Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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February 2014

The Blue Rhythm Boys

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Blue Rhythm Boys - At Last (wild records)
Blue Rhythm Boys – At Last (wild records)
Blue Rhythm Boys - At Last (Big Beat)
Blue Rhythm Boys – At Last (Big Beat)

The Blue Rhythm Boys – At Last

Big Beat CD WIK 105 {1992}
Wild Records {2010}
That’s The Stuff You Gotta Watch – I’ll Go Crazy – Person To Person – I’m Walkin’ – It Isn’t Right – Cajun Love Affair – Trace Of You – Crazy Mixed Up World – Ride ‘N’ Roll – Babe’s Comin’ Home – Mother Earth – I’ll Try – Hoochie Coochie Man – Come On Back – Wang Dang Doodle – Breathless – Blue Rhythm Boogie – Go Ahead On – Catfish

Wild records has the good idea to reissue this now hard to find jewel, first released in 1992 on Ace / Big Beat.

At Last“, seldom an album had a so perfectly suited title. This 19 songs album (15 on the 10” vinyl) fulfilled a wait of almost 10 years. Recorded live in one hectic 10 hour session it finally shows the Rhythms’ on a long distance and it was worth the wait.
The line-up has changed a bit since the EP. Ashley Kingman (Red Hot’n’Blue, Rockin’ Rocket 88 and now Big Sandy And His Fly Rite Boys) joined Ansell and Carlisle on second guitar while Matt Jackson (a gifted guitarist too) was on drums and Nick Gillroy on bass. They took advantage of this fuller line-up to delve into a more rhythm and blues/Chicago blues repertoire with songs by Willie Dixon, Fats Domino, Howlin Wolf, James Brown, Memphis Slim and Little Walter. They are often close to the originals (Hoochie Coochie Man, Wand Dang Doodle) while sometimes playing them in a rockin’ blues way (“The Stuff You Gotta Watch”). Conway Twitty’s I’ll Try is turned into a blues with pumping piano and soulful vocal from Ansell and a scorching guitar solo that make this song one of my favorite (if you’re interested). The frantic covers of Tommy Cassell’s Go Ahead On and Jerry Lee’s Breathless are here to remember us they started as a rockabilly band as do Ansell’s own “Come On Back” with another wild solo from Jim Carlisle (what a guitarist!). Another fave of mine is Cajun Love Affair with harp and some French lyrics to add the Louisiana flavor.If you like good rockin’ blues with a touch of rockabilly and soul here and there, put your hand on this one. All killer, no filler !

Available at Wild Records.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Blue Rhythm Boys - Northwood
Blue Rhythm Boys – Northwood

The Blue Rhythm Boys – Northwood ep

Northwood Records.-NWEP 101
Rollin & Tumblin/My Happiness/That don’t move me /Nobody but you

In the world, there are some enigmas which remain unexplained and others which find sometimes their resolution. But while waiting for this moment of “light”, the men think hard fantasise and seek placebos. For a long time the Elvis “My Happiness” version, the first recording of the future King for the Sun label remained a mystery, an “all the dreams” object for wild imagination of the whole wide world rockers. Was it possible to sense an already germinated hillbilly cat magic in this title? Even some suspicious people wondering whether this legendary Graal really existed until it was finally discovered and published for the first time ever.
But before this magic moment, a blue EP enabled us to have an idea of what this song was supposed to sound by a young Elvis. This mono recording Ep released back in the early eighties by the no longer alive british label Northwood had on his cover written in some large black capital letters framed by musical ranges what seems to be the name of the band : “The Blue Rhythm Boys”. But inside of that modest blue cover there was four tracks of pure rockabilly blues dynamite which included a presleyan “My Happiness” cover
Paul Ansell, the singer, for whom it was the first band, gives us an idea with his inhabited voice of what one dreamed being Elvis interpretation of that Betty Peterson and Borney Bergantine song. It was like holding in your hands the real one copy Sun single and being Indiana Jones listening to that relic of the past!!! It was for my part the first time that I heard a “so much fifties sounding” combo. The other tracks were “Rollin & Tumblin” (Muddy Waters), That don’t move me (Carl Perkins) and Nobody But You (Little Walter) and are real killers played by some of the finest british musicians of that era (Jim Carlisle – slide guitar, Allen Thow – bass and Jeff Tuck – drums). If you haven’t already lived that experiment and even if we all know today the Elvis “My Happiness” cover, it’s never too late to listen to what has become a rockabilly milestone for many rockers around the world.

