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The Krewmen

in Reviews


The Krewmen – Ramblin’ / I’m Gonna Get It

the krewmen

Lost Moment LM024
The Krewmen were one of the best band to emerge from the british rockabilly scene of the mid-eighties along with Red Hot’n’Blue, The Riverside Trio and The Blue Rhythm Boys to name but a few. The band was formed by bassist Tony McMillan in 1982, first as a rockabilly combo. After a few changes, the Krewmen found its best line-up with : Tony McMillan on bass, Jimmy Faye on drums and a young Carl Sonny Leyland on guitar, harmonica, piano and vocals. Together they pushed the band toward a more bluesy sound. Ramblin’ is a great “delta-blues meets Chicago blues” stuff. The electricity is here but you still have a big country flavour. This tune shows what a great slide guitarist is Carl Leyland, too bad he doesn’t play it anymore. The b-side, “I’m gonna get it” is a Jazz Gillum song. Listening to this version shows that the Krewmen were more than a “cover band”. They play this song and make it their own. The song, the voice and the harp are clearly bluesy, but the way McMillan slaps his bass and the scorchy guitar look toward rockabilly. Let’s call it rockabilly blues.The band recorded an EP and this single with this line-up, both on lost moment. Then they disbanded and soon after Tony McMillan came back, this time on guitar, with a new version of the Krewmen. Carl Leyland and Judge Faye were no longer here and the sound of the day was “modern rockabilly” to soon evolve into psychobilly. Carl Leyland later moved to the USA and became the famous piano player we know and Fahy joined Get Smart . The “original” Krewmen were an amazing band and it’s really sad they didn’t last long enough to release a full length album but Lost Moment re-released this legendary recordings on a CD called “Klassic Tracks From 1985!” (LMCD054) and you can find some other Krewmen recordings on Carl Sonny Leyland’s album “I Like Boogie Woogie” (On The Hill OTHRCD 001). Look for them, they definititely worth it.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
The Krewmen - Into the Tomb
The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

Lost Moment Records ‎– LMLP 014 [1987]
Let Loose – Should I Stay or Go – Devil’s Daughter – Public Enemy Number One – Hava Nagila – Curse of the Pharaohs – Solid Gold Easy Action – Hostage – I’m Not Dead – Swamp Club Ball

Third and last release with the classic Psychobilly line-up of the Krewmen (Tony Mc Millan on guitar, Mark Cole on vocals, Dominic Parr on drums and Jason Thornton on double bass).
The sound hardens a bit compared to the Adventure and Sweet Dreams with a fast paced cover of the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go (a song that was heavily covered by Psychobilly bands at one point). Other covers are T-Rex Solid Gold Action and a Dick Dale inspired version of the traditionnal Hava Naguila.
All in all it’s a solid album, though maybe a little less essential than the first two albums.


The Krewmen - Plague of the dead
The Krewmen – Plague of the dead

The Krewmen – Plague of the Dead

Lost Moment [1988] – Reissue Part Records – PART-CD 6114-001 [2014]
Plague of the Dead – I’m Not Your Stepping Stone – Scream of the Banshees – Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – What’s Wrong – I Can’t Stop – Take a Little More – The Clock – Legend of the Piper – Do You Wanna Touch – Beat the Devil – My Generation

One can distinct three main periods in the history of the Krewmen. The first one was the Rockabilly-blues years that saw the release of two singles with Carl Sonny Leyland. Next they changed their style to psychobilly with Mark Cole on vocals and the recordings of three classic psychobilly albums (the Adventure of, Sweet Dreams and Into the Tomb). Cole eventually left in 1987 and Tony McMillan, then guitar player took over the vocal duties and came with a new line-up including Steve Piper on drums and a Mark Burke.
The sound changed with the line-up too, getting harder and including different elements than Psychobilly and Rockabilly like metal, punk rock, glam rock. “Plague Of The Dead” combines all those influences. The choice of the covers reveals this orientation and McMillan’s varied tastes. From Eddie Cochran’s Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie to Gary Glitter’s Do You Wanna Touch via The Who’s My Generation and Steppin’ Stone (Paul Revere, The Monkees but also covered by The Sex Pistols). Tony quotes classic rockers like Chuck Berry and Elvis for influence but he also adds Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix and Sex Pistols to the list.
It wasn’t easy to follow Cole and their first three albums, but McMillan succeeds to renew the band and “Plague Of The Dead” contains some very good moments like “Legend Of The Piper”, “Take A Little More” and the previously mentioned covers. It’s  also quite refreshing to see a band that doesn’t care about boundaries.
So once again it’s agood job from Part Record to reissue this album (with interesting booklet that contains press clips). Hopefully they’ll release the rest of the band’s discography in the near future. One can only regret the label didn’t include the non-album b-sides released at the same time as bonus.


The Krewmen - Power
The Krewmen – Power

The Krewmen – Power

Lost Moment LMLP 021 [1990]
Devils Lair – Miranda – Undead – The Rats – Anymore – Stone – Get Lost – 2 Souls – Knight Moves – Back To The Ball

Little by little, fans of the Krewmen saw them adding more and more hard core elements to their music and slowly drop the rockabilly idiom out of their sound. This musical position culminates with Power, which is plain hard-roce with heavy and distorted guitars, hard pounding drums with breaks, raspy voice and powerful slap bass. Some elements are even strictly heavy metal / hard rock with tatseless guitar like Knight Moves.
It’s still very well produced and play and features ecellent tunes like Back to the Ball a follow up to Swamp Club Ball from Into the Tomb, but far from the traditionnal psychobilly sound of the three albums released with Mark Cole.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nervous records

in LABELS

Nervous records, the legendary rockabilly/neo-rockabilly/psychobilly label formed by Roy Williams (interviewed here), once called by Paul Roman of the Quakes “the Sam Phillips of Psychobilly”.
Website: http://www.nervous.co.uk/

nervous records

Nervous Records discography

The Polecats – Cult Heroes – NERD 001
Deltas – Boogie Disease – NERD 002
Various Hep Cat Hop – NERD 003
Restless – Why Don’t You Just Rock – NERD 004
The Ricochets – Made In The Shade – NERD 005
Buzz & The Flyers – Self titled – NERD 006
Various – Stack-A-Records – NERD 007
The Sharks – Phantom Rockers – NERD 008
Dave Taylor – Midnight Rock – NERD 009
The Blue Cats – Early Days – NERD 010
The Blue Cats – Early Days Vol2 – NERD 011
Big Daddy Sun and Outer Planets – Rockabilly – NERD 012
Freddy Frog – Self Titled – NERD 013
Ronnie and The Jitters – Roll Over – NERD 014
Restless – Do you Feel Restless – NERD 015
Frenzy – Hall Of Mirrors – NERD 016
Various – Hell Bent On Rockin’ – NERD 017
Rochee & The Sarnos – Understanding Sarno – NERD 018
Rapids – Turning Point – NERD 019
Pharoahs – Blue Egypts – NERD 020
The Jets – Session Out – NERD 021
Various – Aussiebilly – NERD 022
Various – Zorch Factor One – NERD 023
Kevin Fayte & The Rocket 8 – Ridin’ In A Rocket – NERD 024
The Torment – Psyclops Carnival – NERD 025
Restless – The Early Years – NERD 026
Get Smart – Self Titled – NERD 027
Skitzo – Skitzo Mania – NERD 028
Various – Zorch Factor Two – NERD 029
Rhythmaires – Losin’ Out – NERD 030
Coffin Nails – Ein Bier Bitte – NERD 031
Torment – Three is a Crowd – NERD 032
Frenzy – Live At The 100 Club – NERD 033
Frantic Flintstones – A Nightmare On Nervous – NERD 034
Batmobile – Bail Was Set At $6000000 – NERD 035
The Caravans – Easy Money – NERD 036
The Quakes – the Quakes – NERD 037
The Jackals – Prowlin’ – NERD 038
Skitzo – Terminal Damage – NERD 039
Pharoahs – Hammer & Sickle blue – NERD 040
Ratmen – Live Fast, Die Young – NERD 041
Various – Zorch Factor Three – NERD 042
Spook & the Ghouls – Whitechapel Murder – NERD 043
Catmen – Catmen – NERD 044
Surfin’ Wonbatz – Lager Loutz – NERD 045
Sharks – First & Last Live – NERD 046
Griswalds – Who Framed The Griswalds – NERD 047
Various – American Rockabilly – NERD 048
The Nitros – Stompin’ Beat – NERD 049
Torment – Around The World – NERD 050
Rusti Steel & The TinTax – More Dollars Than Cents – NERD 051
Rattlers – Never Say Die – NERD 052
Various – Home Grown Rockabilly – NERD 053
Lost Souls – Chasin’ A Dream – NERD 054
The Screamin’ Kids – Don’t Get Down – NERD 055
The Nervous Fellas – Born To Be Wild – NERD 056
Torment – Hypnosis – NERD 057
The Quakes – Voice Of America – NERD 058
The Coffin Nails – Who’s he? – NERD 059
The Catmen – Cuttin’ Through The Red Tape – NERD 060
Various – Boppin’ In Canada – NERD 061
The Scamps – Mayday – NERD 062
Nekromantix – Curse Of The Coffin – NERD 063
Beverley Stauber – Nail My Feet To The Kitchen Floor – NERD 064
Frenzy – Clockwork Toy – NERD 065
Various – Live At The Big Rumble – NERD 066
Sonny West – Relentless – NERD 067
Radium Cats – Other Worlds – NERD 068
The Blue Cats – The Tunnel – NERD 069
The Taggy Tones – Viking Attack – NERD 070
Colbert Hamilton And The Hellrazors – Self – NERD 071
Restless – Figure It Out – NERD 072
The Quakes – New Generation – NERD 073
The Rattlers – Scare Me To Death – NERD 074
Three Blue Teardrops – One Part Fist – NERD 075
ColBert Hamilton And The Nitros – Wild At Heart – NERD 076
Voodoo Swing – We’re Usin Code Names – NERD 077
Tim Polecat – Virtual Rockabilly – NERD 078
Mean Cat Daddies – Ghost Of Your Love – NERD 079
The Taggy Tones – Lost In The Desert – NERD 080
Various – Is It Cool – NERD 081
Darrel Higham – Mobile Corrosion – NERD 082
The Elektraws – Shock-rock – NERD 083
The Quakes – Live In Tokyo – NERD 084
Wild – Good To Go – NERD 085
King Memphis – The Astonishing – NERD 086
Restless – The Very Best Of – NERD 087
The Backbeats – Back To The Beat – NERD 088
Bill Mc Elroy – Slimline Daddy – NERD 089
Skitzo – Vertigo – NERD 090
The Muskrats – The Young And Restless – NERD 091
Hayride To Hell – Self Titled – NERD 092
Nine Lives – Roundabout – NERD 093
Rock Island Line – The Very Best Of – NERD 094
Various – The Nervous 45 rpm Collection – NERD 095
The Midnight Dynamos – Do You Wanna Dance? – NERD 096
Bonneville – Trouble – NERD 097
Various – Rockabilly Gold – NERD 098
High Voltage – Danger… – NERD 099
Blue Flame Combo – Rockabillies Go Home – NERD 100
Mystery Gang – Hot’n’Wild Rockabilly Cuts – NERD 101
The Jime – It’s Still Rock’n’Roll To Me – NERD 102
Johnny Black – Extra Chrome – NERD 103
JC Lee – Tokyo Heat – NERD 104
Mick Satan & The Rockin Devils – Teddy Boy Anthems – NERD 105
Vernon & The GI’s – GI Bop – NERD 106

Get Smart

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews

Get Smart - s/t
Get Smart – s/t

Get Smart – S/T

Nervous NERD0027
Ain’t no use – Baby, won’t you come out tonight – Early times – Ape man – My babe – Frankie and Johnny – You’re my baby – Heavens above – Sixteen tons – Lines of love – I Can’t Wait – Game Called Love

Get Smart released their debut album in 1988. Before that they had songs on Stompin’ At The Klub Foot Vol.5 and Zorch Factor vol. 1, 2 and 3. They were Roy Phillips on vocals, Rich Caso (Caravans) on guitar, Jimmy Fahy (Flip Out, early Krewmen with Carl Leyland) on drums and Johnny Bowler who later joined the Guana Batz on bass.
Their style was a mix of neo-rockabilly and blues with a touch of jazz (some even referred to their music as Jazzabilly which is a good description). It’s a very cool sounding album with good original songs but one can regret the lack of production. If it works fine on the more neo stuff like I Can’t Wait which is as good as anything released by Restless or the Nitros, it’s a bit thin on the more traditionnal stuff. With a warmer sound those songs could have been as good as, say, the early Northwood releases..

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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