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Kim Lenz and Her Jaguars
 HMG/HighTone CD HMG3003, 1998

 Rockabilly kitten

While many an amateur coroner has pronounced rock & roll dead over the years, the cottage industry of rockabilly has always seemed to survive well the test of time. In fact, it has even seen the occasional full-blown revival, as exemplified by the success of bands like The Stray Cats in the early ’80s.

Kim Lenz is a yelping little she-rocker who is backed by her three male Jaguars. Her music is aimed straight at the dance hall, as the album’s opener, "Saturday Jump," makes abundantly clear.

Unfortunately, Lenz plays like a ’50s B Movie instead of an American Movie Classic. She has the look and sound of the original rock & roll era, without the substance to make her music memorable. A band like The Blasters, as a more worthy example, can recreate everything that made early rock so great, and still write songs that have relevance for modern day listeners. It also doesn’t hurt the band to have a distinctive vocalist like Phil Alvin.

Lenz writes forgettable little ditties, and sings them in a voice that’s overly affected and ultimately unpleasant to the ear. Simply stated, there are Cats out there who have this rockabilly thing down a little bit better than Kim Lenz and her Jaguars, and fans of the form would be wise not to Stray from the tried and true purveyors who have preceded her.– Dan MacIntosh

Copyright © 1998 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.