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Cousin Harley

in Reviews

Cousin Harley ‎– It’s A Sin

Little Pig Records ‎– LPR002 [2010]
Conductor Man – She’s Comin’ Back – Beaver Feaver – It’s A Sin – The Ballad Of El Swartho – 2 Bottles Of Booze – Hoss’ Hoedown – I’ll Keep My Old Guitar – Swingin’ Like A Mofo – Red Hair Baby – Spooks – Sweet Little Angel – Spaghetti No Sauce

Cousin Harley is the hard-rocking side of Paul Pigat. The other band members are Keith Picot (double bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums). The album is engineered by Marc Lesperance, who worked with Ray Condo and Ronnie Hayward.
The opening track is a hard-hitting neo-rockabilly song in the lines of Runaway Boys in terms of melody. The next one is a Rockabilly-blues meets jazz number, and sounds like Brian Setzer meets the Paladins. An explosive combination if there is one.
Next is Beaver Fever is a superb Travis picking instrumental. The title track has more of a dark western feel, with a surf edge. The Ballad Of El Swartho is an instrumental with an exotica touch.
2 Bottles of Booze is a rocking blues number that reminded me of Pigat’s fellow Canadians, the Nervous Fellas. Hoss Hoedown sounds like Rawhide or Bonanza on speed.
It’s time for some hillbilly-jazz with their cover of Adoph Hofner’s I’ll Keep My Old Guitar. They take it at an almost frantic pace, but it works well, though it doesn’t allow the song to fully swing.
Another instrumental follows. Do you remember those fast-paced instrumentals by Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West when you think “Oh the poor rhythm section!”, well, this one falls in that category. Pigat should fine his own Speedy West and record a full album in that style.
Back to rockin’ blues with Red Hair Baby, followed by another instro, a slow one this time, that would be the perfect soundtrack for a spooky Film Noir.
Sweet Little Angel is another western swing influenced song which, I must say is not his strongest point. This one sounds more like Asleep at the Wheel than Bob Wills.
The closer could be the theme of a modern western, mixing ingredients of classic movie themes, surf and a dash of Morricone thrown in for good measure.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Slim Sandy / Slim Sandy and his Hillbilly Boppers

in Reviews

Slim Sandy & the Hillbilly Boppers – Done Gone!

Crow-Matic Records 2018
Done Gone!  – Chicken Shack Stomp – Romp and StompI’ve Got the Boogie Blue

Though tempting, it’s not always evident, nor fair, to compare one band to another to describe its music. You can give a vague idea, but you can also fail to describe the band’s personality. And you can’t deny that Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers have tons of personality. Album after album they created their style and no contemporary band sounds like them.
If you ever asked yourself (be careful, it’s here that I slip the comparison) “What if the Delmore Brothers had recorded a session with the Cannon’s Jug Stompers?” I guess that the result would be quite close to Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers’ latest ep.
The title track is pure hillbilly yet rocking at the same time. Chicken Shack Stomp is in the same vein and features Mike Sadava on steel guitar. Both are sung by Slim Sandy.
The B-sides opens with Romp and Stomp. Willa Mae and Slim Sandy sing harmony vocals on that one. I wrote it in previous reviews but let me say it again: Willa Mae is a real plus to the band with her mastery of washtub bass and her contribution to the vocals. This is confirmed by Charlene Arthur’s I’ve Got the Boogie Blues on which she sings lead.
All in all, Done Gone is an excellent ep that encompasses the sound of the band perfectly. The vinyl adds to the beauty of the thing, especially with a cover drawn by Slim Sandy/Peter Sandmark.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers - Boogie Woogie FeverSlim Sandy & the Hillbilly Boppers – Boogie Woogie Fever

 

Crow-Matic Records 2018
Done Gone  – I’ve Got the Boogie Blue – Boogie Woogie Fever – Romp and Stomp – Chicken Shack Stomp – Buster’s Dream – Everybody Loves My Baby – It’s All Your Fault – Hillbilly Ball  – Crazy Bout You – No Good Daddy   – Saturday Night Fish Fry   

