Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Carl “Sonny” Leyland

Carl “Sonny” Leyland

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carlleyland_ilikebwCarl “Sonny” Leyland – I Like Boogie Woogie

On The Hill

Carl “Sonny” Leyland likes BoogieWoogie and plays it like no one else today, but not only, this is what this cd proves. It features the many sides of the english piano player : hillbilly, rockabilly, rural and city blues, and of course some boogie-woogie too.
Ten of the tracks included here have been previously released on Willie Lewis’ Rock-A-Billy records, which proves that Leyland is a serious cat about his music.
You’ll find Leyland playing harmonica, guitar and piano. The other musicians listed are Walter Leyland (Carl’s father), Ashley Kingman, Joey Torres, and some tracks are from the Krewmen, when they played the meanest rocking blues you could hear in 1985, before Carl left and their psychobilly era.
Historical (you’ll find some of Carl’s early sides) and musical value.


Carl “Sonny” Leyland – From Boogie to Rock’n’Roll

Honky Tonk Productions HT104 [1995]
Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie – Cat And Mouse Boogie – The Axe Is Falling – New Yancey Stomp – Back To The Boogie – Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar – Jook It Jook It – End Of The Road – Rock And Roll Ruby – Gulf Stream Special – Night Time Is The Right Time – Tuesday Struggle – Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-Odee – Pig Foot Pete – Jimmy’s Stuff – Brown Skin Girls – Couscous Boogie – Chattanoogie – What’d I Say

The name of this album says it all. Leyland recorded this platter in France on a grand Steinway, either alone or with Matt Radford on bass and Brian Nevill on drums. He plays classics from the boogie-woogie era (Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie, Pig Foot Pete), Rock’n’roll (Jerry Lee Lewis’ End of the Road, Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-Odee, Rock’ n’ Roll Ruby) with plenty of blues in between (Big Bill Broonzy’s Brown Skin Girls, Leyland’s the Axe is Falling.) Ray Charles’ What’d I Say ends the selection. Among the 19 tracks, seven are Leyland originals that proudly stand near the classics.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Krewmen

in Reviews


The Krewmen – Ramblin’ / I’m Gonna Get It

the krewmen

Lost Moment LM024
The Krewmen were one of the best band to emerge from the british rockabilly scene of the mid-eighties along with Red Hot’n’Blue, The Riverside Trio and The Blue Rhythm Boys to name but a few. The band was formed by bassist Tony McMillan in 1982, first as a rockabilly combo. After a few changes, the Krewmen found its best line-up with : Tony McMillan on bass, Jimmy Faye on drums and a young Carl Sonny Leyland on guitar, harmonica, piano and vocals. Together they pushed the band toward a more bluesy sound. Ramblin’ is a great “delta-blues meets Chicago blues” stuff. The electricity is here but you still have a big country flavour. This tune shows what a great slide guitarist is Carl Leyland, too bad he doesn’t play it anymore. The b-side, “I’m gonna get it” is a Jazz Gillum song. Listening to this version shows that the Krewmen were more than a “cover band”. They play this song and make it their own. The song, the voice and the harp are clearly bluesy, but the way McMillan slaps his bass and the scorchy guitar look toward rockabilly. Let’s call it rockabilly blues.The band recorded an EP and this single with this line-up, both on lost moment. Then they disbanded and soon after Tony McMillan came back, this time on guitar, with a new version of the Krewmen. Carl Leyland and Judge Faye were no longer here and the sound of the day was “modern rockabilly” to soon evolve into psychobilly. Carl Leyland later moved to the USA and became the famous piano player we know and Fahy joined Get Smart . The “original” Krewmen were an amazing band and it’s really sad they didn’t last long enough to release a full length album but Lost Moment re-released this legendary recordings on a CD called “Klassic Tracks From 1985!” (LMCD054) and you can find some other Krewmen recordings on Carl Sonny Leyland’s album “I Like Boogie Woogie” (On The Hill OTHRCD 001). Look for them, they definititely worth it.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
The Krewmen - Into the Tomb
The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

Lost Moment Records ‎– LMLP 014 [1987]
Let Loose – Should I Stay or Go – Devil’s Daughter – Public Enemy Number One – Hava Nagila – Curse of the Pharaohs – Solid Gold Easy Action – Hostage – I’m Not Dead – Swamp Club Ball

Third and last release with the classic Psychobilly line-up of the Krewmen (Tony Mc Millan on guitar, Mark Cole on vocals, Dominic Parr on drums and Jason Thornton on double bass).
The sound hardens a bit compared to the Adventure and Sweet Dreams with a fast paced cover of the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go (a song that was heavily covered by Psychobilly bands at one point). Other covers are T-Rex Solid Gold Action and a Dick Dale inspired version of the traditionnal Hava Naguila.
All in all it’s a solid album, though maybe a little less essential than the first two albums.


