Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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2012

Lee Rocker

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews
Lee Rocker - Night Train to Memphis
Lee Rocker – Night Train to Memphis

Lee Rocker – Night Train to Memphis

Upright records [2012]
Rockabilly Boogie – Night Train To Memphis – Slap The Bass – Twenty Flight Rock – Wild Child – Honey Don’t – That’s Alright Mama-Blue Moon – Tear In My Beer – Lonesome Tears – Built For Speed – So Sad – All I Have To Do Is Dream

Covers albums usually don’t thrill me, that’s the reason why I didn’t expect much from this one. But Lee Rocker’s latest effort. was a surprinsingly good surprise. First he has the good idea to keep it short : twelve tracks like in the good old days of vinyls. Rock’n’roll albums are not supposed to be long. Then he manages to stay true to these classics and make them his own in the same time. With the help of his sister on some backing vocals, a great band (Buzz Campbell, Brophy Dale and Jimmy Sage),  innovative arrangements and an instrumation that goes beyond the drums/double bass/guitar format, like a dobro or a banjo on the Stray Cats’ Built For Speed, he gives to songs that you’ve heard a thousand times a totally new approach and manages to make them sound fresh again.
Vocally, Rocker’s is on top form and especially shines on the more country tinged tunes, like Hank Williams’ Tear In My Bear. The surprise, but that’s a good surprise, also comes from softer tunes like Buddy Holly’s Lonesome Tears and the Everly’s So Sad and All I Have to Do is Dream.
And when he rocks he takes no prisonners like on the Burnette’s Rockabilly Boogie. The sole self penned tune is Slap That Bass. As the title indicates its a slap bass driven rockabilly number with jazzy guitar licks.
There’s no mistakes, although the credits read Lee Rocker on just one track, this album is 100% his own.


Lee Rocker - Hot'n'Greasy Vol.1
Lee Rocker – Hot’n’Greasy Vol.1

Lee Rocker – Hot’n’Greasy Rockabilly Vol.1

[2012]
Rebel – Crazy When She Drinks – Black Cat Bone – Say When – Texarkana To Panama City – . Stray Cat Strut – I’ll Cry Instead – One More Shot – Blue Suede Night

A collection of live songs recorded at concerts and radio broadcast . The sound is very good, the performance perfect and the setlist perfect with songs taken from Bulletproof, Black Cat Bone and Racin the Devil and a cover of Stray Cats Strut. Nice addition to your collection. According to Rocker there’ll be two more volume released in the forthcoming months.


Kee Rocker - Cat Tracks
Kee Rocker – Cat Tracks

Lee Rocker – Cat Tracks

Stray Cat Strut, Rock This Town, Runaway Boys, Sexy & 17  [2012]
Digital only

The title says it all. Four of the best and most successful Stray Cats songs re-recorded by Lee Rocker and his band. They perfectly manage to recreate the sound of the Stray Cats early albums. I don’t know if Rocker plans to record more Stray Cats songs in the future but being a far better singer today than he was at the time,  it’d be good to hear him re-cut “She’ll Stay Just One More Day” and “Drink That Bottle Down” .

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The B-Stars

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

 

the B-Stars - Behind the Barn With
the B-Stars – Behind the Barn With

The B-Stars – Behind the Barn With

Rust Belt Recordings – RR004
Ink Free Baby Of Mine – Drunk On Whiskey – Duckin And Dodgin – Texas Boogie – Left It All Behind – Women And Wine – Pretty Baby – Back Up Buddy – Sweet Little Things – Walking Home Alone – Trouble Free State Of Mine – Broken Down And Blue

A particularly strong debut for the San Fransisco based combo. This five piece band (Greg Yanito – guitar and vocals; Eric Reedy – string bass and vocals; Bill McKenna – electric guitar; Mikiya Matsuda – steel guitar; Billy Zelinski – drums) rips through a set a good ol’ country music. Both Yanito and Reedy sing and compose – and they know how to write songs that sound like little classics – which also keeps the set varied. You’ll only find two covers, Gene O’Quinn’s Texas Boogie and Carl Smith’s Back Up Buddy, Smith being an obvious influence on the band.
Carl Sonny Leyland sits in and plays piano on four tracks adding a good dose of country boogie and even rock’n’roll (Pretty Baby) to the mix. There’s also some country swing (Duckin’ and Dodgin’), a bit of Bakersfield (Women and WIne, Sweet Little Things) and a superb Hank Williams influenced number (Trouble Free State Of Mind).
It is tastefully produced by Lee Jeffriess and you can hear his touch on some steel guitar/guitar arrangements reminiscent of his work with Ashley Kingman in the Fly Rite Boys.
If Carl Smith, Hank Williams, Merrill Moore, Wayne Hancock, Big Sandy are sweet words to your ears, be sure to add the B-Stars to your list. And it’s not only a pleasure for your ears, but also for the eyes as it comes in a nicely designed digipack.

More infos at http://thebstars.com/


The B-Stars - West Coast Special
The B-Stars – West Coast Special

The B-Stars – West Coast Special

Rust Belt [2012]
Careful Baby – Still Waiting – King Of Fools – My Window Faces The South – Another One Tomorrow – Time Is Money – When The Darkness Turns To Light – Chicken Fried – One More Beer – Revolution 45 – No Work Blues – Honky Tonkin’ Rhythm
San Francisco based honky tonk/hillbilly swing band the B-Stars have seen some changes since their debut album. They return with a refurbished line-up and a new platter full of hillbilly rhythms. They remain true to their main inspirations, saying Honky Tonk heroes of the 50’s and early 60’s (from Hank Williams to Carl Smith) but they also add a good dose of western swing to their set. It generally works pretty though I’m a little less convinced by their cover of My Window Faces the South. Whether it’s the production or the arrangement, it sounds a bit too “modern” for my tastes and closer to Asleep At The Wheel than Bob Wills. But that’s a minor flaw and they have a majority of solid originals and the musicianship is trong, one of the best exemple being the interplay between the guitar and the steel on Still Waitin.
Available on 10″ vinyl and cd.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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