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El Toro - Page 4

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band

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

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

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

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.

The Cordwood Draggers

The Cordwood Draggers - A Starlit Shindig With…
The Cordwood Draggers – A Starlit Shindig With…

The Cordwood Draggers – A Starlit Shindig With…

El Toro Records – ETCD 4012
Jukebox Tell My Baby – Kwitchurbelyakin – Game of Love – Falling for You – Where’s Ya Stay Last Night?- 255 Flattie – Ten Year Itch – Little Martian Honey- Honestly – Lover’s Moon – Lonesome Truck Driver Blues – Rock Boppin’ Again
Here you have the third album from that british band still on that great Spanish label El Toro. The majority of the songs – eight – from this album are from the pen of singer/guitarist Mick Cocksedge, and like the previous one there’s a little bit for everyone. You’ll find a hillbilly lament (Jukebox Tell My Baby) with pedal steel which is also present on the hillbilly bop “The Game Of Love” and “Lover’s Moon”. It also adds a feeling of loneliness on “Lonesome Truck Driver Blues”, and even if the songs is credited to Bill Monroe their version owes more to Bob Newman. Of course you have a good dose of rockabilly, never too wild but a good collection of mid tempoes like “Rock Boppin’ Again”, “Kwitchurbelyakin” and “Where’d Ya Stay Last Night?” which is a bit more modern than the other one. The hillbilly bop/rockabilly “255 Flattie” is one of my favourite with questions/answers between the lead singer and the backing vocals and Eddie Potter’s take off guitar. Potter also wrote “Ten Year Itch” which also has a bit of a modern edge mixed with Hank Williams’Ramblin’ Man. Very good. “Little Martian Honey” is a solid rockabilly with heavy slapbass and wild guitar but one could regret the mix that buries the voice too much on this one. The doo-wop band The Roomates adds their sweet voice on two slow and beautiful songs “Falling For You” and “Honestly”. One fine album with different arrangements and moods.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Cordwood Draggers - Radiation Bop
The Cordwood Draggers – Radiation Bop

The Cordwood Draggers – Radiation Bop

El Toro Records. ETCD 4011
Honey Honey – I Missed You – Simmer Down – Don’t Tease Me – Radiation Bop – Shake Her Shack – For Always – Flipside Mama – Knock Knock Knock – I Stole Today – Write Me A Letter – Hey Mr Plane – That’s When It All Went Wrong – Rock And Roll On
Talking about nuclear energy here is another fucking good trio from England with a self-penned album. Among the 14 titles of that album you’ll no doubt find something for you with sometimes beat sometimes delicacy: some first class rockabilly («Flipside Mama», «Knock Knock Rock») some hillbilly («Simmer Down» «Shake Her Shack», «Write My Baby A Letter») a honky-tonkin’ one in a Johnny Horton way («I Stole Today»), some «Jets» sounding («Don’t Tease Me» and «Hey Mr Plane»reminds me the famous british band) and a little doo-wopin’ («For Always» with the Roomates backing vocals).The first «Honey Honey» written by the singer Mick Cocksedge is gonna grab you like it grabbed me with its tapering and piercing guitar. Their «Radiation Bop» with the burlisonian sounding rockabilly guitar from Ed Potter and the Jose Espinosa’s bullfiddle will explode in your face. «Rock and Roll On» a «Buddy Holly style» end that second album from a to be closely followed band.
David “Long Tall” Phisel

Little Rachel

Little Rachel - ‘Cause I feel good!
Little Rachel – ‘Cause I feel good!

Little Rachel – ‘Cause I feel good!

Self released (2005)
Ooh, He’s Fine – Back to Kansas City – I’m What You Need – Spiderwoman Blues – Uh Uh Baby – His Words Don’t Say As Much As His Eyes – Scorched – Is My Baby Happy Now? – Don’t Jump (Rock the Boat) – I Am Your Destiny – Tough Lover – If You Were Mine – I Wanna Boogie – Your Baby’s My Baby Now
Ooh, she’s fine ! Rockabilly girl Rachel, known formerly of the Casey Sisters decided to go rhythm’n’ blues. And man, she was right! This album is a killer. You’ve got here all the ingredients to make a good mixture : fine and accomplished musicians Tjarko (Tinstars, Ronnie Dawson), Beau Sample (Cave Catt Sammy), Damien Llanes (Nick Curran, Deke Dickerson), Matt Farrell (Nick Curran); a producer who knows his job (Billy Horton) and most of all a little girl with a powerful voice. Half of the songs here has been written by Rachel herself and four has been penned by ex Tail labelmate, the swedish Eva Eastwood. And this 11 compositions can stand proudly near the covers. Rachel’s voice is really impressive, she can scream, she can shout or she can sing a soulful ballad (Spiderwoman Blues or Is my baby Happy now, two of my faves), but the voice is always on top. The musicians fit perfectly the mood of each songs, playing subtle guitar licks or juicy saxophones depending the tune. Comparisons are not always fair, but if you’re looking for a female counterpart to Nick Curran, don’t go any further, she sings it perfectly, Little Rachel is «What you need».

Little Rachel - There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town
Little Rachel – There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town

Little Rachel – There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town

El Toro R&B 203 – (2006)
Bartender Baby – Hey, Big Boy – It’s Always A Blonde – Broken – Bull Ridin’ Mamma – Get On The Right Track – Give Up Honey – I May Be Trouble – Keep on Movin’ – New Miss Rhythm in Town – Pannic Attack – Please Quit Me Baby – Take This Love and Bury It – Talk To Me – Bonus Track by The Lazy Jumpers Mr.Advice
The little girl with the big voice is back and she’s going to teach you what rhythm’n’blues really is She went to Barcelona, Spain to record and found the perfect match to her astounding voice: The Lazy Jumpers. They get along so fine it seems they were made to be together like butter and bread, Abbott and Costello or Lady Day and Prez. On one side you have a girl with a voice as good and powerful as Big Mama Thornton, Wynona Carr or Ruth Brown. On the other side The Lazy Jumpers (who believe me are not lazy at all). Mario Cobo delivers some fine licks in the vein of Johnny “Guitar” Watson , or Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown while Blas Picon and Ivan Kovacevic provide the perfect rhythm section, tight and swinging in the same time.
Eight tracks are from the pen of Little Rachel, two by Eva Eastwood (who was already present on her debut album) and the Lazy Jumpers wrote the rest (including a song from one of their own album). The music ranges from groovy Rhythm’n’Blues (Bartender Baby; Hey, Big Boy; Please Quit Me Baby) some with juicy saxes and piano to straight blues (I May Be Trouble) which sees drummer Blas Picon taking some mean harmonica solo. And in between you have some pre-rock’n’roll that fits Rachel’s voice so well (Panic Attack), a Chuck Berry-esque rocker (Give-Up Honey), a boogie (Bull Ridin’ Mama) and a Fever inspired song (Take This Love And Bury It) full of soul and seduction. A couple of tunes have a more modern sound (well, everything is relative) and you could easily imagine “Broken” sung by Candy Kane and “Keep On Movin’” by Little Charlie And The Nightcats.
There’s a lot more I could rave about (Get On The Right Track is a killer!) but it’s better to let you some surprises. In 2006 Ruth Brown has left the building, it sure is sad and we’ll always cherish her music but in 2007 we can say : “There’s a new Miss Rhythm In Town”.

Little Rachel - When A Blue Note Turns Red Hot
Little Rachel – When A Blue Note Turns Red Hot

Little Rachel – When A Blue Note Turns Red Hot

Goofin GRCD 6157 – (2009)
Mama Was Right Again – Go Bully Some Other Gal – My Favorite Dream – O La Violencia – Just Right Man – Emotions – Born to Cry – This Lonesome Night – I Don’t Miss You At All – It’s Not Me – Every Road Leads Back Home – My Mojo Don’t Work No Mo’ – Little Man – You Could Have Fooled Me – You Ain’t So Such A Much
Little Rachel’s previous album left breathless and full of admiration. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard the news of her collaboration with The Hogs of Rhythm (known to be the band associated with Dr Snout and featuring members of Finland’s top rockabilly band The Barnshakers).
In the same time I had a little apprehension: would she be able to match the high quality of There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town? My doubts vanished after just a few bars of the opening song.
“Mama Was Right Again” is a fantastic 60’s soul number (Eat your heart out Amy !) with a strong bass line. Nine of the fifteen were written by Rachel (and she’s better and better at doing this), two by Shane Kiel (Two Timin’ Three), one by Rachel Decker (The Honeybees) and the remaining three are covers by Dion, Mel tillis and Blanche Thomas.
The album is the perfect balance between 60’s influenced soul/Rhythm’n’Blues, 40’s and 50’s jivers, pre-rock’n’roll, a great Chuck Berry rocker (I Don’t Miss You At All), strong ballads and even a jazzy bossa nova. The band is tight and perfect as you can imagine with musicians from this calibre, and of course you have this voice, this wonderful, this rich, this bewitching voice…
A word has to be said about Jyrki Häyrinen’s production and mixing work. He sure has his part to this success.
Enough of my talking, the disc speaks for itself, go and buy a copy and you’ll understand what I try to tell you.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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