Bear Family

Scotty McKay

Scotty McKay – Rocks

Bear Family BCD 17519
Rollin’ Dynamite – Tommy & The Tom Toms: Baby Let’s Play House – The Girl Next Door – Bad Times (Acetate) – I’ve Got My Eyes On You – You’re So Square – I’ve Been Thinkin’ – Little Miss Blue – Be-Bop-A-Lula – Let It Rock – Evenin’ Time (Acetate) – Midnight Cryin’ Time – Tommy & The Tom Toms: Somebody Help Me – Don’t Wait (Key C) (Acetate) – Tommy & The Tom Toms: Oh Boy – Roberta – Rollin’ Danny (Acetate) – Tommy & The Tom Toms: So Tough – Pull Down The Sky – Who Do You Love – All Around The World – Waikiki Beach – Cry Me A River (Acetate) – Little Lump Of Sugar – Sea Cruise – Tommy & The Tom Toms: You Can’t Catch Me – Dixie Doodle Dandy – Tommy & The Tom Toms: Jambalaya – Evenin’ Time – Scotty McKay Quintet: The Train Kept A Rollin’ – Don’t Wait (Key F) (Acetate) – Tommy & The Tom Toms: It’s Too Late.

Scotty McKay – real name Max Lipscomb – first made a name by playing guitar and piano with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps during the December 1957 sessions that resulted with, among other gems, Baby Blue.
His tenure with Vincent was brief, and Lipscomb/McKay debuted a solo career. This compilation gathers sides recorded between 1959 and 1967. This period saw the music changing fast, and it’s not very surprising to find a wide array of styles performed by McKay and his different bands.
The connection with Gene Vincent remains strong with covers of Be Bop A Lula and Rollin Danny. But there’s also some sizzling Rockabilly with Baby Let’s Play House recorded under Tommy and The Tom Toms’ name. Next to these sides, one can find a bit of Rhythm’n’Blues (Roberta, Midnight Crying Time), and a fantastic soul-tinged number with mean guitar and harmonica (I’ve Got My Eyes On You.) McKay proves to be a more than competent singer on the more tuneful sides whether he shows inspiration from Elvis (The Girl Next Door) or Ricky Nelson (You’re So Square.) But he excels when he sings frantic rockers like Bad Times, Evenin’ Time, and of course Rollin’ Dynamite. Highly recommended to is All Around the World, a garage/psychedelic influenced version of Titus Turner’s tune and an amazing garage version, inspired by the Yardbirds of The Train Kept A Rollin.

Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight!

Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight! – From the Vaults of Decca and Coral Records

Gonna shake this shack tonight

Bear Family BCD17602 [2020]
Jimmy Atkins & His Pinetoppers – I’m A Ding Dong Daddy (From Dumas) / T. Texas Tyler – Hot Rod Rag / Tabby West – Chat Chat Chattanooga / Lonnie Glosson – Pan American Boogie / Tex Williams – Big Bear Boogie / Autry Inman – Happy Go Lucky / Grandpa Jones – Eight More Miles To Louisville / Roy Duke – I Mean I’m Mean / Hank Penny – Bloodshot Eyes / Tabby West – Texas Millionaire / Hardrock Gunter / Texas Bill Strength – Paper Boy Boogie / Gene Stewart – Empty Seat In The Bar Room Booth / Rusty Keefer – I’m Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail / Tex Williams – Rancho Boogie / Jimmie Davis – Cherokee Boogie (Eh-Oh-Aleena) / Tommy Sosebee – All Night Boogie / Kenny Roberts – I’m Looking For The Bully Of The Town / Hardrock Gunter – Honky Tonk Baby / Chuck Murphy – Blue Ribbon Boogie / Hank Garland – Guitar Shuffle / Tabby West – Inchin’ Up / Grady Martin – Long John Boogie / Tommy Sosebee – The Barber Shop Boogie / Hardrock Gunter – You Played On My Piano / Jimmy Atkins & His Pinetoppers – Juke Joint Johnny / Tabby West – Pretty Little Dedon / Arlie Duff – Courtin’ In The Rain / Wayne Raney – 40th And Plum / Roberta Lee & Hardrock Gunter – Sixty Minute Man

Jimmy Atkins cut a superb double-sider for Coral. Without surprise, Ding Dong Daddy is a hot western swing while Juke Joint Johnny is an excellent hillbilly boogie with searing solos, including twin guitars.
Tabby West is a very versatile singer. As said in the liner, her voice could appeal to both rural and urban audiences. Despite a bunch of excellent recordings, she never made it big. Pretty Little Dedon has a bit of a Cajun flair, Texas Millionaire is pure hillbilly with fiddle and also features a hot guitar solo by Hank Garland, while Chat Chat Chattanooga is a swinging country bopper that showcases her clear diction. Inchin’ Up is more average, but the guitar break from Chet Atkins is worth mentioning.
The Delmore Brothers’ Pan American Boogie sounds like the epitome of the Hillbily Boogie genre. Lonnie Glosson’s version, on which the Delmore Brothers and Wayne Raney back him, doesn’t differ much from the original.
Tex Williams is, with Jimmie Davis, probably one of the best-known figures on this compilation and needs no introduction. Big Bear Boogie is a pleasant though dispensable novelty tune. The best being the scorching country boogie instrumental Rancho Boogie, featuring accordion, twin fiddles, steel-guitar, and piano. You’ll also find Wayne Raney on this compilation performing an excellent Hillbilly number.
At the exact opposite of Williams’ laid-back croon are Autry Inman and his nasal voice. His Happy Go Lucky is a superb country bopper.
Grandpa Jones was neither a grandpa nor a genuine hillbilly. It doesn’t prevent his Eight More Miles to Louisville to be a joyful and fast hillbilly tune.
Roy Duke’s I Mean I’m Mean is one of the highlights of this compilation. His vocal sounds like Ernest Tubb singing the blues while the backing is closer to Rockabilly as it can get, thanks to Hank Garland on guitar.
Talking about highlights, you’ll find nothing less than four Hardrock Gunter’s songs, including Sixty Minute Man in duet with Roberta Lee. In case you wouldn’t know him, Gunter played a brand of Country Boogie, influenced by Western Swing, especially by his idol Hank Penny (who is present here with his classic Bloodshot Eyes.)
Not much to say about Texas Bill Strength, except that the song is good, his voice is good, and the playing is equally good!
Gene Stewart was the brother of Redd Stewart of Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys, for which he also played bass. Not sure if the Golden West Cowboys back him on Empty Seat In The Bar Room Booth, but the song is a hot swinging country boogie.
Rusty Keefer’s name might right a bell to Bill Haley’s fans. He wrote or co-wrote songs like The Walking Beat, R.O.C.K, or Rockin’ Through The Rye. I’m Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail falls halfway between Bluegrass and electric Honky Tonk.
Tommy Sosebee’s All Night Boogie, reminiscent of Oakie Boogie, is just average, while The Barber Shop Boogie seems more inspired by Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy.
If you’re looking for some uptempo hillbilly, I’m Looking For The Bully Of The Town by Kenny Roberts is what you need. Blue Ribbon Boogie is a solid boogie-woogie performed by Chuck Murphy and his piano.
Two great guitar player, Hank Garland and Grady Martin have their solo spots. Guitar Shuffle is an excuse to showcase Garland’s prowess on guitar (and it works), whereas Grady Martin’s Long John Boogie is more sophisticated, even pop-tinged, and features a saxophone.
Courtin In the Rain is a mostly spoken hillbilly by Arlie Duff in the rural comic tradition.
All in all, despite one or two less inspired tunes, you have a solid slab of Hillbilly and Country Boogie, with hints of Western Swing. Don’t miss it.

Available here

Fred ‘Virgil’ Turgis


Juke Box Pearls

Ruth Brown – Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean

Ruth Brown

Bear Family Records BCD17542
This Little Girls Gone Rockin’ – Lucky Lips – Hello Little Boy – It’s Love (24 Hours a Day) – Mambo Baby – 5-10-15 Hours – Jim Dandy – Smooth Operator – Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean – Sweet Baby of Mine – Wild, Wild Young Men – Bye Bye Young Man – I Want to Do More – I Can’t Hear a Word You Say – As Long As I’m Moving – Papa Daddy – I Gotta Have You (With Clyde McPhatter) – Anyone But You – I Can See Everybody’s Baby – I Don’t Know – Walk with Me, Lord – Don’t Deceive Me – I Burned Your Letter – The Door Is Still Open – Why Don’t You Do Right – I’m Just a Lucky So and So – Sea of Love – Teardrops from My Eyes (Live) – Tears Come Tumbling Down (Live) – Oh What a Dream (Live) – Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean (Live)

