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"Mark Doherty's review of No Reservations"

Mark Doherty - Rhythms Magazine June 2002:

I was a big fan of The Bellhops' first album Room Service, which appeared a coupla years ago, so I was well and truly ready for another shot, and No Reservations delivers big time. This Sydney sextet deliver jumpin' R&B with its roots in the music of Louis Jordan and Roy Milton, represented here by covers of 'Boogie in The Barnyard' and 'RM Blues', but they're willing to steal from all eras, as well as writing more than a few themselves. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ian Dittman accounts for four numbers and is the more serious of the band's two songsmiths. Lead/slide guitarist John Russell has a nasty, not to say grubby sense of wit, and unleashes it on seven tracks, including the lascivious 'Hard For Me', 'Rise And Shine' and 'Curiosity'. No, I can't say more, you'll just have to hear the CD.
Russell is not a traditionalist, and his tasty guitar work is rooted more in the later decades of last century. This has the effect of broadening the band's appeal - something for everyone...well, almost everyone. Since the last album, singer/harmonica player Steve Trew has been replaced by baritone sax Ed Schots. He combines with tenor/soprano sax man Steve O'Connell for some seriously bootin' section work.

The horns are fattened for this recording by the inclusion of Mark Diamond (alto) and Ralph White (trumpet, trombone). Ace keyboard man Don Hopkins is also on hand, and the incomparable Ron King adds superlative harmonica to three tracks, including chromatic harp on the jazzy 'Trouble Again'. The session was recorded and mixed by the magical Jeff Cripps. The Bellhops cover plenty of bases, including Nawlins R&B and mock-flamenco, but mostly they are about energetic, well-played, good-time blues and R&B. I can't think of anyone who does it better.
- Rhythms Magazine


No Reservations 2003
Room Service 1999
Dig Internet Radio plays Boogie in the Barnyard
All tracks are sampled on



The Bellhops far

The Bellhops are Australia's Premier Award Winning Rockin’ Blues, Jump'n'Jive and Swing exponents and the 2003 Australian Blues Awards (The Chain Awards) Band of Year. Their latest release No Reservations was voted 2003 Australian Blues Album of the Year while their debut release Room Service was 1999 Runner Up for Blues Album of Year. They are currently working on material for their new album.

The Bellhops lineup is big and brassy, featuring their very own Horn Mafia - the Brassholes. The Bellhops are also blessed with the virtuoso guitar skills of John Russell whose slide guitar and comping work is among the best in Australia. The talents of Vocalist Ian Dittman and Rhythm Section of Steve Lovarini and Mark Roulston add to the wealth of riches in this superb outfit. Add this to the substantial songwriting abilities of Dittman & Russell and you have a formidable combination of the 'must see' variety.

The main musical influences of The Bellhops are the Swing and Jive era of the late 40's, the Rock'n'Roll of the 50's, the Soul and R&B of the 60's and the Blues music legacy of so many great Artists. The Bellhops pay tribute to these influences in their recorded work and also in their live performances with material drawn from artists such as Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Check Out The Setlist.

The Bellhops can be found regularly playing around the Greater Sydney Region, Wollongong and the Illawarra Region, Newcastle and the Central Coast Lakes Region, Goulburn and the Southern Highlands Region. They have even been spotted as far south as Victoria, (especially those Ski Field gigs) and as far north as Byron Bay (especially those resort gigs), as far west as Wagga Wagga or Mudgee (especially those Winery gigs). Check out the Gig Guide, album reviews, player biographies and much more at The Bellhops website at .