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hillbilly bop - Page 2

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

The Horton Brothers

The Horton Brothers
The Horton Brothers

The Horton Brothers

[Archive from 2001]

Brothers duets have a long tradition in country music (Louvin, Monroe, Kershaw to name a few) but there wasn’t many of them (and there are still not many) in the late nineties when the Horton Brothers appeared on the scene with their debut album «Hey It’s Bobby & Billy».
In 1997 Billy (upright bass) and Bobby (guitar) – both sing harmonies or lead – started a band with Derek Peterson (from Kidd Pharaoh, one album on Rock-a-billy records) on rhythm guitar and Alberto Tello on drums. But Alberto had to go back to Italy, so he was replaced by Shaun Young. They soon added a piano to their line-up with the talended T. Jarrod Bonta.
It was time for them to record their first album (vinyl only, hope it will be reissued soon on cd) for Crazy Love (a german label). The Horton Brothers then recorded an EP on Ecco-fonic more representative of their taste. Two albums followed, where they defined their style made of a mix of hillbilly harmonies, rockabilly, texas swing. But this boys doesn’t limit their talent to the Horton Brothers. Billy played with The Asylum Street Spankers, The Hot Club Of Cowtown and produced and recorded many good albums at the now famous Fort Horton Studio. Bobby lent his talent to the Jive Bombers, Deke Dickerson and made an instrumental album with Dave Biller.
After a relativly long period without any release, the Horton Brothers released «Tempo for two» on Texas Jamboree in 2005.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

First let’s talk about you. Where do you come from ?
Billy Horton: We were born and raised in Beaumont, TX

When did you start playing music and what is your musical background?
Billy Horton: I started playing electric bass when I was 14 and upright when I was 16. I’m self taught.

Bobby Horton: I got my first guitar around the age of 13 or 14 and struggled with it for about three years. That’s when Billy finally got a bass and I had someone to play with.

Did you begin whith honky tonk/western swing/rockabilly or have you been in movements like punk/garage or things like that?
Billy Horton: I was never into punk or garage at all, which is unusual. My first record I bought was a Buddy Holly record. I played in a lot of blues bands in my teens.

Bobby Horton: I was never into punk or garage. My neighbor loaned me a Stray Cats record and Elvis’ Sun Sessions and all I can remember is thinkin’ «Man, I like Elvis a lot better than I like the Stray Cats». Then my neighbor bought the complete Buddy Holly box set on MCA and I was WAY into that for the longest time because he wrote some fantastic songs. I was also listening to Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran.

Who (or what) was the shock that decided you to pick an instrument?
Billy Horton: My brother needed a bass player and I really liked the bass, so it was a natural fit.

Bobby Horton: I’m not sure–maybe it was because I saw a blues band at a picnic for my dad’s job and I just thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. That was probably the first time I had seen a live band.

Nowadays what are your main influences (past and present), your «masters»?
Billy Horton: As far as harmony singing goes, the Louvin Brothers are my absolute favorites. I’m also a huge fan of Jimmy and Johnny and the Kershaw Brothers.

Bobby Horton: As far as pickin’ goes, I love Grady Martin, Chet Atkins and Jimmy Lee Fautheree. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Mills Brothers, Tommy Duncan and the Everly Brothers.

You approach many styles Honky Tonk, Western Swing, Rockabilly, Jazz stuff, Swing and even a touch of Blues. Where does this eclectism come from?
Billy Horton: I listen to all that sort of stuff. I think all that music has a lot in common. I like everything from Roy Smeck to Count Basie to Bob Wills to Lefty Frizzell to Gene Vincent to Johnny Guitar Watson to Johnny Paycheck.

Bobby Horton: To me, it all shares a common feeling. Listen to Benny Goodman’s version of «Air Mail Special» with Charlie Christian then listen to Jimmie Rivers’ version. One’s jazz…and I’m not sure that the other one isn’t, too! It’s good music, ya know? Western Swing seems to attract jazz pickers–guys like Jimmy Wyble, and even Tiny Moore’s mandolin pickin’ (or Jethro Burns’ for that matter!)- they were awesome improvisors. So I think it comes down to the fact that we like good music played with feeling.You can’t fake that.

Are you tempted by other style (like Deke Dickerson when he plays surf instrumental and rockabilly on the same album)
Billy Horton: Has he done that? I like other stuff, but I like when all the influences are absorbed as a whole( like Big Sandy).

