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Shaun Young (High Noon, Thunderchiefs…)

in Interviews

This interview with Shaun Young was made in two sessions. The first part took place sometime at the end of 2001. This was before the release of “What Are You Waiting For” and the conversation turned around Shaun’s past band and influences. The second took place in 2006 after the release of “Wiggle Walk”, Shaun’s solo album and the succesful gigs of High Noon at Green bay and the Rockabilly Rave.

by Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Part 1 : Shaun Young, the 2001 interview

Shaun Young
Shaun Young

I’d like to know how you became involved in rockabilly etc. Is it something that comes from your parents or are you a «self made» rockabilly boy?
Shaun Young: My parents did have allot to do with it. My Dad is a big Buddy Holly fan and both of my parents love the Everly Brothers. They would sing Everly songs in harmony together when I was young. They also sang tunes like Frauline by Bobby Helms, Mom liked Ray Price , George Jones and Elvis. After digging into their records I started to search out stuff myself and found out about Gene Vincent, Johnny Burnette, Sid King and all the classic rockabilly.

You played in the Shifters before High Noon. Could you tell more about this band?
Shaun Young: The Shifters was a teenage rockabilly band (not real good ) but it was a way to start to learn how to «play it right». I formed the band with some guys from school.

Is there a connection with the Jinns?
Shaun Young: After graduation we found out about a band in Denver called Bop Street. The Naulty brothers, Pete and Brian, were the core of the group who later formed the Jinns. They were a big influence, they were older and knew allot more about the music than us. Pete turned me on to Ronnie Self and Ronnie Dawson to name a few. It was through them I met Todd Wulfmeyer (guitarist for the Jinns and Marti Brom) and Kevin. They both joined the Shifters soon after.

Now let’s talk about High Noon. How did you get together?
Shaun Young: Sean Mencher was playing with a country band called Chapperal and they opened for the Shifters. Kevin and I were very impressed by his playing and song writing. He dug the Shifters energy, so we started talking about rockabilly and how we thought a band should sound. Soon after that and though a long series of events the three of us ended up jamming in Seans garage. We had so much fun playing Elvis Sun tunes and such we all decided this was the band we had all dreamed of.

Did you find your sound immediately?
Shaun Young: Yes and no. When I see old video of High Noon I’m surprised at how much we sound the same now as then. We did how ever evolve and refine the sound as we went along with becoming better players and song writers. I think we all had a certain individual style that just messed real well and produced a strong combined result.

How did you meet Willie Lewis?
Shaun Young: Kevin and I had heard his first record in Denver. We were saying «Who is this guy?» Then our old friend Todd Wulfmeyer found him and introduced us. Willie came out to some shows we did up in Colorado. We told him how cool it would be to have a 45 rpm record out on Rockabilly records, and he agreed. He was the only record company crazy enough to put out a 78 rpm disc.

High Noon, Sean Mencher, Kevin Smith, Shaun Young
High Noon, Sean Mencher, Kevin Smith, Shaun Young

There was this record with Beverley Stauber, wich came after your first release but it wasn’t exactly your sound. Could you tell me more about these session?
Shaun Young: Man, what can I say about that mess. We were hired to back her up. I hate the way that thing was recorded. It was a huge studio with mikes everywhere. We were just warming up and goofing around when they recorded the songs I was singing. I didn’t know they would put them on the record. Beverley was a friend of ours and we were trying to help her out.

Then High Noon stopped. Why?
Shaun Young: We had been on the road for years, making no money, sleeping on floors, riding trains, and missing our family. Don’t get me wrong we loved to play music for every one who would listen and getting to see the world is something not every one gets to do. But it starts to wear on you when your always worried about paying the bills. Remember this was before the scene was as organized as it is today. We had to do every thing our selves. Seans wife Leslie booked and managed the band, with out her and Sean busting there humps we would have gone no where. Sean and Leslie then decided to move their Family up to Portland Maine. It was an chance for their three kids to go to good schools and be close to there Grandparents. So we just had to slow down. I don’t think any of us really look at High Noon as ever being broken up. We have way to much fun together to ever say the last show was the last. We just have differn’t prioritys and responsabilites to take care of. We will continue to make music together when ever the right opportunity presents it’s self.

Could you name some of your major influences as a singer?
Shaun Young: Buddy Holly, for both singing and writing, Gene Vincent, Tommy Duncan (with Bob Wills band) Tony Williams (from the Platters) are some favorite singers of mine.

