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Bluelight records

Hal Peters trio / & his Stringdusters

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Hal Peters and his Trio – Takes on Carl Perkins

hal peters trio

Bluelight, BLR 33218 1 [2022]
Big Bad Blues – You Can’t Make Love to Somebody – Lonely Heart – Turn Around – Somebody Tell Me – I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry – Dixie Fried – Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby – Forever Yours – Matchbox – Movie Magg – Boppin’ the Blues – Just Coastin’ – Tennessee

One of Europe’s best Rockabilly bands, the Hal Peters Trio, formed nearly 40 years ago. And their relationship with Carl Perkins dates from the same period. The compilation album Goofin’ Around featured a cover of Gone Gone Gone recorded in 1985 during a rehearsal. On subsequent releases, they often included songs from Perkins: Perkin’s Wiggle and Tennessee on their debut album, Somebody Tell Me on Baby I’m Ready in 1991 and more recently Gone Gone Gone on Crazy Mixed Up Blues in 2018.
Their latest album features 14 tracks, all written or recorded by Carl Perkins, except for I’m Sorry, I’m Not Sorry, written by Wanda Ballman.
An all-covers album is always a delicate thing. Moreover, an album dedicated to just one artist. The hardest thing is to find a good distance between fidelity and originality. If you’re too faithful to the original, what’s the point and if you’re too adventurous, there’s a risk of betraying the beauty of the original.
Fear not, my friends! Hal Peters and his band (Eino Rastas on guitar, Timo Uimonen on double bass, and Janne Junnilainen on drums) found the correct approach. Their success resides in two things (well, three, if you count their musicianship). First, they made a perfect selection. The correct balance between Sun hits and lesser-known tracks, covering the fifties and the sixties. They were clever enough not to stick to Sun, but also they also added songs Perkins had recorded for Brunswick, Columbia and even a tune that was only demoed (Somebody Tell Me). The result is a selection that ranges from his hillbilly debuts to his late 60s rockin’ sides.
The second ingredient is love. They don’t let the respect they have for Perkins’ recording legacy paralyse them. Thus, the result is not a sterile re-creation but a joyful celebration. You can’t help but tap your feet and sing with them. And they manage to add their own personality in the process.
The biggest achievement of this fine platter is that you never think, “I’d rather listen to the originals”. And that, considering the immense talent of Carl Perkins, this is not a small feat.
Note: the LP version features Turn Around instead of Let the Jukebox Keep On Playing and Honky Tonk Blues instead of Movie Magg.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Hal Peters and his Stringdusters - Western Standard Time
Hal Peters and his Stringdusters – Western Standard Time

Hal Peters and his String Dusters – Western Standard Time

Bluelight Records. BLR 331132 [2004]
Late For Lovin’ – Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand – Without You – Time/Careless Words – Ciggarets, Jukebox and A Bar Room – I Hear You Talkin’ – Take Back Your Paperheart – Play The Music Louder – My Front Door Is Open – If I Don’t Love You (Grits Ain’t Croseries) – I’m Satisfied With You – Diamonds And Cadillacs – Guess Things Happen That Way

One often says that to make good country music and especially western-swing, it is necessary to be american and live in the south of the country if possible! All this is bullshit and I ‘m gonna disclose it right now : there is a band in Finland which, since many years now, forged itself a reputation whose exceeded the borders and is far from being usurped. Hal Peters and his String Dusters’ fellows form today part of the best formations of Western-Swing and this new album «Western Standard Time» proves it easily.Since their beginnings in the rockabilly music as a quartet (Hal Peters and his Trio) the combo has changed its name, stretched and moved towards a hillbilly bop and western-swing style inspired by Curtis Gordon (to whom this album is dedicated) Roy Hogsed or Hank Thompson. These accomplished musicians who divided themselves between other bands give to this album a credibility who largely exceeds a number of other bands which today launch out in this musical kind. Listen to «Late For Lovin’» a composition of Hal Peters (his real name is Heikki Laakkonen) and you will immediately be transported to Texas or Oklahomain the middle of the Fifties. The rest of the album will firmly anchor you to it during the fourteen titles with a small detour towards the rockabilly sound of Memphis with the participation of Hayden Thompson («Diamonds and Cadillacs») and the «Cash» soundalike with the cover of «Guess Things Happen That Way». Is Helsinki goin’ to overshadow Turkey as the home of Western-Swing?? Who knows.??

