Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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October 2015

Ray Condo

in CD/Reviews/Singles

Ray Condo - frntRay Condo – Sweet Love On My Mind bw/ Big Dog, Little Dog
Ray Condo Records CP007
This is a posthumous single gathered by Ray’s friend. Side one is the classic Johnny Burnette tune given the Hardrock Goners treatment, something like «wild rockabilly meets Hank Williams». B-side «Big Dog, Little Dog» is a song recorded during a rehearsal by Ray and his last musical project, featuring Stephen Nikleva (The Ricochets), Ian Tiles and Tony LaBorie, just a few months before his death. I may be wrong but the only other issued song from this line-up can be found on a tribute album to Alejandro Escovedo. A great piece of wildness (imagine Dee Dee Ramone goes hillbilly).

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Starline Rhythm Boys

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

starlinerhythmboys_liveThe Starline Rhythm Boys – Live At Charlie-O’s

Cow Island CIM011 [2008]
Yellow Jacket / A Dime At A Time / Heartbreak Tennessee / Charlie-O’s / On The Back Row / Life Begins At 4 O’Clock / Wine Me Up / Lonesome On’ry And Mean / Pipeliner Blues / You’re Still On My Mind / One Foot In The Honky Tonk / She Don’t Live Here No More / Dark Hollow / Live And Let Live / Get A Little Goner / Drunk Tank / Playboy / You Can’t Catch Me / That’s Where I Went Wrong / I’m A Lonesome Fugitive / Gotta Travel On / Too Much Fun / Drink Up And Go Home.

The Starline Rhythm Boys – Masquerade For A Heartache

starlienrhythm boys masqueradeCow Island CIM014 [2009]
Masquerade For Heartache / Jive After Five / Trucker From Tennessee / Workin’ Man Blues / Honky Tonk Gal / Red’s Place / A Mess Of Blues / Goodbye Train / I’m Fed Up Drinking Here / Ubangi Stomp

Here’s the cure to the stress of your everyday life and your summertime blues: the hot rockin’ honky tonk swing style of a Starline Rhythm Boys show in your living room! Recorded live at their homebase of Charlie-O’s bar, it features a typical set of the trio mixing classics from Johnny Paycheck, Wayne Walker, Conway Twitty, Faron Young, Chuck Berry, Bill Kirchen… with a couple of band’s own (She Don’t Live Here, Drunk Tank, That’s Where I Went Wrong). Add the presence of Sean Mencher (High Noon) to produce an play second guitar on one track as well as Kevin Maul on steel (both lap and pedal) and you just have to put the cd in the player and let the fun begins.

Masquerade For A Heartache is the perfect companion to Charlie-O’s with 10 more tracks recorded during the same show. Once again it’s very well balanced between originals (Masquerade…, Red’s Place, I’m Fed Up Drinking Here) and covers of Carl Perkins, Merle Haggard, Elvis. This mini album goes from straight Honky Tonk to Rock’n’roll with a good dose of Rockabilly including one of the best version of Ubangi Stomp I’ve ever had the chance to listen to!

You can buy them separately but do yourself a favor and buy both.

the Starline Rhythm Boys - Red's Place
the Starline Rhythm Boys – Red’s Place

The Starline Rhythm Boys – Red’s Place

Cow Island Music CIM05
A Fighting Chance – No Gal Cooks Like Mine – Red’s Place – It’s Anyone’s Guess – (They’re) Cutting Back the Work Force – That’s Just A Thought – The Joke’s On You – Who – The Family Farm – Drunk Tank – Sin & Salvation – Burning A Hole In My Mind – The Old Filling Station – That’s Where I Went Wrong – I’m Fed Up Drinking Here – A Memory of Fred

The Starline Rhythm Boys are a drummerless trio (Danny Coane, acoustic guitar; “Big Al” Lemery, electric guitar; and Billy Bratcher, doghouse bass) that plays in the same league as High Noon (no wonder to find Sean Mencher on the production seat) and Wayne “The Train” Hancock (Billy Bratcher toured with him by the way). But they don’t stick to the trio format and bring a couple of guests to keep things varied and surprising, and most of all highly enjoyable.
Most of the songs are originals written by Bratcher.”A Fighting Chance” is a powerfull slap bass led hillbilly/proto rockabilly (what a guitar too) with harmony vocals. “No Gal Cooks Like Mine” features a fiddle in addition to the steel and praises the simple domestic joys. The title track has more of a late 50’s honky tonk feel with a bit of Buck Owens in it, still with great harmonies, and a superb piano part. Big Al Lemery is not only a wizard on the telecaster, he’s also a poignant singer and proves it on “It’s Anyone’s Guess” a slow number in the vein of “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” with mandolin, fiddle, light snare and pedal steel. “They’re Cutting Back The Work Force” shows once again what a good songwriter Billy Bratcher is, able to write about booze or social issues ( I Got Kids to feed, but there’s no remorse, once they start cutting the work force“) with equal success. “That’s Just A Thought” is a beautiful little hillbilly bop ditty that looks toward the western swing side of things with each members of the horn section taking solos. They turn Jimmy martin’s bluegrass number “The Joke’s On You” into a uptempo rockabilly. Another cover is Little Walter’s “Who“, which becomes a “hillbilly-blues” (and reminds what High Noon did with “Crazy Mixed Up World” on their Texas Style 10″). “Family Farm” is a sad and beautiful waltz with bluegrass accents. Al Lemery wrote and sings “Drunk Tank” a nice hillbilly bop. The honky Tonk “Sin & Salvation“, on a well known theme, is another proof they never falls into facility. They bring modulation and unusual chords. Man that’s good ! Connie Smith’s “Burning A Hole InMy Mind” adds a welcome touch of 60’s country music.On “The Old Filling Station” with simple words (and a beautiful melody) Bratcher paints a melancholic picture (Do you remember when you never pumped your gas/And the man with the Star was a symbol of class). I really enjoyed “I’m Fed Up Drinking Here“, the best song George Jones never recorded. How can’t you love a band that plays right and sings “The Old Juke box that I leaned on/Was a rock for life’s hard knock but now it’s gone/When a man’s mind ain’t clear/ a lack of George Jones is severe“. The set ends with a sincere hommage to a friend of them, Fred, and you can feel both the love they have for him and the personnality of the man, even if you never met him.
Authenticity is not only a matter of music, it’s above all a state of mind. And this guys play genuine country music that speaks to your heart and your feet.
Thank you for that Boys !

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Gazmen

in Reviews/Singles
The Gazmen - Rigormortis Rock
The Gazmen – Rigormortis Rock

The Gazmen – Rigormortis Rock

Vinyl Japan JRT9
Rigormortis Rock – Teenage Operation – Kid From Mars – Ace Of Heart

This ep came out in 1996. The Gazmen were formed around the charismatic personnality of Gary “Gaz” Day, known for his collaboration with many influential bands, notably The Frantic Flintstones, The Sharks, The Nitros, The Caravans without forgetting his stint with popstar (and rockabilly afficionado) Morrissey, whose influence can be heard on the last track of this ep. The rest of the band was basically The Sharks with the addition of ex Born Bad and Morrissey’s guitarist, Alain Whyte. They played a traditionnal psychobilly close to the Sharks (not very surprising) and the early Meteors, Day’s voice reminding the great Nigel Lewis, but with a fuller sound. The song Rigormortis Rock was first released by Alan Wilson (who wrote it ) under the band name of The Space Cadets (not to be confused with Mouse’s band) around 1984 on the Nervous compilation Hell’s Bent on Rocking. Some of these songs were also part of the set when Gary was in the Sharks.
This ep has been re-released on cd in 2000 on the american Rock It label but is also out of print. This four songs are now available on the Anagram compilation album Rockin’ With Morrissey’s sidemen.

V/A – Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/VARIOUS
Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults
Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults

Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults – Vol.1 – X-Ray Studio
Raucous Records
The Kid From Mars – THE SHARKS / Teenage Operation – THE SHARKS / She’s Dead – THE SHARKS / Surfcaster – THE SHARKS / Scratchin’ My Way Out – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Unfortunate Jake – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Lunatics Are Raving – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Diablo – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Mudman’s Revenge – BREAKOUT / Witchcraft – BREAKOUT / Tornado – BREAKOUT / Borstal Breakout – BREAKOUT / Punks On Billy – SKABZ / Go Find Yourself A Guy – ROCKIN’ BANDITS / She’s All Mine – LUX / Leopardskin – LUX / Down In The Cellar – LUX / Leopard Skin – LUX / Fashion – LUX / Bad Trip – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Can’t Get Enough – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Charlie 2 – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Scratchin’ My Way Out – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Man With The X-Ray Eyes – THE MEN FROM UNCLE

Alan Wilson (the Sharks) formed the X-Ray studios in the early 80’s. It can be seen as an early incarnation of the Western Star studio he runs today. Included on this compilation are rare tracks that were recorded there and see the light of day for the first time.
The first four tracks are Sharks demos recorded when Gary Day was in the band (around 1993-94). He sings lead on Kid From Mars and Teenage Operation. They never appeared on a Sharks album but were recorded by the Gazmen (who were basically the Sharks plus Alan Whyte). The other two are a jam around a rockabilly riff (She’s Dead) and an alternate version of Surfcaster. These are not perfect and slick recordings but they are very interesting as you can hear songs in construction (listen to Gary repeating the same verse and indicating chords during Teenage Operation). One can find more Sharks demos on the excellent cd “Ruff Stuff” also on Raucous.
Next band is the Frantic Flintstones. They recorded some of their best albums at X-Ray. Featured here are Wilson’s Scratchin’ My Way Out and demos of songs that later appeared on Jamboree. You can’t go wrong with Chuck and his gang.
Breakout was a neo-rockabilly/psychobilly band that recorded some songs at X-Ray but never had to my knowledge a proper release. They’re not exceptionnal but the songs, including a cover of the Ricochets, are good.
Skabz was a punkish band and to be honest I’m happy this cd features only one song from them instead of four.
Go Find Yourself A Guy” shows the neo-rockabilly side of the The Rockin’ bandits. What a pity there’s only one.
Lux is a band very hard to pigeonhole. They mixed psychobilly with elements of the Gun Club, some Damned and a bit of 80’s new wave. Very good. Strange but very good. This songs remained unreleased until now. Why? It’s a mystery cause they’re easily as good and ten times more originals than many bands.
The remaining four tracks are from the Men From Uncle who were actually the Space Cadets (NOT Mouse’s band) : Alan Wilson, Simon Seago and Hodge. Recorded around 1983-84, this songs previously appeared on a bootleg lp called Cream Of the Cats (long story told in the booklet) and appear here for the first time on cd . “Charlie 2”, “Scratching My Way Out” and “The Man With The X-Ray Eyes” would later be re-recorded by the Sharks.
A great comp full of lost treasures.

Gazmen (the) – psychobilly band with Gaz Day

in Profiles

GazmenThe Gazmen

Country: England
Genre: Psychobilly

Gary Day: vocals / bass
Alain Whyte: guitar
Alan Wilson: guitar
Hodge: drums

Gary "Gaz" Day
Gary “Gaz” Day

The Gazmen were formed around the charismatic personnality of Gary “Gaz” Day, known for his collaboration with many influential bands, notably The Frantic Flintstones, The Sharks, The Nitros, The Caravans without forgetting his stint with popstar (and rockabilly afficionado) Morrissey.. The rest of the band was basically The Sharks with the addition of ex-Born Bad and Morrissey’s guitarist, Alain Whyte. They played a traditionnal psychobilly close to the Sharks (not very surprising) and the early Meteors, Day’s voice reminding the great Nigel Lewis, but with a fuller sound.
The Gazmen released one four-track ep on Vinyl Japan in 1996, later reissued in cd due to Day’s popularity in Morrissey’s band. The songs were Rigormortis Rock (previously recorded by Alan Wilson under the moniker of the Space Cadets for a Nervous compilation), Teenage Operation, Kid from Mars and Ace of Hearts (that has a strong Morrissey feel). Some of these songs were part of the Sharks set when Gary was in the band (see the compilation album Rare Psychobilly from the Vault of X-Ray Studio). More songs were recorded but never saw the light of day. The line-up later evolved, including Pug from the Frantic Flintstones and Stuart from the Guana Batz.
They appeared at different all dayers including one Big Rumble I guess.
The Gazmen were a very good band and one can only regret they never released a full album.

Rigormortis Rock – Vinyl Japan JRT9 [1996]
Reissue on CD on Rock-It Records [2000]

The Mysterons

in Profiles

Country: England
Genre: Psychobilly

Gary Day: double bass / vocals
Johnny “Pug” Peet: guitar / vocals
Mark Clements: drums

The Mysterons were a psychobilly band heavily influenced by the early Meteors that lasted from mid 1986 to mid 1987.
They recorded a four track demo tape with “No One Stays“, “House Of Rockin’ Bones“, “Crazy Blood” and “Highway To Hell“. The band wasn’t really going anywhere so they decided to split. Day joined the Frantic Flintstones and was joined by Pug on their second album Rockin’ Out (Link records) that features No One Stays and House Of Rockin’ Bones.
Mark Clements joined a ska band called the Riffs.

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