I was still catchin’ my breath and restin’ my feet after listening repeatedly to “Getting That Low Down Swing” that “Boogie Woogie Fever” arrived in my letter box. Slim! Dont you have no pity? Anyway, my feet will rest later. This new album contains twelve songs including four by Peter Sandmark/Slim Sandy.  They mix hillbilly, western swing (hence the return of Mike Sadava on steel for three tracks), hokum, jug bands music, country blues (with plenty of harmonica), skiffle, a dash of rockabilly and some rhythm’n’blues sparkled here and there.
This cocktail has proven to work very well for the trio (and their occasional guests) and “Boogie Woogie Fever” makes no exception. As they say “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it.”
We all know Peter since his Ray Condo days and the Crazy Rhythm Daddies so for a change I’d like to talk about the other two. Willa Mae is a real plus on vocals. Not only her voice blends very well with Peter’s when they sang together (take a listen to “No Good Daddy”), but she’s also top notch when she takes lead. I especially liked her rendition of “Everybody Loves My Baby.” And despite the apparent simplicity of her instrument (the washtub bass) she can get take the best out of it. The other key element is German Ebert sparse drumming. You won’t find drum rolls or crash cymbal here. He plays just what is needed, and it’s a quality. Talking about musicians, fans of Ray Condo will be happy to find Edgar Bridwell on violin on one track.
The cd comes with a 8-page mini comics drawn by Peter Sandmark but I’ve been told that it’s selling like hot cakes, so you’d better hurry if you want one (Slim Sandy’s website).
You can also find it (and the other albums) on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers - Getting that low down swingSlim Sandy & the Hillbilly Boppers – Getting that Low Down Swing

Crow-Matic Records 2017
Hug And Spank And Kiss – Hop Skip And Jump – Gettin’ That Lowdown Swing – Whoa Boy – No More Nothing – Be Bop A Lula – I Never See My Baby Alone – We’re Gonna Bop – Crawdad – Cadillac Model – Wow Wow Baby

This fine trio returns with another killer album. It kicks off with the Berry influenced “Hug, Spank and Kiss” written by Slim Sandy and featuring Eddy Cavalero (of the the Cavaleros, a band that also features German Ebert of the Hillblly Boppers on drums) on electric lead guitar. Back to a more acoustic sound with the Collins Kids’ “Hop Skip & Jump” with Willa Mae on lead vocals and harmonies by Slim. “Getting that Lowdown Swing” tales the listener back to the early western swing era (before the genre had a name). In the same vein you’ll find “Cadillac in Model A” and “No More Nothin'” both with Mike Sadava steel. He also plays on “I Never See My Baby Alone”. I always liked that one and the Hillbilly Boppers do great justice to that song.
There’s also a good dose of Hillbilly Bop with “Woah Boy” and “We’re Gonna Bop”.
Another good one is their cover of “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” It sounds like the Everly Brothers version but played by a skiffle band. More skiffle-billy follows with “Crawdad” that changes of pace in the middle and evolves into “Rollin’ My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”
Like the previous one it’s joyful and exuberant and it’s highly contagious.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers - Jump Back!
Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers – Jump Back!

Slim Sandy & the Hillbilly Boppers – Jump Back!

Crow-Matic Records 2014
Jump Back, Love Me, Darlin’ Cory, I’m A Hog For You Baby, Jump Rope Boogie, n The Road Again, Pistol Boogie, Can’t Find The Doorknob, Cow Cow Boogie, Rock ‘n’ Roll Ruby, Rollin And Tumblin

Slim Sandy (Peter Sandmark) is a well known figure on the rocking scene. He drummed for Ray Condo, sang and played guitar in the Crazy Rhythm Daddies and released several albums as a one-man band. He now has a new band, the Hillbilly Boppers, with Willa Mae on washtub bass and harmony vocal and German Ebert on drums, Slim Sandy taking the lead vocals and playing harmonica and swingin’ guitar.

If you want to have a slight idea of the joyful noise made by this hot and fine trio, imagine a mix between the Delmore brothers, Jimmy and Johnny (thanks to Mae’s perfect harmony vocals ) played by a jug band (think Gus Cannon/Noah Lewis) with a swingin’ and a rockin’ edge and some skiffle elements and the fervor of some bluegrass gospels thrown in for good measure. It features eleven tracks lifted from the catalogs of Ella Fitzgerrald, Sun records, Jimmie and Johnny, Muddy Waters and everything good in between  Not only the music and the songs are solid but this record also has a communicative « joie de vivre » that is sure to make you move your feet.  Strongly recommended.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Slim Sandy - rough and ready
Slim Sandy – rough and ready