Bobby Horton: I agree with Billy on this one–I like it when you incorporate it all in to your own style. I don’t feel the need to think «ok, now I’m gonna play blues or now I’m gonna play a 50’s honky tonk song». We try to play naturally and a lot of those things come out

About your recordings, I’d like to know what happened between the first Horton brothers album (It’s Bobby and Billy) and «Roll Back the Rug». It seems that you found your sound, the good way to sing together and even your lyrics changed (with more humour). Is there a link with the fact you moved to Austin TX?
Billy Horton: Absolutely. We made that first one when we were still living in Beaumont and didn’t really know what we wanted to do. Our vision really came together in Austin thanks to Shaun Young. He’s the one who convinced us to move here. He also told us we should concentrate on the harmony thing. He’s been probably the biggest influence on us and our direction. I can’t say enough good things about him.

Bobby Horton: That first record was the end of our Beaumont days. We went ahead and released it under the Horton Brothers ’ name so we could get things goin’ for us. It should of been released under the Fender Benders’ moniker. But, like I say, we were aware that if we did that no one would know who the Horton Brothers were. Shaun Young took us under his wing when we decided to move up to Austin and I can’t thank him for it enough. He has been quite a help to us. He’s always steered us in the right direction and we still do shows with him. He was an influence before and continues to be an influence on us to this day.

Did you work hard to get that authentic sound or was it natural ?
Billy Horton: Hmmm. We worked hard to learn how to play our instruments. We just wanted to sound like the records we listened to, so in that way it was very natural.
Bobby : Like Billy says, we just work hard at playing well

Now could you tell us more about the musical scene in Austin?
Billy Horton: Austin has always been a roots music mecca. In the 70’s it was bands like Asleep at the Wheel and Willie Nelson. In the 80’s, the blues scene was big with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Now there’s definitely a big roots country scene going on here. It’s reputation attracts even more players to our little scene.

Bobby Horton: There’s definitely an accepting attitude here in Austin. You can play original music and nobody gets bummed out if you’re not playing «Blue Suede Shoes». We are all striving to write better songs and I think it’s a big inspiration to be here. There’s a lot of comradere.

Is Austin the anti-Nashville?
Billy Horton:Well, we’ve got Willie Nelson, and he’s pretty anti-Nashville.

Bobby Horton: Probably so–but not intentionally. While some guys are always bad mouthing Nashville (Wayne Hancock) the rest of us don’t really give much thought about what’s goin’ on up there!

Are there old people who knew the «original» artist in your audience ?
Billy Horton: Bob Wills’ daughter Rosetta shows up at our shows from time to time. Herb Remington just payed steel with Wayne Hancock the other night. I saw Johnny Gimble playing with Hot Club of Cowtown a month ago. James Cotton lives in town. So basically, not just people who knew the original artists, but the original artists themselves are still goin’.

Bobby Horton: When I used to play with Deke we would run into guys who used to be friends with Joe Maphis and Merle Travis. But, like Billy says, there’s a lot of the old timers who are still around–blending in with the current scene. The Lucky Stars backed up Glynn Duncan (Tommy’s brother) a few weeks ago, we get to see Herb Remington play steel with Wayne Hancock, Johnny Gimble fiddles with Hot Club of Cowtown every now and then, Claude Trenier got on stage with Deke to sing «Poontang»…you get the picture

While opening for «alternative» artists such as Mike Ness and Cake, Deke Dickerson proved that you could please a punk/rock/pop audience with good old recipes. What is your reaction. Is this a third way between Nashville pop and authentic circuit ?
Billy Horton: I think that a lot of that audience hasn’t been exposed to this sort of stuff, so it is definitely a novelty to them. Certainly someone like Deke would be the guy to pull it off because he is extremely talented and puts on a great show.

Bobby Horton: Deke puts on a good show that appeals to a lot of folks. I did a show with him in a small, neighborhood bar in Jacksonville, Florida, and the locals loved it. He’s really good at what he does. I know that Big Sandy has opened for the Mavericks and the Reverend Horton Heat. I think it comes down to the fact that Big Sandy and Deke play good music and people pick up on that and respond to that.

Talking about Nashville, do you know what does the establishment think about bands like yours ? Are they interested in young blood since the success of BR5-49?
Billy Horton: No. They don’t really care. BR549 was more of a novelty than anything else. They don’t seem to think that they could promote a band who does authentic stuff because it would be so different from what is out there now.

