Virgil

Headcoats Sect (thee)

Thee Headcoat Sect-1 Thee Headcoat Sect-2

Thee Headcoats Sect

Deerstalking Men – DAMGOOD265CD
Strychnine – My Dear Watson – Fog-Bound Pinhead – Troubled Times – Cowboys Are Square – Baby What’s Wrong – Why Don’t Toy Smile Now – The Witch – Squaresville – Lie Detector – Deerstalking Man – I’m A Gamekeeper

Ready Sect Go!– DAMGOOD266CD
Ain’t That Just Like Me – Down In The Bottom – I’m A King Be – Take Out Some Insurance On Me – Knight Of The Baskervilles – I’m A Lover Not A Fighte – Mean Red Spider – A Certain Girl – She’s Fine She’s Mine – I Got Love If You Want It – Ready Sect Go – I’m Ready

A recent discussion with a friend about the Rolling Stones and Sir Jagger’s birthday brought the name of the Downliners Sect back to the map. After that, it wasn’t long before we talked about the Headcoats Sect.
It seemed inevitable that sooner than later, Billy Childish would meet those ’60s rhythm’n’blues misfits that are Keith Grant and Don Craine of the Downliners Sect. Back in the sixties, The Downliners Sect were raw, and next to them, the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things sounded almost suave. Needless to say that no one ever thought of ennobling Craine nor Grant. And though there was a generation between them, they were clearly with the same page, like fathers and sons. It was not just the hat; it was the music, the sense of humor, and the attitude, both bands sharing the same aggressive, rough, and no-compromise approach. Together they recorded two albums in the second half of the ’90s. Each band benefited from this fruitful collaboration. Childish, Johnson, and Brand brought the freshness of their youth, the right backing band (with a special nod to Johnny Johnson on harp), as well as a bunch of Childish originals that seemed tailored fit for the two veterans. Craine and Grant brought a touch of professionalism to the project. Thee Headcoats records often sound as if they were recorded in the kitchen on a mono/two-track cheap recorder. Nothing like that here with Liam Watson’s recording who managed to capture the vibe without altering the spontaneity of the performance. Musically both acts melt perfectly, Craine’s rhythm guitar and Grant’s superb fuzzy bass perfectly complementing Thee Headcoats. Worth mentioning is the musical dialog on “I’m A Dearstalking Man” and “Ready Sect Go.”
The first album relies more on Childish’s classics with some covers thrown in for good measure (including two Sonics tunes) while “Ready Sect Go” contains classic blues/rhythm’n’blues covers with two Childish originals (Knight of the Baskervilles and Ready Sect Go!). Both are excellent and complimentary.

Find them on Damaged Good website.

Flea Bops (the)

The Flea Bops formed after the tragic death of Darren Lee Spears of Go Cat Go in which Lance LeBeau played drums. The band initially went under the name of the Twilite Ramblers but soon evolved into the Flea bops. The members are Ronnie Joyner (vocals, rhythm guitar), Preston Lebeau (electric guitar) Lance Lebeau (drums) and Lance’s wife, Wendy on double bass. Both Ronnie Joyner and Preston LeBeau previously played in Red and the Pepperpot Boys with Bill Hull (guitar player for Go Cat Go) on drums.

fleabops-45The Flea Bops – Good Time Woman b/w I’m Ready

Vinylux V0003
Debut single for this quartet made of Ronnie Joyner (vocals, rhythm guitar), Preston Lebeau (electric guitar) his brother Lance (drums) and Lance’s wife, Wendy on double bass. Two sizzling hot rockabilly tunes with a striong Carl Perkins/Johnny Burnette influence. Great.


