Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

Author

Virgil

Virgil has 434 articles published.

Colton Turner

Last year, I stumbled upon a brand new artist who sang Rockabilly and hillbilly bop just the way I like it (understand: with a strong will to write melodies and a good dose of Buddy Holly in it).
Once I received his debut album, it stayed in my player for weeks. That was exactly what I was expecting from a band: superb voice, excellent musicianship and a batch of original songs that didn’t sound like you’ve already heard them 100 times before.
When I was thinking about removing the album from my player, Colton Turner (that’s the name of the artist by the way in case you’d wonder) and his band (Zane Turner, Yari Bolanos and Alberto Tello) released a second album that was even better.
Suddenly, I heard in my head a little voice that said “Virgil, if you doen’t write an article about this band, what the use of this website?”
So here it is (and don’t forget to buy their albums).
Colton Turner
Colton Turner

Colton Turner and his brother Zane ­ who plays guitar in the band ­ grew up in Carlsbad, California. In High School the two brothers got into the Beatles and other sixties Rock’n’roll artists. With the Beatles covering artists like Carl Perkins, it didn’t take long before they discovered the first generation of Rock’n’roll musicians. “It was pretty over once we got hold of a Buddy Holly cd.” says the singer.
They quickly decided to form a band. The first line-up of the Senders, as they were called, was Colton and his brother Zane and a drummer called Jack. They were soon joined in 2015 by Yari Bolanos (“Jerry as we call him”) on bass. The bass player remembers how he heard about the band “(Jack) told me about a band he was in that played 1950’s Rock’n’roll exclusively and I asked if I could maybe rehearse with them so that next day I came over to their garage to try out and it took off from here.”Colton adds “We practised a couple of times and it just seemed like a real natural fit. (…) We had a lot of fun playing around and just hanging out.
Yari has found memories about this formative years “The Senders was a pretty fun band, we were all electric, besides drums. Colton and Zane had matching electric guitars and I played a P bass at the time. We would practice in this tiny garage everyday for hours on end, which I think really helped us really fine tune our sound. Our gigs were mostly bars and restaurants, and occasionaly a bigger gig like the county fair. We had a few recording sessions at Paladins’ bass player Thomas Yearsley’s studio in Oceanside, Ca. To be honest we didn’t really know who he was at the time but he treated us like he’s known us for years and we are very thankful for his hospitality and his patience while recording us!

Moving to Austin, Texas

The Senders stopped when Zane and Colton Turner decided to relocate to Austin, Texas. But the Colton brothers eventually persuaded Yari to join them “The two brothers had called me out of nowhere after about a year since they had moved to tell me that they bought me a greyhound ticket bus to Austin. They were planning on recording again and wanted me to play bass on the recordings, I didnt really have anything going on so I decided to just go for it and visit for a couple of weeks.” Little did he know that he would stay a little lot longer.
This time also saw Yari switch from electric bass to double bass full time. One of the reason being none other than the great Kevin Smith of High Noon fame (now with Willie Nelson) “After I heard him play in High Noon it really motivated me to get serious about trying to improve my Upright Bass playing. I’ve been fortunate enough to see him live and chat with him for a bit.

The trio was soon completed by the missing piece of their rockin’ puzzle: Alberto Tello, an Italian drummer who lived in Austin. In his country, Alberto played ten years with Tribal Bops as well as Marco di Maggio then moved to Austin in 1996 where he played with Shaun Young and the Horton Brothers when they were still called the Fender Benders. He returned to Italy but was back for good in 2001where he played with Nick Curran (though he never recorded with him he can be seen on a semi-bootleg dvd that I highly recommend, if you can put your hand on a copy), Shaun Young and the Texas Blue Dots, Barbara Lynn. He then crossed path with Colton, Zane and Jake. According to Colton Turner they met when “The three of us saw a man with a Vespa (actually a Lambretta – ed.) take a nasty fall around a turn. We went to see if he was O.K. and began talking, he was alright and it just so happened he played drums.” Alberto’s version is more prosaic “I meet the Turner gang during SXSW, I saw them play on trio without drum, on one show case. They sounded really good. So we start to talk, and they ask me if I was interested to play a gig with them” Anyway the trio was now a quartet.

