Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

Midniters (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

Midniters - Easy MoneyThe Midniters – Easy Money

 

Razor [1988] – Planet X [2018]
Easy Money – Little Devil – Dead Man`s Curve – Sin City – Better Of You – When The Walls Come Tumbling Down – Another Nail In My Heart – Swords Of A Thousand Men
Easy Money (Demo) – Nightshift (Demo) – Walls Come Tumbling Down (Demo) – Gun Law (Demo) – Dead Man’s Curve (Live) – Little Devil (Live) – Walls Come Tumbling Down (Live) – Swords of 1000 Men (Live) – Easy Money (Live)

The Midniters formed in the mid 80’s. After appearing on Fury’s compilation album they released their debut album in 1988 for Razor with Steve Jeffery on vocals and guitar, Nick Wade on drums and Mark Beard on double bass. This album is now reissued on cd with extra bonus tracks.
Being friends and labelmates with the Long Tall Texans, it would be all too easy to compare both bands. And though they sure share some similiraties in term of sound, the Midniters have enough personnality in their songwriting or vocally speaking to avoid this comparison.
With only 8 songs, Easy Money (the original album) is a relatively short affair which is always a good thing for a debut album. Not only you won’t find any filler but it allowed the band to spend more time on each song. And with the help of producer Roger Tebutt (Long Tall Texans, Happy Drivers, but he also worked with the Meteors on Sewertime Blues) they tried different things in term of sound and texture and used the studio as a creative tool. This is not your usual “Live-in-the-studio-with-a-pack-of-beer”
As I said the songwriting is pretty solid, oscillating between neo-Rockabilly and Psychobilly. Fans of heavy double-bass will also appreciate this album too and since it’s been remixed I believe it helps too (since I only owned the original on cassette I can’t remember if that fat bass sound was already in the original mix.)
Six of the songs are originals and the covers are Jan and Dean’s Dead Man Curve and Tenpole Tudor’s swords of 1000 Men.
Tracks 9 to 12 are demos including two songs that didn’t make it to the album but they possibly are from another era of the band since a sax can be heard on Nightshift.
Five excellent live tracks rounds up the package.
All in all a very good and well deserved reissue.


Midniters Terror IncognitoThe Midniters – Terror Incognito

Planet X [2017]
Got Too Hurry – Personal Jesus – Dead Man’s Hand – Pistolero – In the Shadows – Motorbike Mike – House of Stone – Terror Incognito – Drive By – Face in the Dark – All Out Attack – Butchers Basement

Here’s a new Midniters album, nearly 30 years after Easy Money. But if you expect a trip down memory ane, let me tell you you’re plain wrong. ”Terror Incognito” is here to tell you that we’re in 2018, not 1988 !
The Neo-rockabilly bordering to Psychobilly of their first effort evolved into a modern form of Rockabilly with a harder and a fuller sound. In the same time they added elements of New-wave. This mix of influences, some songs could be defined as Adam Ant meets the Stray Cats makes them sound at place like the recent Quakes album. Some songs are much harder and more psychobilly that are not that far from the early Nekromantix.
All songs but two are originals written by Steve Jeffery, the cover being Depeche Mode’s Personnal Jesus in a very personnal rendition and a Spaghetti western influenced instrumental composed by Steve Stevens (guitar player for Billy Idol.)
It’s good to see a band that dosn’t try to run after its youth and return to create and propose something new.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Mouse Zinn

in Interviews

Here’s an old interview conducted a couple of years ago when Mouse released his Vigilante Man album.

 

Well, it’s been a long while since you last been into a studio recording. How does it feel to be back?
Mouse Zinn — Ha, the last time I recorded ANYTHING was back in 1999/2000 for the Space Cadets lp “cadets A-Go-Go”, after that, for no reason I embarked on a 10/11 year ‘silence’. For some reason I had no urge to do a anything creative, and quite honestly needed a break. in the 90s not 1 year passed by without me doing something, Red Hot n Blue ( 4 albums) Space Cadets (3 albums) Kid Rocker (2 albums) and countless other little projects with other bands, producing songs, writing songs, the Chessie Bits, live shows,record hops and so on….it was a mad decade. In the noughties all I did was record hops and shows with the Space Cadets. Then it dawned on me that 10 years had passed and i hadnt recorded a single song,thats a long long time in a musicians life y’know! it feels really good to be doing something again and recording has always been my favorite part of the whole business.

