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El Toro

Dolly Cooper

Dolly Cooper – Tell Me, Tell Me

El Toro ET15039
My Man – Ay La Bah / Tell Me, Tell Me – Big Rock Inn

Dolly Cooper first recorded for Savoy, then moved to Modern and Dot. The songs from the side A were recorded for Modern and those from the side B for Dot.
My Man is a superb proto Rock’n’Roll that could have been a Bill Haley tune (or vice-versa). Her backing band is Maxwell Davis and Orchestra who also accompanied Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Etta James or Young Jessie. Ay La Bah is more anecdotical, but it features some fine doo-wop backing vocals and a brief but stunning guitar solo.
Tell Me, Tell Me is wild tune with another super guitar part. Same goes for Big Rock Inn which is even wilder, on which the singer gives it all.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rockin’ Bonnie Western Bound Combo

Rockin’ Bonnie Western Bound Combo – Keepin’ The Reins Slack

Bullseye – BE 149 [2021]
A Full Time Job – I Gotta Know – I’ll Get Along Somehow – Get With it – Hell Ride Boogie – I’m Getting Wrong – South / Loss – Sure Fire Kisses – Somebody’s Gonna Take Your Place – Serenade In G – Let’s Settle Down – The Side Of Town

Rockin’ Bonnie Western Bound Combo

Friends, if you dig Hillbilly, Honky-Tonk, Country-Boogie and Western swing, stop all your activities; I have something special for you: Rockin’ Bonnie Western Bound Combo’s latest album. This five-piece band is one of the best things to happen to true country lovers in ages. They come from Italy, but they nailed that sound so perfectly that you wouldn’t believe it.
Rockin’ Bonnie sings lead on most of the tracks. The main quality of her voice is something that, surprisingly, you don’t often find: simplicity. She doesn’t try to sound mean or hide behind mannerisms. She simply sings with her heart in a joyful way. How refreshing!
Max sings lead on Bob Wills’ Get With It and Loss, a self-penned track written with George Jones’ The Race Is On in mind. He also shares some duets with Bonnie and most of all, plays a mighty hot guitar and trades licks with Matt, the band’s secret weapon, who plays fiddle, steel, banjo and mandolin. Bobby and Manuel bring the swing and the drive.
The set comprises covers (Eddie Arnold, Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Merle Travis, Goldie Hill…) and originals.
Now, roll back the rug and dance to the sweet sound of Rockin’ Bonnie Western Bound Combo!

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ella Johnson

Ella Johnson – Bring It Home!

El Toro ET15141
What a Day! – No More Love / They Don’t Want me to Rock No More – Bring It Home to Me

Ella Johnson - Bring It Home!

The great Ella Johnson, who recorded with her brother Buddy falls right on that blurry line between Rhythm’n’Blues and Jazz with a dose of Rock’n’Roll. The singer possesses a beautiful voice, very clean yet expressive. The tight arrangements remind those of the Big Band era, and there’s plenty of room for soloists to express themselves (superb rocking sax part on They Don’t Want Me to Rock No More). You’ll love this EP if you dig Dinah Washington and Ella Mae Morse.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Junior Marvel

