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The Barnshakers

in Reviews

The Barnshakers ‎– Whiskey River / Hollow Grave 

Goofin’ Records ‎– GRSI 224 [2012]

Another excellent single released by the Barnshakers. The A-side is a cover of Johnny Bush’s Whiskey River, also a hit for Willie Nelson. They deliver a superb muscled-up version with powerful slap bass and intense vocal by Vesa.
The flip is an excellent Rockabilly with harmony vocals, typical of the style of the band.


the Barnshakers - Twenty one
the Barnshakers – Twenty one

The Barnshakers – Twenty One

Goofin Records GRCD6130
Twenty-One – Come On – Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop – Have A Ball – Knock Knock Rattle – Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby – Yah! I’m Movin’ – Wiggle Like A Worm.

Very good mini cd from the Barnshakers, one of the best, if not the best european band in activity made of one studio track and seven live recording. The studio track “Twenty One”, a Vesa Haaja’s own, is an immediate addictive song with its great vocal and lead guitar part and the piano support. This song proves how right they were to add a piano in their line-up. The live show, with the exception of “Wiggle Like A Worm” is made of covers and songs that were never recorded in the studio by the band. This gives another interest to this record to hear them playing classic songs by Wynn Stewart (Come On), Lew Williams (Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop) and Carl Perkins (Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby). The set ends with a frantic Vesa singing and screaming on “Yah! I’m Movin’” and “Wiggle Like A Worm” with Lester playing Burlisonnian licks. By far the best cut of this record. An advice, if you want it, you should hurry as the cover states it’s a limited release…


The Barnshakers - the single album
The Barnshakers – the single album

The Barnshakers – The Single album

Goofin Records GRCD6126 {2004}
She Done Quit Me – So Doggone Blue – Big Sandy – Ooh’ Baby -Complicated Fool – Who’s Gonna Be The Next One Honey – When I Take My Sugar To Tea – Take One – Wiggle Like A Worm – Choo Choo’s Coming Back – Desperate Santa – Santa’s Got A Brand New Steel Pedal – Hocus Pocus – Gone A-Rockin’ – You’re The Cause Of It All – Tell My Baby I Love Her – Move On – What’cha Gonna Do – Boppin’ In Roswell – Raining In My Heart – What’cha Doin’ To Me – Lotta Lotta Women

It’s a good idea to issue all the Barnshakers singles on one cd as some are not that easy to find. You can also see the evolution of the band through the years from the rockabilly of the beginning to the addition of a piano player and the touch of boogie of today. The first single shows what a good songwriter Jussi Huhtakangas (aka Lester Peabody) is, too bad he doesn’t write more songs. Vesa, the lead singer and main writer wrote my two favourite songs on the cd issued from the Xmas single «Desperate Santa» and the great «Santa’s got a brand new pedal steel». You got some covers too and a song penned by Shaun Young. So what could you ask for more ? Unissued material ? You’ve got it, two new songs recorded in 2004. So I guess you understood this record is a must have for all Barnshakers and rockabilly fans everywhere.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Barnshakers
The Barnshakers (left to right: Mike Salminen, Vesa Haaja, Mika Liikari, Lester Peabody).

Wildfire Willie and the Ramblers

in Reviews

Wildfire Willie and the Ramblers – Blues, Boogie and Rhythm

Wildfire Willie and the Ramblers

Goofin’ records GOOFY 557 [1995]
My Gal From Kokomo – Crazy ‘Bout You Baby / Honky Tonk Baby – A Bottle Of Loneliness

The A-side opens with My Gal From Kokomo that opens, initially recorded by Roy Brown. The band turns this jump blues into a frantic Rockabilly tune, during which Jan Svenson seems close to asphyxia.
Things calm down a bit with the next song, Crazy Bout You, an original, a mid-tempo rocka-ballad with a country feel.
Hardrock Gunter’s Honky Tonk Baby, the second cover of the EP, is more on the boppin’ hillbilly side. The last track, and for me the best, is Bottle of Loneliness. It’s a great country Rockabilly song with a Carl Perkins feel. I guess that Sam Phillips would have been proud to record this one.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Marti Brom (reviews)

in Reviews

Marti Brom – Fort Horton EP

[2020]
Damn Little Demon / You Broke the Rules / Hurry Home / Get In the Car Loretta

Billy Horton recorded these four tracks at Fort Horton studios with the rocking brunette. Tjarko Jeen on guitar, Brad Fordham on bass, and Lisa Pankratz on drums and percussions joined forces to provide the backing. You can always expect the best with Brom, and this digital ep makes no exception.
Damn Little Demon is a mean rocker, the kind of stuff at which she excels. You Broke the Rules, sees Bobby Horton joining the band on vibraphone for a 60s-Phil Spector type of song complete with a whole array of percussions.
Tjarko is entirely at ease on the bluesy Hurry Home while Get in the Car Loretta is more Rockabilly sounding and shows the influence of Grady Martin.
Digital only.
Go to https://forthorton.bandcamp.com/releases to buy it right now!