The newest addition to the Juke Box Pearls series is all about Miss Rhythm herself, the great Ruth Brown. Following her hit Teardrops From My Eyes, she was also named “the girl with the tear in her voice,” referencing the squeak in her voice, a thing that Little Richard fully integrated into his style.
The sides presented on this compilation were recorded between 1953 and 1962. And except for three songs recorded for Philips by Shelby Singleton, those tracks were issued on Atlantic, also known as “the house that Ruth built.” That says it all.
Brown had a powerful and unique voice with an impressive range of emotions. The songs go from Blues, Rock’n’roll (including the very wild “Hello Little Boy”), torch songs, ballads, Mambo, Gospel, and Jazz. She could sing everything.
Four amazing live cuts, full of raw energy, complete the set.
If you don’t know where to start with Miss Brown, this collection is an excellent introduction to her vast talent.
It comes in a superb digipack with a thick booklet.

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Colin Hicks

Colin Hicks – Sexy Rock

colin hicks

Bear Family – BCD 17582 [2020]
Giddy Up A Ding Dong – Empty Arms Blues – Wild Eyes And Tender Lips – Sexy Rock – MeanWoman Blues – Oh Boy! – Love’s Made A Fool Of You – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Hanging Around – Tallahassee Lassie – Jambaylaya (On The Bayou) – Blue Moon Of Kentucky – That Little Girl Of Mine – lea lea – Robot Man – Put Me Down – Lovin’ Up A Storm – A Teenager In Love – Book Of Love – Hallelujah, I Love Her So – Brand New Cadillac – All Because Of You – Impazzivo Per te – Johnny B. Goode – Tutti Frutti – Twenty Flight Rock – Hung Up My Rock And Roll Shoes

Here’s volume four of this excellent and exciting new series on Bear Family. This time, you have a full album dedicated to Colin Hicks covering the period from 1957 to 1961. Some of you may not know him, and to be honest, until I received this cd, I had never heard about him. Colin Hicks is none other than Tommy Steele’s little brother, who is also part of this series, but his name seems to be reduced to a footnote in British music history.
The reasons are multiple. Hicks never achieved the same degree of success as his older brother at least in England. Both looked very similar, and even sometimes their voices could sound the same. So maybe England was too small for two Hicks/Steele. And when success knocked upon his door, it was in Italy.
It has to be said; Hicks didn’t have the talent of his brother. Some of the songs recorded here are pretty average. He also lacked original material, and most of his covers are very well known. It probably didn’t allow him to create a personnal sound. And if his approach of Blue Moon of Kentucky is very original, one can forget in the minute his version of Johnny B. Goode. But the curious listener and the amateur of British Rock’n’roll will find pretty to enjoy here. If Hicks is not Steele, it doesn’t mean he’s an average singer. Far from that. He can rock like none other, and, to pursue the comparison with his older brother, he seems more free, even wilder, in his approach.
Like on many of Bear Family reissues,you’ll aso find rare tracks. Among them are Hicks debut single for Pye Nixa recorded by Joe meek in 1957, or Impazzivo Per Te that was released as a flexi disc in an Italian magazine in 1960.
This compilation is an excellent occasion to rediscover an artist that should receive more credit. Taken separately, this one is maybe not as essential as the first three volumes, but as a whole, its place is fully justified.

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis – The ballads of Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis

Bear Family – BCD17544 [2020]
Crazy Arms – Invitation To Your Party – Born To Lose – I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You – Tomorrow Night – I’m The Guilty One – Fools Like Me – Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Sail Away (Duet With Charlie Rich) – Set My Mind At Ease (Stereo) – I’ll Make It All Up To You – It Hurts Me So – Love Letters In The Sand – How’s My Ex Treating You – You Win Again – I Know What It Means – Turn Around – The Ballad Of Billy Joe – It All Depends – Love On Broadway – Seasons Of My Heart (Duet With Linda Gail Lewis) – Someday – That Lucky Old Sun – Cold Cold Heart – Love Made A Fool Of Me – Goodnight Irene – I Can’t Seem To Say Goodbye

Jerry Lee Lewis set the rocking piano on fire, metaphorically and literally, with songs like Whole Lotta Shakin Goin’ On, High School Confidential, and Great Balls Of Fire recorded for Sun. After his fall, he made a triumphant comeback as a country singer on Smash/Mercury Records in the mid-’60s.
Of course, country music was not a new thing in Lewis’ music, and it was already a massive part of his repertoire on Sun. After all, his first recording, included here, was a cover of Ray Price’s Crazy Arms. Actually, all kind of music was part of his repertoire. Knowing that he had a rough diamond that could not be easily polished, Sam Phillips tried almost everything to see what could happen in the studio.
This 27-song compilation gathers some of the best country-tinged sides and rockin’ ballads he recorded for Phillips and Sun between 1956 and 1963. And, though I like his harder edge, I always thought that this genre suited him best, showcasing his piano playing that rolls with grace and, most of all, his great, rich, and warm voice. Those recordings reveal the great singer he was. On these country weepers, he can make the best of his crooning voice. More than that, he has a way to appropriate these songs that totally makes you forget the originals. This is not an easy task to compete with Hank Williams, Leadbelly, Lonnie Johnson, and Ray Price.
The set is complete with two duets, one with Charlie Rich and another with his sister Linda Gail Lewis.
If you don’t know this side of his art, I strongly recommend this cd. And even if you, like me, own the Sun box-set published by Bear, it’s a good thing to have these sides on the same support. And the detailed booklet is an excellent addition to the product.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

High Noon the Rockabilly trio

High Noon – Change

high noonSwelltune Records – SR45-007 [2020]
Change – You Done Did It

In early 2020, Shaun Young, Sean Mencher, and Kevin Smith, internationally known as High Noon, the finest purveyor of today’s Rockabilly, got back together to make their first new recordings since 2002.
You wouldn’t believe that 18 years have passed since What Are You Waiting For. The trio sounds as fresh as the first time as I heard them when they released Glory Bound on Willie Lewis‘ Rock-A-Billy Records.
When these three guys are in the same room, you can expect the best in rural bop and drummerless Rockabilly.
Each is in fine form. Mencher is particularly inspired on You Done Did It. One could complain that on Change, Youngs tends to quaver more than usual (and necessary), but that’s a minor flaw.
Both songs are originals, Young penned the side one, and the whole trio is credited for the flip.


High Noon - Flatland Saturday Night
High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

Bear Family
Glorybound – Stranger Things – She Forgot Her Memory – When She’s Good – Let’s Go Daddy-O – Long Empty Stretch Of Highway – My Ex Is Why – Beautiful – Rock Too Slow – Rockin’ Wildcat – Rockin’ Beauty – Old Habits – Flatland Saturday Night – Bluebonnet Boogie – Not For Nothin’ – Rattlesnake Man – Mixed Signal Mama – Fishing Hole Boogie – I’m Not Blue – Gotta Lotta That – Doggone That Cat – Now You’re Gonna Be Loved – Comanche Moon – Kiss And Tell Baby – Slow Down Baby – It’s The Beat – High On A Hill – Hanging From The Old Oak Tree – My Little Thrill – Call Of The Honky-Tonk – Quick Hand (demo) – My Heart Cries Yes (demo)

If you’re familiar with the Rockabilly genre, High Noon needs no introduction. But just in case… They were with Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Trio and the Dave and deke Combo, one of the bands that led the revival of American Rockabilly and among the first in the USA to play this music as if it came straigth from the fifties.

For any true Rockabilly lovers, High Noon almost sounded too good to be true: Shaun Young’s voice conjured the memories of the great Texas Rockabilly singers (among them a certain guy from Lubbock). Sean Mencher’s bag of riffs seemed bottomless. Unlike too many Rockabilly guitar player who were happy to copy Hank Garland or Scotty Moore, Mencher developped his style by listening to the generation that came before like Merle Travis but also Oscar Moore or Charlie Christian. And there was Kevin Smith who showed everybody what “slapping a doghouse bass” really meant (and he was more than able to sing harmonies too.)

Like an aknowledgement to their contribution to this music, High Noon now receives the Bear Family treatment, a well deserved treatment to the legends they are.

Except for the two demos (Quick Hand and My Heart Cries Yes) all songs (32 !) here are lifted from their Goofin’ records. So don’t expect to find songs recorded for Willie Lewis’Rock-A-Billy records or songs from their mini-album Texas style that saw High Noon playing with steel, fiddle, banjo and accordion (maybe for volume 2, who knows?)

Anyway if you don’t own anything from this great band, this is the best introduction you’ll find with a thick 40-page booklet (though the interview with shaun Young looks exactly like the interview I did with him a couple of years ago).
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/high-noon-flatland-saturday-night.html


High Noon ‎– What Are You Waiting For?

high noonGoofin’ Records ‎– GRCD 6116 [2002]
Let’s Go Daddy-o – Hanging (From The Old Oak Tree) – Old Habits – Prelude To The Blues – Bayou Beauty – Not For Nothin’ – Railroad Crossing – Beautiful – Yard Dog – I’ve Never Felt As Lucky – Kiss And Tell Baby – Comanche Moon – Gotta Love That – Misunderstood – It’s The Beat

Between Stranger Things in 1995 and this album, the three members of High Noon kept themselves busy. Shaun Young recorded a solo album, formed the Jive Bombers, and played with the Horton Brothers. Sean Mencher toured with Wayne Hancock and also produced bands. In the meantime, Kevin Smith lent his talents to many artists, including the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Set to appear at the Green Bay 50’s Festival in 2002, High Noon decided to record a new album to present new material on stage.
Recorded and produced by Billy Horton, “What Are You Waiting For?” contains 15 original songs. All their various experiences nurtured the sound of the trio and expanded what they started with Stranger Things.
From the boppin’ Let’s Go Daddy-O to the Cajun tinged Bayou Beauty, with the excellent Travis/Atkins instrumental Comanche Moon and the beautiful ballad Not For Nothing, the band goes from style to another with class and refinement.
But in case you’d forget that High Noon is “the Texas Rockabilly Trio”, listen to songs like Hanging (from the old oak tree) with its powerful slap bass, Misunderstood, It’s the Beat, the Holly-esque Beautiful and Railroad Crossin with its guitar solo evoking Grady Martin.
Young’s tremolo makes wonder on slow songs like I’ve Never Felt As Lucky. Kevin Smith proves one more time that he’s the undisputed master of the slap bass. He provides the backbone of the sound with, here and there, some short and brilliant solos. On guitar, Sean Mencher enlightens the whole album with his amazing licks, quoting Paul Burlison, Grady Martin, Chet Atkins, and Merle Travis.
What are you waiting for? Buy it!


High Noon - Texas Style
High Noon – Texas Style

High Noon – Texas Style

 Exile Records ‎– EX10EP09 [1994]
Crazy Mixed Up World – He Won I Lost,  She’s Found – Across the River – My Heart Cries Yes (but my mind whispers no) – Movie Magg – Red Barn Boogie

The Texas Rockabilly trio released this 10″ mini album in 1994. First, look at that cover! It’s perfect! Congratulations to Carlos Fernandez who captured the band in action. Then the music… For this one, High Noon took a slight departure from their usual brand of stripped down rockabilly and brought some guests to the party.
The opener is a cover of the Willie Dixon song made popular by Little Walter. The trio with the help of Alvin Crow on fiddle and John Ely on steel turns it into a superb hillbilly bop with Shaun Young yelling the name of the musicians in the great Bob Wills tradition. As usual Shaun’s vocals are superb, Sean Mencher’s guitar inventive and Kevin Smith provides the perfect backbone with his slap.
Next is He Won, I Lost, She’s Found, penned by Mencher. This Honky Tonk with steel, fiddle and harmony vocals (provided by Brent wilson of the Wagoneers) is sure to make you cry in you beer. The side A closes with Across the River, another Mencher original. It’s another fine ballad enlightened by Mike Maddux on accordion.
Side B opens with My Heart Cries Yes. Can these boys play bluegrass. You bet they can! With the help of Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo. Perkins’ Movie Magg is here to remind you that High Noon is one of the very best (if not the best) Rockabilly band of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Finally the steel and the fiddle return for Hank Harral’s Red Barn Boogie to conclude this mini album in beauty.

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