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El Toro

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.

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 www.planetrockabilly.com/ 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

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