Featured tracks from Volume 3 are now available to preview on our Discography page. Check them out!
Royal Crowns remain kings of Canadian rockabilly
I sang on stage with the Bopcats at a show I snuck into 30 years ago, booked the Rock Angels into my high school two years later, have been drinking at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for almost a quarter century and was a regular at the club’s biannual Living Elvis Karaoke nights for several years. So I’ve felt at least a small connection with singer, songwriter, drummer and bartender Teddy Fury for about two-thirds of my life, and a big part of that has been because of The Royal Crowns.
I confess that I’ve let my devotion slide a bit over the past couple of years, but I couldn’t miss The Royal Crowns’ launch weekend for the new Volume Three at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern. I’d been listening to the album for a few weeks and its rockabilly sounds — with hints of surf, jump blues, country and jazz slipped in — charmed me as much as when I first heard the group’s 32 Miles From Memphis debut a dozen years ago.
Founding members Fury and singer/songwriter/guitarist Danny Bartley are still the heart of The Royal Crowns, and upright bassist Jason Adams has fit in well since joining two years ago. They aren’t doing anything revolutionary on Volume Three — which was produced, recorded and mixed by John Critchley (13 Engines, Elliott Brood, Dan Mangan) at his Green Door Studios in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood — but sometimes I’d just rather dance than overthrow a government anyway.
There’s something to be said for all 15 songs, and they spring to life wonderfully on stage. Bartley sure knows his way around a Gretsch, while Fury and Adams provide a solid rhythm behind him.
The intimate Dakota was sold-out both nights last weekend, and I was happy to catch up with other longtime Royal Crowns fans and former members at Saturday night’s show. There were also two brides-to-be (decked out in cowboy hats with veils) and their pals on hand for the first of the evening’s two sets, and I talked to other younger patrons who had no idea who the Crowns were but heard that the Dakota was the place to be that night — and they didn’t leave disappointed.
The performance was obviously weighted heavily in favour of Volume Three material, and with standouts like “Butterball Baby,” “Could It Be,” “Please Stop,” “3 Dollar Cologne” and my favourite, “Johnny’s Sister,” there was no reason to complain. But some older gems from 32 Miles From Memphis and 2005′s After Dark — most notably (for me at least) “Caveman Boogie” and “Greasy Corpse” — made it a well-rounded night on the town that I look forward to repeating again soon.
Gonna rock this town!
By Errol Nazareth
May 25, 2012
Rockabilly rules Toronto this weekend. The legendary Royal Crowns celebrate the release of its brand new disc, Volume Three, at the Dakota Tavern tonight and Saturday while Christian D & The Hangovers lay waste to the Cadillac Lounge tonight. The Ronnie Hayward Trio is at the Dominion On Queen Saturday afternoon, Rock-A-Billy Shake-Up 4 happens at the Cameron House that night, and The Swingin’ Blackjacks slide into the Dora Keogh Saturday, too. If you’re still standing Sunday, I highly recommend catching Alistair Christl’s Rockabilly Sunday Brunch at the Dominion.
Rockabilly promoter/DJ David Faris says the Royal Crowns are a vital part of the local rockabilly scene and have been a central part of the action for over two decades. “Teddy Fury and Danny Bartley have deep musical roots stretching back to the early ’80s, playing in key bands such as The Bop Cats and Shotgun Shack. They work really well together and have developed a strong identity for the Crowns.”
The group have maintained a strong following and continue to play at the top of their game, he adds, noting that they’ve backed up rockabilly legend Robert Gordon on numerous occasions. But, are they doing anything that sets them apart from other rockabilly bands here?
“They’re known for their dynamite musicianship, their memorable originals, and their top-notch live shows,” Faris says. “All three players are accomplished musicians and can tear it up on stage, but they manage to keep the song upfront rather than getting too showy. The Crowns really understand how to craft songs, and not just belt out clichés, and they’ve built up a good repertoire of originals, which is often not the case for bands delving into well-established genres from the past.