Marti Brom Midnight BusMarti Brom & Her Rancho Notorious – Midnight Bus

Enviken ENREC177 [2019]
Come Destroy Me – Lasso Mr Moon – Belly Of The Beast – Loveaholic – Push Me Till I’m Gone – Last Ten Years With You – Lies Of A Promise – Ambush – Little Ole Wine Drinker Me – Stiletto In Black – If ‘If’ Was A Fifth – Drivin’ Me Crazy – Slippin’ And Slidin’ – Mamas Little Babies Was A Rockin’ – Midnight Bus – Damn Those Little Deamons (vinyl only)

Marti Brom is by far one of the finest singers on the roots music scene, and I said singer, not “female singer.” She seems to be able to do whatever she wants with her voice, and it even seems easy.
That said, I was slightly disappointed with “Not for Nothing,” her 2010 release. Marti’s performance was, as usual, top-notch but I found the production uneven.
Nothing like this here. Recorded in Sweden with a gang of talented Swedish guys (and a couple of guests like Rosie Flores and Chris Ruest), Midnight Bus is perfect from start to finish.
Nine out of the sixteen tracks are from Marti’s pen; the others are covers. But cleverly, next to classics like Slippin’ and Slidin’, Little Ole Wine Drinker Me or the title track, Marti had an excellent idea to include songs from today’s artist. Thus you can finds songs from Crazy Joe (Last Ten Years With You), Kathy and the Kilowatts (Loveaholic) or the late great Nick Curran (Drivin’ Me Crazy.)
From Damn Those Little Demons, a bluegrass tune only available on the vinyl version, on one end to Ambush, a sixties soul number with organ, on the other, “Midnight Bus” covers a broad range of styles. But thanks to the production, it manages to remain coherent and sounds like a whole.
There is a good dose of solid rockers like “Come Destroy Me,” “Last Ten Years With You” or “Mama’s Little Baby Was A Rockin’” which features a solid rockin’ piano.
Album after album, Brom proved she was more than at ease to sing country songs. This one makes no exception. “Lie of a promise” is a traditional honky-tonk with fiddle and steel. As I said before, she makes it sound so easy, and I thought how great it would be to have her cut a single with the Country Side of Harmonica Sam. Labels if you read this. “Push Me Till I’m Gone” is more in the Cash vein and “Lasso Mr. Moon” is a superb country shuffle with a cracking guitar solo.
Talking about guitar, Chris Ruest provides a mean guitar on Curran’s It’ Drivin’ Me Crazy while Mattias Bruhn hypnotically tickles the ivory. “If If Was A Fifth” brings a welcome touch of Jump and West coast blues.
Tunes like “Midnight Bus,” “Stilleto in Black,” and “Belly of the Beast” are the perfect vehicles to hear the intensity and emotivity of her voice. The latter is a mean and menacing rocker that sounds like a cross between Johnny Horton’s “Lover’s Rock” and “Funnel of Love.”
With that album, Brom really reached a new level with her songwriting. Combined that with her always-spectacular voice and a stellar backing band and the result is one of Brom’s very best platter.

Available at Enviken , Raucous, Tessy or other fine dealers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Marti Brom - Not for nothin'
Marti Brom – Not for nothin’

 

Marti Brom – Not For Nothin’

Ripsaw / Goofin GRACD 6705 [2010]
Finders Keepers / Get A Little Goner / Mascara Tears / Not For Nothin’ / Forbidden Fruit / Something Blue / Never No More / Sweet Baby of Mine / Blues Keep Calling / Sweet Thang / Write Me In Care of the Blues / Feelin’ Right Tonight / I Get the Blues When It Rains / A Fool Such As I / Spook House

