Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Link records

Link records / Chuck Flintstone Presents

in LABELS
Link records was a UK punk label, run by Mark Brennan and Laurie Pryor.

In 1988 they launch their Chuck Flintstone presents serie offering Chuck Harvey of the Frantic Flintstones a position as scout for Psychobilly music.

Chuck Flintstone presents

The Meteors – Live & Loud* LINK LP 006 – [1987]
Frantic Flintstones – Rockin’ Out LINK LP 051 – [1988]
Coffin Nails – A fistful of burgers LINK LP 058 – [1988]
The Deltas – Tougher than tough LINK LP 060 – [1988]
The Nitros – Nightshades LINK LP 062 – [1988]
The Polecats – Live & Rockin LINK LP 069 – [1988]
Frantic Flintstones – Not Christmas Album LINK LP 072 – [1989]
V/A – Katz Keep Rockin LINK LP 077 -[1989]
Boz and the Bozmen – Dress In Deadmen’s Suits LINK LP 080 – [1989]
The Batfinks – Wazzed ‘n’ Blasted LINK LP 082 – [1989]
Demented Are Go – The day, the earth, spat blood LINK LP 084 – [1989]
V/A – Rockin at the Take Two LINK LP 089 – [1989]
Turnpike Cruisers – Drive drive drive LINK LP 091 – [1989]
The Radiacs – Hellraiser LINK LP 093 – [1989]
The Deltas – Live & Rockin LINK LP 096 – [1989]
Frantic Flintstones – Live & Rockin LINK LP 098 – [1989]
Sugar Puff Demons – Fall from grace LINK LP 099 – [1989]
The Tailgators – Live & Rockin LINK LP 101 – [1989]
Rockin Rocket 88 – Coming home LINK LP 102 – [1989]
Scared Stiff – Dark Streets LINK LP 104 – [1989]
King Kurt – Live & Rockin LINK LP 106 – [1989]
Frantic Flintstones – The nightmare continues LINK LP 109 – [1989]
V/A – Katz Keep Rockin Vol. 2 LINK LP 111 – [1989]
Stage Frite – Island of the lost souls LINK LP 113 – [1989]
Demented Are Go – Live & Rockin LINK LP 116 – [1990]
Coffin Nails – Live & Rockin LINK LP 118 – [1990]
The Batfinks – Live & Rockin LINK LP 122 – [1990]
The Termites – Overload LINK LP 124 – [1990]
The Tailgators – The Tailgators LINK LP 126 – [1990]
The Radiacs – Live & Rockin LINK LP 128 – [1990]
Frantic Flintstones – Schlachthof Boogie Woogie LINK LP 129 – [1990]
Rantanplan – Two worlds at once LINK LP 131 – [1990]
King Kurt – Destination Demoland LINK LP 133 – [1990]

*Not on Chuck Flintstone presents but released in the regular Link serie,

Scared Stiff

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Scared Stiff – Dark Streets

Scared Stiff

Link Records Link LP104 [1989]

Johnny Cynic The Untouchables My Babe She’s So Fine Tear It Up Dark Streets Scared Stiff Ghost Hunter One More Bite Elvis O’Leary

In late 1988 / early 1989 Chuck Flintstone contacted Dave Finnegan in order to release an album of Irish Psychobilly legends Shark Bait but the band had already split.

Finnegan hastily recruited some musicians (Ciaran Murphy on guitar, Johnnie Bonnie on drums and Willo O’Brian on bass as well as a couple of guest) to record this album containing songs from the Shark Bait catalog.

The album contains its share of very good songs, all originals being from the pen of Finnegan. From the psychobilly sound of Johnny Cynic and She’s so Fine (both with wild double bass) or Ghost Hunter to the title track that sounds like what could be described as Psycho-folk. Quite different – but very good – is One More Bite featuring an accordion or the Untouchables that starts with a jazzy mood before evolving into a furious neo-rockabilly.

Next to those very good songs, their covers are totally useless and are only here to release a lp rather than a mini album.

The album also suffers from a poor production (or the absence of production should I say) and a poor mastering .

Two songs (Ghost Hunter and One More Bite) were later reissued on Long Lost Psychobilly Vol. 1 (Treasures From The Vaults Of Link Records).