flea_bops_imreadyThe Flea Bops – I’m ready

Vinylux V0005 [2000]
I’m Ready – Who’s That Knockin’? – Heart’s On Fire – You Can Do No Wrong – So Long, Farewell, Goodbye – What’s She Gonna Do – I’ve Had Enough – Rock It – Believe In Me – Tears Today, Gone Tomorrow – Good Time Woman – Little Bit More – You’re Undecided – Hey Little Honey – Train Of Loneliness
Debut album for a band too often overlooked. This guys and girl deserve more credit. Ronnie Joyner’s originals sound like long lost fifties recordings and drummer’s Lance Lebeau contribution “Hey Little Honey” ain’t bad either. The production and the sound are just perfect. If you dig Carl Perkins, Johnny Horton, Johnny Burnette you don’t want to miss this one.


wendylebeau-gardenWendy Le Beau and her Beaus – Garden of Eden

Vinylux Records V0009 [2004]
Garden of Eden – Just Like a Dog Barking Up the Wrong Tree – One Track Love – Skull and Crossbones – Speed Limit – Jealous Hearted Me – Lie To Me Baby – Stop ‘n’ Go Boogie – The Coffee Addict – Kiss Me Baby
Though it came under the name of Wendy Lebeau and Her Beaus this one can be integrated to the Flea Bops discography as it shares the same line-up with the difference of Wendy LeBeau who takes the lead vocal duties.  But this is not the sole difference. The band made a conscious effort to sound different. Of course this is still first class rockabilly but they brought various element to their music like jazz chords progression (enhanced by Lance’s superb brush work) on the Carter Family’s Jealous Hearted Me or a barrelhouse piano on three tracks. Dave Moore of Wild Hare fame played acoustic guitar on two tracks too. It’s a mix of covers (Sparkle Moore, Tommy lam, Bonnie Lou, Johnny Tyler, Big Mama Thornton) and originals, three penned by Wendy and one by the late Darren Lee Spears.


flea_bops_gittogittinThe Flea Bops – Git To Gittin’

Vinylux V0008 [2005]
Git to Gittin’ – Drivin’ Home – I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry – Get On Home – Railroad Tracks – Too Hot For Me – Long Gone Love – You’d Be Thinking of Me – Skull and Crossbones – Hardball Boogie – I Was a Fool – Has the Devil Gotten You? – Goodbye Lonesome – So Good, So Right – Long Blonde Hair
Their second album is as good if not better than the previous one. Joyner confirms his status of one of today’s best rockabilly songwriter. He penned 8 songs for this albums and Lance one. The remaining songs are covers of Wynonie Harris, Carl Perkins (a big influence on the band), Johnny Powers, Johnny Horton, Sparkle Moore, and Shirley & Lee (with a great duet between Ronnie and Wendy). Wendy sings lead on Skull and Crossbones (also available on her side project Wendy and Her Beaus). No possibility of disapointement with this band, this is rockabilly as it sould be done!


FleaGottaThe Flea Bops – Gotta Bop

Vinylux V0011 [2009]
My Babe – Crackerjack – Rattlesnake Kiss – Gotta Bop – Jakes Juice – Everybody Wants To Steal My Girl
This 10″ – six songs mini album opens with two covers, a rockabilly rendition of Little Walter’s My Babe and Joe Clay’s Crackerjack (sung by Wendy). The third song of the side is an original written by Ronnie that sounds like an unissued take by Johnny Burnette Rock’n’roll trio with frantic vocals and screams. The three songs of the XXX side are all originals. Gotta Bop is a hot… bopper penned by bassist Wendy Lebeau, Jake’s Juice is a strong rockabilly number and Everybody Wants To Steal My Girl is a superb hillbilly bop, both written by Joyner.
Another killer release from the Flea Bops!

Flea Bops
The Flea Bops

Rockin’ Books reviews

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rockabilly-underground-london1
Rockabilly Underground London 1980’s – William Jones

Rockabilly Underground London 1980’s – William Jones

With bands as different as the Blue Cats, the Stargazers, Restless, the Meteors, the Deltas, Red Hot’n’Blue, the Riverside Trio (and many many more) London was in the early 80’s a creative bubble for all things rockabilly. That’s what I expected to find in this book, after all the title sounded promising. But, from the second I opened it I was hugely disapointed. First the layout is very poor, in fact there is NO layout at all. The same goes for the pictures. Some could be interesting but they are of such poor quality that one can barely see anything. But the main problem is the content of the book. There is little or no informations about the bands but mostly recollection from the authors of his friends and the girls he dated. There’s no real construction and you go from personal memories to interviews with Mac Curtis and Ray Campi (very London, uh!) or a trip to Finland without transition. In that mess there are some bits of infos you can pick from Mouse (Red Hot’n’Blue), Paul Roman (the Quakes) or Rob Glazebrook (Rochee & the Sarnos) but that’s pretty all you can save from this book.