Slim Sandy – Rough & Ready

Sleazy Records SRCD09
Bow Legged Daddio-Cats Was A Jumpin’-Couldn’t Sleep Last Night-Flathead Ford-Slow Down Baby-No Gasoline-Mr. Guitar-Gettin’ By Jus’ The Same -Three Alley Cats-Party In Room 109
Here is a new short ten tracks Cd from the one-man band Slim Sandy for the spanish Sleazy Records. Slim is part of a today one-man trend with people like Bloodshot Bill, Scott H. Biram, Sheriff Perkins, The Legendary Tiger Man, Mark Sultan, Muskrat, Mr. Bonz, Urban Junior, Reverend Beat Man, The Fabulous Go-Go Boy and Rizorkestra just to name a few of them. But most of these guys are on the trashy side and are influenced more by Hasil Adkins or the sixties garage sounds than Doctor Ross or Harmonica Franck.
Slim with his guitar, harmonica, and suitcase drum is on the rockabilly, blues and hillbilly side. This album “Rough & Ready” with his eight self-penned songs and two covers (John Worthan’s “Cats Was a Jumpin’” and Roy Hall’s “Three Alley Cats” even if his “Flathead Ford” is very similar to Papa Lightfoot’s “Mean Old Train”) will delight the raw and primitive sound lovers. The last track “Party in Room 109” is a song Slim wrote based on the events that happened in room 109 at the Red Hot and Blue Rockabilly Weekender 2006. Don’t have to tell you that there were a lotta booze, yellin’ and savage rock’n’roll involved.
David “Long Tall” Phisel


This is Slim Sandy
This is Slim Sandy

Slim Sandy – This is Slim Sandy

Crow-Matic Records
Don’t Need Nuthin’ – 7 Nights To Rock – Come Back Baby – Bicycle Boogie – You Can’t Fool Me – Cabin By The Creek – California Blues – Down In Kokomo – The Way You Dance – Rock It All Night
This cd offers 10 cuts (three covers and seven originals) recorded live by Slim Sandy, the one man hillbilly blues band. Harmonica, guitar, drums and vocals all played in the same time by the same man. Slim Sandy’s inspiration goes from blues (Doctor Ross’ Come Back Baby) to hillbilly (a great rendition of Jimmie Rodgers’ California Blues with yodel) with a lot of Hasil Adkins and Rock’n’roll in between. Sandy’s own are great too and well written. Sure the sound is raw, but you don’t expect a one man band sounding like a Phil Spector production, do you? Believe me, you can’t go wrong with this guy !
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

 

Nervous Fellas (the)

in Reviews

Nervous Fellas - Born to be Wild - Nervous
Nervous Fellas – Born to be Wild – Nervous

The Nervous Fellas – Born to be Wild!

Nervous Records NERD056 [1990]
Real Gone Lover – Finally Met My Baby – Jealous Heart – I’ll Be Sorry – Get Outta this Town – Until You Came Home – Mon-Eyed – Born To Be Wild – Gimme Somethin’ Strong – Dateless Night – Evil Ways – Don’t Bug Me

This Vancouver quartet born out of the ashes of the Rockin’ Edsels and once featuring Ronnie Hayward on double bass released this album on Nervous records in 1990. The line-up at this time was Shaun Butch Murphy on Vocals, Mark Weldon on guitar, Pete Turland on doghouse bass and John Decan on drums. This is a very good and varied album, comparable in style to the Paladins, mixing powerful rockabilly (Real Gone Lover, Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild), Jumpin’ Rockabilly (Get Outta This Town, Jealous Heart, Until You Come Home, Dateless Night), heavy Blues (Finally Met My Baby, I’ll Be Sorry with tons of slide guitar), and some country tinged stuff (Evil Ways).
Though it’s never been reissued on cd, it’s possible to download it legally on musical platforms via Nervous.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Millwinders

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

The Millwinders - It's Love
The Millwinders – It’s Love

The Millwinders – It’s Love

MW002
There goes my baby – Move me so – Shame – Trouble – Blue blue heart – How blue – Don’t you dare – No vacancy – Two timin fool – The only fool – Bumble bee – The one who loves me – It’s love

