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Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang

in Reviews
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang - Wild Youth
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Rockhouse [1982]
Wild Youth – She Will Come Back – 56 Boys –  Tainted Love – Love Me – My Turn – On The Move – One And Only – Flea Brain – Should I Ever Love Again – Summertime – Baby Blue – Just Can’t Believe – Wow

Having left the Blue Cats in 1980, Dave Phillips took some time off before forming his own band. Still with Gene Vincent in mind he named his new band the Hot Rod Gang after the 1958 movie featuring the screaming kid. The first line-up consisted of John Day and Ray Thompson on guitars, Rob Tyler on drums and of course Dave Phillips on double bass and lead vocals. But it’s the second line-up with Mark Harman from Restless on guitar replacing both Day and Thompson that entered the history of modern rockabilly. Harman was the perfect choice, his fast Gallup influenced licks being the perfect complement to Phillips. The trio recorded Wild Youth in late 1981 and contrary to what the cover reads it’s Tyler on drums and not Andrew Wrightson who was the band’s driver (even on the cd reissue features the mistake).
One can suppose that the label (Rockhouse for both) acted with Phillips the same way he did with the Blue Cats’ second album (with Clint Bradley) hence the presence of many familiar cover in a more traditional style (Flea Brain, Summertime, Baby Blue and the Phantom’s Love Me sung by Harman). But there’s enough modern stuff to make of Wild Youth a benchmark in Neo-Rockabilly history, the best known being their cover of Tainted Love. It’s an instant classic that will have a lasting influence on many young bands.
Essential to any decent collection.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dave Phillips

Dave Phillips – Rockhouse Mini L.P. Collection

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8420 [1985]

Brand New Beat – The Fun Of It – In My Dreams – So Now You’ve Lost her – You Don’t Want to Know – The Trip

I said it before and I’ll say it again, mini lp are often the best support for Rockabilly. It’s short, every number counts and there’s no place for fillers.
Dave Phillips’ mini lp for Rockhouse is the perfect exemple of that statement.It’s almost perfect and dare I say, even better than his debut solo album.
Once again one can hear the influence of Gene Vincent, with the covers of Brand New beat (imagine Vincent revisited by Restless of vanish Without A Trace period) and In My Dreams which is probably the weakest song of the album (but to his discharge it’s hard to compete with Vincent on that type of song.)
The four remaining tracks are originals. You Don’t Want to Know features Mark Harman of Restless (and former hot Rod Gang member) on guitar and is a rockin’ ballad with once again the shadow of Gene Vincent over it.
So You’ve Lost Her is a medium rocker while the Fun of it is a fast neo-rockabilly with breaks later covered by French band the Happy Drivers on their debut album and the Trip is Worth th eprice of the album alone. This fast modern rockabilly number (with a dash of psychobilly) is a modern masterpiece.

Dave Phillips – The Best Of

Rockhouse records ROCKCD8603
Tainted love -’56 Boys – Wild youth – She will come back – Love me – On the move – It was free – The trip – Every walk of life – I saw her standing there – Sunshine girl – So now you lost her – The fun of it – Brand new beat – I’m gonna die – I’m driving home – Boogie up roar – Pink thunderbird – Cat man

If you don’t have any of the solo albums of Dave Phillips or the Blue Cats (which is, in my opinion, a shame), you should definitely acquire this best-of album.
It covers the “Rockhouse years” of the fame double-bassist, with songs from the first Blue Cats album, the studio recordings (including the hit Tainted Love) and two live songs lifted from the Live at the Rockhouse compilation album.
It also shows that Phillips always had the best musicians to back him, Rob Tyler on drums and aces like Mark Harman, Paul Gaskin and Mick Malone on guitar.


Dave Phillips – Understatements

Kix 4 U Records ‎– 4U 3334
Rescue – Desert Town – Every Walk Of Life – Next Stop – Night Life – Paradise For The Children – The Trip – Room At The Top – Sunshine Girl – I Saw Her Standing There – Dancing Shoes – The Fun Of It!

Following the success of Tainted Love, Bert Rockhuizen of Rockhouse/Kix4U pushed Dave Phillips to add even more modern elements on Understatements.
Hence, despite having good melodies, most of the album is made of pop/new wave-influenced music with a modern production that has little if nothing in common with Rockabilly.
Nevertheless, a bunch of great self-penned Neo-Rockabilly numbers (The Trip, The Fun of it, and the Beatles influenced Next Stop) and two good rocking covers of the Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There and Buzz & the Flyers’Every Walk of Life, save half of the platter.


Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Look Out!

Bank Of Troy Recordings ‎– AR-92-1-33, My Way Records ‎– WAY LP 1223 [1992]
New Job – Git It – Goin’ Up The Country – It Was Free – She’s A Woman – No Comeback – Joy Ride – Ain’t That Good News – Handsome Johnny – Linda Lou – A Soft Growl – It’s Murder On The Streets

After going too deep into the musical experimentation with “Understatements” his previous album, Dave Phillips wisely chose to return to what he does best: ROCK! And what a better band than the original Hot Rod Gang (the faithful Rob Tyler on drums and Mark Harman as well as Paul Gaskin on guitars) to help him?
The result is a superb twelve track album. Some tracks a pure neo-rockabilly (almost Psychobilly for “It’s Murders On the Streets”); others are more traditional sounding. As usual with Phillips, there’s special care to write melodic songs (or cover songs with strong melodies), and he’s attached to add a variety of instruments (piano, harmonica, flute) to explore styles and moods. There’s even a slow, which is always a good point!
The only low point being the drawing on the cover.

Available here.


Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Good Thing

Fury Records F3035 [1995]
Good Thing – I’ve Just Seen A Face – Rollin’ Danny – Teenage Partner – Here Comes The Night – Linda Lu (Live Recording)

Recorded in 1995, Good Thing features Rob Tyler on drums and Darrel Higham on guitar. This mini-album features six covers. Next to the now mandatory Beatles cover, there are songs from Fine Young Cannibals, Gene Vincent, Hank Noble, and Ray Sharpe.
Good Thing, the song, captures the same vibe as Tainted Love. Phillips is as usual extremely at ease when it comes to singing Gene Vincent his idol, and both Here Comes the Night and Linda Lu rock (the latter being recorded live.) Surprisingly, they do not convince with their cover of the Beatles, which is usually one of their strong points.
The whole atmosphere is very laid back, and it benefits to the final result.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read our in depth interview with Dave Phillips here.

Niteshift Trio (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

The origin of the Niteshift trio can be traced when Gary Venn started to learn double bass in the early 1980s. His teacher was Boz Boorer from the legendary Polecats (and now Morrissey’s main man). He soon teamed up with a school friend called Steve Lovett on guitar and they started to practice in his mum and dads garage. It all seemed to fall into place and they quickly found their own sound. Their drummer at that time was a guy called Carl.
Things went well and the trio played lots of gigs at various rockin’ clubs around the country.They gained a good reputation and one evening after a gig they met Dell Richardson from Fury records who asked them to do some recordings for him on a couple of compilation albums (Gipsy Girl, I Love My Car, She’s Just Rockin’, Taken By Force).

Then Carl left to emigrate to California. By chance they knew Keith Bailey a fan of the band who also played drums. He was proposed the place. This line-up recorded their unique album “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” still for Fury. Using the lp as a card the Niteshift Trio gained more gigs abroad, including Germany which they toured twice with the Guana Bats, Demented Are Go the Deltas and various other top name and is remembered as a fantastic experience.

Unfortunately Steve decided to quit the band to become a solo country and western singer, which he still does now. Gary went on to form a new band called Loveless, a wild rock n roll band doing various rock n roll with a trashy sound, for which he switched from double bass to guitar and vocals enjoying playing and writing songs. Loveless toured Germany and went down a storm and it remains like a great experience for Gary.

The Niteshift Trio - You Aint Seen Nothing Yet
The Niteshift Trio – You Aint Seen Nothing Yet

The Niteshift Trio – You ain’t seen nothing yet

Fury / Raucous RAUC 237
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet – One More Day – Leave ‘Em Cold – Venus – See My Body – Super Jet Rumble – Rockin’ In The Graveyard – Cadillac Ranch – Train Don’t Stop Here – Don’t Let It Fade Away – Slide – Taken By Force / Life Could Be Easy – Don’t Need Nobody – Taken By Force – What D’Ya See Now.

After numerous apparitions on compilation albums (one of their track even gave its name to “Taken By Force”), the Niteshift Trio finally made it on long distance.
“You AIn’t Seen Nothing Yet” is a typical 80’s neo-rockabilly album. The ingredients are all here (light guitar and snare, slap bass to the fore) and the result is rather pleasant. They have good originals and like many rockabilly bands of this era they also cover rather unusual material like Venus (made famous by Bananarama) and Bruce Springsteen’s Cadillac Ranch. This cover is the only weak point of this platter, using and abusing of a repetitive riff, but to their discharge this boring riff was also present on the Boss’ version.
The original album is rounded by bonus material coming from the aforementionned compilations
This is a must have album for any true neo-rockabilly fans and a good reissue from Raucous.

