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Honky Tonk

Stumbleweeds (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
The Stumbleweeds - Evil On Your Mind
The Stumbleweeds – Evil On Your Mind

The Stumbleweeds – Evil On Your Mind

Spinout Records
Evil On Your Mind – Baby I Still Love You – A Girl Dont Have To Drink – Had Enough – Saving My Love – Only Mama – Hard Times Ahead – Running Out Of Money – Look Out Heart Doggone Thing – My Baby Just Walked Right Out On Me – The Trouble With Girls – I Love You Because – Pennsyltucky – Tearin’ Up The Town

The Stumbleweeds are back with their second release! Good news isn’t it? You bet. I really enjoyed “Pickin’ and Sinnin'” their first album. It was everything one could expect from a band that plays 50’s rockabilly mixed with a good dose of Honky Tonk (or vice versa). And Lynnette’s voice was probably one of the biggest surprise. A real country female singer, influenced by her predecessors (Patsy, Charlene and Wanda) but in no way an imitation. A few years later and after some line up changes (Lynnette is the only member remaining) they issue this 15 songs record on Spinout Records. The sound changed with the line-up and they now tends to play a more 60’s influenced country style of music.

The album opens with a great rendition (man, that slap bass sound !) of “Evil On Your Mind” (Harlan Howard via Jean Shepard). Six songs you’ll find here has been sung one day or another by Wanda Jackson or Jean Shepard. But even the mood of the day is 60’s honky tonk with twangy telecaster, you can’t take the rockabilly out of that girl and their version of Janis Martin’s “Hard Time Ahead” is here to proove it. Guitar player Denis Kelly is probably one of the best kept secret in the country guitar world. He can play straight Honky Tonk riffs, Bakersfield and is not afraid to add a little bit of rock from time to time (“Pennsyltucky”) and some blues for good measure. Lenker’s own “Baby I Still Love You” and “Doggone Thing” could have been written in the 60’s. They both have great music (uptempo beat for “Baby” and classic Honky Tonk for “Doggone…”) and fine lyrics and they stand proudly among their elder. John Fuller (remember “Nashville To Nashua” on their previous effort) contributes 2 songs : the unusual (but great) “Running Out Of Money” and “Tearin’ Up The Town”. Ex-Stumbleweeds Mike Feudale returns to write “Had Enough”. This could be “one-more-country-song” but Lenker’s voice and Kelly’s guitar make all the difference. Another contributor to “Pickin’ and Sinnin'”, Chris De Barge, returns with “Pennsyltucky” another good one with change of pace for the refrain.What you have here is a great modern country album that didn’t sell his soul. Even the covert art is perfect and matchs totally with the music.

Gin Palace Jesters

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
Gin Palace Jesters - Roadhouse Riot...and other songs with words
Gin Palace Jesters – Roadhouse Riot…and other songs with words

Gin Palace Jesters – Roadhouse Riot …And Other Songs With Words

Rhythm Bomb – RBR 5616
Losing Her Memory/You Cry Alone/Moonbeam/Ol’ Webb’s Bullhorn Pontiac/Are You Missing Me/Too Sad to Stay(& Much Too Scared to Leave)/Down Beneath the Willows/Roadhouse Riot/Reflections Don’t Lie/Alison Rose/Second Fiddle/Hit The Bricks/Goody Gumdrops/Last One’s Left Waltz

Dave Sisson is not only the singer/guitar player of the high octane rockabilly trio Three Blue Teardrops, he also leads this country and western combo.
A little less western swing tinged, Roadhouse Favorite shows a slight change in the sound of the band aiming at a late 50’s / early 60’s honky tonk sound when Ray Price, Buck Owens and Webb Pierce were kings.
As a consequence you’ll find plenty of fiddle, pedal steel, Don Rich styled telecaster and harmony vocals. Sisson is a terrific songwriter for that kind of Honky Tonk sound, and weepers like Moonbeam and the haunting Down Beneath the Willow with the beautiful contribution of fiddler Katie Schandegg on backing vocals are perfect to give you give goosebumbs. No good country album would be complete without a Waltz. Not only you have one but icing on the cake, it’s a duet between Sisson and Schandegg. One will also find some bluegrass (Are You Missing Me), a bit of Western swing (Too Sad to Stay and much too scared to leave) and a nod to Carl Mann (Hit The Bricks).

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Country Cattin

in Albums/CD/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Country Cattin’ - Movin’ On
Country Cattin’ – Movin’ On

Country Cattin – Movin’ On

Cool & Crazy Record s CD005
Call Me Lonesome – Honky Tonk Girl – Hangmans Boogie – See You in My Dreams – Pinball Millionaire – I Got a Problem – Blue Days Black Nights – Hocus Pocus – I Believe in Love – Convicted – Dear John – If Your Ever Lonely – Blues Come Around – Mobilin’ Baby – Just Because – Movin’ On
With this album Country Cattin’ can stand proudly next to The Riverside Trio or The Rimshots, who were, in my humble opinion, two of the best. Hillbilly boogie, honky tonk with a bit of rockabilly, what more could you ask for? Dave Brown’s voice is excellent (it sometimes reminds me Johnny Horton), Johnny Vee’s guitar skills are also amazing. From rockabilly licks to Chet Atkin’s (I’ll see you in my dreams), he knows them all! Don’t forget the slap bass which is the backbone of the band as they are drumless and the “newest” member Chris Cummings (from the Riverside Trio) on steel guitar. He also recorded this album at his Riverside Studios. A very good album that I warmly recommend, despite the cover design I’m not too keen on.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

BR5-49

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
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

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

Charlie Thompson

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/T
Charlie Thompson
Charlie Thompson – The Foothill Sessions

Charlie Thompson – The Foothill Sessions

Fairlane Records FCD001 [2015]
Going Like Wildfire – The Automobile Song – A Blue Million Tears – Boogie Blues – We’re Buggin’ Out – I Don’t Care – Let Me Love You Just A Little – So Long – You Tried to Ruin My Name – Ain’t Never Gonna Get Married Again – (We’ve Reached) The Beginning Of the End – I Miss You Already

Beautiful as a Faron Young ep on Capitol (perfectly designed by Chris Wilkinson of the Bonneville Barons and the Zazou Cowboys), here comes Charlie Thompson’s latest output. I believed this one had been recorded a while ago as I heard of these sessions from years now (which makes me feel less guilty for my belated review). It’s also a proof that Charlie didn’t want to release it until he finds it perfect and boy, IT IS PERFECT.
Helped by what could be best described as a dream team of musicians (Jeremy Wakefield on steel, Wally Hersom on bass, Dave Stuckey on rhythm guitar, drums and harmony, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, TK Smith on guitar and Bobby Furgo on fiddle) and recorded by Wally Hersom at his Wallyphonic studio this platter not only looks but also sounds as if it came straight from the 50’s, a period when country music and honky tonky tonk still meant something.
To put it frankly, this is the best album of traditional country music I’ve heard in ages. Actually I can’t even remember having heard such a good mid-50’s honky tonk album played by a modern artist before. The songs choice (coming from the catalogues of Luke McDaniel, Carl Peterson, Webb Pierce, Jim Reeves, Moon Mullican, Pee Wee King and so on) is also very good mixing slow numbers with more rollicking and swinging stuff (it must be hard to resist with a band like this). And of course there’s Charlie’s voice, sounding like Faron Young, Dave Rich and Marty Robbins all rolled into one but in the same time sounding like none other than Charlie Thompson.
If by now you are not taken by a compelling need to buy it, we both have a problem: me as a reviewer and you with your musical tastes.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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