 

The Strat In The Attic - Deke Dickerson
The Strat In The Attic – Deke Dickerson

The Strat In The Attic – Deke Dickerson

Regular writer of liner notes for cd reissues, most notably for the German label Bear Family, guitarist extraordinaire Deke Dickerson presents his first book. And guess what? It’s about guitars.  Guitarcheology to be exact, the art of finding beautiful and rare models on flea markets, second hand stores, ads or any other way one could ever imagine.
You want to hear the stories and the often strange journeys of  Bob Dylan’s Stratocaster, Link Wray’s Danelectro, Deke’s trademark TNM guitar or Scotty Moore’s Echosonic amp that was used for the recording of Mystery Train? All these stories and more from models you’ve never heard before are in this book.
But what makes this book so interesting is  that you don’t have to be a guitarist to enjoy it. You read it like you read a book about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter (and you’ll agree that you don’t have to be an Egyptologist or an archaeologist- to enjoy it). It’s a book about passion and the excitment of finding or just holding a rare guitar – sometimes a piece of history. Being a great storyteller Dickerson knows how to translate all those feelings into words and describe a setting very vividly.
A great book and definitely looking forward a volume 2.

Learn more about this book by reading this interview of Deke Dickerson by Dollie DeVille here.he Strat In The Attic is available almost everywhere but you can also order it directly on Deke’s website and get iy autographed.


Marshall Lytle - Still Rockin' Around the Clock
Marshall Lytle – Still Rockin’ Around the Clock

Still Rockin’ Around the Clock – Marshall Lytle with Michael Jordan Rush

I respect Marshall Lytle a lot. I worship every side he recorded with Bill Haley as well as the Jodimars. I enjoyed a lot his recent musical ventures like Marshall & The Shooting Stars and the fact he was still being able to play on stage at an advanced age forces the admiration. So I bought this book with great expectations, hoping to read the story of one of the greatest rock’n’roll band from the point of view of someone who actually lived it.
The first things you notice when you have this book in hands is that it’s printed very big and with a mere 200 pages you read it very quickly.
The main problem is not that it’s not very well written (after all he’s a bass player not a writer) but it’s not very interesting either. Marshall never goes deep into details and doesn’t seem very interested by the music (you’ll find more info about his incomes as a real estate agent than about the recording of Shake Rattle & Roll).
And when he gives some details you doubt about them. For example he says that they never played Rock Around The Clock before the recording session except for one rehearsal the day before though many books say they used to play it on stage and had a great success with it. This minor things aside, the main thing you remember when you finish this book is a deep feeling of bitterness. Maybe Bill Haley wasn’t the best boss on earth, I don’t know I wasn’t here (but Marshall was! you’ll object), but it seems that in every chapter you read Marshall saying “Bill never gave me credit for Crazy Man Crazy”, “Bill never paid us this”, “Bill was jealous of my talent”, “Capitol never promoted the Jodimars”, “I was never credited for writing Clarabella so I never saw a cent for the Beatles cover” and so on.
It’s not very expensive so you can try it but don’t expect to learn anything on the musical side.


