Memphis Radio Kings
"No Band In The Happy Place"

(Self-Released 2002)Memphis Radio Kings - No Band In The Happy Place

It seems that country, blues and rock are always going to be blended together in some fashion. On their sophomore release, "No Band In The Happy Place," Memphis Radio Kings stand out with interesting narrative lyrics and unpretentious, easy-going guitar licks. "No Band In The Happy Place" offers a rock sound that obviously has a country heart and a slight bit of pop added, too.

With an unassuming opening of distant sounding vocals and some understated guitar, "Waiting On A Train" is your introduction to the Memphis Radio Kings. Picking up the tempo a bit with "Windsong," the band offers an unassuming rock tune but this one with a toe tapping beat. "Wasted Years" is a slower but rhythmic song where lead vocalist Charlie Beck reminisces. With a melody and style that reminds of John Lennon's "Crippled Inside," "Easy Chair" has that light but up beat sound. With both the mid tempo "Twenty-Seven" and more upbeat "Hollywood," which adds some well timed harmonica, the Memphis Radio Kings continue their country rock combination, not showing too much favoritism.

The slower "Same Old Me" stays interesting with its deep sounding guitar solo "Arizona" is edgier than previous songs and has a classic, epic cowboy sound at times. With a sing-song and poppy melody, "Find My Way" has nice ringing guitar throughout as well as a solo as "Which Side Are You On" has darker sounding instrumentation despite retaining the poppy edge. Drawn out harmonica over slow and steady drumming and understated guitar, the intro to "Texas And Tennessee" is a nice lead in to the slightly more up tempo sing along song about a man looking back on his childhood with his divorced parents ("Momma lives in Texas/ And Dad's in Tennessee/And they don't love each other anymore"). The Memphis Radio Kings close the album with the rousing "Searchin' For Salvation."

Well performed and never overly serious while dealing with the past and the present in their songs, Memphis Radio Kings' "No Band In The Happy Place" is both appealing and enjoyable. While not reinventing the wheel, Memphis Radio Kings have a sound that blends a number of styles with songs that stick out with their, occasionally, unlikely melodies. The band's mixture of sounds is sure to catch attention in today's musical climate as guitar rock, of all styles, makes a come back -- even if it never went anywhere.

B+

buy it!