What decided you to make this record?
Mouse Zinn — I decided to go and do a solo project because I just had this desire to do something. I was watching all my old mates put out songs and cds etc..etc…, watching all these new bands recording and putting out stuff and I kind of felt ‘left-out’ i guess. why hadnt i did a recording for such a long time? I really dont know, all I can say is this… in that time I’ve had a lot of great ideas of what I ‘really’ wanted to do, and it didnt involve another band, this was going to be something I wanted to do, My ideas, MY control, MY style and MY desicions on what will and will not be on a new recording. So it had to be a solo project with me at the helm as MOUSE ZINN, with musicians helping me with what I wanted to do.

You’ve always been in a band configuration (Red Hot’n’Blue, Space Cadets, Switchblade). This time it sounds like a real solo album. Does it change something in your approach?
Mouse Zinn — Im now 27 years onwards from my 1st Red Hot n Blue recordings back in 1983. And in that time I’e always been part of a group as such, so now I see myself as an artist who would more prefer to have a solo part to my reportoir, and also do the shows with the Space Cadets. lets see how it pans out, but the future could be very strange on the rockin scene, and who knows, I may even be asked to do my Red Hot n Blue songs 20 years from now when I’m in my mid-60s, you just never know. so at the moment im focusing on this new solo thing and getting my 1st solo album out for xmas/new year.

Can you tell us about the songs we’ll find on the plater? What kind of music, styles, songs etc…
Mouse Zinn — First of all, “vigilante Man” is an album of covers, I didnt want to write songs for this album, its a collection of some of my favorite songs that I’ve put my own stamp on and have wanted to record for a long long time. im almost finished recording it now and its sounding great and, at last, all of them ideas of the last 10 years are coming to fruit, its sounding really really good. its basically a country album with rock-a-billy elements and rockin rhythms inthe 50s style that i like. theres songs of war, death, sorrow, gunfights, vigilante men, its all dark and has a message to say, its a really thought out album which has taken most of this summer to record and plan. its all been recorded at my good friend Ricky Lee Brawns recording service in Luton, Valvemobile Studios (rickys home) all recroded on old microphones, mixing descks and machines. Ive also had 3 different band line ups to give the album a different feel thoughout. weve got fiddles, banjos, accordians, mandolins, drums, bass, electric guitar all sorts of differnt things going on. and…ITS ALL BEEN RECORDED LIVE!!! no drop-inns, no overdubs, nothing. what you will hear on vigilante man is acomplete 15 songs recorded in a room, just the way they used to do it, once the songs over, THATS IT!!,.. its done and nothings added nor taken away, it is a true LIVE album, my first EVER!! if we didnt get the right take , we’d do it again, and agian and so on till we got the right take. Im really happy with the album so far…really happy!!

Who played with you on this sessions?
Mouse Zinn — Playing on the new album is a lot of different musicians that I’ve admired from a distance for a long while and always wanted to record with them in some way, so the solo album gave me this chance to get them together just for the recordings. The first 4 recordings were done with the Union Canal String Band, a local Luton Bluegrass outfit who I heard busking at the Hot Rod Hayride in 2009, since then i wanted to do some bluegrass/country numbers and the guys very niceley agreed to come record at Rickys Valvemobile studio in Luton. so, the first four songs comprise of Jamie Mockbridge-banjo/accordian, Jimbo Alpin-Rhythm Guitar/Harmonica, Dan Robinson-Bass and Jon Rickards-Mandolin /Fiddle.
The 2nd line up I wanted a more rockin approach on so I asked 3 old pal from around the scene to come to Luton to do 6 songs, on this line-up was Paul Gaskin-Lead guitar, Ian ‘Dollar bill’ Bowerman-Drums and Kevin Klump-bass.
In the next 10 days I’ve got 5 more songs to do to finish the album, and my final muicians are going to be some of my fave guys at the moment, some fresh blood and an old man you can say! it will be, Ricky Lee Brawn-drums, Darren Lince from Jack Rabbit Slim on Lead Guitar, Dazza from Slim Slip and the Sliders on Bass, and a final addition will be Daniel Jeanrenauld on lead guitar who will play lead guitar on a track he wrote called “Its Gonna Rain”. The whole album is produced by Ricky Lee Brawn at Valvemobile studio in Luton, England.

Where does the name “Vigilante Man” come from by the way?
Mouse Zinn — Vigilante Man is the title of the album and its an old Woody Guthrie tune I’ve always loved and it just seemed right to call the album Vigilante Man as its a solo album and it fits!

Do you have a label or will you revive Zinn to release it?
Mouse Zinn — At the moment I’m trying to ‘pimp’ the album around to labels to see who’s interested in putting it out, so far I’ve asked Rollin Records U.K, Rhythm Bomb records Germany and El Toro Records in Spain, at the moment nobody has given me a concrete yes as the albums not finished yet so they havent heard the final ‘cut’ and wont do till Oct/Nov this year. Anyhow, if nobody wants it I will do it myself, ive had experience with releasing records and know the market well, so I wont hesitate in putting it out if nobody wants it. I had it before in the early 90s, i tried everybody to ‘pimp’ out the lp “Hey There Man” by Red Hot n Blue, NOBODY wanted it, I had Faith in it and put it out myself and sold 1000s of copies, and I’ll do the same with this if I have too. One way or another, “Vigilante Man” WILL BE OUT by December 2010/January 2011 the latest! Probably on my own ZINN label.

Do you have something to add about it?
Mouse Zinn — Im looking forward to the release of Vigilante Man, looking forward to 2011 and another year of rockin, looking forward to all the all-dayers and weekenders im all-raedy booked at as a DJ (which is very busy)..looking forward to doing shows with the Domestic Bumblebees for a year, looking forward to recording a brand new Space Cadet album next autumn, and then in 2012, looking forward to re-froming the Space Cadets for our first shows in two and a half years. we will have a busy 2012 for sure!!! So, still so much to do and much fun to have, you have to enjoy what you do more than anything. NEVER think its work, its always been fun for me, thats why i keep doing it year in and year out! KEEP IT REAL, KEEP IT FUN!!!

Kokomo Kings (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews

The Kokomo Kings – Too Good To Stay Away From The Kokomo Kings – Too Good to Stay Away From

 

Rhythm Bomb – RBR5848 [2017]

Too Good To Stay Away From – The River Turned To Steam – The River Turned To Steam – I Can’t Go Home Looking Like This – She’s Stealin’ Candy – Pillow Of Gold – When I Tried To Think – Girl From The Moon – I’m Your Plumber – Silicone Brain – Standing In The Cold Rain – A Wasted Day Is Forever Lost – You Need A Little Dirt (To Make The Grass Green)

Our favorite bluesmen from Scandinavia aka The Kokomo Kings  are back, not only with a new album but also with a new singer since Harmonica Sam more or less retired from the road. But don’t worry, the new boy Martin Abrahamsson perfectly fills the void and Sam is still present on this this album, singing three songs and playing harmonica too.

Well, what can I say about this band that you don’t already know ? The twelve songs, all originals written by bassman Magnus Lanshammarn, are all excellent with clever lyrics (I’ve seen her picking pockets in the welfare line / Stealing from the poor makes her feel fine / Tonight she’s going out for a special treat / Gonna feed the neighbour’s dog with poisoned meat) or more profound (You make in a day what you spend in a year (…) It doesn’t matter how much you have in the bank, you’ll die when you get too old.)

The music is top notch and groovy as hell, a perfect blend of Louisiana blues, swamp rock, Chicago blues and a dash of Rock’n’roll here and there.
This excellent album comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve perfectly illustrated by Henrique San.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Gina and the Rockin’ Rebels

in Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews/Singles

Gina and the rockin' Rebelsgina and the rockin rebelsGina and the Rockin’ Rebels

 

ALL 102 – 1978
Rockin’ on down the line / Thinkin’ on you

Gina and the Rockin’ Rebels were Gina Wall (vocals) Johnny Wall (rhythm guitar) Paul James (lead guitar), Lol Lewis (bass) and Billy Sloane (drums). They recorded their debut single in 1978 for Alligator Records a British rockabilly label based in North London, active between 1978 and 1980. The songs were recorded at BTW Recording Studios in Wood Green, North London.
Gina Wall had a really great voice made for Rockabilly and the band provided the perfect backing. Penned by Gina and bassist Lol Lewis, Rockin’ on Down the Line sounds like a mix between “That’s All Right” and Buddy Holly’s song of almost the same name.
Thinkin’ of You is equally good, mostly acoustic with just a little electricity on the guitar.
They later evolved into Gina and the Strollers, and continue til this day, minus Gina, as the Strollers.