David Phisel


Hal Peters and his Trio - Fireball Mail
Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Goofin Record GRCD 6038 {1994}
Fireball Mail – Make Up Your Mind – Rock Me Up – Baby I’m Ready – You’re My Very Special Baby – Doggone It/If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – You’re There – Satisfied – Starlight – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon/You’re Gone – Steelin’Home – Blue Blue Day – Tired Of Rockin’ – Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’ Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

A must have. This cd album contains the band’s debut album (Snatch It and Grab It), songs from various singles, eps, compilations and a selection of songs from their 1991 album « Baby I’m Ready« . And if it wasn’t enough it also features five brand new recording that announce the new direction – more western swing – taken by the band in the following years.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis


Hank Ewards - In the silence of the Night
Hank Ewards – In the silence of the Night

Hank Edwards With Hal Peters And His Trio – In the Silence of the Night

Goofin Records GOOFY 533 {1992}
In the Silence of the Night – I Wish I Has a Nickel
Another case of « wrong time, wrong place ». Had Hank Edward come from the USA and been active in the late 40’s/early 50’s, he would have shared the stage of the Opry or the Hayride with Hank Williams or some other great names of the time. Instead he comes from Sweden and began releasing records in the 80’s for an audience of fine connoisseurs.
This honky tonk single released for Goofin seems to come straight from the 50’s. Everything here is close to perfection the songs (one original on side A and a cover of Hank Williams that certain discovered under the name of Tell Me Little Darlin on the Riverside Trio debut album – on the side B), the voice and the backing provided by the always excellent Hal Peters and his trio.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Hal Peters and his Trio - You Don't Have to Worry ep
Hal Peters and his Trio – You Don’t Have to Worry ep

Hal Peters and his Trio – EP

Goofin’ Goofy 511 {1988}
You Don’t Have To Worry – If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – Doggone It – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon

The name has changed to Hal Peters and his Trio with the addition of Jussi Huhtakangas on drums and steel guitar but the quality remains. A guest fiddle can also be heard on Jimmy and Johnny’s If You Don’t, Somedy Else Will. The result is one great rockabilly number (Joe Clay’s Doggone It) and three mellower hillbilly bop straight from Texas circa 1955.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis


Hal Peters Trio - Snatch It and Grab It!
Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

 

Moondogs SRLP 8525 {1986}
Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

Released in 1986 Snatch It and Grab It is the debut album of this Finish trio. They formed in 1984 with Heikki Laakkonen on vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, Eino Rastas a mighty guitar player in the style of Hal Harris formerly of the Rhythm Wheel Combo and Timo Uimonen on double bass. They are probably one the best rockabilly band of the eighties and one the very few to capture the feeling of the 50’s recordings.
Despite a majority of covers (Carls Perkins, Freddie Hart, Curtis Gordon, Buddy Holly, Joe Clay…) and only one self penned tune (You Cant Do Me No Wrong) they manage to have a highly personnal sound. Most of the songs are in the drummerless trio format though one can here a light drums on some tracks and occasional piano. Excellent from start to finish
Later reissued with various other tracks on the cd album « Fireball Mail » (Goofin records GRCD 6038).
Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Hal Peters and his Trio
Hal Peters and his Trio