Sweat, the story of the Fleshtones
Sweat, the story of the Fleshtones

Sweat the story of the Fleshtones – Joe Bonomo

How can’t you love the Fleshtones? For three decades, no matter of the bad luck they could have encountered, they never failed to deliver your dose of “super-rock”. The other band with the same integrity that comes in mind is The Cramps. But in a cruel twist of fate, the Fleshtones reputation has never been further than a bunch of devoted fans who recognize themselves with such enigmatic words as “Speed Connection”, “Roman God”, “Hexbreaker” and so on. This is their story that Joe Bonomo relates in his book “Sweat” rightly subtitled “30 years – 2000 shows – 1000 Blue Whales – no hits – no sleep”. Bonomo made countless interviews with band members and relatives to explore every single detail. Many anecdotes are revealed. Bonomo sure is a fan of the band (you have to if you write a 400 pages book about such a band) but he’s objective though and he’s never compliant.
The Fleshtones have released numerous good albums all through the years but the place where they shine is definitely on stage, and the same way it’s hard to capture them on wax (or tape, or whatever…) you could wonder how a book could transcript the “bigger than life” characters of the band. But Bonomo’s style is lively and you’re with them looking for a record label, in the studio or in a van heading for the next gig. When rock critics think that The Strokes are the last hope of rock’n’roll and records labels build from nothing pre-made stars the Fleshtones are precious. And if you consider them as the ultimate rock’n’roll band “Sweat” could possibly be the ultimate rock’n’roll book.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Johnny Jano

 

Johnny Jano – Rockin’ and Rollin’ (1956-1958)

El Toro ETCD 1038
Havin’ A Whole Lot Of Fun / I’d Make A Good Man For You / Mabel’s Gone / Pledging johnnyjano-rockingandrollingMy Love To My Darling / Rock My Baby / Oh Baby / High Voltage / Mabel’s Gone / Rock Me Baby / You’re The Only Girl / Havin’ A Whole Lot Of Fun / Stop Look and Listen / She’s Mine She’s Mine / Have You Heard The Word? / Havin’ A Whole Lot Of Fun / I’d Make A Good Man For You / She’s My Baby / Some Other Time / Oh Baby / Rock and Roll Baby / She’s My Baby / Okie Dokie Stomp.

Congratulations to Eltoro for releasing this complete collection of Johnny Jano’s  rockabilly sides recorded between 1956 and 1958. Jano, like Al Ferrier (check out Al Ferrier – I’m The Man still on Eltoro) recorded for Goldband in Louisiana. It’s an awesome collection of strong rock’n’roll tunes with thumping bass, screaming sax and rockabilly vocals like High Voltage, Rock My Baby,  Oh Baby, Pledging My Love To My Darling or the wild Mabel’s Gone. There’s also, of course, a bunch of essential rockabillies that have nothing to envy to Sun or Meteor and belong in any decent collection like Some Other Time (great lyrics), I’d Make A Good Man, She’s My Baby and probably his best known song: Having A Whole Lotta Fun. They’re all here, 22 songs of first class Louisiana music featuring many alternate and demo takes and coming in a neat package with informative liner notes. Sadly Jano never really pushed his career and his success remained confidential. Johnny Jano died in 1984, aged 50, and never had the chance to be rediscovered on stage.

An interview with Dave Phillips

Dave Phillips
Dave Phillips

Dave Phillips was, with his first band the Blue Cats, among the first to play Rockabilly like it was played back in the fifties.
After a while Dave Phillips and the Blue Cats parted ways. But it’s a rare case of a good thing to result from a split. Instead of having one great band, it gave birth to two great bands (think of the Sharks split that gave us Frenzy too). With his debut album under his own name Dave Phillips helped to define a brand new genre that soon was dubbed “neo-rockabilly”.
Phillips, and a few other bands (Restless, the Blue Cats second period, the Polecats…) influenced countless young cats to form their own bands.
He made the link and kept rockabilly alive.
More than 30 years later he’s still active on the scene today with Rob Tyler (who’s here since Wild Youth in 1981) and Paul Gaskin on guitar.
For someone like me who grew up to the sound of the Blue Cats debut album, it’s a pleasure, an honour and a personnal achievement to present this interview with Dave Phillips.
Enjoy.

by Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dave, how did you discover rock’n’roll music? Was music present in your family when you grew up?
Although there were no musicians in the the generations of my family before me, music and dance were a very prolific part of my family culture and a favourite pass time for us all.
Dave Phillips: Rock n roll was the favoured music amongst my uncles and aunts as I started growing up, so that was a big influence on my musical taste, but the biggest influence was my grand father William, who said to me all of the time from when I was a baby that his vision of my future was as a band leader, on a stage making music that people would love to dance to.

