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Deke Dickerson

Deke and the Whippersnappers – Deke And The Whippersnappers

Pig Baby Records – PBR-018 [2020]
Here Kitty, Kitty – Besame Mucho – Wild Wild One – The Girls Gone Rockin’

With just two guitars and one double-bass, it’s back to basic for Deke Dickerson on this new EP.
The Whippersnappers are Bert Avalos (the Moontones) on rhythm guitar and Zander Griffith (Reckless Ones) on double-bass.
They take Jimmy Murphy’s Here Kitty Kitty at the same pace than the original, but they muscle it a bit, and the result is a superb Rockabilly with fine pickin’ and a slap bass solo in the middle.
Besame Mucho sounds halfway between El Cumbachero and Walk Don’t Run.
Wild Wild Thing, a cover of Billy Golden’s 1968 Starday single, is a solid country tune with twangy guitar, tailored-made for Dickerson’s voice.
Surprinsingly, the sole original comes from the pen of Avalos and Griffith. It’s a frantic Rockabilly, very classic in its form but the musicianship makes the difference.
Hopefully, this line-up will soon record an album very soon.

Deke Dickerson & The Sex-Phonics – Morocco Twist

Deke Dickerson Morocco twist

Sleazy Records – SR172 [2019]
Morocco Twist / Barefoot Blues

During one of his tours of Spain, Dickerson teamed up with a bunch of Spanish musicians to record this single.
Side A is an instrumental with twin guitars and Hammond organ. It’s a surf tune with an Oriental vibe and a touch of twist.
The B-side is a Rock’n’roll number in a Chuck Berry vein with vocals.


Big Sandy vs. Deke Dickerson – Jesus & Gravy

Big Sandy vs Deke Dickerson

Sleazy Records SR142 [2018]
Make A Little Time For Jesus / Get The Gravy Hot

This release is a split single between Big Sandy (side A) and Deke Dickerson (side B).
Fellow Fly Right Boys Ashley Kingman and Kevin Stewart back Big Sandy, helped by Chris Sprague on drums and Ernie Vargas on tambourine. Make A Little Time For Jesus finds him, with no surprise, in full-gospel mode. The man who penned songs like Between Darkness and Dawn, Thru Dreamin’, and many others, has been more inspired in the past.
You’ll find the same musicians backing Deke Dickerson, but Kingman switched to 6-string bass, and Stewart plays electric-bass. The song, a cover of Shotgun Red, is an excellent country rocker that suits Deke’s voice and style to a T.


deke dickerson echosonic eldorado
Deke Dickerson – Echosonic Eldorado

Deke Dickerson – Echosonic Eldorado

Major Label MLCD 006
Little Innocent – I’m Gettin’ Your Message, Baby – Sneakin’ All Around – Forbidden Love – My Baby Don’t Love Me Anymore – Bop Wax – Don’t That Prove I Love You – Big Guitar – My Eyes On You (with Duane Eddy) – Cut Loose – Echosonic Eldorado – Deke’s Boogie Blues – 40th & Plum – I’ve Lived A Lot In My Time

Whereas Deke’s latest studio album, King Of the Whole Wide World, blended together rockabilly, western swing, rock’n’roll, country soul, honky tonk and more, Deke Dickerson’s Echosonic Eldorado stays within the boundaries of rock’n’roll and rockabilly.
One can hear the influences of Johnny Burnette (Little Innocent), Gene Vincent (Bop Wax sounds like a mix between Bop Street and Crazy Legs) and a lot of Sun sound, helped on that by guest pianist Carl Sonny Leynand in full Jerry Lee Lewis mode. Another Sun connection is the presence of Scotty Moore who introduced via an answer machine the instrumental Echosonic Eldorado. The term Echosonic came from the amplifier used by Moore on the early Elvis recordings and that’s no surprise to find Moore inspired riffs in that instrumental but with the Dickerson’s touch. Another guest is none other than Duane Eddy who lays his instantly identifiable twangy guitar on “My Eyes On You“. With lyrics like “I got a shiny Cadillac car, I got Duane Eddy on guitar” I can easily imagine the smile upon Dickerson’s face during the session. Another highlight is Deke’s Boogie Blues, close to Frogman Henry’s Ain’t Got No Home. As usual with Dickerson, the vocal is, throughout the album, perfect and no need to say that the guitar is hot. Beside the already mentionned Carl Sonny Leyland and in addition to Dickerson on guitar, bass and some piano, Chrsi Sprague sings some backing and harmony vocals and Crazy Joe completes the line-up on drums.
Needless to say that you must have it.


Deke Dickerson w/ Nikki Hill - Soul Meets Country
Deke Dickerson w/ Nikki Hill – Soul Meets Country

Deke Dickerson – Soul Meets Country

Major Label Records MLCD-007 [2013]
Lovey Dovey – Feelins – Struttin’ – Lady Killa
Hot off the press here comes Deke Dickerson’s newest ep, available on both cd and vinyl format (downloads available too). If you liked his previous single cut in Memphis with the Bo-Keys, no doubt that you will LOVE this one. Not only Deke Dickerson reunited with the Bo-Keys for four sides of juicy Memphis soul but he also had the good idea to team with rock’n’roll and rhythm’n’ blues diva Nikki Hill. Side A features two Hill-Dickerson duets, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas’ Lovey Dovey and Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn’s Feelins. Country meets Soul or what? Side B contains Struttin‘ sung by Nikki Hill alone and a new country funk version (with Wah-wah) of Deke’s Lady Killin’ Papa named here Lady Killa. Superb.
www.dekedickerson.com/shopping/merch3.php


dekedickersonandthebokeysDeke Dickerson and the Bo-Keys – Country Meets Soul

Love man / hello Darlin’
Major Label ML45-1

Country soul anyone? Deke recorded this new single with the mighty Bo-Keys and featuring the no less talented Joel Paterson on pedal steel guitar. The result is a killer double A sides (Otis Redding’s Love Man and Conway Twitty’s Hello Darlin’) sounding like a mix between a 60’s country band with a bit of Charlie Rich in it and backed by the Mar-Keys or Booker T. Beautiful 180gr sleeve too.


Deke Dickerson - Live at Duff's
Deke Dickerson – Live at Duff’s

Deke Dickerson – Live At Duff

Intro and Mexicali Rose – Snatch It and Grab It – Early American – Run Red Run – I’m a Lover Not a Fighter – Ain’t No Grave Deep Enough – Good Time Gal – Misshapen Hillbilly Gal – I’ll Go Down Swingin’ – Honky Tonk Nighttime Man- Make Way for a Better Man – End of the Road – Lover Come Back to Me – Hello Darlin’- I Never Cared for You – Muleskinner Blues – El Cumbanchero

Live albums are pretty rare on the “reviva” rockin’ scene. I don’t know why , maybe the reason is that it gets tough to release albums nowadays and artists want to concentrate on studio stuff, or because some of them, touring a lot, want to propose something different on wax.
Anyway, Deke’s latest output is a live album. And not only this stands as one of the best live album I’ve heard, it could possibly be Deke’s best album. Nothing less.

It was recorded when Dickerson was on tour with the excellent Chicago combo The Modern Sounds (they now have a couple of cd of their own and one backing Eddie Clendening – all excellent check them out!). The Modern Sounds are guitar wizard Joel Paterson who also plays steel and harp, slap bassist Beau Sample and drummer extraordinaire Alex Hall who doubles on piano too.
Dickerson and band play a storming set of rockabilly/rock’n’roll (Jerry Lee’s End of the Road features Hall on piano and Dickerson giving his best Jimmy Van Eaton impersonation). He also takes good advantage of Paterson’s skills on steel guitar to delve further into country and western sounds whether it’s classic honky tonk (Porter Wagoner’s I’ll Go Down Swingin’, Conway Twitty’s Hello Darlin), western swing (Misshapen Hillbilly Gal) or Willie Nelson (Nelson is a genre of its own).
There’s also two instrumentals, Deke’s El Cumbachero and Joe Maphis and Larry Collins’ Early American (with a second guitarist like Paterson it must be hard to resist I guess)
But this album has more to offer. Dickerson once joked – it was on West Coast Ramble I guess – that he was “the whitest man in show-business. Whenever I try to sound like Louis Jordan I end up sounding like Bill Haley”. Of couse it’s wrong but the Modern Sounds allow him to explore style he rarely ventured in. It was a total blast to hear him play Lazy Lester’s I’m A Lover Not A Fighter (with Paterson on harmonica) but most of all he felt confident enough to sing a classic jazz tune like « Lover Come Back to Me », seriously and not as a joke. And he’s right cause he never sounded that well as a singer.
It’s a joint release from Deke’s Major Label and Paterson’s Ventrella and like all Ventrella albums it’s superbly designed and comes in a beautiful digipack.


Deke Dickerson - King of the Whole Wide World
Deke Dickerson – King of the Whole Wide World

Deke Dickerson – King of the Whole Wide World

Major Label Records MLCD-003
King of the Whole Wide World (introduction) – Deep River – I Can’t Wait To See You (Go) – Misshapen Hillbilly Gal – Put Me Down – Boone County Blues – Make Way for a Better Man – Itchin’ for My Baby – Do You Think of Me – Fool’s Gold – Trumpet – Early for the Bell – Bomb Shelter (for My Heart) – Double-Clutchin’- King of the Whole Wide World (reprise)
When you think about it, there are only a couple of things that never deceive you . Deke Dickerson’s ability to craft some of the best roots inspired albums is one of these things. But that doesn’t mean he’s predictable, far from that.
Gathering an impressive cast of musicians (as he says himself it could have been called “with a little help from my friends”) like Crazy Joe, Jimmy Sutton, Pete Curry and his partner in crime Chris Sugarballs Sprague, Deke (who plays guitar, bass, drums, baritone sax in addition to his fine singing) adds to a discography that is already faultless one of the richest album of his career and probably my favorite (if you’re interested). He offers a musical journey into american music proving that the label “rockabilly” is by far too restrictive for such an amount of talent.
The title track features just Deke and his guitar in a Jimmie Rodger’s mood with 78’s crackle for good effect. It then kicks off with “Deep River” (an old bluegrass number turned into a straight ahead rock’n’roll) and Dickerson’s “I can’t wait to see you go” featuring the great Carl Sonny Leyland on piano in a Jerry Lee’s mood. Carl also plays on Lewis’ “Put Me Down”, “Bomb Shelter (For My Heart)” another fine country-rocker, “Trumpet” a Malcom Yelvington cover and “Early For The Bell” a song that’ll make every King Cole Trio or Slim Gaillard afficionados happy. Talking about swing, The Lucky Stars (with Crazy Joe) back up Deke on the hilarious western swing number “Misshapen Hillbilly Gal” which is a reason good enough to buy this album.
Mitch Polzak (from the Royal Deuces) guests on banjo for the bluegrass inspired “Boone County Blues”, with top class harmony vocals. Man, as I write this, I realize that I’ll soon run out of superlative anyway, let’s continue. “Make Way For A Better Man” is a Wille Nelson song, but Dickerson adds a heavy dose of soul in it and turns it into a Charlie Rich tune. The basic track of the Honky Tonk “Do You Think Of Me” was recorded in Austin with Dave Biller, Billy Horton and Lisa Pankratz. The always talented Crazy Joe plays a mean 6-string bass solo on this one and to complete this masterpiece Mary Huff from Southern Culture On The Skids adds “ethereal high vocals” (like she did on “Rumors Of Surf”). The album ends with “Double Clutchin'”, an instrumental co-written with Crazy Joe (think Les Paul meets Joe Maphis) and a reprise of “King Of the Whole Wide World”.
Now you’ve understood that this is an absolute “must have” and your next click will lead you to Deke’s website to order it.


Deke Dickerson - Deke Down Under !
Deke Dickerson – Deke Down Under !

Deke Dickerson – Deke Down Under !

My Baby Don’t Love Me Anymore – Cut Loose – Eefin’ Rock – Hey Worm
Deke is back with this EP with both the cd and the vinyl version. It has been recorded in Australia in 2004, while Deke was on tour there, at the legendary Preston Studios. Preston provided great rockabilly and blues on their label (remember the “Aussiebilly” comp on Nervous or more recently Benny & The Fly-By Niters). Back to the record now. The sound and the variety of songs (even if there are only 4) are not that far from “The Melody”. The opening is a Johnny Paycheck tune but is given a rock’n’roll treatment with a good piano drive played by Deke himself. You can easily imagine Jerry Lee playing it like this. “Cut Loose” is a good rockin’ song, with frantic piano and savage guitar and probably one of the wildest tune Dickerson recorded under his name. With a name like “Eefin’ Rock” you know what to expect from this song. Imagine some Link Wray instrumental with handclaps and right in the middle “eefin”. Little Jimmy Dickens’s Hey Worm closes the set. His version is more western swing and less rural than the original. Great guitar solos supported by a swingin’ rhythm section. This one should be in every collection, but hurry folks it’s a limited print of 1000. You’ll find it on Deke’s website (www.dekedickerson.com).


Deke Dickerson - The Melody
Deke Dickerson – The Melody

Deke Dickerson – The Melody

Major Label MLCD-002
Broken Heart – Good Time Gal – Right or Wrong – Looks Like I’m in Trouble Again – As Long as I Live – Safely In Love – Love Is Like a Song – Someone Used to Love Me – Mister Cheater – Waitin’ on My Baby – Give Me All Your Love – Tell Me How – Double Naught Spy – Lookin’ for Money – I Never Cared for You
Here’s the new record from this very prolific and multi talented guy. Deke has now a bunch of records behind his belt but this is really the first to give me that feeling : a real album (you see, in the 60’s meaning of the term) more than a collection of singles. It doesn’t mean all the songs sound the same. Deke is too talented to stick on one style. So you’ll find some rockabilly (The moonlighters’s Broken heart, Buddy Holly’s Tell me How), country music with Good Time Gal and Willie Nelson’s I never cared for you (I’ve always thought that Willie Nelson was like the Rolling Stones : far better when they were covered by other artists), a great instrumental that could be the original score for a B-movie. You also find a lot of Roy orbison inspiration behind songs like Mister Cheater and Safely in Love. And this shows what a good singer Deke is. We all know he’s a great guitar player, but now he seems to do what he wants with his voice. Musicians don’t have to be forgotten too : Chris Sprague on drums (The Sprague Brothers) and Jimmy Sutton (Four Charms) on bass (acoustic and electric) with appearances by Carl Leyland (who else?) and Dave Berzansky (Hacienda brothers). In the liner notes you can read «This album is a concept album». Sure, but Deke always makes concept album, and the concept is always the same: quality.


Deke Dickerson - Live on the Radio
Deke Dickerson – Live on the Radio

Deke Dickerson – Live on the Radio

Well, this one is a very limited edition as it seems that only 50 copies were made and you only found it on Deke’s website. Too bad that it hasn’t a bigger distrisbution cause it’s really a must have. First the band : the Ecco-fonics here are Chris «Sugarballs» Sprague (from The Sprague Brothers) on drums and some vocals and Wally Hersom (do I need to introduce him?) on bass. Then the songs. Apart those that are almost classics in Deke’s repertoire (Red Headed Woman, I might not come home at all, Mexicalli Rose) you find Dave and Deke Combo songs (Tally Ho, Chrome Dome) and what makes this record valuable : covers not on records (All I can do is cry, flight on the bumble bee twist, Stray Cats Strut played like Louis Armstrong) and songs that will be on Deke next album. And believe me, if the other songs are like the ones you find here, it’s gonna be a killer ! They play all those great tunes in a semi-unplugged sound (it’s live on the radio) and the whole show comes with ads between the songs and you have a great interview to end.Try Deke’s website at www.dekedickerson.com, maybe he still have a spare copy, cause if you haven’t heard Sugarball’s campaign song, you haven’t heard nothing.


Deke Dickerson - Live on the Radio
Deke Dickerson – Live on the Radio

Deke Dickerson – In 3 Dimensions

Major Label MLCD 001
I Might Not Come Home At All ~ Top Of The Line ~ Ain’t Got A Reason ~ I Get So Lonely ~ Sittin’ And Thinkin’ ~ Wear Out The Soles Of My Shoes ~ Take The Long Way Home ~ It Would Be A Doggone Lie ~ Let’s Go Wild Tonight ~ Bitter Tears ~ You’ve Been Honky Tonkin’ ~ Too Hot Too Handle ~ Knoxville Boogie ~ Gambler’s Guitar ~ Pinball Boogie ~ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ~ I’m Gonna Live Some Before I Die.

This is Deke’s fourth album and the first on which he’s not backed by the Ecco-Fonics, whoever they can be. As the title says, Deke cut himself in three, playing three different styles with three different bands: Rock’n’roll, Rockabilly and Western Swing.
The Rock’n’roll part is the occasion to hear the swing of veteran Earl Palmer (Little Richard, Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, Willie Nelson and so many others) on drums. He really adds something else to the tune. Bust most of all, what hits you is Deke’s voice. Album after album his voice has matured and he proves he’s a subtle and classy singer with Charlie Rich’s Sittin and Thinkin. The rockabilly segment follows with 5 songs. It’s the more predictable part but contains the excellent Wear Out the Sole Of My Shoes and Bitter Tears closes the set on a high note. For the last part, “Hillbilly Deke”, Dickerson gathered the super hillbilly band with no less than Dave Biller (guitar), Jeremy Wakefield (steel), Bobby Trimble (drums) and Billy Horton (double bass). It’s a festival of swing, guitar and steel (Pinball Boogie), always sung with taste (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and Bob Wills’ Fat Boy Rag as hidden track.
Deke Dickeson in 3 Dimensions means three times more of pleasure.

Buzz Campbell

buzz_480It all began with a borrowed guitar and a little band from Massapequa, New York.
Buzz Campbell seemed to be leading a normal life. He was attending college, had a girlfriend; even played a little guitar in his spare time. On his 21st birthday, Buzz’s life would take a detour down a different road.
My girlfriend decided to take me to see the Stray Cats on my birthday,” Buzz began. “I never heard such a huge, rockin’ sound coming from just three guys. Brian Setzer was amazing. I dropped out of college the next day and decided to pursue playing music.
And pursue it he has. As a longtime member of Hot Rod Lincoln, Buzz Campbell had become a mainstay on the California rockabilly scene; as the Gretsch-wielding guitarist for the legendary group, Sha Na Na, and Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker, Buzz has been allowed the opportunity to take his music—and Hot Rod Lincoln—to the international stage. I spoke with the HRL front man shortly after his multiple appearances in Green Bay, Wisconsin at this year’s Rockin’ 50s Fest. Buzz handled his usual guitar duties for Lee Rocker, played a show with Hot Rod Lincoln, and joined Rocker and fellow Stray Cat, Slim Jim Phantom, for an unscheduled performance of classic Cats tunes.
And it all began with a borrowed guitar and a little band from Massapequa, New York.

by Denise Daliege-Pierce

When did you first begin playing guitar?
Buzz Campbell  I picked up the guitar in second grade and learned a few chords, then I kind of lost interest. My brother wanted to play guitar a few years later, and bought an acoustic. When there was a guitar in the house again, I found myself picking it up and learning songs. In high school, a friend of mine started showing me how to play lead guitar and a lot of old rock ‘n’ roll songs. I really took to that. I was also very shy when I was younger and couldn’t talk to girls to save my life. When I played guitar at parties, I got more attention from the girls and found that, if I played music, I didn’t have to talk so much.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Buzz Campbell  Chuck Berry was my first real influence. I loved his approach on that blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. Later, I got hip to more rockabilly guys, like Carl Perkins, Cliff Gallup, Scotty Moore and James Burton. In my late teens, the music and the style—i.e. clothes, cars, etcetera—had really become a part of my everyday life, but I didn’t discover there was a “rockabilly scene” until I turned 21. Brian [Setzer] had to be my biggest influence. I really took a leap of faith and dove into music after hearing him with the Stray Cats.

How was Hot Rod Lincoln formed?
Buzz Campbell  I was looking for a couple of guys to start jamming with and, at the time, I worked in a warehouse with a lot of people. Someone told me that this guy played bass. It was then that I was introduced to Johnny G. I told him of my vision of starting a band that did only old rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly. He was into the idea and picked up an upright bass shortly after we got the group going.

Did the name “Hot Rod Lincoln” come from the Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen song?
Buzz Campbell  Yes, it did. I had a rockabilly compilation CD with a bunch of stuff on it. Commander Cody’s cover of “Hot Rod Lincoln” was on it. I was reading the song titles with Johnny, and my roommate at the time mentioned that he thought “Hot Rod Lincoln” would be a good band name. He wasn’t too hip to what we were doing, but was always full of advice…so, we blew him off. The next day, Johnny called me, and we both thought he was right…hence, we became Hot Rod Lincoln.

I understand that Lee Rocker produced your 1997 album, Blue Café. How did that collaboration come about?
Buzz Campbell  Lee and HRL go much further back than that. I met Lee when HRL opened up for his new project, Big Blue, in 1991. He liked what we were doing, and recognized the Stray Cats influence and neo edge that we were going for. We asked him to produce our first release, and he said yes. We recorded Hot Rod Lincoln, our first album, with Lee in the producer’s chair later that year. We kept in touch from then on, opened for his group here and there, and finally asked him to produce our third CD around 1997. Around this time, I had also become friends with my guitar influence, Brian Setzer. We had met at the NAMM [National Association of Music Makers] show in L.A. some years earlier at the Gretsch guitar booth, and I gave him a copy of the first CD and told him that Lee produced it. He was in San Diego, playing some of his early shows with his orchestra, and happened into a bar that I was working at that night. When he saw that it was us, he hung out all night, jammed, and got pretty drunk. I offered to let him and his wife stay with me in my little apartment and, to my surprise, they said yes. About a week later, Brian called and said he had written me a song called “Blue Café”; hence, the title track for the new CD was born.

You mentioned that you’ve been a Stray Cats fan for quite some time. How did it feel when you first began performing as a member of Lee Rocker’s band?
Buzz Campbell  That’s a good question. I was very honored when Lee called and asked me to join his group. I had been friends with Lee for almost 15 years. It felt really great to know that I had advanced from just a kid trying to emulate Lee’s music to being on his level of playing ability. Plus, we had been friends for a long time, and I always enjoyed him working on my projects. I figured it would be just as fun working on his.

I’m sure that being on stage with Lee has led to the inevitable comparisons to Brian Setzer and former Rocker guitarist, Tara Novick.
Buzz Campbell  Honestly, I don’t think about it much. I thought Tara was a great guitarist and did a fantastic job with Lee, but I always thought that I was a better fit. Stylistically, I was coming from a much closer place that Lee was originally from. Brophy Dale, Lee’s other guitarist, represents some of Lee’s other influences. Together, I think, it’s a great combination. As far as people comparing me to Brian Setzer, everyone knows there’s only one Brian; he’s incredible. Occasionally, people will say, “You sound like Brian” or “I can hear a lot of Brian in your playing”. I always take that as a compliment. I love his playing. Brian once came out and saw me with The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, a country-roots band I was working with a couple of years ago. He complimented my playing. I jokingly told him that I got all my cool licks from him. He told me, very seriously, that he heard my own style and many other influences in my playing. That was a great compliment. I believe that, as a guitarist, you have to take from your influences, then develop your own sound. I have tried, throughout the years, to improvise more and come up with my own chops and my own sound. I don’t want to sound like Tara Novick or Brian Setzer; I want to sound like Buzz Campbell.

