Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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September 2014

Bird Doggin Daddies

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

birddoggindaddiesBird Doggin Daddies – We Got the Bug!

Rhythm Bomb RBR5747 [2013]
We’re Gonna Rock It – Better Be Gone – Crazy Crazy Lovin’ – Headin’ South – Do The Bop Bop Bop – Let’s Go Crazy – Crossbone Jim Mystery Lane – Bird Dog – I Ruined My Suit – Daddy-O Rock – Lonely Blue Boy – Morse Code – Let’s Go For A Ride – I Got The Bug – Too Much Lovin’ Going On – Lil’ Pretty Miss – Sugar Coated Love – I Ruined My Suit

Are you in need for some Rockabilly? I mean REAL Rockabilly, the one that grabs you, moves you and sends shivers down your spine, the one that was played back in the fifties. Don’t look any further the second album of the Bird Doggin Daddies is EXACTLY what you’re looking for.
I strongly suspect this quartet to have invented in their basement a time machine they used to go back in the fifties to record their album in the studio that gave birth to this great music. The other solution is that they carefully listened to all the pioneers… hum that’s an eventuality. Whatever the solution the Bird Doggin Daddies used the result is a perfect Rockabilly album. The sound and the production are top notch and so is the musicianship. Take the rhythm section: how many Rockabilly records are wasted by interfering drums (too loud, too present…) Here, the balance between the snare, the bass and the slap is flawless. Once you achieved that the rest is easy, you just have to add a powerful voice and a skilful guitarist, et voila, that’s it.
The covers they play come from Don Woody, Luke McDaniel, Johnny Carrol, Conway Twitty, Derrell Felts and are excellent, both respectful and personnal. But what really stands out are their originals. In fact, they could easily be mistaken with covers.
They got the bug but it’s just a question of time for you to get it too.

Now guys, about this time machine, could we find an arrangement? I’d really like to see Buddy Holly on stage….

