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Ashley Kingman

Red Hot‘n’Blue

Red Hot’n’Blue

The first half of the eighties was an exciting time for genuine Rock’n’Roll in Great Britain. Rockin’ music saw a new life in the charts. Young bands like The Meteors, The Ricochets and the Deltas were experiencing new sounds, taking good old rockabilly in a whole new direction. The Polecats and Restless were there, too, making releases that would later be described as Neo-rockabilly.
Then in the wake of the Stargazers, a bunch of new bands prefered a more traditional sound (paving the way to the « authentic rockabilly » movement of the late ’80s). Among these bands, some of the best were the Riverside Trio (rockabilly-hillbilly-blues), the Krewmen (blues with Carl Sonny Leyland), the Blue Rhythm Boys (rockabilly – rockin’ blues) and the one we’re going to talk about in this article: Red Hot’n’Blue.

By Fred ”Virgil” Turgis © 2022
Thanks to Mouse, Ashley Kingman and Kevin Ellis

In the beginning

It all started in 1982 when Mouse Zihni’s ex-girlfriend phoned to tell him that her current boyfriend Dave Bourne, who played the drums, was looking for a singer to start a band. She remembered they both used to go to East Croydon Railway Club, where Mouse would sing with the local combo and had a good voice. His favourite singers were Gene Vincent, Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner.
They arranged a meeting for a rehearsal, and Mouse met the rest of the soon-to-be band, Dave’s twin brother Andy on bass and Sam Crabtree on guitar, in a cellar near Emerson Street where Crabtree worked during the day. The rehearsal went well, and a few weeks later, he was asked to join the band full time.
They worked a lot, playing covers of the club hits. They gradually started to gig in the South London clubs but didn’t really go anywhere. According to Mouse, “Sam didnt want to do new songs, he was happy to cover the songs he knew and that was that, so thats what we did, we were a cover band doing songs from the 50s. it was small time fun and got me some much needed money.
One night Mouse met guitarist Ashley Kingman who was not totally a stranger to the still-unnamed quartet: Sam Crabtree sold him his first guitar, and Dave and Andy were in the same school though a bit older. “I met Mouse in the toilet of the Castle pub; they used to have a regular Monday DJ there. I seen Mouse with Red Hot n Blue, dug the show and told him I played guitar and was looking to join a band.” recalls the guitar player. They already had a good guitar player, but after some debating, he was asked to join on rhythm.
Having played with local combos like The Outer Limits (a psychobilly band) and Dr Muscle Brain Valves, a blues trio with drums, guitar, and harp/vocals, it wasn’t Kingman’s first band. For the story, the drummer in both groups was Gary Boniface, who later went on to form the Vibes.
The newly formed quintet still needed a name. That’s when Mouse came with Red Hot’n’Blue, a tribute to Dewey Phillips’ radio show, the first one to play Elvis Presley records on the air.
But not long after that, Crabtree left the band to join the Blue Rhythm Boys. “They were doing well and he just wanted the fast train out rather than take the slow train with us,” remembers Mouse. After his stint with Paul Ansell’s band, Crabtree went on to form Cat Talk. Without a lead guitarist, the band couldn’t go on. They stopped gigging for about six months but didn’t stop working. They were hard at writing original material (including the future club hit Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes, and Ashley spent this time moving from rhythm to lead. They used to rehearse in the music shop where Ashley worked.

Introducing Ray Frensham

First publicity photo – Summer 1984 – Dave, Ashley, Andy & Mouse

When they felt ready, they started gigging again, and from this moment, things moved quickly. Red Hot’n’Blue appeared at the Isle of White weekender, leading to more shows in Europe and up and down the UK. Thus they gained the attention of Ray Frensham of Northwood record. He had the project of a compilation album and asked the band to record some songs for it. They agreed and, wanting to expand their sound, asked saxman Kevin Ellis to guest on the recording. Ellis was a well-trained musician being a member of Clive Osborne and the Clearnotes for two years.
So on November 3rd, 1984, Red Hot’n’Blue headed to the University of East Anglia for their first recording session produced by Peter Davenport of Stargazers fame. The quintet cut three songs that day. Get Back on that Train, written by Andy, I wanna tell you that I love you baby and So Lonely On My Own, both from the pen of the team Kingman/Zihni. Two of them (Get Back… and I Wanna tell you…) were released in June 1985 on the compilation album Big Noise From Northwood. The other bands featured on that comp were the Sprites (French rockabilly band influenced by Gene Vincent), The Slingshots, Peter Davenport in full Bill Haley/Jodimars mode with the Roof Raisers and the Riverside Trio. The remaining third track, So Lonely On My Own, would later appear on the band’s debut album. Years later, an early version of It’s My Lucky Day surfaced and was probably recorded during the same session as it clearly shows Davenport’s influence.
Big Noise From Northwood (Northwood NWLP 1002) received good reviews, and Ray Frensham started to consider the possibility of recording a long player with Red Hot’n’Blue. With Kevin now a full-time member (since December 1984), the young rockabilly band that played cover has mutated into a tight rockin’- rockabilly – jump blues outfit and was in high demand and appeared in all-dayers in the UK and Europe. They shared the stage with The Jets, Red Hot, the Blue Rhythm Boys, the Keytones, the Riverside Trio, Rochee & the Sarnos, and Johnny Powers, whom they backed.

