Bellfuries (the)

The Bellfuries - Just Plain Lonesome
The Bellfuries – Just Plain Lonesome

The Bellfuries – Just Plain Lonesome

Moe & Sal Records – MS002 {2011}
Sad and Lonely ~ Wasted On Him ~ Teenage Boogie ~ Take It To The Chapel ~ Just Plain Lonesome ~ Gonna Make It Alone ~ Your Love (All That I’m Missin’) ~ I Don’t Wanna Wake Up Tomorrow ~ Up To Your Old Tricks Again ~ Hey Mr Locomotive ~ You Must Be A Loser ~ Stealing Kisses ~ Love Found Me ~ Baltimore ~ Take It To The Chapel ~ Letter To My Maybe Baby ~ Wasted On Him ~ Mr Moonlight ~ Ain’t A Bump In The Road ~ Death Of An Idol ~ This Love Ain’t So Bad ~ The Only Ghost There Is Me.

Since its first release in 2001 (ten years ago, how time flies!), Just Plain Lonesome has achieved a deserved cult status. In case you don’t know the Bellfuries (it’s a possibility but it’s hard to believe), they were on this platter Joey Simeone on guitar and vocals, Josh Williams on double bass and Bobby Horton on guitar and steel, without forgetting the unofficial fourth member: Billy Horton’s perfect production.
Their music is a highly melodic brand of hillbilly bop, as if Gene O’Quinn had collaborated with Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Hank Williams and Morrissey. This long awaited reissue contains the original album plus nine bonus tracks (alternate takes, demos, live recordings). It comes in a superb gatefold digipack and contains the lyrics (a good thing when you know that Joey Simeone is one of today’s best lyricists) and song by song comments about the bonus tracks written by Simeone.
I guess that “must have” and “classic” are the appropriate words to describe this release.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rhythm River Trio (the)

the Rhythm River Trio - Honky Tonkin Around
the Rhythm River Trio – Honky Tonkin Around

The Rhythm River Trio – Just Honky Tonkin’ Around

Rhythm Bomb Records RBR 5774 {2014}
Honky Tonkin’ Around – Teardrops From Your Eyes – Honky Tonk Blues – Monday Mornin’ – Wild Side Of Life – Love Come Back To Me – Bear Cat – Rhythm On The River – Rockin’ and Flyin’ – So Did I – Gone and Left Me Blues – I’ll Go My Way.

The other good surprise to come from Great-Britain in the recent months are the Rhythm River Trio. Actually, this drummerless trio formed by David Short (vocals, rhtythm guitar), Morgan Willis (lead guitar) and Bruno Pannone (double bass) is not that recent, they got together in 2009, but I just discovered them with this album called Just Honky Tonkin’ Around, their second lp.
It was recorded at Sugar Rays, a brand new recording studio that seems to come straight from the fifties and ran, among others, by Pat Rayford. The result is an album with a superb warm and mono sound.
But a vintage studio wont turn lead into gold! For that it is better to have great musicians… and the Rhthm River Trio certainly are. They are a tight little ensemble with a superb singer who sings with heart and class. And both he and Willis can write solid originals that stand well next to Hank Williams and Eddie & Hank Cochran. Nothing less.
So what about the music they play? It’s a highly enjoyable mix between the honky tonk of Hank Williams and the early rockabilly sides of Charlie Feathers with some Sun influences and a bit of blues (they cover Ruth Brown’s Teardrop From My Eyes and Rufus Thomas’ Bear Cat). They have a guest steel guitar (Jeff Mead who played with Sonny George) on a couple of tracks, Pedro Duarte plays harp on Bear Cat and Pat Rayford sang backing vocals on Jimmy patton’s Love Come Back to Me.
Available here.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Bonneville Barons (the)

the Bonneville Barons - Cure What Ails You
the Bonneville Barons – Cure What Ails You