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

V/A – Welcome to the Club!– Early Female Rockabilly

in Albums/Reissues/Reviews

femalerockabilly El Toro Records
Anita Carter – He’s a Real Gone Guy / Bunny Paul – Sweet Talk / Charline Arthur – Hello Baby / Barbara Pitman – Sentimental Fool / Jan Smith – It’d Surprise You / Patsy Cline – Stop, Lookin & Listen / Janis Martin – Let’s Elope Baby / Dottie Jones – Honey, Honey, Honey / Wanda Jackson – Baby Loves Him / The Collin Kids – I’m in Your Teens / The Davis Sisters – Everlovin’ / Rose Maddox – Wild Wild Young Men / Sparkle Moore – Skull & Crossbones / Brenda Lee – Bigelow 6200 / Mimi Roman – Little Lovin’ / Janis Martin – Drugstore Rock’n’Roll / Wanda Jackson – Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad / Patsy Ruth Elshire – Watch Dog / Jean Chapel – I Won’t Be Rockin’ Tonight / Charline Arthur – Welcome to The Club / Bolean Barry – Long Sideburns / Nettles Sisters – Real Gone Jive / Ladell Sisters – Rockin’ Robert / Barbara Pittman – I Need A Man / Bunny Paul – History / Sparkle Moore – Rock-A-Bop / Rose Maddox – Hey Little Dreamboat / Betty Bryant – I’ll Take Back That / Alvadean Coker – We’re Gonna Bop / Betty Barnes – What Would You Do? / Connie & The Cytations – Boogie Rock / Patsy Ruth Elshire – Sugar Lump / The Collins Kids – Move a Little Closer.
Girls can rock too ! This is what, with no less than 33 songs, this nicely made compilation proves. Hardcore collectors will know most of the titles here, but this is a good start for anyone who’s interested in early female rockabilly singers.
Anita Carter opens this selection with a country/rockabilly version of Nellie Lutcher’s “He’s A Real Gone Guy”. A good version with a short but good steel guitar solo but a little bit wasted by the female background chorus. Born in 1924, Bunny Paul had already a solid experience when she cut her self penned “Sweet Talk” (with a similar intro as Elvis’ “My Baby Left Me”) and “History” for Point Records. Charline Arthur is almost a legend for her renegade attitude on and off stage which compromised her career a bit. Her recordings are like her. Included here are “Hello Baby” and the song that gives this compilation its name “Welcome To The Club” also recorded by Jean Chapel present here with “I Wont Be Rockin’ Tonight” written by the same winning team who gave the world “Heartbreak Hotel”. While Barbara Pittman’s Sentimental Fool is a good rocker (with sax and piano) who could believe she was only 13 when she recorded “I Need A Man” as good as anything Wanda Jackson released. Talking about Wanda, she’s well represented here with two songs, her own “Baby Loves Him” and “Hot Dog That Made Him Mad” (good choice from El Toro to choose different songs than the usual “Funnel Of Love” or “Fujiyama Mama”). This songs confirm (if needed) her status as the one and only Queen of Rockabilly. If Wanda is the Queen, Sparkle Moore, though she had recorded just a handful of singles, could possibly be the princess. “Skull & Crossbones” and “Rock-A-Bop” both from her pen are faultless. The other name that comes to mind when you think about female rockabilly is of course the late Janis Martin. “Let’s Elope Baby” and “Drugstore Rock’n’Roll” (a self penned tune), both from her first session for RCA, are the songs present here. Coined as “the female Elvis”, Janis proved she was much more than a pale imitation and truly had a style of her own. For this session she benefited of the best talents of the Nashville studios including Bob Moore, Chet Atkins and Grady Martin. He also lends his guitar on Mimi Roman’s “Little Lovin’” and Brenda Lee’s “Bigelow 6200”, giving to both of this songs a strong Johnny Burnette flavour. Like Brenda Lee, The Collins Kids were teenagers when they recorded their best tunes. If for some artists 2 songs are far enough I warmly encourage you to buy anything you can from this two wild kids. High pitch harmonies, Lorie’s beautiful voice and Larry’s sizzling guitar, they are absolutely brilliant ! Talking about family bands and harmonies, the “sisters” bands (even if contrary to The Collins Kid they weren’t real sisters for some of them) like the Nettles and the Davis bring a strong rural flavour to their rockabilly with their hillbilly harmonies. The Ladell Sisters are different and more urban.
Jan Smith sings “It’d Surprise You” and yes I’ve been surprised as I first though this voice belonged to a man. This apart, that’s a great rockabilly with a good dash of blues in it. During its short spell of success Rockabilly seduced some country singers who cut some songs in that style like Patsy Cline and Rose Maddox even if in her case the result is more “hillbilly boogie” than strictly rockabilly. Patsy Elshire is for me one of the best vocalists on this selection. Her two songs, recorded for Capitol, Watch Dog and Sugar Lump are very good. The later features an amazing steel guitar solo which could possibly be played by Speedy West but I don’t have more infos. Far from Elshire’s relatively polished sound, Dottie Jones and Betty Barnes give us two fine pieces of raw Texas rockabilly.
As I said, “Welcome To The Club” is an excellent compilation that reunites the essential female rockabilly singers and their best cuts. So make yourself a favour and spend 80 minutes with those lovely ladies.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Rock’A’Dees – Stomp

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews


Self released
Rock ‘a’ Dee’s Stomp – Baby Blue Eyes – Something Else – Frames – Black Cat Woman – Flying Saucer Rock And Roll – Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – High Heel Creepers – I’m On Fire  – I Don’t Like You No More – Train Kept A Rolling – Memphis Town  – Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – Your True Love – Won’t Take Me Alive – C’mon Everybody  – Gonna See My Baby Tonight – Memphis Tennessee  – Please Don’t Touch  – Luck Of The Devil  – Real Wild Child

The rock-A-Dees are a neo-rockabilly trio from Melbourne, Australia. On can hear in their brand of high-octane Rockabilly the influences of the old masters like Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and most ofall the Stray Cats.
“Stomp” contains 21 tracks (good value for money!) with roughly 2/3 covers and 1/3 originals. If the covers are mostly well known classics, some borrowing the arrangement the Stray Cats made of those songs (C’mon Everybody), they are well played and enjoyable. Their own songs are more interesting. Rock’a’Dee’s Stomp has some elements of Gene Vincent’s Dance to the Bop in it mixed with Cochran’s 20 Flight Rock and must be a hit when played on stage. Black Cat Woman reminds of Stray Cat Strut (or is it Blank Generation?). High Heel Creepers is excellent with a s superb intro and a solo in the style of Cliff Gallup. Memphis Town is a tribute to Sun records, Won’t Take Me Alive is a Psychobilly track that could easily be on a Quakes album and Luck of the Devil is more on the Hillbilly side.

