Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

Monthly archive

December 2014

Jess and Jill and the Sinners

in Profiles

Jess and Jill and the Sinners formed around 1993 after the Bugaloos went their separate ways. The first line-up was Esther van der Meer (aka Lil’ Esther) and Marja both from the Bugaloos on vocals with Jan van Leewen (ex Chessnuts) on drums,  Peter Crowfield on double bass and Tjarko Jeen on guitar, both from the Tinstars.
After a year with the band, Marga left and was replaced by Diane (now in Laverne and the Rhythm Kings) but the band split in 1996. They played in Holland, of course, and Germany, Swiss, Belgium (where they backed Al Ferrier) and France.
Esther has found memories about this band “It was mostly straight rockabilly harmony stuff but it was so much fun to do.”  She also explains why the band stopped “We did some great gigs but Tjarko and Peter were to busy with the Tinstars at the time so the band just faded away you might say.”
I don’t think they ever released anything (maybe a demo?), if you have more infos, feel free to contact us.

Jess and Jill first line-up, circa 1993.

Ten Strike

in Reviews/Singles/T
Ten Strike – Rawkabilly

Ten Strike – Rawkabilly

Trail To Hell – That’s Right – Under Vultures – Lonely Nights

Hailing from Germany, this trio played a mixture of wild rockabilly and what is now called old school psychobilly. They started in the 80’s, had an album on Tombstone Record in 1989 (Outlaw) and supported acts like The Guana Batz, Stray Cats, The Keytones and The Frantic Flintstones. On hiatus for a few years the band returned with this mini lp. The slap bass led mid-tempo “Trail To Hell” has a fine cowboy ballad feel. The singer’s voice on this one reminds a bit of the dutch bands The Tigermen and their song “Gone, Gone, Gone” for those who remember them. “That’s Right” is maybe more classical, a fast rocker with a psycho edge but nonetheless very pleasant. Under Vultures is a new version of a song from their Outlaw lp, and has that fine 80’s neo-rockabilly in the chorus I like so much with backing vocals and stop-starts with slap bass solos. This too short demo ends with “Loneley Nights” a slow tempo with a bluesy feel. The overall production work is very well done and the songs are all written by the band. Too abd an album didn’t follow this demo.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ten Strike - Outlaw
Ten Strike – Outlaw

Ten Strike – Outlaw

Tombstone – Tomb-Disc 681  [1990]

No More Reason To Cry – Long Legs – Under Vultures – Wide Open Land – That’s Right – Country Playin’ – Outlaw Man – Bound To Die – She Ain’t No Good – Wheels Of Steel – Don’t Look Now – 51 Merc – So Many Times

First long play by this German band released in 1990. The line up on this record is Jürgen Fröhlich: Guitar, Vocals – Peter Urban: Double Bass – Jochen Vaupel: drums.
Classic neo-rockabilly with twelve self penned songs and one interesting cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Dont Look Now.

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang

in Albums/Contemporary artists/OPQ/Reviews
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang - Wild Youth
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Rockhouse [1982]
Wild Youth – She Will Come Back – 56 Boys –  Tainted Love – Love Me – My Turn – On The Move – One And Only – Flea Brain – Should I Ever Love Again – Summertime – Baby Blue – Just Can’t Believe – Wow

Having left the Blue Cats in 1980, Dave Phillips took some time off before forming his own band. Still with Gene Vincent in mind he named his new band the Hot Rod Gang after the 1958 movie featuring the screaming kid. The first line-up consisted of John Day and Ray Thompson on guitars, Rob Tyler on drums and of course Dave Phillips on double bass and lead vocals. But it’s the second line-up with Mark Harman from Restless on guitar replacing both Day and Thompson that entered the history of modern rockabilly. Harman was the perfect choice, his fast Gallup influenced licks being the perfect complement to Phillips. The trio recorded Wild Youth in late 1981 and contrary to what the cover reads it’s Tyler on drums and not Andrew Wrightson who was the band’s driver (even on the cd reissue features the mistake).
One can suppose that the label (Rockhouse for both) acted with Phillips the same way he did with the Blue Cats’ second album (with Clint Bradley) hence the presence of many familiar cover in a more traditional style (Flea Brain, Summertime, Baby Blue and the Phantom’s Love Me sung by Harman). But there’s enough modern stuff to make of Wild Youth a benchmark in Neo-Rockabilly history, the best known being their cover of Tainted Love. It’s an instant classic that will have a lasting influence on many young bands.
Essential to any decent collection.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read our in depth interview with Dave Phillips here.

