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El Toro

Maibell and The Misfires

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews
Maibell and The Misfires - Ride Along!
Maibell and The Misfires – Ride Along!

Maibell and The Misfires – Ride Along!

El Toro ETCD6042
You’re Gonna Miss Him – Do The Stomp – In My Heart – Misery And Heartache – Sweet Love – So Far Away – Without You – Why Do I Love You? – Maybe Just A Little – This Ain’t Going Nowhere – My Kinda Man – Why Oh Why? – Ride Along – Never Been In Love Like This

This quartet comes from Finland and features very well known name on the scene that have played with Mr Breathless, Hi-Fly Rangers, Hayden Thompson Paul Roman, Jussi Syren…
They play fifties rockabilly mixed with a very modern approach with 80’s influences in between which mean that they aren’t afraid to add a good dose of pop ala Smiths in their music. The result is a slap bass driven melodic album (entirely self penned by the band) that sounds very radio friendly and it could easily find its way to the top of the charts like Imelda May did. I must say that it is too polished and lacks a bit of excitement for me. And sometime the rockabilly roots can only be traced by the presence of the doublebass, the other elements being very (and for my own taste too much) poppy.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Hi-Q’s

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
The Hi-Q’s - Hop and Bop
The Hi-Q’s – Hop and Bop

The Hi-Q’s – Hop and Bop

El Toro Records. ETCD-3090
Dirty White Bucks – Hi-Q Boogie – Bop Crazy Bop – Worn Out – Rock ‘n’ Roll Guitar – I Wanna Live – Twenty-One Days – Jungle Boy Jack – Speed Limit – Wiggle Walkin’ Baby – Hop ‘n’ Bop – All The Time
The United States undoubtedly are reconcilied with the rockabilly and to be convinced is only to see multiplicity of high-quality bands which have emerged on the tracks of headlights bands of the US revival of the beginning of the Nineties like Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys, High Noon and the Dave & Deke Combo. It is necessary to add now this Detroit trio make up of Matt Strickland singer (and creator of the site devoted to… rockabilly) and composer of 9 of the 12 titles of this first album published on the Spanish label El Toro. Around him there are not unknown ones but musicians of talent who work already in many prestigious combos: Rudy Varner the double bass player (Starlight Drifters, Jack Scott and the Signal Ranks, Earls Jack & The Jimbos) Paul ‘ Smokey Links’ Cook with the guitar (Missing Links, the Big Barn Combo, Rumble, Tilt-a-whirl and Jack Earls & the Jimbos) and Loney Charles the drummer (Big Barn Combo, Jack Scott & the Top Ranks and Jack Earls & the Jimbos) which are all irreproachable, combining smoothness of the play and constant and fascinating rhythm. This «Hop and Bop» is remarkable from the beginning to the end: of «Dirty White Bucks» which open the disc with the Sleepy LaBeef «All The Time» resumption of while passing by the boppin «à la Burlison» eponymous title and the purple passages like «Bop Crazy Bop», «I Wanna Live»( which makes me think of Ramblin’ James) , «Jungle boy Jack» and the strolling «Wiggle Walkin’ baby». I guess you have already understood it by yourself right now: a VERY highly recommended album
David Phisel

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S
The Slammers Maximum Jive Band - Jive Time
The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Jive Time

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Jive Time

El Toro Records ETCD2036
She Walks Right In – All of Me – Just A Gigolo – Swanee River Boogie – What’d I Say – Hook, Line & Sinker – Stagger Lee – Chicken & the Hawk – Boogie Woogie Country Girl – Shortenin’ Bread – Buona Sera
If you dig contemporary bands like The Stargazers, the Big Six and Ray Gelato’s Giants Of Jive and of course Louis Prima and Louis Jordan this one is for you. Recorded live it proposes a good set of danceable music. I really enjoyed the excellent “Swanee River Boogie” (think Jerry Lee meets a Jive band), “Hook, Line and Sinker” which is full of joy, the instrumental “Shortnin’ Bread” with great saxes (both juicy and screaming) and the rockabilly “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” with a heavy slap bass and piano. That’s too bad they only play covers, and extremely well known ones, cause these guys (and girl) are good musicians and a little bit of originality would have been good. This said, I must say I couldn’t help but tapping my feet while listening to it, so I guess this is the more important, don’t you think?

