October 22, 2020

Johnny Casino is not a name I know but he is another of those hard working Australians who have travelled the length and breadth of the country playing rock ‘n’ roll in any old dive and slowly but surely building up a reputation as a showman and musician of the highest calibre. With a style born out of the ’50s and using every trick that Chuck Berry, Link Wray and MC5 had up their collective sleeves to win over an assortment of biker gangs and hard drinking Aussies it has to be said that Johnny Casino came up the hard way but what a upbringing to have.

The period covered by this album of live recordings sees Casino and guitar fronting the high energy Sydney rock band Asteroid B-612 which released six albums before falling apart on tour in the United States. He then fronted Johnny Casino’s Easy Action which very much followed the format of Asteroid B-612. So, this album features fourteen tracks and 80-minutes of fast and furious ’60s rhythm and blues and sees an amalgamation of many styles including The Who, the Allman Brothers, Humble Pie, The Faces, the Ramones and the Flamin’ Groovies and just about any other guitar rock band you can think of. Indeed, these live recordings even show that Casino had a metal side too and he does indeed play like a true rock god. This is an intriguing collection of self-written guitar driven rock but there are some most interesting covers too with material from the absolutely brilliant Flamin’ Groovies, Alice Cooper, Died Pretty and Pere Ubu. This is a raucous celebration of rock in the raw and is powerful stuff but please be warned; it is absolutely guaranteed to leave you breathless, pure genius. This is the first part of three releases with Volume 2 (2000-2010) and Volume 3 (2000-2010) also available on Bandcamp. All his other works are now available on all digital platforms and are recommended as worthy of checking out.

Hits And Misses (Volume One 1990 – 2000) track list

  1. Moody (4:18)
  2. Which Way? (2:47)
  3. Undertow (Second Time Around) (8:32)
  4. The Same Old Blues (6:07)
  5. Can I Touch It (3:19)
  6. Shufflin The Deck (7:23)
  7. Gimme A Little Something (3:26)
  8. Chainsaw (9:41)
  9. People Like You (5:11)
  10. Is It My Body? (2:41)
  11. Destination Blues (4:48)
  12. Down On The Streets (5:58)
  13. Teenage Head (3:14)
  14. Mirror Blues/Final Solution (12:15)

OK, so I’ve just listened to an album of hard rocking, chest thumping, ass kicking, high energy rock ‘n’ roll from the Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist Johnny Casino and have just picked up his latest album to check out. Easy job, thinks I, having just listened to him bear his heart and soul for 80-minutes of absorbing and pulsating rock. I was expecting more of the same and in true artist form he has turned my world upside down and shown that I truly know nothing!

So, it seems our Mr Casino aka John A Spittles also performs with Johnny Casino And The Secrets, The Egos, The Lord Street Sound, Carrie Phillis and the Downtown 3 as well as a solo artist, this guy is obviously no slouch and can change styles and persona like we change our coats. Vibrations, Yours And Mine sees the man in full Johnny Cash mode as he performs a collection of songs, his and some covers, with a theme of what connects us together in an almost semi-acoustic and stripped back mode. Any artist who covers Jimmy Webb’s but more commonly known for Glen Campbell’s version of Wichita Lineman has to be sure of his talent and Casino doesn’t fall into the trap of simply copying Campbell’s delivery but instead re-interprets his and so also takes ownership as well. The songs are quiet, eclectic and almost reverentially delivered with total emotion and raw passion from an artist who puts his very soul on display for us all to see. Fragile and beautiful, Vibrations, Yours And Mine is a surprising slow raced roots based album but, in truth, it is one of those very special non genre affairs that can and should be enjoyed by everyone hearing it.

Johnny Casino lives in Spain now hence there is a slight Hispanic feel to some of the tracks, not sunshine and sangria by any means, but more of a culture infusion by osmosis. He does indeed appear to be a most talented fellow.

Vibrations, Yours And Mine track list

  1. I Hear You Calling (4:40)
  2. Postcards (4:42)
  3. Ghost Ships (5:11)
  4. Cerca Pero Tan Lejos (A Song For Sue) (2:26)
  5. I Scare Myself (4:24)
  6. Dropping Like Flies (5:43)
  7. Trouble Weighs A Tonne (2:50)
  8. Hit The Ground Running (3:45)
  9. Sundown (4:24)
  10. Wichita Lineman (3:15)
  11. Tears In A Town She Calls Home (6:47)