Shortly after the release of the album Scared stiff disbanded and Dave Finnegan appeared in the Alan Parker’s movie the Commitments before fronting his own Commitments band for a while.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Nitros (neo-rockabilly)

in Profiles/Stories

nitros_480The Nitros

Early Years

The Nitros story begins in 1984 when Mark Swain (double bass) and his cousin Jon Attril (drums) recruit John O’Malley “I met the band when I answered an advert in Melody Maker. Mark & Jon had advertised for a Rockabilly guitarist so I went along to the audition. It was at Mark’s house in Tottenham, North London. I’d been in bands since about the age of 12 but this was my first Rockabilly band with a proper stand up bass, I was about 15 at the time”.
O’Malley gets the place and the band begins to rehearse with its singer Gary Pudney. For the first time on stage together, they open for The Guana Batz but after a few gigs Pudney quits the band. He’ll resurface in The Griswalds, still as a lead singer. “I didn’t think he was right for the sound we were trying to get. He probably suited more of the Psychobilly sound when we wanted to be like Restless or the Blue Cats.” remembers O’Malley.
The remaining trio doesn’t look for a new singer and decides to carry on with O’Malley taking over the vocals duties. They record “Destruction Road” for Fury Records and “Taxi Cab” and “Echoes Of Love” for Katz Keep Rocking. In 1988 the band releases “Nightshades” their debut mini-lp on Link in the “Chuck Flintstone presents” collection. Mixing fast rockabilly tunes with O’Malley’s inventive and jazzy riffs and a bit of blues, this album is a true masterpiece. The ability of each of them to write originals gives this 8 songs lp plenty of diversity to please the listener like the bluesy “Well Now Baby”, the darker “Misery” and of course plenty of neo-rockabilly, all wrapped up with O’Malley’s inventive and impressive riffs, this album is a true masterpiece.
Sadly this line up doesn’t last long and this first incarnation of the Nitros splits in the late 80’s. “Jon wanted to leave as he had a few personal problems and Mark was losing interest so things just went down hill.” explains the singer “It was good while it lasted and we did quite few good gigs and released Nightshades so it wasn’t all in vain.” Mark will later form the pornabilly (sic) band “The Shocking Truth where he can still be found today.

Second line-up

That doesn’t stop O’Malley who keeps the name and the band going, this time with Gary “Gaz” Day on double bass formerly of The Mysterons and The Frantic Flintstones. They tried two or three drummers that didn’t fit the band, so Gaz called Rich Taylor “It went well so I got the job” . “When I got together with Gary and Rich it was like a whole fresh approach to what we were doing, they were more into the scene and the atmosphere in the band was better, it was more fun. Gary was and still is a great bass player and very enthusiastic towards what we were doing so the sound just got better” recalls O’Malley. The new Nitros secured a contract with the Sun records of modern Rockabilly, Roy Williams’ Nervous Records and go to the studio to record their second album, “Stompin’ Beat”, in 1990. This one features some great moments like “Devil’s Ship” or “Swingsville” a jazzy instrumental that shows O’Malley’s rich influences “I’ve always liked Brian Setzer, he’s great. I started off liking all the usual rock’n’roll guitarist like Cliff Gallup, Franny Beecher, Danny Cedrone and Scotty Moore, they still sound good today. As I’ve gotten older my tastes have widened and yes, I listen to a lot of Django , Oscar Moore and Danny Gatton to try to take some of there style. But my all time hero is Jimmy Bryant, he was so fast and clean, absolutely amazing without a doubt.” In his capable hands this mix is… well, explosive.
The choice of the covers is also particularly judicious with songs from The Polecats, The Beatles and Queen. And if “Stompin’ Beat” doesn’t have the freshness and the exuberance of “Nightshades” it benefits from a tighter rhythm section. But to achieve such a great result hasn’t been easy “Stomping Beat was especially a bit of a nightmare, the engineer was always stoned and couldn’t get anything done, in the end we had to get Pete Gage to take over and mix it, he kind of saved it.” Taylor completes “He was always looking for drugs, so we ended up trying to mix the L.p ourselves. Roy was not happy and we got Pete Gage to mix it.”
Around the end of 1991, John O’Malley was also a member of “Rabbit Action” featuring Phil Connor from the psychobilly band Skitzo on vocals, Mickey Wigfall on bass, and Paul Moxon on drums. “I’d known Phil from the early days of the Nitros, we used to be on the same bill together a lot and we became good friends. Phil is a great guy and I’d love to run into him again.” The band stayed together for a short while “but it just fizzled out”. In 1990 Gary went back to The Frantic Flintstones and brought Rich with him. Together they played on “Cuttin A Fine Line” (Rumble Records) and later “Jamboree” (Anagram). During this sessions, produced by Alan Wilson, Day suggested to reform The Sharks. He was drafted in on bass and recorded “Recreationnal Killer” in 1993. He also debuted his partnership with famous popstar Morrissey.