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Deuces Wild

in Reviews

deuces_wildDeuces Wild – Brutal Purity

Vampirette VAMPCD106 [1989]
Just Alright ~ Diamonds At Her Feet ~ What Colour Is The Sky ~ Make That Date ~ Never Came Back ~ Decisions On Love ~ Am I Wrong ~ Look That Looks Good ~ Sweet Love From You ~ Deuces Wild ~ Blues So Bad ~ Brutal Purity ~ Radiation Ranch ~ Deuces Wild ~ City Bound
This album was first issued on Fury in 1989 and until now was only available on vinyl, so that’s a good idea from Vampirette to reissue it, especially with 3 bonus tracks. The Deuces Wild were a british neo rockabilly trio. The majority of the songs are rockers influenced by Cochran, Restless (Deuces Wilds #2) and of course Brian Setzer, the excellent and frantic “Brutal Purity” sounds like a mix of Stray Cats “Wicked Whiskey” and Restless’ “Crack Up And Fall To Pieces” (you could find worst references for a neo band) and included in the bonus tracks is a good rendition of “Radiation Ranch” from Setzer’s solo album The Knife Feels Like Justice. Pete Hague’s voice is not that far from Paul Roman (The Quakes) at places and talking about The Quakes if you dig their “Voice Of America” album, you sure wont be disappointed with the stuff contained herein. But their originality comes from the blues elements you can find on some songs (It’s Alright, Am I Wrong), close to the recordings made by The Nervous Fellas around the same period. They try to escape the clichés (and succeed) with some tunes you’re not used to find on “80’s neo rockabilly-slap bass led” albums like the jazzy blues “Blues So Bad” or the acoustic skifflebilly “Diamonds At Her Feet”. Sure this album won’t change your life, but this is a more than pleasant reissue if you dig “Gonna Ball” by The Stray Cats and that typical 80’s rockabilly sound like I do.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Deuces Wild - Johnny Rider
Deuces Wild – Johnny Rider

Deuces Wild – Johnny Rider

Raucous Records RAUC004
Completely Sweet – Cadillac Rust – Shook Shake – Out On My Own – Tear It Up – No Time For That – Johnny Rider – I’ll Be Right Here – Bitter Tears – Sugar In My Coffee – Lodi

 

 

 

 


Deuces Wild - Cadillac Rust
Deuces Wild – Cadillac Rust

Deuces Wild – Cadillac Rust

Raucous Records RAUC15
Completely Sweet – Cadillac Rust – Johnny Rider – I’ll Be Right Here

The Niteshift Trio

in Profiles

niteshift-trioThe Niteshift Trio

Gary Venn started to learn double bass in the early 1980s. His teacher was Boz Boorer from the legendary Polecats (and now Morrissey’s main man). He soon teamed up with a school friend called Steve Lovett on guitar and they started to practice in his mum and dads garage. It all seemed to fall into place and they quickly found their own sound. Their drummer at that time was a guy called Carl.
Things went well and the trio played lots of gigs at various rockin’ clubs around the country.They gained a good reputation and one evening after a gig they met Dell Richardson from Fury records who asked them to do some recordings for him on a couple of compilation albums (Gipsy Girl, I Love My Car, She’s Just Rockin’, Taken By Force). Then Carl left to emigrate to California. By chance they knew Keith Bailey a fan of the band who also played drums. He was proposed the place. This line-up recorded their unique album “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” still for Fury. It is a typical 80’s neo-rockabilly album with light guitar and snare and slap bass to the fore. Using the lp as a card the Niteshift Trio gained more gigs abroad, including Germany which they toured twice with the Guana Bats, Demented Are Go the Deltas and various other top name and is remembered as a fantastic experience. Unfortunately Steve decided to quit the band to become a solo country and western singer, which he still does now. Gary went on to form a new band called Loveless, a wild rock n roll band doing various rock n roll with a trashy sound, for which he switched from double bass to guitar and vocals enjoying playing and writing songs. Loveless toured Germany and went down a storm and it remains like a great experience for Gary.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” has since been reissued on cd by Raucous including the compilation tracks as a bonus.
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