Browse Tag

hillbilly bop

Oakville Tune Wranglers

Oakville Tune Wranglers – Headin Home

Shark Records – SH1002 [1987]
Headin’ Home / One More Time

Oakville Tune Wranglers

The Oakville Tune Wranglers were a British trio active between the end of 1985 and 1990. The band consisted of George Oakines (double bass), Pete Manville (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar) and Rod Mills (guitar). They appeared on various compilations and released this single containing two excellent self-penned tracks.
The trio played a mix of hillbilly bop, proto rockabilly and cowboy tunes. In addition to the great musicianship, a special care has been given to the vocal harmonies and the melodies.If you dig the stuff recorded by Northwood records, or later by Chris Cummings’ Riverside Studio, this single is for you.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ria and the Hi-Binders

Ria and the Hi-Binders – Memory Mountain

Moondog Music MOONS2201 [2022]
Memory Mountain / Sinful Man

This Finish band was formed in 2020 and features Ria Korhola on vocals and guitar, Timo Kalijärvi on lead guitar; Jussi Huhtakangas on pedal steel; Jani Ahtiainen on drums and Lasse Sirkko on bass.
I guess you’re familiar with the rich Finish scene. In that case, those names aren’t unknown to you: Jussi Huhtakangas (aka Lester Peabody) is well-known for his work with the Barnshakers and Hal Peters Trio, Jani Ahtiainen plays with Mystery Train, Lasse Sirkko played with Whistle Bait and Uncle John Trio, and Timo Kalijärvi is well-known for his work with Mike Bell & the Belltones.
iss Korhola appeared on the excellent Fly Now! by Gona Lehtinen, showing a strong ability to go from mellow Jazz tune to jump blues.
Ria and the Hi-Binder are a Honky Tonk band aiming at an early/mid-sixties sound. The A-side is a cover of Wanda Jackson’s Memory Mountain. Of course, Wanda’s original was great but a tad overproduced with choir and violins. Ria’s version is more stripped-down, more rocking’ too, led by her confident voice, ideally supported by the steel which with the piano drives the song.
They adapt Bill Browning’s Sinful Woman into Sinful Man for the B-side. Once again, the singer is very at ease while Huhtakangas and Kalijärvi trade hot licks supported by an impressive rhythm section.
Good news, I’ve heard that the band is in the studio to record their debut album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Al Willis

Al Willis and the New Swingsters – Girl Trouble

al willis

Crazy Times Records CTR10-02 / CTR-CD 122
Lock and chain – Hot property – Have a tear on me – Back of my head – Enemy at the gate – The apologist – You don’t turn me on – Little black book – I believe you’re doing me wrong – Baddest kind of blues – Ya, yap yappin’ – Dee dat dee dum dum – Cold dark night – Long black train – Rocking the blues – I’m a little mixed up – I’m that fool – Revenge of the dodo

I plead guilty! I didn’t really know Al Willis before this album. Of course, I heard and watched a couple of videos on youtube, but for a reason unknown to me, I never bought any of his releases. And I don’t thank my friends who never told me, “You should listen to this guy!”
And suddenly, out of nowhere (but most probably from Willis’ ranch), Girl Trouble materialized in my mailbox.
What a shock! This guy understood it all. He counts among these players who don’t only play this music but live and breathe it. I mean, it seems natural. You’d never believed that not only Willis recorded this album in 2019 but that he is French.
Vocally speaking, Willis is not a wild man, or on the hiccupy side of Rockabilly, his growl is deep and steady. It evokes the voices of early Elvis, Warren Smith with some country twang a la Dale Watson (what a combination!) And if that wasn’t enough, he’s a darn good guitar player too.
He is ably backed by two veterans of the French scene, namely Pascal Albrecht (Southerners, Mystery Train) on double-bass and Red Dennis (Sprites) on drums. Together they build a solid rhythm that is always supportive and never pervasive. Many double-bass players should take example on Albrecht, who doesn’t slap his bass when it’s unnecessary, especially when you have a drummer like Red Dennis.
The styles range from traditional Rockabilly to hillbilly bop, with some country and western and a touch of blues.
Half of the songs are originals, either penned by Willis, alone or with the help of Paul Sheahan (Bopshack Stompers), or by the talented duo of Geoff Taggart and Jim Newcombe (who also penned songs for Rayburn Anthony and Hayden Thompson.) A bunch of rather obscure covers from Terry Dene, Jim Wilson, Roy Gaines, Geo Lester, Larry Green, Leon Bowman, Betty James, and closer to us, the Zazou Cowboys, completes the set.
One last thing, I usually believe that Rockabilly records should be short, twelve songs, and if there are ten, it’s even better. But this 18 song album (12 on the 10”) never loses steam. The trio keeps this high-quality level all along this album.
Buy it, you won’t regret it!
Support the label and order it here: http://www.crazytimesmusic.com/shop/?filter_label=29

Radio Ramblers (the)

The Radio Ramblers ‎– Cryin’ Blues / The Devil’s Gonna Get You

radio ramblers

Rockin’ Shelby Records ‎– 45-RS-06
The Radio Ramblers are an excellent trio consisting of David Madgwick, Willy Briggs and Gary Boller, former members of the Ricardos and the Tennessee Rhythm Riders.
Cryin’ Blues is a hillbilly number, mostly acoustic, with a light steel guitar while The Devil’s Gonna Get You brings is a hillbilly bop/rockabilly reminiscent of Buddy and Bob. Both sides are originals written by Willy Briggs.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Doel Brothers