Colbert Hamilton

Still in 1993 the Nitros released its third LP on Day’s short lived label Rockout : “Something’s Gotta Give”. Another very good one, with Boz Boorer (Polecats and many others) in the producer’s seat. Mostly self written with the exception of Wayne Walker’s All I Can Do Is Cry and Bobby Roberts’Big Sandy this one goes from wild rockabilly to the jazzy “Midnight Special”. A guest singer is also present on four songs “Chris Harvey was with the band for about six months. A great singer but didn’t seem to fit in with our sense of humour. I haven’t seen him since he left the band, maybe he went back to Scotland.”.
The same year they backed Colbert Hamilton, the Black Elvis, on “Still Taggin’ Along”. “We met Colbert when he used to work in Kensington market. We had seen him perform before and thought he was great. We approached him and found out he wasn’t with any band at the time so we got him in and it went from there. Colbert is an amazing singer and front man, he really knows how to put on a show. The two CDs we did together were cool, he had a load of his old songs he’d never recorded and I’d written a bunch of songs so we put them all together and out came the 2 CDs”. O’Malley has very fond memories of the Japan tour backing Hamilton “It was great and we were treated really well, the crowds were just so into what we were doing, I remember me and Rich walking down the town and young Rockabilly kids stopping us to sign pictures and take our photo… Cool.”
In 1994, the band and Hamilton returned to Nervous to release Hamilton’s third lp “Wild At Heart” produced by Alan Wilson (The Sharks) and featuring covers of The Reverend Horton Heat and Thin Lizzy.(Hamilton collaborated with Phil Lynott). For Taylor and O’Malley “Wild at heart is the best one, I wouldn’t change a thing about that one”

The Nitros never officially disbanded but each of them got involved in other projects. Taylor played with Paul Ansell’s N°9,  The Caravans, The Playboys and The Crazy Crocodiles. He also had a project with Dibbs Preston (The Rockats) called The Leopardmen. Day was busy with his own band The Gazmen, The Caravans and of course as bassist with Morrissey.
O’Malley joined the heavy touring band “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. They released numerous albums and his sparkling guitar can still be heard with them today. He also formed The Poker Dots in Spring 2002 with Zac Zdravkovic and Spencer Lingwood, a band inspired by The Platters, The Crew Cuts with a bit of Nat King Cole here and there.
When he thinks about his days in The Nitros, O’Malley says : “It was good fun and I’m glad I was a part of it. ” 

“Something Gotta Give” is now out of print (sadly) but Nigthshades and Stompin’ Beat have been released on the same cd in 2009 by Cherry Red /Anagram. With three bonus tracks and a booklet full of rare photos, this is a must have.
If mp3’s are more your thing, Stompin’ Beat, Wild At Heart (with Colbert Halmiton) and the songs from Outrage vol 1 and 2 are available.

The Nitros
The Nitros (John O’Malley, Rich Taylor and Gary Day)

  • Albums
    Nightshades – Link MLP 062
    Stompin’ Beat – Nervous Nerd049
    Something’s Gotta Give – Rockout Nit001
    Nightshades/Stompin’ Beat CDM Psycho 78
  • with Colbert Hamilton
    Cadillac Baby– Vinyl Japan JRT02
    Still Taggin’ Along – Vinyl Japan JRCD05
    Wild At Heart– Nervous Nerd076
  • Compilation albums
    One track (Destruction Road) on I Love My Car – Fury Records
    One track (Echoes Of Love) on Katz Keep Rocking Vol.1– Link
    One track (Taxi Cab) on Katz Keep Rocking Vol.2– Link
    One track (Big Sandy) on Twenty Blasters From Blighty– NV Comp1
    One track (Running Out Of Time) on Outrage Vol.1– Rage 104
    Two tracks (Midnight Special, All I Can Do Is Cry) on Outrage Vol.2– Rage 105
    Three tracks (I’ll Get Mine, Teenager’s Mother, Something’s Gotta Give) on Five Inches Of Pleasure

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis
Thanks to John O’Malley and Rich Taylor.

