May 28, 2008
Album Review: Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros
Written by: By Rick Galusha
I have been working in retail music since 1978. I was a Classical & Jazz deejay at KVNO while in college and have hosted KIWR's PS Blues for more than 13 years [Sundays from 9 am - Noon at 89.7 fm]. I don't know it all but I think I have a pretty rounded - reality based - hype free opinion.
There was a time when rock records were marketed as rock records. Due to demographic shift and the dearth of choice on commercial radio, rock records by artists over the age of 40 are now marketed to a blues audience. The latest album by Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros is titled, ‘Someday.’ Much like The Michael Stanley Band, Joe Grushecky’s Iron City Rockers or perhaps Nils Lofgren, Carillo is a niche artist within the rock genre that, if you happen to "get it," you love their music. If you "miss the train" however you are probably oblivious to their work.
Frank Caillo has that ageless summer voice that calls you back to a hot summer nights and a dashboard radios. Carillo’s previous album, "Bad Out There" was a solid outing that included a tribute track to the late James ‘Jimmy’ Dewar who sang with the Robin Trower Band. For more than three decades Carillo has been the bridesmaid - always on the cusp of a larger audience. After departing Humble Pie, Peter Frampton invited Carillo to play on his next two solo efforts including; Frampton’s "Camel" and "Winds of Change." Shortly after that, while using the Rolling Stones equipment, Carillo’s band hung-out with Led Zeppelin who were recording, "Houses of the Holy" across the hall. In 1978 Carillo has his first major label deal which included Yvonne Elliman who was enjoying success in Eric Clapton’s band and her lead role in the smash hit, "Jesus Christ Superstar." And so it goes, ever so close.
Once again, Carillo has released a very strong record that most pre-Nirvana rock and many roots fans will appreciate. On his website, http://www.frankcarillo.com listeners can preview the current and previous solo effort in their entirety;  I suggest trying the third track, "Lucky (If you can breath)." The songs are strong but lack the charisma associated with a statured artist. The arrangements and recordings are pristine and carefully considered. So what’s the deal? The Bandoleros can play and Carillo has an exceptional rock n’ roll voice (ala’ Paul Rogers or Sammy Hagar minus the usual howls and braggadocio). In today’s music environment "good" is no longer good enough" weak skilled record label wonks and radio industry wannabes want easy marketing, model like looks and sexually charged misfits that can be easily manipulated. Well none of those things exist on this album. If ever there was a record where the music did the talking Frank Carillo and The Bandoleros, "Someday" is that record. No - on first listen you’re not going to "get it." Perhaps by the fourth time through the absolute pure enjoyment of this record, of Carillo’s voice will settle in and then, like me, you’ll become entrapped by an album and an artist that "has it" even if today’s fractured industry fails to fully grasp something is beyond the low laying fruit of mass commercialism. This is a diamond in the rough and don’t ever expect The Bandoleros to become a significant draw - they are a niche of exquisite flavor. Get it - it’s good!
© 2008 Frank Carillo All Rights Reserved.