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Foot Tapping

Harry and the Hounds

Harry And The Hounds – Release The Hounds

Harry and the Hounds

Foot Tapping Records FT197 [2020]
Sweet Love On My Mind – Dreamer – Telephone – Burning Bridges – Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – Forever 17 – Gone + Shakin’ All Over – Workin’ Man’s Blues – Howlin’

When was the last time you listened to a good Rock’n’roll album? I mean a real Rock’n’roll album. With the notion of danger and excitement that it implies. Something basic yet so hard to play. Harry and the Hounds are all that!
Harry Caiger is on vocals and guitar, Freddie Lovett on drums and Pete Neal on electric bass. I can hear the slap bass police moan from here, but like Barry Ryan of the Rockats once said, “If it’s good for Cochran, it’s good for me.” At places, they remind me of the young Stray Cats, not stylistically, they have more common points with the Paladins, for example, but in the attitude. They’re young, play what they want, and they rock!
The trio kicks off with a storming version of Johnny Burnette‘s Sweet Love On My Mind. You must have guts to cover such a well-known tune. They jump in it with juvenile energy that is very refreshing. The other two covers are also very familiar (Cochran’s Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie, and Johnny Kidd’s Shaking All Over), yet they sound very original. One of the reasons must be Caiger’s guitar. This guy is one hell of a guitar player. His solos are always inventive, and you don’t hear the same solos you’ve heard one zillion times before.
Dreamer is an excellent stroller with haunting piano. I guarantee you’ll fill the dancefloors wherever if you play it loud enough.
Next is Telephone, a melodic rockabilly tune, not that far from what the Bellfuries could do. Still in the Rockabilly idiom is Gone, a fast-paced song.
The band adds a good dose of rockin’ blues (think the Paladins or Pat Capocci) with Burning Bridges and Forever 17. Also in the blues vein is Workin’ Man’s Blues, a boogie blues featuring Caiger on harmonica. I like the way they contain their energy before launching it, then return to a threatening pace.
Howlin’ closes the set with a solid dose of rock’n’roll.
With only ten songs, including seven excellent originals, not only there’s no room for fillers, but they leave the listener begging for more, which is always a good strategy.
Believe me, Harry and the Hounds is a band to follow closely.

Buy it here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Hellcats (the)

Hellcats (the) – Dance to the Devil’s Beat


Foot Taping records FT190 [2019]
Hug me kiss me call It a day – Toe that line – If you can’t bop me – Rockin’ all nite – Midnite lover – Ain’t gonna worry – No time to cry – Satan saved a place for me in hell – Bad habit – Broken and stumblin’ – You gotta move – Feel that heat – Ain’t nobody gonna take my babe – Hug me kiss me call It a day (alt version)

First, there is the name that makes you fear of a sub-Stray Cats band. Then there is the cover, and you think, “Can I trust a band that puts so little effort in their cover design?” But this shouldn’t prevent you from listening to this album, the first by this London trio, because the Hellcats – Lee Motler on guitars and vocals; Malk Motler on double bass and John Buck on drums – are a really good band.
If you still had doubts, the presence of John Buck (Polecats, Guana Batz, Deltas) is a token of quality. Another good sign is the fact that all songs here are originals, and you won’t hear for the umpteenth time the same old covers.
The sound of the Hellcats is a mix between early Psychobilly, when the ‘billy’ element was predominant, and neo-Rockabilly popularised by groups like Stray Cats, Polecats, and so on (well the ‘Cat’ bands, which is logical after all.) However, classic Rockabilly is not forgotten, and a song like If You Can’t Bop Me sounds like a cross between Gene Vincent’s Blue Jean Bop and Ricky Nelson’s If You Can’t Rock Me.
The majority of the songs are powerful, with tight musicianship (I really enjoyed the guitar sound) that supports Lee Motler’s voice, which sometimes sounds like Mike Ness on his’ Under the Influences’ album.
Once again, Bo Diddley was right, and this album proves it: you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.

Available here.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Wildkats – Rockin’, Boppin’ and Strollin’


wildkatsft057 Foot Tapping records FT 057
Lonesome Train – Endless Sleep – Rockin’ Daddy, Get Rythm – Drivin’ Wheel – I Fought The Law – Roll Over Beethoven – Washing Machine Boogie – All By Myself – Baby Blue – Gone Gone Gone – Girl Of My Best Friend – Be Bop Alula – Worrying Kind – Tear It Up(3rd version)
This quartet comes from England. They are an all cover band (at least on this cd) but that doesnt mean a lack of personnality. The songs may be well known (Gene Vincent, Johnny Burnette, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry…) but the Wildkats play it in their own neo-rockabilly style. You can hear the influences of the Stray Cats on their version of I Fought The Law. This band knows its stuff. the rhythm section is solid with a good work from the acoustic rhythm guitar (too many bands forget the importance of the acoustic rhythm guitar in rockabilly), Alan Wilson’s (not the one from The Sharks and Western Star studio) solos are creative and Bob’s voice sounds a bit like Robert Gordon.
The whole thing is very well recorded/produced and you spend a very pleasant moment in company of these four lads.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis