Miss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers – Danger Moved West
Home Brew Records – Sonic Rendez Vous SRV059 
Danger Moved West – Little Ole You – You Made A Hit – Strange Things – The Blues Come Around – Honey – Fine Tuning Buddy – I Ain’t That Strong – Do You Wanna Rock – So You Think You’ll Come Back – Knock Knock Rattle – Falling For You – Make The Most Of It – I’ve Got Leavin’ On My Mind – Blue Days Black Nights – I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
Sometimes, bands or artists are such a part of your musical landscape that you tend to take them for granted. Take Miss Mary Ann for example… I bought the debut album of this lady and her faithful Ragtime Wranglers when it came out nearly 20 years ago and since, I know that once in a while I’ll have my dose of Miss Mary Ann, Ranch Girls, Ragtime Wranglers or the three in the same time. Of course, I knew they were good, even extremely talented but it struck me while listening to their latest effort, like the first time I discovered them. I suddenly realised that the rockabilly (in the large meaning of the term) scene would be a much sadder place without them.
First you have Miss Mary Ann. Unlike many others of her counterparts, she’s not affected by all those mannerisms you often find, especially with female singers. She never tries to sound mean (I suspect it’s not in her nature anyway) or to fake what she’s not. She just sings frankly, sincerely and with passion and that’s all. She goes easily from hillbilly bop to rockabilly, from rock’n’roll to jazz tinged stuff like on “Make the Most of it” penned by Dave “Pappy” Stuckey who also wrote the liner notes by the way. And when she sings harmonies with Raina Thompson, the new Ranch Girl, oh my, you’re just shaking nervously in anticipation for the new Ranch Girls album (or at least for the next time you’ll see them on stage). Icing on the cake, she also writes her own material. Her six self penned songs blend perfectly with the likes of Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Ray Smith, Wayne Walker and more, if you please! Then you have the Ragtime Wranglers who always deliver the goods. Joe Sixpack draws from his bottomless bag of riffs while Huey Moore and Sietse Heslinga set the perfect rhythm. You even have Carl Sonny Leyland who guests on piano on a couple of tracks (including “Honey” an original he penned).
I know that you must think “there must be something wrong; I bet this album comes in an ugly cover!” Not even that! It comes in a superb gatefold digipack (and in vinyl format too) designed by Pieter Dorrenboom.
Take my advice, run to your music store, whether it’s on the web or in your city, and do yourself a favour, you won’t regret it!
Miss Mary Ann & The Ragtime Wranglers – Rock It Down To My House
Sonic Rendezvous Records SRR33
Rock It On Down To My House – Easy Does It – I Got Stung – Don’t Wait Up – Tell Me Who – Forget About The Past – Ooh La Baby – I’ll Be Your Slave – Watch Dog – That’s The Way I feel – Don’t Lie To Me – I Can’t Quit – Sweet Sugar Booger – What Am I Doing Here – Don’t Stop The Music.
This is the second solo album from Miss Mary Ann also known as one half of the famous Ranch Girls from Netherland. And like the Ranch Girls she’s backed by the Ragtime Wranglers. But the comparison with her other outfit stops here. If the Ranch Girls’ repertory is made upon harmonies, duets and western swing/hillbilly, Miss Mary Ann goes for a more rocking sound. And the opening track leaves no doubt about that. You’re going to rock and bop ’til the end of night and guest Carl Sonny Leyland on piano will help you to loose some weight on the dance floor. “I Got Stung” and “I’ll be your slave” (man, what a program) are in the same vein while “Tell Me Who” brings a little swing. To slow down the pace and let us take our breath there’s some honky tonk and country tunes to the mix : Faron Young’s “Forget About The Past” features the steel-guitar wizard himself, none other than Jeremy Wakefield and so does George Jones’s Dont Stop The Music. Her interpretation of Marty Robbins’ “I Cant Quit” where she seems both desperate and resigned is simply superb. I’ve always thought nobody could top Robbins on that, but right now I have serious doubts. And the smooth instrumentation of the Ragtime Wranglers reinforces that feeling. This cd is not only a pleasure for your ears, it has been beautifully designed by Mighty Sam and comes in a superb digipack.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
Miss Mary Ann / The Ragtime Wranglers / The Ranch Girls – Selections 1993-2008
Sonic Rendezvous Records SRV055
Hang On Folks – Mama’s Here – Rock-a-bye Baby – I Got Stung – Baby Of Mine – Flying Saucer Boogie – I Ain’t Worried About Tomorrow – Rock It On Down To My House – My Adobe Hacienda – Homebrew Hooch – Kokomo – What Am I Doing Here – Hey Doll Baby – Kaw-liga – Groovesville – Don’t Lie To Me – Hi De Ank Tum – Flipsville – Sweet Thing – If You Don’t Somebody Else Will
Wether it’s with the Ranch Girls, Mary Ann’s solo act or the Ragtime Wranglers on their own, this bunch of guys and girl has conquered the world with their mix of hillbilly harmonies, rockabilly and early country (when this word still meant something).