And some songwriter…
Shaun Young: For writing Hank Williams, and Harland Howard.

After the High Noon days, we discovered Shaun Young the drummer. When did you start drumming?
Shaun Young: I started drumming when I found some vintage drums at a local flee market. I got a great deal on them so I thought I’d better learn to play them. I always dug the drums and drummers like Gene Krupa and Dickie Harrel. So I would get a lesson from Bobby Trimble every time Big Sandy was in Austin and I picked up a gig playing with Marti Brom. It was trial by fire, either learn to play decent or look like a fool. That was in 93 or 94.

It seems, especially on the Jive Bombers recordings, that you work hard to get the good sound and the way you beat the skins. Do you play on vintage drumkit?
Shaun Young: I Have or have had three vintage kits I’ve recorded with. 1940 Ludwigs, 1949 Leedys and 1938 Slingerland Radio Kings. It is very important to me to have a good sound when I drum. I studied old records magazine articles and such to try to find out how the old guys tuned there drums. Then I tried to play with in that style.

Who are your favorite drummers?
Shaun Young: Gene Krupa, Chick Webb, J.I. Allison, Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Bobby Trimble is the best on the modern scene, too many to list!
Let’s talk about the Jet Tone Studio. Is it true that this name comes from an airport wich was near the studio, and sometimes you had to stop recording while the plane were flying?
Shaun Young: Jet Tone Studios was my extra bedroom. My wife Kristi and I lived right be the Airport and yes we did have trouble with low flying planes ruining recordings.

Would you like to produce artists like Sean Mencher do?
Shaun Young: Yes, I love to. Any body need a producer?

Jet Tone Studio/Jet Tone Boys : how did you meet Marti Brom?
Shaun Young: We met Marti at the local flee market. Her husband Bob just walk over cause he saw a greaser looking guy. I told him I had a band and Marti should come and sit in with us so people would find out about her.

The Jive Bombers (Shaun Young, Dana Dattalo, Bobby Horton, Derek Peterson, Vance Hazen, Murph Motycka)
The Jive Bombers (Shaun Young, Dana Dattalo, Bobby Horton, Derek Peterson, Vance Hazen, Murph Motycka)

You also played with the excellent Jive Bombers?
Shaun Young: The Jive Bombers came to be out of a band I played drums with called the Big Town Swingtet. It was a Swing combo (Two trumpets, trumbone, tenor sax, guitar, stand up bass, drums and a great female vocalist named Dana Dattalo.) We played gigs just for fun and had a good following. After Sean moved, High Noon wasn’t playing locally much any more so some of us decided to become more serious. We formed the Jive Bombers and then the swing craze hit. We played all the time and made good money while having a lot of fun. We weren’t really a swing band but more of a Jump blues band. Then Dana got a good job offer in Hawaii and left the band. I didn’t think it was worth it to replace her so we split up.

As a member of a Jump Blues/Swing/ Jive band, what do you think about those so-called Swing band that jumped on the success of the Swing revival?
Shaun Young: There wasn’t to many good ones. I dig swing and when I say swing I mean Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, and Count Basie. I never head any new bands that sounded like them.

Do you still play rockabilly as a singer/guitarist ?
Shaun Young: I still gig as Shaun Young with The Horton Brothers and drummer Buck Johnson backing me up along with guys like Leroy Biller on guitar and T Bonnta on piano when ever they’re available. We play rockabilly and country tunes, a few new songs I’ve written, but mostly covers. We hardly ever rehearse and play purely for the fun of it.

What about Shaun Young and the New Blue Moon Boys ?
Shaun Youngg: The New Blue Moon Boys is a group that gets together twice a year to play an Elvis tribute show at the Continental club. The band includes: Bobby Horton on guitar with brother Billy on up right bass, Lisa Pankratz on drums, T Bonnta on piano, and the Lowels (Bill Bailey, Mike Heil, and Roger Wallace) singing back ups We start as a trio doing Sun stuff and then add drums and piano to play early RCA tunes. We end up with the Three backing vocalist singing the Jordanaires parts. Its a fun show to do.

What are your projects ?
Shaun Young: My main projects of late have been building cars. I just finished a 31 ford model a Hot Rod and a buddy of mine in my car club, the Kontinentals, is customizing my 51 chevy. I’m having fun taking a break from playing music and mess with cars. It’s something I Haven’t had time to do for a while. I do have a new solo record in the can and almost ready for release. Look for it on Goofin’ records soon.