How did you become a member of Sha Na Na?
Buzz Campbell  I toured with Sha Na Na for three years before Lee picked me up. The original drummer, Jocko Marcellino, lived in town and was looking for a guitar replacement for the band. He came by to see me perform at a small, in-town gig. He returned a couple of weeks later with Screamin’ Scott Simon, Sha Na Na’s piano man for the last 30 some-odd years, and they offered me a gig that night. I did a show with them in Vancouver, Canada, and was offered a permanent spot shortly thereafter.

What was your experience with the group like?
Buzz Campbell  I learned a lot from Sha Na Na. I had never played with a group that came out with so much energy. Every night, it was 120 percent. I learned about being a better entertainer, and that pleasing the crowd should be your number one objective when doing a live performance. I have a lot of respect for those guys. They have been together almost as long as the Rolling Stones. They did the Woodstock festival with Jimi Hendrix in 1969, the movie Grease, and their own TV show, from 1975 to 1981. What other group can claim that on their resume? They are a wonderful bunch of guys.

How many guitars do you own? Do you have a preference for using a particular one onstage?
Buzz Campbell  Believe it or not, I don’t have a lot of guitars. I have always been a Gretsch guy. On all the Hot Rod Lincoln albums and Lee’s Racin’ the Devil record, I used my 1958 Gretsch Country Club. It has a fantastic sound and real mojo to it. Live, I like to use my reliable reissue Gretsches. I have an early ‘90s red Gretsch Hot Rod that I have used for the past eight years. Thanks to a Gretsch endorsement, I just got a 1997 6136 Gretsch White Falcon. I put TV Jones PowerTron Pickups in it, and it’s become my favorite guitar. I also have an old Gibson acoustic that I write music with…how many is that? Four guitars. That’s all.

What are your feelings regarding psychobilly? Do you think that it is helping or hindering the rockabilly genre?
Buzz Campbell  Psychobilly is great. It has introduced a younger generation to the music and, eventually, young psychobilly fans do their homework and learn about where the music came from. This helps all of rockabilly/neo-rockabilly/western swing bands get some more attention from a younger audience. I think it is the natural progression of things. In the ‘80s, there was the neo-billy sound, and this got many young people to rediscover Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, etcetera. Now there’s psychobilly, maybe some of these young fans will rediscover us.

Do you have any favorite contemporary rockabilly musicians?
Buzz Campbell  I like a lot of contemporary stuff. I’m a huge fan of James Intveld; saw many a Big Sandy show. Levi Dexter looks not a day older than he did in 1979, and still bops better than ever; always loved the Rockats. I guess you could say I lean more toward the neo-sounding stuff, but I like a lot of traditional stuff, too. I dig the Vargas Brothers out of L.A. Deke Dickerson has always been great, and is a fantastic guitarist.

Initially, your group was simply known as “Hot Rod Lincoln”. Why the change to “Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln”?

Buzz Campbell  Two reasons made me decide to make the change. The original bass player, Johnny G., left the group, and I am now the only remaining original member. When I started working with the Lee Rocker band, the name “Buzz Campbell” began to gain a lot of recognition and exposure all over the world. Lee’s fans would ask me if I worked with anyone else; I would say, “Hot Rod Lincoln”. A lot of them knew the group; some didn’t. I decided to make the connection easier for them and, therefore, help promote my own project, as well as my name.

Do you find it difficult to divide your time between your HRL and Lee Rocker gigs?
Buzz Campbell  At times, it can be difficult to try and organize shows for HRL without interfering with the Lee Rocker band. More times than not, the two help promote each other. I enjoy being able to go out as just a guitarist and work with Lee. On the other hand, I love going back to HRL after being out with Lee and doing my own thing. The two bands keep it interesting for me. I can go on a tour with Lee and watch the HRL website get hits from all the cities we hit. It works out great to help promote my own thing without interfering with the other.

How do you balance the two projects?
Buzz Campbell  How do I balance the two? Don’t sleep.

Your latest album with Hot Rod Lincoln, Runaway Girl, is a combination of rockabilly, country and swing, and showcases your ability as a songwriter. What are your thoughts regarding the disc?
Buzz Campbell  Runaway Girl definitely focused more on songs and writing than anything else. It was the first disc that I was able to have complete creative control over since the bassist left the group. I enjoyed making it and am happy with the result, but am looking forward to the next disc, where I will narrow down the influences a bit and try to do more of a straight up rock ‘n’ roll/rockabilly album. I am very excited about it. We will record most of it live to capture our energetic, three-piece sound. It will be less about getting it perfect and more about raw energy.

Have you received feedback from any of the Stray Cats regarding HRL’s rendition of “18 Miles to Memphis”?
Buzz Campbell I played it for Lee in the tour bus. He said he liked it a lot. I got to back [Stray Cats drummer] Slim Jim [Phantom] and Lee Rocker at the Green Bay ‘50s Fest this May. Bo Diddley cancelled, so they asked Jim and Lee to fill the slot with a Stray Cats thing. Guitarist Darrel Higham and myself backed them on their music. I played/sang “18 Miles to Memphis” during the set. It was quite an amazing experience, playing with that rhythm section.

Have you written songs for other musicians?
Buzz Campbell I wrote quite a few songs for the latest Sha Na Na record, called One More Saturday Night. It was their first all original music CD in their career. I also penned a tune for Lee Rocker called “Crazy When She Drinks”.