Obviously, Gene Vincent had a huge influence on you. But when I listen to you recordings I’d say that the Beatles were also another big influence on you, not only because you covered them (three tims on disc if I’m correct) but for the melodic side of things too…
Dave Phillips: That’s quite true, as with Gene Vincent, The Beatles were also a great influence on my early musical taste, understandable when you consider that I was born to the sound of their first hit album ‘Please Please Me’, which was being played everywhere you went at that time. The Beatles were the next heirs to carry the torch of Rock N Roll as the 50’s passed and they became closely affiliated with Gene Vincent in their early years and loved his sound, as I’m sure you will know.
The current list of bands and musicians I have taken influence from is endless and very broad, spanning right across the spectrum of musical flavours. Basically I love music generally with a great passion and take influence wherever it strikes me as having true artistic integrity.

What led you to pick the doublebass? Was it a record, a player?
Dave Phillips: When I was very young, in fact right around the time I was born, a new musical instrument, that had only recently been invented, had flooded the market around the music shops of the UK: it was called the electric bass guitar.
Everyone who was a bass player and played in popular music wanted one if they hadn’t already started playing one. As I started to grow up and found the genre of music that I felt most passionate about (obviously Rock N Roll) had a certain sound and feel that was missing from every popular song playing on the radio at that time.
Then one day at the age of twelve, just when I was finishing my music class as a student of trumpet, I noticed this beautiful old instrument that always stood in the corner behind the piano. She looked so lonely, I had never seen anyone playing the old girl. I felt so sorry for her I wanted to caress her and give her some attention. I asked my trumpet teacher if I could give her a try, to which he replied ” of course you can, you’ll be the first person that’s touched that old thing for years”.
Boy, did I touch that old thing?
I never took a lunch break that day, we fell so deeply in love with each other from the first moment. I realised that she had that sound that was missing from all of the contemporary rock n roll I heard around me.
From then on I rarely ever took a lunch break at school, rather go and spend my time learning about the beautiful tone she sang when I touched her, until eventually lots of other kids in the school would also sacrifice lunch, just to come and hear the beautiful sounds she made when I played her.
The rest as they say (once I found a band) is history.

I remember reading in an old interview that you studied trumpet in school. Is that you that we can hear on the Blue Cats’ Boogie Up Roar?
Dave Phillips: That’s a very clever question considering my last answer which included my past history as a trumpeter. I didn’t play any of the trumpet on that album. I did however lay down a vocal arrangement for the session guys that came in to play it for us.

Talking about the Blue Cats, how did the band form?
Dave Phillips: My first band was the really the culmination of years of effort and semi committed school mates, which only really started to come to fruition when Clive Osbourne came on board.
We had just managed to get two gigs under our belt when the guitarist declared that he couldn’t do it any more due to the stage fright he experienced. At the same time we all knew that the drummer (Doug Freeman R.I.P) wasn’t cutting the mustard. The band was about fall apart when suddenly Clive had a idea.
“There’s a couple of brothers that live just down the road from me” he said.
“Carlo plays guitar and his elder brother Stef plays drums. Shall I call them And ask if they’d be interested in joining us?”
They tried out. It worked. Once again, the rest, as they say, was history. Well, until more history happened and we blew apart.

