Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

Monthly archive

March 2014

Get Smart

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
Get Smart - s/t
Get Smart – s/t

Get Smart – S/T

Nervous NERD0027
Ain’t no use – Baby, won’t you come out tonight – Early times – Ape man – My babe – Frankie and Johnny – You’re my baby – Heavens above – Sixteen tons – Lines of love – I Can’t Wait – Game Called Love

Get Smart released their debut album in 1988. Before that they had songs on Stompin’ At The Klub Foot Vol.5 and Zorch Factor vol. 1, 2 and 3. They were Roy Phillips on vocals, Rich Caso (Caravans) on guitar, Jimmy Fahy (Flip Out, early Krewmen with Carl Leyland) on drums and Johnny Bowler who later joined the Guana Batz on bass.
Their style was a mix of neo-rockabilly and blues with a touch of jazz (some even referred to their music as Jazzabilly which is a good description). It’s a very cool sounding album with good original songs but one can regret the lack of production. If it works fine on the more neo stuff like I Can’t Wait which is as good as anything released by Restless or the Nitros, it’s a bit thin on the more traditionnal stuff. With a warmer sound those songs could have been as good as, say, the early Northwood releases..

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ernest Tubb – Thirty Days (Gonna Shake this Shack Tonight)

in Reissues/Reviews
Ernest Tubb - Thirty Days
Ernest Tubb – Thirty Days

Bear Family BCD 16866
Thirty Days / I’m A Long Gone Daddy / Mean Mama Blues / Jimmie Rodgers’ Last Blue Yodel / Walking The Floor Over You / I Ain’t Goin’ Honky Tonkin’ Anymore / Filipino Baby / So Round So Firm So Fully Packed / My Tennessee Baby / You Nearly Lose Your Mind / Tomorrow Never Comes / Tennessee Border #2 / Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin / So Doggone Lonesome / Let’s Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello / Don’t Forbid Me / Don’t Brush Them On Me / The Same Thing As Me / Counterfeit Kisses / Two Glasses Joe / Kansas City Blues / Have You Seen My Boogie Woogie Baby / This Troubled Mind O’Mine / My Hillbilly Baby / I’ll Get Along Somehow / Do It Now / Mister Blues / White Silver Sands / Crazy Arms / Tennessee Saturday Night.

Bear Family has released numerous boxed sets covering the whole career of the Texas Troubadour and I dream about them at least once a month but it may be a bit too much or too pricey (or both) for the casual listener. Fortunately, they have launched the “Gonna Shake This Shack” serie which is more affordable. This release gives a good overview on Tubb’s recording from the early 40’s to the early 60’s and focuses on his uptempo sides.
The selection is very well done and you won’t find any filler here. This album includes some Jimmie Rodgers (his first idol) inspired songs (Mean Mama Blues), his early hits (Walking the Floor Over You; You Nearly Loose Your Mind), honky tonk classics and succesfull attempst at mixing rock’n’roll to his own style (Chuck Berry’s Thirty Days). Listening to this side you realize the major role of Tubb in setting the standard for post-war country, instrumentation (electric guitar, steel guitar, fiddle, bass, rhythm guitar) that’ll pave the way to Hank Williams to name the most famous.
Needless to say that as usual with the German label it comes with a superbly designed and fully illustrated 32 page booklet that tells you all the details you want to know (and even more). A nice addition to your collection.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Scannerz (the)