Northwood Records

By 1985 Red Hot’n’Blue was getting more and more attention. More gigs were pouring in, and with its popularity rising, it was soon evident that a full-length album was the next step. “Ray frensham thought there was a buck to make out of us, so he signed us up for an album,” jokes Ashley.
The summer of 1985 was spent gigging and rehearsing new material for the planned album. In August (19th -21st), the band went to Alaska studios (just under Waterloo station) with Boz Boorer in the producer seat to record what would be Wait’n’See. Cut in three days; it’s an extraordinary solid work for a debut album.
It features a majority of self-penned songs – mainly from the team Kingman-Zihni, but Andy co-wrote three songs, and producer Boz Boorer contributed the title track. Three covers complete the set: Yes I’m Gonna Love You, Dick Penner’s Move Baby Move, and Myron Lee’s Aw C’mon Baby.
It covers a wide range of styles: from boogie blues in a Slim Harpo style (Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes) to rockabilly (Clickety Clack, Move Baby Move) a bit of jump blues (It’s My Lucky Day, Bad Girl), a jazzy ballad (So Lonely On My Own), a Latin instrumental with a Django Reinhardt feel in the middle (Hey Gringo) and rockin’ blues in the best Chess Records tradition (Postman Blues with harp played by Little Paul (from the Blueberry Hellbellies) and the Diddley tinged Take A Walk Up The Apple Tree).
It was mostly recorded live with very few overdubs (the guide vocals part were often kept).
Wait’n’See remains a good memory for all involved: “Most of it was cut live, then we took bits away and added different shit in its place. Amazing but kind of tedious and time consuming. Boz somehow pulled it into shape. I still think its a good record.” says Ashley. “It was good fun and I learnt a lot from it,” remembers Kevin, and Mouse adds, “it was a happy affair and we did a cool job on it.” Fifteen songs were recorded, thirteen ended on the album (the 14th track of the record, “So Lonely On My Own,” comes from the sessions made with Peter Davenport the previous November). The remaining two songs were “Without You” and a cover of Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia.” When you listen to it, it’s very close to “Wait’n’See,” so it’s probably the reason why it didn’t end on the album. It finally got released on the compilation album “The Northwood Story” on NV Records in 1991.
Mixed in September and October by Boorer and Kingman, it was released in January 1986 and received rave reviews. “When it came out it got a four out of five star rating in Record Mirror and other magazines of the day, even INXS only got a 3 star rating, how things changed!”. Red Hot’n’Blue toured to support the release, and it sold very well though it seems that the band didn’t see a lot of money from that (same old story).

Red Hot’n’Blue – 1986

Even when they were headlining the all-dayers, Red Hot’n’Blue kept busking a lot to earn some extra cash. One day while they were playing in the street of Camden, a man approached them, gave his card, and told them to call him as he liked the band. The man was Trevor Horne from The Buggles, who scored several hits as a producer with Grace Jones, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Art Of Noise… It was a big chance for the band to get a wider audience than the rock’n’roll circuit, but it never happened. Mouse: “Ash told Ray Frensham and Ray was over the top and too pushy and Trevor backed off the situation. This was one of the stupid things that Ray did, and the first of many as far as I’m concerned, he could be a real wanker at times…” . For Kevin, it was “very sad really because we were onto big things.
From that moment, things started to decline “[We had] a good ride for about a year and then we kind of all started pulling against each other. We let Ray get wedges in between us and me and Mouse split from the twins.” recalls Ash. Ray didn’t want Dave and Andy in the band any longer, and by April 1986, the twins were gone (“not a thing I enjoyed at all, I went along with it, but that was all,” says Mouse). Stuart Simpson from the Slingshots and Paul Diffen (Sugar Ray Ford and later Blue Cats) replaced them on drums and double-bass. Pat Reyford (Sugar Ray Ford, too) also joined on alto sax. For Mouse, “Ray was trying to run us and mould us into a jump jive sort of blues thing.”
Soon after the twins were gone, Red Hot’n’Blue entered the studio with the new line-up and a session piano player called Sir James (it seems that neither Ray Frensham nor Mouse remember his name). Boz Boorer was also present and added a second guitar on some recordings. The songs made were a reworking of “Sure Like the Look In Your Eyes,” “I Wanna Tell You That I Love You,” “Without You,” and “Sad In My Heart.” The latter being a cover of The Man Upstairs that had it released on single on Sideline Records in 1985. The sound was definitely fuller but didn’t really fit Red Hot’n’Blue. Somewhere they had lost what made their specificity, their rocking edge, and Boz’s production this time was more “radio friendly.” That said, the version of “Sure Like the Look In Your Eyes” recorded this day still stands well today. It was envisaged as a “cross over” single, backed with “Caldonia,” but never materialized. These sides were reissued years later on Crazy Love records.

Red Hot'n'Blue with Terry Clancy
With Terry Clancy on drums

The new direction taken by the band didn’t really please them. “It wasn’t what I wanted to do, I wanted to do rock n roll and blues not big band stuff, I liked it but didn’t really want to be in a big jump band,” recalls the singer. It was not practical and quite costly to take such a large band on the road, and the twins weren’t too happy with the band using the name Red Hot’n’Blue. At the same time, Mouse started to become a famous DJ on the London scene, and slowly the excitement of the beginning started to fade away. For Ashley, “it wasnt the same after the twins were gone.”. The relation with Ray Frensham wasn’t that good too. There were money problems, and it wasn’t long before the band and the label parted ways. The line-up changed again with Terry Clancy (Cat Talk / Scat Cat) joining on bass and John Day on the second guitar, but in the own word of Mouse, “the band just ran out of steam and it came to a very quick final shortly after the weekender up in Southport at the end of 86.”

Side projects

After the split, each member of the band remained musically active. Ashley joined Rockin’ Rocket 88 in late 1988, appearing on the two tracks from Katz Keep Rockin’ and their excellent Comin’ Home Lp, on which he co-wrote three songs.
The twins joined forces with Carlos Mejuto (Carlos and the Bandidos) and Rob Glazebrook (ex-Rochee and the Sarnos and later Playboys, Houserockers, Broadkasters) to form Jello Sal (named after Benny Ingram’s song). To my knowledge, their only released recording is a cover of She’s Mine (Johnnie Strickland) that appeared on Cool Town Bop (Fury Records – FCD 3024), though a demo exists with three more tracks.
Mouse started doing clubs with Mousie’s Record Hop “I always wanted to be a DJ, I was driven towards playing music for people. I can’t really remember the first time I did a DJ set but I’d say it was around 82/83.” (Mouse Teds, Rebels, Hepcats). He did not play music until September 1989. His return to the studio took the form of a song called Untrue, recorded with Lex Luther (Demented Are Go) on bass guitar and Eric LaCube playing just a snare. This song is the only recording made by this short-lived band named the Dillas.

Switchblade From left to right : LaCube, Grant, Bolton, Mouse

Mouse’s next venture was Switchblade. Switchblade started as a trio with Graeme Grant (Demented Are Go, Krewmen, Frantic Flintstones), Mouse’s flatmate and Guy Bolton (Born Bad). They recorded a couple of demos in December 1989 and were soon joined by Eric LaCube on drums. In April 1990, they went to the studio and cut an album that remained in the vault until 2016, when Alan Wilson released it on Trophy Records, his sub-label dedicated to stuff he didn’t record. This album is definitely not for you if you look for slick and polished rockabilly. The sound is raw and uneven. Some songs sound more like demos while others seem more “finished”. The band’s style is a mix of rockabilly (Grant is one hell of a powerful slap bassist) with a good dose of rockin’ blues, a lot of energy, and an emergency feeling throughout the album. The fact that it was recorded and mixed in two days probably contributes to that feeling.
Mouse penned three songs. The remaining songs are split between rockabilly classics like Orbison’s Go Go Go, Glen Glenn’s One Cup of Coffee and Blue Jeans and a Boys Shirt, Roy hall’s Three Alley Cats, Benny Joy’s Wild Wild Lover and blues like Jimmy Reed’s Baby What You Want Me To Do, Earl Hooker’s You Got To Lose, George Thorogood’s Homesick Boy and some surprises like the Beatles What Goes On. The completist will find demos on the Unreleased recordings on Fury records as well as one song, Ride Ride Ride, on the compilation album 20 Blasters from Blighty.
But when Red Hot ‘n’ Blue reformed in late 1990, Mouse decided to put Switchblade on hold.

The reunion

Ashley explains, “I went to Japan on holiday and found some interest in Red Hot ‘n’ Blue doing shows there. On my return, I told Mouse and the Twins, and we decided to get back together for a few shows.”
The idea was to reform for a six-month reunion with the original quartet without saxophone. “By that time, we had dropped a lot of the jump jive stuff from the set. When we first played together, we played a bit of everything from Blues to Country and Rockabilly to Jump and Jive, even some Latin, but when we reformed, people were listening to different stuff than they were in 1984.” (Mouse, liner notes of The Unreleased Recordings).
Mouse, Ashley, Dave and Andy began rehearsing new stuff for a forthcoming album, and in March 1991, the quartet went into Wand studio to record Hey There Man. The album was produced by the band and Iestyn Polson. At the time, Polson was new in the business, but he later went on to work with huge names like David Bowie, Patti Smith and David Gray, as well as Demented Are Go.
Compared to their debut album, Mouse has a huskier voice. The album is mainly made of Rockin’ Blues tunes with a strong Chess/Chuck Berry flair (at the same time, Ashley Kingman was also playing with the Blue Rhythm Boys) in the same vein as Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes. There are some more Rockabilly sounding songs and even a slight touch of Hillbilly on C’Mon Rock With Me with Lee Jeffriess, who’ll join the Fly-Rite Boys the following year, on steel guitar. Other musicians guested on the album: Phil Rawson on harmonica, John Fordham (now in the Jive Aces) on saxophone, and Paul Ansell (Blue Rhythm Boys) on piano. Seven of the twelve songs are originals by Mouse and Ashley. The remaining five come from the catalogues of Elvis Presley (If You Think I Don’t Need You), Charles Page (Baby You’ve Been To School), Hound Dog Taylor (Give Me Back My Wig), Bobby Roberts (Big Sandy), and Teddy McRae (Hi-Fi Baby). It’s an excellent album from start to finish.
After the bad experience that the band had with Northwood for their debut album, they decided to release Hey There Man on their own label. Mouse then created Zinn Records “I started Zinn because I did not want to be ripped off again by a record company.
Hey There Man was an instant success. Not only Red Hot ‘n’ Blue had gained a cult status throughout the years, but the newly released material was up to par compared to their legendary debut album. In four months, it sold over 2000 copies.
Contrary to their initial plan, the quartet decided to continue, and in 1991 and 1992, Red Hot ‘n’ Blue toured all over Europe, concluding the year with a tour of Japan. Mouse wrote in Southern & Rockin’ in late 1994, “We were working hard but not really earning much (…) but we loved our music and got to places we otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

Ain’t Gonna Stop!

