Hillbilly - Page 2

V/A – The Northwood Story

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the Northwood Story
the Northwood Story

The Northwood Story

NVCDCOMP 3
Red Hot ‘n’ Blue – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes / Riverside Trio – Forty Miles Away / Lazy Farm Boys – Jack Rabbit / Sure Shots – Fire Engine Baby / Lone Stars – Lonely Town / Rochee & The Sarnos – Woman Eater / Blue Rhythm Boys – That Don’t Move Me (Alternate Take) / Slingshots – Hay Rig Ride / Fireball XL5 – Walking On The Edge Of Midnight / Red Hot ‘n’ Blue – Caldonia / 4 Blazes – Buck Dance Rhythm / Peter Davenport & the Roof Raisers – Bop A Du Bop A Du Bop / Riverside Trio – Dopey Frutti / Slingshots – That Chick’s Too Young To Fry / Sprites – B-I-Bickey-Bi Bo Bo Bo / Fireball XL5 – Blues Don’t Go / Blue Rhythm Boys – Rollin’ And Tumblin’ / Red Hot ‘n’ Blue – Move Baby Move / Riverside Trio – You Lied All Through The Night / Crawdads – Don’t Let Religion Fool Ya

Northwood was one the most exciting label of the mid 80’s, aiming at an “authenthic” sound before the term was coined by so-called purists. This collection gathers 20 songs, including 18 never issued before.
Red Hot’n’Blue are featured here with three songs. Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes is a re-cut of their great blues bopper with a different line-up and a fuller sound. Louis Jordan’s Caldonia is a track that didn’t make it on the album and was scheduled for a 7″. They give it a real jazz treatment by merging it with Babs Gonzales/Dizzy Gillespie’s Oop pop a da. Superb solos from every band members. The third song is a live take of Dick Penner’s Move Baby Move.
The Riverside Trio was the other great name of the label and the other band to have a full lp. Included here are two hillbilly boppers (one from their early demo and a studio outtake from their debut album) and a new version of Doppey Frutti, probably recorded to be released as a 7″.
The Blue Rhythm Boys were another great band on Northwood. Too bad there wasn’t more unissued stuff. Rollin’ & Tumblin’ comes from their 7″ and That Don’t Move Me is an alternate take of the Carl Perkins cover also present on their debut 45rpm, though this take is a lot wilder.
The Sprites (featuring Pascal Guimbard who later played with Red Hot’n’Blue) were a French band playing Gene Vincent inspired stuff. They had two songs on Big Noise from Northwood. Their cover of Vincent’s B-I-Bickey-Bi sounds exactly like the Screaming Kids.
Another promising act was the Slingshots, who were also on Big Noise. They played Rockabilly with a strong rural feel, and released their debut album more than ten years later after their debut on wax. The Crawdads who have one song here followed a similar path by releasing their debut album “On A Platter” in the early 90’s.
The Sureshots became very popular on the scene, they were and still are a solid live band and released some great albums too. Their cover of the Jiv-A-Tones‘Fire Engine Baby was released on a French ep with the French band the Jokers. This is an alternate take.
The Lonestars later evolved into Howlin’ Wilf’s Vee jays. They played rockin’ blues with a touch of jazz. With the two songs featured on the James Dean of the Dole Queue sampler Lonely Town is to my knowledge their only release.
The Four Blazes featured Pat Reyford and have one song here, a hillbilly rendition of Slim Gaillard’s Buck Dance Rhythm.
Peter Davenport is famous for his association with the Stargazers. The Roofraisers were his first post Gazers venture and featured Jacko Buddin on vocals. Bop A Du Bop A Du Bop is one of the two songs that first appeared on Big Noise From Northwood. Great Bill Haley/Jodimars inspired stuff.
This compilation also proposes an unissued songs from Rochee & the Sarnos (Woman Eater) and two songs by Fireball XL5.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

BR5-49

BR5-49 - One Long Saturday Night plus
BR5-49 – One Long Saturday Night plus

BR5-49 – One Long Saturday Night, plus

Bear Family BCD 17347
Even If It’s Wrong – Long Gone Lonesome Blues – Heartaches By The Number – Bettie Bettie – Right Or Wrong – Hometown Boogie – Honky Tonk Song – Go Boy Go – Lonesome 7-7203 – My Name Is Mud – I Ain’t Never – Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts) – Big Mouth Blues – Cherokee Boogie – Ole Slewfoot – Crazy Arms – Gone, Gone, Gone – One Long Saturday Night – Take Me Back To Tulsa – Hillbilly Tramp – Settin’ The Woods On Fire – Knoxville Girl – Sweet Georgia Brown

BR5-49 came like a breath of fresh air in the musical landscape of Nashville. Sure they weren’t the first to play traditionnal country, others played it on a smaller level, but they managed to get signed on a major lbel and for a while this music was at the place it deserved in the country music industry.
But though I like their songs and style a lot, I always thought that their studio albums sounded a little bit too clean and would have been better with a little more grit. Just imagine how they would have sounded had they been recorded by Wally Hersom at his Wallyphonic studio.
On this live album, recorded in Germany (and four bonus tracks recorded in Japan) in 1996, they show that the stage whether it’s a honky tonk in Dallas or a German TV show was the place where they belonged.
With no pression but the sheer joy of playing for an audience, the band felt free to play whatever they wanted from western swing (Bob Wills’ Right Or Wrong and Take Me Back To Tulsa) to 60’s country rock (Graham Parson’s Big Mouth Blues) with a solid dose of classic Honky Tonk and Rockabilly in between. This is fun from start to finish. Both Mead and Bennett are mighty fine singers and their harmonies are superb (without mentionning their guitar skills), Don Herron is a wizard with anything that has strings while Wilson and McDowell provide the beat with a subtility that too often lacks in modern country. In the end “One long Saturday Night” could possibly be the band’s best album (and as usual with Bear family it comes with a thick booklet including many pictures and liner notes by Chuck Mead).
And for those who think that the experience can’t be complete without Jay’s smile, Chuck’s legs, Gary’s hat, Shaw’s mustache and Don’s overall, Bear has a also released a dvd from the same live.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Coral Lee

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Coral Lee - The Weather Vane
Coral Lee – The Weather Vane

Coral Lee – The Weather Vane

Rhythm Bomb RBR5825 {2015}
All I Can Do Is Sing – Big Wide World – Rock and Rollin’ Fever – My Sweet Baby Blue – Me and My Chauffeur – Cadillac – Black Cat Blues – Hi Fly Boogie – Lover Man – Rodney – The Weather Vane – Boppin’ On The Moon – Bobby Brown – I Stole The Train

Another excellent surprise from Rhythm Bomb. Coral Lee comes from the land down under and for her third album has teamed up with the fine folks of Lightning Recorders Studio in Berlin. The combination made by the young girl’s voice, the talent of the band and a bunch of self penned originals (the sole cover being Memphis minnie’s Me & My Chauffeur) is superb. The core of the album is made of hillbilly/rockabilly with the occasional detour by 50’s Rock’n’roll with a hint of doo wop and some songs have a more 60’s feel.
There’s a lot of good singers out there (well, at least there’s a few) but Coral Lee has a little something more than many others with her songwriting talent. Tthis is not your run of the mill Rockabilly/hillbilly that you’ve heard for the umpteenth time elsewhere, and the guys at LRS know how to arrange her songs and make them sound.
Follow this girl closely, as I bet that she’ll soon become the darling of the festivals across Europe.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ray Condo

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Ray Condo - frntRay Condo – Sweet Love On My Mind bw/ Big Dog, Little Dog
Ray Condo Records CP007
This is a posthumous single gathered by Ray’s friend. Side one is the classic Johnny Burnette tune given the Hardrock Goners treatment, something like «wild rockabilly meets Hank Williams». B-side «Big Dog, Little Dog» is a song recorded during a rehearsal by Ray and his last musical project, featuring Stephen Nikleva (The Ricochets), Ian Tiles and Tony LaBorie, just a few months before his death. I may be wrong but the only other issued song from this line-up can be found on a tribute album to Alejandro Escovedo. A great piece of wildness (imagine Dee Dee Ramone goes hillbilly).

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Starline Rhythm Boys

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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

The Big Valley Rangers

Big Valley Rangers - Bells of Amarillo
Big Valley Rangers – Bells of Amarillo

The Big Valley Rangers – Bells Of Amarillo

Hypnolab
Ridin’ Through The Valley – Sunday Shoes – Blue River – Hillbilly Swing – Doggone Blues – Serenade For An Outlaw – Old Mexico – Rev’d Up Heart – Agua Bendita – Senorita, Senorita! – Adios

It’s good to see one still plays this kind of country music, and it’s somehow weird to think they come from Seattle (though the town is known for its vivid roots music scene). The Big Valley Rangers are a mostly acoustic quartet made of Brian Ellidge (lead vocals, guitar), Johnny Mercury (guitars), Tyler Johnson (doublebass) and Liam Fitzgerald (rhythm guitar). For the recording of their debut album they invited a couple of guest musicians, among them Billy Joe Huels (Dusty 45’s) and Russ Blake (Lucky Stars), accordion, harmonica, trumpet, steel, fiddle…
Together they deliver 11 originals that already sound like timeless classics.
Ridin’ Through The Valley” is a song that’d make Gene Autry proud: nifty lyrics, good melody with yodel and whistling, you can’t find a better way to open the album. “Sunday Shoes” follows with a melody that reminded me of “Bouquet Of Rose“. It’s a solid country song delivered with class like a good ol’ Ernest Tubb tune. “Blue River” takes you back to the western tradition, with the Sons Of The Pioneers around the campfire, harmonizing sweet melodies before they go to sleep (close your eyes and hear the coyotes in the background). Never the ones to stay the two feet in the same boot, they pursue with a Western swing influenced number that wouldn’t be out of place on a Lucky Stars album, full of sizzling solos, with a special mention to Mercury’s jazz guitar. “Doggone Blues” is a cowboy blues, think Marty Robbins’ Pain & Misery meets Jimmie Rodgers.
The second part of the album is almost entirely devoted to songs with a strong “south of the border” style, and Ellidge clear and beautiful voice serves them very well. Serenade For An Outlaw is a short Spanish guitar instrumental that introduces Old Mexico. This time again you think of the great Marty Robbins but this desperado tales completed with Mariachis trumpets evokes more his gunfighters ballads like El Paso or Big Iron.  “Rev’d Up Heart” and “Senorita” take us back to the Autry style while “Agua Bendida” is a beautiful waltz with a Mexican feel and the aptly titled “Adios” closes the album. Do yourself a favor and buy this superb album right now.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis