Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Crazy Legs

in Reviews

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

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.

The Retarded Rats

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

Retarded ratsThe Retarded Rats – I Hate Chocolate

Killjoy records – Kill 024 [2017]

The Head and the Axe – Survival

A broken record player coupled with a busy schedule delayed the review of a batch of vinyl records I received from Killjoy records, including this single from the Retarded rats. And just when I finally can review it, I hear the news that they decided to take a break . Rats !

Killjoys is known for its colored vinyl releases and cassettes. This single makes no exception to the good taste of the label. It comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve, nicely designed and illustrated with… a flexi disc inside. Yes you read well, a flexi disc.
For releasing such beautiful objects, Flatty and Anna Killjoy deserve all our respect, admiration and support (in other words : buy the discs !) But they deserve all of that and more  for another simple and obvious reason : their music.
A side could be described as psychedelic-psychobilly, not that surprising for a song about voices in the head that lead to a hatchet in a skull.
B side is more rocking with a slight western twang. It also features pretty good lyrics too. Like everyone I like songs about vampires, ghouls and zombies but I was pleased to find more personnal and almost reflective lyrics that find a strange echo with the news of the band calling it quit.

Limited to 500 copies.

Available here and here.


The Retarded Rats - Screams from the 10th Planet
The Retarded Rats – Screams from the 10th Planet

The Retarded Rats – Screams from the 10th Planet

Killjoy Records KILL-017
The Engine Starts – No time to die – Neo-psychobilly – You Lost my brain – Headshot – Searching – Fingertip in the Sky – Inquisition – the key – Coulrophobia – Nananananananananananana – Screams fromt he 10th planet

I sometimes fear that I don’t have the legitimacy to review Psychobilly albums. After all, I stopped following the evolution of the genre since the mid 90’s, when bands began to incorporate too much elements of metal, hardcore or were just playing punk with a slap bass. But the Retarded Rats LP came as a nice surprise. I first thought that the main reason was due to the sound that brought back my teenage year. But it was much more than that. And simplier: the Retarded Rats are a pretty good band.

With the feet firmly rooted in the classic Psychobilly tradition of the mid 80’s/late 90’s, this trio (Gordon melmac on drums, Flatty Killjoy on guitar and organ and Anna Killjoy on doublebass and lead vocals) from Leipzig, Germany, takes the genre one step further without denaturing it. Without a doubt the light guitar, the slap bass (a real slap bass with warm notes and a wood sound, not that horrendous metallic clicking sound one too often hears) and even the voice of Anna, the female lead singer (I couldn’t help but think about Something Shocking or Dypsomaniaxe) belong to the what is usually described as old school psychobilly but the melodies, the songs (all originals) and the arrangements are 100% their own.
By no means are the Retarded Rats a nostalgic band playing a music of the past. They have too many good ideas for that. The sound has a lot to do with that too, it’s raw – recorded live on 8 track reel to reel – but not dirty (well, okay a bit dirty, but just what it needs, see what I mean)

In the end the best way I can find to describe this excellent combo is the title of one of the best songs of the album: neo-psychobilly.
Like Rockabilly, Psychobilly saw a lot of 80’s bands reforming in the recent years to play weekenders, that’s a good thing (who wouldn’t like to see legends?) but I firmly believe that the future of Psychobilly lays in bands like the Retarded Rats who bring new blood and ideas but remain faithful to the genre.

Order it here : http://www.killjoy-records.de/en/home/136-the-retarded-rats-screams-from-the-10th-planet.html

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

45 Rpm

in Interviews

45 rpm
45 rpm

45 rpm

[archive from 2007]
Even if you haven’t heard about 45 RPM before, the name of Thorsten (aka Schroeder) and Jurgen may be familiar to you. They both were members of the neo-rockabilly trio The Javes and had a few records out in the mid 80’s. A few years later, well decided to take over the world but this time with a more authentic sounding rockabilly (I don’t like the term but I haven’t found a better one yet), they found the secret weapon to team with in the person of Sandra : a cute little girl with a rockin’ Patsy Cline voice.
Their second album has just been released, it contains 16 tunes and 9 are written by the band.

by Fred “Virgil” Turgis


How did you meet and how did 45 rpm form?

Sandra – The beginning of 45 rpm was ca.2002/2003. After a few changes of some different bandmembers we´re playing in this constellation since July 2005.

Many american artist discovered rockabilly music with their parents or in a family context. What about you. What led you to this music.
Sandra – My Mom and Dad kept me hearing Mr. Johnny Cash since I was a little “Anything” as she was pregnant with me. As I behold the world I knew that I was looking in 6 really good rocking eyes. MY MOM; MY DAD AND MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER!!!!

Thorsten and Jurgen, you were members of The Javes back in the mid-80’s. One word about that?
Thorsten – Yes, we did! (wow, that’s what I call “one word” – Virgil)

Didn’t The Javes work with Boz Boorer? Are there any unreleased recordings from that period?
Thorsten – Wow, we did work with Boz Boorer in England indeed. But almost no one did know that. We cut 4 songs for Ray Frenshaws Northwood Records, none of it has been released so far. And one of these is a smash hit ( Soldier in the night), promised.

Before joining this guys, Sandra, have you heard about their dark past?
Sandra – Not really – smile- Did they have a dark past, wwooow…

Sandra, when did you start singing? Is this your first band?
Sandra – I enjoy singing since I was a little girl sitting on mummys lap.
In the late 90´s I start singing in my first band. That time I´d been singing in a soul band. But I left that band a few month later. Very strange band – the bassman was in a relationship with the girl on the sax. He was 47 years old and she was 17 – ooops!

Could you tell us about your influences?
Sandra – Since I listened music I was interested in “Old Style Music”.
It started with 60´s – northern-soul-, Rocksteady, Ska, you know?
Approximately 1995 I listened to my first Stray Cats, Restless, Rattlers and (oho) Nekromantix LP. (Shame on me that I´ve never heard this good rocking sound before) And now, here I am ;o)
Mr. Bass Jürgen and Trixomatic don´t say any word – they always slap, and slap, and slap…
Thorsten – I dig very early Neo-Rockabilly, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, T-Bone Walker, Chico Hamilton. Songwise I go for the “pop”songs, tracks with a catchy melody!

What about your drummer? I’ve heard he joined the band in an impromptu way.
Sandra – Yes, indeed. The “old” drummer didn´t show up for a gig. So we needed to find a new drummer, quick! DJ Rollin´Danny (Trixomatic Olliver) was available at this time and we knew it from the very first gig that he fits perfectly in the band.

Schroeder, you have your own studio and have just recorded a solo album, tell us about that please.
Thorsten – Songs I recorded over the past 16 month, twiddling the knobs in my studio. Played all guitars, drums, handled the vocals and asked two friends of mine to help out with the bass playing. Jürgen did one half of the songs; It´s a mixture from swampy roots rockabilly to voodoo neorhythms to swinging rockabilly tunes. So far, I have not tried to find a label, and give some of them away for free on the homepage.

Does your nickname, Schroeder, come from the Peanuts?
Thorsten – Yes, Schroeder comes from the Peanuts: Sandra once said I would remind her of this piano player character and ever since…

Are you crazy about Beethoven like him?
Thorsten – Personally I go for J.S. Bach, absolutely brilliant. Beethoven is too heavy for me. He was deaf, anyway…

Are you full-time musicians or do you have a day jobs?
Sandra – I´m working ( rocking and rolling, too ) in a day-nursery. Everywhere I am I hear tunes in my head! No voices – TUNES!!!
Thorsten – I´m a full time student ( hehe) ( psychology and sociology), but I live on making music.

You recently backed Rayburn Anthony. It must have been a big thrill to you. Tell us about that.please
Sandra – BE SIMPLY SPEECHLESS!!
It was THE big thrill and the audience was captivate us and we could captivate, too. Is there anything better?

A last word?
Sandra – Hope, we see us and rock the house together!
Best wishes from Fortyfive rpm!!!

Barney’s Boogie Train

in Reviews

Barney's Boogie Train - Jukebox Attack
Barney’s Boogie Train – Jukebox Attack

Barney’s Boogie Train – Jukebox Attack

EMG 00761
Beat It – Rock’n’Roll Outlaw – In The Summertime – Sweet Home Alabama – Sweet Home Alabama – Way Down – Paint It Black – I’m On Fire – Brand New Cadillac – Nothing Else Matters – Shadow Play – Gene And Eddie – Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll – I’m Running Free – Somethin’ Else
If there’d be an award for the most recreative rock’n’roll album, BBT’s latest LP would figure in good place to get it. This German trio had the idea (almost a concept) to cover songs from different horizons, especially the ones you’re not used to hear on a rock’n’roll/rockabilly album, and play it in their own “billy” sound. Except for two or three songs the result is really excellent.
Among the best you’ll find Michael Jackson’s Beat It (which reminded me an old interview with Lux Interior saying he considered Jackson as a great rockabillly vocalist), Rose Tattoo’ Rock’n’Roll Outlaw (but you can’t go wrong with Angry Anderson and his gang), Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama that starts like a Johnny Cash tune before exploding and Paint It Black that almost manages to make you forget the Quakes version.
Other notable renditions are Bruce Springsteen I’m On Fire, turned into an upbeat country song; Metallica’s Nothing Else Matter (which is in Barney’s hands a jazzy number close to Satan Takes A Holliday) and my favorite Iron Maiden’s I’m Running Free (from their first album), which stays quite close to the original, but it would have been a mistake to change such a killer beat.
Equally good is Barney’s self penned number Way Down.
More dispensable are Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime, but I never really liked this number. Gene & Eddie and Something Else are not among my favorites neither, maybe because they stay too close to the originals or being already rockabilly/rock’n’roll songs (and very well known ones) the surprise doesn’t work like it does with the other numbers.
Anyway these are minor reproaches and this album is very good. I hope they’ll do a volume two (and maybe they’ll include one AC/DC song).
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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