Bobby Horton: Nah, I think BR5-49 was their one attempt at the «retro» scene. They think the rest of us are backwards hillbillies! I don’t know what they think and I don’t really care. I have never strived to make it in Nashville

I’ve heard that Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys and The Hot Club Of Cowtown played the Grand Ole Opry. Is this the beginning of something ?
Billy Horton: Nope. I think they have a good publicist and are a novel concept for the Opry.

Bobby Horton: We’ll see–I know they want to get those guys back on there. But you still run into problems like Dale Watson not making the televised portion because they want to put Billy Gilman (some 10 year old kid–who, oddly enough, sounds like any 10 year old kid singin’!) on TV.

Do you think what happened for swing could happen to authentic country?
Billy Horton: I hope not. The «swing» movement was terrible and I think turned off a lot of people from real swing. None of the bands which claimed to be swing were swing. They were merely rock bands with horns. Maybe that’s why it connected with a mass audience. They could identify with the rock sound but it was a little different so it was novel. No authentic music could ever achieve that sort of success because it would be too different for most people. People are used to hearing rock, and when you introduce music where the drums aren’t the main rhythm instrument, they don’t quite know what to think of it.

Bobby Horton: The ‘swing scene’ was a big cartoon over here. Regular folks got to smoke cigars and play ‘dress up’ while they went to see a punk band sing about zoot suit riots and drinking martinis. It was pretty bogus.

Do you know what bands of the generation before you (like Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel think about the new scene ? And what do you think about them ?)
Billy Horton: I think they did a lot for the music at a time when no one cared. On the other side of the coin, I don’t think they played it particularly well. I’m not sure what they think about the new scene, but I’m sure it’s very removed and foreign to them.

Bobby Horton: I’m not sure they’re in touch with what’s goin’ on. I think they did their thing and kept the music going but it wasn’t played that well until three bands came along–Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Trio, the Dave and Deke Combo and High Noon. I believe those bands have really spearheaded this current scene and deserve a lot of the credit. They were writing original music and had great musicians in their bands.

If you had the chance who would you like to record and produce ?
Billy Horton: As far as people I would like to work with…hmmm… I would love to record Jimmie Vaughan. He’s fabulous. Other than that probably Big Sandy I think I could do a good job with them.

Root’n Toot’n

Root’n Toot’n - Raw & Uncut
Root’n Toot’n – Raw & Uncut

Root’n Toot’n – Raw & Uncut

Mandy’s On A Diet – Rockabilly Baby – Walking The Floor Over You – Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain – Cry Cry Cry – Greenback Dollar – Four In The Morning – There’s A New Moon – Tom Dooley – Turn Around – Putting On The Style – Turn My Picture Upside Down – Itchin’ For My Baby – Candy Kisses – Little Red Wagon – She’s My Baby
This British trio consists of well known members on the English scene coming from bands like The Sureshots, The Skiprats, Cat Scratch Fever and Country Cattin’. They play hillbilly bop and rockabilly with a touch of skiffle here and there with spare instrumentation (two guitars and a bass with sometimes a washboard or a ukulele) and though their set mainly consists of covers, they manage to stay true to the originals and bring some fresh air in this timeless classics in the same time. And believe me, it’s not an easy task with Cash’s Cry Cry Cry. On Faron Young’s “Four In The Morning”, you’d swear to hear an unreleased Elvis Sun master with Cliff Gallup guesting on guitar that stayed on a dusty shelf for years.
Talent knows talent and you’re not surprised to see that Chris Cumming, from the now legendary Riverside Trio, is involved in the production of this album. Well played, varied, fun, pleasant, superbly produced, boys (and girl) let me tell you one thing, you won a new fan.
Get it at

Root’n Toot’n - Making Hay
Root’n Toot’n – Making Hay

Root’n Toot’n – Making Hay

Big River – Your Cheatin Heart – Man Of Constant Sorrow – Wabash Cannonball – I’ll Hold You In My Heart – Cocaine Blues – Lord It’s Hard To Be Humble – Roly Poly – Mr Moon – The Words Of Love – Have You Ever Been Lonely – Battle of New Orleans – Deep In The Heart Of Texas – Oklahoma Hills – Goodbye Marie – You Are My Sunshine
Our favorite British hillbillies are back with a brand new 16 songs platter, all covers but one, the excellent Words Of Love. There’s no big changes or departure from their precedent release, but if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, as they say. You’ll find hillbilly, bluegrass, skiffle mixed with rockabilly (Malcom Yelvington’s Goodbye marie). Colin Mee is at ease on ballads like Eddy Arnold’s I’ll Hold You In My Arms but he can deliver strong uptempo numbers like Cocaine Blues.If Mee takes the lion’s share of lead vocals, Mandy sings too and gives a good rendition of Jim reeves’ Have You Ever Been Lonely. She also plays clarinet on Deep In The Heart Of Texas one of my absolute favorite, that made me think of the novelty western swing style of Bob Skyles and His Skyrockets. I’d love to hear a full album like this. A highly entertaining album.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Starline Rhythm Boys


starlinerhythmboys_liveThe Starline Rhythm Boys – Live At Charlie-O’s

Cow Island CIM011 [2008]
Yellow Jacket / A Dime At A Time / Heartbreak Tennessee / Charlie-O’s / On The Back Row / Life Begins At 4 O’Clock / Wine Me Up / Lonesome On’ry And Mean / Pipeliner Blues / You’re Still On My Mind / One Foot In The Honky Tonk / She Don’t Live Here No More / Dark Hollow / Live And Let Live / Get A Little Goner / Drunk Tank / Playboy / You Can’t Catch Me / That’s Where I Went Wrong / I’m A Lonesome Fugitive / Gotta Travel On / Too Much Fun / Drink Up And Go Home.

The Starline Rhythm Boys – Masquerade For A Heartache

starlienrhythm boys masqueradeCow Island CIM014 [2009]
Masquerade For Heartache / Jive After Five / Trucker From Tennessee / Workin’ Man Blues / Honky Tonk Gal / Red’s Place / A Mess Of Blues / Goodbye Train / I’m Fed Up Drinking Here / Ubangi Stomp

Here’s the cure to the stress of your everyday life and your summertime blues: the hot rockin’ honky tonk swing style of a Starline Rhythm Boys show in your living room! Recorded live at their homebase of Charlie-O’s bar, it features a typical set of the trio mixing classics from Johnny Paycheck, Wayne Walker, Conway Twitty, Faron Young, Chuck Berry, Bill Kirchen… with a couple of band’s own (She Don’t Live Here, Drunk Tank, That’s Where I Went Wrong). Add the presence of Sean Mencher (High Noon) to produce an play second guitar on one track as well as Kevin Maul on steel (both lap and pedal) and you just have to put the cd in the player and let the fun begins.

Masquerade For A Heartache is the perfect companion to Charlie-O’s with 10 more tracks recorded during the same show. Once again it’s very well balanced between originals (Masquerade…, Red’s Place, I’m Fed Up Drinking Here) and covers of Carl Perkins, Merle Haggard, Elvis. This mini album goes from straight Honky Tonk to Rock’n’roll with a good dose of Rockabilly including one of the best version of Ubangi Stomp I’ve ever had the chance to listen to!

You can buy them separately but do yourself a favor and buy both.

the Starline Rhythm Boys - Red's Place
the Starline Rhythm Boys – Red’s Place

The Starline Rhythm Boys – Red’s Place

Cow Island Music CIM05
A Fighting Chance – No Gal Cooks Like Mine – Red’s Place – It’s Anyone’s Guess – (They’re) Cutting Back the Work Force – That’s Just A Thought – The Joke’s On You – Who – The Family Farm – Drunk Tank – Sin & Salvation – Burning A Hole In My Mind – The Old Filling Station – That’s Where I Went Wrong – I’m Fed Up Drinking Here – A Memory of Fred