in Profiles
The Scannerz
The Scannerz

The Scannerz

Germany – Neo-rockabilly/psychobilly

The Scannerz started in late 1985/ early 1986. Sebastian Glenz aka Semmel (guitar) met Uwe Klein through his older brother. Uwe had started to play doublebass and was looking for a guitar player to form a neo-rockabilly / psychobilly band. They were very young (Glenz was 16!) and that was the first band for both of them. Klein and Glenz were soon joined by Murphy (singer/second guitar) and Pennmütz on drums (both from Bonn). Semmel quotes Restless, The Sharks as well as Gene Vincent and Johnny Burnette as influences while the others were more into the 80’s Psycho scene and a bit of Punk too.
Murphy stayed with the band for less than a year then left leading Semmel to take over the vocals duties and the band carried on as a trio. Then Pennmütz left and Gonzo took the drums. Finally Klaudia Menzel joined the band sharing the vocals with Semmel.
They eventually got a contract with the newly created Maybe Crazy records (later home of Mad Sin, Scallywags) but Gonzo left before the recording because he had to go to the army.The Lp was recorded with Johannes Bokskopf who Semmel knew from another musical project.The album is quite good and has aged rather well. It features 10 originals and one cover. It’s solid neo-rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly featuring an excellent lead guitar and a powerful slap bass with a sound very close to Restless (Vanish Without A trace/Girl Invisible era). The songs are well done, with a will to make melodic and original tunes. Klaudia’s voice is a real plus. She sings b-vox on a couple of tracks and lead on two, including the cover of The Ricochets’ Night Ship and the ska/new wave/psychobilly Change Myself. Sadly this is the sole release of the band (with the exception of one demo).

The band kept on with another drummer (Johannes Bokskopf wasn’t able to join the band full time, which maybe explains why you can’t see the face of the drummer on the cover of the album) called Gammel but the musical direction changed and Semmel left the band. The Scannerz continued a bit with a new guitar player (Michael) and Gonzo back on drums, playing more in a 60’s beat style but it didn’t last and by the end of the decade the band was no longer in activity.

Since then Sebastian has played with the Hot-Riffs, The Paralysers and today his “Mark Harman meets Cliff Gallup” guitar style can be heard in The Tin Cans.


1987 -S/T – Maybe Crazy LP 001 (black vinyl and 433 copies in clear vinyl)
Later reissued on cd in 2003 by Crazy Love Records – CLCD 64200

A big “Thank You!” to Semmel for the infos.

The Scannerz

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S
the Scannerz - s/t
the Scannerz – s/t

The Scannerz – s/t

Maybe Crazy / Crazy Love Records CLCD64200
I’m A Victim Of Your Love – Tell Me – Night Ship – He’s A Murderer – Crime – Fun On The Fretz – Stupid Informations – Want A New Life – Station Girl – You’ve Left Me – Change Myself
The Scannerz were a German quartet. They only had one release in 1987 on Maybe Crazy records. They played neo-rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly featuring an excellent lead guitar and a powerful slap bass with a sound very close to Restless (Vanish Without A trace/Girl Invisible era) though their singer is clearly not Mark Harman. The songs are well done, with a will to make melodic and original tunes but the real plus of the band comes from Klaudia. She sings b-vox on a couple of tracks and lead on two, including a superb cover of The Ricochets’ Night Ship and the ska/new wave/psychobilly Change Myself. If you dig 80’s neo-rockabilly/psychobilly this one is for you.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jinx Jones

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews
Jinx Jones - Rumble & Twang
Jinx Jones – Rumble & Twang

Jinx Jones – Rumble & Twang

Flat Getting’ It – Either Way I Lose – I’m Coming Home – Swedish Pastry – Border of Right and Wrong – The Messiah Will Come Again – Baja – Mr Right Now – Double Talk Baby – Street Shark – Penetration – Flat Getting’ It 2 – Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
It looks like I’m the last one here to discover Jinx Jones talent, and I still wonder why I haven’t noticed him earlier. This guy oozes talent and musical intelligence from every inch of his skin and has the honest and versatile approach I like so much. This album features a couple of solid instrumentals. The opening number is a strong slice of neo-rockabilly (the kind of thing Brian Setzer could have written in his better days). A steel guitar guests on Barney Kessel’s jazz standard “Swedish Pastry” which gives a Speedy West and Jimmie Bryant flavour. He also covers The Messiah Is Gone from Roy Buchanan’s first album, an artist he backed in the 80’s describing the experience as “the most eye-opening and life changing”. In fact Jones explores the whole spectrum of American music with two surf instrumental (Baja and Penetration) with tons of reverb and makes incursions into Jump and Jive territories with sax (Street Shark”), country boogie (Flat Gettin’ It Part 2) with brilliant acoustic guitar work and as a bonus Jones has included a bossa nova coming from the catalog of Perez Prado.
If his main thing is the guitar, he certainly doesn’t have to be ashamed by his vocal tunes. These are powerful rockabillies like “Either Way I Loose” a Mystery Train type of song with drums shuffle. He also delivers a muscled version of Johnny Horton’s I’m Coming Home with piano.
If you like versatility, rockin’ guitar (under all its forms) or just good music grab a copy of this one.