The Four Star Combo – Wait A Minute Baby!

in Albums/Contemporary artists/EF/Reviews
Four Star Combo - Wait A Minute Baby!
Four Star Combo – Wait A Minute Baby!

Man-O-Man Records 1001 [2014]
Wait a Minute, Baby – (I Got) a Hole in My Pocket – Conscience to the Wind – Beehive Baby – Down in the Alley – Buzzsaw – Croc-O-Doll – Lover Not a Fighter – Slipping Out and Slipping In – It’s Love, Baby (24 Hours a Day) – Jeepster – Blue Tricks

Wait A Minute Baby is the band’s debut album, though they already relased one demo with their former bass player.
The Four Star Combo is Ron Scott on lead vocals, guitar and harmonica; Eric Hurtt on lead guitar; Donovan Stokes on double bass and Drake Sorey on drums.
The album kicks off with amid-tempo rockabilly with nice picking from Hurtt and a good balance between the bass and the drums. Things get more frantic with their cover of (I Got) A Hole In My Pocket that even has a slight neo-rockabilly feel in it (but not enough to hurt the purists). Back to a more traditional sound with the hillbilly tinged Conscience to the Wind that has a bit of “Heartache by the Numbers” flair in the melody. Beehive Baby is another one on the neo-side and reminds a bit of Levi Dexter. They turn Memphis Minnie’s Down In the Alley into a solid rockabilly-blues stroller while Buzzsaw is a surf instrumental that shows the diversity and the skill of the band. Next is Crock-O-Doll,a Rockabilly/Rock’n’Roll number that wouldn’t be out of place on the Ripsaw label, think Billy Hancock. Back to Rockabilly-blues with Lazy Lester’s Lover Not A Fighter that sees lead singer Ron Scott playing some harmonica. It’s time for lead guitarist Eric Hurtt to take the lead vocals on a period perfect cover of Slipping Out and Slipping In. It’s Love Baby is straight ahead blues with once again a top notch guitar solo, it’s just too bad that Scott kept his harmonica in his pocket on this one. Some would find surprising to find a cover of T-Rex on Rockabilly album but if you remember the Polecats version you know it suits the genre perfectly. They deliver a good version though Scott seems a little less at ease on this one than on the other songs. Blue Tricks ends this good and eclectic album on a fast paced note.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Maybe Crazy

in Discographies

Maybe Crazy was a German label in activity during the late 80’s to the early 90’s .

The Scannerz – The Scannerz LP001
Scallywags – Speed On 45 LP002
Scallywags – 3 Of A Kind LP003
Mad Sin – Chills and Thrills In A Drama of Mad Sin and Mystery LP004
Various – Crazy, Crazy, Crazy LP005
Mad Sin – Distorted Dimensions LP006
The Polecats – Live In Hamburg – LP007
Mad Sin – Break The Rules – LP009

Mad Sin – Chills and Thrills In A Drama of Mad Sin and Mystery – MYCD004
Mad Sin – Distorted Dimensions – MYCD006
The Polecats – Live In Hamburg – MYCD007
Mad Sin – Amphigory – MYCD008
Mad Sin – Break The Rules – MYCD009
The P.O.X – Voodoo Power + demos – MYCD010
Mad Sin – A Ticket To Underworld – MYCD011

Roy Williams – Nervous records

in Interviews
Nervous records second logo
Nervous records second logo

Nervous Records – the Roy Williams interview

-Hey, I’ve just bought the debut album of a psychobilly combo called the Frantic Flintstones.
-Is that any good?
-Of course, it’s on Nervous Records!

That’s the kind of dialog that my psychobilly pals and I used to have. Nervous was for us – and I’m sure we weren’t alone – a reference. Nervous records always had the best stuff coming with nice sleeves too. Judge by yourself: the Polecats, The Sharks, Frenzy, the Ricochets, the Coffin Nails, the Caravans, the Nitros, Restless, the Blue Cats, Buzz & the Flyers, Torment, Skitzo, Nekromantix, Batmobile, the Quakes, the Rattlers… Impressive isn’t it. Reading Nervous records’ back catalog is like reading a Who’s Who of Neo-Rockabilly and Psychobilly.