Bonneville Barons (the) – Cure What Ails You

Western Star Records – WSRC036
Pretty Penny – Long Distance Baby – Heart O Mine – Family Tree Rag – Forget Me – Broken Man – Wait For Me – Fool For You – Whale Tail – Beautiful Memory Of Mine – Unlucky Blues – Mexican Wildfire – Birmingham Jail

One of today’s best and most original band returns with a 13 track killer album. It kicks off with “Pretty Penny”, written like the other 12 songs by Chris Wilkinson; a great jazzabilly number with clever lyrics that could come from the pen of Sage Guyton. “Unlucky Blues” comes in a similar vein. “Long Distance Baby” sees the dynamic duo with a fiddle for a full western flavour and features nice yodel too. “Heart Of Mine” can be described as Buddy Holly meets the Hot Club Of Cowtown. Yann’s powerful slap bass has nothing to envy to Jake Erwin or Kevin Smith. “Family Tree Rag” is a bith smoother and features a nice Merle Travis guitar part. Mark Kemlo of Rimshots and Bill Fadden fame guests on drums on “Forget Me” a wild rockabilly number with pounding drums, heavy guitar and distorted voice. Woa ! Kemlo is also present on the powerful rockin’ Mariachi instrumental “Mexican Wildfire” with trumpet. “Broken Man” is another occasion to hear the way their voices and instruments perfectly blend together. “Wait For Me”, a slow and mellow number with sparse backing is another side of Wilkinson’s talent as a songwriter and a singer. “Birmingham Jail” is in the same style, but the song sounds like a XVIIIth century traditionnal tune. “Fool For You” is pure Boneville Barons style : solid slap bass, catchy melody, good guitar riff and fine vocals.
The production work is fantastic : clean but not sterile, and the booklet, that includes the lyrics, is very well designed. The result is a must have record in a beautiful object.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Razorbacks (Canada)


RazorbacksThe Razorbacks – S/t

Tradition ‎– TJD 101
Calling My Name – Born too Late – I’m In the Doghouse – So Much Fun



the Razorbacks - Go to Town
the Razorbacks – Go to Town

The Razorbacks – Go to Town

WEA {1988}
It’s Saturday Night – Knock Knock Bim Bam – Talk To You – Long Rolling Nites – Lower Beverly – Can’t Keep My Baby In Shoes – So Much Fun – All I Need – Calling My Name – Scariest Night Of My Life -Razorback Boogie – Just This Short Of Crying – Stood Up – Strings Breaking Thing – Beverly Dub Mix

Not to be confused with the New jersey Rockabilly band of the same name, the Razorbacks formed in the second half of the 80’s and came from Canada.

Their debut album “Go to town” was originally released through Warner records in 1988. This is an excellent platter that benefits of the the solid production (yet very 80’s sounding at places) of guitar ace Chris Spedding (known for his work with Robert Gordon among many others) and a batch of solid originals penned by singer/guitarist Tony Kenny.
All acoustic (guitar, double bass, brushed snare), their brand of neo-rockabilly lean on the melodic side of things as if Stray Cats met Buddy Holly with a touch of skiffle that evokes at times the sound of the Shakin’ Pyramids.
Some occasional harmonies also show the influences of the Everly Brothers and there’s enough additional instruments (second guitar, accordion, piano, percussions) to bring variety the the whole album.
The cd reissue features four extra tracks including a honky tonk number with steel guitar and a cover of Ricky Nelson’s Stood Up.
A very good album that needs to be rediscovered.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Razorbacks - Live a Little
The Razorbacks – Live a Little

The Razorbacks – Live a Little

WEA [1989]
Times Like These – Didn’t Your Mamma Tell You – Night and Day – Can’t Blame Me for Trying – Rocket – Be My Train – My Way or Highway – Where’d You Learn to Kiss Like That – I’m in the Doghouse -There Ain’t Room for Two -Maybe It Do -Who Slapped Joe – Not Fade Away – Trouble in Town -End of the Day -I’ll Get By -Am I High -Times Like These – Didn’t Your Mamma Tell You – My Generation




