Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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June 2016

Maryann and the Tri Tones

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews
Maryann and the Tri-Tones - Kitten Walk
Maryann and the Tri-Tones – Kitten Walk

Maryann and the Tri-Tones – Kitten Walk

Rhythm Bomb rbr 5833 [2016]
Hold Me Tight  Heartbeats – Love Me Tonight – Dance With My Baby – Got You On My Mind – When I See You – Ain’t Gonna Love You Anymore – Kitten Walk – Don’t Touch – Chevrolet – Looking Glass – Wolf Man – If I Had You

Hot on the heels of their excellent debut album, Maryann and the Tri-Tones return with a brand new platter and the result is once again very good. This girl is a mighty good singer and her band rocks! This is all you need to know, believe me.

There’s not a big difference of style between this one and Supersonic Gal except that one can now hear a steel and a pedal steel on five song. It expends their style and adds a hillbilly bop flavor (Ain’t Gonna Love You Any More), or a Patsy Cline vibe (think Crazy) with When I See You. It also works perfectly on their cover of Red Foley’s Looking Glass. They nail that Honky Tonk sound perfectly and you wish they’d do more in that style. Kitten Walk, The title track has an obsessive beat that reminds of Funnel Of Love. One thing is sure, this kitten sure knows how to strut.

Of the thirteen track, eleven are from the pen of Maryann and Artur Skropnik the guitar player with only two covers: the aforementioned Red Foley’s tune and an instrumental version of the classic jazz number “if I had You” that closes the album on a jazzy mood.

Once again, credit must be given to Ike Stoye (who also guests on sax on Wolf Man) and Axel Prafcke for the perfect sound they gave to this album. It seems that everything they touch turn to Rockabilly gold.

Also kudos to Rhythm Bomb who still believe in new artists and works hard to release beautiful objects. Like most of their releases now, this album comes in a beautiful digipack.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Maryann and the Tri Tones - Supersonic Gal
Maryann and the Tri Tones – Supersonic Gal

Maryann and the Tri Tones – Supersonic Gal

Tritone Music TCD 1501 [2015] / Rhythm Bomb RBR 5832 [2016]
Honey Baby – I’m Moving Up – Back To Me – Cruisin’ Around – Lonesome Moon – Supersonic Gal – If I Could I Would – I’m Gonna Leave You – Angel Of The Desert – We’re Gonna Rock’n’roll Tonight

This excellent surprise comes from Estonia and has been recorded in Berlin by Ike Stoye and Axel Praefcke. If you dig your Rockabilly as if it came straight from the fifties, Maryann and the Tri Tones is the band for you. Supersonic Gal was first self released by the band and only a few hundreds copies were made. it was too good to be lost and thanks to Rhythm Bomb has been reissued to a larger audience.
Maryann (not to be confused with Miss Mary Ann from the Netherland) has a strong voice and sings with her own style, contrary to many of her counterparts who too often try to mimic Wanda Jackson.
The Tri-Tones are a solid band with a special mention to their guitar player who assimilated the styles of Hal Harris and Grady Martin. Axel Praefcke guests on guitar and brings a Cliff Gallup touch to Supersonic Gal which has a strong Gene Vincent influence.
With only ten songs (all originals penned by the lead singer and the guitar player) and 26 minutes, this is a very well rounded affair with no filler. A band to follow closely.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Maryann and the tri-tones

Kim Lenz

in Interviews

Kim LenzKim Lenz

20th Century Rockabilly Meets 21st Century Woman

Take the warm, honeyed tones of a Wanda Jackson ballad. Combine them with the lusty power of Barbara Pittman. Add a liberal helping of Janis Martin’s gritty vocal, and sprinkle generously with the raw, rebellious sounds of rockabilly poster boys Gene Vincent and Billy Lee Riley. The result? A cocktail of rockabilly royalty named Kim Lenz.

by Denise Daliege-Pierce


Music has always been a part of Kim Lenz’s life. The offspring of a father who tuned into Wolfman Jack’s radio show and a mother who enjoyed listening to classic country crooners, Kim Lenz was exposed to an eclectic mix of music styles. During her formative years, she sang in choirs and played some guitar and piano, but a lack of support from her family dampened any hopes Kim had of performing.

