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The Lazy Jumpers

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews
The Lazy Jumpers - Comin’ On Like Gangbusters
The Lazy Jumpers – Comin’ On Like Gangbusters

The Lazy Jumpers – Comin’ On Like Gangbusters

El Toro R&B 204
No Way To Get Along – Ain’t Gonna Fall in Love Again – Cry Baby Boogie – Don’t That Hurt – My Dream of You – Living in my Car – Hand Shake Blues – Mr. Advice – Hold Me Tight – I’ve Got My Own – Girls – Cobo’s Hop – Pannic Attack (Little Rachel & The Lazy Jumpers)
Purist will find that surprising but the facts are here : one of the best blues band currently in activity doesn’t come from Chicago or Los Angeles, but from Spain. Not only the Lazy Jumpers are amazing and skilled musicians but they are equally good as songwriters. This album is loaded with 13 original tracks. Supported by a tight rhythm section, Mario Cobo on guitar and the deep growling voice and wild harmonica of Blas Picon take us to a journey through American blues. Straight ahead blues, Bo Diddley beat tune, piano led boogie woogie, Chicago blues, wild rocker, swingin’ instrumental and of course west coast blues you’ll find all that (and more, “Girls” even recalls the early Blasters with Lee Allen) on this platter. But this is just the mould on which the Lazy Jumpers have built their songs with their own sound. The tunes never sound like museum pieces, their references (Joe Turner, Little Walter, T-Bone Walker…) may be in the 40’s and the 50’s, they never are a burden and the band always sounds fresh. They share the same musical spirit with bands like Little Charlie And The Nightcats or Nick Curran. Now, stop beating around the bush, I love this album and the best compliment I could do about is once you’ve stopped listening to “Comin’ On Like Gangbusters”, you’ll just want to catch The Lazy Jumpers on stage. As a bonus, there’s a tune from Little Rachel’s “There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town” on which The Lazy Jumpers play and shine.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Sprague Brothers

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S
The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Essbee Cds Volume 1
The Sprague Brothers – Best Of The Essbee Cds Volume 1

The Sprague Brothers – Best Of The Essbee Cds Volume 1

ElToro ETCD7010
Penetration – Hippy Hippy Shake – Rock Rock – Surefire – New Reason to Cry – You Only Live Twice – I’ll Be True – Green Arrow – I’ll Do It Every Time – Drum Boogie – Rock’n’roll – I Feel A Brand New Heartache – My Tender Heart – Praying Mantis – Since I Don’t Have You – No One Wants My Love – Nesman Studios – Tall Tall Trees – Sunset in Tokyo – Just over a Girl
The Sprague Brothers recording carreer didn’t stop with the end of their contract with Hightone. They released a bunch of records on their own Essbee label. This compilation gathers the best of this now hard-to-find albums. As usual with the Sprague Brothers, one can expect fine songwriting and beautiful arrangements. Rock’n’roll is a term that everybody seems to use nowadays, but this is the best word to describe their music. A mix of surf (Penetration, Green Arrow), early Beatles (“I’ll Be True” and its intro taken from Beatles’ “Devil In Her Heart” would make Sir Paul jealous), and the usual Everly/Holly/Fuller influenced stuff. You’ll find some rockabilly (Johnny Power’s “Rock Rock”) too, and “My Tender Heart” sees the bros go bluegrass. Frank and Chris play all the instruments, except on one tune where they are backed by Deke Dickerson and Shorty Poole, and the skills of each of them is simply amazing. Of course Chris is a good drummer (if you don’t believe me listen to “Drum Boogie” a Gene Krupa meets Bill Haley song) but he can play steel, upright bass, sing fine harmonies and on “Just Over A Girl” he gives us a great piece of eefing. Frank Lee Sprague is even more impressive as it seems that no instrument has secret for him : surf guitar, bluegrass mandolin, Jerry Lee Lewis boogie piano… You name it, he plays it. Add extensive liner notes and you’ll have another must-have from El Toro.