Mac Curtis

Mac Curtis – Early In The Morning/Nashville Marimba Band

mac curtisBluelight Records – BLR 33224 2
Early In The Morning – Big Boss Man – Ain’t That A Shame – Blues Man – Baby What You Want Me To Do – Maybelline – Gulf Stream Line – Stagger Lee – I’d Run A Mile – I Got A Woman – When The Hurt Moves In – Him Or Me (What’s It Gonna Be) – Running Bear – I Fall To Pieces – Gentle On My Mind – For The Good Times – Orange Blossom Special – Spanish Eyes – Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town – Careless Hands – Help Me Make It Through The Night – Devil’s Dream – Pistol Packin’ Mama – She Knows All The Good Ways To Be Bad

In 1970 Mac Curtis recorded Early in the Morning, an album on which he revisited songs from the fifties with a Country edge. The songs came from the catalogues of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Reed, Ray Charles, Lloyd Price, etc., with a couple of originals thrown in for good measure.
The repertoire ranged from the bluesy, albeit with steel guitar, Baby What You Want Me to Do, to the Country shuffle of When The Hurts Moves In, which would be perfect for Dale Watson, with a bit of Swamp Rock in between with Gulfstream Line. The majority of the remaining songs are on a thin line between country and Rock’n’roll, and the result is close to what Carl Perkins recorded during the same period.
The musicianship is excellent throughout, but that’s not a surprise with musicians like Tommy Allsup and Leon Rhodes on guitars, Charlie McCoy on harmonica, DJ Fontana on drums, and Curtis’s deep and rich voice beautifully serves the whole album.
The following year, Mac Curtis returned to the studio to record Mac Curtis’ Nashville Marimba band in one day. This is a surprising album, to say the least. Still, with a crew of first-rate musicians, Curtis revisits a set of Country classics in instrumental versions done in an exotica/easy-listening mood. However, it features some sparkling moments on guitar and hot fiddle parts from Johnny Gimble. It’s the kind of album you’re happy to own and play to your friends to see their reaction. You really have to hear their version of Gentle On My Mind to believe it.
Two excellent Country numbers with a Rockabilly feel, recorded in 1974, rounds up the set.
All in all, you have one excellent album, a curiosity and two hot bonus tracks. That’s more than enough to make you jump on this reissue.


mac-curtis-rollinrock
Mac Curtis – the Rollin Rock Recordings 1

Mac Curtis – the Rollin Rock Recordings 1

Part records
Big D Women – Baby Let’s Play House – Heartbreakin’ Mama – Fannie Mae – Sidetrack Mama – Holdin’ On – Good Rockin’ Tonight – Amarillo Killer – Hot Rocks – Crazy Crazy Lovin’ – Wild Wild Women – You Hurt Me – Sexy Ways – Good Rockin’ Tomorrow – Wake Up Rock’n’roll Rock-A-Baby – Hard Hearted Girl – Party Line – Turn To Me – For Your Love – Rockabilly Uprising – Been Gone A Long Time – Juice Box – Gone Out Of My Mind – Wildcat Tamer – Let’s Go

Mac Curtis is a true Rockabilly legend and in my humble opinion he recorded some of the very best sides of the genre. In 1972 he got in touch with the no-less legendary Ronnie Weiser of Rollin’ Rock and Ray Campi (the full story is explained in the very informative booklet featuring notes by Mac Curtis himself) to make some new Rockabilly recordings.
The first album to result from those sessions was Ruffabilly on which he’s backed by Campi (dobro, guitar, bass), Steve Bailey (drums) and Jimmie Lee Maslon on harmonica for one track. This is superior Rockabilly music, especially if you replace it in the period (the 70’s) with powerful slap bass and at the time with the exception of Charlie Feathers very few could come closer to the real thing than Mac Curtis. The liner notes explain why there are three Johnny Carroll tunes on that album: Campi and Curtis believed that the singer had died and wanted to pay homage to him.
The second album included here is “Good Rockin’ Tomorrow” and is equally good with Campi playing all the instruments and Billy Zoom (X) guesting on saxophone. In all you have 25 recordings that are 25 little rockabilly gems that deserve to be in anyone’s collection. They also show the importance of Mac Curtis and Rollin Rock on the European scene in the 70’s from the Teddy Boys to the burgeoning psychobilly scene.