David “Long Tall” Phisel

The Piccadilly Bullfrogs

in Albums/Contemporary artists/OPQ/Reviews
The Piccadilly Bullfrogs - Hoppers, Boppers & Rockers
The Piccadilly Bullfrogs – Hoppers, Boppers & Rockers

The Piccadilly Bullfrogs – Hoppers, Boppers, & Rockers

Rhythm Bomb CD RBR 5722 {2011}
Move Around – Cutthroat Joe – Boppin` The Blues – Banksy – Wildcat Tamer – No Time To Lose – Sunshine Hop – I Could Have Been Somebody – The Ace Boogie – Right String Baby – Don`t Hold Back – Ride Ride Ride

Who are the Piccabilly Bullfrogs? The name may not be familiar to you, but the musicians are: Peter Davenport, Danny Brittain and Tim Purkess, all of Stargazers fame. But most of all, the Piccadilly Bullfrogs are nothing less than one of the most exciting rockabilly combo to appear in years, yes sir! Two guitars, one double bass and tons of talent. Their debut album features 12 tracks, eight originals and four covers. It’s been entirely recorded in single takes with no overdub, in glorious mono on an old tape machine with a “ridiculously cheap and nasty microphone (…) and the end results are at the very lowest end of the lo-fi spectrum!“. So you’ve been warned, if you expect slick production that comes from a multi tracks studio and lots of overdubs this album is not for you. But if you dig music that breathes life, with raw edges that takes you back to the glorious days of Sun or Meteor, jump on this one. The instrumentation is almost entirely acoustic with just what I suppose to be a small amp for the electric guitar. While I listened to this little jewel I couldn’t help but think about Pat Cupp when he talked about his 50’s recordings: “That’s easy, you see back then, we were doing acoustic music. There were no mics on the drum, no amp for the bass, no loud PA system. The guitar amp was pushing 5 watts. The volume was kept low and we got a real acoustic sound with that thumping bass and rhythm guitar.” That’s exactly what the Piccadilly Bullfrogs are: pure and unadulterated rockabilly. The songs are varied and very well crafted too, from Cutthroat Joe (that sounds like Carl Perkins, Marty Robbins and the Three Penny Opera all rolled into one) to the skiffle tinged sound of Ride, Ride, Ride and lots of boppin’ in between, including a tribute to the famous Ace Café in the form of a boogie (The Ace Boogie). No need to say that with each of them having 30 years of experience the musicianship is top notch too. Davenport plays inventive solos one after another and delivers a fine instrumental too (Sunshine Hop), and Brittain and Purkess provide the beat. Forget the rest, take the best, the Piccadilly Bullfrogs are here.


The Piccadilly Bullfrogs - Rockabilly Gentlemen
The Piccadilly Bullfrogs – Rockabilly Gentlemen

The Piccadilly Bullfrogs – Rockabilly Gentlemen

On The Hill Records ‎– OTHRCD-18 [2014]
Get With It!- Baby Don’t Care About Me – Rock The Joint – Domino – Rockin’ Chair On The Moon – Summertime

This limited six-track ep was released to coincide with a Japanese tour the band did in 2014. There’s no big departure in term of sound from the band’s debut album: it’s the same mix of raw rockabilly mixed with skiffle and early Rock’n’roll (think Bill Haley’s Saddlemen).  It’s full of energy and very lively, two things that too often lack when you listen to modern bands. It contains two originals one by Tim Purkess the double bassist and a second one by Danny Britain. The four covers being two Haley’s classics (Rock The Joint and Rockin’ Chair to the Moon), Roy Orbison’s Domino and Gerschwin’s Summertime.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Haystack Hi-Tones (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
Haystack Hi-Tones - Rockin' Hall
Haystack Hi-Tones – Rockin’ Hall

The Haystack Hi-Tones – Rockin’ Hall

{2013}
Evil Train – Good & Lonesome – It’s Driving Me Crazy – One Sweet Letter From You – Rain Rain – Bo-Bo Ska Diddle Daddle – What A Lonesome Life It’s Been – The Joke’s On You – Leave My Baby Alone – Someday I Know He Will – I’m In A Whirl – Can I? – Hou Je Echt Nog Van Mij Rocking Billy – Rockin’ hall

When one thinks about the Netherland he often reduces this beautiful country to a serie of cliches like tulips, Amsterdam, canals, windmills and narrow boats which is partly true, but rock’n’roll fans are cleverer than that and know what the real treasure of this country is: hillbilly and rockabilly female singers. And they have good reasons to be proud with Miss Marie Ann (with or without the Ranch Girls), the Bugaloos, Lil Esther, Sue Moreno and… the Haystack Hi-Tones who return after an 11 year hiatus. It doesn’t mean they remained inactive, while Marjos kept on playing with the Hi Tones, Annita released two highly recommandable solo albums. But when you listen to this brand new album you can’t help but think that it would have been criminal not to reunite because oh boy, their voices blend so perfectly. This is top hillbilly harmonies with a hint of rockabilly played by a band that has nothing in mind but the pleasure to play. There’s a joie de vivre that sweats from every grooves (okay it’s a cd) of this album. Do you remember the old Esso ad that said “put a tiger in your tank”, with the Haystack Hi Tones you can put a smile (actually two) in you player. So, check the list: good singers, beautiful harmonies, great band, good choice of songs and icing on the cake superb package designed by Oh My Lucky Star. The only question is “What are you waiting for?”.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Doel Brothers

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews
The Doel Brothers - Oh Brother... It's The Doel Brothers
The Doel Brothers – Oh Brother… It’s The Doel Brothers

The Doel Brothers – Oh Brother… It’s The Doel Brothers

El Toro {2013}
Educated Mind – Goin’ Away – Kissin’ Bug Boogie – I’ll Do It Everytime – Sure You Won’t – I Need Your Lovin’ – Pick You Up – Whiskey Lovin’ Fool – Nothin’ ’bout Love – Tell Me You’re Mine – Rockin’ Shoes – Hey Baby

The Doel Brothers come from England and are David, Gordon and Tom Doel plus Gary Boller. They previously played with the Western Aces, the Radio Ramblers, the Westernaires so these four guys are not exactly newcommers but this is their first one under this name. And what a record! I hadn’t heard such a good hillbilly tinged platter since the heyday of the Dave and Deke Combo (or at least the Horton Brothers) and that was not a surprise to see that Dave “Pappy” Stuckey wrote the laudatory liner notes.
This record is simply amazing with superb originals (and I mean REAL originals, not old melodies quickly rearranged with new lyrics as it’s too often the case), beautiful harmonies reminiscent of the Farmer Boys or Rusty and Doug and top notch musicianship. There’s also a bit of Tennessee Two in Sure You Won’t (the influence of Cash can also be heard on Rockin’ Shoes) and Rockabilly too (I Need Your Lovin’). The whole set is completed by three excellent cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Johnny Horton and Tom James.
Cuzzins, believe me, I strongly advice you to get this record, this is hillbilly bop as it should be played.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Pat Capocci (reviews)

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Pat Capocci - Coming In Hot
Pat Capocci – Coming In Hot

Pat Capocci – Coming in hot / Burn it down Baby

Ruby Records RR 45 102 

Ruby Records did it again! After launching the label with none other than Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Boys they joined forces with Australia’s number one rocker, mister Pat Capocci and the result is another killer single.
Side A is a crazy rocker with wild drums, rockin’ piano and Pat’s guitar all over. Side two is bluesier, with a bit of Jimmy Reed’s Shame, Shame, Shame on the beat, and a perfect dirty guitar sound.


