Bobby Valentino

Los Pistoleros - Trigger Happy Album Review

Graham Lees
(from Traditional Music Maker)

Trigger Happy is the debut album of Los Pistoleros, bringing together a variety of elements that constitute the true sound of country music. Los Pistoleros combines the musical talents of five of Britain’s finest working musicians. The voice of Los Pistoleros is contributed by the deep crooning of Bobby Valentino who also plays fiddle and rhythm guitar. B J Cole on pedal steel; Martin belmont lead guitar, 6 string bass and vocals; Kevin Foster bass and vocals and Bobby Irwin drums and vocals.

Bobby Valentino has contributed to the recordings of numerous artistes and has played live with the likes of Bob Dylan, Kirsty McColl and Michelle Shocked. B J Cole has graced the albums of the likes of The Petshop Boys, The Walker Brothers, Paul Young and Elton John, along with playing live with Bjork and Joan Armatrading. Martin Belmont has played with Nick Lowe, Carlene Carter and Johnny Cash, and could be seen at this year’s Americana festival playing in Hank Wangford’s Band. Kevin Foster can’t drop names like the other band members, but has the musical talents that make him an integral part of Los Pistoleros. Bobby Irwin spent eight years living and working around San Antonio and Texas, working with such luminaries as Doug Sahm, Billy Joe Shaver, Junior Brown and Flaco Jiminez.

The Tex-Mex influences that Irwin has brought to the band, can be heard on the opening cut with the Perry Como favourite Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes (written by Slim Wallet). Bobby Valentino shows his own writing skills on six numbers that he has composed along with his co-writing associates. The western swing based Swinging With The Chickens offers a lighter topic, while the solid country flavour of Blood on the Honk-Tonk Floor seeks a more serious subject of lost love. The Tex-Mex influence returns on Break for the Border with this cowboy based song. The Valentino coalition contributes the rousing Pink City Polka, continuing he announces to be Engaged to be Living in Sin and asks the bluesy question Is a Bluebird Blue?
Of the seven original tracks on the album One More Heartbreak is written by Foster/Belmont/Foster and the only track Valentino didn’t have a hand in writing. The final three covers include a gentle version of the Web Pierce classic Slowly, a rousing version of Ray de Paul’s Cow Cow Boogie and the album closes with the lively swing instruments Little Rock Getaway (J Sullivan).

Trigger Happy is one of the most exciting albums that I have heard this year and especially the best from a British band. It combines a wealth of differing styles of country music, leaning towards the revitalised swing styles of the big band era of country music.

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