The Blue Cat Trio (with "permanent" guest Clive Osbourne)
The Blue Cat Trio (Dave Phillips with Stef and Carlo Edwards and “permanent” guest Clive Osbourne)

This band was very different in the musical landscape at the time. Compared to the vast majority of rockin’ bands who were mostly “Teddy Boys”, you aimed at a more authentic sound…
Dave Phillips: That just steps right back to my feelings as a younger man who could hear that modern rock n roll bands had some essential qualities missing in their sound. I always felt it was just the double bass, but soon found that the other guys in the band also started analysing and finding ways that the sound could be more authentic: Clive had to have that original Selmer sound on his sax, while Carlo went looking for every detail of what made Cliff Gallup’s sound so unique. We had such an exciting time working out our sound to rockin’ perfection.

After a while you and the rest of the band parted ways. And a couple of months later you came back under you own name. How did you feel at the time?
Dave Phillips: I felt very privileged to have been recognised by the record company as an artist in my own right just after the band split.
In the depth of my deepest blues, early one morning while I was mooching around the house wondering what I should do next, mum called to me in my bedroom:
“Dave! There’s someone on the phone for you from your record company”. They only told me they wanted to sign me as a solo artist! The only condition was that I needed me to put a new band together as quickly as possible. Shit, did I work the rounds on the London Rockin’ scene to get that new band together ASAP? Only months later I was back on the road and then back in the studio in the Netherlands with Rob Tyler and Mark Harman.
Absolute beauty and blessings is what I call it these days.

The Hot Rod Gang first line-up was, beside Dave Phillips of course, John Day on lead guitar, Ray Thompson on rhythm guitar and Rob Tyler on drums (he later played with Restless too). Day and Thompson quickly left to be replaced by Mark Harman (Restless). This line-up recorded Wild Youth (contrary to the cover who credited Andrew Wrightson on drums, actually Wrightson was the band driver). After Harman left to fully concentrate on Restless, Pat Rayford came in then Mick Malone (who later joined Restless) who appears on the live recordings “Live At The Rockhouse” with Janis martin, Mac Curtis, Honey Hush…Then Paul Gaskin (Outer Limits) replaced Malone.

Then you entered the studio with Mark Harman and Rob Tyler to record “Wild Youth”. Clint Bradley recently told me that Bert at Rockhouse wasn’t too keen about the more modern stuff and wanted the band to stick to a more traditionnal sound. Was it the same with you? Tell us a bit about the recording of that classic…

Promo shot for Wild Youth, circa 1981
Promo shot for Wild Youth, circa 1981

Dave Phillips: Initially Bert choked on his coffee at the morning meeting when I told him I wanted to do Tainted Love. He hated the idea, but I stood strong and told him you trusted me enough to sign me as a solo artist, now trust me and let me do this track. He complained all the way through the recording session saying “why can’t you just do the good old rockin stuff that everyone loves?”
I told him we had to develope our beloved rockin music and it’s scene for a new generation. Somehow he trusted me and I was right. My children love what I did with that authentic 50’s sound bringing it to a new fresh audience of younger people. Do I have to say it again? ….. The rest is history!

You’ve always played with the best. It seems that beside being the perfect vehicle for your sound, the Hot Rod Gang also worked as a Rock’n’roll incubator if you see what I mean…
Dave Phillips: When the Blue Cat Trio came about we were against all odds with the huge onslaught that came from the Punk movement in London at that time.
We seemed to have made an impact like I’d never have expected.
When the Hot Rod Gang came together the determination and will to keep that momentum going was tremendous. We literally paved the way, along side the Polecats, Restless, Stargazers, Delta’s etc.. for the later arrival of the Stray Cats. Yes, we were out there working our butts clean off to show the kids of our generation that there was a real alternative to the crap that was being fostered and force fed to the youth by the music industry of that time.

“Wild Youth” and the single Tainted Love were big hits on the scene. But for the follow-up you didn’t try to recreate a second Wild Youth. Was it important for you not to repeat yourself.
Dave Phillips: Now that was where Bert had finally given over lock stock and barrel to the philosophy that I’d introduced with Tainted Love at the previous recording session.
This time he really wanted me to lay down as much of that modern crossover shit as I possibly could and he lapped it up. Personally and in hindsight, I think I tried a bit too hard. Bert liked it though, obviously he’d seen the dollars roll in plentifully from the exploit of Wild Youth and just wanted to see more of the same.
At the release party for the new album ‘Understatements’ we took a lot of very hard criticism from our audience, in the form of bottles, glasses and whatever else they could find to throw at us! They hated it and we felt we’d got it all wrong.Go ask the band, it was truly mental!

