Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Crazy Legs

in Reviews

Crazy Legs – Suspicious Mainz

crazy legs suspicious mainz

Tally-Ho Records TH 310314 [2014]
Tornado – Lonely Blue Boy – Elevator Rock – Come Go With Me – Mahlzeit – In My Dreams – Sittin’ On Top Of The World – I Will Follow – Personal Jesus – Do What I Do – So Sad – Well Respected Man – Raindrops Or Teardrops – Hey Good Lookin’ – Morning Of My Life – Baby Let’s Play House – Your Love Is True

Suspicious Mainz, a word of play between Elvis’ Suspicious Mind and Mainz, the native town of the band, is by far Crazy Legs’ best effort, both in terms of sound and musicianship.
The album is a good balance between well-known covers, more obscure tunes, some surprises (Bee Gees’ Morning Of My Life and Depeche Mode‘s Personal Jesus), and self-penned tunes.
Among those are Malhzeit, a rocking instrumental, I Will Follow in their very own style and sung by Christian the drummer, Well Respected Men with a Diddley beat, Raindrops and Teardrops another one in the manner they polished all through the years and Your Love, a heavier tune that closes the platter. Close? Not exactly. If you wait a little, you’ll hear a hidden track, a second and more rockin’ version of Conway Twitty’s Lonely Blue Boy.

Available here

Crazy Legs – Wir Sind Wieder Wer…

crazy legs wir sind wieder wer…

Tally-Ho Records [2001]
Buona Sera – Es ist so einfach – Hallo, Hallo – Kansas City – Rip it up – Louise – Soll ich bleiben oder geh’n? – Wir wollen Rock – So geht das jede Nacht – Gutnacht Sweetheart – Giddy up-a Ding-Dong – Honey don’t – Wildwood Boogie – Green Door – Boppin’ the Blues – Have a Ball – Route 66 – Rock House – Pink Thunderbird – Cherished Memories – House of the Rising Sun – 20 Flight Rock – I’m a Fool – Don’t push – More than I can say – Everybody’s moving – Little Pig – Tell me the Place

With 28 tracks, this cd is a good value for money. Songs 1 to 10 are studio recordings with three originals and seven covers ranging from Louis Prima’s Buena Sera to Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. They’re all sung in German. My German is not good enough to tell if they respect the lyrics, though looking at the titles, I think so, but the musicianship is excellent.
The remaining tunes are live recordings, mostly consisting of covers. It’s a good complement to the studio sides.

Crazy Legs – The Vinyl Years ’89 – ’93

crazy legs - the vinyl years

Tally-Ho Records [1999]
Hello, Hello – Crazy Legs – Ring Of Fire – Let’s Fall In Love – Death In Neck – A Teenager In Love – Cool Hot Jump Boogie – Singing The Blues – All Fools’ Day – I Shouldn’t Love You So – Diamonds & Lovers – It’s So Easy – Wedding Bells – All State Tennessee Ball – Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-o-dee – Carol-Ann – Tennessee – You’ ll Be Mine – Rockin’ Henry – Loving You Is – I’ll Be Watching You – Too Much Drinkin’ – Folsom Prison Blues – I’m Just Living – Blue Moon Of Kentucky – Red Hot – Stella Got A Fella – Always It’s You – Since You Broke My Heart – Shirley

This 30-tracks album gathers the early recordings of the band, that were until now, only available on vinyl. In addition to the band’s first two EP’s and their debut album, you’ll find six additional bonus tracks recorded between 1991 and 1993. All but one are sung by Christian Kron, the best being “Shirley,” which also features a saxophone.

Crazy Legs – Rockin’ Out, Swingin In

Tally Ho Records [1992]

Wedding Bells – All State Tennessee Ball – Drinkin´ Wine Spodee-o-dee – Carol-Ann – Tennessee – You´ ll Be Mine – Rockin´ Henry – Loving You Is – I´ll Be Watching You – Too Much Drinkin´ – Folsom Prison Blues – I´m Just Living

Crazy Legs’ debut album features solid originals and three covers from the catalog of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Stick McGee. To be honest, these covers are not the strongest point of the album. Otherwise, it’s a very good one.
Musically, not much has changed. It’s still the same brand of neo-rockabilly and doo-wop close in style to the Keytones. The biggest difference you will find from the previous recordings is that the band is now better and tighter. The little flaws in the voice one could find in their debut ep and single are now corrected.
Their guitar player sings on “Carol-Ann” and the drummer takes lead on “I’ll be Watching You” and “I’m Just Living” (both excellent). Having three different singers brings a lot of variety to the sound of the band.

Crazy Legs – Cool & Hot

Crazy Legs Cool & Hot

Tally-Ho Records – TH 201090

Cool Hot Jump Boogie – Singing The Blues – All Fool’s Day – I Should’nt Love You So – Diamonds & Lovers – It’s So Easy

Released in 1990, this second ep is a more accomplished effort. The sound and the production are way better and each member of the band improved his musical skills. And it features four originals for only two covers.

Cool Hot Jump Boogie sounds a bit like the Ringlets Trio with a dash of early Batmobile. Marty Robbins is given the doo wop treatment. Next is a galloping neo-rockabilly number with a powerful slap bass. Christian Kron sings lead on the Keytones inspired I Shouldn’t Love You So and Buddy Holly’s It’s So Easy. Diamonds & Lovers is a gentle and very good ballad.

Crazy Legs – Hello, Hello

Crazy Legs - Hello Hello

Tally-Ho Records ‎– TH 14189  [1989]

Hello, Hello – Crazy Legs – Ring Of Fire – Let´s Fall In Love – Death In Neck – A Teenager In Love

Crazy Legs is a German band formed by Mike Reuter on double bass and vocals, Armin Frob on guitar and Christian Kron on drums. Hello Hello is their first effort on vinyl and was released in 1989.

If a bit young in term of sound, this ep shows the potential of the band. This is neo-rockabilly in which one can hear the influence of bands like the Keytones to name but one.

The result is quite enjoyable with two self penned songs (Hello Hello and Death in Neck) and four covers. Gene Vincent’s Crazy Legs is an obvious choice and is pretty good. Ring Of Fire is sung by Christian the drummer. Cole Porter’s Let’s Fall In Love seems to be a mountain to high to climb for the band but to be honest this has too be one the hardest song to sing whereas Dion’s Teenager In Love suits them better.

Crazy Legs
Crazy Legs

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Swamp Dogs (the)

in Reviews

Swamp Dogs (the) – Teenage Werewolf

swamp dogs teenage werewolf

Crazy Love Records 64416
Side A: Hopeless Aimless – Three Wolfmen – Power of the Drums – Teenage Werewolf – I Dreamt – The Night The Banshees Cried – Bad Moon Rising
Side B: Hopeless Aimless – My True Story – I Dreamt – Ardath Bey – The Night The Banshees Cried – Be A caveman – Moonblood – Mind and Music