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band - Hey There You !!!!
The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Hey There You !!!!

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Hey There You !!!!

Hey There You ! – Bim Bam – Choo Choo Ch’Boogie – Oh Marie – Straighten Up And Fly Right – Such A Night – Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chicken – Shortnin’ Bread – Boogie Woogie Country Girl – Swanee River Boogie – Corrine, Corrina – What’d I Say – Bloodshot Eyes – Linda Lu – All Of Me
All right boys, grab your dancin’ shoes, push the furnitures on the wall, roll the rug, you’ll need a maximum of space cause this guys (and girls) are here to make you dance. Captured live on the stage of the Warrington Blues Festival in 2007, this cd shows the Slammers Maximum Jive Band at their best: full of energy, excitement and with a communicative “joie de vivre”. You can hear from every note they’re happy to be here (and the listener regrets he wasn’t there to see them that day), and I think this is the key of the success of such a recording.
There’s no radical departure from their studio album, but as I said, the live recording really advantages them. The powerful rhythm section supports the solists who trade solos. All of them are great players, but I’d like to make a special mention to Claire Hamlin whose talent shines on her rendition of Swanee River Boogie and Ray Charles’ What’d I say. Add James Gray warmful vocal and you’ll have every ingredients for a great band. The show starts with Freddie Bell’s Hey There You, and you’re off for 49 minutes and 15 songs of jumpin’ jivin’ rhythm blues, with a touch of rockabilly here and there, that won’t let you a second to catch your breath. I’ll look forward the next one.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

V/A El Mexican Rock And Roll

in Albums/Reissues/Reviews
V/A El Mexican Rock And Roll
V/A El Mexican Rock And Roll

Volume 1
El Toro [2009]
La Orquesta de Pablo Beltran Ruiz : Mexican Rock And Roll – Gloria Rios : El Relojito – Orquesta De Cuco Valtierra : Only You – Los Lunaticos : Ya Vistete Kitty – Orquesta De Venus Rey : Al Compas Del Rock – Los Llopis : Basta Arturo – Las Supersecas : El Rock De La Carcel – La Orquesta Royale Y Sus Cantantes : Por Lo Que vivo – Daniel Santos : Baila Conmigo – The Goya Cats : El Gato Del Express – La Orquesta De Pepe Luis : El Rock Universitario – Ricardo “Rebelde” Lemus y Sus Rocks : Arroz – Los Xochimilcas : Xochimilcas Rock – Los Lunaticos : Donde La Pescaste – Gloria Rios : Es Un Golfo – Los Supersecas : Te Quiero, Te Adoro Y Te Necesito – Los Lunaticos : El Reloj – Ricardo “Rebelde” Lemus y Sus Rocks : Perro Callejero – Juan Garcia Esquivel y Su Orquesta : Politecnico Rock And Roll – The Goya Cats : Mezcal – Los Trincas : Nena – Gloria Rios : La Mecedora – Los Xochimilcas : Rock Rollin’ Rock – Gloria Rios : Jazzeando “En Vivo” Uniseed – Los Supersecas : Tutti Frutti

By 1955 the rock’nroll craze hit the world. Separated by just one border, Mexico was among the first to succumb. This compilation gathers some of the first Mexican musicians that tried to play this music.
If some are just big bands or hotel / dance orchestra trying to jump on the bandwagon and are not very good, the carefull listener will find a couple of little gems. Gloria Rios, featured here with four songs, has a good Bill Haley like rocker and shows a good understanding of the genre. The other songs are tamer but quite good too. Los Lunaticos can play both wild and melodic stuff. One of my favorite band is Los Llopis, that manage to emulate Haley’s sound and that’s too bad they only have one song. Another highlight are the Goyo Cats that play two hot instrumentals with sax, guitar and steel guitar. You’ll also find hot guitar and piano solos but drawned in average material.
Next to original material, you’ll hear Spanish covers of Elvis’ Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Tutti Frutti and I Want You, I Need You I Love You executed with various degrees of success.
An interesting compilation but probably more for curious listeners than the casual rock’n’roll fan..
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Janis & Elvis

in Reissues/Reviews

janis and elvisEl Toro Records ETCD1015
Elvis – I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone – Janis – Ooby-Dooby – Elvis – Milk Cow Blues Boogy (sic) – Janis – Let’s elope Baby – Elvis – Baby Let’s Play House – Janis – o¬ne More Year To Go – Elvis – You’re A Heartbreaker – Janis – Barefoot Baby – Elvis – Mistery Train – Elvis – Good Rockin’ Tonight – Janis – Will you, Willyum – Elvis – Tryin’ to Get to You – Elvis – I’ll Never Let You Go, Little Darlin’ – Janis – Little Bit – Elvis – How Do You Think I Feel? – Elvis – Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be) – Janis – Drugstore Rock And Roll – Elvis – Paralyzed -Elvis – I’m Counting o¬n You – Janis – My Boy Elvis – Elvis – Anyplace Is Paradise – Elvis – Playing for Keeps – Janis – Little Bit (Alternative Take) – Elvis – My Baby’s Gone (I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone – alt – Elvis – First In Line – Elvis – How’s The World Treating You

The original 10” lp is one of the rarest rock’n’roll record and is in high demand by collectors. It has been released by RCA in South Africa but only one day after its release, Colonel Parker called to take it back from the shelves cause nobody performs with Elvis and it was titled “Janis and Elvis” instead of “Elvis and Janis”. El Toro has added 18 tracks to the 8 originals but don’t expect any unissued stuff. Let’s put it frankly, if you’re a hardcore rockabilly fan you probably own this songs (and probably in more than one format) but if you’re a newcomer it’s the perfect introduction to discover this two great stars and it’ll give you the will to dig deeper. It also features an informative booklet and a fine repro of the original artwork.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dawn Shipley

in Interviews
Dawn Shipley - photography by Tonya Rodriguez
Dawn Shipley – photography by Tonya Rodriguez

Dawn Shipley

A french poet has once said that «the future belongs to women». I guess he was talking about the future of rockabilly?! Without Marti, Josie, Rosie, Cari, Dulcie that music will indisputably be like a body without some fresh and warm blood. Dawn Shipley is one of these rockin’ladies, a pretty texan gal leading a bunch of Californian fine musicians, some «sharp shooters» who turn her first album “Step it up” into a running fire of efficient rockabillies (a second one is comin’ very soon on ElToro Records and from what I’ve heard it will be brilliant too).
But let’s read how a girl can move from Winnie The Pooh to Patsy Cline?!

by Dave “Long Tall” Phisel and Fred “Virgil” Turgis
First published in 2007


The Rockabilly Chronicle So, how long have you been doing music ?
Dawn Shipley I started singing in church choir and playing piano before I can remember–when I was 3 or 4. Music was always a necessity in my life. This is my first band, though, which was started about 4 years ago.Do you still play piano today ?
I wish I did?! It’s difficult to have a piano when renting an apartment.

How did you get started ?
Dawn Shipley My family was always very musical. My grandmother plays piano by ear, so there was always music around, and we were always encouraged to make music. The piano became an outlet for me growing up, and I always enjoyed singing at the top of my lungs, making everyone around me look at me funny.

Do you remember the first record you bought and/or the one that made you think « Woahhh, that’s what I want to do ! «
Dawn Shipley Oh, I had tons of records when I was little?! I think I got my first little white and blue Fisher-Price record player for my 6th birthday. I had all kinds of records like the Grease soundtrack, My Sharona, Hey Mickey, etc, etc, along with all kinds of children’s records–Winnie the Pooh and so on. I was always playing (and scratching) them and singing along at the top of my lungs. And I always wanted to sing, but it wasn’t until I really listened to Patsy Cline in my early twenties that I knew exactly what I wanted to sing.

Its a long way from Winnie the Pooh to Patsy Cline. How did you discover her music ?
Dawn Shipley My mom listened to classic country (as well as many other things) when I was young, so it was part of my background. But I didn’t REALLY take notice of her until the mid-90’s when I was getting over my strictly new wave phase.

More generally, how did you become interested in rockabilly and all that rockin stuff ?
Dawn Shipley It was at the same time as I fell in love with Patsy’s style and strong voice. I kind of got bored with the new wave and was seeking something new and wanting to broaden my horizons. I started to go see some live bands (in Austin, TX–that’s where I lived at the time) that played a variety of early forms of music, and met people at those shows who got me into hillbilly, early country, swing and rockabilly stuff. Once I first was exposed to the stuff, I couldn’t get enough!

What are your influences as a singer and a songwriter ?
Dawn Shipley Patsy Cline has got to be the biggest influence on me. But there are so many others that have also influenced me–Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin, Goldie Hill, Charline Arthur, Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizzel, Carl Perkins, and the list can go on and on…

On your website, to the classic “desert island record” question, you answer Patsy Cline, Marti Brom and more surprising any Clash . Do you have a punk background ?
Dawn Shipley Ha ha… That’s more from my new wave days. I do love what little Clash I have, but I probably wouldn’t include them if I had to answer the question again. There’s too much wonderful music out there (all types) that I don’t know what I’d choose! Hopefully I’ll never get stranded on a desert island?!

What about your band, where do they come from, were they in other bands before ?
Dawn Shipley Joel Morin, my guitar player, is from Michigan, and has played with Pep Torres, 3-Day Monks, Rebel Train, Original Sinners, just to name a few. Tony Macias, my bass player, is from Los Angeles, and has played with Pep Torres, Annette Valdes and more, and is currently also playing with The Rocketz. Tony DeHerrera, my drummer, grew up in the LA area as well (though was born in Tacoma Washington), and was in a punk band that I don’t know the name of back in his high school days. Currently he plays with the Vaquetones as well.

Do you remember the first show you played ?
Dawn Shipley Yes, our first show was in September of 2001 at Crazy Jacks which was in
Burbank, CA (part of LA for all intensive purposes). We opened for the Paladins

Dawn Shipley - photo © Tonya Rodriguez
Dawn Shipley – photo © Tonya Rodriguez

Does it change something being a woman on the rockabilly scene, is it harder ?
Dawn Shipley People have asked me questions like this throughout my life. I’m also a software developer, something else that is less common for women to do. I guess in someways, in every aspect of life being a woman makes things different. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s harder. I think all in all, I’ve been lucky being a woman in the rockabilly scene, and for the most part, it’s been easier for me, though, of course, it’s always a challenge and a lot of hard work.

About your album, was it your first experience in the studio. Did you release anything before that ?
Dawn Shipley Yes, the debut album, Step It Up, was my first studio experience, and our first release.

Was it done live in the studio ?
Dawn Shipley Yes, for the most part it was done live in the studio. I lost my voice while recording and had to go back a couple weeks later to do the vocals for one song, but all the rest was done live.

What is the most memorable gigs you played and/or went to ?
Dawn Shipley We’ve had so many memorable gigs, it’s hard to pinpoint a few. It’s always a pleasure to get together with the Honeybees from Chicago and the Casey Sisters from Austin, TX to do our She Demons tours. We’ve only done one tour so far, but hope to get together again soon. We also have had especially good times playing the Rockabilly Ball in Seattle, Washington the last 2 years, and Viva Las Vegas 7.

What can you tell about the new album ?
Dawn Shipley The new album is almost done! We are currently mixing. There are 9 of my originals,1 instrumental (Joel gets credit for this one), a few covers, and maybe a bonus track. The cd is named «Baby If I…» and includes a wide range of songs, including a couple frantic rock ‘n roll tunes, a kind of jazzy number called «Crazy For Your Love,» some honky tonk tunes and more.

Will you have guests ?
Dawn Shipley There are no guests this time, just me and the ‘Shooters. It’ll be out on El Toro sometime soon–Winter, hopefully. You’ll just have to wait and find out on the rest of the details on your own, but I must say, I’m very excited about it?! I think we’ve grown tremendously since «Step It Up» and it shows.

A last word ?
Dawn Shipley I’d just like to say thanks, for doing the interview, and thanks to all the fans out there. I’m blessed to have all the support from everyone that allows me to continue doing what I love. It’s really what keeps us going?! And we hope to see you out there in France one of these days?!
Alright, enjoy, and take care?!

Dawn's albums are reviewed here.
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