Of course, there was some exceptions:
-Look that’s the latest Nervous records lp.
-What’s the name of the band?
-Spook & the Ghouls.
– …

Anyway Nervous records is indissociable from the whole genre, and we had to talk to Roy Williams. Now put your favorite Nervous album on the platter or in the player if it’s a cd and read the following interview..

by Fred “Virgil” Turgis

When and how did you discover rockabilly music?
I was collecting old rock’n’roll records in the early 60’s and I came across a listing of SUN 45’s for sales from someone called Breathless Dan Coffey (Breathless Dan Coffey is a well known record collector in Europe and he’s also the brother of Mike Coffey, guitar player for Crazy Cavan – ed.). Before that, the only time I’d heard of rockabilly was from a Guy Mitchell song! In truth, I’d been buying rockabilly records for some time, but never really knew the word in relation the records I had. We used to call it ‘the empty sound’ because of the slap-back echo!
The ‘division’ of rock’n’roll and rockabilly can be subtle and there’s a lot of ‘crossover’. I think of it this way
All rockabilly is rock’n’roll
All rock’n’roll is not rockabilly
All ants are insects
All insects are not ants
You can say that we have an interesting linguistic discussion here between etymology and entymology =;-)

Was Rock’n’roll the kind of music played at home when you were a kid?
Oh no! My mother used to sing songs to me when I was very young. These were songs from the 1940’s. The only music my father liked on the radio was religious music. He used to complain that there was too much ‘boogie woogie’…. He used to tell me that our radio couldn’t get Radio Luxembourg (where all the good stuff was). I used to go and watch TV in the village pub with my friend whose parents owned the pub. I saw ‘6-5 Special’ on a small black and white TV, one of only two in the village. Then we moved back to Wales and lived in a village with no electricity for a while, so I missed a lot of 1950’s TV. Then, one day in 1958, I got on my bicycle and rode into the town (Aberystwyth) and walked into the pier. There was the smell of the candy floss and lots of flashing lights and a big jukebox pounding out rock’n’roll. I was lost……
Then we moved closer to the town and had electricity again and my parents bought a new radio and gave me the old one. I spent all my time on this radio listening to radio stations from other countries searching for rock’n’roll.

As a DJ you helped to promote Hank Mizzell’s Jungle Rock, you managed young bands. How did you decide to create your own label?
I saw a bit about how the music business worked from ‘Jungle Rock’ and I thought that I could create another hit with a young good looking British band. At about the same time, I saw that Ronnie Weiser has started his own label and there were lots of new labels in England because of punk. I thought that I could do this, too. I also thought that it was time that I established better financial security for my family because DJ work was not so reliable! I actually started in music publishing and the label came after.

Nervous records first logo
Nervous records first logo

Looking back at the Nervous records back catalog, one thing struck me. Like Sam Phillips who always said he didn’t need two Elvis, it seems that you were always looking for bands that sounded different…
The lesson that I learnt from Rollin’ Rock was NOT to go for a ‘house label sound’. There was a time that everything on Rollin’ Rock was hot, and then suddenly it wasn’t because it all had the same ‘house sound’ and the whole catalogue was out of style. I didn’t want to have this happen to Nervous records, so I deliberately tried to be more ‘diverse’.

You have worked with many of the best psychobilly bands, but strangely you never worked with the originators of the genre, the Meteors. Do you regret it?
Not really. they seemed very shambolic to begin with and after their first EP and LP, I didn’t find them so interesting. The first LP was REALLY good, though and hugely influential.
In the end, when I bought out the Alligator label, I became the owner of the earliest Meteors’ recordings [three songs were released on Homegrown Rockabilly – ed.]

Today I suppose things have changed radically with the mp3’s. But in the heydays of neo-rockabilly / psychobilly what was the average pressing for a Nervous record?
I always remember that when we released the Buzz And The Flyers LP, we pressed 3,000 copies and delivered 2,000 to various customers in the first week! Those days are long gone.