The Sprague Brothers - Best Of The Essbee Cds Volume 2
The Sprague Brothers – Best Of The Essbee Cds Volume 2

The Sprague Brothers – Best Of The Essbee Cds Volume 2

ElToro ETCD7011
Angelyne – Alll Night Long – Down The Line – Gotta Get You Near Me Blues – Never Knew – One Wheel Draggin’ – Pickin’ Peppers – Sea Cruise – Just Give Me a Chance – Diamond Head – Mopar Junk – Wailin – Beep Beep – She Won’t Stay For Long – I Found Someone New Today – So How Come – If You’ll Be Mine – Goldfinger – All By Myself – Goodbye My Love
Second volume of the reissue of this records released in small quantities namely “Three” (which was originally due to be released on Hightone), “Covers”, “Instrumental Party” and “Rockabilly’). This set focuses more on the talent of brother Chris (aka Sugarballs) featuring many of his own compositions and lead vocals. The element are the same you can find on volume one with straight ahead rockers (Angelyne, Beep Beep), a bit of Bobby Fuller type of song (All Night Long) and some rockabilly too with two Buddy Holly covers from his earlier period. Beatles/Merseybeat influenced songs are here too, both electric (If You’ll Be Mine, I Found Someone New Today the later one featuring great harmonies) or acoustic like The Searcher’s “Goodbye My Love” which sounds like an outtake from the Norwegian Wood sessions. They also perform a set of instrumental ranging from the western jazz of Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant (Pickin’ Peppers) to the Ventures’ Diamond Head. Another James Bond theme is played after You Only Live Twice on Volume 1, this time it’s Gold finger. As you can see, as usual with The Sprague you’ll find plenty of styles. El Toro did a really good job with this reissues allowing us to have access to this recordings. Hope someone will do the same with their early 90’s live albums like “Live At Frank’s Place” and “Live In The Van With The Sprague Brothers”.

The Sprague Brothers - Changing the world one chick at a time
The Sprague Brothers – Changing the world one chick at a time

The Sprague Brothers – Changing The World One Chick At A Time

Wichita Falls Records WFR 339
Rockabilly Twist – Wormwood – Keep On Loving Me – I’ve Got It Made – She’s In The $ Now – I Want To Be Her Man – Little Star – Better Believe – You’re Scarce – She Took My Spittin’ Cup – Wichita Falls Rag – I’m Settin’ Jake – She Brought Back My Spittin’ Cup – No One Cares – Highway 15 -. Harlem Ska (bonus track) – American Music (bonus track) – Girl Can’t Hep It (bonus track)
Listening to a Sprague Brothers album is always like a good journey into American music. You find as usual some Everly Brothers type of tunes (Chris and Frank really know how to harmonize and put together some melodies that stick into your head) and some Bobby Fuller (“Wormwood”) so this is no surprise to find on the guest list Randy Fuller and Edan Everly. “Little Star” is a beautiful ballad in a Texas style (think Buddy Holly), Spanish guitar and superb string arrangement. Rockabilly is also very well represented with “You’re Scarce” and “I’m Settin Jake”, two songs that could come straight from the vault of Sun records. Talking about rockabilly, “Rockabilly Twist” is exactly what the title means with at the end, you have to hear closely, a citation of Surfin’ Bird / Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow. “Wichita Fall Rag” is a stunning western swing instrumental with Jeremy Wakefield on steel, Deke Dickerson on rhythm guitar and Shorty Poole on bass. They really should record more in that style. They provide another instrumental with the short “Highway 15” but this time more in a Ventures style. “She Took My Spittin Cup” and “She Brought Back My Spittin Cup” are, it’s no surprise with titles like that, on the hillbilly side. You also have plenty of bonus tracks The Blasters’ American Music on which Frank replicates riffs by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, The Ventures and Buddy Holly (it’s also great fun to hear a harmonica solo reminiscent of the Beatles on a song called “American Music”), the classic “Harlem Nocturne” turned into a ska and “The Girl Cant Help It”. But wait, there are more hidden bonus, but sorry folks, you’ll have to buy the cd to discover them.

The Sprague Brothers - The Savage Sprague Brothers
The Sprague Brothers – The Savage Sprague Brothers

The Sprague Brothers – The Savage Sprague Brothers

Wichita Falls Records WFR 334
Betty’s Got A Hot Rod – Once Again I’m Fallin’ – She’s An Adulteress – It Doesn’t Hurt Anymore -This You Did – Charlene – Everything I Have Is Yours -In Your Heart -The Invisible Man – Two Hands In My Pockets – Nothing Matters But You – USA
This album subtitled «early recordings from the vault» contains material recorded in the 90’s with Frank and Carl playing all instruments. As I said before, comparisons aren’t always fair. You see, saying that someone sounds like (put the name of the legend of your choice here), could reflect a lack of personality from the artist. But who could say that the Sprague don’t have no personality? Surely not me. So if you don’t know the brothers yet, I would say that they are the perfect mix of Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Bobby Fuller with a good dose of early Beatles (when they were still playing live). As Frank Lee Sprague once said «Influenced by none, inspired by many» and the fact are here you can cite every artists you want, the sound is 100% Sprague Brothers. They could be good musicians and singers but they’re more, Frank is one hell of a songwriter. From the beautiful semi accoustic «Charlene» to «Once again I’m fallin’» and its haunting harmonies without forgetting the rockin’ side of the brothers with «Two Hands In My Pockets» and «USA» with lyrics similar in the meaning to Blasters’s «American Music».
If you’ve already bought their Hightone releases you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never heard them and you want to know how to write «pop songs» (before this word becomes pejorative), give this album a try.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

V/A – Please Give Me Something – The Roots Of The Stray Cats

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

Genre: Rockabilly, Rock’n’roll

ElToro EpleasegimmeTCD1031 [2010]
Icky Poo : The Nomands ~ Tear It Up : Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio ~ Lonely Travelin’ : Lonesome Lee ~ Sweet Love On My Mind : Jimmy & Johnny ~ Somethin’ Else : Eddie Cochran ~ Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop : Lew Williams ~ Ubangi Stomp : Warren Smith ~ Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie : Eddie Cochran ~ Please Give Me Something : Bill Allen ~ Double Talkin’ Baby : Gene Vincent ~ My One Desire : Ricky Nelson ~ That Mellow Saxophone : Roy Montrell ~ Your Baby Blue Eyes : Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio ~ Wasn’t That Good? : Wynonie Harris ~ Let’s Have A Ball : The Wheels ~ Rock Therapy : Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio ~ Race With The Devil : Gene Vincent ~ I’m Looking For Someone To Love : The Crickets ~ Beautiful Delilah : Chuck Berry ~ One Hand Loose : Charlie Feathers ~ Everybody’s Movin’ : Glen Glenn ~ Slip, Slip, Slippin’ In : Eddie Bond ~ Your True Love : Carl Perkins ~ Stood Up : Ricky Nelson ~ Let It Rock : Chuck Berry ~ Mystery Train : Elvis Presley ~ Sleep Walk : Santo & Johnny ~ Hidden Charms : Chet Atkins

This one will please a lot of rockabilly fans. It could also be named “Songs The Stray Cats Taught Us” in reference to the serie of albums that traced the roots of the Cramps.
It contains songs that were covered or used as a starting point to write originals by Setzer, Phantom and Rocker. Some of the material here is very familiar to the rockabilly devoted. The Stray Cats were not known to cover obscure stuff but they put in the ears of a generation that grew with punk rock and new wave the sound of Johnny Burnette Trio, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, and for they deserve a lot of respect.
So next to the usual Baby Blue Eyes, Something Else or Race With the Devil that must be familiar (I hope) to most of our readers you’ll find some rare ditties like Icky Poo by the Nomads and Lonely Travelin’ by Lonesome Lee that can be traced as inspiration behind Stray Cat Strut (though I believe that Setzer and co were not aware of that obscure stuff and were probably more inspired by Richard Hell’s Blank Generation, same riff, same b-vox and a similar guitar solo). The Wheels’ Let’s Have A Ball is also included and will later find its way under the name Gonna Ball. Those who doesn’t own the Imperial Rockabilly compilation will be happy to have Lew Williams’ Bob Bob Ba Doo Bop (Fishnet Stockings) and Bill Allen’s Please Gimme Something (Crawl Up & Die).

One can only regret that Eltoro, but maybe it’s a question of copyright or else, didn’t include The Bloodless Pharaohs – Setzer “new wave-arty” band – “Boys Having Babies” that was rewritten for the Stray Cats under the name “Storm The Embassy” and Hank Mizzel’s Jungle Rock that inspired the Stray Cats hto write “Blast Off”.

Despite this minor regret this comp is a must have for any Stray Cats fans (informative liner notes too) and more generally for anybody who’d want an album with rockabilly, rock’n’roll and rhythm’n’blues showing that Setzer and his two partners had an impecable taste.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jeff Potter – Great Big Beat

in Albums/Contemporary artists/OPQ/Reviews
Jeff Potter - Great Big Beat
Jeff Potter – Great Big Beat

El Toro Records – ETCD 8010
She’s Got A Great Big Beat – All Right With Me – When The Moon Comes Up – Golden Roll – I Can’t Believe – She’s So Explosive – Time On My Hands – Somebody Loves You – High Octane – Kinda Lovin’Man – Let’s Go To The Moon – Modern Busy World – Get Some Rest – Some Of The Time – The Romp

Jeff Potter (who plays piano, guitar, drums, organ) with the help of a cast of fine musicians (including Betsy-Dawn Williams and guitarist extraordinaire Graham Tichy) offers here a very good self penned album full of piano led rock’n’roll (“High Octane”, “She’s Got A Great Big Beat”), doo wop (“She’s So Explosive” with excellent bass vocal from Tichy),ballad (“I Can’t Believe”, “It’s A Busy World”) and a couple of instrumental thrown in for good measure “Golden Roll” (a tune with a strong Bill Dogget’s Honky Tonk feel on which Potter plays organ) and the rockin’ (with a 60’s vibe) “the Romp”. You can hear the influences of Jerry Lee Lewis (of course), Fats Domino, Buddy Holly (on “Some Of The Time”) and more modern bands like The Blasters. Truly a great rock’n’roll album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Velvet Candles (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/UVWXYZ
The Velvet Candles - The Story Of Our Love
The Velvet Candles – The Story Of Our Love

The Velvet Candles – The Story Of Our Love

ElToro Records
The Story Of Our Love / Love Bells / Da Doo / That’s How I Feel / The Image Of A Girl / Forget About Me / Robot Stomp / Why Denise Grew Up / Lonely Days Lonely Nights / Take A Chance On Love / My Spare Time / Footsteps / Runaround Baby / There’s A Girl.

The Velvet Candles come from Spain and are Mamen Salvador, Agusti Burriel and Eduardo Peregrin. Backed by a solid band they play late 50’s/early 60’s white/italo doo-wop.
Since my doo- wop knowledge is mostly made of compilation I won’t go much into details telling you that this song sounds like this or this other one reminds of (write hear the name of the artist you want). I can only trust my ears and they tell me that this album is pleasant, very well sung and very well orchestrated (some songs with strings arrangements).
Next to covers from the catalog of the Safaris, the Fabulaires, Dante & the Evergreens you’ll find some solid originals like Robot Stomp and one song written for them by the great Mario Cobo. The cd is very varied: the three of them singing lead, the songs go from the fully orchestrated “The Story Of Our Love” to the accapella of “Why Denise Grew” also including a song in Spanish.
Fans of the genre can buy it with confidence.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Johnny Burnette and the Rock’n’Roll Trio – Shattered Dreams

in Reissues

Johnny Burnette and the Rock'n'Roll Trio
Johnny Burnette and the Rock’n’Roll Trio – Shattered Dreams
El Toro ETCDVD10010
Tear It Up – You’re Undecided – Oh Baby Babe – Midnight Train – Shattered Dreams – The Train Kept A-Rollin’ – Honey Hush – Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) – I Just Found Out / Blues Stay Away From Me – All By Myself – Drinking Wine Spoo-Dee-O-Dee – Chains Of Love – Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – Please Don’t Leave Me – Rock Therapy / Rock Billy Boogie – Please Don’t Leave Me (Alt) – I Love You So – Sweet Love On My Mind – My Love, You Are A Stranger – Your Baby Blue Eyes – Lonesome Train (Alt) – I Love You So (Alt) – Tear It Up (Live) – Oh Baby Babe (Live) – Hound Dog (Live TV Clip) – You’re Undecided (Von Version) – Go Along Mule
After its good work on Buddy Holly’s 1956 sides, El Toro released another batch of rockabilly classics with one of the most influential band of the era: The Johnny Burnette Trio. I won’t make a song by song review as they are all familiar to almost everybody here and the interest of this release is elsewhere. Probably for a question of right the last session held by the Trio (by convenience I use the term trio but it is clearly known today, and the very well written 8 page booklet explains it too, that for some sessions Dorsey Burnette and Paul Burlison parts were played by studio musicians notably Grady Martin) in 1957 that gave If You Want It Enough, Butterfingers, Eager Beaver Baby and Touch Me is not included here. Instead you have their Von single (Go Along Mule and an earlier version of You’re Undecided) as well as live takes of Tear It Up and Oh Baby Babe. For those who possesses the Bear Family release (BCD 15474) the main interest of this release besides this live version is the DVD included here which features The Rock’n’Roll Trio appearance in an amateur contest TV Show, some kind of Pop Idol of the day, performing Hound Dog. Until now I only knew the footage of the Johnny, Paul and Bill Black’s brother in the movie “Rock Rock Rock” so it’s a real thrill to watch more material from them. The dvd features the complete show, including commercials, which is very fun to watch even if most of the act are not rock’n’roll related. A must have for any rock’n’roll fan.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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