Recording at Fort Horton

It didn’t take long for them to be ready to record and they soon got in touch with Billy Horton of the famous Fort Horton studio where were recorded albums by High Noon, Dave Stuckey, Nick Curran, the Bellfuries, Cave Catt Sammy, Nikki Hill and of course the Horton brothers. “We came in contact with Billy Horton after seeing him play live a few times around town.” says Colton “We were unaware that Fort Horton studios existed prior to our move to Austin but we are certainly glad it does.” Alberto pursues “I pushed for recording at Billy studio, but just a little bit, because I know Colton would be perfect for the quality of Forth Horton recording.” And he was right. Fort Horton sure was the right place and Billy Horton managed to capture the band’s energy on tape using vintage material (two 1954/1955 Ampex 350 reel to reel, 1/4″ mono.) with the band recording live (“ if you don’t want any mistake in the recording, don’t make them” says Billy Horton)

All involved really enjoyed the session. For Colton “The recording of our first record was an all day affair but we managed to record the entire thing in one session. Fort Horton is a fantastic studio and we always enjoy our time while we are there.” Yari agrees “It was awesome! Billy really knows what he’s doing and has a very good sense of capturing the best of each band he records.

Their self released debut album came like a breath of fresh air on the rockin’ scene. As I wrote earlier in my review, it made me feel like the late 80’s/early 90’s again, when bands like High Noon, Big Sandy, Go Cat Go were appearing.

The Rockabilly Rave

It wasn’t long before the promoters heard of the band and soon Colton, Zane, Yari and Alberto were playing the 2018 edition of the Rockabilly Rave. “ The Rockabilly Rave was our first time over seas and it was fantastic! Aside from hearing all the great music we really enjoyed seeing new places and most importantly meeting great people and making new friends!” remembers the singer. For Yari it was “absolutley incredble! I have never experienced such appreciation for newer rockabilly music ever. The people were very friendly and all of the bands that played were amazing. I enjoyed every moment of that trip and hope to play again in 2019! (since this interview took place the band annouced that they were booked for 2019 – ed.) I never would have imagined playing all the way in London!

The newest album

Before playing the Rockabilly Rave, Colton Turner and his band had recorded a second album, still at Fort Horton. The same ingredients that made the success of their first are still here with the addition of a lap steel played by Bobby Horton of a couple of tracks thus expanding the sound of the album. Once again all songs are originals “ My song writing varies a lot and I enjoy writing in different styles. I listen to all genres of music from country and rock ‘n’ roll to doo wop and swing so all the different moods of the album come naturally.” He cites Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley but also Frank Sinatra and country artist like Jim Reeves.

Colton Turner
Yari Bolanos, Colton Turner, Zane Turner and Alberto Tello

Asked about how the band works on the songs, Alberto explains “Most of the time Colton has already develop the song in his mind, he has 90% of the song already lay down, we add rhythm and embellishment.” Yari completes “Colton usually has it all planned out in his head already. He will play the songs then we slowly start joining in. Its a very straight forward process since he pretty much knows what direction he wants to go. From there we play the song until it feels like its right.

The result in an excellent album mixing soft rockabilly/rock’n’roll reminiscent of Ricky Nelson or Buddy Knox with hillbilly boogie, some Diddley beat, straight rockabilly and mean rock’n’roll. It’s available on El Toro‘s website or directly from the band.

Now I’m sure that Colton Turner will confirm in the future all the good things that his first two albums and his recent stage appearences announced and that this is only the first chapter of a long story.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Thanks to Colton Turner, Yari Bolanos and Alberto Tello for their help and their time.

Marcel Riesco

Marcel Riesco – All Shades of Blue

Marcel Riesco all shades of blue

Sleazy Records – SRLP30 – [2018]

All Shades Of Blue – The Actress – Kiss From You – Paper Heart – So Lonely Without You – Fade Away – Borne On The Wind – Let’s Get Goin’ – Yes, I’ve Come Back – Lonely Blue Dreams – Runnin’ Fool – Indian Love

If you have no time to waste reading reviews, here’s what you need to know : GO BUY THIS ALBUM, NOW!

Now if you want to read more…

When Marcel Riesco (of the Truly Lover Trio) announced the immediate release of this album on his Facebook page, I asked him if it would be as good as “A record date” his previous album that blew me away. His too words answer was “Way better”. That was quite a promise but a couple of weeks later I held a physical copy of the lp (with a signed card) and I had to admit that he didn’t lie. Far from that.

This record is a collection of twelve songs including eight originals from Riesco’s pen. The remaining four songs are two Orbison tracks (the Actress and Borne on the wind), a cover of the Morgan Twins (Let’s Get Goin’) and Redd Stewart’s Yes I’ve come back.