Collector’s Choice

variouscollectorschoice_texasfever Vol 1 – Texas Fever
El Toro ETCD-CH101
1. Ken Marvin – Uh Uh Honey – 2. Fred Crawford – I Learned Something From You – 3. Leon Tassin with Charlie Stuckey’s Westerners – Get A Move On, – 4. Hub Sutter and The Hub Cats – Gone Golsing – 5. Jacoby Brothers – Who Ye Primpin Fer? – 6. Al Urban – Run Away – 7. Alden Holloway and His Prairie Riders – Woodpecker Love – 8. Lucky Hill – I’m Checkin’ Out – 9. Perry Washburn and The Rocky Mountain Canary Boys- Pocahontas Baby – 10. Earney Vandagriff – Where You Been – 1. Jimmie Walton – High As A Georgia Pine – 12. Stoney Calhoun and The Night Owls – Hot ‘N’ Cold – 13. Johnny Maxwell and The Rhythmmasters- Ole Satan’s Mother-In-Law – 4. Ken Marvin – Two Tone Ten Ton – 15. Jack Cardwell – Walking Away My Blues -16. Walter Scott – I’m Walking – 17. Chuck Ray and His Gang- I May Not Be Able But I’m Willing To Try – 18. Unknown Artist Acetate – Texas Fever – 19. King Sterling and His Blue Grass Melody Boys – Too Many Taverns – 20. Sammie Lee – Olahoma Blond Headed Gal

variouscollectorschoice_campusboogieVol 2 – Campus Boogie
El Toro ETCD-CH102
1. Jimmy Collie – I’m Not Giving Up That Easy – 2. Slim Williams – Out Running Around – 3. The Hooper Twins – You’re Always The Last To Know – 4. Leonard Sipes And The Rythmn Oakies – Smooth Sailing – 5. Ed Camp – Tie A String Around Your Finger – 6. Chuck Kyles With Excel Country Music Makers – You’ll Like Count – 7. Terry Fell And The Fellers- Smoking Cornsilks – 8. Al Runyon With The Gateway All-Stars – My Baby Left Me – 9. Betty Coral With Raymond Mccollister And His Orchestra – Chili D – 10. Jack Derrick – Rainbow Of Love – 11. Gene O’quin – You’re Gonna Be Sorry -12. Frank Evans And His Top Notchers – Barrell Of Heartaches – 13. Joyce Lowrance And Earney Vandagriff – Hush Money – 14. Don Johnson And The Mountain Wizards – Flying Low – 15. T. Texas Tyler And His Oklahoma Melody Boys – Black Jack David – 16. Al Brumley And The Brumley Brothers – You’ve Been Tellin’ Lies – 17. Hank Crowe – Love Love Love – 18. Tiny Adams – Long Gone Daddy – 19. R.D. Hendon And His Western Jamboree Cowboys – Ain’t Got A Lick – 20. Leonard Sipes And The Rythmn Oakies- Campus Boogie
“Collector’s Choice” a perfect name for this great and exciting serie launched by El Toro Records from Spain. It gathers a majority of unknown and rare recording from the 50’s that were until now only available on scarce 45’s and 78’s.
Volume 1 focuses on the Lone Star state artists. Home of musical legends, it was also full of lesser known but talented guys. The result is a 20 songs compilation filled with Hillbilly Bop (Ken Marvin, Alden Holloway, Stoney Calhoun), Hank Williams’ brand of country tunes( Jack Cardwell, Fred Crawford, Sammie Lee and Perry Washburn), talking blues (Leon Tassin’s Get A Move On Baby) proto rockabilly (Johnny Maxwell, King Sterling, Lucky Hill and Jimmmie Walton, both very close to Charlie Feathers’ vocal on tunes like Peepin’ Eyes), straight hillbilly (Jacoby Brothers), rock’n’roll (Hub Sutter’s Gone Golsing produced by Sonny Fisher). It comes with a 8 page booklet full of info including pictures of the original labels.
Volume 2 is equally good, the sole difference is that this time you find artist from the whole States. Though names like Gene O’Quinn, Terry Fell, Leonard Sipes/Tommy Collins and T Texas Tyler may be familiar you still have plenty of obscure and rare stuff. So if you’re ready for good dose of uptempo hillbilly with raw steel guitar and fiddles, don’t look no further. Like the previous one you can hear the influences of “big names” on local artists: Hank Williams is almost everywhere but also Ernest Tubb (just listen to Jimmie Collie) and Elvis Presley (Al Runyon’s cover of My Baby Left Me).
It’s also fine to hear some ladies on this selection wether it’s solo (Betty Coral) or duet (Joyce Lawrence and Earney Vandagriff). Volume 2 comes with a 12 page booklet.
Buy both, you won’t regret it, believe me.

variouscollectorschoice_firecrackerstompVol 3 – Firecracker Stomp
El Toro ETCD-CH103
1 Firecracker Stomp  – Jimmy Lane – 2 That Done It – Opal Jean – 3 Hillbilly Wedding – Shorty Long & Dolly Dimple – 4 Wild Oats – Lonzo & Oscar – 5 I’m Movin’ On – Jeanne Gayle – 6 I’m Your Man – Myrna Lorrie & Buddy de Val – 7 A Gambler’s Love – Marty Roberts – 8 I’m Gonna Comb You Outta My Hair – Bobby Roberts – 9 Store Bought – The Andrews Brothers – 10 Jack & Jill – Bill Taylor – 11 Tennessee Courtin’ Time – Opal Jean – 12 One-Two-Three Skidoo – Pete Lane – 13 Oh, I Like It! – Carolyn Bradshaw – 14 Standing In The Station – Shorty Long – 15 Cry, Cry, Cry – Texas Bill Strength – 16 Freight Train Blues – Jimmy Dean – 17 Love Me, Love Me – Eddy Star – 18 Hawk-Eye – Bobby Lord – 19 Rock Love – Elaine Gay – 20 Dig These Blues – The Rhythm Rockers