Gina and the Rockin' Rebels

The Nut Jumpers

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

nut jumpersThe Nut Jumpers – Boogie In The Shack

 

Rhythm Bomb RBR5879 [2018]
Woah Oh Ho – Set Me Free – Love Truck – My Pearly Doll – Boogie In The Shack – Pandit – Cʼmon, Cʼmon – Blow Your Top – Catholic Boy – Gonna Stand My Ground – No Good, No Good – Keep A little Place – Nut Jump
The Nut jumpers is a new band formed by well known figures on the rockin’ scene, namely Helen Shadow, Ricky Lee Brawn and Jake Calypso.
Together or separately their names were associated with the Queen B’s, the Blue Ridge Rockets, the Johnson Family, the Big Six, the Stargazers, the Space Cadets, the Shooting Stars, Hot Chickens, Mystery Train and a couple more that I forget right now! Quite a pedigree!
Recorded live, their debut album is everything one could and should expect from a Rock’n’roll album. It’s wild, raw, agressive, threatening, uncompromising and short. No time to lose, it’s a concentrate shot of Rock’n’roll straight to your ears.
Each member penned songs and both Calypso and Shadow sing which brings a lot of styles and variety to the final result.
Calypso’s voice is perfect for that kind of weird stuff and the Rockabilly material. It’s perfectly completed by Shadow’s unique tone that I’m crazy about since I first heard her cover of “I did what I did for Maria” on the Queen B’s album. Talking about signature sound, Ricky’s way of mistreating his snare is also immedately recognizable and provides a solid backbone to all this rockin’ mayhem.

On the more garage side of things, you’ll find “Set me Free”, think about the Kinks meet Billy Childish, and the two instrumentals. “Pandit” has a strong Link Wray/Dick Dale vibe while “Blow Your Top” is the musical equivalent to a locomotive moving full steam ahead with no one to drive or stop it.
Many strange images popped in my mind while listening to this album. The weirdest being generated by Calypso’s My Pearly Doll. I thought “Woah! This is how Buddy Holly would have sounded if he had recorded a tune just after his fatal plane crash.”  Sounds creepy? Listen to the song and we’ll talk about that later. Still in the Rockabilly style you’ll find “Catholic Boys”, with slide and a Diddley beat, and “No Good, No Good” with cowbell and a similar riff to Dale Hawkins’ Suzy Q.
There’s also plenty of blues influenced stuff that either reminds of Elmore James or Jimmy reed but with a dirtier sound and a punkish attitude. In betweeen they find time to include a gospel/chain gang song simply backed by handclaps and foostomps a more countryish number with “Keep A Little Place”.
It’s very pleasant and highly enjoyable to have bands like the Nut Jumpers that are here to have fun and don’t give a damn about styles and genres (and purists) and mix them all to create their music. After all that’s how rock’n’roll was born.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Trillionairs

in Contemporary artists/Reviews/Singles/T

trillionairsThe Trillionairs – Haunted

Killjoy records – Kill 023 [2017]
Haunted – Alohol
The Trillionairs are a German neo-rockabilly/psychobilly quartet. After a short dialog taken from what I assume to be a old movie (though I didn’t recognize it), Haunted kicks off. Two guitars, one with a distorted sound and another with a more rockabilly sound, a powerful slap bass completed by superb drumming (the band’s secret weapon), and on top of that a fierce and aggressive voice. With a change of pace in the middle, this is first class psychobilly.
B sides takes more or less the same ingredients, including fine drums breaks too, but is slightly faster. That’s all I love and I ask from a band : tight musicianship, good songs and more than two ideas for the arrange them.
500 copies (400 black, 50 red and 50 white)

Available here.

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