As you can guess the set shows a strong Orbisonian influence with ballad for the broken hearted but there’s also more rockin’ stuff with an early 60’s flair as well as some country and western hints here and there.

As usual with the Lightnin recorders stuff, it’s very well recorded with a strong Nashvill Tennessee studio B feel, with a wide range of percussions, piano, vibraphone and pedal steel in addition to the guitar-bass-drums set-up. The real plus being the female voice that blends perfectly with Riesco’s one.

This is an essential album that I couldn’t recommend enough. In a period when everyone on the rockin’ scene tries to sound harder and wilder than his neighbour, it’s refreshing and more than pleasant to find guys like Marcel Riesco or Colton Turner who concentrate on the melodies, the song, the arrangements and the production.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Martha Hull

Martha Hull – Feelin’ Right Tonight

Martha Hull

Feelin’ Right Tonight / Fujiyama Mama
Ripsaw Records 217

Martha Hull first sang Tex Rubinowitz’s Feelin’ Right Tonight (Ripsaw 212) when she was singing for the punk band D.Ceats. She somehow caught the attention of Tex Rubinowitz who decided to record her.

Thus, on May 29, 1980, Martha Hull got into Bias studio to record these two tracks. The session was produced by Rubinowitz and his band, the Bad Boys (Eddie Angel, Ratso, Johnny Castle and Scotty Flowers) backed her up.

Side A is a hot rockin’ version of Tex’s song and the flip is Wanda Jackson’s Fujiyama Mama. Both are solid Rockabilly with strong vocal. One can only regret that Martha Hull didn’t record more stuff in that style.

Released on Ripsaw, the 45 is now very sought after. It now can be found on the Part reissue compilation “the best of Ripsaw”. This serie of compilations also included an alternate take of Fujiyama Mama recorded during another session.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Built for Speed

built for speedBuilt for Speed – Even Roadies Get their Share

Flipside Records

the Duke – I’ll Get You – Where Are The Groupies – Hot Rod Hell – Eat You Alive – I’m Glad, Glad – Too Many Guitars – Just A Rumour – Old Car Blues – I Thought I Was Over You – Rock ANd Roll – Why Do You Treat Me This Way – I Wanna Be A Millionaire

Built For Speed come from Norway and play an excellent brand of modern rockabilly with, its’s no surprise with such a name, influences from the Stray Cats.
You can hear that a lot of work has been made in the studio to get a good sounding album (not just a bunch of friend who record a rehearsal) which is very important with this style (I think).

The first track of the album sets the pace: Gretsch guitar led instrumental, with slap bass and double bass drum pedal with a slightly western feel, as good as any Reverend Horton Heat tune of that kind (think “Big Sky”). “I’ll Get You” adds a touch of melodic Punk (kinda reminded me of The Queers) to their rockabilly. “Where are the groupies” is not only well played (with a nod to the Stray Cat’s Give It To me in the solo) but also features some darn clever lyrics too (I picked up the guitar cos I figured joining a band might be my only chance / now, the ugliest athletes you can imagine get supermodels in bed / so if I’d known then what I know now, I would’ve played football instead).
Psychobilly-blues is the word I’d use for “Hot Rod Hell’. More in a traditionnal blues vein “Eat You Alive” wouldn’t be out of place in The Paladins setlist (yes it’s THAT good) and features a brilliant solo from Anders. Their cover of Lloyd Price’s I’m Glad is no less excellent, still with a blistering guitar part. Totally their own and totally respectful to the original in the same time. The country beat of “Too Many Guitars” is perfect to take your breath. Featuring a piano, “Just A Rumour”, is a Dave Edmunds type of rocker and you’ll find a Mystery Train / Setzer feel on “Old Car Blues”. “I Thought I Was Over You” has a structure of a good old Honky Tonk song with a neo-rockabilly sound, and man I love that. A piano and and a sax are used to transform Led Zeppelin’s Rock’n’roll into a rockin’/rhythm’n’blues number featuring once again blistering guitar solo and screamin’ sax. “I Wanna Be A Millionaire” has a bit of Setzer in it but also reminds me of a great combo of the late 80’s, the Nervous Fellas, mixing rocking blues with hard hitting rockabilly. Also featured as a bonus track an amazing, ears blowing, balls shakin’ version of Motorhead’s The Ace Of Spades.
Excellent!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Star Mountain Dreamers

star mountain dreamersThe Star Mountain Dreamers – Greetings from El Paso


Uranium Rock Records UR-104 [2005]

