Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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February 2017

Benny and the Fly-by-niters

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Benny and the Fly-by-niters - Watch Yourself
Benny and the Fly-by-niters – Watch Yourself

Benny and the Fly-by-niters – Watch Yourself

Rhythm Bomb Records RBR 5837 [2016]
Next Time I’ll Listen – Crazy Crazy Baby – Take Off Mama – Bennny’s Bop – Can’t Get Along – The Blues Is A Feeling – Texas Bound – Watch Yourself – Pork Chops – Drink It Up – Mina’s Blues

 

Australia’s Benny Peters returns with a brand new album nearly ten years after the excellent Hey Now!  Whereas Be Good or Be Gone and Hey Now! had been recorded at Fort Horton with an agregation of the finest Austin musicians,Watch Yourself sees benny return to Australia (Ignition Studio in Melbourne) and some of the Fly-by-niters who play on this platter (Attilio Vecchio: double bass; Andrew Lindsay: drums; Dean Hilson and Alex Howroyd: saxes; James Black: piano) were already present on his debut album back in the early 2000’s.

If you’re looking for fifties sounding Rhythm’n’ blues and Jump Blues, look no further, Peters is one of the very best at this game (and by best I mean there are only two or three bands who actually can seriously compete with him). Everything here is near perfect, the sound – you’d swear you listen to late forties/early fifties recordings – the playing, the arrangements, the songs (all originals) and to top it all, Benny’s voice. The band is tight and has plenty of room to let the talent of each individuality shine.
In addition to the genres already mentionned, the menu is spiced with some hot Rock’n’roll (the Little Richard influenced Crazy Crazy Baby), blues (the Blues is a feeling) and some Be Bop can be heard on the two instrumentals Benny’s Bop and Mina’s Blues (penned by saxman Dean Hilson).

Recommended if you like: Pee Wee Crayton, Tiny Grimes, Gatemouth Brown…


Benny And The Fly-By-Niters ‎– The Many Sides Of
Benny And The Fly-By-Niters ‎– The Many Sides Of

Benny and the Fly-by-niters – the many sides of…

Rhythm Bomb Records RBR 5836 [2016]
Straighten up Mama-  Two Dollar Woman – Wolfman – Wild Cherry – The Way You Do – Jet Propelled Daddy – Benny’s Bounce – If You Ever Get Lonesome – Party Like Never Before – You Ain’t Puttin’ Out Nothin’ but the Lights – Be Good or Be Gone – She Knocks me Out – Huckle Boogie – Wonder When You’re Coming Home – Hey Now – Tell me Pretty Baby- Let’s Rock and Roll – Hammerhead – Loosen Up – RM Blues

 

 

Not only Rhythm Bomb had the good idea to release Benny and the Fly-by-Niters’s brand new album (Watch Yourself), the label also gathered some of the combo’s best sides from their now hard to find previous albums (Jet Propelled Daddy, Be Good or Be Gone, Hey Now) to release a 20 track jump bomb. All killers, no fillers (no wonder if you take a look at the musicians involved, Andrew Lindsay, Matt Farrell, Preston Hubbard, Jonathan Doyle, Murph Motycka, Dean Hinson, Damien Llanes etc.) This compilation is the perfect companion to Benny’s most recent album.

 

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

 

Bill Haley (Four Aces of Western Swing / Saddlemen / Comets)

in Albums/GH/Reissues/Reviews
Bill Haley and His Comets - the Decca Years and more...
Bill Haley and His Comets – the Decca Years and more…

Bill Haley & His Comets – The Decca Years and More

Bear Family BCD 15506
CD 1: Rock Around the Clock, Thirteen Women, Shake Rattle and Roll, ABC Boogie, Happy Baby, Dim Dim the Lights, Birth of the Boogie, Mambo Rock, Two Hound Dogs, Razzle Dazzle, ROCK, Rock-a-Beatin’ Boogie, The Saint’s Rock and Roll, Burn That Candle, See You Later Alligator, The Paper Boy, Goofin’ Around, Rudy’s Rock, Hide and Seek (vocal by Billy Williamson), Hey Then There Now (vocal by the Comets Trio), Tonight’s The Night (vocal by the Comets Trio), Hook Line and Sinker, Blue Comet Blues (aka. Blue Home Blues), Calling All Comets, Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie, A Rockin’ Little Tune, Hot Dog Buddy Buddy, Rockin’ Thru the Rye.