A wise man called Bo Diddley once sang “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover”. He sure was right but when you look at the Millwinders’ second album and its Blue Note inspired cover, you can’t help but have a pretty good feeling about what’s coming next.
And you’re right! This brand new album, made of twelve orginals and one cover, is excellent.
Since their previous effort (Ladies and Gentlemen in 2014) the Millwinders have expanded their sound and added 60’s elements like Soul and a bit of Girls groups to their musical gumbo. The result is a wide range of styles covering almost the whole array of roots music.
To help them achieve their vision, they asked Deke Dickerson to produce and mix the record. His presence and experience can be felt throughout this album. But most of the credit must be given to the band.
In case you wouldn’t know this canadian quartet, let me introduce you those fine musicians. On vocals, guitar and bass is James Henry. Mark Sanders plays lead guitar. Teddy Fury who previously played with James in the Royal Crowns and was in the Bopcats back in the 80’s, is on drums and last but not least Sarah Butler on vocals and upright bass. And man, can this girl sing!
She’s equally at ease with a Motown tinged track (“There Goes My Baby” that opens the album with Deke on baritone sax) than with a hot rockin’ track. One minute she seduces you or make you weep with a straight Honky Tonk – like “the Only One Who Loves Me” or “The Only Fool“ (that features a steel guitar and is not far from “Heartaches by the Numbers”) and the next she’s mean and roars like on Lavern Baker’s Bumble Bee.
James sings two solid rockabilly numbers. Blue Blue Heart is a new version of a song he had previously recorded with the Royal Crowns. This song, like Bumble Bee, also features the band’s former drummer Glenn Kimberley who sadly passed away last year.
The second song on which he takes the lead is Two Timin’ Fool. It starts with a rockabilly beat and mixes it with a Bo Diddley solo in the middle. Just great.
With the help of their producer, the Millwinders worked hard to create different moods. On guitar, Mark goes from straight rockabilly to western twang or switch to baritone guitar for “How Blue”. Teddy Fury has the best quality for a Rock’n’roll drummer: you don’t hear him, or I’d rather say you don’t notice him. Don’t misunderstand me, this is really for me the best quality a drummer can have: his style, like DJ Fontana or Ringo Starr to name but two, serves the music and the songs first and not his own glory.
The more you listen to it, you can hear they also pay a special attention to the structure of the album, which is more than just a collection of songs. They even pass what I call the “last song test”. Too many bands waste a good album with an average final song. Not them! They kept one of the best songs, which is also the title track, a superb swinging duet between Sarah and James to leave you begging for more.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ronnie Hayward

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews

Ronnie Hayward - Tail Shaking
Ronnie Hayward – Tail Shaking

Ronnie Hayward – Tail Shaking

El Toro Records – ETCD 2033
Whiskey Flavored Kisses – We’ll Get High -You Can’t Tell me Why – Ronnie’s Blues – Pink Wedding Gown – One Way Ticket – No More For You – Mean Streak Mama – Lonesome Feeling – Quit My Cryin’ – I Don’t Lie It – Honey I’m – Connie lou – Adrianna – Beggin’ Time – 90 Miles An Hour
This cd from Ronnie Hayward is actually a very welcome reissue of material that was previously only available on vinyl ( “Somewhere Out There” on Tail Records, hence the title) with four unreleased tracks from a later session. For this four tracks a drummer joined the trio. You’ll find no slick production here, Ronnie’s music, a fine blend of rural blues, rockabilly and hillbilly bop, is raw and unadulterated. “Whiskey Flavored Kisses”, one of the four unreleased tune, appears here in a very different version than the one on “Too Many Chiefs”, without the slide guitar and with the emphasis put on the rhythm section : heavy strumming acoustic guitar and simple and effective drums and just one stroke of electric guitar in the middle. Simply brilliant. “We’ll Get High” sounds a bit like “Domino” with obsessive guitar and heavy slap bass. Changing mood, “You Cant Tell Me Why” has a kind of a rumba beat into it. Don’t be fooled by the name, “Ronnie’s Blues 5” is not a blues but more a uptempo hillbilly tune with Ronnie’s howlin’ vocal. “No more for you” is a country weeper with harmony on the refrain while “Mean Streak Mama” reflects Hayward’s blues side. Sure this guy in not always in tune, but the lack of exactness is highly compensated by the intensity of his interpretation, even through the stereo one can feel his presence. Isn’t that the most important with this type of music? Fans of Johnny Burnette’s Rock’n’Roll trio will enjoy “Quit My Cryin’” with its “Rock-Billy Boogie” beat. “Honey I’m” is rather different than the other one, more modern if that word has some kind of signification for a Ronnie Hayward’s album, with drums rolls that put a constant tension in the song. “Beggin’ Time” is quite close to the original version and Hank Sow’s “90 Miles An Hour”, which is originally quite soft, could be compared to the best of Wayne Hancock. This comparison is not only valid for this song, both share something really simple, something that makes great artist, something called personality.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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