The late eighties were an exciting time for the teenager that I was. After the initial shock stirred by the Stray Cats, the Cramps, and the Meteors, I delved into this new music scene like there was no tomorrow. I was discovering and devouring with no distinction records by Hank Williams, Johnny Burnette, and the Frantic Flintstones. Each week I found a new band, thanks to a friend who had a much more extensive collection than me. One day he recorded me a cassette with the Swamp Dogs mini-lp. I was hooked. The Swamp Dogs were different from the rest of the Psychobilly bands. After much persuasion, I managed to buy the vinyl from him. I had to have it. In the following thirty years, my record collection grew up and changed. I sold some records, traded others, but the Swamp Dogs remained firmly in the “do-not-sell-at-any-price” category, even though I carefully transferred it onto a cd.
One year after pleasing all the Psychobilly fanatics by releasing the long lost and last album of the Krewmen, Crazy Love reiterates with the complete recordings of the Swamp Dogs.
The first four tracks of side one are the early studio recordings of the band. Roland Heinrich takes the lead on two tracks (including Three Wolfmen that sounds like a psychotic version of Crawdad Hole), and Screamin’ Stefan Schuster sings the threatening and bluesy Power of the Drums and Teenage Werewolf (an original song, not the Cramps tune.) Yes, the Swamp Dogs briefly had a second singer, that’s what you’ll learn with this album, and the extensive liner notes included.
Four months later, when the Swamp Dogs returned to the studio to record their next session (tracks A5 to A7 and B1 and B8), Schuster was gone, and the trio had developed its unique sound. Next to Roland’s unmistakable vocals and powerful slap bass, it is essential to mention Christian’s one-of-a-kind style. This guy created a sound of his own by mixing influences that, I suppose, went beyond the Psychobilly and Rockabilly genres. With the help of Attila’s sparse drumming, the trio slowly departed from the “rockabilly on speed” pattern that was often used to play Psychobilly and expanded their style with songs featuring unusual structures. Except for “Bad Moon Rising” and “Mind and Music,” the whole session, like the previous one, remained unissued and appears here for the first time.
At the end of 1987, the trio was back in the recording room to cut their mini-LP (THE famous mini LP.) Once again, they took their vision one step further. If “My True Story” and “The Night the Banshees Cried” bring the essential touch of fast Psychobilly, the new and improved version of “I Dreamt” is an eerie and hypnotic tune. Likewise, Ardath Bay keeps the Rockabilly ingredients to which they add an Oriental vibe as well as a quote of Swan Lake.” Moonblood” manages to be raw and melodic, and is another proof of Heinrich’s songwriter talent. The set is completed by a cover “Be A Caveman” from the Avengers (via Ug and the Cavemen.) that shows some garage influences.
Crazy Love didn’t cut corners: heavy cardboard, superb printing*, a lengthy history of the band, tons of pictures, and I repeat seven tracks released here for the first time.
Considering that the mini-LP is also hard to find, this reissue is sure to sell like glasses of water in the burning desert. But no need to write to me, even though I have this album, I keep my mini-LP too.

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis
*The preview doesn’t do justice to the print job since it’s been done using fluorescent Pantone inks.

Ten Strike

in Reviews

10_strike_cover
Ten Strike – Rawkabilly

Ten Strike – Rawkabilly

Trail To Hell – That’s Right – Under Vultures – Lonely Nights

Hailing from Germany, this trio played a mixture of wild rockabilly and what is now called old school psychobilly. They started in the 80’s, had an album on Tombstone Record in 1989 (Outlaw) and supported acts like The Guana Batz, Stray Cats, The Keytones and The Frantic Flintstones. On hiatus for a few years the band returned with this mini lp. The slap bass led mid-tempo “Trail To Hell” has a fine cowboy ballad feel. The singer’s voice on this one reminds a bit of the dutch bands The Tigermen and their song “Gone, Gone, Gone” for those who remember them. “That’s Right” is maybe more classical, a fast rocker with a psycho edge but nonetheless very pleasant. Under Vultures is a new version of a song from their Outlaw lp, and has that fine 80’s neo-rockabilly in the chorus I like so much with backing vocals and stop-starts with slap bass solos. This too short ep ends with “Loneley Nights” a slow tempo with a bluesy feel. The overall production work is very well done and the songs are all written by the band.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Ten Strike - Outlaw
Ten Strike – Outlaw

Ten Strike – Outlaw

Tombstone – Tomb-Disc 681  [1990]

No More Reason To Cry – Long Legs – Under Vultures – Wide Open Land – That’s Right – Country Playin’ – Outlaw Man – Bound To Die – She Ain’t No Good – Wheels Of Steel – Don’t Look Now – 51 Merc – So Many Times

First long play by this German band released in 1990. The line up on this record is Jürgen Fröhlich on Guitar, Vocals, Peter Urban on Double Bass and Jochen Vaupel (who previously played in the Swamp Dogs) on drums.
This is a classic neo-rockabilly album with twelve self-penned songs and one interesting cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Dont Look Now.

Ray Black & The Flying Carpets

in Reviews

Ray Black & the Flying Carpets – Better Way To Move

Rhythm Bomb – RBR-5883 [2018]
Favorite Doll – Rolling Stone – Secret Lover – Big Boy Rock – Better Way To Move – It Ain’t Right – Shakey Heart – Something Blue – Little E – She’s Gone I’m Fine – Rollerskating Girl – Guy Fawkes Blues
Ray Black & the Flying Carpets is a German quartet. The bandmembers are Ray Black (Singer, Upright Bass), Martin Bone (Lead Guitar), Howlin’ Herbst (Rhythm Guitar, Baritone), and Boz Doz (Drums.)
This album covers a wide range of musical genres. If they don’t convince me with their brand of wild electric Rockabilly, I find them more interesting when they explore other styles. They’ve got a couple of blues bopper and blues-oriented numbers with harmonica and piano that are quite good as well as their more traditional stuff like It Ain’t Right.
I also enjoyed Little E, an early ’60s rocker ala Bertha Lou.
The main problem is that you jump from one style to another, but in the end, the whole album lacks coherence. It’s hard to find the real identity and personality of the band within all those styles. They really should stick to one genre and develop their own style.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Hot Wire

in Reviews

Hot Wire – Tribute

hot wire tribute

Part Records – Part-CD684 002
Tigerfeet – The Joker – Radio Sweetheart – I’m On Fire – Wonderful Life – Perfect – The Look – Mystify – Like A Prayer – Under The Bridge – U.F.O. – I Want You To Want Me – Mary Ann – F***in’ Sweet

Hot Wire – If It Ain’t Rock’n’Roll, We’ll Fix It

Hot Wire If it aint Rock'n'roll we'll fix it

Part Records – Part-CD684 001
Highschool Ceasar – Slippin’ & Slidin’ – Tainted Love – Viva Las Vegas – Proud Mary – Cocaine Blues – Summertime – I Wanna Be Like You – Red Light – No Heart To Spare – Breakaway – You Shook Me All Night Long – Ignition – Casting My Spell (live) – Built For Speed (live) – Crazy Little Thing Called Love (live) – All By Myself (live) – Ghostriders In The Sky (live) – The Passenger (live) – Bop A Lena (live) – Stray Cat Strut (live)

Hot Wire are a German quartet that seems to specialize in applying neo-rockabilly treatment to pop songs. Many bands have done that before with various degrees of success, when it works it’s usually on short distance, but a full album unless you’re very good is far too much.
Above all, the song has to be good and adding a slap bass isn’t enough to transform it into a rockabilly number. For example, recently Barney’s Boogie Train covered Iron Maiden’s I’m Running Free and Mickael Jackson’s Beat It which arent specially “rockabilly”, but they managed to find the rockin’ element in these songs (the train rhythm for Iron Maiden and the syncopation for Jackson). So why Hot Wire covered Roxette (the 80’s band not the Doctor Feelgood song) remains a mystery to me. Same for Madonna’s Like a Prayer. Once the surprise is gone, there’s nothing really interesting left, musically speaking. That’s too bad because you can hear they are good musicians and even if the singer is not the best I’ve heard, they do a good job. It’s just the choice of the material that is odd.
The second album is made of more rockin’ material and works better, but the comparison to the originals often works against the band (Proud Mary, Cocaine Blues, Ignition…). It also contains ten bonus tracks recorded live but the sound is very poor.
Not a bad band but they should work on their own songs.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Trillionairs

in Contemporary artists/Reviews/Singles/T

trillionairsThe Trillionairs – Haunted

Killjoy records – Kill 023 [2017]
Haunted – Alohol
The Trillionairs are a German neo-rockabilly/psychobilly quartet. After a short dialog taken from what I assume to be a old movie (though I didn’t recognize it), Haunted kicks off. Two guitars, one with a distorted sound and another with a more rockabilly sound, a powerful slap bass completed by superb drumming (the band’s secret weapon), and on top of that a fierce and aggressive voice. With a change of pace in the middle, this is first class psychobilly.
B sides takes more or less the same ingredients, including fine drums breaks too, but is slightly faster. That’s all I love and I ask from a band : tight musicianship, good songs and more than two ideas for the arrange them.
500 copies (400 black, 50 red and 50 white)

Available here.

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