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Lester Peabody

Darrel Higham

in Reviews

Darrel Higham – Mobile Corrosion

Nervous Records NERCD082 [1995]
Like A Brand New Man – If You Can Live With It – Long Lonely Road – Deep In The Heart Of Texas – I Like Me Just Fine – Second Hand Information – In My Heart – No One Will Grieve – Revenue Man – Country Lila Rhue – You Were Right, I Was Rong – I’ve Been Gone A Long Time – Don’t Bug Me Baby – Amanda’s Song – Travis Pickin’ – Life Goes On – Rockin’ Band Blues

Recorded in 1995 for Nervous Records with Rusti Steel (lap steel), Les Curtis (drums), Mick Wigfall (bass), and Dave Brown (piano), Mobile Corrosion is one of Higham’s most country-tinged albums.
Like A Brand New Man is a perfect opener, sounding like a cross between Johnny Horton’s Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor and Berry’s Promised Land. If You Can Live Without It is a country ballad yet muscled up by the slap bass and features nice guitar picking.
Long Lonely Road is a Rock’n’roll tune on which Darrel’s Cochran inspired vocal makes wonder. Geraint Watkins’ Deep In the Heart Of Texas is an excellent country drive with a powerful drive. The following track, I Like Me Just Fine, is way heavier, with mean guitar and powerful vocal. Back to traditional Rockabilly, with a hillbilly touch, with Gentleman Jim’s Second Hand Information. Every good Rock’n’Roll album should feature a slow number. Good news, you have two on this album, In My Heart and Amanda’s Song, and one more time, Higham’s voice, not far from Cochran on Lonely Street here, is perfect.
No One Will Grieve is a modern Rocker with a solid bass part. Revenue Man is a cover of George Jones tune, Country Lila Rhue is more on the hillbilly bop vein, while You Were Right, I Was Wrong is a Rockabilly ballad.
I’ve Been Gone Too Long is a mean Country-rock, and you could easily imagine Sonny George singing it. Though Milton Allen did the original of Don’t Bug Me Baby in 1957, Higham’s version comes from the cover made by Shakin Stevens in 1981. It’s instrumental time with Travis Pickin’. No surprise, all is in the title. Life Goes On shows the influence of Gene Vincent, which means brushed snare drums and plenty of jazz influences in the guitar. Rockin’ Band Blues is a Cochran pastiche. Nothing really original but a good song nonetheless.


Darrel Higham & the Barnshakers – Pretty Little Devil

darrel higham

Goofin Records GOOFY 570 [1997]
Sweethearts Or Strangers – Don’t Be Gone Long – Pretty Little Devil – Flattin’ & Thumbin’

Darrel Higham recorded this ep in 1997 with the ever-excellent Barnshakers from Finland. That was not the first collabration between the British guitar picker and the Finnish Rockabilly band. Both recorded a full album together in 1993. Sometimes when two talented artists or bands join forces, the result doesn’t keep up with the expectations (I have a few example that I’ll keep for myself.) That was not the case here, this four-track ep is excellent.
Side one kicks off with a cover of the old classic “Sweethearts or Strangers”. Higham’s vocals and guitar give it a strong Eddie Cochran feel, and Lester Peabody’s steel guitar nicely enhances it. Next is a cover of Bod Doss’ “Don’t Be Long Gone.” Like the original, it’s jet-propelled by a solid slap bass intro.
Vesa Haaja, the singer of the Barnshakers, joins forces to sing harmonies for the Everly sounding Pretty Little Devil, recorded initially by Bob Denton and Eddie Cochran.
The last track is a guitar duet between Higham and Peabody/Jussi Huhtakangas. Well, the title says it all. It’s a gentle battle between these two great pickers. One can only regret that Deke Dickerson wasn’t there at the time of the recording.
There are still a few copies left on Goofin Records.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Hal Peters trio / & his Stringdusters

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/OPQ/Reviews

Hal Peters and his Stringdusters - Western Standard Time
Hal Peters and his Stringdusters – Western Standard Time

