Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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May 2016

The Sprites (French Rockabilly band)

in Profiles
the Sprites (© Marsel Bossard)
the Sprites (© Marsel Bossard)

The Sprites (Philippe Servente – lead vocals, Pascal Guimbard – lead guitar, François Gadotti – double bass, Lionel Decaix – rhythm guitar, Red Dennis – drums) were a French rockabilly band that played between 1983 and 1986. Their sound was heavily influenced by Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps first albums. After a set in Holland they caught the attention of Ray Frensham, then boss of Northwood Records who released two songs (White Lightning and the self penned Share Of Love) on the Big Noise from Northwood sampler (NW1002). A third song, a cover of Vincent’s B-I-Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Bo later appeared on The Northwood Story Vol. 1. Those songs were lifted from the band’s self released cassette that one can find on the web (most of the tracks are also on you tube) with covers like Long Blonde Hair, Sunny Side Of The Street, I Knocked Bim Bam, Warm Love etc.
They were a great band with a great sound and that’s a pity they never released a proper record of their own.

After the band stopped only Pascal Guimbard  and Red Dennis remained active on the musical scene. The former went on to play with the Go Getters, Red Hot & Blue (on Havin’ a Ball), moved to the USA and played with the Dalhart Imperials, came back to France and went full circle by playing double bass with the Gene Vincent influenced band the Capitols while the latter played drums with the Hot Rock and many other acts (Al Willis etc.).

Sprites

The Sprites
The Sprites

Barney’s Boogie Train

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Barney's Boogie Train - Jukebox Attack
Barney’s Boogie Train – Jukebox Attack

Barney’s Boogie Train – Jukebox Attack

EMG 00761
Beat It – Rock’n’Roll Outlaw – In The Summertime – Sweet Home Alabama – Sweet Home Alabama – Way Down – Paint It Black – I’m On Fire – Brand New Cadillac – Nothing Else Matters – Shadow Play – Gene And Eddie – Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll – I’m Running Free – Somethin’ Else
If there’d be an award for the most recreative rock’n’roll album, BBT’s latest LP would figure in good place to get it. This German trio had the idea (almost a concept) to cover songs from different horizons, especially the ones you’re not used to hear on a rock’n’roll/rockabilly album, and play it in their own “billy” sound. Except for two or three songs the result is really excellent.
Among the best you’ll find Michael Jackson’s Beat It (which reminded me an old interview with Lux Interior saying he considered Jackson as a great rockabillly vocalist), Rose Tattoo’ Rock’n’Roll Outlaw (but you can’t go wrong with Angry Anderson and his gang), Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama that starts like a Johnny Cash tune before exploding and Paint It Black that almost manages to make you forget the Quakes version.
Other notable renditions are Bruce Springsteen I’m On Fire, turned into an upbeat country song; Metallica’s Nothing Else Matter (which is in Barney’s hands a jazzy number close to Satan Takes A Holliday) and my favorite Iron Maiden’s I’m Running Free (from their first album), which stays quite close to the original, but it would have been a mistake to change such a killer beat.
Equally good is Barney’s self penned number Way Down.
More dispensable are Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime, but I never really liked this number. Gene & Eddie and Something Else are not among my favorites neither, maybe because they stay too close to the originals or being already rockabilly/rock’n’roll songs (and very well known ones) the surprise doesn’t work like it does with the other numbers.
Anyway these are minor reproaches and this album is very good. I hope they’ll do a volume two (and maybe they’ll include one AC/DC song).
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Torment

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/T
Torment - Live at the Klub Foot
Torment – Live at the Klub Foot

Torment – Live at the Klub Foot

Trophy Records TR003
Introduction – Torment – The Source – Slow Down – Rockjet – Conscription Plan – Uncle Sam – Satisfied – The Last Time – Pass It On

A couple of years ago Alan Wilson (of Western Star and the Sharks fame) found a box full of tapes recorded at the Klub Foot, the mecca of Psychobilly and Neo-rockabilly in the mid-80’s. These tapes needed to be restored and cleaned, a very costly process and two of these shows (Batmobile and Sting Rays) were released on Anagram/Cherry Red Records. Sadly the sales weren’t enough for the label and they called it quit. Knowing he had history in his hands, Wilson created a sub-label to his own Western Star to keep on releasing this stuff.
Torment was a highly original band of the Psychobilly movement. They counted among those bands – like Frenzy – that weren’t just happy to sings songs about werewolves, zombies, ghouls or to stick with a brand of Psychobilly that was just uptempo Rockabilly. Sadly, in the early 90’s, the sudden death of Simon Brand their lead singer – guitarist and main composer pulled the final curtain on a rich discography. With this in mind and considering that they never released a live album, this record sounds like a time capsule saved from the past. Some of the songs featured here have already appeared on previous Klub Foot compilations (the “original” serie) but in term of sound there’s no comparison possible. It’s like hearing brand new recordings. What can I say ? If you dig Torment you probably already own it (or you plan to), if you don’t, remember that Torment deserves to be in any decent Psychobilly collection and this album is a good start.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Texabilly Rockets

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/T
The Texabilly Rockets - 20 years rollin’ down the track
The Texabilly Rockets – 20 years rollin’ down the track

The Texabilly Rockets – 20 years rollin’ down the track

Part –CD 638.009
Flying High and Hit the Sky – I’m Runnin’ – Wild Nights – Better Lonely – La Chica Stroll – 56 Days – Cry and Shame – Let’s Bop! – Gotta Love You Baby – I Found My Place – Your Heart in My Garbage Can – Honey Let’s Go – Hot Rod Race 13 – Bop Cat Bop
The Texabilly Rockers formed in 1993, in Lisbon, Portugal. They later changed their name to the Texabilly Rockets and they now celebrate their 20th anniversary. All songs are penned by the band with some “oldies” dating from the the “Rockers” day (Honey Let’s Go) and each member contributed to the songwriting.
The core of the album is made of sizzling hot rockabilly ranging from the most traditional (Cry and Shame; Honey Let’s Roll) to the wildest. In between, they’re clever enough to vary the moods with a bit of country and hillbilly bop (Better Lonely, 56 days), a stroller with sax (La Chica Stroll), some boogie blues like Hot Rod Race 13 or Let’s Bop, the latter, with a harp, sharing a similar feel to Red Hot’n’Blue’s Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes. Also featuring a harp is Bop Cat Bop an acoustic new version of a song previously released on their fourth album of the same name.
Good album.
www.facebook.com/TexabillyRocketsofficial

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dagmar and the Seductones

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Dagmar and the Seductones - Little Bitta Love
Dagmar and the Seductones – Little Bitta Love

Dagmar and the Seductones – Little Bitta Love

Tym Records 1001
A Little Bitta Love – Red Hot – Evil – Don’t Stop – Livin’ A Lie – Stupid Cupid – Lucky Stars – Leavin’ On Your Mind – Let’s Have A Party – A Poor Man’s Roses – Since I Met You, Baby – You Belong To Me
A very pleasant debut album by Dagmar and the Seductones. Bob Newcaster and Bryan Smith respectively guitar player and bassist are no stranger to rockabilly fans as they played with Tex Rubinowitz. “A Little Bitta Love”, a Dagmar’s own, is a great rocker and so is “Red Hot” that leaves the listener breathless. A perfect showcase for a powerful voice and nice piano too. It’s time to slow down a bit and this is what the “Fever” type song “Evil” does, and sees Dagmar in a seductive mood. “Living A Lie” and “Since I Met You Baby” add some blues to the mix and shows how Dagmar is at ease with that style too with her warm voice. “Lucky Stars” is a nice Buddy Holly type of song with a neo-rockabilly feel in it. It’s time again to slow the pace with the rock’n’roll ballad “Leavin’ On Your Mind”. “Let’s Have A Party” is played in a bluesy vein and they don’t try to compete with Wanda Jackson and this is a good point as I think Wanda is unbeatable on this one. “Poor Man’s Roses” adds a very welcome touch of honky tonk and so do “You Belong To Me”. You regret she doesn’t sing more in that style. Hopefully, there’ll be more like that in the next one that should be out very soon. Cd available at cdbaby.


Dagmar and the Seductones - Come Back To Me
Dagmar and the Seductones – Come Back To Me

Dagmar and the Seductones – Come Back To Me

Tym Records 1002
Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet – Bad Sad or Mad – Mercy Mercy – As Long As I’m Moving – I’m Not Going To Cry – Me and My Chauffeur Blues – Come Back to Me – That Doghouse Double Bass – Come and Get It – You Said – Hush Your Mouth – Not My Concern – Old Country Rock.
You’ll find on this second album the same ingredients you liked on the first one but maybe with a wider variety of styles. With the same team of accomplished musicians they perform a good set of red hot rockabilly tunes like “Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet” and “As Long As I’m Moving”. Equally good is “That Doghouse Double Bass”, an acoustic rockabilly tune that puts the spotlight on Bryan Smith’s skill on that big ol’ instrument, close in the spirit to Pee Wee King’s Bull Fiddle Boogie. “Come And Get It” is more electric and sounds a bit like Kim Lenz to give you a comparison. The main difference with their previous effort is the addition of a big dose of blues in their repertoire. From the great accoustic Memphis Blues of Memphis Minnie’s “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” to the heavy Boogie-blues of “Not My Concern” with slide guitar (imagine early ZZ Top going rockabilly), they cover half a century of music. A guest joined the band on baritone sax for two pieces of fine juicy Rhythm’n’Blues “Bad Sad or Mad” and Huey “Piano” Smith’s “Hush Your Mouth”. They also bring, succesfully, a bit of soul with Don Covay’s Mercy Mercy. The album ends on a guitar only instrumental which shows Bob Newcaster’s talent. Maybe more blues and less country than the previous one, Dagmar’s second album is the perfect complement to their previous effort. You’ll find at least one tune to please you on this varied cd (and if you have just one ounce of taste you’ll like them all), they even have a song with a Rumba beat, how can’t you like them?

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Cordwood Draggers

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews
The Cordwood Draggers - A Starlit Shindig With…
The Cordwood Draggers – A Starlit Shindig With…

The Cordwood Draggers – A Starlit Shindig With…

El Toro Records – ETCD 4012
Jukebox Tell My Baby – Kwitchurbelyakin – Game of Love – Falling for You – Where’s Ya Stay Last Night?- 255 Flattie – Ten Year Itch – Little Martian Honey- Honestly – Lover’s Moon – Lonesome Truck Driver Blues – Rock Boppin’ Again
Here you have the third album from that british band still on that great Spanish label El Toro. The majority of the songs – eight – from this album are from the pen of singer/guitarist Mick Cocksedge, and like the previous one there’s a little bit for everyone. You’ll find a hillbilly lament (Jukebox Tell My Baby) with pedal steel which is also present on the hillbilly bop “The Game Of Love” and “Lover’s Moon”. It also adds a feeling of loneliness on “Lonesome Truck Driver Blues”, and even if the songs is credited to Bill Monroe their version owes more to Bob Newman. Of course you have a good dose of rockabilly, never too wild but a good collection of mid tempoes like “Rock Boppin’ Again”, “Kwitchurbelyakin” and “Where’d Ya Stay Last Night?” which is a bit more modern than the other one. The hillbilly bop/rockabilly “255 Flattie” is one of my favourite with questions/answers between the lead singer and the backing vocals and Eddie Potter’s take off guitar. Potter also wrote “Ten Year Itch” which also has a bit of a modern edge mixed with Hank Williams’Ramblin’ Man. Very good. “Little Martian Honey” is a solid rockabilly with heavy slapbass and wild guitar but one could regret the mix that buries the voice too much on this one. The doo-wop band The Roomates adds their sweet voice on two slow and beautiful songs “Falling For You” and “Honestly”. One fine album with different arrangements and moods.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Cordwood Draggers - Radiation Bop
The Cordwood Draggers – Radiation Bop

The Cordwood Draggers – Radiation Bop

El Toro Records. ETCD 4011
Honey Honey – I Missed You – Simmer Down – Don’t Tease Me – Radiation Bop – Shake Her Shack – For Always – Flipside Mama – Knock Knock Knock – I Stole Today – Write Me A Letter – Hey Mr Plane – That’s When It All Went Wrong – Rock And Roll On
Talking about nuclear energy here is another fucking good trio from England with a self-penned album. Among the 14 titles of that album you’ll no doubt find something for you with sometimes beat sometimes delicacy: some first class rockabilly («Flipside Mama», «Knock Knock Rock») some hillbilly («Simmer Down» «Shake Her Shack», «Write My Baby A Letter») a honky-tonkin’ one in a Johnny Horton way («I Stole Today»), some «Jets» sounding («Don’t Tease Me» and «Hey Mr Plane»reminds me the famous british band) and a little doo-wopin’ («For Always» with the Roomates backing vocals).The first «Honey Honey» written by the singer Mick Cocksedge is gonna grab you like it grabbed me with its tapering and piercing guitar. Their «Radiation Bop» with the burlisonian sounding rockabilly guitar from Ed Potter and the Jose Espinosa’s bullfiddle will explode in your face. «Rock and Roll On» a «Buddy Holly style» end that second album from a to be closely followed band.
David “Long Tall” Phisel

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