Years later, music would once again seductively weave its way into Kim’s life—and this time, she would heed its siren call. At the age of 20, Kim Lenz moved to Los Angeles, where she worked in music copyright and publishing. California was ground zero for the burgeoning West Coast rockabilly scene, and Kim attended shows at The Palomino and King King, immersing herself in the music of Big Sandy, Dave & Deke and The Paladins. The rockabilly bug had bitten—hard—but it would take a marriage and a move to Texas before the musician inside of Kim Lenz would emerge.

The University of North Texas would be the catalyst to Kim Lenz’s rockabilly coming out party. Renowned for its jazz program, UNT was where Kim—who was working towards a degree in psychology—recruited members for her first band, Rocket Rocket. “I guess I was 26 or 27. There was seven of us and, I think, only five people showed up,” Kim reminisced during a recent telephone interview, describing the group’s first gig at a local coffeehouse. “I think I sang ‘Cool Love’ and ‘The KGB (Made a Man Out of Me)’.

Despite the meager turnout, Kim was euphoric. “I couldn’t sleep that night—for a couple of nights—like I had been given heroin or something, and was really addicted to it,” she confided.

Although Rocket Rocket disbanded after a handful of shows, Kim was not dissuaded from performing. “All I wanted to do was get a gig at Bar of Soap,” she laughed, referring to a combination laundry mat/bar that featured live music. Her goal achieved, Kim—after some trial and error—had a new backing band, The Jaguars, and the quartet began performing in earnest. “I started writing music, and I liked that,” she remarked. “A lot of the joy that I felt on stage is I can’t believe people are letting me do this. I do it for the love of the music. Money, I think, can be a hindrance to creativity.

Kim Lenz and the Jaguars
Kim Lenz and the Jaguars (Nick Curran, guitar – Shawn Supra, upright bass – Scotty Tecce, drums), circa 1999.

In 1997, the group, with an assist from roots music mainstay Deke Dickerson, released an EP on the tiny Wormtone Records label. It wasn’t long before Larry Sloven, co-founder of Hightone Records, came calling—literally—and Kim Lenz and The Jaguars were on their way to becoming flag bearers of rockabilly music’s revival. Wally Hersom, then bassist for Big Sandy’s Fly-Rite Boys, took to the producer’s chair for Kim’s first Hightone release, 1998’s Kim Lenz and Her Jaguars; The One and Only quickly followed in 1999. The albums were a tribute to Kim’s ability as a songstress—“[On] all of my records, I write most of the songs,” she told me—but they also placed a firm spotlight on some obscure rockabilly gems, such as The Miller Sisters’ “Ten Cats Down”. “I think it was on a Sun Records compilation I had,” Kim replied when asked how she discovered the oft-forgotten tune.

Kim’s sophomore effort continued her tradition of combining fresh rockabilly songs with homages to her music mentors. The album would also provide a unique link to Gene Vincent—more so than any reworking of “Be-Bop-a-Lula” or “Dance to the Bop” ever could—courtesy of Don Carter.
Don Carter’s name may be unfamiliar to some, but his body of work certainly isn’t. The man behind Ronnie Dawson’s “Rockin’ Bones” also penned a pair of songs that Gene Vincent intended to record; one was “B-I-Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go”, the instantly recognizable classic. The other, “If You Don’t Like My Peaches (Don’t Shake My Tree)”, for reasons unclear, never received the studio treatment… until some forty-plus years later, when Carter offered the neglected number to Kim Lenz. “Don Carter lived in Dallas,” Kim recalled. “I got into contact with him through a mutual friend. I met him, and he was such a sweetheart. We were just kinda, like, ‘Try it’. [It was] such a cool honor to do a song written for Gene.