“As a live band, the Crowns are consistently exciting. They’re also great guys, and pretty darn funny too,” he says. On its site, the Royal Crowns describe Volume Three as “rockabilly, rock and roll, hillbilly jazz, surf, and rhythm and blues all rolled up into a big fat platter of fun.” Faris says the trio has a knack for straddling a whole variety of genres while staying true to their identity. “The personalities and talent behind the band make it shine, and they’ve really picked up steam since the current lineup came together a few years back.
“The new album shows the group in fine form, maintaining the high standards we’ve all come to expect over the year.” Rockabilly Shake-Up 4 at the Cameron on Saturday features Tennessee Voodoo Coupe performing the Shakin’ Pyramids’ landmark album, Skin ‘Em Up, and The Greasemarks playing Johnny Burnette & The Rock ‘n Roll Trio’s classic self-titled album. Faris says this edition of Rock-A-Billy Shake-up “highlights the long-standing tradition of musicians embracing and einterpreting songs, a standard practice in the history of rockabilly and rock ’n’ roll since day one.
“Just as the original ‘hillbilly cat’ transformed material by artists like Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, Bill Monroe and Roy Brown on his mid-’50s Sun Records sides, so did his Memphis contemporaries, Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n Roll Trio.”
Review- “Volume Three”- The Royal Crowns
reviewed by Michael Thomas
When a band has been together for twenty years, you know they’re probably doing something right. And when the band can make the rockabilly sound feel like it never left, then the band is probably doing quite a few things right.
Such is the case with the Royal Crowns, who are doing both the things mentioned in the previous paragraph. I’ve heard a few different bands doing the rockabilly thing, but I have to say that the Royal Crowns take the cake. Volume Three is a focused, jam-packed and utterly glorious collection of songs that will make you wish the 50s could come back.
As someone who recently took a course in popular music, I was delighted to see that the twelve-bar blues form has not died. In the songs “Butterball Baby” and “Heavy Baby” you can hear the familiar form taken from (obviously) the blues in the verses.
Another thing you’ll hear is the confident swagger in the vocals of guitarist Danny Bartley and drummer Teddy Fury (who, may I add, has an awesome name). The opener “You Sure Know What You’re Doin’” is a pure joy which features a whole lot of swagger and some really, really tasty guitar solos.
With such a fun genre, there isn’t really any need to be serious, thus the hilarious “3 Dollar Cologne” fits the album well. The message of the song is simple: if you want girls to fall all over you, all you need is some 3 Dollar Cologne and they’ll be falling all over you.
There are a few good “ode to a woman” songs, my favourite being “Please Stop.” While it sounds like a scolding, the narrator of the song is instead wishing that his love wasn’t so perfect because perfect things never seem to last. “She’s Got It, And I Want It” more or less speaks for itself- if “Please Stop” is about a pure, untainted love, then this song is about the not-safe-for-work kind of love. Ditto “Johnny’s Sister” which is almost like an updated version of Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl” (though this track is less cheesy by a mile).
There’s also a few instrumental songs that the band flexes its muscle with in the form of “Pickled Beats” and “End Run.”
At a whopping fifteen songs, Volume Three should be a surefire addition to the fans of rockabilly and roots music. The album will be available tomorrow, May 22, followed by a CD release show on May 25. Check out the band’s website for more details.
Top Tracks: “You Sure Know What You’re Doin’”; “Butterball Baby”; “Cry Cry Baby”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*
The Royal Crowns – Volume 3 2012
It’s been 7 years since The Royal Crowns have released an album so this is a big deal. After all this is one of the finest bands around and when it comes to Canadian rockabilly it doesn’t get much better.”Volume 3″ has been worth the wait and yes it’s damn good.. Clocking in with 15 tracks that have all the hallmarks of what has made this band: great song writing, a good sense of humor to stellar execution .Highlights include “Pill Poppin Poppa”,”Don’t Seem Quite Right”,”Lady Pomp Gal” and “Heavy Baby” There really isn’t a bad song here.This is the bands first album as a 3 piece and it’s not a stretch to say it’s also their best. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long for the next album. Recommended
The Royal Crowns: “Volume Three” (album review)
There’s certainly a dearth of good new rockabilly music out there. Luckily we can count on Toronto’s own Royal Crowns to fill the gap. Entering their twentieth year of existence, the band are poised to release their new record,Volume Three, on May 22nd.