A last word?
Shaun Young: Just want to say what a thrill it is to be part of something like High Noon! Thanks to everyone out there! See ya down the road.

Part 2 : Shaun Young, the 2006 interview

The last time we talked, you ended the interview saying “I’m having fun taking a break from music and mess with cars”. It seems that things have changed this last few years…
Shaun Young: Yes, Ive become very busy with music again and it feels great after a bit of a break. Ive been doing some different things, playing electric guitar, writing new instrumental tunes as well as new vocal songs. Playing a bit more with the Horton Brothers backing me around Austin and having a blast with the new Surf band The Thunderchiefs!

You’ve played some gigs with High Noon. How was it to play together again?
Shaun Young: It is always great to play with High Noon, its heaven! Its kind of like riding a bike; we played for so long together that you just kind up pick up right where you left off. I just get swept away by the feel of that band. With just the three instruments it seems the music has a rhythm all it own.
The other great thing about getting to play with High Noon is just getting to sing those songs. I think weve really written some nice songs through the years and I wish I got to sing them more often.

High Noon’s return at Green Bay coincided with the release of “What are you waiting for?” your first release together for years. Was it important for you to come with new material?
Shaun Young: Yes very important. The last thing any of us want High Noon to turn into is a reunion band playing all the old hits from the early nineties. You have to have fresh stuff, new songs, and new challenges. If youre going to do it, do it right. Thats the motto we try to live by.

You did a great show at the 10th Rockabilly Rave. Sadly Kevin couldn’t make it and was (greatly) replaced by Jimmy Sutton. A word about him…
Shaun Young: Most folks probably all ready know about Kevin getting hired by Dwight Yoakam. Its a great opportunity for him, the big time and he deserves it! Sean and I are so proud of him. Well when Kevin got the call from Dwight we were all ready booked at the Rave so we had two choices. Either cancel or play with a fill in bass player. Playing with a fill in player isnt something we would normally even consider but when Jimmy Sutton said hed play my mind was at ease.
High Noon is its own weird special thing and its hard for anyone to step in and play. Not that the music is complicated or no once else out there is good enough to fill our shoes or something, Im defiantly not saying that! Its more like the three of us have been screwing it up for so many years together it makes it difficult for some one to step in and groove like the band normally does. Does that make sense? Any way, weve know Jimmy for all most as long as High Noon has existed and of course we are BIG Jimmy Sutton fans so I felt like yeah, we can pull this off. Well Jimmy did more that just fill in and pull it off. He took it over and made it his own! That set wasnt High Noon with Jimmy Sutton filling in on bass it was High Noon period.

Do you plan to record new stuff with High Noon?
Shaun Young: You know, we do have some tentative plans that Im trying to sort out.
I wish I could tell yall more than that cause there may be some exiting things in the near future for High Noon. Is that big enough of a tease? Ha ha.

2005 saw the release of your newest solo output “Wiggle Walk”. A word about the “genesis” of this record.
Shaun Young: Wiggle Walk! That was a fun record to make! It was great to finally record a record with the Horton brothers, Dave Leroy Biller Buck Johnson and T Jarrod Bonta, the band that Ive been playing gigs with in Texas for ten years. Weve been gigging with that lineup ever since Billy and Bobby moved to Austin but other commitments have kept us form doing a record until now.

Shaun Young, with Dave Biller, Billy Horton, Bobby Horton and Buck Johnson.
Shaun Young, with Dave Biller, Billy Horton, Bobby Horton and Buck Johnson.

I had a bunch of songs written that Bobby and I had been getting together and arranging. Bobby is my right hand man when it comes to fleshing out my song Ideas and Billy is a great producer and engineer in the studio. How can you go wrong with a line up like that? I cant say enough good things about all those guys and I have for pinch myself to make sure its real when Im singing in front of that group of top notch musicians!
People seem to really like that album and we really appreciate all the great things folks have said about that one.