Doel BrothersThe Doel Brothers – There’s a bottle on the table

El Toro Records – ETCD7027 [2019]

Bottle On the Table – Beer Bucket Boogie – Thanks A Lot – Baby I’m Ready – Love Letter – Distance Between You And Me – Welcome To My Heart – Just Say You Don’t Know – Jealousy – New England In The Fall – Country Bum – Hole In My Shoe – Viva Las Vegas – How High The Moon

Our favourite hillbillies, the Doel Brothers (Gordon on vocals and rhythm guitar, David on vocals and lead guitar Tom or Curtis on drums with Steve Whitworth on double bass and Phil Morgan on steel guitar) are back and they did it again! Can you believe it, it’s already their fourth album and it seems that each of their album is better than the previous one. I don’t write that lightly, considering that I already placed their debut effort as one of the best contemporary hillbilly platter, able to stand proudly near another of my favourite combo, namely the Dave and Deke Combo.

With five covers and nine originals penned by David and Gordon Doel who also share vocal duties, “There’s a Bottle On the Table” is a hillbilly / rockabilly / western bop rollercoaster from start to finish with top musicianship, solid songwriting and perfect production. It also comes with a superb cover illustrated by Garry Boller which gives you another reason to jump on that little jewel!
The repertoire ranges from straight Rockabilly like Bottle on the Table and Love Letter (the latter having a strong Sun flair) to country boogie with Beer Bucket Boogie, an original that sounds like an unissued Tennessee Ernie Ford tune. Phil Morgan’s steel guitar part with ricochets à la Speedy West adds to this feeling.

Other than those song you’ll find a bit of bluegrass with their cover of Dwight Yoakam’s The Distance Between You and Me with harmony vocals and dobro as well as some western swing influenced stuff (New England In the Fall), shades of Johnny Horton (Welcome to My Heart) and Little Jimmy Dickens (Hole In My Shoe) and lot of plain old hillbilly and Honky Tonk.

The bonus track is a cover of How High the Moon, dedicated to the memory of their dad that would make both Les Paul and Rhubarb Red proud.

Grab your moonshine, take a sip, roll back the rug, put the record in the player and enjoy the sweet sound of the Doel Brothers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Doel Brothers - Oh Brother... It's The Doel Brothers
The Doel Brothers – Oh Brother… It’s The Doel Brothers

The Doel Brothers – Oh Brother… It’s The Doel Brothers

El Toro {2013}
Educated Mind – Goin’ Away – Kissin’ Bug Boogie – I’ll Do It Everytime – Sure You Won’t – I Need Your Lovin’ – Pick You Up – Whiskey Lovin’ Fool – Nothin’ ’bout Love – Tell Me You’re Mine – Rockin’ Shoes – Hey Baby

The Doel Brothers come from England and are David, Gordon and Tom Doel plus Gary Boller. They previously played with the Western Aces, the Radio Ramblers, the Westernaires so these four guys are not exactly newcommers but this is their first one under this name. And what a record! I hadn’t heard such a good hillbilly tinged platter since the heyday of the Dave and Deke Combo (or at least the Horton Brothers) and that was not a surprise to see that Dave “Pappy” Stuckey wrote the laudatory liner notes.
This record is simply amazing with superb originals (and I mean REAL originals, not old melodies quickly rearranged with new lyrics as it’s too often the case), beautiful harmonies reminiscent of the Farmer Boys or Rusty and Doug and top notch musicianship. There’s also a bit of Tennessee Two in Sure You Won’t (the influence of Cash can also be heard on Rockin’ Shoes) and Rockabilly too (I Need Your Lovin’). The whole set is completed by three excellent cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Johnny Horton and Tom James.
Cuzzins, believe me, I strongly advice you to get this record, this is hillbilly bop as it should be played.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Lynette Morgan And The Blackwater Valley Boys

Lynette MorganLynette Morgan And The Blackwater Valley Boys – Step Back Brother

Dog House Records [2016]
Roadside Diner – Wolf Talk – Let’s Stay Together – Yodel Song – Step Back Brother – Avalon – Dear Mother – Were Gonna Rock – Portobello Fellow

Since the Tennessee Rhythm Riders appeared on the rockin’ scene, we all know that Lynette Morgan is one talented lady when it comes to sing Hillbilly music.
Her latest album, recorded by Pat reyford at Sugar Ray’s vintage studio, with Willy Briggs on steel guitar, Gary Boller on double bass and Chris Wilkinson on guitar and drums (being a man of many talents he’s also in charge of the beautiful graphic design) definitely proves it.

Step Back Brothers” is, with Charlie Thompson’s Foothill Sessions and the Doel Brothers’ recent releases, one of the very best Hillbilly bop/western swing  influenced album to come from Great Britain.

It features two covers – Avalon, the old jazz standard also covered by Milton Brown and the Light Crust Doughboys, and Jimmy Newman/Rusty and Doug’s Let’s Stay Together – and seven originals penned by Briggs (Roadside Dinner), Briggs and Boller (Portobello Fellow also sung by Boller) and Morgan (the remaining five.)
As I said, this is super fine Hillbilly bop with plenty of Maddox Brothers and Rose influences but also shades of Johnny Horton (Wolf Talk), early western swing reminiscent of Patsy Montana’s band the Sweet Violet Boys (reinforced by the presence of a clarinet on three tunes), a waltz (the touching Dear Mother) and a bit of yodel madness (who doesn’t like some yodel ?)

Do not miss this perfect album and grab a copy while you can!

Lynette Morgan
Lynette Morgan © RK Studio

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