Those looking for good ol’ rockabilly won’t be disappointed with the record as it checks off all of the genre’s boxes. The songs have good energy, sense of humour, and that throwback cha-cha.
Right from the get-go you can tell what’s in store. The opener “You Sure You Know What You’re Doin’” is a catchy, fun number that will have you jiving (and possibly wailing).
The requisite strut is provided by “She Got It, And I Want It”. Even the instrumental “Pickled Beats” will have you grabbing your best gal for a twirl.
As always, the sense of humour is a key component. Tracks like “Butterball Baby” and “3 Dollar Cologne” are instant classics. The cheekiness is enough to pull even more run-of-the-mill tracks like “Pill Poppin’ Poppa” and “Put It On” through.
The record’s standout though is “Could It Be”. It’s 2:11 of nearly perfect Buddy Holly rock n’ roll.
All in all your summer just became a heck of a lot more fun thanks to The Royal Crowns.
The Royal Crowns play The Dakota Tavern in Toronto on May 25th & 26th.
Best tracks: “Could It Be”, “She Got It, And I Want It”
Royal Crowns Volume 3
By Kerry Doole
There’s no sign of a rockabilly revival on the horizon, but, along with the likes of Ronnie Hayward and Alistair Christl, the Royal Crowns are keeping the flame burning in Toronto. With 21 years under their belts, they qualify as veterans, though this is just their third album. They recently downsized from a quartet and the trio format keeps things simple. The fact that guitarist Danny Bartley and drummer Teddy Fury (ex Bopcats) both write and sing adds a pleasing variety to their sound. There’s Buddy Holly-style sweetness to Fury’s “Could It Be” and his sense of humour is showcased well on “Butterball Baby” and “Pill Poppin’ Poppa.” Bartley channels Elvis vocally on the pleading “Please Stop,” his fluent guitar style incorporating swing, jazz, country, blues and surf elements very effectively. As well, he shines on cool instrumentals “Pickled Beats” and “End Run.” Volume 3 was co-produced and mixed by John Critchley (13 Engines, Dan Mangan), and he captures the group’s sound cleanly and without fuss. Volume 3 delivers the goods in authentic fashion.
Stolen from the radio: 05/14 (The Royal Crowns)
Earlier this year, I started producing a radio show on CJLO (1690AM) called Edge of the City. It’s on every Monday from Noon to 2PM. You know what’s great about having access to a college radio station? I get to raid their library. Know what that means? It means that every Monday, I’m going to grab 3 random albums from the station, listen to them, and feature the best one here. Enjoy!
An odd thing happened this week: I grabbed a bunch of stuff from the bin, but the first album I snatched was an album I had just been sent via email. The Royal Crowns are a Toronto-based rockabilly band that have been around for a solid 20 years. Their brand new record, “Volume Three”, is as good as it gets, as far a great piece of work. Boasting 15 catchy and surfy tunes, this record is a great blend of classic rock ‘n roll with hints of blues throughout. It’s an easy listen and an infectious one – I’ve only had it for a small period of time, but I can’t seem to steer too far away from it. I feel like I’ll be giving it regular spins for a good while.
If you’re one of our Toronto readers and you have no plans for next Friday, you’re in luck! The Royal Crowns will be launching their new record at Dakota Tavern on the 25th. Go see the show and pick up a copy of this great new album!
Deco Fest Pre-Party
Dnipro Ukrainian Centre, Buffalo NY
Friday June 8, 2012
More info: deco-fest.com
CD Release Party Extravaganza!
with special guests Prophets and Losses
Friday May 25 & Saturday May 26
249 Ossington Ave.
New album available May 22