Putting on the Style

by: Lonnie Donegan

After an absence of 15 years or more as a major name in British rock, Donegan re-emerged with this '70s version of his old skiffle sound (why nobody tried this with Donegan seven years earlier, when Mungo Jerry hit with their updated skiffle number "In the Summertime," is anyone's guess). Chances are that UA in America was lured into distributing this album by the presence on the record of such rock star skiffle fans Ringo Starr, Elton John, Nicky Hopkins, Mick Ralphs, Albert Lee, Rory Gallagher, Brian May, Ron Wood, Peter Banks, Michelle Phillips, and (like, unreal) Rev. James Cleveland. Unfortunately, audiences, at least in America, were rather oblivious to it all and it was ignored, rapidly becoming a collector's item. The record isn't bad, as Donegan does his stuff with this big name support, but overall it seems overproduced, a sort of skiffle supersession, a treatment to which the music doesn't lend itself. It was more fun to listen to than almost any other recording that Ringo and his ilk participated in during the late '70s; however, it was a real labor of love for all concerned. [Castle's 2007 reissue included bonus tracks.] ~ Bruce Eder

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