Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Cherry Divine

in Reviews

cherry divineCherry Divine – Rockabilly Chicks vs. Mean Evil Women

Catty Town
Queen of Rockabilly – Crazy – Mean Evil Woman – Don’t Ya – Vintage Pin up Girl – Baby Plays Bass – Ain’t No Fool – Juniors in Love – I Need a Man – Rockabilly Dancers – Special – Fakin It – Brand New Tattoo – Rockabilly Chick

When a female singer introduces herself as the “Australian Imelda may” I don’t expect much of her album. When that same person, still in her liner notes, has the pretention of “bringing back original female Rockabilly roots music to Australia and to the World” she has to be good. And I’m sorry to say that this is something that Cherry Divine is clearly not. Not only her songs are far from being originals (is that still possible to write songs like Rockabilly Queen, Vintage Pin-Up girl or Rockabilly Chick today?) but her voice is full of cliches and mannerism. This is obviously someone who’s trying to jump on a trend despite the presence of a musician like Peter Baylor who played on far better albums.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Various artists – Underbilly

in Reviews

Various artists – Underbilly

Tedesco BAR-002
Wes Pudsey & The Sonic Aces – There’s Gonna Be A Rumble / The Rechords – Take the Line / The Retro Rockets – Hey! El Diablo / Warren Earl – Real Cool Cat / No Brakes – Jump From 6 to 8 / The Satelites – Have Mercy / The Flattrackers – Devils Playground / Atomic Hi-Tones – Wolf Cat / Hank’s Jalopy Demons – Hot Rod Spaceman / The Infernos – Heart of Stone / Paulie Bignell – Busted / The Rattlesnakes – Johnny Suede / Sin & Tonics – Down he Goes / Jump & Jive – Batmobile / Flatfoot Shakers – Greasy Hair / The Ten Fours – Midnight Mover / The Sugar Shakers – Ain’t My Girl No More / The Exotics – Locomotive / The Flattrackers – Swapmeet / Warren Earl – Hot Rod Queen / Rockbottom James & The Detonators – Close The Book / Sin & Tonics – Lucky 7 Bar / The Satellites – Wrong Move / Manic Pistoleros – Wrong Side of Town / The Fireballs – Real Evil

Underbilly is another killer album to come from Australia. This one has been released by Tedesco a label that also released the Rechords’ debut album. This compilation gathers with 21 bands and 25 songs the whole spectrum of the “billy” related musics.

At one end you’ll find the hillbilly sound of the Rechords, on the other there’s the modern brand of psychobilly with heavy metal guitars of the Fireballs’Real Evil. In between one will find authentic rockabilly with Warren Earl (his two songs are the highlights of the album), Hank’s Jalopy Demons or the Flatfoot Shakers, neo-rockabilly with the Retro Rockets, the Atomic Hi-Tones and the Rattlesnakes ‘whose sound has a very strong 80’s feel), modern rockabilly (the Ten Fours, the Exotics), High octone rockabilly (the Flattrakkers), jump blues with saxes (No Brakes ) without forgetting psychobilly, some with an old school feel like they played it in the 80’s (the infernos) other clearly influenced by the Reverend Horton Heat (Sin & Tonics). The talented Paulie Bignell plays an amazing cover of Johnny Cash’s Busted and also performs solid country rock with Rockbottom James & the Detonators.
It’s a very well made compilation full of good surprises and it’s a great way to discover new bands. One can only regret the absence of a detailed booklet to give more infos (websites, line up etc.) about the bands.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Peter Baylor

in Reviews

Peter Baylor - I Hear The Road
Peter Baylor – I Hear The Road

Peter Baylor – I Hear The Road

Preston PEP5100
Roadhouse Romeo – If That’s Not Wrong, It Must Be Right – I’ve Got Troubles On My Mind – All Night Long – Tarcutta – I’m Going To See My Baby – I Hear The Road – When Grandma Got High – Two Hearts – My Baby Was Born To Rock – Strange Boogie – Don’t Mind Me When I Cry – I’m Going To Move To The Country – Hillbilly Rhythm
If the name of Peter Baylor is not familiar to you, you have probably heard his guitar before. He played with bands like The Dancehall Racketeers, The Starliners and the Flatfoot Shakers. You can hear him on Deke Dickerson’s ep “Deke’s Down Under” recorded during his tour of Australia. This is his first album under his name but he’s playing for more than 20 years now.
The album opens with the infectious rhythm of “Roadhouse Rodeo” with amazing guitar work, and superb bass and drums. “I’ve Got Troubles On My Mind” is another uptempo hillbilly jazz tune featuring a Jimmy Bryant type of solo from Peter.
There’s also a good dose of Honky Tonk, from the rural “If That’s Not Wrong, It Must Be Right” to “Don’t Mind Me When I Cry” that could have been sung by Ray Price via the Hank Williams influenced “All Night Long”. My favourite being “Two Hearts”. But Peter can rock, the title track proves it (the rocking steel guitar on this one is amazing) as does the frantic “My Baby Was Born To Rock”. There are many more gems on this platter for you to discover, a cajun song (When Grandma Get High), tasty instrumentals (going from Les Paul / Arthur Smith to Eddie Cochran) and if that’s not enough to convince you (what else do you need?), it’s been recorded at the legendary Preston studio to get that warm and authentic sound we all love. Highly recommended.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Preston Rockabilly – Vol. 2 – Out Of The Valley

