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Mark Denman

Long Tall Texans

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Long Tall Texans - Ballroom Blitz
Long Tall Texans – Ballroom Blitz

Long Tall Texans – Ballroom Blitz

Crazy Love
Indians – Right First Time – Ballroom Blitz [Metal Mix] – Texas Beat – Non Stop Loving – 900 Miles – Rockin’ Crazy – One More Time – Shot Dead – Ballroom Blitz [Alternate Take] – Get Up and Go

Ballroom Blitz is a rarities album featuring rare and unissued stuff from the Long Tall Texans’ early years.
The first four tracks date from 1986 and were scheduled to be released on Northwood but the label folded before the ep materialized. The song were later re-recorded on albums with the
exception, correct me if I’m wrong, of Ballroom Blitz that only appeared on their live album.
The remaining tracks were recorded in 1985 with the band’s first line-up featuring Bill Clifford on drums instead of Theo. It’s very interesting to compare with the later studio version and hear a band in mutation. It’s still classic rockabilly/neo-rockabilly but here and there appear elements of what would become their trademark sound.


Long Tall Texans - Sodbusters
Long Tall Texans – Sodbusters

Long Tall Texans – Sodbusters

Razor Records – RAZ 23 [1987]
Poison – My Babe – Get Up & Go – Rockin’ Crazy – Texas Boogie – Long Tall Texans – Paradise – My Idea Of heaven – Mad About You – Wreckin’ Me – Dance Of the Head Hunters – Endless Sleep

Formed in the mid 80’s, the Long Tall Texans released “Sodbusters” their debut album in 1987. The core of this album is mainly made of modern rockabilly with fast slap bass that became the trademark of the band (Poison, Rockin’ Crazy, Long Tall Texans). Some other songs border on psychobilly like Paradise and Get Up and Go. There’s also a strong blues influence with Little Walter’s My Babe that receives a superb rockin’ blues treatment or the jump blues influenced “Wreckin’ Me” that sounds a bit like Red Hot’n’Blue. There’s even a touch of ska mixed with a blues harp (My Idea Of Heaven) and an interesting mix of Glam rock with Rockabilly (Rock’n’Roll Party/Endless Sleep). Two instrumentals round up the album and prove that these cats are serious musicians.


Long Tall Texans – Saturnalia

Razor Records RAZ 37 [1989]
Anagram CDM PSYCHO 75 [2008]
Get Back, Wetback – Crossing Swords – Don’t I Know It – Fill It Up Tight – Low Down Mean Old Son Of A Gun – Cairo – Shiver Street – Bloody – Mercy – No Tomorrow – Get Back, Wetback (Alamo Mix)* – Get Your Teeth Out Of My Jugular* – Something’s Cooking* – Get Back,Wetback (Live)*
* CD Bonus tracks

Initially released in 1989, Saturnalia saw a little departure from the band’s usual rockin’ sound. With this album, they started to experiment with new sounds and spend more time in the studio.
“Bloody” counts among the highlights of the album. It’s a cover of the Golinsky Brothers, a Brighton combo like the Texans sounds a bit like the Housemartins and could easily have been a hit beyond the limited borders of the rockin’ scene. The same goes for “Get Back Wet Back,” one of the band’s most famous songs. For good reasons, it has written ‘brilliant’ all over it. The cd reissue includes two more versions, a different mix that doesn’t bring anything new and a live take. Another cover, “Cairo,” mixes fast slappin’ bass with mellow ska bits in it.
The cd reissue comes with bonus tracks taken from the b-side of the Get Back Wet Back single and an interesting booklet written by Simon Nott featuring memories (so to speak) from the three band members.


Long Tall Texans - Five beans In The Wheel
Long Tall Texans – Five beans In The Wheel

Long Tall Texans – Five Beans in the Wheel

Razor
Saints And Sinners – Don’t I Know It – You Gotta Lose – Get So Excited – Bloody – Off My Mind – Breakaway – Low Down Mean Old Son Of A Gun – Get Back, Wetback – Heatwave – Indians – Rock’n Roll Pt. 2 – Your Own Way – Right First Time – Long Tall Texan – Everybody’s Rockin – We Say Yeah – Ballroom Blitz – Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

This is probably one the best live recording to come from a Psychobilly band. As the majority of the other live recordings were issued on the poor «Live and Rockin’» serie on the Link label, it’s not that hard. But this one is REALLY good.
Do you know many records while listening to them you can see the smile of the musicians? But being a fun band doesn’t mean they’re not serious with their music. They’re a tight band playing their songs at a frantic pace (Mark Carew is one hell of a slap bass player). The band revisits its back catalog playing classic after classic (Get Back Wet Back, Saints and Sinners, Indians… they’re all here) and a judicious selection of covers (from the glam of Gary Glitter’s Rock’nRoll Part 2 and Sweet’s Ballroom Bitz to Earl Hooker’s You Got To Loose, Jackie Deshannon’s Breakaway and of course The Clash’s Should I Stay...) completes the set (19 songs!). A good starting point to discover this excellent band and must have for the fans.


Long Tall Texans - Singin' To The Moon
Long Tall Texans – Singin’ To The Moon

Long Tall Texans – Singin’ to the Moon

Rage Records 108 / Crazy Love 64242 {1991}
Singing To The Moon ~ Axe To Grind ~ Rock Bottom Blues ~ Suicide At The Seaside ~ Klub Foot Shuffle ~ Smiling Eyes ~ Winding Me Up ~ Alcohol ~ Indian Reservation ~ Nine Days Wonder ~ Reactor ~ Senses Six and Seven ~ Witch Hunting ~ Alabama Song ~ Singing To The Moon.

Originally released in 1991, Singing To The Moon is the band’s last album with Mark Denman (though he’ll keep on writing songs for them). It’s in the wake of Saturnalia and covers a wide range of styles and demonstrated that the Texans weren’t that easy to pigeonhole. Thus, next to classic sounding Long Tall Texans numbers like Axe To The Grind, Senses Six and Seven or Witch Hunting, you find on this platter a ska number not that far from the Clash (Singing To The Moon), a jazzy instrumental with a Shakin’ Pyramids feel (Klub Foot Shuffle), a pop tune (Smilin’ Eye), a rockabilly with a bluesy slide guitar (Nine Days Wonder), heavy rockers (Alcohol and Rock Bottom Line that sounds a bit like Guana Batz on Electra Glide In Blue) and Reactor evokes the Escalators.
The cover range from Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weil to Peter and the Test Tube Babies with John Loudermilk in between. Fine.


Long Tall Texans - Aces & Eights
Long Tall Texans – Aces & Eights

Long Tall Texans – Aces and Eights

CDMPSYCHO16 [1994]
Notice Me ~ Nothing Left But The Bones ~ Sister ~ And I Wish ~ Lip Service ~ Everyday ~ Bloody ~ Don’t Go Back To Rockville ~ Border Radio ~ Tomorrow Today ~ Innocent Look ~ Piece Of Your Love.

If Singing To the Moon announced a new direction for the band, Aces and Eights came as a big surprise and let’s say it a huge deception. There were many reasons for that. First Mark Denman had left the band, though he kept on writing stuff for the band and figured among the guest musicians. The addition of  a sax player to the line-up, omnipresent all along the album, didn’t bring anything to the songs (and to make things worse the player is not Lee Allen if you see what I mean). The songs themselves are far from the usual Texans standards and mostly sound like average pop songs. If you add a clean and cold production you’ll understand that the result is a more than dispensable album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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