 

Pat Capocci - Delinquent Beat
Pat Capocci – Delinquent Beat

Pat Capocci – Delinquent Beat

Press-Tone Music PCD 17 {2009}
Leave The World Behind – All My Fault – Delinquent Beat – Barebones Barber Shop – Devil At My Door – Trapped In A Cage – Sally Ann – Dynamite – Devil Got My Baby – All Night Long – Capocci’s Crawl – Pinch Me Quick – Half-Way Dead – I Promised I’d Never Fall In Love Again

This is Pat Capocci’s second lp and third release if you count Preston Rockabilly vol. 2. And once again it’s been recorded by Graeme Thomas one of the most talented man when it comes to record roots music.
Capocci is backed by the finest musicians you can find on the Aussie’s scene, namely John Flynn and Cal Robinson on bass, Ezra Lee on piano, Ricky ‘the goet’ on drums and Danny Wegzryn on harmony vocals.
This album marks a slight departure in Pat’s sound and shows the young singer/guitarist focusing on his harder stuff. Thus one can hear on a majority of songs the influence of Dale Hawkins (and his two guitar players the great James Burton and Roy Buchanan) as well as Roy Hall. This is for the core of the lp, but one will also find a Texas blues shuffle (Sally Ann), a Bo Diddley Beat (Delinquent Beat) and a jazz ditty (Barebones Barber Shop). The latter made me think how good it would be to hear Pat and Ezra Lee doing an album worth of King Cole inspired material. All My Fault evokes the sound of Carl Mann. Talkin’ about Sun pianists, the listener will also hear in Lee’s piano shades of Charlie Rich too.
Capocci’s Crawl is a fine instrumental with a swamp mood while Clifton Chenier’s All Night Long(the sole cover of the album) is turned into a mean rocker.
Believe me when I say that “Delinquent Beat” is without a doubt one of the best rockin’ record released this past decade.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Pat Capocci - Steppin Out
Pat Capocci – Steppin Out

Pat Capocci – Steppin’ Out

Press-Tone Music PCD 11 {2008}
Dead End Track / The Pickle / Way Too Long / Gonna Have Me Some Fun / Shake Me Up / Mary Jane / Sick And Tired / Steppin’ Out / Hillbilly Girl / Give Me A Break / Blue Skies Turn Grey / Chasin’ My Tail / Free And Easy / News Travels Fast (And So Do You).

Pat Capocci is nothing else than one of the best thing to happen to modern rockabilly in years. “Modern” is probably not the right word to describe the sound of this rockin’ cat. He often sounds as if he came straight from the fifties. And this guy has the whole package that would make more than one envious: he has the look, the songs (he penned all songs but two on this album), the sound, the voice and he’s more than able when it comes to deliver a hot (or a smooth) guitar solo.
On Steppin’ Out, his debut album, he shows the wide range of his style and skills. Needless to say that Rockabilly stands in good position with songs like Dead End Track, Steppin’ Out or the excellent Blues Skies Turn Grey that reminds me a bit of Al Ferrier (yes, he is THAT good). There’s also a couple of wild rockers like Free and Easy, Give Me A Break (with a Grady Martin-esque baritone guitar) or the frantic Mary Jane.
Pat is also more than able to deliver some hot blues songs, like the Pickle, an instrumental with piano in the style of Johnny Guitar Watson, and Shake Me Up.
Gonna Have Some Fun leans more on the jazz side, but is equally successful.
At this point, I can believe what you’re thinking: It would be too good to be true if this young cat could also play country music. You bet he can! And with style! Just listen to the hillbilly bop of Hillbilly Girl and Chasin’ My Tail (both featuring Rick Dempster of the Dance Hall Racketeers on steel guitar) the latter having a touch of Buddy Holly’s Gotta Get You Near Me Blues. News Travels Fast (And So Do You), an excellent country shuffle that seems to come straight from the 60’s, rounds up the set with class.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Preston Rockabilly - Vol. 2 - Out Of The Valley
Preston Rockabilly – Vol. 2 – Out Of The Valley