Red Hot’n’Blue circa 1992

Upon their return from Japan in November 1992, they were offered a record deal with Time Bomb records, a Japanese label. Hence, in early December, Red Hot ‘n’ Blue was back to Wand studio to cut what would become Ain’t Gonna Stop, their third long-player. It finds Red Hot ‘n’ Blue returning to a broader variety of styles, including rockabilly (Ain’t Gonna Stop, Funny Kinda Feeling, Uptown Cat), rock’n’roll love song (You’re the One), rockin’ blues (Going Away, a recut of Sure Like the Look in your Eyes), Chicago blues (Willie Dixon’s My Babe and the Elmore James inspired Caroline). Also, the country-tinged Every Saturday Night finds Mouse playing some steel guitar. He later recorded with that instrument with the Rimshots and Demented Are Go.
Compared to their previous releases, the production is cleaner and a bit thinner in places, but it remains a good album with solid songwriting. Ashley “I had a good time recording that record, it was kind of loose and we ended up with way more than we needed. I played a bit of slide guitar and electric bass. We did some songs fast and slow versions. It was a real mixed bag and a lot of it was laid back, you could hear the band developing.

Ashley leaves…

Shortly after the recording, Ashley was offered to replace T.K. Smith, who had recently left Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys “The Big Sandy offer came up just after we finished the record. I knew it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. It just sucked it was then. Mouse and the twins were pretty pissed off at the time. We were more than a band, we all had lived together, partied, and played music together since our teens.” This left the band with no guitar player and a set of dates booked for 1993. They decided to carry on, hence the album title: “They decided on the title after I’d gone!” jokes Ashley.

Red Hot and Blue with Mark Harman
With Mark Harman from Restless

They needed an ace guitar player to replace Ashley. So Mouse chose one of the best: Mark Harman of Restless fame. After some negotiation, Harman agreed to join the band, and the new line-up began rehearsing the set. Despite the guitarist change, the gigs were very well-received wherever the band played. Harman brought a Rock’n’Roll touch to the band compared to Ash and a renewed energy. And the new version of Sure Like the Look In Your Eyes, released on single, became a massive hit on the rocking scene.
Sadly, in September, Mark Harman had to leave the band. He had just recorded a new album with Restless (Figure It Out) with a powerful line-up (Steve Whitehouse and Rob Tyler) and had a lot of dates booked to promote it. “For myself, Andy and Dave it was a sad day. We all had a lot of laughs together and Mark is a good guy.” wrote Mouse in the liner notes of the Unreleased Recordings in 1995. Harman and Zinn remained friends and later collaborated to form the Space Cadets.

Pascal Guimbard on guitar

Once again, they decided to carry on. Mouse and the twins decided to recruit their friend Pascal Guimbard, formerly of the Sprites, a French Gene Vincent-influenced band that recorded for Northwood, and Riley McOwen & the Sleazy Rustic Boys.

Red Hot'n'Blue with Pascal Guimbard
The band with Pascal Guimbard

Guimbard was no stranger to Red Hot‘n’Blue since he sometimes sat with the band on harmonica.
The band continued touring with their new member (including the Hemsby weekender in 1993), and by 1994, Fury records offered them a record deal. So, in February, Red Hot ‘n’ Blue returned to the studio to record their fourth LP. On this album, the global sound is less bluesy than on the precedent releases (though one can find an excellent Bo Diddley medley) and more Rock’n’Roll with a strong inspiration from the late ‘50s / early 60’s Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, which is not a surprise coming from Guimbard. There’s also a bit of country (Beggin’ Time, Just For A Day, Let Me Know) and a dash of Neo-rockabilly. Among the covers, you find Elvis’ Love Me, Don Roberts’ Only One, Ernie Chaffin’ s Laughin & Jokin’ and Russel Spears’ Beggin’ Time.
There are also two new versions of Get Back On That Train (from Wait’n’See) and Little Girl From Memphis (from Hey There Man). Once again, the album was, deservedly, well-received. The band toured, but all was not too well. Guimbard lived in Sweden, and each time the band had a gig, he had to take a boat or a plane and travel for 30 hours. It was then decided to call it quit by November 1994. For Mouse, it was no use to search for a new guitarist to keep the name alive, especially if you consider that when they reformed in 1991, it was supposed to be for a six-month stint. Before Guimbard left, Mouse and he recorded six tracks with Mo Kabir and Les Curtis that were released under the Cheezie Bitz name. It was only a recording project, and the Cheezie Bitz never gigged nor made another recording session.
Red Hot‘n’Blue played a string of farewell shows, including a slot opening for Carl Perkins, and on November 19th, the band played its last show at the 7th Big Rumble Weekender in front of a mad Psychobilly crowd. Bidding farewell in front of a Psychobilly crowd was another proof – if needed – that Red Hot ‘n’ Blue was a Rock’n’roll band like no other.
A couple of years later, Mouse, Dave and Andy Bourne got together again with Mark Harman, and in 1998 they recorded Still Jumping Around, co-produced by Boz Boorer. The presence of Harman gives the band a more neo-rockabilly sound, with some songs logically sounding like the Space Cadets. It’s a good album, albeit not as essential as their earliest recordings, especially the ones featuring Kingman, but it features good originals. Furthermore, it’s good to have a recording testimony of the Harman line-up.
In recent years, Mouse, Ashley and Kevin Ellis played a series of reunion shows with Tony Biggs on double bass and Mark Kemlo on drums, both from the Rimshots.