variouscollectorschoice_whatanightVol 4 – What A Night
El Toro ETCD-CH104
1 Ponytail – Muvva “Guitar” Hubbard – 2 Hoebe Snow – Benny Martin – 3 It’s A Long Road  – Nancy Dawn & The Hi-Fi Guys – 4 I Want Her Blues  – Bob Gallion – 5 Crash Out  – Jaycee Hill – 6 Blue Moon Of Kentucky – Roberta Sherwood – 7 My Honey – Jimmy Edwards – 8 Lonely Man – Jack Tucker – 9 Woody’s Rock – Jimmy Woodall – 10 Don’t You Realise? – Eddy Dugosh & The Ah-Ha Playboys – 11 One Of These Days – Tracy Pendarvis – 12 Eskimo Boogie Betty Jo & Johnny Starr – 13 What A Night! – Lee Emerson – 14 The Stop, Look & Listen Song  – Ernie Chaffin – 15 Open Up Your Door, Baby – Eddie Dean & Joanie Hall – 16 Uncle Sam’s Call – Jimmy Woodall – 17 Next – Billy Brown – 18 The Fire Of Love – Bobby Lord – 19 One Mile – Eddy Dugosh & The Red Tops – 20 Swingin’ The Gate  – Gatemouth Brown
The third and fourth volume of this excellent serie gather stuff from the collection of Dave Penny. Like volume one and two, the material compiled is mostly rare and comes from obscure artists though the names of Ernie Chaffin, Lonzo and Oscar, Gatemouth Brown and Jean Chapel are surely familiar to our readers. But once again this is lesser known recordings that appear here.
“Firecracker Stomp” focuses on the hillbilly side of things. It kicks off with a Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith kind of instrumental from Jimmie Lane. The rest of the selection is made of classic honky tonk, country duets (I’m Your Man by Myrna Lorrie and Buddy De Val will make the pleasure of Ginny Wright/Tom Tall fans), hillbilly comedy act (Lonzo & Oscar), muscled hillbily that just demands to mutate into rockabilly (I’m Movin’ On), hillbilly bop (Pete Lane)… The influence of Hank Williams van be vividly heard on Bobby Roberts’ I’m Gonna Comb You Outta My Hair and Eddy Star Love Me, Love Me. Also included is Carolyn Bradshaw, who’s in addition of being talented, shows that Chess record actually release some country flavored tunes too. Another of my fave here is Jimmy Dean’s rockin’ hillbilly blues version of Freight Train Blues. This song is sure to appeal fans of Ray Condo and His Hardrock Goners. The closer is a great cowboy jazz instrumental from the Rhythm Rockers, actually Nashville session musicians led by Chet Atkins.
“What A Night” is about Rock’n’roll under its different forms: instros (the strange “Ponytail” and the jazz blues of Gatemouth Brown), Rockabilly (Ernie Chaffin with a non Sun single not available on the Bear cd), Hillbilly Boogie (Eskimo Rock), Blues and Rhythm’n’Blues.
Both records come with detailed liner notes and photos.

variouscollectorschoice_5boogiewoogiefeverVolume 5 – Boogie Woogie Fever
El Toro ETCD CH105
1. Coal Miners Boogie – The Singing Miner (George Davis) – 2. Black Berry Boogie – Outpost Scotty and his Ramblers – 3. Dallas Boogie – Freddy Dawson – 4. Drop In Boogie – Bob Presley – 5. Boogie Woogie Square Dance – Jim Boyd and his Men from theWest – 6. Pisto Boogie – Dude Martin – 7. Steamboat Boogie – Ricky Riddle – 8. Ghost Town Boogie – Orville Newby and the Saddle Serenades – 9. Blue Hen Boogie – Tex Daniels and his Lazy Ranch Boys – 10. Hot Rod Boogie – Dorse Lewis “The Scared Coal Miner” and the Shadow Mountain Boys – 11. Mule Boogie – Jack Shook – 12. The Shot Gun Boogie – Outpost Scotty and his Bar-X-Boys – 13. Billy Goat Boogie – Red Sovine – 14. Food Plan Boogie – Jacoby Brothers – 15. Houn’ Dog Boogie – Sheldon Gibbs and the Arizona Ranch Boys – 16. Nail Drivin’ Boogie – Curley Smith and Blue Mt. Boys – 17. Hart’s Boogie – Curley Hickson and Band – 18. Straw Brown Boogie – Dick Spain with the Boogie Valley Boys – 19. Highall Boogie – Richard Prine and his All Stars – 20. Eskimo Boogie – Betty Jo & Johnny Starr
The new volume of this collection is entirely devoted to Boogie Woogie. It seems that, at one time, everybody and his cousins recorded boogie woogie following the path of Tennessee Ernie Ford (whom 2 covers are included here). Maybe 20 country boogie in a row would sound too much but the selection is well done and avoids as possible repetitions. Okay it follows more or less the same pattern but the instrumentations are varied (steel, guitar, fiddle, accordion, piano you name it…) as well as the tempos.
It goes from the raw sound of George Davis the Singing Miner to the more polished arrangement ala Spade Cooley of Jim Boyd, brother of western swing bandleader Bill Boyd and one time member of Roy Newman’s band and he Light Crust Doughboys.
A good overview of a major subgenre of hillbilly music, that comes with an informative booklet.

variouscollectorschoice_6boppinhitparadeVolume 6 – Boppin’ Hit Parade
El Toro ETCD CH106
1. Kaw-Liga – Delbert Barker – 2. Weary Blues – Delbert Barker – 3. Go, Boy, Go – Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers – 4. Hep Cat Baby – Rusty Howard& The Rhythm Rangers – 5. Hearts Of Stone – Delbert Barker – 6. Live Fast – Love Hard – Die Young – Marlon Raimey With The Country All-Stars – 7. I Forgot To Remember To Forget – Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers – 8. Cry, Cry, Cry – Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers – 9. Folsom Prison Blues – Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers – 10. Blue Suede Shoes – Hank Smith & The Nashville Playboys (Leon Payne) – 11. There You Go – Arkie Small – 12. Honky Tonk Man – Charlie Chain With The Gateway All-Stars – 13. I’m A One Woman Man – Jack Williams & The Nashville Playboys (Leon Payne) – 14. Uncle Pen – Al Runyon With The Gateway All-Stars – 15. 20 Feet Of Muddy Water – Dixie 508 -Uncredited Artist (Leon Payne Or Eddie Noack) – 16. My Baby Left Me – Rusty Howard& The Rhythm Rangers – 17. Geisha Girl – Dixie 526 – Uncredited Artist (Country Johnny Mathis) – 18. Invitation To The Blues – Dixie 536 Uncredited Artist (Eddie Noack) – 19. Gonna Give Myself A Party – Dixie 536 Uncredited Artist (Eddie Noack) – 20. Alone With You – Dixie 537 Uncredited Artist (Eddie Noack)

The 6th volume of this serie is a collection of top hits cut by obscure artist for budget label. The evidence forces to say that most, if not all, suffer from the comparison with the original (in a way it sounds suicidal to cover Hank Williams) but some deliver a certain charm that belongs to weird and even amateurish things (like B-movies if you want). Others are terrible failure but none the less fascinating (the musical equivalent to Ed Wood if you want to stick with the movie metaphor). Hank Smith (aka Leon Payne) plays Blue Suede Shoes with a rather unrehearsed band that doesn’t seem to know where the breaks are, Bob Sandy has a very personnal conception of tempo, too bad his band doesn’t share his view and My Baby Left Me by Rusty Howard is totally insane (but would almost make the Legendary Stardust Cowboy jealous).
It may not be the best of the serie in term of musicianship but it’s probably one of the most interesting.

The Blue Rhythm Boys

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Blue Rhythm Boys - At Last (wild records)
Blue Rhythm Boys – At Last (wild records)

Blue Rhythm Boys - At Last (Big Beat)
Blue Rhythm Boys – At Last (Big Beat)

The Blue Rhythm Boys – At Last

Big Beat CD WIK 105 {1992}
Wild Records {2010}
That’s The Stuff You Gotta Watch – I’ll Go Crazy – Person To Person – I’m Walkin’ – It Isn’t Right – Cajun Love Affair – Trace Of You – Crazy Mixed Up World – Ride ‘N’ Roll – Babe’s Comin’ Home – Mother Earth – I’ll Try – Hoochie Coochie Man – Come On Back – Wang Dang Doodle – Breathless – Blue Rhythm Boogie – Go Ahead On – Catfish

Wild records has the good idea to reissue this now hard to find jewel, first released in 1992 on Ace / Big Beat.

At Last“, seldom an album had a so perfectly suited title. This 19 songs album (15 on the 10” vinyl) fulfilled a wait of almost 10 years. Recorded live in one hectic 10 hour session it finally shows the Rhythms’ on a long distance and it was worth the wait.
The line-up has changed a bit since the EP. Ashley Kingman (Red Hot’n’Blue, Rockin’ Rocket 88 and now Big Sandy And His Fly Rite Boys) joined Ansell and Carlisle on second guitar while Matt Jackson (a gifted guitarist too) was on drums and Nick Gillroy on bass. They took advantage of this fuller line-up to delve into a more rhythm and blues/Chicago blues repertoire with songs by Willie Dixon, Fats Domino, Howlin Wolf, James Brown, Memphis Slim and Little Walter. They are often close to the originals (Hoochie Coochie Man, Wand Dang Doodle) while sometimes playing them in a rockin’ blues way (“The Stuff You Gotta Watch”). Conway Twitty’s I’ll Try is turned into a blues with pumping piano and soulful vocal from Ansell and a scorching guitar solo that make this song one of my favorite (if you’re interested). The frantic covers of Tommy Cassell’s Go Ahead On and Jerry Lee’s Breathless are here to remember us they started as a rockabilly band as do Ansell’s own “Come On Back” with another wild solo from Jim Carlisle (what a guitarist!). Another fave of mine is Cajun Love Affair with harp and some French lyrics to add the Louisiana flavor.If you like good rockin’ blues with a touch of rockabilly and soul here and there, put your hand on this one. All killer, no filler !

Available at Wild Records.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Blue Rhythm Boys - Northwood
Blue Rhythm Boys – Northwood

The Blue Rhythm Boys – Northwood ep

Northwood Records.-NWEP 101
Rollin & Tumblin/My Happiness/That don’t move me /Nobody but you

In the world, there are some enigmas which remain unexplained and others which find sometimes their resolution. But while waiting for this moment of “light”, the men think hard fantasise and seek placebos. For a long time the Elvis “My Happiness” version, the first recording of the future King for the Sun label remained a mystery, an “all the dreams” object for wild imagination of the whole wide world rockers. Was it possible to sense an already germinated hillbilly cat magic in this title? Even some suspicious people wondering whether this legendary Graal really existed until it was finally discovered and published for the first time ever.
But before this magic moment, a blue EP enabled us to have an idea of what this song was supposed to sound by a young Elvis. This mono recording Ep released back in the early eighties by the no longer alive british label Northwood had on his cover written in some large black capital letters framed by musical ranges what seems to be the name of the band : “The Blue Rhythm Boys”. But inside of that modest blue cover there was four tracks of pure rockabilly blues dynamite which included a presleyan “My Happiness” cover
Paul Ansell, the singer, for whom it was the first band, gives us an idea with his inhabited voice of what one dreamed being Elvis interpretation of that Betty Peterson and Borney Bergantine song. It was like holding in your hands the real one copy Sun single and being Indiana Jones listening to that relic of the past!!! It was for my part the first time that I heard a “so much fifties sounding” combo. The other tracks were “Rollin & Tumblin” (Muddy Waters), That don’t move me (Carl Perkins) and Nobody But You (Little Walter) and are real killers played by some of the finest british musicians of that era (Jim Carlisle – slide guitar, Allen Thow – bass and Jeff Tuck – drums). If you haven’t already lived that experiment and even if we all know today the Elvis “My Happiness” cover, it’s never too late to listen to what has become a rockabilly milestone for many rockers around the world.

David “Long Tall” Phisel