Preston Rockabilly Vol. 2 – Out Of The Valley
Press-Tone Music PCD 13
Pat Capocci, Ezra Lee and Danny Wegrzyn (Danny & the Cosmic Tremors) are three Australian cats who play in each other bands. For this album they went to Graeme Thomas’ Preston studio with Cal Robinson on bass, Paul Hainey on drums and Dave Cantrell (the Wildcats, Toni & the Tomcats) on steel.
Pat Capocci performs six songs, all self penned. Full Grown Woman is one of his wildest track, almost garage, Second Best is a traditionnal rockabilly, Burnin’ the Candle is a solid rocker. He also performs a country shuffle (Try To Forget Me), a Jerry Lee type of number (Til I Get to You) and a superb instrumental (After Hours) that has shades of T-Bone Walker and Johnny Guitar Watson.
Danny & the Cosmic Tremors perform five songs (four origiuals and one cover) including two classic rockabillies (my Baby Wants to Rock’n’Roll, So Long). Much wilder is the cover of Bill Johnson’s You Better Dig It. Little Darling, as its title indicates, is a smooth ballad and Feel Allright With You is a hot bopper that reminds me the style of Rip Carson.
Last but not least, Ezra Lee, the piano pumpin’ man, is present here with two rockers (Abby Jane and Goodbye Astrid Goodbye), a strong Rockabilly number (Werris creek Devil). I’m Gonna Kill Your Daddy sees Capocci playing a mean slide guitar that evokes Elmore James and Coalfire Man is more in the style of memphis Slim.
Without a doubt this trio counts among today’s hottest rockabilly/rock’n’roll acts

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Bellfuries (the)

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
The Bellfuries - Just Plain Lonesome
The Bellfuries – Just Plain Lonesome

The Bellfuries – Just Plain Lonesome

Moe & Sal Records – MS002 {2011}
Sad and Lonely ~ Wasted On Him ~ Teenage Boogie ~ Take It To The Chapel ~ Just Plain Lonesome ~ Gonna Make It Alone ~ Your Love (All That I’m Missin’) ~ I Don’t Wanna Wake Up Tomorrow ~ Up To Your Old Tricks Again ~ Hey Mr Locomotive ~ You Must Be A Loser ~ Stealing Kisses ~ Love Found Me ~ Baltimore ~ Take It To The Chapel ~ Letter To My Maybe Baby ~ Wasted On Him ~ Mr Moonlight ~ Ain’t A Bump In The Road ~ Death Of An Idol ~ This Love Ain’t So Bad ~ The Only Ghost There Is Me.

Since its first release in 2001 (ten years ago, how time flies!), Just Plain Lonesome has achieved a deserved cult status. In case you don’t know the Bellfuries (it’s a possibility but it’s hard to believe), they were on this platter Joey Simeone on guitar and vocals, Josh Williams on double bass and Bobby Horton on guitar and steel, without forgetting the unofficial fourth member: Billy Horton’s perfect production.
Their music is a highly melodic brand of hillbilly bop, as if Gene O’Quinn had collaborated with Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Hank Williams and Morrissey. This long awaited reissue contains the original album plus nine bonus tracks (alternate takes, demos, live recordings). It comes in a superb gatefold digipack and contains the lyrics (a good thing when you know that Joey Simeone is one of today’s best lyricists) and song by song comments about the bonus tracks written by Simeone.
I guess that “must have” and “classic” are the appropriate words to describe this release.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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