How do you / did you involve in the recording process as a producer? Do you suggest songs to cover, different ways to approach songs, select songs with the artists etc.?
I make all sorts of suggestions. Some bands have all of their ideas ready, and some need more ‘guidance’. Sometimes I give the project to a producer. I can’t force bands to record what they don’t want to. I feel awkward sometimes because I can’t play an instrument and it’s often difficult because of that.

Is there a release in which you had strong hope that failed to sell?
Quite a few! Often because the bands split up just after the recording!

Some of Nervous records releases - photo by: Mitutaka Namie
Some of Nervous records releases – photo by: Mitutaka Namie

Which Nervous records releases are you particularly proud of?
The first Restless album and The Blue Cats ‘The Tunnel’.

And is there one that retrospectively you think “I shouldn’t have released this one”?
That’s too political!

Beside Nervous records, I believe that you were involved with the organisation of the Big Rumble. What memories do you keep from it?
A lot of work, and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed going round the caravans in the morning with a video camera, and finding people in the ‘wrong’ beds! I also had some funny experiences at the reception of the camp. Del used to put me there because I could manage some words in various languages. It was always difficult explaining to French people about the meters for the electricity!

I have the sad feeling that today the rockin’ scene is more and more divided in sub-scenes like neo-rockabilly, modern rockabilly, authentic rockabilly, old school psychobilly, gothabilly, trashbilly (and so on), with much importance given to the clothes rather than anything else. What do you think of the evolution of the scene?
I agree with you. It’s become fragmented and this is BAD news.

You were one of the first to bet on the cd’s then on the mp3’s. How did the internet change the way of selling music?
It’s broken down the national barriers. Really there is only one marketplace now, and everyone is equal in it. This is good. Music is no longer qualified by its rarity. It’s qualified by it’s standard. When I was DJ-ing, there were some people who would not dance to a record if it wasn’t an original 45. This is BOLLOCKS!
The ‘downside’ of all this is that there needs to be a lot more ‘back-office’ computer work to make it all work properly. Most small labels are hopeless at the paperwork side of things and this leaves the ownership of copyright in a bit of a mess. I’ve actually written my own computer program to handle this stuff.

The last word is for you…
I’m more interested in the future of rock’n’roll/rockabilly than the past.