All interviews except where noted by Fred Turgis
This article © 2022 by Fred Turgis & the Rockabilly Chronicle

Willie Barry

willie barry

Willie Barry & the California Hot Shots – The Wallyphonic Sessions

Self Released [2020]

Hillbilly Fever – What Am I Worth – Mean Mama Boogie – Who Shot Sam – One Wheel Draggin – A Night For Love – Kiss Me Sweet – You Better Treat Your Man Right – Three’s a Crowd – Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own – One Minute To One – Island of Love – Last Town I Painted – Milkshake Mademoiselle – Don’t Go Baby – Sweet Sweet Girl

Willie Barry is the singer of the Rock-A-Sonics, an excellent band from the Washington, DC area. Last year he crossed the country and went to Wally Hersom’s Wallyphonic Studios in Pasadena, California. There, he recorded his debut solo album with the cream of the crop of the Californian rockabilly scene, namely Ashley Kingman and Deke Dickerson on guitars, Dave Berzanski on steel guitar, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, Wally Hersom on bass, and Dave Stuckey on drums. How can you go wrong with such a team behind you? Well, Barry indeed didn’t, and these 16 tracks are one of the very best slices of rockabilly/boppin’ hillbilly I’ve heard in ages.
The young singer is gifted with an excellent, subtle, and confident voice. He can easily switch from Ricky Nelson’s softness to Jerry Lee Lewis’s wildness, with some early Geoge Jones and Johnny Horton in between. Not surprisingly, the band does a terrific job. Special mention to Carl Leyland, who seems on fire, playing his best Rockabilly/Rock’n’Roll piano.
The songs, all covers, cover the whole gamut of the genre. Hillbilly Bop, Rockabilly, Rock’n’Roll, whatever the style, the young boy seems perfectly at ease. Icing on the cake, there’s a superb duet with Dani Haberman (Crown City Bombers) on Nobody’s Business But My Own, initially done by Kay Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford and another one with Leyland on Milkshake Mademoiselle.
As usual, Hersom does a terrific job capturing the live sound and the emergency of the performance.
I couldn’t recommend this album enough.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys

Big Sandy & his Fly-Rite Boys – Sing and Play the Songs of Freddy Fender

Baldemar Records BR-201 & BR-202 [2020]
Before the Next Teardrop Falls – I Can’t Remember When I Didn’t Love You
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights – Holy One

Freddy Fender, born Baldemar Huerta hence the name of the label, was a versatile singer and songwriter. It’s no surprise to find Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys paying tribute to the man on this superb double 45 set. Like him, the band played Rock’n’roll, Rockabilly, Doo-Wop, and so on, and Fender’s influence can clearly be heard in some of Big Sandy’s intonations.
Each disc contains a hit and a lesser-known gem from the Fender’s early days.
Side A of disc one is Before the Next Teardrop Falls, Fender’s best-known song. It’s a tough job to sing it after Fender, not only because he sings it perfectly (an understatement if there is one) but also because this song is so much associated with him. Despite all that, the result is one of Big Sandy’s best vocal performance, perfectly supported by Ashley Kingman on Spanish guitar.
On side B, I Can’t Remember When I Didn’t Love You sees the band returning to its Rockabilly roots. It’s also the perfect vehicle to hear the skills of Kevin Stewart on bass and Kip Dabbs on drums.
The second 45 features the swamp pop Wasted Days and Wasted Nights. If the vocal is flawless, this is Kingman who steals the show on this one with a fantastic scorching guitar solo.
On the flip, the Doo-Wop Holy One, featuring Uncle Ernie Vargas, Alex Vargas, and Lil’ Ernie Vargas on backing vocals, evokes the best moments of Dedicated to You.
It’s a limited edition of 1000 copies, but it also exists on CD, and Sleazy records licensed it with a different cover.
Whatever the format, grab a copy here!

Big Sandy vs. Deke Dickerson – Jesus & Gravy

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.

Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys - Fine, Fine, Superfine
Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – Fine, Fine, Superfine

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – Fine, Fine, Superfine / Everytime

Ruby records {2016}
It’s the first release of a brand new label, Ruby records, launched by Ruby Ann and Tom Ingram and it comes in a beautifully designed sleeve. And what a better choice to lauch a label than Big Sandy? Even though it’s only a single and we desperately need a brand new album, it’s always good to have a new release by today’s finest purveyor of Rock’n’roll, the man with the velvet voice himself, Mister Big Sandy. Not to forget the Fly-Rite Boys who are Ashley Kingman on guitar (23 years or so of service), Kevin Stewart and newcomer Ricky McCann on drums.
It was a very good surprise to see that Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys had recorded this two sides at Wallyphonic studios with Wally Hersom at the console, like they did for their debut album.
The A side is “Fine, Fine, Superfine” a good rocking’ song with a solid beat. This is not Robert Williams’ most original song but it completely fulfills its goal: make you dance, shake your head and tape your feet. The flip is far more original and is pure Big Sandy. It’s got the same highly melodic hook than song like “How did you love someone like me”, it’s smooth but rocking in the same time. This is a kind of tune that shows why Robert Williams has no equivalent in term of songwriting today. And with a first rate band like the Fly-Rite Boys, it’s a killer.

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – What A Dream it’s Been

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys -What A Dream It’s Been

Cow Island CIM022 [2013]
Baby Baby Me – This Ain’t a Good Time – Missouri Gal – Don’t Desert Me – Nothing To Lose – Glad When I’m Gone – Parts Unknown – You Mean Too Much To Me – I Know I’ve Loved You Before – Three Years Blind – If I Knew Now What I Knew Then – What a Dream It’s Been.