Messin' around with Junior Marvel
Messin’ around with Junior Marvel

Junior Marvel – Messin’ Around With…

El Toro Records – ETCD 4090
Mess Around – Love My Baby – I’m Coming Home – Please Don’t Leave Me – All The Time -You Got A Heart Like A Rock – That’s The Stuff You Gotta Watch – This Is The Night – Marijuana Boogie – Cruisin’ – Right Now – Tiger Man – Blue Moon
Now going under the sole name of Junior Marvel the artist also known on his ID card as Frank Marques delivers a fine blend of Elvis influenced Rockabilly and Rock’n’Roll.
“Mess Around” sounds like an unissued take of the King circa 1956. Love My Baby owes more to Hayden Thompson than Junior parker and has a nod to “Mystery Train” with Junior yelling “All Aboard !”. The arrangement on Fats Domino’s Please Don’t Leave Me is quite close to the Johnny Burnette Trio’s alternate take with the growls but they add their own touch with one verse sung in Spanish and original guitar work. “All The Time” is probably one of my fave (if you’re interested to know), a true rockabilly tune which equals the best of Rip Carson and guitarist Roger Corneille adding some tasty Chuck Berry licks. “The Stuff You Gotta Watch” slows the pace a bit with a fine jazzy arrangement. Entirely sung in Spanish, Marijuana Boogie makes you regret he doesn’t do more in that style. As he doesn’t write much original stuff it could had more personality on some songs (This Is The Night). Cruisin’ sounds like a tribute to both Gene Vincent and Danny Gatton (remember his version with Robert Gordon on The Humbler?). Written by Marvel/Marquez the wild “Right Now” sounds like it could have been written 50 years ago. Classic stuff with good slap bass solo. The album ends with two songs associated to Elvis. “Tigerman” is played in a “Blue Moon Boys” formation which is unusual and good and “Blue Moon” ends the whole thing in beauty with just Frank and his guitar and the second verse sung in Spanish.
Maybe I’d have enjoyed more original material but there’s no reason to be a killjoy this is a more than enjoyable album.


Junior Marvel and his Hi-Flyers – Lies, Lies, Lies

MAC 138
Lies, Lies, Lies / Go Man Go
Previously known as the singer of the Bellhops, Frank Marquez carried on as Junior Marvel and His Flyer. The Hi-Flyers were Nils Becker on lead guitar, Maiko Firefeet on drums, Mr Mactenfield on double bass and JJ Slyk on rhythm guitar. There’s no date on the cover, but I think that it came out around 1996.
Side A is on the rural / Sun records side of the Rockabilly with excellent guitar work behind Junior Marvel’s superb and period-perfect voice, tremolos, and hiccups. The flip, penned by Slyk, is more vigorous, and one can hear the influence of Gene Vincent.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Loneshots (the)

Loneshots (the) – self-titled ep

Loneshots

Sweet 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Promociones ‎– SFEP 001 [1995]
Don’t Take It Away – Stop, Look ‘n’ Listen – You’re Not The Best – Rockshot
After the split of Los Tornados, Anabel Moreno founded The Loneshots with some of the best rockabilly musicians on the Madrid scene, namely Diego Araoz on guitar, Carlos Lopez on double bass and Javier Sarmentero on drums. The Loneshots were the first Spanish band to play the Hemsby weekender. In 1995 they released this four-track Ep, their sole musical testimony on wax.
Three songs are originals, and the cover, Stop, Look ‘n’Listen, comes from the repertoire of Patsy Cline. Annabel is a terrific singer, and the band has an excellent traditional Rockabilly sound with jazzy and swingin’ tones that is mainly present on “Rockshot,” the instrumental that closes the ep.
After the band broke up, Miss Moreno went on to form Anabel and the Rock-a-bells while Diego Araoz and Javier Sarmentero played in the Milestones that released one album on El Toro.

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis

Rossella Scarlet

Rossella Scarlet & the Cold Cold Hearts – The Day Will Come

Rossella Scarlet

El Toro Records ET-15.128 [2019]
You Were So Blind – A Painting On the Wall – The Day Will Come – Wondering

Rossella Scarlet comes from Italy and is now living in London. She just released her debut ep on El Toro backed by the Cold Cold Hearts (I suspect the young lady to be a Hank Williams fan.) This terrific musical aggregation consists of Graham Murphy (Jump Cat Jump, Frantix) on guitar, Phil Morgan (Lynette Morgan & The Blackwater Valley Boys, Doel Brothers) on steel guitar, and Emma Goss (Sara Vista, Something Shocking) on double bass.
If you like classic country music straight from the late 40s/ early ’50s look no further, this ep is for you. Three songs are from the pen of Miss Scarlett, and Frankie Riedel wrote the fourth one (Wondering). So not only we have a pretty good singer with a vibrant voice but also a solid songwriter.
“You Were so Blind” is a superb hillbilly that has nothing to envy to Wayne Hancock. “A Painting on the Wall” is a soulful ballad with a haunting steel guitar. Though good, it could easily be one minute shorter to be more efficient.
B-side kicks off with “The Day Will Come,” another tune strongly-led by the double bass. Supported by a delicate guitar picking, “Wondering,” a duet with Phil Morgan, closes the set in beauty.



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