After two successful albums, in 2000, Kim stepped off of the stage to undertake an entirely new project: motherhood. Was trading her microphone for a diaper bag a difficult decision to make? “You know, the timing was right,” she responded. “I just spent three-and-a-half to four years on the road; did 200 shows a year—pretty much did everything I could do. I didn’t have a goal of making mainstream music; I didn’t have a goal of breaking out. My goal was to make rockabilly music. I was just burned out. “I think I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll have a kid. I’ll just strap it to my back and I’ll live my life’,” Kim divulged. “Well, it didn’t happen that way. [During the pregnancy] I got really sick—had to cancel my last two tours. I just laid around.

As her son grew, so did Kim’s free time—and with that, her re-emergence into the rockabilly scene. Hightone released a greatest hits collection, Up to My Old Tricks Again, in 2005, and Kim Lenz made the occasional compilation album contribution. “I recorded for Bloodshot [Records]; I did ‘Cool Love’ [for the album Hard-Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson] and ‘Down on the Farm’ for the kids record [The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides].” Kim also resumed performing on a limited basis, appearing at a Spanish rockabilly festival in alternating years and making one-off performances in the States. “I never really gave it up,” Kim acknowledged. “Now, the challenge for me is, I’ve never been very good at balance. I go one way or the other way.

Balancing motherhood and music wasn’t a success for some of her predecessors. Sparkle Moore had recorded a handful of tracks for Fraternity Records in the mid-1950s before walking away from the music business to raise a family. The budding career of one of Kim’s musical influences, Janis Martin, suffered a similar fate. “Janis got pregnant, and then she was never really able to come back,” Kim remarked. “I think that’s definitely a hindrance unless you can balance.

Rockabilly’s renaissance during the 1980s and 1990s encouraged some of the genre’s pioneers to return to the stage. Janis was one of them. “The Female Elvis”, prior to her death in 2007, had returned to performing on the rockabilly festival circuit, and was planning to record a new album. According to Kim, Janis, despite her years, hadn’t lost a step. “[Janis had] such an amazing, strong voice,” she enthused. “Seeing original artist from the fifties can be hit and miss. Her voice was amazing. She just has [sic] such an amazingly true, warm voice. She never lost it.

Kim remembers performing with Janis at 1999’s Viva Las Vegas event. “The promoter put a band together for her—amazing musicians; all the best,” she recollected. “They want the band to learn the song exactly on the record. She wanted to get up there and rock.” Janis, disappointed that the musicians were not tearing up the stage in true rockabilly spirit, admonished the group. “You guys aren’t rockin’,” she told them. “She had that wild streak in her,” laughed Kim.

Kim Lenz

Hightone Records had folded. With her son now in school, Kim, having re-relocated to Los Angeles some years earlier, decided to return to doing what she loved best: making music. She formed Open Ranch Studios in her home, with the intention of recording music for television and film scores. What soon emerged was a new album, 2009’s It’s All True!. The disc, released on Kim’s newly formed Riley Records label, features the singer’s distinctive voice and usual mix of material both old and new; it’s also the first album that Kim herself has produced.
Kim described the reasons for the change. “So many costs with a label…you have so many costs; not really have any control, either. I talked to a few people at some smaller labels. Labels are, pretty much, dinosaurs—they’re really not necessary. I wanted to have total control. [With previous albums] there was too much time pressure. There are some songs I’m really proud of; other songs, I didn’t get to finesse them as much as I wanted to.
As a producer, Kim Lenz dedicated herself to crafting the perfect album, much as she did to penning the ultimate toe-tapping rockabilly number. She took a year to record the vocals, and received a helping hand from a few friends: Fly-Rite Boy Carl Sonny Leyland played piano on the disc, while respected roots musician Billy Horton mixed the record.
Another colleague to lend his talents to the project was Kim’s longtime friend, the versatile Big Sandy. Known for his distinctive mellow voice and ability to perform a variety of music styles—from western swing to rhythm and blues to rockabilly—Big Sandy had provided songs for and produced The One and Only, and played several roles in the completion of It’s All True!. He was session guitarist for the majority of the album, and contributed the song, “He’s All Mine”, a duet to which he also supplied his vocal skills.
Kim Lenz has the utmost respect for Big Sandy. “He is just a consummate musician; professional—such an amazing songwriter,” she marveled. The pair seemed to share a certain synergy, too. While living in Dallas, Kim, armed with a songbook containing a few partially written tunes, joined Big Sandy at a diner. In quick order, he turned the works in progress into completed songs. The finished products received Kim’s approval.
He’s such an inspiration,” praised Kim. “He lives and breathes it [music]. He lives it. He’s on the road all the time. I think, more than anything, he’s an inspiration to me. If I have a problem….He’s my mentor. There’s nobody else like him. He’s kept it up all these years.
Each song is such a great work of art,” she continued. “A lot of bands that people think are rockabilly aren’t. It’s all about bowling, flames and cherries—really boring stuff. Big Sandy brings real songwriting to his stuff….He can do anything, rootswise. Thank God for Big Sandy.”

Kim’s approach to It’s All True! was different from the one she perceived Hightone Records had taken with her previous albums. “What I wanted it to be was not what I thought was good enough, but good,”, she commented. “If you’re gonna make something good or something you’re proud of, you need that tenacity….When I’m done, I want to be able to listen to and enjoy it.

The music industry continues to evolve. The days of popping into the local record store to snare the latest vinyl album or cassette or CD are rapidly dwindling. The advent of the internet and digital media have made music of all categories and cultures more accessible—and more economical. It’s a change that hasn’t been lost to Kim. “There’s a new paradigm happening in the music industry,” she stated. “You buy one or two songs off of iTunes. It’s different selling. Nobody really knows what the new paradigm is.

Kim Lenz appears prepared to tackle the challenge of marketing her own work in such a tumultuous environment. “There wasn’t a record label that I would give up ownership of the record [to]. I got a really good U.S. distributor.
The rockabilly crowd is amazing,” she raved. “Once they like you, they like you forever.
I learned a lot of lessons,” the singer admitted. “I really do appreciate now a lot of what Hightone did…I really love owning it [the record] and having all the control to myself. Nowadays, if you’re a subgenre musician, you really have to write, play your own instrument; do your own P.R.

With inexpensive marketing tools such as YouTube and Facebook readily available—and the increased costs of fuel and other assorted travel expenses—the once necessary task of touring in support of an album has become less than profitable. “People don’t realize what it takes to get there for that one-hour performance,” Kim lamented.

kim1Recording a new album may not have been Kim’s initial intention for her studio digs, but it achieved the desired result: the use of her music on television. True Blood, the popular vampire-themed HBO show, has utilized Kim’s material before. “The first time they used one of my songs in True Blood was Season One on the first show,” she related. “I didn’t know anything about the show at that point, and didn’t even have HBO. Since Hightone Records had sold to Shout Factory and nobody there seemed to have my contact info, I was never notified of the use. So, it started playing back east earlier than where I live, in L.A., and I started getting e-mail messages, phone calls and MySpace messages. I called up the cable company, had them turn on HBO and watched Sookie listening to ‘Dang Good Stuff’ out of her iPod. That was cool. The second time they used one of my songs was in the season finale of Season Two. This time, they used a song off my new record, ‘Zombie For Your Love’, which I own, so they contacted me directly for licensing. This was also very exciting, because I didn’t have another label or publishing company deciding about my music.
Recording for one’s own label can be a costly investment. Even with the distinction of having her music featured in a television series, Kim Lenz has not fully recouped the costs associated with the making of It’s All True!. Nonetheless, making the album has not caused any regrets. “All those recording costs—it costs money to do it right. We’re not living the high life—we’re doing what we love to do. I don’t get wrapped up in the moneymaking part of it. If they wanna have subgenre music, the fans have to be part of it.
I think,” continued Kim, “what I’m gonna do next is start working on one song at a time; really start crafting one song at a time. I’m really, really proud of the record. I really don’t have any sour grapes.

Although Wanda Jackson’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 cemented her status as “The Queen of Rockabilly”, women rockabilly artists are, in general, an unknown commodity. Connoisseurs of the genre can rattle off a nearly endless list of male rockabilly performers, but most would be hard-pressed to name even a smattering of their female counterparts. It’s a conundrum that I’ve never quite understood. I asked Kim if she felt that women’s contributions to rockabilly music have been overlooked. “That’s a complicated question. Back in the fifties, few women were given the chance. Women were supposed to stay home and have babies. A few women were brave enough; brazen enough. That’s just how it was. It’s so titillating—they [the fans] would love it. I don’t understand why there aren’t more women doing it.

Being a musician of the female gender presents another unique set of problems. “There’s benefits, and there’s a good side and bad side,” Kim disclosed. While the band welcomes publicity, a becoming photo of Kim appearing in a magazine would raise a rare complaint. There’s also the occasional misconception to deal with. “Sometime, sound guys don’t think I know what I’m talking about, and I do,” the singer bemoaned.
Our discussion returned to rockabilly’s founding mothers. “Most roots music, the women were pretty tame. There was Rose Maddox and someone here and there, but women weren’t allowed to get in your face,” Kim added.

Women’s roles in rockabilly—in all styles of music—have grown. The days of record companies shunning a pregnant Janis Martin or reducing Barbara Pittman’s recordings to little more than a wallflower, hovering on the edges of the Elvis Presley/Carl Perkins crowd, are gone. Society’s standards may have changed, but thank goodness the raw sound and so-dirty-you-need-a-shower emotion evoked by rockabilly music haven’t. Kim Lenz is living proof of rockabilly’s continued ability to connect one generation of performers and fans to another. “I feel so appreciative of all the great people I’ve gotten to perform with, and the fan base,” she shared. “I feel about the luckiest person in the world to do what I love. I’m really glad that you and others are keeping roots music alive.

And Kim Lenz is one of them.




The Millwinders

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews
The Millwinders - It's Love
The Millwinders – It’s Love

The Millwinders – It’s Love

There goes my baby – Move me so – Shame – Trouble – Blue blue heart – How blue – Don’t you dare – No vacancy – Two timin fool – The only fool – Bumble bee – The one who loves me – It’s love

A wise man called Bo Diddley once sang “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover”. He sure was right but when you look at the Millwinders’ second album and its Blue Note inspired cover, you can’t help but have a pretty good feeling about what’s coming next.
And you’re right! This brand new album, made of twelve orginals and one cover, is excellent.
Since their previous effort (Ladies and Gentlemen in 2014) the Millwinders have expanded their sound and added 60’s elements like Soul and a bit of Girls groups to their musical gumbo. The result is a wide range of styles covering almost the whole array of roots music.
To help them achieve their vision, they asked Deke Dickerson to produce and mix the record. His presence and experience can be felt throughout this album. But most of the credit must be given to the band.
In case you wouldn’t know this canadian quartet, let me introduce you those fine musicians. On vocals, guitar and bass is James Henry. Mark Sanders plays lead guitar. Teddy Fury who previously played with James in the Royal Crowns and was in the Bopcats back in the 80’s, is on drums and last but not least Sarah Butler on vocals and upright bass. And man, can this girl sing!
She’s equally at ease with a Motown tinged track (“There Goes My Baby” that opens the album with Deke on baritone sax) than with a hot rockin’ track. One minute she seduces you or make you weep with a straight Honky Tonk – like “the Only One Who Loves Me” or “The Only Fool“ (that features a steel guitar and is not far from “Heartaches by the Numbers”) and the next she’s mean and roars like on Lavern Baker’s Bumble Bee.
James sings two solid rockabilly numbers. Blue Blue Heart is a new version of a song he had previously recorded with the Royal Crowns. This song, like Bumble Bee, also features the band’s former drummer Glenn Kimberley who sadly passed away last year.
The second song on which he takes the lead is Two Timin’ Fool. It starts with a rockabilly beat and mixes it with a Bo Diddley solo in the middle. Just great.
With the help of their producer, the Millwinders worked hard to create different moods. On guitar, Mark goes from straight rockabilly to western twang or switch to baritone guitar for “How Blue”. Teddy Fury has the best quality for a Rock’n’roll drummer: you don’t hear him, or I’d rather say you don’t notice him. Don’t misunderstand me, this is really for me the best quality a drummer can have: his style, like DJ Fontana or Ringo Starr to name but two, serves the music and the songs first and not his own glory.
The more you listen to it, you can hear they also pay a special attention to the structure of the album, which is more than just a collection of songs. They even pass what I call the “last song test”. Too many bands waste a good album with an average final song. Not them! They kept one of the best songs, which is also the title track, a superb swinging duet between Sarah and James to leave you begging for more.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Eddie Clendening

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Eddie Clendening is… Knocking at your heart.
Eddie Clendening is… Knocking at your heart.

Eddie Clendening is… knocking at your heart.

Ventrella CD-5003
Buttercup – Mean Ol’ Frisco – Baby Brother – Hey Little One – Long Tall Lou (from Louisville) – Sugaree – Have a Ball – Knockin’ (at your heart) – Comin’ Home Baby – Blues Stop Knockin’ At My Door – Manifesto Of Love – Respectfully Miss Brooks – Hot Shot – Make Me Know You’re Mine – Six Feet Under – It’ll Be Me- My Baby’s Gone Away

I’m not very good at maths but I can solve a simple equation. For example take one of the best band on the scene (let’s say The Modern Sounds), put them in Jimmy Sutton’s studio with one of the most talented young singer (Eddie Clendening) and the result is, that’s no surprise, one hell of a killer album.
17 hot tracks that range from rockabilly to rock’n’roll with bits of rhythm’n’blues, country music and even a brilliant sixties soul number. And this voice! Oh boy, this guy can rock and when he croons he’s sure going to break hearts all over the globe (just listen to Hey Little One if you don’t believe me). There must be a reason why he’s been chosen to play Elvis in Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet. Musically, Joel Paterson’s guitar shines troughout (as usual), he can rock it up, blues it up, jazz it up and sometimes he does the three in the same time. Alex Hall and Beau Samble confirm they’re one of the best rhythm section in activity.
If you still need to be convinced, let me tell you that High Noon’s Shaun Young wrote the laudatory liner notes. Talent knows talent.
As usual with Ventrella it comes in a beautifully designed digipack

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ray Allen

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Ray Allen - Rock, Jive and Stroll with me
Ray Allen – Rock, Jive and Stroll with me

Ray Allen – Rock, Jive & Stroll With Me!

Rhythm Bomb RBR 5822 (2015)
Belly Button Baby  – Rocking Mama – Ruby Red Lips  – Happy End – Hang Out – Baby Love – Heat Wave – Ole Gang Rock – I Like You, I Need You, I Want You – Beyond My Reach – I Love My Baby – Stay Away From Me – She’s Wild – A Kiss From You – Bubble Gum

This is Ray Allen’s fourth album recorded at Lightning Recorders in Germany. The title says it all,it’s a rock’n’roll album built to make you dance and tap your feet. To achieve that the band varies mood, tempos, instrumentations styles and arrangements. I especially like when they add backing vocals in the best Jordanaires tradition to emulate Elvis’ RCA sound. But there’s plenty more in it. It’s maybe a tad too long for me, I’d easily skip two or three songs but in the end it’s a very enjoyable experience as this style is finally not too often represented on the current scene and we need more artists like Ray Allen.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Hal Peters trio / & his Stringdusters

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/OPQ/Reviews
Hal Peters and his Stringdusters - Western Standard Time
Hal Peters and his Stringdusters – Western Standard Time

Hal Peters and his String Dusters – Western Standard Time

Bluelight Records. BLR 331132 [2004]
Late For Lovin’ – Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand – Without You – Time/Careless Words – Ciggarets, Jukebox and A Bar Room – I Hear You Talkin’ – Take Back Your Paperheart – Play The Music Louder – My Front Door Is Open – If I Don’t Love You (Grits Ain’t Croseries) – I’m Satisfied With You – Diamonds And Cadillacs – Guess Things Happen That Way

One often says that to make good country music and especially western-swing, it is necessary to be american and live in the south of the country if possible! All this is bullshit and I ‘m gonna disclose it right now : there is a band in Finland which, since many years now, forged itself a reputation whose exceeded the borders and is far from being usurped. Hal Peters and his String Dusters’ fellows form today part of the best formations of Western-Swing and this new album «Western Standard Time» proves it easily.Since their beginnings in the rockabilly music as a quartet (Hal Peters and his Trio) the combo has changed its name, stretched and moved towards a hillbilly bop and western-swing style inspired by Curtis Gordon (to whom this album is dedicated) Roy Hogsed or Hank Thompson. These accomplished musicians who divided themselves between other bands give to this album a credibility who largely exceeds a number of other bands which today launch out in this musical kind. Listen to «Late For Lovin’» a composition of Hal Peters (his real name is Heikki Laakkonen) and you will immediately be transported to Texas or Oklahomain the middle of the Fifties. The rest of the album will firmly anchor you to it during the fourteen titles with a small detour towards the rockabilly sound of Memphis with the participation of Hayden Thompson («Diamonds and Cadillacs») and the «Cash» soundalike with the cover of «Guess Things Happen That Way». Is Helsinki goin’ to overshadow Turkey as the home of Western-Swing?? Who knows.??

David Phisel

Hal Peters and his Trio - Fireball Mail
Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Goofin Record GRCD 6038 {1994}
Fireball Mail – Make Up Your Mind – Rock Me Up – Baby I’m Ready – You’re My Very Special Baby – Doggone It/If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – You’re There – Satisfied – Starlight – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon/You’re Gone – Steelin’Home – Blue Blue Day – Tired Of Rockin’ – Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’ Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

A must have. This cd album contains the band’s debut album (Snatch It and Grab It), songs from various singles, eps, compilations and a selection of songs from their 1991 album « Baby I’m Ready« . And if it wasn’t enough it also features five brand new recording that announce the new direction – more western swing – taken by the band in the following years.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Hank Ewards - In the silence of the Night
Hank Ewards – In the silence of the Night

Hank Edwards With Hal Peters And His Trio – In the Silence of the Night

Goofin Records GOOFY 533 {1992}
In the Silence of the Night – I Wish I Has a Nickel
Another case of « wrong time, wrong place ». Had Hank Edward come from the USA and been active in the late 40’s/early 50’s, he would have shared the stage of the Opry or the Hayride with Hank Williams or some other great names of the time. Instead he comes from Sweden and began releasing records in the 80’s for an audience of fine connoisseurs.
This honky tonk single released for Goofin seems to come straight from the 50’s. Everything here is close to perfection the songs (one original on side A and a cover of Hank Williams that certain discovered under the name of Tell Me Little Darlin on the Riverside Trio debut album – on the side B), the voice and the backing provided by the always excellent Hal Peters and his trio.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Hal Peters and his Trio - You Don't Have to Worry ep
Hal Peters and his Trio – You Don’t Have to Worry ep

Hal Peters and his Trio – EP

Goofin’ Goofy 511 {1988}
You Don’t Have To Worry – If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – Doggone It – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon

The name has changed to Hal Peters and his Trio with the addition of Jussi Huhtakangas on drums and steel guitar but the quality remains. A guest fiddle can also be heard on Jimmy and Johnny’s If You Don’t, Somedy Else Will. The result is one great rockabilly number (Joe Clay’s Doggone It) and three mellower hillbilly bop straight from Texas circa 1955.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Hal Peters Trio - Snatch It and Grab It!
Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

Moondogs SRLP 8525 {1986}
Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

Released in 1986 Snatch It and Grab It is the debut album of this Finish trio. They formed in 1984 with Heikki Laakkonen on vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, Eino Rastas a mighty guitar player in the style of Hal Harris formerly of the Rhythm Wheel Combo and Timo Uimonen on double bass. They are probably one the best rockabilly band of the eighties and one the very few to capture the feeling of the 50’s recordings.
Despite a majority of covers (Carls Perkins, Freddie Hart, Curtis Gordon, Buddy Holly, Joe Clay…) and only one self penned tune (You Cant Do Me No Wrong) they manage to have a highly personnal sound. Most of the songs are in the drummerless trio format though one can here a light drums on some tracks and occasional piano. Excellent from start to finish
Later reissued with various other tracks on the cd album « Fireball Mail » (Goofin records GRCD 6038).
Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Hal Peters and his Trio
Hal Peters and his Trio
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