanaires, accompanied Rick in the play as well as D.J. Fontana, Elvis’ drummer. A year later, Rick took the “Legend” show on the road and played the Stardust in Las Vegas, again accompanied by The Jordanaires and D.J. Fontana.
Later that year, Rick was approached to star as the title role in the 1979 film, Elvis. Rick, being a true tribute artist, was ready to show the world everything he had. Unfortunately, Hollywood had other plans: Rick was told Ronnie McDowell would sing the vocals while Rick would lipsync, and do the talking and acting. Nothing against Ronnie, but Rick felt this was too constricting and would not be a fair demonstration or performance, so he declined. Kurt Russell would go on to take the role, instead.
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Parallel to the Elvis gigs though, Rick Saucedo has continued to compose, perform and record his original music and sound, translating into many album releases over the years. Last, in the line of order, the “City of Night Lights” album, containing 11 fully-loaded tracks.
I won’t fool you though, Rick really sounds like Elvis, so it’s hard to ignore those vocal inflections and particular nuances, even on his own compositions. But he has managed to take the authentic sound and energy of classic Rockabilly, Blues, Soul & Pop, and record it with a totally modern sound. So here we have the best of both worlds; authentic, heartfelt nostalgic sounding tunes, in big booming modern arrangements. Take this home, crank it to the top, then attempt not to smile and tap your foot. I dare you.
On “City of Night Lights”, Rick Saucedo has brought the big band orchestra sound back in places, and sprinkled it all with full harmonies and sweet melodies. The results are pure magic. A fun, catchy and wholesome rocking album.
However, Saucedo stays true to his music roots and the rockabilly genre with this rocker. It’s so refreshing to hear. Though full and solid, the music is still raw, never over-produced and just foot tapping fun. Although it will probably not get much radio exposure, today’s generation should give this a listen and hear what real rock ‘n’ roll sounds like, instead of all the garbage on the radio today they are calling music.
If you are new to rockabilly or want to experience the magic of those early rock n’ roll records, but don’t want to track down all the classic compilations and rare vinyl by tons of artists, then just start here with Rick Saucedo’s amazing album.
From standouts like Rockabilly Boogie, The Fool, Not Much of Nothing, Help Me Sing Another Song, The Streets Of The Ghetto to The City Of Lights, of all the things he’s done for the genre, these songs clearly present a labor of love. There are so, so many good tracks on this album, and Saucedo does each one justice with his passionate performances. I can’t recommend it enough.
Some may say that Rick Saucedo just might be stuck in the past, but there is nothing wrong with that at all, as Saucedo’s real genius is his ability to mix the styles of roots blues, rock, pop, and even country, right on the fly! Although this should be on the shelf of every hard core rockabilly fan, it’s friendly enough for casual listeners with a nostalgic ear to sit up and take notice. Rick Saucedo continues his quest in keeping great rockabilly alive.
OFFICIAL LINKS & WEBSITES:
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