The Cheats - Rock N Roll Love Letter [7-inch single] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Cheats

Rock N Roll Love Letter [7-inch single] (2021)

Screaming Crow Records

If you’ve taken 40 or more trips around the sun, you probably fondly remember vinyl jukeboxes. There was something magical about choosing one of the top 40 singles (or B-sides), then watching the machine put it on the spindle and play it. For the Action Rock Jukebox Series, Pittsburgh’s Screaming Crow Records are doing their best to tap into some of that nostalgia.

The A-side of each of the seven inch, 45 RPM records is a cover of a hit from the jukebox era, with an original on the B-side. Each will also include a custom 45 adapter, and the little title card that went in the jukebox that listed the A-side/the artist/the B-side. First in the series are local punk and roll favorites The Cheats with “Rock N Roll Love Letter”/”Cussin, Crying N Carrying On”. While The Cheats might have been expected to pick a hard rocking sunset strip era song, they went a different direction. Instead, they reached all the way back to 1975 for “Rock N Roll Love Letter”. It was originally recorded by lightweight Scottish pop rockers the Bay City Rollers. The Cheats’ version is fairly true to the catchy original, though it does add some hard rock punch.

“Cussin, Crying N Carrying On” is also the name of The Cheats’ excellent 2020 LP. Whether it was written later, or just didn’t make the initial cut, it wasn’t on that record. It’s a great song and is likely to become a fan favorite. It’s more typical of the band’s sound, and its aggression is a nice counterpoint to the A-side’s poppiness. If this is any indication, the Action Rock Jukebox Series is going to be a fun one to collect. Other editions include an interesting international roster of bands covering songs by Golden Earring (“Radar Love”), KISS (Rock N Roll All Nite”) and J. Geils Band (“Centerfold”).