France

Katmen (the)

The Katmen – Hell’s Love

katmen

Association De Malfaiteurs Productions – MALFRATS 018 [1992]
Baby Blue Eyes – Don’t Be – Money Got The Power – Good Drinkin’ Tonight – All I Need – Only Mate – Nervous Breakdown – Wrong Girl – Hell’s Love – Come Back Nelly – Cadillac Car – Dead’s Dealer

The Katmen (Moustapha Idir aka Mouss: double bass and vocals, Lahcène Marir aka Las: guitar and Thierry Ipranossian aka Lou: drums) were a French trio active between the mid-1980s and early 1990s and came from the Saint-Etienne area. The trio first recorded a demo tape and then released a full length album titled Hell’s Love in 1992. This album is excellent, with a powerful double bass that will delight fans of the genre, even if the vocals – in English – sometimes lack a little confidence. The sound of the band is not that easy to pigeonhole. Still, it could be stored halfway between the edgy Rockabilly of the early Stray Cats (talking about that, their title Money Got the Power is a little reminiscent of Ubangi Stomp) and the early-Psychobilly bands. A song like Hell’s Love, by its melodic side, recalls the sound of the Quakes during their Voice of America / New Generation period. Good news, it seems that the album will be reissued on vinyl soon.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Crabs !

Crabs ! – Crabs !

Boucherie Production BP06 [1987]
Euthanasie Records [2020]
Archibald Razzmott / Love Your Man / Crabs / Le P’tit Chaperon Rouge / Fuckin’ Duffy Duck / Torture / (I’m Just A) Weathercock / Ivanhoé/ Hiver Pourri / Red Sun/ La La La / Marek/ Let’s Get Funky

Crabs ! remain one of the most regularly cited French bands. I guess that, next to the band’s qualities, the rare presence of a female double bass player also contributes to this interest. They formed in September 1985 and gave their first concert in December of that year. The group stabilizes its line-up around Bruno Biedermann on guitar, Jean-Pierre “Payrat” on vocals, Yvanovich on drums, Vero Tallois (ex. Move Bumpers) on double bass, and François Hostal played the organ. In July 1987, the Crabs gathered in the studio to record their sole musical testimony.

The album is a happy catch-all. Archibald Razzmott, sung in French, is a fast psychobilly tune with an organ and broken rhythm. The following track, Love Your Man, puts the organ forward for a more psychedelic sound. Crabs is punkabilly. In a different register, “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” begins on a jazzy swaying rhythm with Rockabilly guitar and ends in furious Psychobilly. Fuckin ‘Duffy Duck features, as expected, a nasal duck voice but also a superb and powerful slap-bass. The track can be seen as a psychobilly-duck version of Surfin’ Bird. Torture joins the first Wampas in the pantheon of French Psychobilly. As for I’m Just a Weathercock, it successfully marries Ramones and Psychobilly. Ivanohé is not exceptional and is especially valid, once again, for the double bass. Hiver Pourri and Red Sun are in the Psychobilly lineage, while La La La is more alternative rock. Let’s Get Funky is an unbridled instrumental that owes as much to Hound Dog Taylor’s original as Baby Please Don’t Go. Once again, Vero’s double bass does wonders, and Charly Markarian of the Dazzlers guests on guitar. The drummer left the group in 1988, followed by the singer. A new formation kept playing with a new singer/harmonica player, and some songs saw Véro switch to electric bass. One can find an excellent Surf instrumental (Mort Au Volant) with an awesome Farfisa part on the Rock’n’Horreur compilation.

Euthanasie Records have recently reissued their LP, you can get it here.

