The Melatauns, Knuckle Sandwich (Independent)

No band can cover the whole varied history of rock ‘n’ roll from current times back to the beginnings with Louis Jordan, Fats Domino, Elvis, and others. The Melatauns do better than most, and in and of themselves, do a great job. This second record has tight horn-driven riffs, swinging J&M studio sound, and some more modern touches.

No matter what, the band is unmistakably New Orleans. The personnel includes the cream of the Frenchmen Street and downtown scene with Pat Ricks, Robert Snow, Dominick Grillo, Bruce Brackman, and Anthony Donato making up the core of the band, with guest spots from Charlie Halloran, Special Man Jimmy Horn, and C. Wayne McAlister adding their distinctive spice to this coubillion.

The band stays loose enough so that both the musicians and the audience can find the groove, but tight enough so that it doesn’t fall to pieces. Their subject matter is also distinctly New Orleans, with a sweet mid-tempo number about the local girls on bicycles in the Vieux Carre filled with vivid details called “Evette,” the swamp pop sway of “Strange,” and the parade rhythms of the Mardi Gras cut “Outta Be In the Quarter.”

But it’s not all a time machine back to the good old days as the distorted, almost punk of “Lies” and “The Poo Poo Song” illustrate. Although all the Melatauns are serious musicians, this is a light hearted album to, as Snow has said, “satisfy their rock ‘n’ roll habit.” Given the songs and playing here, this should satiate it for at least a little while.