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Stone River Boys (the)

in Reviews

The Stone River Boys – Love On The Dial

Stone River Boys

Cow Island CIM016 [2010]
Bluebonnet Blue – Can I Change My Mind – The Struggle – Think I’m Gonna Make It – Lovers Prison – 40 Acres – Love On The Dial – Still Feel The Feeling – Special – Take A Giant Step – Love’s Gonna Make It – Martha – Steel City – Boomerangs

The origin of the Stone River Boys can be traced back when Dave Gonzales teamed up with Mike Barfield (ex-Hollisters) to play some gigs in the memory of Chris Gafney, his friend, and partner in the Hacienda Brothers. It seems that both of them liked what they did together, and they decided to continue and go beyond the tribute thing.
Love On The Dial is their debut album released by the fine folks at Cow Island known for their impeccable taste.
Gonzales and Barfield have gathered a cast of some of the finest Austin musicians including Dave Biller (Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson and many more) on steel, Kevin Smith (High Noon, Dwight Yoakam, The Derailers) on bass, Scott Esbeck (Los Straitjackets), Hank Maninger (Hacienda Brothers, Johnny Dilks) and Damian Llanes (Nick Curran). The first two tracks are a blend of country soul, a style reminiscent of the Hacienda Brothers. As if the Stone River Boys would salute the memory of their friend one last time before moving onto their own thing. By the third song, Barfield’s “The Struggle,” they let their brand of country funk speaks. Imagine if James Brown had cut an album at Owen Bradley’s studio, the result wouldn’t be far from the Gonzales-Barfield partnership. There are many more country-funk gems like this on this album, mostly penned by Barfield, whose nickname is the tyrant of Texas funk! Try to get his solo albums too. His deep and rich voice also allows him to perform straight country numbers like the Bakersfield tinged “Lovers Prison.” “Steel City,” a Dave Biller’s instrumental rounds up this groovy album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Lonesome Dave Fisher

in Reviews

Lonesome Dave Fisher – Rockabilly Ramblers and Texas Travellers

Plan 9 Trash Records P9C181 [2018]

Lonesome Dave Fisher

Oh Baby, I’m Sorry – Let It Ride – Second And San Antone – Let’s Rock Tonight – Wild Boy – Travelin’ On – Yes I Do – Hello Josephine – The Last Time – I Can’t Hardly Stand It – All The Time – Poison

Don’t believe what you read! Lonesome Dave Fisher, from Austin Texas, is not that lonesome. Just take a look at the impressive cast of musicians who play on his album: Kevin Smith (High Noon, Willie Nelson), Mike Buck, Don Leady (both from the Leroi Brothers), Roger Wallace, Earl Poole Ball (Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, The Byrds and too many to mention), Jack Montesinos (the Tailgators)… Well, you get the picture, we’re in good company here. And most of all, we have Dave Fisher. He has a loud and deep voice, plays guitar, and wrote five out of the twelve tracks.
The album kicks off with a cover of Ricky Nelson, which is, in my book, always a plus. “Let it Ride.” is a rocker that has the fervor of a gospel. Add a mean harmonica to the mix, and you have a killer. “Second to San Antone” was arranged on the spot by Earl Poole Ball, who originally sang it. You can hear that the band had a lot of fun playing and recording this song. Introduced by Kevin Smith’s slap bass, Jimmy Grubbs’ Let’s Rock Tonight seems to come straight from Sun records. “Wild Boy” has the same mean and menacing drive one can find on the early Robert Gordon albums. “Travellin’ On” is a straight-ahead rocker with saxophone and a superb solo by Don Leady. One could almost hear the motor roar. It’s a challenge to compete with the Planet Rockers, but Fisher’s cover of Yes I Do has nothing to envy to Sonny George and his gang. Talking about deep voice, his version of “Hello Josephine” owes more to Sleepy Labeef than Fats Domino, and it suits him very well. You’ll find more of Sleepy Labeef with the cover of “All the Time”, featuring once again a brilliant demonstration of slap bass by Kevin Smith. “The Last Time,” an original not the Rolling Stones song, is an excellent boppin’ rockabilly, with superb guitar picking and, icing on the cake, a baritone guitar solo. If there is, for me, a tune impossible to cover, “I Can’t Hardly Stand It” is that one. Charlie Feathers almost defined what Rockabilly is with this song, and the Cramps gave an insane version of it. Fisher had a good idea to approach it with a blues drive with harmonica, and it works remarkably well. Even more rooted in the blues is “Poison,” the closing number.
Get it at https://lonesomedavefisher.com/ or https://www.schnitzelbilly.at

Ridgetop Westernaires (the)

in Contemporary artists/R/Reviews/Singles

Ridgetop WesternairesRidgetop Westernaires (the)

Lookin’ For Better Days / Johnson City
Jet Tone – JET 102 [1996]