Restless

Restless – Ready To Go!

Restless ready to goBluelight Records BLR 33205 2 [2020]
Love Like A Bullet – Ready To Go – Crime Don’t Pay – 18 Wheels – One Way – Hellbound – Knee Deep In The Beat – Shake Your Body – Open Road – Bid For Freedom – All Night Long – If I Can Ever Let Her Go

After forty years of service to the cause of Rock’n’Roll, Mark Harman has decided to bring down the curtain on Restless. That’s a shock. It’s hard for me to imagine a world without Restless. Theband has always been part of my musical landscape. I can tell you when and where I bought Why Don’t You Just Rock?
However, this sad news was counterbalanced by the announcement of a new studio album recorded by the four-piece line up of the band, which put on wax Vanish Without A Trace, one of the very best Neo-Rockabilly of all time.
The wait is finally over and here’s Restless’ final studio album the well-named Ready To Go! (I’m optimistic and hope that the band will maybe release a live album or a rarities compilation featuring all line-ups of Restless, one can dream.)
Ready to Go! is a vibrant album with songs penned by each member of Restless. It’s also perfectly recorded, with the band making full use of the studio and trying things with their producer Mika Railo. The sound is crystal clear, and the listener can hear every subtlety from the superb slap bass sound (you hear both the slap and the notes) to the different layers of guitars.
Love Like A Bullet, a rip-roaring boogie-blues with a modern edge, is the perfect opener. The title track is a wild Rockabilly with a Johnny Kidd feel. After a classic opening, Crime Don’t Pay develops into something completely different and very catchy. Restless songs have that quality to evolve into unexpected directions.
Jeff Bayly’s writing contribution is small in terms of quantity but not in terms of quality. His 18 Wheels is a superb Rockabilly tune with a country twang.
As a Buddy Holly fan, I was totally under the charm of One Way, a highly melodic tune with superb guitar arrangement between Harman and Malone. Hellbound is a country tune with a dark ambiance, featuring no less than six guitars and none played by mister Harman. This is the opportunity to mention his superb vocal performance, not only on this song but on the whole album. His talents as a guitarist are often praised, for good reasons, but we tend to forget just how fantastic a singer he is.
Knee Deep (In the Beat) changes the mood and is more on the jazz side. Nice piano playing too.
Shake Your Body is one of the most modern songs of the album. It mixes a threatening feel with a touch of what I would describe as Glamabilly. Surprising at first, but very addictive.
Next is Open Road, a beautiful country tune with a ’60s vibe. Bid For Freedom is more traditional, sounding like a cross between Sun Rockabillies and Marty Robbins. After that moment of calm, All Night Long, a fantastic Rocker with powerful slap bass and slide guitar, takes no prisoners. And here we are, the last tune of the final Restless album. If I Can Ever Let Her Go is a jazz-tinged number with piano and brushed snare. One could easily imagine the band playing it in a small club, in the wee hours of the morning, with the chairs on the tables.
What else can I say? It’s sad to see them go (though I’m sure they have plenty of solo projects) but it’s a good thing to see them leave the scene at the top of their game releasing what is probably one of their best albums.
The LP version has two different songs (Gotta Get Out, and Here She Comes.)
Available at Goofin Records and Raucous.