“Not For Nothing” is not only the return of Marti Brom but it’s also the return to life of a legendary label: Ripsaw. For this album, the rockin’ brunette gathered a cast of musicians of the Washington DC scene.
The opening track – Finders keepers – is a cover of Wynona Carr on which she’s appropriately backed Del Pushert (who toured with Elvis) on sax. The singer does a great job, and it’s good to hear her on this genre of tune. Get A Little Goner, the following number finds her in familiar territories. It’s a twangy honky-tonk number featuring Bill Kirchen. It’s by far the best track of the album with Arty and Linda Hill’s Mascara Tears a straight honky-tonk on which her Patsy Clyne’s voice does wonders. In the same vein, you’ll find Something Blue from the pen of Teri Joyce. The Austin songwriter wrote some of the best songs ever sang by Brom and this song makes no exception. The title track, penned by Sean Mencher, features an organ. The arrangement is perfect until a weak, distorted guitar solo ruins the song.
Pat Brown’s Forbidden Fruit is way better and the solo more inspired.
Bobby Sharp’s Sweet Baby Of Mine could have been excellent. It’s a groovy number in a similar vein than Hit the Road Jack with saxes but once again the guitar could be a little bit more subtle. Globally, one can say that the weak point of this album lies in the rockin’ numbers on which the guitarist can’t help but over playing, and to make things worse, with a bad sound. Strangely, for a singer that delivered some outstanding rockabilly numbers this album works better on the country or blues-inspired numbers. But as they say, every rule has its exception and “I Get the Blues When It Rains” is the perfect demonstration of that. They try to give it a western swing touch but end sounding more than Asleep At The Wheel rather than Bob Wills. In the end “Not For Nothin’” is only half convincing, but I wouldn’t say that Brom is to blame, but the problem comes from the band. You can only regret her previous albums on which she was backed by members of High Noon or the excellent Barnshakers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Marti Brom plays Heartache Numbers
Marti Brom sings Heartache Numbers

 

Marti Brom – Sings heartache numbers

Goofin’ Records
One Way Ticket To The Blues – Alone At A Table For Two – Three Hearts Later – Four Walls – Five Fingers To Spare – Whiskey Six Years Ago – Seven Lonely Days – Eight Weeks In A Barroom – Apartment No 9 – Ten Minutes Till Heartaches – A-11 – The Twelfth Of Never – Thirteen Steps Away

I heard about this “Heartache Numbers” project a couple of years ago, and was very interested in the concept. Each track is a song containing the number of it’s track listing on the CD. (for example: Track #7- «7 Lonely Days», Track #9- «Apartment #9», etc.) HOW CLEVER!!! And it ends with the unlisted track- «Heartache By the Numbers». Okay- so Marti’ gets kudos for the concept of the record alone. Even though I usually have gripes with records that are all covers, this is an exception because of the clever concept and the fact that it is Marti’ Brom and she can pull it off. I was thrilled to find it was no longer just a «concept», and that the recordings were finally finished and released in time for the Oneida 50’s Fest. I had to get a copy. I have always been a Marti’ Brom fan, no matter what she does. Every record is different for her, but she has such an impressive range, she can master a multitude of musical styles. Still my favorite Marti’ recordings are her country ballads. Imagine- a whole record of country ballads by Marti’! The emotion of these songs perfectly showcases her ability as a singer. I don’t know much about 60’s Country, but I was turned on to the genre when I lived in Austin, TX, where it is a staple. I miss the honky-tonks where I could have a tear in my beer, but this CD brings it all back to me. My only warning to listeners is that, if you are drinking while you are playing the CD, you will probably be crying by the end. Remember that the title is «Heartache Numbers».There is only one Patsy Cline cover on the record, but the obvious comparison to her vocal stylings is still evident. Like Patsy, Marti can yank at those heartstrings with her dynamic range and emotional vocal manipulation. (Marti- don’t get offended about another Patsy comparison. It is definitely a compliment from me.) Vocally, this record is flawless. It is, in my opinion, Marti’s best vocal performance on a recording-and all of her recordings are superb. And, as always, she has selected the best backing musicians for the genre. (Bobby Flores- fiddle, Justin Trevino and Kevin Smith- bass, Debra Hurd- piano, Levi Mullen- guitar, Dickie Overby- steel, Buck Johnson and Lisa Pankratz- drums) If you like 60’s country, it doesn’t get any better than this! When I am drinking alone, I am going directly to this CD for company.To top it off, the «Maven of Style» models a «Cari Lee» original creation on the cover- a saloon-girl style satin/fringe dress! (I thought Cari Lee was a singer- how did she have time to become a kick-ass seamstress as well? I want my own «Cari Lee» dress!). Plus, the liner notes are by the one and only Wanda Jackson! You know it must be good if the «legends» are raving about it.

In conclusion, Marti’ is still my idol. Buy all of her records!

