Review: The mystery of the mystical downtown
Downtown Mystic /21st Century Rock’n Roll/Orchard/Sony Music
3.5 out of five stars
Robert Allen, who operates under the pen name Downtown Mystic, seems to have quite the story, which is shared in detail on his new album. 21st century rock’n’roll. Likewise, the talent that contributes to the 11-song set speaks to its special stature. It features two key members of Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band – drummer Max Weinberg and bassist Garry Tallent – as well as drummer Steve Holley and bassist Paul Page, two longtime veterans of Ian Hunter’s Rant Band.
Allen himself claims credits that include his contributions to early efforts by Jim Croce, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, but it’s the music he’s making now that makes the most emphatic impression. Allen/Downtown Mystic is a rugged rocker, and each of these tracks shares the sound of classic rock and roll filtered through both muscle and melody. It’s a solid sound that remains intact throughout the album, with songs such as “Lost and Found”, “Modern Ways”, “Hard Enough” and “Way To Know” among the most notable. never dies down and given its exemplary backing band and the engineering efforts of long-time late colleague Ben Elliott, the music bristles with an energy and electricity that rarely dies down.
Given the quality and consistency that Allen/Downtown Mystic shares here, the bigger mystery is why it isn’t better known. Obviously, he has the respect and admiration of certain prestigious musicians, but one must also wonder why an artist of such a seasoned stature, with what seems to be a sacred history, managed to remain a secret for the population in his outfit. With a bit of luck, 21st Century Rock ‘n Roll Can change all that and elevate it to the notoriety it deserves. Considering the quality and consistency of the album, it deserves all of that and more.
Courtesy of The Missing Pieces Group