Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

Billy Hancock

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Billy Hancock and the Tennessee Rockets – Rootie Tootie

Ripsaw 211 [1978]
Rootie Tootie / I Can’t Be Satisfied

billy hancock

For their first Rockabilly release, Ripsaw records borrowed the winning recipe that Sam Phillips used to introduce Elvis to the world. Recorded by Billy Hancock and the Tenessee Rockets, this superb piece of stripped-down Rockabilly features a hillbilly cover (Hank Williams’ Rootie Tootie) on side A, while a blues cover can be found on the flip (Muddy Waters’ Can’t Be Satisfied).
At the time of its release in 1978, it was probably the most authentic-sounding Rockabilly ever recorded since the fifties. Very few, if none, before (and even after) captured that early Elvis Sun sound – with a slight Charlie Feathers influence – like Billy Hancock. In that, he’s ideally helped by Don Mulkey on double bass and Jeff Lodsun on drums.
Also available on The Best of Ripsaw Records vol.1 (Rootie Tootie) and vol.4 (I Can’t Be Satisfied.)


Billy Hancock and the Tenessee Rockets – The Boogie Disease

Ripsaw 213 [1979]
The Boogie Disease / Knock-Kneed Nellie

billy hancock boogie disease

For his third single for Ripsaw, Billy Hancock covers Dr. Ross blues classic and turns it into a frantic Rockabilly tune. Mitch Collins on piano and Tex Rubinowitz, Little Nelson, and the Spider (co-founders of the label) on backing vocals augment the line-up of the Tennessee Rockets (Bob Newscaster, Bryan Smith, and Jeff Lodsun).
The B-side features an original song by Hancock titled Knock-Kneed Nellie written with Charlie Feathers in mind and his long tradition of impaired women (Tongue Tied Jill, Stutterin’ Cindy). Hancock gives one of his best vocals performance. In addition to the obvious influence of Charlie Feathers’ hiccups, one can also perceive a bit of Buddy Holly, another favorite of Billy Hancock, in the melody.
Also available on The Best of Ripsaw Records vol.1 (The Boogie Disease) and vol.3 (Knock Kneed Nellie.)


Billy Hancock and the Tennessee Rockets – Miss Jessie Lee

Ripsaw 215 [1980]
Miss Jessie Lee /I’m Satisfied

Another killer release by Billy Hancock. Side A is a cover of Eddie Burns (who probably took his inspiration from Sonny Boy Williamson’s Good Morning school Girl.) With its breathless vocals, Hancock’s version perfectly nails the Rockabilly’s sense of urgency. Once again, the musicians (Bob Newscaster on guitar, Bryan Smith on slappin’ bass and Jeff Lodsun on drums are top-notch.)
I’m Satisfied” is an original penned by Hancock as an answer to I Can’t Be Satisfied (see Ripsaw 211.) It’s another solid piece of rockabilly that features two pairs of guitar solos performed by Hancock and Evan Johns.
Available respectively on The Best of Ripsaw Records vol.3 and vol.4.


Billy Hancock – Redskin Rock ‘N Roll

Ripsaw Records 216 [1980]
Redskin Rock’n’Roll / Lonely Blue Boy

The A-side of this single is a solid Rock’n’roll song with piano and a final arrangement in the best Elvis tradition. Lonely Blue Boy is a cover of Conway Twitty but Hancock’s version leans more on Elvis and he delivers a superb vocal performance.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Visit the Ripsaw records website.


Billy Hancock – Wanted True Rock’n’Roll

Billy Hancock

Ripsaw Records 220 [1985]
Oh Caroline / All The Cats Join In / I Need You Now / I’m Free / Take Your Time / Sarah Lee

After releasing albums for Big Beat in France and Solid Smoke, Billy Hancock returned to Ripsaw in 1985 with this mini-album. The title says it all; it’s a shot of true Rock’n’Roll instead of the Rockabilly stuff he played with the Tennessee Rocket.
Oh Caroline, written by Hancock after the French tour of 1981, is a frantic piano-led rocker. Benny Goodman’s All The Cats Join In, first discovered by Billy in Disney’s movie of the same name, is turned into a wild neo-rockabilly number.
Initially done by Eddie Fisher as a pop tune, I Need You Now becomes in the expert hands of Hancock, a superb Elvis Presley type of ballad. The Velons, a Maryland doo-wop band, take in charge the Jordanaires part.
The b-side opens with a surprise: a cover of the Rolling Stones’ I’m Free. While one would expect Hancock covering one of their Rock’n’roll tunes, he chose this pop song and took the occasion to bring a good dose of Buddy Holly, one of his idol, to it.
Talking about the rocker from Lubbock next is Take Your Time. For this cover, he remains very faithful to the original, with a note for note organ part.
Sarah Lee, the closing song of the mini-lp, comes from the pen of British rocker Dave Travis. It has a very menacing edge, a bit like The Way I Walk, and features a tremendous guitar solo.

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