When an artist and a fine songwriter like Big Sandy breaks a silence of nearly seven years to release an album of “acoustic and newly arranged versions of old songs” one can reasonably have some fears. But fear not my friends; although it borrows a song from each of his records, -with the exception of the Jake’s Barbershop ep- “What a Dream It’s Been” is not just a quick re-recording of old favourites like it’s too often the case with that kind of project. The reason lies, in part, in the choice of the songs. Big Sandy has dug deep in his discography to select lesser known songs than the one available on the two best-of released by Hightone and Rockbeat for example. And musically it’s an adventurous thing which is more a prolongation of the recent albums than the summary of a career. Thus it sees the band expanding the range of its styles to bring early ska and rocksteady (Baby Baby Me, I know I loved you Before) to the mix as well as bluegrass (This Ain’t A Good Time, Will You Be Glad) with Ashley playing mandolin and Jeff West providing harmonies, Country Soul (Parts Unknown), Mexican tinged stuff ala Marty Robbins (Nothing To Loose) and a jazz duet with guest vocalist Grey Delisle (What A Dream It’s Been). Big Sandy’s voice has never sounded so good and deep, particularly when he’s only backed by a double bass (“Don’t Desert Me”) or a guitar (You Mean Too Much to Me) and the acoustic format reveals the beauty of his song writing. It also puts a new light on Kingman’s skills. His talent shines throughout the album and is in large part responsible of the success of that record.
In the end, what was supposed to be just a celebration of a 25 year career turns out to be a pivotal album in the band history as were “Jumpin’ from 6 to 6” in 1994 or “Night Tide” in 2000.

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – Turntable Matinee

Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys - Turntable Matinee
Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – Turntable Matinee

Yep Roc – Yep 2121 [2006]
Power Of The 45 – Love That Man – The Great State Of Misery – Haunted Heels – Ruby Jane – Spanish Dagger – Mad – The Ones You Say You Love – You Don’t Know Me At All – Yes (I Feel Sorry For You) – Lonesome Dollar – Slippin’ Away – I Know I’ve Loved You Before – Power Of The 45 Pt. 2.

I became a Big Sandy fan from the moment the needle of my platter played Hot Water the opening song of Fly Rite With, their first album back in 1990.
In 2000, the dark mood of Nightide marked a turning point in Big Sandy’s recording journey and his songwriting. Having used the rockabilly and the western swing terminology and grammar for years, he freed his writing and went to a new level with no restrictions, creating more than re-creating.
After It’s Time in 2002, Turntable Matinee is a deeper step in that direction. Still built around western swing type of songs like Yes (I Feel Sorry For You) with Lee Jeffriess back behind the double neck steel guitar, it takes that genre further and brings on some of these songs a late 60’s feel (The Great State Of Misery). Straight rockin’ songs make a welcome return in Big Sandy’s set with Ruby Jane and the two parts of Power Of The 45 at the beginning and the end of the record, an ode to the band’s influences (Glen Glenn, Link Wray, Chuck Berry, Janis Martin, Etta James…). Between those two solid anchors you’ll find some latin / bossa nova (Spanish Dagger), a bluegrass inspired tune (Lonesome Dollar) and probably the biggest surprise: a Stax / Memphis soul masterpiece called Slippin’ Away with Cad Kadison on sax. And just when I was thinking Hey this is the first Fly-Rite Boys’ album without an instrumental tune came the hidden track, an instro version of Spanish Dagger. Finally it’s more than logical that after being produced by Dave Alvin for their first two albums as Fly-Rite Boys they now fit perfectly with the Blasters’ definition of American Music.
Since the Fly-Rite Trio days the line-up has seen some changed but that didn’t weaken the band and brought new blood and forced it to be more creative every time. The best example is bassist Jeff West who is now a key member of the band : he wrote three songs (and one of the most beautiful song ever sung by Big Sandy You Don’t Know Me At All) and sings two. The musicianship is, as usual, faultless from Ashley Kingman’s inventive guitar licks and his questions/answers with Lee Jeffriess (especially on Yes(I Feel Sorry For You) to Bobby Trimble subtle drumming (listen to I Know I’ve Loved You Before and pay attention to his brushwork). This album is going to be hard to top but I’ve already said that about It’s Time so I don’t worry that much.

 Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys – It’s Time

Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys - It's Time
Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys – It’s Time

Yep Roc, [2003]

”It’s time” follows the beautiful but dark and sad “NighTide”. The line remains unchanged except for Jimmie Roy (Ray Condo’s Ricochets) who replaces Lee Jeffriess on steel.
Entirely recorded live in the studio to capture the freshness of their first recordings, it’s also a much more varied album. You can find classic Rock’n’roll ala Elvis (Chalk It up To the Blues), followed by the Cajun inspired “Bayou Blue” with Chris Gaffney on accordion and there’s even a surfin’ instrumental written by Ashley Kingman (Strollin’ With Mary-Jane). Of course their usual brand of hillbilly bop/rockabilly is still present with songs like I Hate Loving You on which Jeff West voice blends perfectly with Big Sandy’s. He also takes lead on the jazzy Money Tree which makes you regret he doesn’t sing more. But Big Sandy remains the “real” singer of the band and the excellent “Night Is For the Dreamers” with its doo-wop atmosphere concludes the album in beauty.

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – Night Tide

Hightone Records HCD 8123 [2000]
Night Tide – Between Darkness And Dawn – Tequila Calling – When Sleep Won’t Come (Blues For Spade) – If You Only Knew – Give Your Loving To Me – In The Steel Of The Night – A Man Like Me – Hey Lowdown! – My Time Will Come Someday – I Think Of You – Nothing To Lose – South Bay Stomp – Let Her Know

Released in 2000, Night Tide marked a turn in Big Sandy’s musical evolution.
Wally Hersom, former bass player of the band and the last remaining member of the Fly-Rite trio days, had left the group to be replaced by Jeff West (the Sun Demons.) West not only brought his bass, but he also came with his singing abilities, giving Big Sandy a second voice to play with, like a new instrument, hence the presence of harmony vocals on many of the songs.
It was also a change of mood. While previous albums featured dancing tunes and lighthearted lyrics (My Sinful days are over, The Loser’s Blues), Night Tide featured Robert Williams’ more introspective and dark songs. Songs like “When Sleep Won’t Come” written from the pint of view of Spade Cooley in jail, or “Nothing to Lose,” one of Williams’ saddest tune, are perfect examples of that direction. With these songs and others like the title track and Between Darkness And Dawn, Williams seems to throw off the limits of roots music and write songs without restraining himself.
And behind the Latin beat of” Tequila Calling,” one can hear the story of a man fighting with his demons. Even Lee Jeffriess, instrumental, which is usually danceable, is a slow and reflective number.
By comparison, ditties like “I Think of You” or “Give Your Loving” (penned by West) seem out of place and almost break the charm.
But the Fly-Rite Boys also stay true to their roots with rockin’ numbers like their cover of Cliff Bruner’s My Time Will Come Someday featuring Ashley Kingman in full Grady Martin mode as well as Hey Lowdown ( a stage favorite) and Let Her Know.

Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys – Down at Jake’s Barbershop

Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys - Down at Jake's Barbershop
Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys – Down at Jake’s Barbershop

No-Hit records ‎– EP5
Down at Jake’s Barbershop – You’re No Fun – Fallin’ for You – Snake Dance Boogie

In 1992, steel player Lee Jeffriess joined Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Trio (Big Sandy, TK Smith, Wally Hersom and Bobby Trimble) that became Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys. Shortly after that, Smith left the band. The toured Europe with Malcolm Chapman (Carlos and the Bandidos) on guitar before Ashley Kingman (Red Hot’n’Blue) officially joined the band in early 1993.
In July of that year the new line-up recorded these four tracks at Wally’s studio for No-Hit Records.
These four songs are the missing link between the “On the Go” and “Jumpin’ From 6 to 6“. They show the transformation of a tight rockabilly combo into a western swing machine that will culminate with “Swingin’ West” and “Feelin’ Kinda Lucky.” Here the mood of the day is more hillbilly bop with two originals on side A and two covers, Link Davis’ Fallin for You that features Carl Sonny Leyland on piano and Roy Hogsed’s Snake Dance Boogie.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Country Cabin Boys (the)

Country Cabin Boys (the)

country cabin boys

Wounded Knee Polka/ Lucky’s Lullaby
Ecco-Fonic – EF 1002 [1994]

Formed by members of the Fly-Rite Boys, The Country Cabin Boys were more a recording project than an actual band. They were Ashley Kingman on guitar, Lee Jeffriess on steel guitar, Bobby Trimble on drums, and ex-Ecco-Fonic Johnny Noble on double bass. Wally Hersom avoided bass duties to concentrate on the recording.
The band performed instrumental hillbilly jazz in the same vein Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant did.
A-side is a polka featuring a guest appearance by former Fly-Rite Trio member, the great TK Smith.
The flip-side, Lucky’s Lullaby, would later appear in an updated version called “Rhapsody In Violet” on the Fly-Rite Boys solo album “Big Sandy presents…”

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Red Hot’n’Blue


Red Hot'n'Blue - Wait'n'See
Red Hot’n’Blue – Wait’n’See

Red Hot’n’Blue – Wait’n’See

Northwood Records / Be Be’s (reissue) [1985, reissue 1998]
Sure like the look in your eyes – Yes, I’m gonna love you – Clicketty clack – Aw c’mon baby – Long way home – Bad girl – Postman’s blues – Move baby move – Wait ‘n’ see – She got back on that train – Take a walk up the apple tree – It’s my lucky day – So lonely on my own – Hey gringo – Sure like the look in your eyes (live) – She got back on that train (live)
Finally after their apparition on the Big Noise From Northwood compilation, Red Hot’n’Blue released a full album. And what album!
With the addition of Kevin Ellis on sax, the band (Mouse on vocals, Ashley Kingman on guitar, and the twins Andy and Dave Bourne on bass and drums), helped by producer Boz Boorer (Polecats) shows a rare cohesion and maturity for a debut album.
With a majority of self penned tunes (only two covers) they go from boogie blues (Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes) to rockabilly (Clicketty Clack, Move Baby Move) without forgetting jump blues (It’s My Lucky Day, Bad Girl), jazzy ballad (So Lonely On My Own produced by Peter Davenport of Stargazer’s fame), latin instrumental with a Django Reinhardt feel (Hey Gringo) and rockin’ blues in the best Chess Records tradition (Postman Blues with blues harp and the Diddley tinged Take A Walk Up The Apple Tree). All this (and much more) make of Wait’n’See one of the best and most influential album of the 80’s.
The cd version offers two live cuts of Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes and She Got Back On That Train. One can find a very jazzy version of Caldonia from the same session son the now hard to find compilation album “The Northwood Story vol 1”.

Red Hot'n'Blue - Hey There Man - Zinn001
Red Hot’n’Blue – Hey There Man – Zinn001

Red Hot’n’Blue – Hey There Man!

Zinn 001 [1991]
Hey There Man – Jumpin’ Around – You Know I Love You So – If You Think I Don’t Need You – Baby You’ve Been To School – Give Me Back My Wig – Hi Fi Baby – Rock With Me – Big Sandy – Little Girl From Memphis – Can’t Keep Me Waiting – Come Over My House

Shortly after their reformation in the early 90’s Red Hot’n’Blue recorded this 12 track album and released it on their own Zinn label.
They reformed in the original quartet minus sax and decided to drop out all the jump/jive stuff from their set and focus more on the rockabilly/rockin’ blues side of their music. The whole album has a strong Chess/Chuck berry flair in it (at the same time Ashley Kingman was playing with the Blue Rhythm Boys) in the same vein of “Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes”. Some guest appears on harmonica, sax , steel guitar (Lee Jeffriess) and piano (Paul Ansell). Half of the songs are originals and the rest come from Hound Dog Taylor, Bobby Roberts, Teddy McRae, Elvis,). Excellent from start to finish.