Rhythm Bomb RBR5628 [2018]
Used To Be My Woman – Hound Like Me – Sippin’ Syrup – Where’ve You Been? – Devil Moon – Can’t Catch & Handle – Texas Rose – She Drives Me High – You Send Me To Heaven – Where’d You Learn Them Things? – Rockin’ Bandit – Tu Corazón.
The fine folks at Rhythm Bomb records had the good idea to reissue the Star Mountain Dreamers.
The Star Mountain Dreamers are a californian chicano band who delivers a frantic brand of rockabilly with guts and nuts : A «no time to spare» music that will hit you right in the middle of your stomach like an uppercut and will let you groggy. Tony howls and growls like a beast, Danny hammers his drums like a blacksmith, Fred makes his guitar sometimes purr then hiccough and vomit a hellfire spurt of notes while Lloyd (the rockin’ Lloyd Tripp!) copulates like a frenzy with his double bass. I’m over emphasizing? Not at all, my dear; the first title «Used to be my Woman» will give you a brief survey to what I’m saying. Wait a minute, don’t stop listening to your recorder, there’s more to come. «Hound Like Me» is devastating and will take the shit out of you!! To cure your ill, here’s some «Sippin’ Syrup» but it won’t help you at all: you’re definitely an «SMD» junkie wantin’ more and more. And these guys are gonna give you what you’re waitin’for till you’re gasping for breath. Even when you think you’re gonna find some rest («Can’t Catch and Handle») they’re gonna fool you and you’ll find yourself jumpin’ around like a crazy jack- in the- box. They’ll «drive you high» and «send you to heaven» and you’ll ask yourself «Where’d they learn them things?». I tell you, these guys are real «rockin’ bandits»(ten bucks for the bloke who find the trick!). No doubt about it folks: that first album is the real thing!
David “Long Tall” Phisel

The Rockabilly express #1

The Rockabilly express is a brand new column to keep you posted about the latest news in the Rockabilly world, the latest releases and the latest things you’ll find on this website. 

On August 4, we were very sad to hear the passing of the Lawrencine May Collins best known by the Rockabilly fans as Lorrie Collins. She formed with her brother Larry one of the most exciting acts of the Fifties, the Collins Kids. They performed again together in the 90’s and proved to the younger generation that they were still kids in their mind.
The Collins Kids stuff is available on Bear Family.

We took a much deserved break to rest but now we’re back. We recently added some new stuff to the website and will do more in the near future.
Here are the latest reviews:
– Memphis Rockabilly Band – Betty Jean
– Restless – Live In Tokyo
– The Wild Ones – Feelin’ Good (single)
– Kim Lenz – Percolate (single)
– The Sure Shots – Four to the Bar
– Mouse Zinn – The Embassy recordings
– The Ridgetop Westernaires – single

We still have many albums to review, so if you sent us stuff and it doesn’t appear here, it’s just a question of time.

Rhythm Bomb/Rockstar records have plenty of new releases scheduled for the forthcoming months. Look at that!
August 15th (CDs only)
CT Ian Cal Ford  Wood & Wire
CT Tom Cat & The Zodiacs Train Of Life
 
September, 15th (CDs only)
5891 Rob Ryan Roadshow Comin Home
5892 The Hoodoo Tones Here To Stay
5893 Shaun Young & The Three Ringers Movin
5894 Hymn For Her Pop-N-Downers
5895 Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue The Heister
KM-CD-12 VA Holy Smoke
KM-CD-13 VA Voodoo Lou
KM-CD-14 VA Wild Life
 
November, 15th (vinyl only)
5939 Slapback Johnny Hit Me Up 12inch
5940 Cat Lee King and his Cocks Cock Tales 12inch
KM-LP-101 VA Too Much Booze 12inch
KM-LP-102 VA Bad Hangover 12inch
KM-EP-101 Gene & Eunice 7inch
KM-EP-102 Johnny Guitar Watson 7inch
KM-EP-103 Larry Williams 7inch
KM-EP-104 Joe Tex 7inch
KM-EP-105 Andre Williams 7inch
 
work in progress, but probably not released before January 2019
5938 Vince and The Sunboppers By Request 10inch
5941 Lily Moe & The Rock-A-Tones 12inch
5942 Billie and The Kids Soulful Woman 12inch
5943 Hymn For Her Pop-N-Downers LP 12inch
KM-LP-103 VA Walkin’ Girl 12inch
KM-LP-104 VA Guitar 2 12inch
5898 Bonita & The Blues Shacks new release CD
5899 Nico Duportal new release CD



1 2 3 73
Go to Top