Little Rachel

High Noon the Rockabilly trio

in Reviews

High Noon – Change

high noonSwelltune Records – SR45-007 [2020]
Change – You Done Did It

In early 2020, Shaun Young, Sean Mencher, and Kevin Smith, internationally known as High Noon, the finest purveyor of today’s Rockabilly, got back together to make their first new recordings since 2002.
You wouldn’t believe that 18 years have passed since What Are You Waiting For. The trio sounds as fresh as the first time as I heard them when they released Glory Bound on Willie Lewis‘ Rock-A-Billy Records.
When these three guys are in the same room, you can expect the best in rural bop and drummerless Rockabilly.
Each is in fine form. Mencher is particularly inspired on You Done Did It. One could complain that on Change, Youngs tends to quaver more than usual (and necessary), but that’s a minor flaw.
Both songs are originals, Young penned the side one, and the whole trio is credited for the flip.


High Noon - Flatland Saturday Night
High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

Bear Family
Glorybound – Stranger Things – She Forgot Her Memory – When She’s Good – Let’s Go Daddy-O – Long Empty Stretch Of Highway – My Ex Is Why – Beautiful – Rock Too Slow – Rockin’ Wildcat – Rockin’ Beauty – Old Habits – Flatland Saturday Night – Bluebonnet Boogie – Not For Nothin’ – Rattlesnake Man – Mixed Signal Mama – Fishing Hole Boogie – I’m Not Blue – Gotta Lotta That – Doggone That Cat – Now You’re Gonna Be Loved – Comanche Moon – Kiss And Tell Baby – Slow Down Baby – It’s The Beat – High On A Hill – Hanging From The Old Oak Tree – My Little Thrill – Call Of The Honky-Tonk – Quick Hand (demo) – My Heart Cries Yes (demo)

If you’re familiar with the Rockabilly genre, High Noon needs no introduction. But just in case… They were with Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Trio and the Dave and deke Combo, one of the bands that led the revival of American Rockabilly and among the first in the USA to play this music as if it came straigth from the fifties.

For any true Rockabilly lovers, High Noon almost sounded too good to be true: Shaun Young’s voice conjured the memories of the great Texas Rockabilly singers (among them a certain guy from Lubbock). Sean Mencher’s bag of riffs seemed bottomless. Unlike too many Rockabilly guitar player who were happy to copy Hank Garland or Scotty Moore, Mencher developped his style by listening to the generation that came before like Merle Travis but also Oscar Moore or Charlie Christian. And there was Kevin Smith who showed everybody what “slapping a doghouse bass” really meant (and he was more than able to sing harmonies too.)

Like an aknowledgement to their contribution to this music, High Noon now receives the Bear Family treatment, a well deserved treatment to the legends they are.

Except for the two demos (Quick Hand and My Heart Cries Yes) all songs (32 !) here are lifted from their Goofin’ records. So don’t expect to find songs recorded for Willie Lewis’Rock-A-Billy records or songs from their mini-album Texas style that saw High Noon playing with steel, fiddle, banjo and accordion (maybe for volume 2, who knows?)

Anyway if you don’t own anything from this great band, this is the best introduction you’ll find with a thick 40-page booklet (though the interview with shaun Young looks exactly like the interview I did with him a couple of years ago).
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/high-noon-flatland-saturday-night.html


High Noon ‎– What Are You Waiting For?

high noonGoofin’ Records ‎– GRCD 6116 [2002]
Let’s Go Daddy-o – Hanging (From The Old Oak Tree) – Old Habits – Prelude To The Blues – Bayou Beauty – Not For Nothin’ – Railroad Crossing – Beautiful – Yard Dog – I’ve Never Felt As Lucky – Kiss And Tell Baby – Comanche Moon – Gotta Love That – Misunderstood – It’s The Beat

Between Stranger Things in 1995 and this album, the three members of High Noon kept themselves busy. Shaun Young recorded a solo album, formed the Jive Bombers, and played with the Horton Brothers. Sean Mencher toured with Wayne Hancock and also produced bands. In the meantime, Kevin Smith lent his talents to many artists, including the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Set to appear at the Green Bay 50’s Festival in 2002, High Noon decided to record a new album to present new material on stage.
Recorded and produced by Billy Horton, “What Are You Waiting For?” contains 15 original songs. All their various experiences nurtured the sound of the trio and expanded what they started with Stranger Things.
From the boppin’ Let’s Go Daddy-O to the Cajun tinged Bayou Beauty, with the excellent Travis/Atkins instrumental Comanche Moon and the beautiful ballad Not For Nothing, the band goes from style to another with class and refinement.
But in case you’d forget that High Noon is “the Texas Rockabilly Trio”, listen to songs like Hanging (from the old oak tree) with its powerful slap bass, Misunderstood, It’s the Beat, the Holly-esque Beautiful and Railroad Crossin with its guitar solo evoking Grady Martin.
Young’s tremolo makes wonder on slow songs like I’ve Never Felt As Lucky. Kevin Smith proves one more time that he’s the undisputed master of the slap bass. He provides the backbone of the sound with, here and there, some short and brilliant solos. On guitar, Sean Mencher enlightens the whole album with his amazing licks, quoting Paul Burlison, Grady Martin, Chet Atkins, and Merle Travis.
What are you waiting for? Buy it!