Hal Peters and his String Dusters – Western Standard Time

Bluelight Records. BLR 331132 [2004]
Late For Lovin’ – Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand – Without You – Time/Careless Words – Ciggarets, Jukebox and A Bar Room – I Hear You Talkin’ – Take Back Your Paperheart – Play The Music Louder – My Front Door Is Open – If I Don’t Love You (Grits Ain’t Croseries) – I’m Satisfied With You – Diamonds And Cadillacs – Guess Things Happen That Way

One often says that to make good country music and especially western-swing, it is necessary to be american and live in the south of the country if possible! All this is bullshit and I ‘m gonna disclose it right now : there is a band in Finland which, since many years now, forged itself a reputation whose exceeded the borders and is far from being usurped. Hal Peters and his String Dusters’ fellows form today part of the best formations of Western-Swing and this new album «Western Standard Time» proves it easily.Since their beginnings in the rockabilly music as a quartet (Hal Peters and his Trio) the combo has changed its name, stretched and moved towards a hillbilly bop and western-swing style inspired by Curtis Gordon (to whom this album is dedicated) Roy Hogsed or Hank Thompson. These accomplished musicians who divided themselves between other bands give to this album a credibility who largely exceeds a number of other bands which today launch out in this musical kind. Listen to «Late For Lovin’» a composition of Hal Peters (his real name is Heikki Laakkonen) and you will immediately be transported to Texas or Oklahomain the middle of the Fifties. The rest of the album will firmly anchor you to it during the fourteen titles with a small detour towards the rockabilly sound of Memphis with the participation of Hayden Thompson («Diamonds and Cadillacs») and the «Cash» soundalike with the cover of «Guess Things Happen That Way». Is Helsinki goin’ to overshadow Turkey as the home of Western-Swing?? Who knows.??

David Phisel


Hal Peters and his Trio - Fireball Mail
Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Goofin Record GRCD 6038 {1994}
Fireball Mail – Make Up Your Mind – Rock Me Up – Baby I’m Ready – You’re My Very Special Baby – Doggone It/If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – You’re There – Satisfied – Starlight – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon/You’re Gone – Steelin’Home – Blue Blue Day – Tired Of Rockin’ – Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’ Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

A must have. This cd album contains the band’s debut album (Snatch It and Grab It), songs from various singles, eps, compilations and a selection of songs from their 1991 album « Baby I’m Ready« . And if it wasn’t enough it also features five brand new recording that announce the new direction – more western swing – taken by the band in the following years.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis


Hank Ewards - In the silence of the Night
Hank Ewards – In the silence of the Night

Hank 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


Hal Peters and his Trio - You Don't Have to Worry ep
Hal Peters and his Trio – You Don’t Have to Worry ep

Hal Peters and his Trio – EP

Goofin’ Goofy 511 {1988}
You Don’t Have To Worry – If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – Doggone It – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon

The name has changed to Hal Peters and his Trio with the addition of Jussi Huhtakangas on drums and steel guitar but the quality remains. A guest fiddle can also be heard on Jimmy and Johnny’s If You Don’t, Somedy Else Will. The result is one great rockabilly number (Joe Clay’s Doggone It) and three mellower hillbilly bop straight from Texas circa 1955.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis


Hal Peters Trio - Snatch It and Grab It!
Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

Moondogs SRLP 8525 {1986}
Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

Released in 1986 Snatch It and Grab It is the debut album of this Finish trio. They formed in 1984 with Heikki Laakkonen on vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, Eino Rastas a mighty guitar player in the style of Hal Harris formerly of the Rhythm Wheel Combo and Timo Uimonen on double bass. They are probably one the best rockabilly band of the eighties and one the very few to capture the feeling of the 50’s recordings.
Despite a majority of covers (Carls Perkins, Freddie Hart, Curtis Gordon, Buddy Holly, Joe Clay…) and only one self penned tune (You Cant Do Me No Wrong) they manage to have a highly personnal sound. Most of the songs are in the drummerless trio format though one can here a light drums on some tracks and occasional piano. Excellent from start to finish
Later reissued with various other tracks on the cd album « Fireball Mail » (Goofin records GRCD 6038).
Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Hal Peters and his Trio
Hal Peters and his Trio

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