Jinx Jones - Live Twang In Finland
Jinx Jones – Live Twang In Finland

Jinx Jones – Live Twang In Finland

Home Braend
Double Talk Baby – You Can’t Kill Me Cause I’m Already Dead – Honey Hush – Penetration – Mr Right Now – I Need A Good Girl Bad – Tear It Up – Honky Tonk Playgirl – Jack The Ripper – Either Way I Lose – Rock Billy Boogie – The Messiah Will Come Again
As its title indicates, this album has been recorded live in Finland with Los Fabulitos (Henry Valanne on drums and Ari Sjoblom on bass) and is released on a Finish label too. It’s a good mix between instrumentals and songs, straight rockabilly, more neo stuff, surf and blues. Jones wrote or co-wrote four tunes completed by good covers (with no less than three from the Johnny Burnette catalog). Though being a honest singer, as prove his wild rendition of Honey Hush or Mr Right Now, Jones’ real talent lays in his guitar (and most of all in his hands).From the surf classic “Penetration” to Link Wray’s “Jack The Ripper” and Jones’ tour de force on “The Messiah Will Come Again” (Roy Buchanan), it’s a cascade of notes and sounds. The rhythm section makes a solid anchor for his somewhat exhuberant style but Jones lets them room to express themselves and you’ll find a couple of slap bass and drums solos. The whole thing is very energetic and makes you feel they’ve all been recorded during an encore, if you see what I mean.

Jinx Jones - Rip and Run
Jinx Jones – Rip and Run

Jinx Jones – Rip & Run

Home Braend [2010]
On Parole And Out Of Control – Never Live It Down – Doghouse – How High The Moon – Time To Have A Good Time 1 – Rip and Run – Hot Rod Heartbreaker – No Beer In Heaven – Vibro Exotica – Redneck Barbie – What Makes You Think I’m Lonesome – Prairie Dig Daddy – Time To Have A Good Time 2 – Roma’s Song.

“Rip And Run” is the latest (and best) album from California’s guitar ace Jinx Jones recorded with Joe Kyle on bass, Jimmy Sage (Lee Rocker band) on drums, Caroline Dahl on piano and David Phillips on steel. It’s a solid offering mixing different style of rocking music with elements of blues and country (isn’t the definition of Rock’n’roll?). It’s led from start to finish by Jones’guitar and his 30 fingers (that’s the only way I can explain his dexterity). He mostly plays on Telecaster and Grestch, and maybe a Jazzmaster which is a proof of good taste. It kicks off with “On Parole And Out Of Control” that has a strong Reverend Horton Heat feel in it (think “Big Red Rocket Of Love“). It’s also a great showcase of Jones guitar play. The swingin’ “Never Live It Down” slows down the pace, I just regret that the piano doesn’t take a chorus on this one. “Doghouse” is a fine cowboy ballad with a solid Bakersfield styled guitar solo. If you still doubt of Jones’ virtuosity, “How High The Moon” is here to reminds you that this guy plays in the same league than Brian Setzer or Danny Gatton. “Time To Have A Good Time” is a fine neo-rockabilly tune separated in two parts (roughly one for the lyrics and the other one for the solos, like Creedence’s Suzy-Q), it also could have been the title of the album. It’s instrumental time again with “Rip & Run” that sounds like a cross between Ennio Morricone and the Ventures. “Hot Rod Heartbreaker” is a solid rocker with a Chuck Berry flair. Back to country music with “No Beer In Heaven” (what a title!) a sped up hillbilly number. Starting like Sleepwalk, “Vibro Exotica” is an instrumental that slips toward blues in the middle. The mistake would be to reduce Jinx Jones to a guitar player. He is quite a good singer and he can write pretty good songs too (he wrote all the numbers of this album but two) with witty lyrics like “Redneck Barbie” an excellent modern rockabilly. I really enjoyed the Honky Tonk sound of “What Makes You Think I’m So Lonesome“. The steel and the guitar duet on “Prairie Dog Daddy“, a jumpin’ instrumental, halfway between Little Charlie Baty and Leon Rhodes and Buddy Emmons. “Roma’s song” closes the album with another slice of solid guitar that shows the influence of Roy Buchanan.
If you’re a guitar geek, a fan of the Reverend Horton Heat, Brian Setzer and Danny Gatton, or if you simply like good music (with plenty of guitar), do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this one.
Available here.

Jinx Jones - Twang Tastic!
Jinx Jones – Twang Tastic!

Jinx Jones – Twang-Tastic!

Vibro Sound Records [2015]

A new album by Jinx Jones is always the guarantee of solid musicianship – not only because he’s a guitar ace, I guess we all agree with that, but the musicians that play with him are also top notch – very good songwriting and a wide array of styles. Twang-Tastic! makes no exception to the rule.
Metalflake Sky opens the set. This powerful instrumental mixes shredding with surf guitar for great effect. What I like with Jones is the fact that his instros are always well constructed, with a progression and a structure, and are not just a bunch of riffs tied together to show his skills.
Nothing Left to Burn is modern rockabilly at its best, with doo-wop backing vocals and saxes.
Ruin My Bad Reputation is one of the top tracks of the album. I easily imagine Jim Heath (the Reverend Horton Heat) thinking “Why didn’t I write it?“. Powerful, melodic, and perfectly sung. If on the previous albums Jones sounded more like a guitar player who sings, he shows equal skills now. Play loud!
Wham-Bam Boogie is not the most original track of the album but it delivers a solid jump blues with a swingin’ beat which is always nice.
Benny Goodman’s Flying Home is the first of the two covers of Twang-Tastic! and another tour de force for the man who mixes rockabilly guitar with be-bop. Hey Mr Setzer how about a duet with that guy?
If Midnight Train reminds of Johnny Burnette this is not because it’s a cover of the song of the same name  but this fast neo-rockabilly has the same power as Honey Hush or Train kept-A-Rollin.
It’s country and western time (with a bit of swing) with Better Off Gone that features two solid steel guitar solos played by David Phillips.
The spirit of Eddie Cochran floats over Beat Crazy Baby a simple but effective Rock’n’roll.
If the producers of James Bond were smart, they’d ask Jinx Jones to write the title theme for their next movie. Love Don’t Live Here No More has that exact 60’s feel with a touch of blues in the solo.
Jinx Guitar Boogie is another instrumental. Imagine Carl Perkins in the early 60’s to give you an idea of the sound (what’s more he quotes Carl Perkins’ Say When for my great pleasure).
Both High and Dry and Too Many Chicks are hot rockabilly and the set ends with the cover of the Theme from Thunderball.
Highly recommended.

Jinx jones
Jinx Jones

Red and the Pepperpot Boys

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews
Red & the pepperpot Boys
Red & the pepperpot Boys

Red and the Pepperpot Boys 

Rock-A-Bye Honey [1998]
Tomahawk Records- CD011743
Rock-A-Bye Honey – Cabin In The Hills – Crazy Little Mama – Just Tell Me Lies – The Color Of Her Eyes – Heart Like A Wheel – Go! Go! Go! – Used ToBe – Walk A Mile – Please Don’t Break My Heart – High Time – Drink! Drink! Drink! – Pin-Up Peggy – Midnight Cruise

If you dig the kind of bands one can find on Vinylux (Flea Bops, Go Cat Go, Boom Boom Cats), don’t look no further, this record is for you. In fact Red and the Pepperpot Boys can be seen as an early incarnation of the Flea Bops as they share the same singer (Ronnie Joyner) and lead guitarist (Preston LeBeau). And to pursue the Vinylux connection the drums (a light brushed snare) are played by Bill Hull, guitar player of Go Cat Go. Chris Bosch completes the line-up on string bass. If you’re not too thrilled by wild and desperate rockabilly and prefer it more like Sam Phillips defined it at Sun, “Rock-A-Bye Honey” is made for you. The sound is mostly acoustic with just a slight electrification on the lead guitar just like they did it in the fifties. It’s a safe bet to say that if you like early Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Carl Perkins and of course Elvis’ Sun sides you’ll love this platter. Ronnie Joyner is a superb songwriter (13 of the 14 songs are originals) who can craft little classics, and icing on the cake he has the perfect voice to sing them. Issued in 1998, this album really needs to be rediscovered.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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