This album is a celebration of the band’s first 15 years and gathers songs from most of their releases. I can hear you say: “Great! a best-of, but we already own the albums”. Sure, but there’s more than one reason to buy this cd.
First it comes in a deluxe digipack in DVD format, beautifully designed with lots of photos inside. I see I grabbed your attention. Then you have a couple of tunes from not so easy to find 7″ (Kaw-Liga, Flying Saucer Boogie…) which should be enough to convince you, but you also have unissued live demos (Hi De Ank Tum), outtakes from their second album (My Adobe Hacienda, Rock A Bye Baby), two live songs recorded on the Radio that makes you regret they didn’t release a live album too (Sweet Thing and If You Don’t Somebody Else Will), and icing on the cake six tracks entirely remixed , giving them a fuller and a better sound.
At the end, this cd is far more than just a best-of, it’s almost a brand new album, sure to gain them new fans and please old ones like me, who, 15 years ago fell in love with the sound of the Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers and never stopped digging them since.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Can You Hear It??
Homebrew Records HB6 / Hayden’s Ferry Records 22032 
Can You Hear It – Tennessee Saturday Night – Be Gone – Hang On Folks, Here We Go -Seashore – O.k. You’re My Baby – I Ain’t Worried About Tomorrow – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See – Harmonize – Don’t Lie To Me – City Boy – You’ve Got Everything – Baby Of Mine – Hillbilly Jive With a Boogie Beat – Sugar Booger
Can You Hear It is the third long play by the Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers. Still with Miss Mary Ann at the helm, this one features the new Ranch Girl Mary Lou, who replaced Esther (aka Lil Esther) who had already replaced Caroline.
Except for this, there’s no big changes and one will be happy to find the brand of stuff one can expect from this excellent band, mostly from the pen of Miss Mary Ann.
Can You Hear it, the tile track, is full of Collins Kid exhuberance and fun. Red Foley’s Tennessee Saturday Night is turned into a fast paced swing with questions and answers by Mary Lou and Mary Ann and features Carrie Luz Rodriguez on fiddle. Next is Be Gone, a plain rockin’ tune. Hang On Folks, Here We Go is a two parts harmony version of Miss mary Ann’s song previously recorded on her solo EP. Hard to chose which one is the best (and glad I don’t have to).
Mary Lou proves to be a solid songwriter too with Seashore that sees the return of one thing I particularly like in the Ranch Girls: the accordion. Also of her composition is the very good City Boy with fiddle.
Back to the rockin’ Collins style with OK You’re my Baby. Jimmy and Johnny’s I AInt Worried About tomorrow follows on which they added a bit of Rumba beat . The accordion makes a welcome return with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (not the jazz standard) which is pure hillbilly gold. You’ve got Everything is a solid hillbilly boogie with steel guitar played by Jimmy Roy (Ray Condo, Big Sandy, Jimmy Roy’s Five Star Hillbilly).
Baby of Mine was the song that really hooked me and made me crazy about the Ranch Girls on their debut album and I was glad to find a brand new version on this album. This one features a prominent mandolin instead of the accordion. It’s different, are as the slight variations in the vocals, but equally great.
The album ends with two covers : Reece Shipley’s Hillbilly Jive with a Boogie Beat (that perfectly sums up what the Ranch Girl are) that features none other than Deke Dickerson on vocals and twin guitar and the Marcus Brothers’ Sugar Booger.
Needless to say that the Ragtime Wranglers – Sietse on drums and percussion,Patrick on double bass, Jerome on acoustic and electric mandolin and Joe on acoustic and electric guitar – are as usual perfect, swingin and boppin’ when it’s needed and blending perfectly with the vocals.
Another killer from our favorite European hillbillies !
