Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Be-Bop's (the)

in Reviews

The Be-Bop’s ‎– Give Me Your Love

be-bop's

Blackjack ‎– NR 4039 [1984]
Give Me Your Love / When The Juke-Box Burns

The Be-Bop’s were a Belgian quartet. With a name like the Be Bop’s, it’s not a surprise to hear a huge Gene Vincent influence in theirmusic.
This single, recorded in 1984, features two original tunes penned by Mario Mattucci, the guitarist. The A-side is relatively soft, while the flip is wilder and more in the vein of Vincent’s Jump, Giggles and Shout. Both are excellent. The band captures the 1956 sound but manages to add a good dose of personality in their music, somewhere between Dave Phillips and the Sprites.

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis

Swampy's (the)

in Reviews

Swampy’s (the) – Come Back To The Swamp

Kix4U [1989]
Pretty in Pink – Rockhouse – Home Sweet Home – Tainted Love  – Fly Story – Cinderella – Iron Man  – Come Back to the Swamp – Love Me – Bug Attack – You Drink Too Much – Tear It Up 

The Swampy’s recorded the follow-up to their debut ep in September 1988. It was first self-released by the band, then Kix4U licensed it, giving it a better distribution.
On many aspects, Come Back to the Swamp is a more accomplished effort than Psycho Swamp. It is better produced, better recorded, better played, and better sung with many outstanding originals, including one instrumental (Bug Attack.)
You have to be a very tight band to play that brand of fast Psychobilly, and the Swampy’s, at the time of these recordings, were on top of their form. The double-bass is just insane. Jo, their double-bass player/singer, also progressed in terms of singing. His voice shows more subtleties ranging from the threatening voice to a more neo-Rockabilly vocal.
The best way to hear the band’s evolution is to compare the two versions of Tainted Love. Needless to say that the second one is far better and is a highlight of the Psychobilly genre.


Swampy’s (the) – Psycho Swamp

Self-released [1988]
Domino – Psycho Swamp – Tainted Love – The Coffin Maker

Coming from Belgium, the Swampy’s, recorded Psycho Swamp their debut mini-album in 1987. It has the defaults and the qualities of the youth. Despite a powerful slap bass, the Swampy’s are not what you could describe as accomplished musicians, and some arrangements are a bit loose. On the other hand, it’s joyful, full of vitality, exuberant, wild, raw, and primitive. Everything that makes you buy a psychobilly album. Don’t you agree with me?
Two of the songs are originals. If their instrumental is average, the Coffin Maker is excellent. The other two songs are covers. The first one is a hardly recognizable version of Roy Orbison’s Domino with a total change of melody. The second one is Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love, which takes things where Dave Philips and the Hot Rod Gang left them and add a massive dose of craziness.
On a side note, if there’s an award for the ugliest Psychobilly cover, the Swampy’s would be a strong contender.

The Radioactive Kid

WIld Ones (the)

in Reviews

Wild OnesWild Ones (the) – Feelin’ Good

Migraine Bop 32 [2018]
Feelin’ Good – I’m Coming Home

One of Europe’s best rockin’ band returns thirty years after its latest release. I really liked the Wild Ones back in the days and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect with this new release. Would it be as good as their old recording, Wouldn’t it tarnish the legacy of the band? What if Dee had lost his voice? My fear quicky vanished as soon as I played the record. The Wild Ones still have it and with the help of Tony LaMonica their newly recruited guitar player they rock like hell.
These two sides are full of rockin’ blues with mean guitar and equally mean blues harp (and yes, Wild One Dee still has his voice). Now, let’s just hope this is a warming up before a full LP.
Limited edition.


Wild Ones - Sounds like Gene Vincent
Wild Ones – Sounds like Gene Vincent

Wild Ones (the) – Sounds like Gene Vincent

Rockouse – MLP 8804   [1988]
Wildcat Boogie – Two Eyes – Ain’t She Sweet – It Won’t Work – My Baby She’s Gone – In My Dreams – Cruisin’

With such a title and musicians dressed like the Blue Caps circa 1956 you won’t be surprised to find more than a strong Gene Vincent influence on this mini-lp.
In My Dreams, Cruisin and Ain’t She Sweet are lifted from the Sreaming Kid repertoire and a fourth cover, Two Eyes, is a Tommy Steele song. They are played with the right energy and intensity in the vocals and the guitarist is good enough to play some Cliff Gallup inspired parts and despite being very close to the originals, they are not just note for note versions.
The remaining three songs are penned by the band’s singer Didier Borra.
Both It Won’t Work and Wildcat Boogie previously appeared on a single and sound as good as anything the early Blue Cat Trio released. Though there’s no indications of recording date or place, one can assume that all the songs come from the same sessions, or at least the same period, that is to say 1983.
The remaining song, My Baby She’s Gone, is by far the best of the album, opening with a strong slapping bass for two and a half minutes of Rockabilly. It would later be reworked under a new title and with a new sound for the band’s debut album « Crossroads ».


Wild Ones (the) – Wildcat Boogie

Blackjack – NR 4035 [1983]
Wildcat Boogie – It Wont Work

With this second single, the Wild Ones are more confident, and the musicianship is better. The influence of Gene Vincent and bands like the Blue Cats can be heard all over those two original songs from the Cliff Gallup inspired guitar solo to the production.
Note: the bass player on this single and the following mini-album “Sounds Like Gene Vincent” is Dirk Schoufs who later formed Vaya Con Dios with whom he found success. Sadly he died in 1991.


Wild Ones (the) – I’m A Wild One Baby!!!

Little Big One ‎– L.B.O. 116 [1981]
I’m A Wild One baby!!! – Crying All Alone
Released in 1981, this is the debut single from this famous Belgium band. As one can guess, it’s a bit young and needs some cohesion in places, but the result is quite pleasant.
“I’m a Wild One Baby!!!” lives to its title with call and response from the band, screams, and whistles, the whole thing played at a frantic pace.
The flip side is a mid-tempo with some Cavan vibe and an exciting guitar solo.

wild ones
The Wild Ones [Sounds Like Gene Vincent line-up]

Domino’s (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Domino's

Domino’s (the) – It Don’t Mean A Thing

El Toro records – ETCD 6097

It Don’t Mean A Thing – I Can’t Be Satisfied – Flyin To The Station Gate – Minor Swing – The Messaround – The Train With A Rhumba Beat – Cuckoo Girl – Trapped In A Web Of Love – Cannonball Rag – It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie – Why Don‘t You – Je Suis Swing – Tornado – Everybody Said – Rhythm In My Bones

Patrick Ouchene formed the Domino’s in 1989. The band first started mainly as a rockabilly combo and released their debut album for Rockhouse records in Netherland. By their second album as their tastes changed, their sound evolved covering a wider range of roots music.
This best of is basically their “Minor Things” album (released on Big Bang Records) with a couple of bonus tracks.

To be honest, Duke Ellington’s is not the best song to start with. Ouchene’s vocals is a bit too much but the solist are hot. By the second song, Muddy Water’s Cant Be Satisfied, things get way better. From that point, the whole set range from swing (Django’s Minor Swing), Rhythm and Blues (Mess Around), Rock’n’roll (Rhythm in My Bones), French Zazou music (Johnny Hess’ je suis Swing) and of course Rockabilly (Why Don’t You,  Tornado) without forgetting a fine cover of Johnny Horton’s the Train with the Rumba Beat.
The band benefits of the service of a hot rhythm section (it can, featuring Jack fire of the Wild Ones), a solid lead guitar (and some steel too) and most of all, the band secret weapon in the person of Bernard Vancraeynest  who not happy to arrange some of the songs plays violin, cello, piano and saxophones.
All in all a very pleasant album that I was happy to rediscover with this best-of (and I encourage you to do the same).

Available here.

Jekills (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

jekills-1The Jekills

Country: Belgium
Genre: Psychobilly

Leo Alfano: vocals / guitar
Fofo Mulone: drums
Sergio Vallan: doublebass

The band got together in 1986 under the name of Riot Guns (they were a quartet at that time with Michel Varga) playing neo-rockabilly. One year later, they became a trio, changed their name to The Jekills and started to play Psychobilly.
In September 1989, they released their self titled album that contains 9 songs on their own label that quickly sold out its initial pressing of 1000 copies and was re-released by Tombstone. 
Another song (Père Noël s’est Vengé) can be found on the compilation album “Wreckin’ Around the X-Mas Tree”
Sadly the rise of the band was brutally stopped by the tragic death of their doublebass player in January 1991.


The Jekills - The Jekills
The Jekills – The Jekills

The Jekills – s/t

Tombstone [1989]
Aston – Nobody In The Street – Marilyn Monroe – Gladiators – The Girl Is Mine – You’ll Be A Priest – Psycho Beat – Dr Jekills – Ballade Du Chomeur
A short lp that is the only testament of the short career of this Belgian psychobilly band that had a bright future in front of them.
The band is clearly influenced by Batmobile both for the music and the voice but with enough personnality. The album is not flawless far from it. The sound is a bit thin at places, it’s not always in tune and there’s a couple of filler, for example “Marilyn Monroe” x-rated tribute to the famous actress (“I’d like to f*** her” doesn’t represent what I consider to be great lyrics). But at least half of the songs are very goog uptempo psychobilly numbers with good slap-bass including Nobody’s in the street, Girl is Mine and la Ballade du Chomeur that reminds of Los Carayos.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Tiger Men (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Profiles/Reviews

Tiger Men 1

The Tiger Men formed in the second half of the 80’s in Belgium with well known name on the local scene coming from the Red Monkeys and the Swampy’s. They were Michel Texier aka Texas : vocals / guitar, Thierry Dupuis : doublebass, Saki : guitar and Gilbert : drums.

They recorded one album (“Tiger Men”) for Kix4u. 
In the early 90’s Texas moved to Bruxelles and left the Tiger Men. They carried on with a new singer, Fabrisio, and a new drummer Jean but split around 1992.  They evolved into The Raggin’ Stuff to play White Rock.

tigermenThe Tiger Men – s/t

Kix4U – KIX3364
Chuck Style ~ Uranium Rock ~ Johnny Was A Bad Boy ~ Tiger Stomp ~ Crawdad Hole ~ Shake Your Hips ~ Gone Gone Gone ~ I Will Miss You ~ I’ll Go On My Way ~ Chris Baboon ~ Love In A Coffin ~ Hit The Road Jack ~ Wild Child ~ Shake Your Money Maker ~ Tiger Man ~ My Babe
The Tigermen were an Belgian quartet from the early 90’s. They played a majority of up-tempo neo rockabillies with clean electric guitar, slap bass to the fore and light drums. If not very always original (half of the songs are covers and many of the 16 titles have similar tempo which is a bit monotonous) and despite a limited voice the result is rather pleasant. Highlights are “Johnny Was A Bad Boy“, a slow bluesy-jazz number with harp that sounds like a cross between Restless, the Wild Ones and Vaya Con Dios, “Tiger Stomp” an instrumental in the vein of Crazy Cavan’s “Crazy Rhythm“,the melancholic “Gone Gone Gone” and the almost psychobilly “Love In A Coffin” that reminds of the Long Tall Texans.
Too bad some covers are just fillers (My Babe, Shake Your Money Maker, Tiger Man…) and reduce the quality of the final result.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Tiger Men
Tiger Men
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