Tingalingin’ - The Lincolns (The Lincolns)
The Lincolns are sharp, smart and write damn fine, modern songs, play with punch and verve, and crowds come out of the undergrowth wherever they play (I’m guessing they’d pull in the middle of the Simpson Desert), and most of the crowd get all gussied up and dance till the pompadours collapse like upset bowls of black pasta.
The Lincolns tour around the country; barely a weekend goes by without another sell-out Lincolns gig somewhere. They work hard at day jobs, too, so the band is their release; yet they drive to every gig and there’s more than 140 songs in their repertoire. Yes, really. And they live in Adelaide. And, their overseas tours have been extremely successful, and there’s another one sorted out for 2017.
Yeah, they do a handful of covers. But so what? There’s a noble line of bands whose stirring, entertaining sets are peppered with covers. Sometimes, as with Radio Birdman (back in the day), pretty much to please themselves (and opening a new doorway for their audience in the process); sometimes, as with the Flamin’ Groovies, to make a set that much more exciting.
And anyway, there’s covers and covers. The vile "Like a Version" advert which elbows its way into my facebook "news" scroll like a desperate virgin determined to touch a girl’s rude bits makes me yearn for songs with dignity, intelligence and power.
Which are also fun to dance to. Don’t want much, do we?
But that’s what they give. 16 tracks (15 listed, I’ll explain later) of 50s romantic, bopping rock’n’roll. See, anyone who doesn’t understand that the Teds of the day were thwarted romantics completely misses the point of the period. It’s not too fast, so you won’t be thrashing around. Lee Williams is a fine songwriter who blends into the period like a chameleon. The opener, "Sweet Little Lady" is so natural, it may have just bounced out of a time machine. Yet The Lincolns work hard to inhabit a certain area of '50s rock’n’roll - with a modern slant.
When a the few familiar songs do pop up, they slot right into The Lincolns’ groove, the feel and the pulse of what they aim for. "Marie Marie" is another example of the uptempo, measured excitement which the Lincolns ooze. "Lucky Charm" is another of Lee’s 10 perfect pop songs which you swear just dropped out of a Constellation flying overhead…
Look, there’s not much point in continuing through each track, really. Put The Lincolns on and you’ll be wondering which are the covers and which are the originals. Yes, they really are that good.
The last track isn’t listed because, around the time the CD was about to be pressed, David Bowie died, and they were doing a superb cover of … ah, but that’s telling. If you’re a Bowie fan, suffice to say this is one "version" which you’ll be drawn to. In true Lincolns style, they make the song their own, to the point where, if you didn’t know the song, your ears would prick up and the hairs will rise on the back of your neck.
"Tingalingin’" is The Lincolns’ third CD, and their first with wizard bassist (and multi-instrumentalist and studio lord) Kingsley Stewart. Their first, "Two Parts Whiskey", and their second, "Teddy Boy Rock and Roll", are also available. Go here.