Restless ‎– Love Like A Bullet

restlessBluelight Records ‎– BLR 45143 7 [2019]
Love Like A Bullet – Get Up And Get Out

In the recent years, Restless went back to their mid 80’s quartet line-up consisting of Mick Malone on guitar, Jeff Bayly on bass, and, of course, Ben Cooper and Mark Harman, respectively on drums and guitar and vocals. This line-up gave us the best (the Vanish Without a Trace ep that I hold as one of the best neo-rockabilly records ever made) and After Midnight an album that needs to be reconsidered (see review below).
Penned by Cooper, Love Like A Bullet starts with the band shouting “Gotta Give me your love” that reminded me of the opening of What Can You Say? then the tune evolves into a rip-roaring boogie blues with a modern edge. The result is both a classic and a contemporary song.
The b-side, penned by Malone, is exclusive to this single and won’t be available on the forthcoming album, which is a reason good enough to buy it, but the quality of the song is another good reason.
These two songs augur the best for the album that will be released in 2020. And since the band has decided to call it quit, it will probably be their last which is very sad. But if all the songs are from the same wood, Restless will leave the scene on a very high note.


Restless live in TokyoRestless – Live in Tokyo 1989

Foot Tapping Records
Intro-Ghost Town / People Love A Show / Radar Love / All By Myself / Roll Your Monkey Maker / Vanish Without A Trace / That’s Alright / Neutron Dance / Ice Cold / 16 Tons / Baby Please Don’t Go / Edge On You / Money Honey / Little Pig / Long Black Shiny Car / Mr. Blues

This album, with the Sharks‘ Live in Japan and Frenzy‘s Live in Japan tends to make me believe that the best live albums are recorded in Japan with Steve Whitehouse slapping the double bass. If the Meteors Hell in the Pacific could easily prove me wrong on the first point, the Blue Cats’ On A Live Mission certainly confirms the second.
In 1989 Jeff baily left Restless and the band considered calling it quit. But with a tour of Japan scheduled, Ben Cooper and Mark Harman decided to hire a temporary bassist, namely Steve Whitehouse, to honor the booking. As Mark said in an interview to Deathrow “If Steve had said no, then if would have almost certainly been the end of Restless. Thankfully he said yes and after five minutes of rehearsing we went to Japan.
The result as I said is an excellent live album with a surprinsigly tight band – considering the condition this line-up embarked to the tour – that plays all the classics (you can check, they’re all here) with carefully choosen covers and more unusual stuff like People Love A Show, a song that previously appeared on the b-side of Ice Cold.
Recorded by Pete Gage and mastered with the help of Alan Wilson you can’t go wrong in term of sound. Most of all this recording perfectly completes the other live albums released by Restless.
The choice of Whitehouse proved to me a pretty good one since the band recorded three studio albums, including the excellent Movin’ On, with him.


Restless – Beat My Drum

The Madhouse Recording Co. ‎– NUTA LP 001
Radar Love – Neutron Dance – Beat My Drum – Do What I Do – London Boy – New Orleans – Dance With The Devil – Get It While You Can – Tumblin’ Down – Big Wheel – Crossed Line – Ain’t Got You – Just Can’t Take It

In late 1987, Mick Malone left Restless, and the band was back to a trio again. It didn’t weaken the group, and the following year, Harman, Cooper, and Baily were back with a vengeance with Beat My Drum.
Maybe they thought that after the heavy produced After Midnight they had something to prove, but it found Restless in fine form.
Beat My Drum sounds like a perfect mix of the band’s first three albums. You can find the neo-rockabilly of Why Don’t You Just Rock? on Do What I Do, the modernity of Do You Feel… on Get It While You Can and the pop edge of After Midnight in their covers of Radar Love and Neutron Dance. But most of the time, helped by the clean production of Pete Gage, all these influences merge to create a unique style that will be Restless sound in the forthcoming albums.