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
The Ranch Girls and the ragtime Wranglers – Hillbilly Harmony
Goofin Records – GRCD 6071 
Move Over Rover – I Wanna Wanna – Make Up Your Mind – Sure To Fall – Rock-A-Bye Baby – Travelling Blues – Rock’n Roll Polka – Buzzin’ Around – Oh, Monah – Seven Lonely Days – Pal Of My Lonely Hour – Mad At You – Hopin’ That You’re Hopin’ – Hey, Sheriff – Roundup Of Fun
Except for the label and the bass player, not much has changed betwen the first album and this one. You’ll find on this platter the same brand of hillbilly boogie, close harmony with a dose of Rockabilly that you liked on Rhythm on the Ranch. Another little change is that you’ll find more western swing influences with the Mc Kiney sisters’ Pal Of My Lonely Hour and Buzzin’ Around, an instrumental penned by the band’s steel guitar player.
The girls seem also more confident in their vocal talent and explore new manner of singing. I particularly like how they trade intricate vocal lines in some sort of canon (listen to Seven lonely Days to hear a fine example of what I’m telling about.)
All in all a solid second album thta makes more than confirming the very good impression made by the first.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Kaw Liga
Home Brew HB002 – 
Kaw Liga – I’ll get Him Back
Excellent single in the wake of the band’s debut album with a cover of Hank Williams (via the Davis Sisters) Kaw Liga and the Davis Sisters’ I’ll Get Him Back.
Limited edition of 1000 copies.
The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Rhythm on the Ranch
Longhorn Records, Holland – LHC 502 
Gotta Git Goin’ – Baby Of Mine – I’m Done, I’m Through – Go Away Don’t Bother Me – Hi De Ank Tum – Hey, Doll Baby – I Gotta Know – Hot Rod – Peepin’ Eyes – Hillbilly Gal – Crazy – Foggy Mountain Top – Wildwood Flower – Fiddle Diddle Boogie
Rhythm on the Ranch is the Ranch Girls’ debut album. The Ranch Girls are a hillbilly duet formed by Mary Ann and Caroline and backed by the Ragtime Wranglers a fine aggregation of musicians containing members of the Greyhounds and the Bugaloos.
Their sound mixes hillbilly harmony vocals reminiscent of the Davis sisters (whom they cover three songs Gotta Git Goin, Foggy Mountain Top and Fiddle Diddle Boogie) or any of the other « sisters » bands of the same style (Dining, Miller…) with the joyful exuberance of the Collins kids (present here with Hot Rod and Go Away Dont Bother me) sprinkled with some Rose Maddox and a bit of bluegrass too with Charlie Feather’s Peepin’ Eyes.
Each girl takes a solo spot, Caroline with Wanda Jackson’s Gotta Know and Mary Ann with a moving rendition Patsy Cline’s Crazy.
Shaun Young of High Noon fame is the author of « I’m Done I’m Through » performed here in full honky tonk style with appropriate steel guitar (and talking about High Noon, Sean Mencher introduces Fiddle Diddle Boogie).
Joe, the guitar player, penned Hillbilly Gal and Mary Ann contributed by far my favourite song of the album, the excellent baby of Mine perfectly arranged with accordion.
The band is simply perfect with a tight rhythm section and includes some guests on steel, fiddle and mandolin, and Joe Sixpack’s Maphis inspired guitar licks are the last piece of this superb musical puzzle. They shine throughout and give all their best on the instrumental Wildwood Flower.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
The Ragtime Wranglers – 15 Smoking tracks
Home Brew Records/Sonic Rendez-Vous SRV057
Harissa / Firewater Stomp / Thunder Reef / Red Rod Race / Sin City Serenade / Resaca / The Sky’s Gone Out / Amor Perdido / Mojo Bag Bop / Mexican Standoff / Driving All Night / Lullaby For Louis / Buck ‘n’ Rich / The Chicken Room / Smoke ’em Out
This is the second all instrumental album for Miss Mary Ann’s backing band, the Ragtime Wranglers, and if you’re too lazy to read the full review here’s what you need to know: it’s a killer!