High Noon - Texas Style
High Noon – Texas Style

High Noon – Texas Style

 Exile Records ‎– EX10EP09 [1994]
Crazy Mixed Up World – He Won I Lost,  She’s Found – Across the River – My Heart Cries Yes (but my mind whispers no) – Movie Magg – Red Barn Boogie

The Texas Rockabilly trio released this 10″ mini album in 1994. First, look at that cover! It’s perfect! Congratulations to Carlos Fernandez who captured the band in action. Then the music… For this one, High Noon took a slight departure from their usual brand of stripped down rockabilly and brought some guests to the party.
The opener is a cover of the Willie Dixon song made popular by Little Walter. The trio with the help of Alvin Crow on fiddle and John Ely on steel turns it into a superb hillbilly bop with Shaun Young yelling the name of the musicians in the great Bob Wills tradition. As usual Shaun’s vocals are superb, Sean Mencher’s guitar inventive and Kevin Smith provides the perfect backbone with his slap.
Next is He Won, I Lost, She’s Found, penned by Mencher. This Honky Tonk with steel, fiddle and harmony vocals (provided by Brent wilson of the Wagoneers) is sure to make you cry in you beer. The side A closes with Across the River, another Mencher original. It’s another fine ballad enlightened by Mike Maddux on accordion.
Side B opens with My Heart Cries Yes. Can these boys play bluegrass. You bet they can! With the help of Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo. Perkins’ Movie Magg is here to remind you that High Noon is one of the very best (if not the best) Rockabilly band of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Finally the steel and the fiddle return for Hank Harral’s Red Barn Boogie to conclude this mini album in beauty.

Teukka & the Rhythm Aces

in Reviews

Teukka & the Rhythm Aces – Soitan Että Tuun

teukka and the rhythm aces

Goofin Records – GRS-608
Soitan, Että Tuun – We’re Gonna Move – Pocketful Of Rainbows

The first song, “Soitan, että tuun” is a Charlie Rich cover with a melody very close to “Mona Lisa” (sorry I wasn’t able to find out the English title for that one) with finnish lyrics. It could be surprising at first but it works rather well. The band does a nice job on this upbeat rocker with nice piano breaks and a short guitar chorus from Eino Rastas (from Hal Peters’band). Teukka’s fine voice suits Elvis material too as “We’re Gonna Move” shows with some hiccups (but not too much). This mini cd ends with a ballad, another demonstration of the good balance between the band and the singer.
.Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Darrel Higham

in Reviews

Darrel Higham & the Barnshakers – Pretty Little Devil

darrel higham

Goofin Records GOOFY 570 [1997]
Sweethearts Or Strangers – Don’t Be Gone Long – Pretty Little Devil – Flattin’ & Thumbin’

Darrel Higham recorded this ep in 1997 with the ever-excellent Barnshakers from Finland. That was not the first collabration between the British guitar picker and the Finnish Rockabilly band. Both recorded a full album together in 1993. Sometimes when two talented artists or bands join forces, the result doesn’t keep up with the expectations (I have a few example that I’ll keep for myself.) That was not the case here, this four-track ep is excellent.
Side one kicks off with a cover of the old classic “Sweethearts or Strangers”. Higham’s vocals and guitar give it a strong Eddie Cochran feel, and Lester Peabody’s steel guitar nicely enhances it. Next is a cover of Bod Doss’ “Don’t Be Long Gone.” Like the original, it’s jet-propelled by a solid slap bass intro.
Vesa Haaja, the singer of the Barnshakers, joins forces to sing harmonies for the Everly sounding Pretty Little Devil, recorded initially by Bob Denton and Eddie Cochran.
The last track is a guitar duet between Higham and Peabody/Jussi Huhtakangas. Well, the title says it all. It’s a gentle battle between these two great pickers. One can only regret that Deke Dickerson wasn’t there at the time of the recording.
There are still a few copies left on Goofin Records.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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