The Starline Rhythm Boys are a drummerless trio (Danny Coane, acoustic guitar; “Big Al” Lemery, electric guitar; and Billy Bratcher, doghouse bass) that plays in the same league as High Noon (no wonder to find Sean Mencher on the production seat) and Wayne “The Train” Hancock (Billy Bratcher toured with him by the way). But they don’t stick to the trio format and bring a couple of guests to keep things varied and surprising, and most of all highly enjoyable.
Most of the songs are originals written by Bratcher.”A Fighting Chance” is a powerfull slap bass led hillbilly/proto rockabilly (what a guitar too) with harmony vocals. “No Gal Cooks Like Mine” features a fiddle in addition to the steel and praises the simple domestic joys. The title track has more of a late 50’s honky tonk feel with a bit of Buck Owens in it, still with great harmonies, and a superb piano part. Big Al Lemery is not only a wizard on the telecaster, he’s also a poignant singer and proves it on “It’s Anyone’s Guess” a slow number in the vein of “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” with mandolin, fiddle, light snare and pedal steel. “They’re Cutting Back The Work Force” shows once again what a good songwriter Billy Bratcher is, able to write about booze or social issues ( I Got Kids to feed, but there’s no remorse, once they start cutting the work force“) with equal success. “That’s Just A Thought” is a beautiful little hillbilly bop ditty that looks toward the western swing side of things with each members of the horn section taking solos. They turn Jimmy martin’s bluegrass number “The Joke’s On You” into a uptempo rockabilly. Another cover is Little Walter’s “Who“, which becomes a “hillbilly-blues” (and reminds what High Noon did with “Crazy Mixed Up World” on their Texas Style 10″). “Family Farm” is a sad and beautiful waltz with bluegrass accents. Al Lemery wrote and sings “Drunk Tank” a nice hillbilly bop. The honky Tonk “Sin & Salvation“, on a well known theme, is another proof they never falls into facility. They bring modulation and unusual chords. Man that’s good ! Connie Smith’s “Burning A Hole InMy Mind” adds a welcome touch of 60’s country music.On “The Old Filling Station” with simple words (and a beautiful melody) Bratcher paints a melancholic picture (Do you remember when you never pumped your gas/And the man with the Star was a symbol of class). I really enjoyed “I’m Fed Up Drinking Here“, the best song George Jones never recorded. How can’t you love a band that plays right and sings “The Old Juke box that I leaned on/Was a rock for life’s hard knock but now it’s gone/When a man’s mind ain’t clear/ a lack of George Jones is severe“. The set ends with a sincere hommage to a friend of them, Fred, and you can feel both the love they have for him and the personnality of the man, even if you never met him.
Authenticity is not only a matter of music, it’s above all a state of mind. And this guys play genuine country music that speaks to your heart and your feet.
Thank you for that Boys !

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ronnie Hayward

Ronnie Hayward - Tail Shaking
Ronnie Hayward – Tail Shaking

Ronnie Hayward – Tail Shaking

El Toro Records – ETCD 2033
Whiskey Flavored Kisses – We’ll Get High -You Can’t Tell me Why – Ronnie’s Blues – Pink Wedding Gown – One Way Ticket – No More For You – Mean Streak Mama – Lonesome Feeling – Quit My Cryin’ – I Don’t Lie It – Honey I’m – Connie lou – Adrianna – Beggin’ Time – 90 Miles An Hour
This cd from Ronnie Hayward is actually a very welcome reissue of material that was previously only available on vinyl ( “Somewhere Out There” on Tail Records, hence the title) with four unreleased tracks from a later session. For this four tracks a drummer joined the trio. You’ll find no slick production here, Ronnie’s music, a fine blend of rural blues, rockabilly and hillbilly bop, is raw and unadulterated. “Whiskey Flavored Kisses”, one of the four unreleased tune, appears here in a very different version than the one on “Too Many Chiefs”, without the slide guitar and with the emphasis put on the rhythm section : heavy strumming acoustic guitar and simple and effective drums and just one stroke of electric guitar in the middle. Simply brilliant. “We’ll Get High” sounds a bit like “Domino” with obsessive guitar and heavy slap bass. Changing mood, “You Cant Tell Me Why” has a kind of a rumba beat into it. Don’t be fooled by the name, “Ronnie’s Blues 5” is not a blues but more a uptempo hillbilly tune with Ronnie’s howlin’ vocal. “No more for you” is a country weeper with harmony on the refrain while “Mean Streak Mama” reflects Hayward’s blues side. Sure this guy in not always in tune, but the lack of exactness is highly compensated by the intensity of his interpretation, even through the stereo one can feel his presence. Isn’t that the most important with this type of music? Fans of Johnny Burnette’s Rock’n’Roll trio will enjoy “Quit My Cryin’” with its “Rock-Billy Boogie” beat. “Honey I’m” is rather different than the other one, more modern if that word has some kind of signification for a Ronnie Hayward’s album, with drums rolls that put a constant tension in the song. “Beggin’ Time” is quite close to the original version and Hank Sow’s “90 Miles An Hour”, which is originally quite soft, could be compared to the best of Wayne Hancock. This comparison is not only valid for this song, both share something really simple, something that makes great artist, something called personality.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis