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Biller & Horton

Biller & Horton – Texotica

Biller & Horton

Vinylux V0007 [2005]
The Sneak-A-Roo – Deep Eddy – Tiki, Tiki – Blackberry Bounce – The Devil’s Birthday Party – Whispering Palms – Grease Fire – Slippin the Mickey – The New Thang – Dutch Treat – Mood Music for a Tropical Depression – Adam the Inkman – Texas Twilight

Texas guitar slingers Dave Biller and Bobby Horton teamed up to record this all-instrumental album titled Texotica (for Texas and Exotica) for Vinylux records in 2005. Biller plays the guitar, and Horton takes the steel on most of the track except for a couple of tunes where Horton plays the lead guitar and Biller switches to electric bass. Bobby’s brother, Billy, plays the bass (and records the whole thing), Biller’s wife Karen plays the vibes, T. Jarrod Bonta plays some piano, and Buck Johnson is on drums.
It’s a varied mix of styles. Hence you’ll find Hillbilly swing (The Devil’s Birthday Party with Erik Hokkanen on fiddle, blackberry Bounce), some influences from Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant (The Sneak-A-Roo), jazz (Dutch Treat) and some blues oriented stuff (Slippin’ the Mickey, which I suspect is a reference to Mickey Baker, Texas Twilight). Also, plenty of songs justify the title and songs like Tiki Tiki, Mood Music For A Tropical Depression, and Whispering Palms sound like Hawai/Exotica/Martin Denny all rolled into one with a dash of Les Paul for the former.
This album will ideally find its place next to Biller and Wakefield’s or John Munnerlyn and Lee Jeffriess’ one.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Miss Lauren Marie

miss lauren marie good night sleep tightMiss Lauren Marie – Good Night, Sleep Tight

Horsdorf Records HR002 [2019]
Am I Blue – If I Know’d Youse A Comin – Whoa Babe – It’s A Sin – First Train Heading South – You Belong To Me – Your Love – I’d Do It For You – You Got A Heart Like A Rock – Leave Me Alone – Cry, Cry, Cry – Good Night, Sleep Tight – I’ll Be Back

The ever-charming Miss Lauren Marie returns with her fourth album, the second one with the Halebops (Mace Sharp on piano and organ; Chris Hoffmann on lead guitar, Matti Andersson on basses; Marco Breede on drums and Lena Holldorf on backing vocals.)
This new album kicks off with an excellent rendition of Am I Blue that, contrary to many, is not a carbon copy of Eddie Cochran’s version. Less Rockabilly and more slightly more Rock’n’roll, I’d say.
Next is a cover of the hillbilly parody of If I Know You Were Comin, titled If I Know’d Youse A Comin’ I’d Cut My Throat featuring a very appropriate barrelhouse piano.
Bob Wills’ Woah Babe is the perfect vehicle for the singer and the band. Lauren Marie sings it in an effortless manner while the musicians are on fire, trading guitar, and piano solos, with drums and double bass breaks in between. Nice! The following song, It’s A Sin, is an original penned by Lauren Marie with echoes of Johnny Cash in it. She really has the voice tailor-made for this kind of stuff.
After a solid Johnny Horton cover, she delivers a superb soulful ballad (originally by Sam Cooke) with organ and brushed snare. If you remember How Can I Help But Love You on her second album, this song plays in the same category. She knocks me out every time she goes into that territory.
Back to plain old Rock’n’roll with Bob Luman’s Your Love, that features a sharp guitar solo. Then she takes Curtis Gordon’s I’d Do It for You, which is a classic hillbilly song and transforms it into a superb boppin’ hillbilly / early rockabilly, a genre at which she excels.
Charlie Gracie’s You Got A Heart Like A Rock is a classic rocker enlighten by Lena Holldorf on doo-wop backing vocals. Next is Leave Me Alone, another original that features a superb guitar pickin’ introduction. After Ritchie Valens’ Cry Cry Cry (not to be confused with Johnny Cash song of the same name) you’ll find Lauren Marie’s third original. Despite its title (Good Night, Sleep Tight), it’s not exactly what you could call a lullaby but a solid Rockabilly tune.
The record ends up with I’ll Be Back. It’s a good idea to resurrect this lesser-known Elvis song from 1966, and we take this as a promise. We hope that you’ll keep your word, and we won’t have to wait seven years for the next album.

Miss Lauren Marie - Under the Stars, Over the Blues
Miss Lauren Marie – Under the Stars, Over the Blues

Miss Lauren Marie – Under the Stars, Over the Blues

Rebel records – [2012]
Kiss Me Baby – My One Desire – Dream – An Honest Woman – So Cruel, So Cold, So Blind – You Must Be A Loser – For Rent – Forever‘s Much Too Long – Think What You Want – Ain‘t Misbehavin‘ – I‘m Comin‘ Home – Under The Stars, Over The Blues – Outro
A lot of things happend to Miss lauren Marie since 2008 and the release of her latest album “Im’ No Good Without You” on Texas Jamboree. She moved to Germany, got married and found a new band, the Halebops. They brought a slight change in her style, sounding more Rock’n’roll than Rockabilly or Hillbilly bop. The best examples of these new direction are the opener, a cover of Al ferrier’s Kiss Me Baby featuring a strong pumping piano and Ricky Nelson’s My one Desire.
“Under the Stars, Over the Blues” also marks a new step for the singer who wrote or co-wrote four songs. I particularly enjoyed “An Honest Woman” that made me think of Big Sandy’s I hate Loing You and the title track on which she accompanies herself on ukulele.
She also co-produced the album and without comparing to Billy Horton who produced her previous efforts and is one of today’s best producer, one can say that she did a fairly well job, especially on the voice. Hey! There’s even an accordion on one track!
Check her website

Miss Lauren Marie - I'm no good without you
Miss Lauren Marie – I’m no good without you

Miss Lauren Marie – I’m No Good Without You

Texas Jamboree TexJam 0060
I’m No Good Without You – Careless Love – You’re Only Cheatin’ Yourself – Nobody Buys Your Alibis – Cheaters Cheat – Cracker Jack – One Broken Heart – What Have I Done That Made You Go Away – Midnight – How Do You Feel About Me – All the World Is Lonely Now – How Could I Help But Love You – So Long
For her second album, still on Texas Jamboree, Miss Lauren Marie played with the same winning team that made of her previous album the great thing we all know and love.If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it as they say. It’s always a pleasure to hear the fine drumming of Buck Johnson, with Dave Biller’s tasty licks as well as T Bonta’s honky tonkin’ piano, Bobby Horton’s guitar (and steel) and of course brother Billy playing bass and producing the whole thing. Together they sound like a today’s equivalent to the Nashville’s A-team. They deliver a fine set of smooth rockabilly (Cheaters Cheat), Ricky Nelson’s type of rock’n’roll (So Long), Honky Tonk (One Broken Heart, All The World Is Lonely Now), swingin’ Hillbilly (What Have I Done That Made You Go Away) and a soulful – Charlie Rich inspired cover of Aaron Neville’s “How Could I Help But Love You”. The other covers range from Wayne Newton’s I’m No Good Without You to “Careless Love” (close to Wayne Newton’s version too) via a tribute to the late Janis Martin (Crackerjack).Six songs are originals, Bobby and Billy Horton (together or individually) providing four tunes in their very own style and icing on the cake, the king of songwriters, Sage Guyton of The Lucky Stars fame, has written two instant Honky Tonk classics (“You’re Only Cheatin’ Yourself” and “Nobody Buys Your Alibis”) for the young lady.
The voice, the band, the songs, the style(s) and the production, it is flawless and I can’t see a single thing that could prevent you to rush to your local dealer to ask it.

Miss Lauren Marie - Introducing…
Miss Lauren Marie – Introducing…

Miss Lauren Marie – Introducing…

Texas Jamboree TexJam 0061
Just Like Two Drops of Water – Sweet and Easy to Love – A Heart That Isn’t True – As My Heart Breaks – Who Cares – Moody River – One Sided Heart – How Long is Forever – Everytime – Three Little Words – Please Take a Picture – The Last Kiss is the Sweetest – Believe What You Say
Short version : Perfect & essential !
Extended version : Not only Billy Horton is a great producer and knows how to record music, but he and his brother Bobby have gathered some of the finest musicians around to build what could be called the “Fort Horton team”. With Billy on bass, Bobby on guitar and lap steel, you find Dave Biller, probably one of the most inventive guitar player in town, Buck Johnson on drums and T Bonta on piano. Together they made some masterpieces like The Horton Brothers albums and Shaun Young’s “Wiggle Walk”. That’s the same band that plays on this great platter, Miss Lauren Marie’s debut album. Imagine something like a cross between Kay Starr and Patsy Cline recording at Owen Bradley’s studio in the early 60’s. The album opens on a great version of Wynonie Harris’ “Just Like Two Drops Of Water” which is followed by Roy Orbison’s Sun period song : Sweet And Easy To Love. The arrangement is not that far from the original except for the backing vocals arrangement, a good idea in my opinion as I think it’s a low point on the original. Next comes “A Heart That Isn’t True” one of the three Bobby Horton’s own, first heard on “Bobby Horton vs Derek Peterson”. “As My Heart Breaks” is another nice tune written by Horton and shows some reminiscences of the Biller & Horton album with vibes and an exotic beat. His third effort, “Everytime” is a pure Horton song and is my new “I-feel-blue-what-song-could-I-play-to-feel-better” tune. An old theme given a fresh treatment.
The Two Timin’ Three appear on two songs : the jazzy “Three Little Words” with a nice guitar in a Chet Atkins vein and the Ricky Nelson / Burnette smooth rockabilly “Believe What You Say”, the perfect song to end this album which shows her ability to rock. Before that you’ll find some honky tonk with Don Gibson’s “Who Cares” and Willie Nelson’s “How Long Is Forever”, and a beautiful waltz written by Eric Laufer. Don’t forget her version of “Moody River” where Miss Lauren Marie is perfectly supplied by Buck Johnson’ drums rolls. I could go on with the musicians skill or try to describe her voice both subtle or warm but I’m afraid that short or extended, you’ll always come to the same conclusion : a perfect album with no filler.

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Shaun Young (High Noon, Thunderchiefs…)

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

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.

Horton Brothers (the)


hortonThe Horton Brothers – Tempo for Two

Texas Jamboree TexJam 0062 [2005]
Hey Little Momma – My Own Two Eyes – North To Dallas – I Ain`t Got Time For Love – More Than I Cay Say – Locked Out Of Love AgainI Had One Too Many – She Tells Me With Her Eyes – Shadows Of The Old Bayou – Yesterday´s Blues – Just Who
Even if they were still active on the scene, The Horton Brothers hadn’t released anything on their own since «Heave Ho» in 2000. But it was worth the wait because this album is simply great. Just have a look at the musicians : playing with Bobby and Billy are Dave Biller, Buck Johnson and T Jarrod Bonta, the same winning team you find on Shaun Young’s Wiggle Walk. Even if this record is still what you can expect from the brothers (sweet harmonies, beautiful melodies…) I should say, comparing to Heave Ho or Roll back The Rug, that this one is less «rural» and sometimes more 60’s. The opening track, Bobby’s Hey Little Momma, has a very Buddy Holly feel with his beat à la Not Fade Away. The Buddy Holly connection continues with the Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison song “More Than I Can Say”. A beautiful version all in subtlety. Another cover, Ruth Brown’s «She Tells Me With Her Eyes» has a very strong Phil Spector feel in it (with those big drums rolls used in place of the “shoo-bee-dooby-wops”). Another highlight is «I Had One Too Many», The Wilburn Brothers song. They really rocked up this one with a wild boogie piano part and it works. But as usal, if the covers are great, the real strenght lays in the songs written by the brothers. «My Own Two Eyes» is by far my favorite with a solid tempo and nice harmonies, and «Yesterday’s Blues» is a beautiful slow tempo with sax (played by Billy).

The Horton Brothers - Hey It's Bobby and Billy
The Horton Brothers – Hey It’s Bobby and Billy

The Horton Brothers – Hey! It’s Bobby and Billy

Crazy Love Records CLLP 6418 [1996]
Hillbilly Hepcat – Smoochin` With My Baby/Please – Hello, Hello – Let`s Go Boppin` Tonight – Talk To You By Hand – The Other Side Of The Moon – The Beaumont Boogie – I Can`t Sit Still – Insomnia – Are You In Love? – Look My Way – Scary Cat – I`m Out

Hey It’s Bobby & Billy” is the debut album from the Horton brothers on which they are backed by top musicians including Shaun Young, Chris Miller, Tjarko, Lisa Pankratz. It contains good moment but to be honest, it’s far from the Horton sound they developped with their following albums. On this platter they are still in the process of learning their chops and finding their style and the album seems to suffer from a lack of direction. Some songs are good and announce “Roll Back The Rug…” but the sound remains a bit modern. It’s even more evident on some rockabilly material like « Look My Way » or « I Can’t Sit Still » that is closer to the Stray Cats than, say, Rusty and Doug. 
Not as essential as the rest of their discography but worth a spin nonetheless.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Horton Brothers (Billy and Bobby)
Horton Brothers