Suomi six-stringer selects obscure pieces from his favorite artists’ set lists and spreads their gospel around the world.
HANOI ROCKS may be history yet Andy McCoy’s opinions still matter as much as rattling the likes of MÖTLEY CRÜE, which speaks volumes of the Finnish veteran’s influence, creative and otherwise, and makes aficionados interested in researching his own influences, and that’s exactly the focus of “Jukebox Junkie” – a record presenting other people’s material in a finger-licking fashion. Indeed, the covers are done with so much gusto here that it’s dripping from each note carved out from every groove here: the guitarist might have played these songs for years for his own delight before deciding to share personal ecstasy with the rest of the world. There are well-known numbers, of course, but even when the Scandinavian master doesn’t drastically reimagine such fare they’re touched by his magic.
This is why, though the brilliantly enhanced versions of Chris Spedding‘s “Motor Bikin'” and “Solo In Soho” from Phil Lynott’s repertoire, feel delicious, and the fresh take on David Bowie “China Girl” is taut too, it’s rarer, least expected stuff – the powerful skank of “54-46 That’s My Number” by Toots and THE MAYTALS, the cosmic jive of Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel Of Love” or Don Williams’ steel-oiled “Shot Full Of Love” – that grab the listener by the lapels and pour honey in their ears. Only Andy Hulkko wouldn’t be the real McCoy if he concentrated solely on classic pieces, so the appearance of Katie Noel’s “Miss Tennessee” – which singers Matthew Janaitis and Harri Haataja turn into call-and-response – is not too surprising, while the thickly spun, heavily throbbing renditions of DIVINYLS’ “Back To The Wall” and SQUEEZE’s “Take Me I’m Yours” are, all highlighted by the rotating line-up of warblers, including Andy, and given a shining swagger by his succulent six strings. From opening salvo of “I’m Gonna Roll” with which McCoy salutes his compatriots ROCK’N’ROLL BAND to the crepuscular creepiness of U.K. SUBS’ “Count Down” and on all the points between, McCoy lays down incendiary riffs and solos, the massive-voice refrains and raw-cut passages hitting sadistically hard to bring masochistic smile to the saddest face around.
But then there are relentlessly ass-kicking reading of Moon Martin’s “Hot Night In Texas” where ivories drive Andy’s sweet, twangy filigree towards the sunset, the swashbuckling sway of Ronnie Wood’s “I Can Feel The Fire” which handclaps propel to the edge of the field day, and the punchy upgrade of CLIMAX BLUES BAND’s “I Couldn’t Get It Right” which reaches for the mirror-ball – and catches it. Calling the results a guilty pleasure would mean underestimating McCoy’s effort; “Jukebox Junkie” is a rapture-inducing platter.