Restless - Live at the Klub Foot
Restless – Live at the Klub Foot

Restless – Live at the Klub Foot

Trophy Records TR002
Roll Your Money Maker – Fools Gold – Last Chance Baby – Baby Please Don’t Go – Bottle On The Beach – Long Black Shiny Car – Girl On Death Row – Live A Lie – Ghost Town – Ice Cold – Edge On You – Love Me – Mr Blues

Recently Alan Wilson (of Western Star and the Sharks fame) found a box full of tapes recorded at the Klub Foot, the mecca of Psychobilly and Neo-rockabilly in the mid-80’s. These tapes needed to be restored and cleaned, a very costly process and two of these shows (Batmobile and Sting Rays) were released on Anagram/Cherry Red Records. Sadly the sales weren’t enough for the label and they called it quit. Knowing he had history in his hands, Wilson created a sub-label to his own Western Star to keep on releasing this stuff.
The second release in the serie concerns another well established name on the scene: Restless. I don’t think it’s possible to find someone who doesn’t like Why Don’t You Just Rock? or Do You Feel Restless? They made a name on both rockabilly and psychobilly scenes. When this gig was recorded in September 1984 they were at their finest, the line-up being original members Mark Harman on guitar and Ben Cooper on drums plus bassist Jeff Baily and, freshly recruited, Mick Malone on second guitar. The quartet plays killer tunes one after another (with the exception of the Phantom’s Love Me which doesn’t fit them well – sorry Mark you’re not a wildman). This set even features an original that never appeared on a studio album and written by Malone.
Buy it at Western Star


Restless – Ice Cold

Restless Ice ColdABC – ABCS 013T [1987]
Ice Cold (The 1987 Remake) – The Hunt Goes On / Stranger – People Love A Show

In March 1987, the four-piece line-up of Restless recorded a new version of Ice Cold. It’s a very different than the one you can find on their debut album. This new version has little to no connection with Rockabilly except for powerful slap bass. It’s almost a brand new song. The tempo is slower, the drum production is more massive, and there’s a slight variation on the melody. The result is surprising at first, but quite addictive.
The Hunt Goes On is an excellent modern-Rockabilly with once again a superb double bass part by Jeff Baily. The weak point is maybe the drums sound that betrays the date of recording.
Let’s put it frankly, Stranger has nothing to do with Rockabilly. It’s in the straight line of the material recorded by the band for After Midnight, but, on the other hand, this is probably one of Restless unsung gem.
Back to modern Rockabilly in the pure Restless style with People Love A Show. This one, with Ice Cold, was also released as a single.
Despite what have been said about this period of Restless, it was one of the band’s most creative peak; this 12” EP, featuring songs that weren’t available elsewhere, proves it.


Restless – Just A Friend

Restless just a friendABC – ABCS 012 [1986]
Just A Friend – The Girl Invisible

Just A Friend, the A-side comes from After Midnight. It has a 80’s pop meets jazz sound that one could find find in some bands of that era. It’s clean and features as usual a superb solo by Mister Harman. The Girl Invisible first appeared on the B-side of the Vanish Without A Trace ep. It’s one of the band’s best modern rockabilly effort.


Restless - After Midnight
Restless – After Midnight

Restless – After Midnight

ABC [1986]
What Can You Say – Somebody Told Me – Do You Really Need To know? – Trouble rides A Fast Horse – Bye B B By By Bye – How Can I Find You? – You Lose – After Midnight – Dark Blue Sea – The Face – Just A Friend