More infos at

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Cow Cow Boogie – Somewhere Down The Line

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews

cowcowboogieRhythm Bomb
Somewhere Down The Line – Home Cookin’ – Cash On The Barrelhead – Track 49 – Steam Heat – Rain – Sleep With One Eye Open – Ain’t No Friend Of Mine – Love To Live – Heart Stays Broken – Wild – She’ll Be Gone – Caravan

The world needs more band like Cow Cow Boogie. Why? Because they are cool, but even more important they don’t seem to care about boundaries . Led by the powerful voice of Deborah their lead singer, the band blends together elements of different styles and make them work to create their own distinctive sound by merging a blues harp, a rockabilly guitar, a western swing steel and a predominant slap bass. Their drummer adds his own touch by playing shuffles with brushes, drum rolls ala Fever or banging his tom toms like a wild papoose.
In the end, the songs range from blues with a hillbilly beat to rockabilly with a blues feel and all the combination allowed by this line-up with a touch of jazz and some 60’s girl groups  feel thrown in for good measure.
Definitely cool!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Swinging Hayriders – the Walls Keep Talkin’

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

swinginghayridersVintjarn records – VIN027 – 2014
Heart Attacks / Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand / You Better Wake Up Babe! / Great Big Needle / Skylark / (Don’t Roll Those) Bloodshot Eyes / Fan It / Cowboy Stomp / Cow Cow Boogie / Bring It On Down To My House Honey / Welcome Mat / Blue Skies / Sick, Sober And Sorry / I’ve Taken All I’m Gonna Take From You / The Walls Keep Talkin’

The Swinging Hayriders are a six-piece band from Sweden. The line up consists of Maria Stille on vocals, Peter Anderson on steel, Mats Bengtsson on piano and accordion, Johan Ek on guitar, Ulrik Jannson on double bass and Patrick Malmros on drums.
As Dave “Pappy” Stuckey puts it in his laudatory liner notes, Maria’s voice brings to mind other belles of the West like Carolina Cotton or laura Lee McBride. The bad is equally good providing solid and inventive musicianship with tight arrangements with twin guitars (Anderson shows he assimilated the styles of the great masters of the instruments, old or new like Jeremy Wakefield) and, last but not least, swing (don’t laugh, too many so called western swing band are just rockabilly band with steel and fiddle). Recorded by the magic fingers and ears of Axel Praefcke and Ike Stoye at Lightning Recorders in Berlin, the sound is top notch.
If, old grumpy that I am, would really try to find a flaw to this album, it would be the lack of original material. Their set consists of well-know classic from Hank Penny, Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, the Light Crust Doughboys as well as a couple of jazz standarts thrown in like in the good old days (Blue Sky, Skylark). But it remains a minor flaw compared to the excitment this record gives.
Last thing: it comes in a superb digipack designed by Chris Wilkinson of the Zazou Cowboys.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nikki Hill – Here’s Nikki Hill

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews

heresnikkihillDeep Fryed Records – 2013
Ask Yourself  – Her Destination  – I’ve Got A  – Right On The Brink  – Gotta Find My Baby  – I Know  – Don’t Cry Anymore  – Strapped To The Beat  – Who Were You Thinking Of  – Hymn For Hard Luck

When you listen to Nikki Hill’s debut album, there are a whole lot of references that literally jump to your face and ears. The names of Ike & Tina  Turner, Barbara Lynn, Dinah Washington, Barbara George, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins come to mind. But Nikki Hill (I mean the band Nikki Hill) is more than the sum of their influences. In fact one can describe them with just one little single word. A word too often used to describe any kind of musician with a guitar that it had almost lost its meaning. This word is Rock’n’roll. Nikki Hill is one hell of a rock’n’roll singer and like Little Richard one of her most obvious influence (as proved by the cover and the title) she takes no prisoners. When she rocks, she’s like a storm and when she croons she puts all her soul and aims straight at your heart.
Matt Hill, Nikki’s husband plays sharp guitar breaks that come like a second voice but also deliver a solid groove helped by Ed Strohsahl on bass and John Meyer on drums.
Pure dynamite for your ears.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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