One of the band you’re involved with are the Thunderchiefs. How did you come with the idea of a surf band?
Shaun Young: Its a funny story. I used to play lead electric guitar when I was a teenager back in Colorado. Kevin and I had a band called the Shifters. We were a typical teenage rockabilly band, loud fast and not that good! Ha ha ha.
Well I had to play lead because we didnt know any other rockabilly guitar players.I was an ok guitar player but when we met Sean Mencher I thought heck I dont need to mess with this anymore, hes got it down! So its been like 15 or 16 years since Ive tried to play any electric lead guitar. Well about six months ago I bought a Fender Stratocaster and started to relearn a bunch of old instrumental guitar tunes I used to play as a kid. Typical stuff like Walk Dont Run and Pipeline.Well I was telling my buddy Joe Emrey I thought it would be fun to start a Surf band and play some of these tunes just for fun.
Joe I a great Surf guitar player who had a band called Death Valley here in Austin back in the early 90s. High Noon used to play show with them quite a bit back then. He is now the singer and guitarist for a KILLER garage rock band called the Ugly Beats. Any one who digs 60s garage rock needs to check out the Ugly Beats! Well Joe says that sounds like fun, I want to play bass!
I thought that would be great since Joe has never played bass in a band before and Im not the worlds greatest guitar picker so this will work well. I figured If I just found a group of guys that wanted to mess around and learn as we went I wouldnt make any good players bored with my screw ups.
Well, that whole plan went out the window when Bobby Trimble heard about it.
Bobby is one of my closest friends and we always wanted to play in a band together. Were both big Surf music fans. Bobby just moved to Austin from California this past year and its great to have him living in Texas! Any way when Bobby got wind of or little plan he told me DUDE, Im playing drums!!! I thought well heck if Bobby is going to play the drums Id better get good fast or Im going to start to stick out! So we got together over at Joes house for our first rehearsal and had a ball. We new we need to find a second guitar player to fill things out.
Well, thats when Mike Guerreo called Joe. Mike Is well known to Surf music fans as the incredible lead guitar player of the Austin Surf trio The Sir Finks. Their Boss Guitars of the Sir Finks album is one of the best modern surf records ever! Mike hadnt been playing much since the Sir Finks, spending time raising his family and such. Mike tells Joe he wants to play guitar with us. When Joe Told me that I about fell on the floor! Thats like starting your first rockabilly band and having Cliff Gallup call and say he wants in the band.
So suddenly we had a very good Surf band put together. All of us have been writing original songs for the group and we start recording our first album next month. It will be out on Wormtone Records This summer. Any one whos interested can check the band out on myspace.

You also play with the Limelights…
Shaun Young: The Limelight guys have been busy with other things so I havent been playing with that band for quite some time now
It was a fun band to play drums in, very Bill Haley and the Comets type of feel.

With all those bands, do you still find to build cars?
Shaun Young: Not as much as Id like! I still take time to mess with my cars any chance I get.
I love my hot rods. Working on them, driving them, taking the roadster and racing at the drag strip are my big escapes from the stress of life!

A last word?
Shaun Young: Thunderbird um I mean Thunderchiefs!
Just a thank you to all the fans who like what I do. Im still in shock that any one even cares about my little music projects and I really appreciate all the support.

Reviews on this site: Shaun Young (solo); the Jive Bombers

Hi Fly Rangers

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
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

The Barnshakers

in Reviews
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).

Hank Edwards

in EF/Reviews/Singles

Hank Ewards - In the silence of the NightHank Edwards With Hal Peters And His Trio – In the Silence of the Night

Goofin Records GOOFY 533 {1992}
In the Silence of the Night – I Wish I Has a Nickel
Another case of « wrong time, wrong place ». Had Hank Edward come from the USA and been active in the late 40’s/early 50’s, he would have shared the stage of the Opry or the Hayride with Hank Williams or some other great names of the time. Instead he comes from Sweden and began releasing records in the 80’s for an audience of fine connoisseurs.
This honky tonk single released for Goofin seems to come straight from the 50’s. Everything here is close to perfection the songs (one original on side A and a cover of Hank Williams that certain discovered under the name of Tell Me Little Darlin on the Riverside Trio debut album – on the side B), the voice and the backing provided by the always excellent Hal Peters and his trio.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Marti Brom

in Interviews

Singin’ and Satan:  Marti Brom Gives the Devil’s Music a Heavenly TwistMarti 1

By Denise Daliege-Pierce

Satan,” Marti Brom quipped when asked why she had chosen to take her eclectic blend of rockabilly, rhythm and blues, swanky pop standards and anything in between to the stage. That one word response, derived from a 2011 interview conducted via e-mail, was an indication of Brom’s charm and tongue-in-cheek humor, traits that—along with her fiery vocals—have served the songstress well.