Back in college, thanks to a friend, I discovered Restless chronologically. I was blown away by Why don’t you just Rock? and amazed by Do You Feel… After that, Paul Harman left the band, which was joined by Jeff Baily on double bass and Mick Malone on second guitar. This line-up released Vanish without a Trace, one of my all-time favorite modern Rockabilly recordings.
Then, the quartet released After Midnight. I was young and dedicated to Rockabilly body and soul. I didn’t understand it and, you know how you are when you’re a teenager, I felt betrayed. Did Restless sell out? Nevertheless, I kept on buying Restless records, and the following albums were, to my relief, more to my tastes.
Now years have passed, I’m older – my quiff is far long gone – and, I hope, wiser. I decided to revisit After Midnight. And I was pleasantly surprised. More than that, it’s actually an excellent album. Sure, if you expect Why Don’t You Just Rock part. 2 you’ll be disappointed, but if you approach it with an open mind you’ll be rewarded with solid melodies and some of Mark Harman’s best guitar parts (listen to the way he jumps on the solo of the title track for example.)
The band also had the ambition to go beyond the Rockabilly label. After Midnight featured more adventurous songs in terms of melody and arrangements, hence the presence of horns, accordion, synths, and keyboards of all sorts. So, yes, maybe they pushed it too far at places, and the production, especially now, seems dated, but you can’t blame an artist for having the will to create.
In 1990, Madhouse reissued the album under the title Kickin’ Into Midnight. It is a remixed version without the horns and most of the arrangements. It’s quite good, maybe more rockin’, but to be honest, I wonder if I don’t prefer the original mix. Anyway, it’s good to have both.
So if you think that anything that Elvis recorded after the Army was crap, you can live without that album, but if you’re curious, open to new melodies, and not too allergic to the production sound of the ’80s, you’ll find plenty of good things.


Do You Feel RestlessRestless – Do You Feel Restless?

Nervous Records NERD015 [1984]
Bottle On The Beach – Here I Am – Fool’s Gold – Down At The Swamp – Alabama Jailhouse – Prisoner Of Love – Sob Story – Crack Up ‘n’ Fall To Pieces – 16 Tons – Baby Please Don’t Go – Here I Am (dub version) – Sweet Surprise

Released in 1984 on Nervous records, Do You Feel Restless is the second full-length album from the British trio. It sounds like the modern counterpart of their debut album, with songs that Nervous could have judged too adventurous to be included on their debut album. Ben Cooper, the drummer, takes the lion’s share in terms of songwriting with seven songs out of twelve (the cd reissue features fifteen songs.) The other tunes are covers (Alabama Jailhouse, Baby Please Don’t Go, Sixteen Tons), and one song penned by Mark Harman (Bottle on the Beach) and another by the whole band (Crack Up And Fall to Pieces.)
While Why Don’t You Just Rock remained in the boundaries of Rockabilly with very few modern elements, Do You Feel Restless explore new territories. It flirts with Psychobilly at places, adds a touch of Reggae (Here I Am), and thus creates a new brand of modern Rockabilly that will be their trademark in the following years.


Restless - Why Don't You… Just rock!
Restless – Why Don’t You… Just rock!

Restless – Why Don’t You Just Rock

Nervous records Ner004 [1982]
It’s A Scam – Ice Cold – Why Don’t You Just Rock! – High Time – Last Chance Baby – Tag Man Tag – Long Black Shiny Car – Face In My Gin – Yellow Cab To Midnight – Morning Comes Slowly – Black Cat – Travellin’ – High Time 2* – Later* – That’s Alright* (*cd only)

Restless debut album, Why Don’t You Just Rock, was like a lightning in a bottle. The band had it all: the songs (mostly penned by singer and guitar player Mark Harman), the talent (with Harman’s guitar everywhere but also a tight rhythm section made of his brother Paul and Ben Cooper on drums)  but also the freshness and some form of carefree attitude that you have when you’re a teenager and you play that kind of music. Thus, they brought something new to the genre, making a lively album that rocks, bops, swings and rolls. A 80’s equivalent to Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps (a huge influence on the band).
There’s no need to do a song by song review, each number here is almost a classic: the title track, Ice Cold, Yellow Cab to Midnight, High Time (with its crazy jazzy guitar), Long Black Shiny Car. Unlike many they’re not afraid to play a ballad (Morning Comes Slowly) seriously.
And if you still need to be convinced, just count the numerous band this particular album influenced. They are legions. Restless, with Why Don’t You Just Rock, almost define, with the Blue Cats and a couple more bands, what neo-rockabilly is.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Restless
Resless (Mark Harman, Paul Harman, Ben Cooper)

Resless (Mark Harman, Paul Harman, Ben Cooper)
Resless (Mark Harman, Paul Harman, Ben Cooper)