The B-Stars



the B-Stars - Behind the Barn With
the B-Stars – Behind the Barn With

The B-Stars – Behind the Barn With

Rust Belt Recordings – RR004
Ink Free Baby Of Mine – Drunk On Whiskey – Duckin And Dodgin – Texas Boogie – Left It All Behind – Women And Wine – Pretty Baby – Back Up Buddy – Sweet Little Things – Walking Home Alone – Trouble Free State Of Mine – Broken Down And Blue

A particularly strong debut for the San Fransisco based combo. This five piece band (Greg Yanito – guitar and vocals; Eric Reedy – string bass and vocals; Bill McKenna – electric guitar; Mikiya Matsuda – steel guitar; Billy Zelinski – drums) rips through a set a good ol’ country music. Both Yanito and Reedy sing and compose – and they know how to write songs that sound like little classics – which also keeps the set varied. You’ll only find two covers, Gene O’Quinn’s Texas Boogie and Carl Smith’s Back Up Buddy, Smith being an obvious influence on the band.
Carl Sonny Leyland sits in and plays piano on four tracks adding a good dose of country boogie and even rock’n’roll (Pretty Baby) to the mix. There’s also some country swing (Duckin’ and Dodgin’), a bit of Bakersfield (Women and WIne, Sweet Little Things) and a superb Hank Williams influenced number (Trouble Free State Of Mind).
It is tastefully produced by Lee Jeffriess and you can hear his touch on some steel guitar/guitar arrangements reminiscent of his work with Ashley Kingman in the Fly Rite Boys.
If Carl Smith, Hank Williams, Merrill Moore, Wayne Hancock, Big Sandy are sweet words to your ears, be sure to add the B-Stars to your list. And it’s not only a pleasure for your ears, but also for the eyes as it comes in a nicely designed digipack.

More infos at

The B-Stars - West Coast Special
The B-Stars – West Coast Special

The B-Stars – West Coast Special

Rust Belt [2012]
Careful Baby – Still Waiting – King Of Fools – My Window Faces The South – Another One Tomorrow – Time Is Money – When The Darkness Turns To Light – Chicken Fried – One More Beer – Revolution 45 – No Work Blues – Honky Tonkin’ Rhythm
San Francisco based honky tonk/hillbilly swing band the B-Stars have seen some changes since their debut album. They return with a refurbished line-up and a new platter full of hillbilly rhythms. They remain true to their main inspirations, saying Honky Tonk heroes of the 50’s and early 60’s (from Hank Williams to Carl Smith) but they also add a good dose of western swing to their set. It generally works pretty though I’m a little less convinced by their cover of My Window Faces the South. Whether it’s the production or the arrangement, it sounds a bit too “modern” for my tastes and closer to Asleep At The Wheel than Bob Wills. But that’s a minor flaw and they have a majority of solid originals and the musicianship is trong, one of the best exemple being the interplay between the guitar and the steel on Still Waitin.
Available on 10″ vinyl and cd.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

As Diabatz

As Diabatz - Ridin' Through the Devil's Hill
As Diabatz – Ridin’ Through the Devil’s Hill

As Diabatz – Ridin’ Through the Devil’s Hill

Woman in white – Necrolove – Psychomad Mary – Wide awake – Under my own spell – Riding trough Devil’s hill – Witches stomp – We ain’t no Psychobitches – Summertime Booze – I don’t worry about it

This young trio of Brazilian girls with their old school psychobilly made me feel 16 again. All the elements are here: light guitar, rockabilly snare and a solid beat provided by the double bass. They sound like the little sisters (even daughter) of Dypsomaniaxe but with a darkish side. You can also hear the influence of the Krewmen and there’s a definitive Meteors touch (Wreckin’ Crew era) most notably on the instrumental “Ridin’ Through The Devil’s Hill” and of course their cover of “I don’t Worry About It”. But they never sound like a re-creation, always keeping a fresh approach. Their songs are very well written and never too fast and most of all, they keep the “billy” in psychobilly. Excellent production work too!

The Radioactive Kid