Red Hot'n'Blue - Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes
Red Hot’n’Blue – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

Red Hot’n’Blue – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes b/w Clickaty Clack [1992]
Zinn 002
This 45 is hotter than the girl on the cover. In December 1992, Red Hot’n’Blue were back in studio to recut two songs from their debut album. This new versions are awesome and the song became a hit at every records hops around the world.
Limited edition of 1000.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Ain't Gonna Stop
Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop

Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop

Time Bomb TB11 [1993]
Going Away – Funny Kinda Feeling – My Brand Of Blues – Uptown Cat – Blues Stop Knocking – I Wanna Go Back Home – You’re The One – Find Out Whats Happening – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Every Saturday Night – Caroline – Ain’t Gonna Stop – You’re The One #2 – My Babe – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

The initial reformation was supposed to last only 6 months, but due to the amazing response from the audiences all over the world Red Hot’n’Blue dedided to carry on.
They recorded Aint Gonna Stop for Time Bomb a Japan label, a land where the band was highly popular. It finds Red Hot’n’Blue returning to a wider variety of styles including rockabilly (Ain’t Gonna Stop, Funny Kinda Feeling, Uptown Cat), rock’n’roll love song (You’re the One), rockin’ blues (a recut of Sure Like the Look in your Eyes that became a dancefloor filler), Chicago blues (Willie Dixon’s My Babe and the Elmore James inspired Caroline) and country-ish numbers like Going Away.
Compared to their previous releases the production is cleaner but also a bit thiner at places, but it remains a very good album with strong songwriting.
Just after the recording, Ashley Kingman left the band to move to the USA and join Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Boys, hence the title, Ain’t Gonna Stop, given by the three remaining members.

Red Hot'n'Blue - Bo Diddley Medley
Red Hot’n’Blue – Bo Diddley Medley

Red Hot’n’Blue – Bo Diddley Medley

Bo Diddley Medley b/w I’m Moving Away [1994]
Fury 005

Two tracks taken from “Havin’ A Ball”. Limited edition.




Red Hot'n'Blue - Havin' a Ball
Red Hot’n’Blue – Havin’ a Ball

Red Hot’n’Blue – Havin’ A Ball

Fury FCD3033 [1994]
Havin’ a ball – I’ll be long gone – Here in London town – Just for a day – Get back on that train (94) – Let me know – I’m moving away – Only one – Bo Diddley medley – I’ve never seen (such a thing like you before) – Next time I’m gonna do it right – Beggin’ time – Nothing to lose – Laughing and joking – Love me – Little girl from Memphis

Fourth album recorded with Pascal Guimbard (Sprites, Wild Ones) who replaced Ashley. The sound is less bluesy (though you find an excellent Bo Diddley medley) and more Rock’n’roll with a strong inspriration from late 50’s / early 60’s Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent. You’ll also find a bit of country (Beggin’ Time, Just For A Day, Let Me Know) and a dash of Neo-rockabilly.

Red Hot'n'Blue - Still Jumpin' Around
Red Hot’n’Blue – Still Jumpin’ Around

Red Hot’n’Blue – Still Jumpin’ Around

Jappin’ & Rockin’ JRCD34 [1998]
Things Are Gonna Be Different – Who – There’s No Need To Tell Me – Kiss Me Baby – Sinful Woman – Hold On To What You’ve Got – What Did You Say? – Gimme Some Lovin’ – Me And You Are Through – Phone Call – I’m In A Daze – I Had A Real Good Time – Still Jumpin’ Around – Big Sandy (’98)

Fifth and latest album to date from this rock’n’roll quartet. Mark Harman (Restless) has replaced Pascal Guimbard on lead guitar which gives the band a more neo-rockabilly sound with some songs logically sounding like the Space Cadets.
It’s a good album, not as essential as their earliest recordings, especially the ones featuring Kingman, but it features good originals.

Red Hot'n'Blue - Northwood EP
Red Hot’n’Blue – Northwood EP

Red Hot’n’Blue – Northwood EP

Crazy Love [2000]
Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes – I Wanna Tell You That I Love You Baby – Sad In My Heart – It’s My Lucky Day – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

The songs of this EP result from a late session recorded in 1986. The twins, Andy and Dave Bourne had left the band. The new line-up was Paul Diffin (doublebass), Ashley (guitar), Stuart Simpson from the Slingshots (drums), Mouse and Kevin Ellis (sax) , a session piano player plus Boz Boorer who played guitar on Sad in my heart.
It’s My Lucky Day dates from the Big Noise From Northwood sessions produced by Peter Davenport (Stargazers).
The songs are good but definitely lack the rockin’ edge that made band so great.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Ain't Gonna Stop/Hey There Man
Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop/Hey There Man

Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop/Hey There Man

Rarity records [2003]
Going Away – Funny Kinda Feeling – My Brand Of Blues – Uptown Cat – Blues Stop Knocking – I Wanna Go Back Home – You’re The One – Find Out Whats Happening – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Every Saturday Night – Caroline – Ain’t Gonna Stop – You’re The One #2 – My Babe – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes
Hey There Man – Jumping Around – You Know I Love You So – If You Think I Don’t Need You – Baby You’ve Been To School – Give Me Back My Wig – Hi-Fi Baby – C’Mon And Rock With Me – Big Sandy – Little Girl From Memphis – Can’t Keep Me Waiting – Move Baby Move – Clicketty Clack – Baby You’ve Been To School #2 – Yes I’m Gonna Love You – Come Over My House

Two cd set gathering the second and third album of the band, including four bonus tracks recorded in 1991 during the Hey There Man sessions.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Blue Rhythm Boys


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