At the release party for the new album ‘Understatements’ we took a lot of very hard criticism from our audience, in the form of bottles, glasses and whatever else they could find to throw at us! They hated it and we felt we’d got it all wrong.Go ask the band, it was truly mental!

Many bands were formed after the Blue Cats and/or the Hot Rod Gang. How do you see this “heritage”?
Dave Phillips: I honestly feel like the Gods smiled on me and kept on pulling my strings to make me go on with it. Other than that it seems I just had some good creative ideas in the right field, and at the right time in the right place. All done with a very humble heart. More blessings.

How do you see the evolution of the rockabilly (in the large meaning of the term) scene since the 80’s? Are there bands that impressed you recently?
Dave Phillips: I get to spend a lot of time around different places on the scene these days and I am seeing some cracking bands out there that have grown from the early days when we began. So many of them I see are direct descendants of the scene we started back then and they all work from the same heart in the music. It’s awesome to be honest.

You recently played in France and will play the Rockabilly Rave next month. So your live schedule is busy, but is there any chance for new recordings in the near future?
Dave Phillips: I have been blown away by the way I have been received back on the scene after many years of absence. The band seems to go from strength to strength and the gigs just get better each time we play.
Our recent gig in France was a real roof raiser as were all the previous gigs of this past year. We are very excited about going to do the Rave next month, it should be a real blast.
As for a new recording, well we have proposed to do a new album, but it seems to be taking a long time to organise. One thing we are lacking at this time is the sponsorship from a label that would help us to finance the cost of production. Nevertheless we are very determined that a new release will come soon. Fingers crossed! (if that can help we’re crossing ours too – ed.)

The last word is for you…
Dave Phillips: I would just like to say thank you to my awesome band Rob Tyler and Paul Gaskin for the years of great times and music, also to all of the many other musicians and bands I get to work with these days, but most of all a big thank you to all of the beautiful people who love and support this great music and it’s wonderful passionate scene. Long live Rock N Roll !

Phil Haley & the Comments

phil-haley
Phil Haley and the Comments

How did you get into rockin music?
Phil Haley:
I started playing early sixties. My first playing job was supporting Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. I listened to the Shadows,Elvis, Eddie Cochran etc.
I then played with sixties band Unit 4 +2 (of Concrete and the Clay fame – ed), various local bands and duo’s playing all types of music.

Do you remember the first time you heard Bill Haley?
Phil Haley: I first heard and saw bill haley at the local cinema (saturday morning), on Pathe news, showing his first visit to the uk in 1957. I was 9 years old. The entire cinema were singing along to Giddy Up a Ding Dong, the experience knocked me sideways!!!!

How did you get the idea to form the band?
Phil Haley: I was appearing as a guitar vocalist in manchester singing Rock Around the Clock.  After the performance a lady took me to one side and suggested that I do a Bill Haley tribute show as I looked and sounded just like him.  The seed was sown.

In addition to Bill’s Decca and Essex hits, you also write your own material?
Phil Haley: I wanted to add another dimension to the show making it much more than your average tribute band. I decided to have a go at writing my own songs and they have been well received. We also do some of the later material, but he had such a wide and diverse catalogue it would be impossible to cover everything. Personally I prefer the earlier classics.

Have you ever met or played with the Comets?
Phil Haley: Alan Paris the saxaphone player saw them play a few years ago, he introduced himself to them and they signed one of our photo’s.This has pride of place on the wall at home.I also made contact with Bill Haley’s son Jack Haley when we started out. He sent us 4 signed copies of the book sound and glory which he co-wrote and he also sent us some old footage of his father’s early performances.

To finish, did Al, Brian and Martyn ever consider forming the Albrimart?
Phil Haley: That’s an interesting idea!!!