While frequently uttered in the same breath as such modern rockabilly notables as Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys and Kim Lenz, Brom’s catalog, like those of her associates’, is as varied as the locales that she has called home. Early exposure to such musical and topographical diversity did more than just mold the singer’s harmonic style. “I grew up in St. Louis and spent many of my summers in Baton Rouge with my grandmother and her country doctor husband,” she recalled in 2011. “Many of his patients paid for his services with live crabs and shrimp and oysters, so I would say that my summers in Louisiana did more to shape my tastes in tastes than in music. Of course, the great music and shows such as ‘Hee Haw’ were definitely part of the background.
More important to shaping my style on stage was my access to my grandmother’s grand trunks filled with fabulous outfits and jewelry,”  Marti Brom continued. “When I wasn’t in the pasture squishing my toes in cow poop, I was pretty much spending all of my time plundering and playing dress-up with my grandmother’s things.

It was around the age of 13, while living in Italy, that Marti Brom received an introduction to the music of Suzi Quatro. Although Quatro would become primarily known throughout the United States for her recurring role as Leather Tuscadero, the tough talking, leather-clad guitarist of the popular television sitcom, Happy Days, in Europe, she was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest acts. Quatro’s edgy sound—think Joan Jett and the Runaways—stirred the musical yearnings within Brom and, a few years later, she decided to fly to England in hopes of stoking her own fledgling singing career. The decision, however, was not a fruitful one. “I wasn’t hoping to be discovered, exactly; I had simply read about Chrissie Hynde’s adventures in England and decided to follow suit,” she explained. “Unfortunately, I truthfully answered the customs agent that I did not yet know how long I intended to visit the country. My honesty cost me a year’s worth of the money I had saved for the trip—airline tickets cost much more back then—and a night in jail. I can say that the officials were not pleasant—not to me, and especially not to the African families who were my cellmates. Oddly, as an adult, I’ve never been asked that question again. I think England, at the time, had its fill of punk rockers and wasn’t looking for more.

marti bromFate, destiny, chance—call it what you will—oftentimes dons the guise of practical joker. Hampered by stage fright, it would be several years before Brom would finally make her singing debut, performing in the Officers’ Wives Club-produced musical, “The 1940s Radio Show”, at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Along the way, she became acquainted with budding musician Michael Stipe, who would achieve renown as frontman for the popular alternative rock group, R.E.M. “I was the poster girl for a band that my guitarist boyfriend, Joe, led back around 1978, Bad Habits,” began Brom. “Joe placed an ad for [a] vocalist, and Michael Stipe answered the call. I never did see the band perform because, at the time, I was between fake IDs, so I mainly knew Michael from our trips to ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. I would go as Magenta and Michael, of course, was Frank-N-Furter. He was an Army brat; a high school student living near Scott Air Force Base, the same base where I, much later, kicked off my own music career after marrying my own military man.” Brom later added, “But I can thank Mr. Stipe for first suggesting to me that I might like the music of one Patsy Cline. He thought my voice suited her style. My path did not cross with Mike’s again until I ran into him at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas, almost 25 years later. Austin is one of those towns where celebrities can just hang out without everyone around them acting like a fan.

It was in Austin that Marti Brom began to earn her reputation as a versatile performer, drawing material—and inspiration—from numerous sources, from Martha Carson and pop balladeer Connie Francis to Charlie Feathers and “The Queen of Rockabilly” Wanda Jackson. “I guess some of the biggest would have to be Mama Cass and Big Mama Thornton; the smallest would have to include Little Jimmy Dickens and, of course, Little Brenda Lee,” she joked. “But seriously, my influences are too many to mention. I’ve worn out the grooves on artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Doris Day. I pretty much absorb music and song from every performer and musical style—well, except rap, but that is really poetry, not song; usually very bad poetry.
Unbeknownst to Brom, rockabilly’s raw energy and rebellious sound had long ago seduced her into its fold. “I think like, as with most Americans, it was just part of the fabric of rock ‘n’ roll,” she related. “I grew up on Elvis Presley movies, but I never thought of there being a separate sound called ‘rockabilly’. That was more of a British thing. Even around 1980, when I had seen such acts in clubs as The Rockats and Chris Isaak and Carl Perkins, I did not think of those acts as being anything other than being normal rock ‘n’ roll music like other acts I saw, such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or The Ramones. I don’t really recall even using or hearing the word ‘rockabilly’ in a conversation, until one day, a guy I was dating came over to my apartment while I was playing one of my favorite albums, a collection of George Jones tunes called ‘Rockin’ the Country’, and he called it ‘rockabilly’. Of course, that guy, who proposed to me five months later in New Orleans, was a rockabilly fan who, on one of our first dates, took me to Memphis to hang out with Tav Falco and Panther Burns and, of course, The Cramps were the ultimate experience as far as being a rockabilly revelation. So, in other words, I was [a] rockabilly fan all my life without ever knowing it.