The Radioactive Kid

Rockin’ Bones

rockin bones

Rockin’ Bones – Welcome To Forbidden Planet

Spectrex productions RB 0692 – [1992] – Reissued by Kix4U [1994]
Freddy Krueger “the final nightmare” / Tremors / Vampirella / Zombie boogie / Hot rod space / Potage aux légumes / I got to the go-go / Hurlements / Bone-a-billy boogie / Erotic robot / Welcome to the forbidden planet

Formed in 1989, Rockin’ Bones (Arnaud Collin “The Snake”: vocal, Patrice Balluais “Psycho Pat”: drums, Jean Philippe Lloret “Spectrex”: Guitar, Nicolas, then from 1990, Fabien Metayer “Eskimo”: double bass ) practiced a classic style of Psychobilly, a bit in the style of the Krewmen. Their only album, Welcome To Forbidden Planet, is a real success. It features only original compositions, except for a cover in French of Pickled and Preserved by Demented Are Go. The group alternates songs in English and French, and unlike others, the lyrics are well written, and we avoid the typical French aspect, which sticks to too many French groups. Rockin’ Bones seemed to have no other pretensions than fun, and it is ultimately the best way to approach this music.

Boppin’ Cats (the)

The Boppin’ Cats – Please Pretty Baby

Savas – 170016
Please Pretty Baby / Just A Chance

The Boppin’ Cats were a French Rockabilly band formed in 1979. The line-up consisted of Simon Saadoun on vocals, Jean Christophe Niquet on guitar, Yannick Musy on electric bass and François Montgaillard on drums. They also had a second guitar player for a time, and Victor Callas also played drums for the band.
In 1981 they released their unique single on SAVAS (home of Jerry Dixie.) It’s an excellent single featuring two traditional sounding originals: combining the electric bass and drums gives them a sound similar to Ray Campi‘s early recordings. Saadoun wrote the A-side while Musy and Niquet penned the B-side with the help of Eric Rastout.

Dazzlers (the)

dazzlers

The Dazzlers – The Dazzlers


Rockhouse Records – LP 8310 [1983]
Get Away Of My Brain Country Stress Bear Cat -. Day Dream Whistle Bait Indianapolis Cat Man _ Gun In Head Ride On Susie Q Her Love Rubbed Off All Night Long – Street Fight Switch Off Sun


Shortly after the release of their single, the Bopkats changed their name to the Dazzlers, not to be assimilated to the wave of copycats that appeared following the Stray Cats’ sudden success. Michel Thonney (ex-manager of Gene Vincent) noticed them and introduced them to Rockhouse records, giving them a recording contract. They then recorded their only album, which was released in 1983.
The sound mixes Rockabilly and Garage with a Psychobilly influence like the first Meteors or Ricochets. One can also find wild Rock’n’roll (a frenzied cover of Whistle Bait, Bearcat), an instrumental (Indianapolis) in the lineage of Hot Rods songs from the Del-Fi label, sound effects included, a cover of Cat Man all in tension, and more neo-rockabilly oriented songs like Gun In Head. Their cover of Perkins’ Her Love Rubbed Off has nothing to envy what the Cramps will do of this song on Stay Sick. The bassist also plays the saxophone on Street Fight, a slow and menacing track. The Dazzlers had everything to succeed, an almost perfect album, an incredible stage presence (watch the videos on youtube), but unfortunately, the group did not realize all these hopes. Perhaps they were too honest. We can only regret that, when any lousy band that played with a double-bass in the 1980s (no name please) is being reissued, the Dazzlers remain a hidden treasure. The Dazzlers are still too little known, whereas they should have been bigger than the Beatles.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Bopkats (the)

bopkats

The Bopkats – Fight Tonight

Swamp Rock Records – SR 501

Fight Tonight / I Wanna Rock I Wanna Roll

The Bopkats were a Rockabilly band formed in the second half of the 1970s with Norbert Raynaud (bass guitar), Pierre Laffont (Drums), Charles Markarian (guitar), and Patrick Raynaud (vocals). The band released this single in 1982. Side A shows the influence of the English bands of the time (Crazy Cavan, Flying Saucers, Matchbox, Riot Rockers), but the savagery that we will find in the Dazzlers, their next band, begins to emerge. The B side, I Wanna Rock I Wanna Roll, is more influenced by Gene Vincent.
At the beginning of the 80s, the Bopkats became the Dazzlers.