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/VARIOUS

Preston Rockabilly - Vol. 2 - Out Of The Valley
Preston Rockabilly – Vol. 2 – Out Of The Valley
Vol. 2 – Out Of The Valley
Press-Tone Music PCD 13
Pat Capocci, Ezra Lee and Danny Wegrzyn (Danny & the Cosmic Tremors) are three Australian cats who play in each other bands. For this album they went to Graeme Thomas’ Preston studio with Cal Robinson on bass, Paul Hainey on drums and Dave Cantrell (the Wildcats, Toni & the Tomcats) on steel.
Pat Capocci performs six songs, all self penned. Full Grown Woman is one of his wildest track, almost garage, Second Best is a traditionnal rockabilly, Burnin’ the Candle is a solid rocker. He also performs a country shuffle (Try To Forget Me), a Jerry Lee type of number (Til I Get to You) and a superb instrumental (After Hours) that has shades of T-Bone Walker and Johnny Guitar Watson.
Danny & the Cosmic Tremors perform five songs (four origiuals and one cover) including two classic rockabillies (my Baby Wants to Rock’n’Roll, So Long). Much wilder is the cover of Bill Johnson’s You Better Dig It. Little Darling, as its title indicates, is a smooth ballad and Feel Allright With You is a hot bopper that reminds me the style of Rip Carson.
Last but not least, Ezra Lee, the piano pumpin’ man, is present here with two rockers (Abby Jane and Goodbye Astrid Goodbye), a strong Rockabilly number (Werris creek Devil). I’m Gonna Kill Your Daddy sees Capocci playing a mean slide guitar that evokes Elmore James and Coalfire Man is more in the style of memphis Slim.
Without a doubt this trio counts among today’s hottest rockabilly/rock’n’roll acts

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Rechords

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

The Rechords - On the Wagon
The Rechords – On the Wagon

The Rechords – On The Wagon

Bundoora – BRA001
Easily Loved – Save It – Don’t Be Mad – Think It Over Baby – It’s Been Awhile – Saddle Up – It Won’t Be Long – Boogie Blues – Hocus Pocus – Fireball Mail – Bordertown – Take the Line – Could’ve Been Worse – No Help Wanted – Long As I Am Around
The Rechords are Tyron Shaw on upright bass and vocals, Leo Francis on acoustic guitar and vocals and Felix Potier on lead guitar and vocals. This excellent drummer less trio comes straight from the land down under, Melbourne to be precise. They play a brand of fresh and exciting music that borders on Rockabilly but would better be described as hillbilly bop, you know the last limit before the bands went full time rockabilly in the early 50’s. They particularly work hard on the melodic sides of things and have great harmonies inspired from the great “brothers” combo of the past (Louvin, Stanley, Delmore, Everly…).
The seven songs they had on the Press Tone Rockabilly #3 compilation album impressed me a lot, but they totally blew me away with their long player. It’s been a while since I’ve been that impressed by a trio like that (who said Roy Kay?). Each member can sing lead and double on harmonies and the three of them penned solid originals that stand proudly next to carefully chosen covers. What distinguishes them from the vast majority of other combos that play (or try to play) this music lays in the fact that they have assimilated their influences (bluegrass, honky tonk, western swing, blues, rhythm’n’blues, rockabilly) and created their own style rather than slavishly copying anybody (no “oh this riff sounds like Johnny Burnette” or “hey they borrowed this one to Gene Vincent” here). Most of all, they have listened to what have influenced the artist they like, that’s why they came naturally to an authentic and natural sound.
The set is varied mixing ballads, country weepers to more uptempo tune and they have invited a piano and a fiddle player to play on some tunes to add even more diversity. I won’t go too much into details, but give them a chance and you won’t be disappointed.
The whole thing comes in a nicely designed digipack, so what are you waiting for cuzzin?

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ezra Lee

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews

Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band - Boomerang Boogie
Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band – Boomerang Boogie

Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band – Boomerang Boogie

Rhythm Bomb Records – RBR 5823 [2016]
Boomerang Boogie  – My Baby Wants To Rock’n’Roll All Night – Nasty Boogie – Is It Wrong (For Loving You) – Caught In The Middle – Honky Tonk Girl – Motorbilly Radio (Go Cat Go) – My Baby Dont Lie To Me – Tore Up – Honky Tonk Downstairs – Try To Forget My Name – So Long – Endless Sleep – She`s Tough – Let It Rock

For his new album, the third, for Rhythm Bomb, Ezra Lee teamed up with the Shaun Havoc band (Shaun Havoc on drums, Kevin Spiers on guitar, Pete Mavric on double bass and Mark McGurgan on tenor saxophone). To bring variety to the set both Lee and havoc takes the lead vocal duties.
If you compare to his previous albums, it shows a slight departure in term of sound. It delves more into the sixties and mixes rockin’ blues, New Orleans rock’n’roll and country rock. Some songs evoke either Creedence Clearwater Revival or even the Flyin’ Burrito Brothers like Motorbilly Radio (Go Cat Go). The later features a pedal steel while some other songs have a guest fiddle for a straight Honky Tonk sound (Try to Forget My Name).
The choice of covers reflects that eclectism too with songs coming from the catalogs of Champion Jack Dupree, Charlie Rich, Jody Reynolds, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry but also the Paladins, the Reverend Horton Heat and Aussie fellows Pat Capocci and Danny & the Cosmic Tremors.
Pumping piano, strong drum beat, mean electric guitar and jumpin’ sax, everything concurs to make a solid Rock’n’Roll album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ezra Lee - Motor Head baby
Ezra Lee – Motor Head baby

Ezra Lee – Motor Head baby

Rhythm Bomb RBR5809 [2015]
Rock Little Baby – Motor Head Baby – Wow Wow – Volcanic Boogie – Over At Hattie’s Barrelhouse – It’s You Baby – The Entertainer – Don’t Say That You Love Me – Last Date – Pink Champagne – Rocker – A Little Unfair – Skinny Woman – Low Down Piana Blues – Rock & Roll Outlaw

Ezra Lee the piano pounding wizard of Oz returned with a brand new album that confirmed all the good things we thought about him.
Backed by the excellent Firebird Trio (Pete Belair on guitar, Hank Elwood Green on drums and on slap bass Chris Nomad D’Rozario who played with Brian Setzer during one of his recent Rockabilly Riot Tour) Lee covers a wide range of style. Of course there’s plenty of Jerry Lee influenced Rock’n’roll (and the production of Paulie Bignell with the drums to the fore strenghten that impression). there’s also a good dose of blues (most notably the excellent Low Down Piana Blues), some Boogie Woogie and even of cover of Scott Joplin’s ragtime classic The  Entertainer. The sole minor flaw would be the cover of AC/DC’s Rocker that doesn’t really fit him vocally but that shouldn’t prevent you to buy that very good album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ezra lee - You Can't Stop A Freight Train
Ezra lee – You Can’t Stop A Freight Train

Ezra Lee – You Can’t Stop A Freight Train

Press-Tone Music PCD 15.
Just One Of Those Things / Mean What I Say / Creola / Can’t Stop A Freight Train / I’ll Keep Waiting / Rock’n’Roll Piano Man / Pantin’ Panther / Ezzy’s Boogie / Look, But Can’t Touch / Count On Me (To Shoot You Down) / Firefly / Spread It All Around / The Devil Is A Dame / She Done Gone.

Singer-pianist Ezra Lee is another proof of the good state of health of the Aussie’s rockin’ scene. Like his first recordings available on “Preston Rockabilly vol. 2” this album has been recorded at Preston Studio by the expert hands of Graeme Thomas (and Cal Robinson too) with long time friend Pat Capocci on guitar (who also wrote or co-wrote half of the songs here), Cal Robinson on bass and Ricky “the Goat” on drums.
It’s a pretty good and solid debut album. One could fear that a pianist named “Lee” would merely be a Jerry Lee copycat, but it would be a huge mistake. Sure it contains a healthy dose of piano pounding rockers like Just One of Those Things, Ezzy’s Boogie (pretty much like Jerry Lee’s Real Wild Child) and of course Rock’n’roll Piano man.
 But there’s plenty of other good things too like Sun rockabilly (Spread It Around) and Honky Tonk (I’ll Keep Waiting, Count on Me (to shoot you)) which proves that this boy also likes Moon Mullican. One will also find a couple of blues numbers that show his admiration for Otis Spann and Jonnie Johnson like Mean What I Say or Firefly a Muddy Waters inspired number. There’s also a beautiful New Orleans blues with a Rumba beat called Creola (a little bit like Earl Hooker’s Guitar Rumba), a Texas blues (Pantin’ Panther) and a Carl Mann influenced rocker.
No need to say that Pat Capocci’s guitar is the perfect complement to Ezra’s voice and piano.
Good job folks, I’m really looking forward the next one…
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


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