From its infancy during the mid-1950s to the early 1980s renaissance that made the Stray Cats the darlings of MTV and its current incarnation of hip subculture, the genre continues to resonate with music aficionados. “It may just be because it is the last man standing; the least diluted term,” Brom remarked. “If you put on a rockabilly record, you know, at the very least, it will be a rock ‘n’ roll tune. If someone says they are going to play a rock ‘n’ roll song for you, it is very likely to be a whiny white folk song. And country music, of course, is even worse. That term does not mean anything at all anymore—well, it does mean that the song you are about to hear on the ‘country’ radio station is guaranteed to not be country music.”

In the USA,” Brom elaborated, “rockabilly music seems to be currently kept alive and young by the Hispanic population, especially in Texas and out west. I do not know why, exactly. I think, maybe, the imagery and the hot rods draw them in at first, and then they discover that the music is a real hot alternative to the boring radio rap. When I or Wanda Jackson play on the West Coast, our audience is mainly young Hispanics. On the East Coast, it is a smaller audience of older white folks. The sad thing is that the music is probably least popular among the descendants of the rural white hillbillies who started it all! Of course, a lot of them just don’t know it is still around. It hasn’t helped that trappings of southern heritage are now often suspected as being vaguely racist by polite, ignorant society.

Marti Brom would perform with a variety of groups throughout her lengthy career, belting out rockabilly numbers with the Jet-Tone Boys and western swing rompers alongside the Cornell Hurd Band with similar ease. Though her leanings toward the oeuvre entrenched her within the nouveau rockabilly niche, Brom’s musical cornucopia contains much more than a cover of Joyce Green’s “Black Cadillac” or another Wanda Jackson rocker. Brom’s ability to seamlessly segue from rockabilly to country to pop has groomed her into a multi-faceted singer, a far cry from the convenient one-size-fits-all labels frequently attached to artists of varied styles. “Well, when I decided to get on stage, I was attracted to the idea of singing music along the lines of the George Jones ‘Rockin’ the Country’ LP and my Patsy Cline records, so my image was, naturally, rockabilly, but I have simply never thought in terms of genres. I am just attracted to good songs, great performances and, of course, fabulous outfits,” the vocalist explained. “Probably the genre that I have the hardest time paying attention to is that of modern folk music, and that is partly because most of those performers do not seem to have a sense of style. They look like they just stepped up from the audience—well, kind of like new ‘country music’. Who wants to see that? The old country singers had a lot of great style, which is one reason I do like to perform country music on stage. They also had songs [with] real heart and soul.
That abundance of music styles fueled a string of songs and albums, including 2000’s “Feudin’ and Fightin’”, a Dorothy Shay-inspired collaboration with the Cornell Hurd Band, and “Sings Heartache Numbers”, a 2005 ode to Patsy Cline and other vintage country queens. “‘Heartache Numbers’ is for people who love real country music and ‘Feudin’ and Fightin’’ is for people who don’t,” Brom stated. “Actually, in the 1940s and thereabouts, there was a genre of music that was popular in the North, where singers lampooned their idea of Southern white music. It fit in with their Li’l Abner visions of the great unknown South. The hillbilly lampoons, such as Lum ‘n’ Abner, went hand in hand with the lampoons of Southern black culture, such as Amos ‘n’ Andy; all of it a neglected art form.”

Marti Brom’s pairing with Finnish roots band, The Barnshakers, resulted in some of her most recognizable material, including the albums “Snake Ranch”, released in 1999, and 2003’s “Wise to You!”. One might suspect that working with such a diverse triumvirate of groups would pose problems or result in favoring one more than the others but, for the musically flexible Brom, it’s been a blessing. “Ain’t no comparing! What are you trying to do, start a feud?” she teased. “Actually, what they all have in common is they all represent the top practitioners of their art forms: the best of the best. I have said, many times, that I have been unbelievably fortunate in the caliber of musicians and human beings with whom I have worked. They are all friends, as well as partners. I think I am also attracted to musicians who are both outstanding and giving. All of the Jet-Tone Boys, The Barnshakers and all of the Cornell Hurd Band were fully dedicated to supporting other musicians and the art forms that they love. I can tell you all of them have given more than they have received. They deserve far more than they could ever receive.

Brom’s twentysomething years in music have afforded her the opportunity to share the stage with a number of her heroes, including rockabilly artist Robert Gordon, “The Female Elvis” Janis Martin and Wanda Jackson. “I especially enjoyed the first time I got on stage with Wanda at her first birthday bash in Austin that my friend, Rosie Flores, hosted,” she shared. “I did not sing; rather, I played finger cymbals while Wanda sang ‘Funnel of Love’.

Breathing new life into the works of some of her favorite artists has its advantages, too. “Check out my new release, ‘Not for Nothin’’, and you will see a photo of me and Pat Brown, the original singer of ‘Forbidden Fruit’. Daryl Davis, East Coast pianist extraordinaire, pitched a 45 for me recorded by a teenager in 1961 and, a few months later, Daryl brought that teenager over to my house!
Meeting these folks has been one of the greatest fringe benefits of my singing hobby,” Brom went on. “I became close to Janis Martin before she passed away so suddenly and have remained close to her family. And, as you probably know, Kathy Cranston, the wonderful grandniece of Dorothy Shay, ended up flying to Austin to be in the audience for the ‘Feudin’ and Fightin’’ record release show—and she lent me Dorothy Shay’s dress to wear for the occasion! It fit perfectly.

Marti brom

Marti Brom’s desire to spend time with her family, to the dismay of her fans, frequently resulted in a lighter touring schedule. With “Not for Nothin’”, Marti Brom ’s datebook has rapidly filled. “This is a very cool project, and it was released jointly by Goofin’ Records and by the old D.C. rockabilly label, Ripsaw Records,” she commented.
Grammy award-winning producer Peter Bonta lent his expertise to the record, an homage to Washington, D.C.’s rich musical heritage. “We tried to include as many connection[s] to the greater D.C. area that we could: local musicians, studios, songs and, of course, the label itself,” Marti Brom explained. “D.C.-based Bill Kirchen supplies a song and accompanies me on a duet that I let him pick out.
The aforementioned Davis, guitarist Pedro Sera, bassist Louie Newmyer and Saul T. McCormack on drums were amongst those to flesh out the disc’s something for everybody tone. “By the way, the fact that Peter Bonta is first cousin to Mr. T [Jarrod] Bonta from our ‘Snake Ranch’ record was a pleasant surprise to us,” Brom noted.

As technology progresses, so do the formats through which audiophiles consume and purchase music. Thanks to the internet, the days of popping into your area record store for that sought after album are rapidly being relegated to the endangered species list. YouTube has superseded the once domineering MTV for video availability, while digital downloads have made the recorded output of acts from across the musical spectrum readily— and cheaply—available. It’s a change that, for Marti Brom, has its benefits, as well as drawbacks. “Well, unheard music is unbought [sic] music,” she observed. “Many people, such as myself, listen to downloaded music much as we used to listen to the radio. We find things we like from the dross, and it creates an itch to actually own the artifact—especially if that artifact is made of virgin vinyl and comes with a full-sized LP cover and the complete analog recordings—not digitally sampled where my brain has to connect all the aural dots. I have no idea if that holds true for the youngest generations. My guess is that, overall, it has helped independent artists and done more harm than good for major music companies.

Two years following the release of “Not for Nothin’”, Marti Brom remains an in-demand commodity. She continues to perform—the Teri Joyce-penned “Blue Tattoo” remains a fan favorite—and, in late 2012, she joined fellow rockabilly songbird Rosie Flores on tour in support of Janis Martin’s posthumous effort, “The Blanco Sessions”. It’s a seemingly perfect fit: the catalog of the pioneering “Female Elvis” living on through the vocal skills of Brom: country crooner, western swing singer and—perhaps—the ideal candidate to introduce rockabilly music to another generation willing to throw caution to the wind…and a decent record on the jukebox.

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