Issued for the first time on vinyl is Berlin’s hot ticket for authentic rhythm and blues, Cherry Casino and the Gamblers’ Let’s Play Around. Reason to celebrate therefore, but also as a mark of respect for an album that, upon its initial release of CD only, shifted more units than a baker’s bag squeezed full of German strudels, that’s how much it was appreciated. Given that the album’s parent company, Rhythm Bomb Records (RBR) is marking its own anniversary of twenty years in business, and still going strong with a conveyor belt of new and established artists making records, owner and creator of RBR, Ralph Braband gave the greenlight for reissuing Cherry Casino and the Gamblers’ debut long player.
With the track list scrutinised over and whittled down to a manageable number fitting for a vinyl release, the listener will experience a band in their infancy yet sounding like seasoned professionals. Such experience is down to the personnel involved, with each and every member of “the Gamblers” having lived and breathed rockin’ music from an early age, and frequenting numerous combos over the years. Comprising therefore of frontman himself, Cherry Casino (real name Axel Praefcke) on vocals and guitar, in addition to Ike Stoye (Saxophone), Michael “Humpty” Kirscht (Rhythm Guitar), Torsten Peukert (Drums), and “Lucky” Lehmann (Bass), Let’s Play Around was conceived in 2006.
From raw and primitive beginnings in the form of ‘Huh Baby’ with its shuffling rhythm and ringing guitar striking a definite chord, to rather unique presentation of storytelling that is mighty fine ‘Did You Hear That Door Slam?’, before arriving at the heart-breaking realisation of an untenable relationship depicted during ‘You’re Too High For Me’, with conformation arriving in harmonious backing vocals reminiscent of The Jordanaires, for example, rounding off this track in style.
From its prime position, Let’s Play Around reads like a menu consisting of all the ingredients when experiencing a rollercoaster ride of emotions that will be familiar to many, and one that even provides a moment of respite midway through with ‘A Bar Called Moe’s’.
With all the heartache involved, the album, Let’s Play Around eventually finds consolation during its finale of first, Chuck Berry-esque intro and celebratory ‘Girl Next Door’, to the loose feel of rhythm and blues and Cherry Casino dominating upfront via the title track, before finally wiping the blues away with a lively, finger-snapping rhythm of ‘Rockin’ and Rollin’.
A moment in history which, from its home of Lightning Recorders, now resurfaces in 2023 and is poised to relive the gamut of emotions expressed during its first wild and heady run of rhythm and blues, Let’s Play Around receives a deserved opportunity to do this all again, and also offers a chance for those new to the sounds and vision of Cherry Casino and the Gamblers to experience traditional rhythm and blues, and hear an album in all its natural glory. Bestowed the vinyl treatment, Let’s Play Around is a remarkable debut and one worth celebrating. Enjoy!
Nathan Olsen-Haines (Rhythm Bomb Records)
A01 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Huh Baby (L.McDaniel)
A02 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Gonna tear your playhouse down (Axel Praefcke)
A03 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Did you hear that Door slam (Axel Praefcke)
A04 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - You´re too high for me (Axel Praefcke)
A05 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - A Bar called Moe´s (Axel Praefcke)
B01 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Baby please come back (Axel Praefcke)
B02 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - All Night long (Axel Praefcke)
B03 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Let´s play around (Axel Praefcke)
B04 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Girl next Door (Axel Praefcke)
B05 - Cherry Casino and the Gamblers - Rockin´ and Rollin (Axel Praefcke)