Nervous Records discography

 The Polecats – Cult Heroes – NERD 001
 Deltas – Boogie Disease – NERD 002
 V/A Hep Cat Hop – NERD 003
 Restless – Why Don’t You Just Rock – NERD 004
 The Ricochets – Made In The Shade – NERD 005
 Buzz & The Flyers – Self titled – NERD 006
 Various – Stack-A-Records – NERD 007
 The Sharks – Phantom Rockers – NERD 008
 Dave Taylor – Midnight Rock – NERD 009
 The Blue Cats – Early Days – NERD 010
 The Blue Cats – Early Days Vol2 – NERD 011
 Big Daddy Sun and Outer Planets - Rockabilly – NERD 012
 Freddy Frog – Self Titled – NERD 013
 Ronnie and The Jitters – Roll Over – NERD 014
 Restless – Do you Feel Restless – NERD 015
 Frenzy – Hall Of Mirrors – NERD 016
 Various – Hell Bent On Rockin’ – NERD 017
 Rochee & The Sarnos – Understanding Sarno – NERD 018
 Rapids – Turning Point – NERD 019
 Pharoahs – Blue Egypts – NERD 020
 The Jets – Session Out – NERD 021
 Various - Aussiebilly – NERD 022
 Various – Zorch Factor One – NERD 023
 Kevin Fayte & The Rocket 8 – Ridin’ In A Rocket – NERD 024
 The Torment – Psyclops Carnival – NERD 025
 Restless – The Early Years – NERD 026
 Get Smart – Self Titled – NERD 027
 Skitzo – Skitzo Mania – NERD 028
 Various – Zorch Factor Two – NERD 029
 Rhythmaires – Losin’ Out – NERD 030
 Coffin Nails – Ein Bier Bitte – NERD 031
 Torment – Three is a Crowd – NERD 032
 Frenzy – Live At The 100 Club – NERD 033
 Frantic Flintstones – A Nightmare On Nervous – NERD 034
 Batmobile – Bail Was Set At $6000000 – NERD 035
 The Caravans – Easy Money – NERD 036
 The Quakes – the Quakes – NERD 037
 The Jackals – Prowlin’ – NERD 038
 Skitzo – Terminal Damage – NERD 039
 Pharoahs – Hammer & Sickle blue – NERD 040
 Ratmen – Live Fast, Die Young – NERD 041
 Various – Zorch Factor Three – NERD 042
 Spook & the Ghouls – Whitechapel Murder – NERD 043
 Catmen - Catmen – NERD 044
 Surfin’ Wonbatz – Lager Loutz – NERD 045
  Sharks – First & Last Live – NERD 046
 Griswalds – Who Framed The Griswalds – NERD 047
 Various – American Rockabilly – NERD 048
 The Nitros – Stompin’ Beat – NERD 049
 Torment – Around The World – NERD 050
 Rusti Steel & The TinTax – More Dollars Than Cents – NERD 051
 Rattlers – Never Say Die – NERD 052
 Various – Home Grown Rockabilly – NERD 053
 Lost Souls – Chasin’ A Dream – NERD 054
 The Screamin’ Kids – Don’t Get Down – NERD 055
 The Nervous Fellas – Born To Be Wild – NERD 056
 Torment – Hypnosis – NERD 057
 The Quakes – Voice Of America – NERD 058
 The Coffin Nails – Who’s he? – NERD 059
 The Catmen – Cuttin’ Through The Red Tape – NERD 060
 Various – Boppin’ In Canada – NERD 061
 The Scamps - Mayday – NERD 062
 Nekromantix – Curse Of The Coffin – NERD 063
 Beverley Stauber – Nail My Feet To The Kitchen Floor – NERD 064
 Frenzy – Clockwork Toy – NERD 065
 Various – Live At The Big Rumble – NERD 066
 Sonny West – Relentless – NERD 067
 Radium Cats – Other Worlds – NERD 068
 The Blue Cats – The Tunnel – NERD 069
 The Taggy Tones – Viking Attack – NERD 070
 Colbert Hamilton And The Hellrazors – Self – NERD 071
 Restless – Figure It Out – NERD 072
 The Quakes – New Generation – NERD 073
 The Rattlers – Scare Me To Death – NERD 074
 Three Blue Teardrops – One Part Fist – NERD 075
 ColBert Hamilton And The Nitros – Wild At Heart – NERD 076
 Voodoo Swing – We’re Usin Code Names – NERD 077
 Tim Polecat – Virtual Rockabilly – NERD 078
 Mean Cat Daddies – Ghost Of Your Love – NERD 079
 The Taggy Tones – Lost In The Desert – NERD 080
 Various – Is It Cool – NERD 081
 Darrel Higham – Mobile Corrosion – NERD 082
 The Elektraws – Shock-rock – NERD 083
 The Quakes – Live In Tokyo – NERD 084
 Wild – Good To Go – NERD 085
 King Memphis – The Astonishing – NERD 086
 Restless – The Very Best Of – NERD 087
 The Backbeats – Back To The Beat – NERD 088
 Bill Mc Elroy – Slimline Daddy – NERD 089
 Skitzo – Vertigo – NERD 090
 The Muskrats – The Young And Restless – NERD 091
 Hayride To Hell – Self Titled – NERD 092
 Nine Lives – Roundabout – NERD 093
 Rock Island Line – The Very Best Of – NERD 094
 Various – The Nervous 45 rpm Collection – NERD 095
 The Midnight Dynamos – Do You Wanna Dance? – NERD 096
 Bonneville – Trouble – NERD 097
 Various – Rockabilly Gold – NERD 098
 High Voltage – Danger… – NERD 099
 Blue Flame Combo – Rockabillies Go Home – NERD 100
 Mystery Gang – Hot’n’Wild Rockabilly Cuts – NERD 101
 The Jime – It’s Still Rock’n’Roll To Me – NERD 102
 Johnny Black – Extra Chrome – NERD 103
 JC Lee – Tokyo Heat – NERD 104
 Mick Satan & The Rockin Devils – Teddy Boy Anthems – NERD 105
 Vernon & The GI’s – GI Bop – NERD 106

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