CD 2: Don’t Knock the Rock (without overdub), Teenager’s Mother, Rip it Up, Don’t Knock the Rock, Forty Cups of Coffee, Miss You, Billy Goat, Rockin’ Rollin’ Rover, Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone, You Can’t Stop Me From Dreaming, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, Rock Lomond, Is it True What They Say About Dixie?, Carolina in the Morning, The Dipsy Doodle, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Beak Speaks, Moon Over Miami, One Sweet Letter From You, In Apple Blossom Time, Somebody Else is Taking My Place, How Many?, Move it On Over, Rock the Joint, Rip it Up (without handclaps).

CD 3: Me Rock-a-Hula, Rockin’ Rita, Jamaica DJ (vocal by Williamson), Piccadilly Rock, Pretty Alouette, Rockin’ Rollin’ Schnitzlebank, Rockin’ Matilda, Vive le Rock and Roll, It’s a Sin, Mary Mary Lou, El Rocko, Come Rock With Me, Oriental Rock, Wooden Shoe Rock, The Walkin’ Beat, Skinny Minnie, Sway With Me, Lean Jean, Don’t Nobody Move, Joey’s Song (stereo), Chiquita Linda, Dinah, Ida Sweet as Apple Cider, Whoa Mabel!, Marie, Eloise, Corrine Corrina (without handclaps), Joey’s Song (mono).

CD 4: Corrine Corrina, B.B. Betty (vocal by Williamson), Sweet Sue Just You, Charmaine, Vive le Rock and Roll (vocal by Bill Haley and Catarina Valente), Hot Dog Buddy Buddy, The Dragon Rock, ABC Rock (vocal by Williamson and Franny Beecher), The Catwalk, I Got a Woman, A Fool Such as I, Be By Me, Where Did You Go Last Night?, Caldonia, Shaky, Ooh Look-a There Ain’t She Pretty?, Summer Souvenir, Puerto Rican Peddlar, Music Music Music, Skokiaan, Drowsy Waters, Two Shadows, In a Little Spanish Town, Strictly Instrumental, Mack the Knife, The Green Door, Yeah She’s Evil, Football Rock and Roll, Six Year Olds Can Rock and Roll.

CD 5: Behind-the scenes studio recordings from 1959, featuring incomplete and alternate takes of : The Dragon Rock, ABC Rock (vocal by Williamson), The Catwalk, I Got a Woman, A Fool Such as I, Be By Me, Where Did You Go Last Night?

On April 12 1954 when Bill Haley and his Comets entered the studio to cut their first single for Decca their new label under the direction of Milt Gabler (who previously worked with notorious jazz musicians like  Billie Holiday). Little did they know that the little tune recorded in a hurry at the end of the session would change the face of the popular music. This five cd boxed set gathers all the sides recorded for Decca between 1954 and 1959 (with some extras) and proves – if needed – that Haley was far more than a one-song-man.
The songs are presented chronologically with the exception of cd 1 that opens with “Rock Around The Clock” rather than “Thirteen Women“.
Haley’s most well known songs are on this first platter. After a few sessions new Comets (Franny Beecher, Al Rex, Rudy Pompilli, Ralph Jones) replace Dick Richards, Joey D’Ambrosio and Marshall Lytle who left after a financial disagrement to form the Jodimars. But it would be a mistake to believe that Haley had little consideration for his musicians. He takes every chances he can to put them in the spotlight as shown on the second half of this cd. Billy Williamson, steel guitarist and Haley’s partner takes the lead vocals on Big Joe Turner’s Hide & Seek (he used to sing Big Joe’s Feelin’ Happy on stage too). He is joined by Beecher and Grande too for the Comets trio on Tonight The Night and Hey There, Hey Now.
A couple of instrumentals are thrown in allowing Beecher (“Goofin’ Around“) and Pompili (Rudy’s Rock“) to show their skills. Grande is not forgotten and get his own one with “A Rockin’ Little Tune” (who said you couldn’t rock with an accordion?).
All the hits are on this cd and by the time you reach the last song Haley’s commercial success (with a few exceptions) is over, and this cd alone would be enough for the casual listener.

