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The Doel Brothers

in CD/Reviews

Doel BrothersThe Doel Brothers – There’s a bottle on the table

El Toro Records – ETCD7027 [2019]

Bottle On the Table – Beer Bucket Boogie – Thanks A Lot – Baby I’m Ready – Love Letter – Distance Between You And Me – Welcome To My Heart – Just Say You Don’t Know – Jealousy – New England In The Fall – Country Bum – Hole In My Shoe – Viva Las Vegas – How High The Moon

Our favourite hillbillies, the Doel Brothers (Gordon on vocals and rhythm guitar, David on vocals and lead guitar Tom or Curtis on drums with Steve Whitworth on double bass and Phil Morgan on steel guitar) are back and they did it again! Can you believe it, it’s already their fourth album and it seems that each of their album is better than the previous one. I don’t write that lightly, considering that I already placed their debut effort as one of the best contemporary hillbilly platter, able to stand proudly near another of my favourite combo, namely the Dave and Deke Combo.

With five covers and nine originals penned by David and Gordon Doel who also share vocal duties, “There’s a Bottle On the Table” is a hillbilly / rockabilly / western bop rollercoaster from start to finish with top musicianship, solid songwriting and perfect production. It also comes with a superb cover illustrated by Garry Boller which gives you another reason to jump on that little jewel!
The repertoire ranges from straight Rockabilly like Bottle on the Table and Love Letter (the latter having a strong Sun flair) to country boogie with Beer Bucket Boogie, an original that sounds like an unissued Tennessee Ernie Ford tune. Phil Morgan’s steel guitar part with ricochets à la Speedy West adds to this feeling.

Other than those song you’ll find a bit of bluegrass with their cover of Dwight Yoakam’s The Distance Between You and Me with harmony vocals and dobro as well as some western swing influenced stuff (New England In the Fall), shades of Johnny Horton (Welcome to My Heart) and Little Jimmy Dickens (Hole In My Shoe) and lot of plain old hillbilly and Honky Tonk.

The bonus track is a cover of How High the Moon, dedicated to the memory of their dad that would make both Les Paul and Rhubarb Red proud.

Grab your moonshine, take a sip, roll back the rug, put the record in the player and enjoy the sweet sound of the Doel Brothers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Doel Brothers - Oh Brother... It's The Doel Brothers
The Doel Brothers – Oh Brother… It’s The Doel Brothers

The Doel Brothers – Oh Brother… It’s The Doel Brothers

El Toro {2013}
Educated Mind – Goin’ Away – Kissin’ Bug Boogie – I’ll Do It Everytime – Sure You Won’t – I Need Your Lovin’ – Pick You Up – Whiskey Lovin’ Fool – Nothin’ ’bout Love – Tell Me You’re Mine – Rockin’ Shoes – Hey Baby

The Doel Brothers come from England and are David, Gordon and Tom Doel plus Gary Boller. They previously played with the Western Aces, the Radio Ramblers, the Westernaires so these four guys are not exactly newcommers but this is their first one under this name. And what a record! I hadn’t heard such a good hillbilly tinged platter since the heyday of the Dave and Deke Combo (or at least the Horton Brothers) and that was not a surprise to see that Dave “Pappy” Stuckey wrote the laudatory liner notes.
This record is simply amazing with superb originals (and I mean REAL originals, not old melodies quickly rearranged with new lyrics as it’s too often the case), beautiful harmonies reminiscent of the Farmer Boys or Rusty and Doug and top notch musicianship. There’s also a bit of Tennessee Two in Sure You Won’t (the influence of Cash can also be heard on Rockin’ Shoes) and Rockabilly too (I Need Your Lovin’). The whole set is completed by three excellent cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Johnny Horton and Tom James.
Cuzzins, believe me, I strongly advice you to get this record, this is hillbilly bop as it should be played.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Arsen Roulette

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Arsen Roulette – The Lost Recordings

arsen roulette - the lost recordings

El Toro Records ETCD7000 [2005]

I Get Up – All Through The Nite – She Was My Baby – Boppin’ Lil Betty – Gone Crazy – Don’t Say Goodbye – At The Drugstore – Hop Up Honey – Tonight Tonight – Baby Likes To Rock And Roll – Jinx On Me (Demo) – 7 Lonely Nites, Days (Demo) – Spinin’ Around (Demo) – Lonely Blue Teardrops (Demo) – Gone Gone Gone (Demo)

Arsen Roulette, has just released an album on the Spanish label El Toro that gathers all his pieces recorded during 2003-2004.

This «Lost Recordings» album is hot, very very hot: it is likely to burn your CD player and set your boppin’ shoes on fire! Arsen is not the calm kind. This wild double bass player has tailored 15 cuts, alone and with friends. Among these friends, there is thee Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp who holds the lead guitar on most cuts. Also, on the titles recorded with the Ricochets, Arsen’s preceding band, is Matt Pavlovic. So you can be sure that you’re gonna find some «rockabilly weapons of massive destruction». As this is the case; it is definitely not rockabilly for queers or sissies! James Chance, the drummer, beats like a nutcase, the guitar groans, shouts whereas the double bass slaps and snaps. Arsen adores Jerry Lee, and in his work one finds the fever and the urgency of Killer. The first title “I Get Up” starts with the sound of the needle of a record player on an old vinyl with a piano sound à la Jerry Lee.

So after starting gently, the second piece All Through The Nite is gonna wake you up like a hundred cups of coffee bursting directly into your heart and your head! Be prepared because you won’t find any rest before At The Drugstore (the seventh cut!) and then back to your frenzy boppin’ with Hop Up Honey. The last five are almost all demos (the sound is not that good but the power is still here) except «Lonely Blue Tear Drops (an out take) a catchy rockabilly ballad that just thrills me so mean!
David “Long Tall” Phisel

Arsen Roulette – Let’s Get On With It

Arsen Roulette - Let's Get On With It

El Toro Records ETCD7001

Let’s Get On With It-Chance On Me-Messed Up-I Do For You-Shake It Around-Sounds That Charge-Bop Away Blues-Honky Tonk Alone-On The Prowl-Lovin’ On My Mind- Shake Loose-Strolling Back To You

Arsen Roulette’s “Lost Recordings” was already a pure dynamite rockabilly fuckin’ good album but what about Let’s Get On With It? An Atomic bomb would be the suitable expression so much the power of this El Toro Records produced album is huge with his 12 good penned and recorded songs by Arsen and his band on pre-1959 material and instuments.

Before their european tour, Arsen Roulette and the guys went on studio and signed an undeniable rockabilly success that got the fever to heat an ice-cold old maid. The band with some new Drugstore Romeos is made up of some of the best musicians: Mark Millard on drums, Alex Vargas from the Vargas Brothers on bass and last but not the least Matt Pavlovcic, the faithful young guitar wizard.

Be prepared for this rockabilly shock that grab you from the beginning with his eponymous track ‘till the very end. No fillers but only pure wild kick-ass mule rockabilly killers!

And don’t you ever think that I‘ve been paid by Arsen to say all that good about his album or that I want to thank him for using an extract of my previous review in his sleeve’s liner notes to do his first album promotion. If you do think so, The Long Tall will put a voodoo spell on you!!!

So if tonight you got “some lovin on your mind” but your baby says don’t “take a chance on me” and left you tellin’that she won’t be “strollin’ back to you” instead of being all “Messed up”or “on the prowl”, ready to “Honky tonk Alone” just remember that Arsen Roulette is a ready to share hepcat that will tell you “I do for you” some “Sounds That Charge” to “Bop Away The Blues” and “Shake it Around” till you ”Shake It Loose” so… “Let’s get on with him”

David “Long Tall” Phisel

Rocky Burnette

in Contemporary artists/Reviews
Rocky Burnette

Rocky Burnette – Wampus Cat


El Toro Records

Wampus Cat – Streamliner – Please Don’t Leave Me – Riding On a Rocket – Why Go Home? – Why U Been Gone So Long – Crazy Legs – Que Lastima – I Love You So – Next Train – Dinchu – Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – You Never Know – Rock Therapy

To be the son of a legend like Johnny Burnette is surely not an easy thing when you decide to play rockabilly. If the son of Picasso was a painter, the comparison would be inevitable. But Rocky Burnette (the kid wearing diaper on the cover that’s him!) has enough experience and talent and is not trapped by this heritage, and where some would have been happy to carry on with the name and be just copycats, he proposes something new and personnal.

The Lazy Jumpers (a talented band whether they play for their own records or back others) provide the perfect backing for his kind of modern rockabilly/blues and they also wrote a couple of originals (as did Rocky too). And even if you find cover of his illustrious family, they are rearranged. “Please Don’t Leave Me” gets back to its original roots in this bluesy version and “I Love You So” features an organ. The rest reflects varied inspiration : hillbilly and bluegrass with banjo and mandolin (You Never Know), Texas rockabilly ala Buddy Holly (Streamliner), neo-rockabilly that sounds like an unreleased cut from the Space Cadets (Riding On A Rocket) with a quote of Rock-Billy Boogie when the song fades out, and Que Latima is a latin instrumental (after all the band and the label are Spanish).

Of course you have plenty of Rockabilly Bop (it’s in the blood) like “Dinchus” and “Next Train”. As a bonus, Rocky’s daughter, Chanti Teresa Burnette, covers Rock Therapy. Although her version is good, she plays on the same ground as her grandfather and she inevitably suffers the comparison with him. Despite this minor point, this is a very good and eclectic album.

Available at El Toro


Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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

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