It opens with the surf tinged “Harissa”, an ode to this North African sauce with sax. I couldn’t help but think it would make a fantastic double-sider with Los Straitjackets’ “Casbah”. With the intro played on the tom-tom, “Firewater Stomp” carries an Indian mood (a bit like Kaw-Liga) and features the one and only Jeremy Wakefield on steel guitar. Next is “Thunder Reef”, the sole cover of the album (from the pen of Bobby Fuller): a solid rocking and surfing number with great drums break. “Red Rod Race” is a rockabilly track that comes complete with car sounds and would have made Bob Keane, boss of Del-Fi, happy. Pictures of desert, setting sun and such other things come to mind while listening to “Sin City Serenade”, a cool atmospheric tune with accordion and muted Mexican trumpet. “Resaca” (hangover in Spanish) has a kind of film noir groove with a Latin beat and a superb tenor saxophone part. And don’t forget Miss Mary-Ann contribution on vocals. If Tarantino doesn’t pick this one for his next movie he’s a dumbass. “The Sky’s Gone Out” is simply perfect or perfect in its simplicity with just the acoustic guitar, a double bass and a mandolin. More Latin fever with “Amor Perdido” which is a mix of twang guitar and mariachi trumpet. How could you resist? Mojo Bag Bop is a rockin’ blues that’ll remind you of John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillun with a rockabilly beat. If good, The Mexican Standoff is not very original. More interesting is “Drivin’ All Night” that makes good use of the reverb. “Lullaby For Louis” follows. It’s a gentle waltz that sees the return of the accordion in the background. They couldn’t have done it nice, Louis is a lucky baby. Wakefield returns on “Buck’n’Rich”, a tribute to Buck Owens and Don Rich ‘and incidentally a tribute to the good old Fender Telecaster). “The Chicken Room” sounds like Link Wray (Run Chicken Run) meets the Ventures. “Smoke ‘em Out” closes the album with Joe Sixpack in full Larry Collins/Joe Maphis mode (don’t forget they’ve backed the Collins Kids many times) duelling with Jeroen Jongsma on mandolin.
Icing on the cake, this album comes in a beautifully designed digipack. Pleasure for the ears, beauty for the eyes.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
The Ragtime Wranglers – Groove A Tune
Sonic Rendez vous Records SRR 22
Low Man On A Totempole- Groovesville- Homebrew Hooch-. Groover’s Bop- I Can’t Stand It- Blue Smoke- Town Hall Shuffle-The Manhunt- Guydid- Get My Bread- Hop Scotch- Black Mountain Rag- Bronco Boogie-West Indies Groove
Do we still need to present the Ragtime Wranglers, this Dutch band who foams the world stages since the beginning of the Nineties with the Ranch Girls and Miss Mary Ann but also backing some of the genuine rockabilly stars (Curtis Gordon, Hardrock Gunter, Sid and Billy King, the Collins Kids, Larry Donn, Marvin Rainwater, Frankie Miller and Jack Earls) and more recent artists (like Sage Guyton and Jeremy Wakefield of Lucky Stars). However this “Groove a Tune” is their first album as a “real” band if one does not take account of two instrumentals “The Rocking Gypsy” and ” Road Stop ” published on a Ranch Girls’ EP in 1995. That 14 instumentals album (in LP or Cd) is an additional demonstration of the combo skills lead by the always phlegmatic Jelle Van Atten – more known under the nickname of Joe Sixpack – (guitar, steel-guitar) with Sietse on drums and percussions and Huey Moor on the double bass.
I can hear you thinking for yourselves: “a whole album of only instrumental ones! what a wound!” But you’re wrong, that doesn’t have anything unpleasing when it is played with as much talent and sincerity. The three rogues helped of some guests take you along for a musical journey through their tastes -comparable with those which Biller and Wakefield organize-with some covers but also a majority of self-penned ones, moreover Jeremy W. is invited on two tracks! Flavors and colours are multiple but always of good quality. There will be of course some country and western with references to Joe’s great inspirers as Jimmy Bryant (“Low Man One A Totempole” which opens the album) Merle Travis (his “Blue Smoke”) and Joe Maphis (“Town Hall Shuffle”). There‘s bluegrass (“Homebrew Hooch” with the mandoline of Joroen Jongsma who belongs to several folk formations like “Valleys Dish” “The Watchman”, “The Very Girls”) and stroll as “Groovesville” in an “exotica” style with the atmospheric steel of JW and “Get My Bread”. The rockabilly sounds are also part of the album (“Groover’ S Bop”) and even surfing music (“I Can’t Stand It” with organ) and some powerful rock ‘n’ rollers as “The Manhunt” which walks on the Link Wray side and “Guydid” reminds me of Cochran). It wouldn’t be complete without some sun of the Caribbean with the swaying “West Indies Groove”. But there are some more for you to discover…believe me, the trip is worth paying!!!