When cd2 two opens, the Comets haven’t charted for a while and the band is looking for a hit or a second breath. With “Don’t Knock The Rock” and “Teenager’s Mother” Haley takes the defense of Rock music. If not masterpieces, these are good songs and I don’t really understand why Colin Escott has a real go at this songs in his notes. “You Hit The Wrong Note Billy Goat” clearly tries to reproduce the success “See You Later Alligator” but the songs is far from being as good as Bobby Charles’.
Next are the sessions that gave the “Rockin’ the oldies” album. Maybe the constant touring didn’t allow them to write original material and led to the decision to make an all cover of Tin Pan Alley material. Whatever the reason, the result is not really convincing. It’s not the fault of the band but more to the songs that were not suitable to be turned into rock’n’roll. For example “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” features a superb bluesy guitar solo from Beecher and Al Rex plays some of his best bass part here.
But the band is in a dead end, trying to apply a formlula instead of exploring new creative ways. Logically this recordings didn’t chart and the following session (July 1957) finds Haley trying at last new things, even if it marks a return to his country roots. “How Many” is a very good country-pop ditty that had everything to chart (but didn’t), and their cover of”Move It On Over” was excellent as is their remake of “Rock The Joint“.

Cd3 features another concept album: “Rockin’ Around The World” (Rocking Tunes representative of 12 different and exciting parts of the world to quote the ad). For this session the band is joined by Rusty Keefer on second guitar which brings a little excitement to a very poor material. You can’t even blame songs that would be hard to transform into rock material as most of them are originals. Even for die hard fans there’s not much to save here except “Vive Le Rock’n’Roll“, “Roch Lomond” and maybe another one or two.
The worst enemy of Haley was maybe his will to make Rock’n’roll music acceptable by the whole family. While Elvis, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis were playing with the parents vs teenagers conflict. Haley in trying to please everyone, didn’t please anyone and despite good musicianship there were not much to please teenagers in “Pretty Alouette” and “Rockin’ Rollin’ Schnitzlebank“.
Things get better with the following session (February 1958). The band now featuring an electric bass delivers an instant classic with the Bo Diddley-esque Skinny Minnie and the lesser known follow-up Lean Jean. The sound is dirty and mean and Haley’s voice shows an agressivity rarely heard. In comparison Sway With Me sounds weak.
After a single for the instrumental market (Joey’s Song / Chiquita Linda) the Comets return to their trademark sound with another concept album based upon, girls’ first names. This is by far the best of the three. It’s not 100% successful but the band seems fresh again, inspired (Pompilli cuts some of his best solo on “Woah Mabel” and plays clarinet on “Ida”) and rocking. This is the first time in ages that Haley’s voice has sounded that good and the arrangements are very tight(especially on “Marie“).

This session continue on cd4. Also on this cd are 2 songs recorded for a German movie (“Vive Le Rock’n’Roll” with Caterina Valente and “Hot Dog Buddy Buddy“).
After that Bill Haley and his Comets seem to experiment various genres and tracks hoping to chart again. The result ranges from good to average. There’s attempts at new things like the crooning on “I Got Woman” or “A Fool Such As I“, first-rate rockers (“Where Did You Go Last Night”, “Caldonia“) and old mistakes (“ABC Rock” couldn’t really compete with Chuck Berry’s School Days). Then there’s the material for an instrumental album with different degrees of success, some announcing the forthcoming mexican releases.
The cd ends with two tracks recorded in 1964 seeing Haley returning to Decca for a single and also proving he still had plenty of good thing in store (though the public didn’t think so) and two songs recorded for the consideration of Milt Gabler that never went any further than the state of demos probably because Football Rock was too close to Crazy Man Crazy.

