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Uncle John Trio

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Uncle John Trio
Uncle John Trio

Uncle John Trio – For Your Pleasure

Goofin – GRCD6170
Beer Me – Hey Good Lookin’ – Tall Tall Trees – If You Are Lookin’ For Love – Lonesome Tears – All My Ex’s Live In Texas – The Song (I Wish I Never Wrote) – Honky Tonk Man – Guitars, Cadillacs And Hillbilly Music – In The Middle Of The Night – Once Again – Sixpack To Go – Country 24/7 – Blue Blue Day

This is the debut album for this drummerless trio from Finland but playing for 20 years they are far from being beginners..
Eight of the songs are covers and the remaining six are from the pen of singer John Peter Lemstrom (aka Uncle John). His songs are very good and never suffer from the comparison with the covers which is a good point considering that they come from the pen of Hank Williams, George Jones, Johnny Horton, Dwight Yoakam, Johnny Burnette and Don Gibson.
Musically you could compare them to High Noon, especially in the way the instruments are recorded. I suppose that Janne Haavisto who mixed this album and also produced the Texas rockabilly trio is no stranger to that. But Uncle John Trio are more on the Honky Tonk side of things (though there’s a bit of rockabilly here and there too). If another comparison could help you to define the sound, I’d say that they sound in places like a stripped down and acoustic version of Dale Watson.
Good songs, good band, good singer… good buy!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Sean Mencher

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Sean Mencher
Sean Mencher

Sean Mencher – self titled

Goofin Records GRCD6136
Rock Rock Jump And Jive – Settin’ The Woods On Fire – Right Or Wrong – Crying The Blues Over You – Bayou Beauty – All The Time – Tummat Silmät (Dark Eyes) – Don’t Big Shot Me – Hot Rod Man – Vamos A La Playa – Down The Line – Little Baby Doll – Honky Tonk Gal – Hit Git And Split
After two singles – one on Deke Dickerson’s Eccofonic and one on Goofin, it’s good to finally see a long player from High Noon’s ace guitar player : Sean Mencher. It’s a solid rockin’ album mainly made of classic covers which is a bit odd when you know Sean’s ability to write songs. This album sounds like Mencher wanted to play every genre he likes and sometimes mixing them together. You’ve got plenty of rockabilly of course (Rock’n’Roll Jump And Jive, Hot Rod Man, Go Cat Go’s Little Baby Doll) with Zach Ovingtons’ fiddle giving an original and nice country flavour. Some other songs are plain country like Hank Williams’ Settin The Wood On Fire or jazz / western swing Right Or Wrong, one of the highlight of this album, with a great swingin’ fiddle and as usual Sean guitar play is superb. You’ll also find a beautiful blues, Bill Neely’s “Crying The Blues Over You”, with just Sean’s fingerpicking and a harmonica. Mencher’s self penned “Bayou Beauty”, previously played by Ronnie Dawson and High Noon, is done this time with a full Cajun instrumentation with accordion, triangle and Matthew Doucet a native of South Louisiana on fiddle. A trumpet player is present on Link Davis’ Dong Big Shot Me, a not so different from the original version that suits Mencher’s vocal very well and also on the Mexican flavoured “Vamos A La Playa” provided by ex-Asylum Street Spankers Josh Arnson. The musicians show their skills on their interpretation of the classic instrumental Dark Eyes which sounds like a mix between jazz and rockabilly. This very good and versatile album shows all of Sean Mencher’s influences and is a pleasure from start to finish.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Sean MencherSean Mencher

Ecco-Fonic EF1007 [1996]
Jumpin’ Track – Your New Flame (Is Burnin’ Me)

Once again Mencher nails it with two brilliant instrumentals recorded in Maine.
Side one features a band (Cartwright Thompson on rhythm guitar, Lesie Freda on string bass and Mark Cousins on drums) and is a rocka-boogie that comes complete with train sounds while the flip side sees Sean going solo for a Travis thumb-picking rendition of High Noon’s Your New Flame.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


sean mencherSean Mencher and his Rockin’ Guitar

Goofin Records GOOFY554 [1995]
When You Smile/Comanche Moon

Side one is a superb rock’n’roll song, highly melodic. Side Two allows Mencher to show all his skills on guitar with a amazing instrumental with Travis and Atkins influences.
Must have single.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read our interview with Sean Mencher here.

Marti Brom (reviews)

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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 uncovered ground like this. Get A Little Goner, the following number finds her in well known territories with a twangy honky tonk number featuring Bill Kirchen, 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 makes 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: another Honky Tonk tailor made for her. The title track, a Sean Mencher number, is good until the distorted guitar solo (Mencher would have done a better job no doubt about that) and there’s too much echo on the voice for me. Pat Brown’s Forbidden Fruit is hardly better. Bobby Sharp’s Sweet Baby Of Mine could have been very good. It’s a groovy number in a similar vein than Hit the Road Jack with saxes but once again the guitar could be more subtle. Globally, one can say that the very weak point of this album lays 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 very good rockabilly numbers (remember Lassoed Live) this album works chiefly when she sings 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 Milton Brown (in other words they don’t swing to save much). 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 Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
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 - 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.

Hi Fly Rangers

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Hi Fly Rangers - Hot Rod ride to The Moon
Hi Fly Rangers – Hot Rod ride to The Moon

Hi Fly Rangers – Hot Rod ride to The Moon

GRCD6135- Goofin’ Records 2006
Hot Rod Ride To The Moon – My Little Mama – I’m Through – I Will Be Gone – Born To Sing The Blues – I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone – How About Me? Pretty Baby – Can’t Hardly Stand It – Burning The Wind – Hello Good Times, Goodbye Blues – Johnny’s Bar – Old Moss Back – Backwood Boy – Love Left Over – Move Baby Move – Eager Beaver Baby – Blow My Fuse

If you like hot and pure rockabilly comin’ from a cold country, if you appreciate the authentic fifties sound of finnish bands like the Barnshakers, Phantom 409, Rod Benders or Daryl Haywood Combo, this “Hot Rod Ride To The Moon” album is for you. Imagine Vesa Haaja singing in a band with Kari Kunnas on guitar and Jake Lähdeniemi on double bass (both are from The Daryl Haywood Combo).
You’re not dreaming, this trio really exists and is called the Hi-Fly Rangers! The band was formed in the spring of 2006 by the talented Vesa and decided to offer very shortly after on Goofin’ Records (who else could have made it?) some high quality classic rockabilly tracks played with fever and a drivin’ slappin’ bass. Seven tracks among this 17 songs album are penned ones by Vesa (as the classy eponymous title and the catchy “My Little Mama”) or by Karri (a nervous ending track that “Blow My Fuse”) and the others are very good covers from Charlie Feathers (“I can’t hardly stand it”) Billy Wallace (” Burning the wind “) Hal Harris (“I’m Through”), Conway Twitty (“Born To Sing The Blues”) Bill Browning (“Love Left Over”) Dick Penner (“Move baby Move”) or Johnny Burnette (“Eager Beaver Baby”) and even Elvis (“You’re Right, I’m Left, She’s Gone” in a more medium bluesy style).
If you wanna fly high to catch the moon, these rangers are ready to give you a rockabilly ride…
Long Tall David

Little Rachel

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews
Little Rachel - ‘Cause I feel good!
Little Rachel – ‘Cause I feel good!

Little Rachel – ‘Cause I feel good!

Self released (2005)
Ooh, He’s Fine – Back to Kansas City – I’m What You Need – Spiderwoman Blues – Uh Uh Baby – His Words Don’t Say As Much As His Eyes – Scorched – Is My Baby Happy Now? – Don’t Jump (Rock the Boat) – I Am Your Destiny – Tough Lover – If You Were Mine – I Wanna Boogie – Your Baby’s My Baby Now
Ooh, she’s fine ! Rockabilly girl Rachel, known formerly of the Casey Sisters decided to go rhythm’n’ blues. And man, she was right! This album is a killer. You’ve got here all the ingredients to make a good mixture : fine and accomplished musicians Tjarko (Tinstars, Ronnie Dawson), Beau Sample (Cave Catt Sammy), Damien Llanes (Nick Curran, Deke Dickerson), Matt Farrell (Nick Curran); a producer who knows his job (Billy Horton) and most of all a little girl with a powerful voice. Half of the songs here has been written by Rachel herself and four has been penned by ex Tail labelmate, the swedish Eva Eastwood. And this 11 compositions can stand proudly near the covers. Rachel’s voice is really impressive, she can scream, she can shout or she can sing a soulful ballad (Spiderwoman Blues or Is my baby Happy now, two of my faves), but the voice is always on top. The musicians fit perfectly the mood of each songs, playing subtle guitar licks or juicy saxophones depending the tune. Comparisons are not always fair, but if you’re looking for a female counterpart to Nick Curran, don’t go any further, she sings it perfectly, Little Rachel is «What you need».