Rantanplan

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

rantanplan_two_worlds_at_once_cdRantanplan – Two Worlds At Once

Link Records / Anagram  [1990]
Rantanplan ~ Watch Me Goin’ Off ~ Unknown Girl ~ Go Out Cherie ~ Bad Games ~ Container Love ~ Chinese Boy ~ Liberty Baby ~ Riding To Nowhere ~ My Bed Is Too Small ~ Inspite Of No Feet ~ Bikini Girls With Machine Guns.
Rantanplan, whose name comes from a famous French comic strip character,  never claimed to have big ambitions and played mostly for fun (and I suspect for free booze too). However they managed to have one album out on Link in the Chuck Flintstone serie which is reissued now on Anagram/Cherry Red.
This album is very representative of the psychobilly sound one could hear in the second half of the 80’s with a light sound (here, very light due to the thin production) and the slap bass to the fore. The result is neither good nor bad, it’s just average. It’s mainly due to the production, the lack of a good guitar player able to play solos and original numbers that are not very… originals. The booklet contains detailed liner notes with a history of the band. .

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Stage Frite

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

Stage Frite
Stage Frite

Stage Frite

Country: UK
Genre: Psychobilly

Clive Perchard: vocals, double bass
Dave Rounce: guitar
Stevie Death: drums

Stage Frite began their relatively short career as a rockabilly band in 1988 but soon opted for a more agressive sound and Psychobilly.
They supported bands like the Griswalds, Skitzo and the Frantic Flintstones and developped a friendship with Chuck Harvey who at that time was scouting band for Link. The result was two tracks recorded for the compilation album “Kats Keep Rockin’”. This gave them a wider exposition and audience and it wasn’t long before Link proposed them to record a full album.
Thus, in August 1988, they found themselves in studio with Mark Hunt (who at that time recorded most of the Frantic Flintstones albums) to cut their debut album “Island Of Lost Souls”.
It sold relatively well and as a result they played bigger gigs and appeared on the bill of a few all-dayers. But when the band was working on a possible second album they split in the Spring of 1991, each member having different ideas about the style they should play.
They remained active musically, Rounce later joined the Roswell Invaders, Stevie drummed for punk outfits and Perchard played bass for the East Coast Bluegrass band and the Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo.

Stage Frite later reformed and released an album in 2017 on Western Star records.

Adapted from the liner notes of the CD reissue of Island Of Lost Souls (Anagram-CDM Psycho 48) written by Alan Wilson.

Stage Frite - Island of Lost Souls
Stage Frite – Island of Lost Souls

Stage Frite – Island of lost Souls

Anagram cdmpsycho48 [1989 – reissue 2006]
Island Of Lost Souls – Pink and Black – Noises – One Last Dream – Bad Moon Rising – Black Magic – Slippin’ In – The Ripper – Take The Money and Run – Searchin’ – Baby Let’s Play House – Freight Train – Get Away Little Girl – My Baby’s Gone – Long Blond Hair – Island Of Lost Souls – There Goes My Baby – Get Away Little Girl

Island Of Lost Souls is a good album. Understand me; it’s not an essential one like The Meteors’ In Heaven, Guana Batz’s Held Down… At Last or Frenzy’s Hall Of Mirror to name but three of the classics but if Stage Frite’s Island Of Lost Souls was a movie, it would be a honest and pleasant horror B-movie you enjoy watching with friends. They have good originals like the title track, Black Magic or the Ripper. In comparison their covers are far less convincing, lacking of an angle to approach them. Produced and engineered by Marc Hunt, who was in charge of many Frantic Flintstones early recordings, it’s not a surprise to find some common point with late 80’s albums of the gang of Chuck Harvey. The cd reissue is completed with two tracks that were previously only available on vinyl on compilations and four early demos.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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