Cd5 gives you an inside view in the recording process of Haley, Gabler and the Comets.You can hear the evolution and the construction of the songs. Just wish they could have found the same tapes for a more interesting session.

This boxed set is perfect to discover the complexity of Bill haley. The only regret I have concerns the booklet. The liner notes seem to have been written by someone who doesn’t really like Haley but the discography is very complete and the pictures are beautiful.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Bill Haley - Rocks
Bill Haley – Rocks

Bill Haley – Bill Rocks

Bear Family BCD 16807
Rock Around The Clock – Shake Rattle And Roll – Dim Dim The Lights – Happy Baby – Mambo Rock – Rocket ’88 – Birth Of The Boogie – Razzle Dazzle – Two Hound Dogs – Rock The Joint – Burn That Candle – Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie – See You Later, Alligator – Real Rock Drive – The Saints Rock And Roll – A.B.C. Boogie – R-O-C-K – Crazy Man Crazy – Hot Dog Buddy Buddy – Rockin’ Through The Rye – Rip It Up – Fractured – Rudy’s Rock – Choo Choo Ch’Boogie – Don’t Knock The Rock – Live It Up – Forty Cups Of Coffee – Skinny Minnie – Lean Jean – Where Did You Go Last Night? – Green Tree Boogie.

Bill Haley’s greatest hits have been compiled over and over again , mostly on budget series with ugly covers and no liner notes. It is justice that the true father of Rock’n’roll finds his place in the Bear Family’s Rocks serie because Bill Haley didn’t rock, he was the Rock (the same way Charlie Feathers was the rockabilly).
The core of this collection is made of the hits he cut for Decca in the wake of the success of Shake Rattle & Roll and Rock Around the Clock. Are also included some of his Essex sides when he first tried to mix Western swing with Rhythm’n’blues showing a man and band figuring how to find a new sound, how they succeeded and changed the face of the popular music.
That’s without a doubt the best thing from Bill Haley you could buy if you’re not fan enough to get the boxed sets ‘The Decca Years & More” and “The Real Birth Of Rock’n’roll”. As usual it comes with a thick booklet.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Suzy Q and Her Be Bop Boys

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Suzy Q and her Be Bop Boys  Cool Baby!
Suzy Q and her Be Bop Boys Cool Baby!

Suzy Q and Her Be Bop Boys – Cool Baby !

Astro Records 1967
There Goes My Baby – Babydoll Knows How To Rock – Kinfolk In Carolina – King of Hearts – Cool Baby – Demon Lover – He’ll Come Back – Hypnotic Rock – Honky Tonk Hot Rod Man – Triple Slap Cat
Suzy Q and her Be Bop Boys are basically the Hot Rod Trio augmented by Mitch Homer on rhythm guitar. But this time Suzy Dughi is totally in charge of the lead vocals and the sound is rather different. One look at the sleeve, a tribute to Gene Vincent’s first lp on Capitol, and it’s easy to guess where this combo draws a part of its inspiration. But this is not a carbon copy, it’s more a question of energy and sound, and actually there isn’t any Vincent cover here. Seven songs are from the pen of Suzy and one by her husband, guitar maestro Buddy Dughi. The remaining three come from the catalog of Ricky Nelson, Merle Travis and Bob & Lucille. The rhythm section (including Suzy’s prowess on bass) makes a perfect support for the dialog between her vocals and Buddy’s “gallupin'” guitar. The result is a bunch of first rate rockabillies, sometimes groovy (Demon Lover), sometimes mean (King Of Heart – excellent !), sometimes rural (Kinfolk In Carolina) but always good and sure to make you dance to the bop. As a bonus there’s a live version of “There Goes My Baby” and the lyrics are included. I guess it’s out of print now but you can check their website to hear some samples.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Gin Palace Jesters

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
Gin Palace Jesters - Roadhouse Riot...and other songs with words
Gin Palace Jesters – Roadhouse Riot…and other songs with words