Little Rachel - There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town
Little Rachel – There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town

Little Rachel – There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town

El Toro R&B 203 – (2006)
Bartender Baby – Hey, Big Boy – It’s Always A Blonde – Broken – Bull Ridin’ Mamma – Get On The Right Track – Give Up Honey – I May Be Trouble – Keep on Movin’ – New Miss Rhythm in Town – Pannic Attack – Please Quit Me Baby – Take This Love and Bury It – Talk To Me – Bonus Track by The Lazy Jumpers Mr.Advice
The little girl with the big voice is back and she’s going to teach you what rhythm’n’blues really is She went to Barcelona, Spain to record and found the perfect match to her astounding voice: The Lazy Jumpers. They get along so fine it seems they were made to be together like butter and bread, Abbott and Costello or Lady Day and Prez. On one side you have a girl with a voice as good and powerful as Big Mama Thornton, Wynona Carr or Ruth Brown. On the other side The Lazy Jumpers (who believe me are not lazy at all). Mario Cobo delivers some fine licks in the vein of Johnny “Guitar” Watson , or Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown while Blas Picon and Ivan Kovacevic provide the perfect rhythm section, tight and swinging in the same time.
Eight tracks are from the pen of Little Rachel, two by Eva Eastwood (who was already present on her debut album) and the Lazy Jumpers wrote the rest (including a song from one of their own album). The music ranges from groovy Rhythm’n’Blues (Bartender Baby; Hey, Big Boy; Please Quit Me Baby) some with juicy saxes and piano to straight blues (I May Be Trouble) which sees drummer Blas Picon taking some mean harmonica solo. And in between you have some pre-rock’n’roll that fits Rachel’s voice so well (Panic Attack), a Chuck Berry-esque rocker (Give-Up Honey), a boogie (Bull Ridin’ Mama) and a Fever inspired song (Take This Love And Bury It) full of soul and seduction. A couple of tunes have a more modern sound (well, everything is relative) and you could easily imagine “Broken” sung by Candy Kane and “Keep On Movin’” by Little Charlie And The Nightcats.
There’s a lot more I could rave about (Get On The Right Track is a killer!) but it’s better to let you some surprises. In 2006 Ruth Brown has left the building, it sure is sad and we’ll always cherish her music but in 2007 we can say : “There’s a new Miss Rhythm In Town”.


Little Rachel - When A Blue Note Turns Red Hot
Little Rachel – When A Blue Note Turns Red Hot

Little Rachel – When A Blue Note Turns Red Hot

Goofin GRCD 6157 – (2009)
Mama Was Right Again – Go Bully Some Other Gal – My Favorite Dream – O La Violencia – Just Right Man – Emotions – Born to Cry – This Lonesome Night – I Don’t Miss You At All – It’s Not Me – Every Road Leads Back Home – My Mojo Don’t Work No Mo’ – Little Man – You Could Have Fooled Me – You Ain’t So Such A Much
Little Rachel’s previous album left breathless and full of admiration. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard the news of her collaboration with The Hogs of Rhythm (known to be the band associated with Dr Snout and featuring members of Finland’s top rockabilly band The Barnshakers).
In the same time I had a little apprehension: would she be able to match the high quality of There’s A New Miss Rhythm In Town? My doubts vanished after just a few bars of the opening song.
“Mama Was Right Again” is a fantastic 60’s soul number (Eat your heart out Amy !) with a strong bass line. Nine of the fifteen were written by Rachel (and she’s better and better at doing this), two by Shane Kiel (Two Timin’ Three), one by Rachel Decker (The Honeybees) and the remaining three are covers by Dion, Mel tillis and Blanche Thomas.
The album is the perfect balance between 60’s influenced soul/Rhythm’n’Blues, 40’s and 50’s jivers, pre-rock’n’roll, a great Chuck Berry rocker (I Don’t Miss You At All), strong ballads and even a jazzy bossa nova. The band is tight and perfect as you can imagine with musicians from this calibre, and of course you have this voice, this wonderful, this rich, this bewitching voice…
A word has to be said about Jyrki Häyrinen’s production and mixing work. He sure has his part to this success.
Enough of my talking, the disc speaks for itself, go and buy a copy and you’ll understand what I try to tell you.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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