The Krewmen - Plague of the dead
The Krewmen – Plague of the dead

The Krewmen – Plague of the Dead

Lost Moment [1988] – Reissue Part Records – PART-CD 6114-001 [2014]
Plague of the Dead – I’m Not Your Stepping Stone – Scream of the Banshees – Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – What’s Wrong – I Can’t Stop – Take a Little More – The Clock – Legend of the Piper – Do You Wanna Touch – Beat the Devil – My Generation

One can distinct three main periods in the history of the Krewmen. The first one was the Rockabilly-blues years that saw the release of two singles with Carl Sonny Leyland. Next they changed their style to psychobilly with Mark Cole on vocals and the recordings of three classic psychobilly albums (the Adventure of, Sweet Dreams and Into the Tomb). Cole eventually left in 1987 and Tony McMillan, then guitar player took over the vocal duties and came with a new line-up including Steve Piper on drums and a Mark Burke.
The sound changed with the line-up too, getting harder and including different elements than Psychobilly and Rockabilly like metal, punk rock, glam rock. “Plague Of The Dead” combines all those influences. The choice of the covers reveals this orientation and McMillan’s varied tastes. From Eddie Cochran’s Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie to Gary Glitter’s Do You Wanna Touch via The Who’s My Generation and Steppin’ Stone (Paul Revere, The Monkees but also covered by The Sex Pistols). Tony quotes classic rockers like Chuck Berry and Elvis for influence but he also adds Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix and Sex Pistols to the list.
It wasn’t easy to follow Cole and their first three albums, but McMillan succeeds to renew the band and “Plague Of The Dead” contains some very good moments like “Legend Of The Piper”, “Take A Little More” and the previously mentioned covers. It’s  also quite refreshing to see a band that doesn’t care about boundaries.
So once again it’s agood job from Part Record to reissue this album (with interesting booklet that contains press clips). Hopefully they’ll release the rest of the band’s discography in the near future. One can only regret the label didn’t include the non-album b-sides released at the same time as bonus.


The Krewmen - Power
The Krewmen – Power

The Krewmen – Power

Lost Moment LMLP 021 [1990]
Devils Lair – Miranda – Undead – The Rats – Anymore – Stone – Get Lost – 2 Souls – Knight Moves – Back To The Ball

Little by little, fans of the Krewmen saw them adding more and more hard core elements to their music and slowly drop the rockabilly idiom out of their sound. This musical position culminates with Power, which is plain hard-roce with heavy and distorted guitars, hard pounding drums with breaks, raspy voice and powerful slap bass. Some elements are even strictly heavy metal / hard rock with tatseless guitar like Knight Moves.
It’s still very well produced and play and features ecellent tunes like Back to the Ball a follow up to Swamp Club Ball from Into the Tomb, but far from the traditionnal psychobilly sound of the three albums released with Mark Cole.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Starjays

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

The Starjays - Bang! It's the Starjays
The Starjays – Bang! It’s the Starjays

The Starjays – Bang! It’s the Starjays

Rhythm Bomb – RBR5828 {2016}
Who Do You Love The Most? – The Right Girl – Flat Broke – I’ll Wait – Nobody Loves You Like Me – My Wild Girl – Cadillac Of Woman – Keep On Talkin’- One Quick Stop – What’s Gone Wrong? – Turn Down The Lights – Tintarella Di Luna – A Sin Comin’ On – Get Closer

Led by Roy Kay (the Roy Kay trio\Combo, the Margraves) and Angela Tini (Angelatini and the Trebblemakers) and featuring the talents of piano wizard Carl Sonny Leyland, Marshall Scott Warner on drums, Tony Laborie on double bass, Sean Jensen on sax and Mike Geglia on guitar (also from the Roy Kay trio connection), the Starjays are a hot combo that plays rhythm’n’blues and rock’n’roll (and I mean real Rock’n’roll) with, for a song or two, a slight 60’s feel. They reminded me of the Jive Bombers, the excellent and now defunct Austin based band that featured Shaun Young.
Roy Kay and Angela Tini share the vocal duties (solo or in duets) which brings a lot of diversity to this album. As she is probably lesser known than her partner Roy Kay who have quite a few albums under his name, I have to sing here the praise of Miss Tini’s voice who manages to be powerful, subtle and dare I say a bit naughty (Get Closer), all that with a Ruth Brown vibe. Other names come to mind, but it would reduce Tini’s own personnality that is present here from start to finish (understand “she has her own voice and she is no impersonnator”).
All songs but two are originals penned by Kay and Tini. It’s very well produced, recorded, sung (I’ve already said that, but better twice than never) and played, each solist having plenty of room to express himself.
And icing on the cake, it comes in a nicely designed digipack .

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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