I first believed that the Ridgetop westernaires single was one of the very first recording made by Wayne ‘the train’ Hancock but considering the release date, 1996, this is more likely a side project (Wayne’s debut album being released in 1995.)
The Ridgetop Westernaires consisted of Wayne Hancock, Kevin Smith on double bass, Shaun Young on drums (who also recorded it at his own Jet Tone studio), Chris Miller on steel and Todd Wulfmeyer on guitar (in other words the Jet Tone Boys). All the ingredients of Hancock’s music are here and the musicians are top notch as youcan guess. One can even hear a drum solo which is not usual in Hancock’s music. Both songs will later be re-recorded on later albums. Lookin’ for better days will appear on Wild Free and Reckless and Johnson City on That’s What Daddy Wants still with Miller on steel.

High Noon the Rockabilly trio

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews

High Noon - Flatland Saturday Night
High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

Bear Family
Glorybound – Stranger Things – She Forgot Her Memory – When She’s Good – Let’s Go Daddy-O – Long Empty Stretch Of Highway – My Ex Is Why – Beautiful – Rock Too Slow – Rockin’ Wildcat – Rockin’ Beauty – Old Habits – Flatland Saturday Night – Bluebonnet Boogie – Not For Nothin’ – Rattlesnake Man – Mixed Signal Mama – Fishing Hole Boogie – I’m Not Blue – Gotta Lotta That – Doggone That Cat – Now You’re Gonna Be Loved – Comanche Moon – Kiss And Tell Baby – Slow Down Baby – It’s The Beat – High On A Hill – Hanging From The Old Oak Tree – My Little Thrill – Call Of The Honky-Tonk – Quick Hand (demo) – My Heart Cries Yes (demo)

If you’re familiar with the Rockabilly genre, High Noon needs no introduction. But just in case… They were with Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Trio and the Dave and deke Combo, one of the bands that led the revival of American Rockabilly and among the first in the USA to play this music as if it came straigth from the fifties.

For any true Rockabilly lovers, High Noon almost sounded too good to be true: Shaun Young’s voice conjured the memories of the great Texas Rockabilly singers (among them a certain guy from Lubbock). Sean Mencher’s bag of riffs seemed bottomless. Unlike too many Rockabilly guitar player who were happy to copy Hank Garland or Scotty Moore, Mencher developped his style by listening to the generation that came before like Merle Travis but also Oscar Moore or Charlie Christian. And there was Kevin Smith who showed everybody what “slapping a doghouse bass” really meant (and he was more than able to sing harmonies too.)

Like an aknowledgement to their contribution to this music, High Noon now receives the Bear Family treatment, a well deserved treatment to the legends they are.

Except for the two demos (Quick Hand and My Heart Cries Yes) all songs (32 !) here are lifted from their Goofin’ records. So don’t expect to find songs recorded for Willie Lewis’Rock-A-Billy records or songs from their mini-album Texas style that saw High Noon playing with steel, fiddle, banjo and accordion (maybe for volume 2, who knows?)

Anyway if you don’t own anything from this great band, this is the best introduction you’ll find with a thick 40-page booklet (though the interview with shaun Young looks exactly like the interview I did with him a couple of years ago).
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/high-noon-flatland-saturday-night.html


High Noon - Texas Style
High Noon – Texas Style

High Noon – Texas Style

 Exile Records ‎– EX10EP09 [1994]
Crazy Mixed Up World – He Won I Lost,  She’s Found – Across the River – My Heart Cries Yes (but my mind whispers no) – Movie Magg – Red Barn Boogie

The Texas Rockabilly trio released this 10″ mini album in 1994. First, look at that cover! It’s perfect! Congratulations to Carlos Fernandez who captured the band in action. Then the music… For this one, High Noon took a slight departure from their usual brand of stripped down rockabilly and brought some guests to the party.
The opener is a cover of the Willie Dixon song made popular by Little Walter. The trio with the help of Alvin Crow on fiddle and John Ely on steel turns it into a superb hillbilly bop with Shaun Young yelling the name of the musicians in the great Bob Wills tradition. As usual Shaun’s vocals are superb, Sean Mencher’s guitar inventive and Kevin Smith provides the perfect backbone with his slap.
Next is He Won, I Lost, She’s Found, penned by Mencher. This Honky Tonk with steel, fiddle and harmony vocals (provided by Brent wilson of the Wagoneers) is sure to make you cry in you beer. The side A closes with Across the River, another Mencher original. It’s another fine ballad enlightened by Mike Maddux on accordion.
Side B opens with My Heart Cries Yes. Can these boys play bluegrass. You bet they can! With the help of Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo. Perkins’ Movie Magg is here to remind you that High Noon is one of the very best (if not the best) Rockabilly band of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Finally the steel and the fiddle return for Hank Harral’s Red Barn Boogie to conclude this mini album in beauty.

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