Gin Palace Jesters – Roadhouse Riot …And Other Songs With Words

Rhythm Bomb – RBR 5616
Losing Her Memory/You Cry Alone/Moonbeam/Ol’ Webb’s Bullhorn Pontiac/Are You Missing Me/Too Sad to Stay(& Much Too Scared to Leave)/Down Beneath the Willows/Roadhouse Riot/Reflections Don’t Lie/Alison Rose/Second Fiddle/Hit The Bricks/Goody Gumdrops/Last One’s Left Waltz

Dave Sisson is not only the singer/guitar player of the high octane rockabilly trio Three Blue Teardrops, he also leads this country and western combo.
A little less western swing tinged, Roadhouse Favorite shows a slight change in the sound of the band aiming at a late 50’s / early 60’s honky tonk sound when Ray Price, Buck Owens and Webb Pierce were kings.
As a consequence you’ll find plenty of fiddle, pedal steel, Don Rich styled telecaster and harmony vocals. Sisson is a terrific songwriter for that kind of Honky Tonk sound, and weepers like Moonbeam and the haunting Down Beneath the Willow with the beautiful contribution of fiddler Katie Schandegg on backing vocals are perfect to give you give goosebumbs. No good country album would be complete without a Waltz. Not only you have one but icing on the cake, it’s a duet between Sisson and Schandegg. One will also find some bluegrass (Are You Missing Me), a bit of Western swing (Too Sad to Stay and much too scared to leave) and a nod to Carl Mann (Hit The Bricks).

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Greyhounds (the) – neo-rockabilly

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
The Greyhounds. - Story of our life
The Greyhounds. – Story of our life

The Greyhounds – Story of our life

Part Rec. 645.003 [2010]
Der Rhythmus – All The Time – Rockin’ Stone – You Wanna Leave Me – Heart Of A Fool – Why Do You Treat Me This Way – Story Of My Life – Mean Red Spider – Curly Hair – At The Bar – Run Chicken Run – Rockin’ With Me Baby – Devil’s Race – The Munsters.

If neo-rockabilly is your bag, the latest Greyhounds platter is definitely for you. It features nine originals and five covers (Link Wray, Sleepy Labeef, Jerry Capeheart, Leroy Davis). Their sound takes you directly to the 80’s and reminds me of the best band of the era. But you can’t reduce them to just one style. You’ll hear a song or two that borders early psychobilly, sizzling instrumentals (Run Chicken Run and the Monsters – often covered but this one stands among the best), authentic sounding rockabilly (All the Time, Rockin’ Stone), blues (Story Of My Life) and some country influences too (You Wanna Leave Me). A well played (excellent guitar interplay) and varied album with good originals.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Buffalo Chips (the)

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Buffalo chips-Rockabilly Party
Buffalo chips-Rockabilly Party

The Buffalo Chips – Rockabilly Party

Cosmic Star Records CSR022
Supersonic mama – Tornado – Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby – Red Eyed Handsome Man – Lonesome Train – Nervous – No Heart To Spare – Walk Like An Egyptian – She Will Come Back – Nobody But You – Doghouse Tripple – My Steady Baby – Hip Hip Hurray – Woodpecker Rock – Sag Drag & Fall – Cucumber Beat – Who Slapped John?

This German trio gives you the recipe for a good Rockabilly party. Take a large dose of neo-rockabilly with a solid beat (excellent slap bass and drums works) and a talented singer/guitarist. Spice the melange with a touch of psychobilly, a dose of blues and a small quantity of garage rock (Doghouse Tripple seems to come from a lost Billy Childish album)
Write some solid originals and add some carefully choosen covers from the catalog of Carl Perkins, Sid King, Johnny Burnette, Gene Vincent, Little Walter as well as contemporary rockabilly bands like The Jets, the Big Barn Combo and Cave Catt Sammy and even a reved up version of the Bangles Walk Like An Egyptian.
Sprinkle the whole thing with a fine production and the solid dose of personnality required when you mostly play covers and here it is, the recipe of the new musical cocktail that’ll rock your house and move your feet: the Rockabilly Party.
And like an olive on top of your cocktail, you have a short but raw version of Pipeline as a bonus track hidden at the end of the cd.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
PS -Booze not included, BYOB!

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