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Mental Shakedown

Mental Shakedown – Inside Out

Bob’n’Destroy Records [2021]
Inside Out – Put The Blame On Me – Too Hot For Jesus – Last Man On Earth – Scorched Earth Policy – I Hate The Night – The One – Little Red Riding Hood – Primeval – Somewhere Bound – Box Of Memories – Time Will tell – Outa There – Crime Against Humanity

Inside Out is the second output from this German trio. It’s not easy to say if Mental Shakedown is a Neo-Rockabilly that sometimes goes wild or if they are a Psychobilly band with a soft edge. I don’t care: they play great music. I suppose that if you like the Sharks, the Rattlers, Dave Phillips and the Ricochets and so on, you’ll — like me — enjoy this album from start to finish.
Twelve songs out of fourteen are originals penned by Axel Gieseking, their singer and guitar player. The other two are Sam The Sham’s Lil Red Riding Hood (also covered by the Meteors and the Rattlers) and the King’s Put the Blame On Me.
Also, the band benefits from a solid and mighty powerful rhythm section, a clean guitar and a very melodic singer (often helped by backing vocals.) But, I’d say that their strength lies in the fact that they don’t restrain to the Rockabilly idiom, albeit played in a wild manner. They are clever enough to add garage elements. It’s evident with I Hate The Night, a straight Garage song, but one can also hear a tribal beat at the beginning of Scorched Earth Policy, some fuzz on Outta There, and a tad of Cramps influences on Last Man On Earth. On the other side of the musical spectrum, there’s a bit of country music in Box Of Memories.
All in all, it’s a very powerful and enjoyable album.

Mental Shakedown on bandcamp.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Billy and the Sideburnzz

Billy and the Sideburnzz – Rockabilly Man

Keil Records [2022]
Rockabilly Man – Big Blue Eyes / Give Me A Call – Tease Me (A LIttle) – Bonus track (cd only): Rock Me Mama

Billy and the Sideburnzz

Here’s another excellent release from Keil records. Billy & the Sideburnzz are a Rockabilly band from North Germany. This is their debut output, and it comes in a super fine and limited package, including a 4 -track vinyl EP and a mini-cd with a bonus song.
The set opens with Rockabilly Man, a mighty fine piece of hard-hitting modern Rockabilly that echoes the Polecats’ Rockabilly Guy. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you stomp the ground while firmly holding your beer. The second song, Big Blue Eyes, leans more on the traditional side of the Rockabilly idiom with a slight country flair. It features a light brushed snare and nice picking too. But for me, the best track of the selection is Tease Me. It’s a slow number that takes time to build tension that perfectly suits the song’s theme. It’s always on the edge, with two superb and exploding guitar solos. Give Me A Call is a mid-paced tune with a powerful (and I mean POWERFUL) slap bass. The song also features one hot Burlisonian guitar part but with a modern approach.
The fifth track, Rock Me Mama, is only available on the cd. It’s an excellent Mystery Train/My Baby Left Me type of tune.
Great job, guys. I hope to hear more from Billy and the Sideburnzz in the future.

Available here.

Chech the band’s website.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Town Rebels (the)

Town Rebels – Germany

Town Rebels (the) – She’s OK

Rumble Records – GANG002 [1990]
She’s OK – Stomp The Beat / All Night Rocker – Leopardman

Town Rebels She's OK

The Town Rebels were a German trio formed in 1984. By the time of this recording, the band consisted of Frank Nattermann (guitar and vocals), Thorsten Schmalenberg (slap bass) and Andreas Endruschat (drums). The sound of this excellent single is more Neo-Rockabilly oriented than later recordings made by the band with a revamped line-up and an electric bass which are more in the Teddy Boy style. The first track is pure Neo-Rockabilly gold in the wake of Restless and the Nitros. Stomp the Beat echoes the Stray Cats’ Cross The Bridge. All Night Rocker is more classic and a little less original, but very pleasant nonetheless. The fourth track sounds a bit like Jungle Rock (or is it Blast Off?) and takes no prisoner with its powerful slap bass and mean guitar.
All in all, this single is a solid slab of Neo-Rockabilly.
Sadly Frank Nattermann passed away in 2021.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Scamps (the)


Scamps (the) – Shake Your Hips

Nervous Records NEP 006 [1991]
Shake Your Hips (live) / Afore Ye Go – Keep On Going Straight


The Scamps first recorded Shake Your Hips on their debut mini-album in 1986 in their “Restless meets the Keytones” style. This Iive version recorded in 1991 is way more heavier with a steady and menacing beat. There’s a very great solo by Joël Lagnier on guitar and the band knows how to interact with the audience.
The two tracks on side B comes from the album Mayday and both are self-penned. Afore Ye Go is a superb modern Rockabilly, led by Joël’s slide guitar and a solid double-bass. Keep On Going Straight is a fast tune on a boogie-rock beat (think Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes). Both songs are close to what Restless recorded with Steve Whitehouse on Movin’ On.

Scamps (the) – Don’t Be Worried

Studio SDH – SDH311 [1984]
Don’t Be Worried / Live Fast Die Young


Debut single by the Scamps before the morphed into a Keytones / Restless influenced band. On this single the line-up of this French band was Bruno Peisey (vocals), Joël Lagnier (guitar), Frederic Mascrier (slap bass) and Marc Kornet (drums.)
A-side starts with a slow introduction then evolved into a mean rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly number. B-side is a cover of the Blue Cats.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Colbert Hamilton & Hellrazors / Nitros

Colbert Hamilton

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros – Like A Rebel

Migraine Records ‎– MR 45-042
Like A Rebel / Cruel Hearted Girl

Released in 2020, this single (limited to 500 copies on red vinyl) features two songs recorded in 1993 during the Still Taggin’ Along sessions.
If the excellent Cruel Hearted Girl is not new, the A-side, Like A Rebel penned by Hamilton and O’Malley is even better. It’s an outstanding neo-rockabilly number and it seems hard to believe that it didn’t end on the original album.

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros – Love Or Glory Man

Shake Rattle Bump ‘n’ Grind – Falling To Pieces – Roxette – Rehab – Bella Donna – Everybody Loves Me – Life’s A Bitch – Blue – Molly’s Chambers – Love Or Glory Man – I Was The One – I Didn’t See Memphis – Livin’ La Vida Loca – W.M.D.

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros - Love Or Glory Man
Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros – Love Or Glory Man

It’s good to see Colbert Hamilton team again with John O’Malley and the Nitros (who are for this album Jason King on double bass and Guy Shalom on drums). This is great neo-rockabilly, Hamilton having a perfect voice for that style and O’Malley’s jazzybilly guitar is everywhere. There’s a majority of self-penned tune either by Hamilton or O’Malley that are quite good. I wouldn’t say the same about the covers. “I Was the One” featuring Mark Keeley of Good ROckin’ Tonight on piano is okay but Amy Winehouse’s Rehab, Prince’s Everybody Loves Me or worse Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca seem very odd choices to me but as I said the originals are good enough and you can skip the covers and have a solid neo-rockabilly album.

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros – Wild At Heart

Nervous Nerd076 [1994]
Lucille – Wild At Heart – Still Rockin’ After All These Beers – Bad Reputation – Too Late – Boom Boom – Do You Wanna Rock? – Abused By You – High Flyin’ Cat – Boogaville – Pass The Bottle To The Baby – The Boys Are Back In Town – Big In The World – Ninety Nine Girls

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros – Still Tagging Along

Vinyl Japan JRCD05 [1993]
Get out of my sight – Cruel hearted girl – Rollercoaster rock – Gaze into the crystal – Wasn’t that good – Cadillac baby – Dead of night – Black magic – Get you back – New place in town – Stop – Haunted memories

Colbert Hamilton

Recorded in 1992 and released the following year, Still Tagging Along saw Colbert Hamilton teaming with the Nitros (John O’Malley, Rich Taylor and Gary Day).
Get Out Of My Sight, written by Tony Coni (of the Hellrazors), begins with restrained tension before exploding into superb Neo-Rockabilly fireworks. Cruel Hearted Girl is just as excellent but with an emphasis on melody. Rollercoaster Rock is a classic Rock’n’Roll. Gaze Into The Crystal is built around a catchy riff around which O’Malley adds embellishments. The slightly veiled voice adds even more to the mysterious atmosphere of the song. Wasn’t that good is a cover of Wynonie Harris. Without horns, the song takes a more rockabilly turn. Once again, O’Malley’s guitar, combined with Hamilton’s voice, does wonder. Cadillac Baby, written by Hamilton and Coni (probably during the Hellrazors days), ends the first side.
Dead of Night is a Neo-rockabilly masterpiece. It’s one of the very best tunes of the genre. Taylor and Day build a solid rhythm, O’Malley’s guitar keeps the tension before bursting into a hot solo, and Hamilton’s voice is the icing on the cake.
Originally done by Jericho Jones, Black Magic alternates between Diddley-tinged parts and classic Rockabilly. The following three songs, while good, are more average. Get You Back and Stop are not that original in their form and structure, and New Place In Town is slightly too long to convince.
But all that is quickly forgotten with the fantastic jazzy ballad Haunted Memories. Alan Heller adds a second guitar and piano to complete the orchestration. Once again, the rhythm section does a superb job, with Taylor playing with brushes. Hamilton is perfectly at ease as a suave crooner, and O’Malley places subtle accelerations sounding like Django during his electric period, who would have crossed paths with Mark Harman.
Despite two or three more average songs, Still Taggin’ Along is an album that any Neo-Rockabilly lover must have.
The first pressing came out on pink vinyl.

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros – Cadillac Baby

Vinyl Japan JRT02 [1993]
Cadillac Baby – Silver Bullet – Cruel Hearted Girl – Born To Love One Woman

Released at the same time as the album, this EP is its perfect complement. Cadillac Baby and Cruel Hearted Girl appear on the album. Silver Bullet, a composition by Rich Taylor, the drummer is a superb melodic tune and would have had its place on the album, especially as a replacement for less original songs (New Place In Town for example). Don Johnston’s Born To Love One Woman receives the Hamilton/Nitros treatment and becomes an excellent Neo-Rockabilly. Released in translucent red vinyl.

Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros
Colbert Hamilton and the Nitros (John O’Malley, Rich Taylor, Gary Day)

Colbert Hamilton and the Hellrazors – s/t

Fearless Records – FEAR LP001 [1984]
Wow – Mystery Train – Half-Hearted Women – Women Love – Rock Therapy – Long Blonde Hair – Ice Cold – Long Black Shiny Car – Nervous Breakdown – Love Me – I’m So High – Good Rockin’ Tonight – I’ll Never Let You Go – Don’t Knock Upon My Door – Love Me

Some records are revolutionary, some are very good, and some, despite minor flaws, are like good friends you like to stay with. I consider the debut album of Colbert Hamilton like a good friend.
On one hand, this is an all-cover album (ranging from Gene Vincent to Restless), and the sound is a bit thin concerning the production. On the other hand, Colbert Hamilton has an impressive voice, and the Hellrazors (Toni Coni on guitar, Tony Parkes on slap bass, and Julie Gardner on drums) do a perfect job backing him. The rhythm section is simple yet powerful and effective, with prominent slap bass, and Miss Gardner plays mainly on the snare. It keeps the raw essence of the genre and is ably completed by Coni’s lightly electrified guitar.
All in all, it’s a good album recommended to anyone interested in the British neo-rockabilly sound of the mid-eighties.

Hot Rod 56

Hot Rod 56 – Special Time

Self released [2021]
I Don’t Care – Everyday – Big – If You Tell Me – Leave This Town – I Don’t Know Why – Keep Your Big Mouth Shout – Oh Why – Special Time – Please Stay Away – I Don’t Cry No More – Shout ‘Til Broad Daylight

hot rod 56

To quote one recent Nobel prize who also happens to be a singer, “people are crazy and times are strange.” That’s also what the fine members of this French Rockabilly trio must think because they titled their brand new album Special Time.
I don’t know if that’s the travel they made to the USA a couple of years ago, when they went to Deke Dickerson to record their previous EP, but I find the band’s sound slightly different on this one. When they used to play a brand of modern Rockabilly influenced by the likes of Brian Setzer and Robert Gordon, they now sound more traditional on this new album.
As for their previous effort, Gilles (guitar) and Mickey (double bass) split the vocals, and Alex is still on drums with his precise, powerful yet swinging touch. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
Mickey opens the set with I Don’t Care, a Cochran influenced tune with a solid drive. Every Day follows next. It’s a mean Boogie-blues featuring Phil on harmonica, perhaps not the most original song of the album, but it’s terribly efficient nonetheless. Back to Rockabilly with Big, and its Johnny Kidd meets Johnny Burnette feel. If You Tell Me takes us back to Cochran. But if I Don’t Care was in the C’mon Everybody/Summertime Blues mould, this one is more in the vein of his ballads and benefits from the presence of horns. Leave This Town brings a welcome touch of hot Rhythm’n’Blues, with a screamin’ sax and sizzling guitar solo. The next song is a superb Country-rock on which Gil makes good use of the Bigsby. It makes you want to hit the road and cruise on a desert highway.
Keep Your Big Mouth Shut is a traditional Rockabilly with fine picking throughout. Oh Why is another country-rock tune with a Boom-Chicka-Boom à la Johnny Cash, and the harmonica brings a western touch to it.
The titled track has a heady guitar riff, not dissimilar to Bo Diddley. The surprise came from Please Stay Away From Me, a soulful ballad enlightened by the saxophone. I Don’t Cry No More is more in a Chicago Blues vein and not that far from what the Paladins recorded on albums like Years Since Yesterday. The album ends with Shout ‘til A Broad Daylight, a more traditional Rockabilly tune with a Hillbilly flair.

Hot Rod 56 – Let’s Play Again

Self released
Don’t Cry – Let’s Play Again – Next Time I’ll be True – I Like To Watch Girls – Flying Saucer Rock’n’roll – Come Back – F….. Radio – Love Always Die – Double Talkin’ Baby – All Night Long – Rockbilly Boogie – Lovin’ Time – Teddy Boys Never Walk Alone

Hot Rod 56 is a French Rockabilly trio and “Let’s play Again” is their third album. The first one was good, the second was excellent (and both are out of print, that’s a sign) but this one is even better. It’s loaded with 12 killer tunes (and only 3 covers). The vocals parts are split 50/50 between Gilles (guitar) and Mickey (slap bass), two excellent musicians but if you ask me, their secret weapon is Alex their drummer who manages to hammer like no tomorrow and swings in the same time, a bit like Scott Churilla, one of the Reverend Horton Heat’s drummer or Bernie Dresel in the Brian Setzer’s 68 Come Back Special. Talking about Setzer, the Gretsch wizard is an obvious influence but it’s not such a surprise. Like many of their generation (including me, how time flies!), they made their apprenticeship of rockabilly with the Stray Cats or Robert Gordon. Hot & Speed was the name of their previous effort. Those words also apply to this one but you can add powerful to the list too, courtesy of the great sound that captures on disc the energy of their live set.The set kicks off with Don’t Cry a superb modern rockabilly that borders on psychobilly with a slight Roy Orbison’s Domino feel in the melody. The next two numbers are in the neo-swing vein on which they are joined by a smoking horn section. Back to rockabilly with I Like To Watch Girl, but closer to the roots and the Sun sound. Talking about Sun, Flying Saucer Rock’n’Roll is the first of the three covers (the other two being Gene Vincent’s Double Talking Baby and Johnny Burnette’s Rockbilly Boogie), the Stray Cats never played it like that, they surely should have. The horn section returns for Come Back, a swinging tune that reminded me of 80’s bands like the Stargazers or Sugar Ray Ford. After a short interlude (F* Radio) it’s time to play the B-side or its digital equivalent and what a better song than Love Always Die. This country-rocker on which Gilles’ deep voice makes wonders is sure to please fans of Johnny Cash and the Planet Rockers. All Night Long is a bluesy song with a juicy sax that really made me think of the Blasters with Lee Allen (yes they are THAT good). Another rockin’ blues follows, with harp, and this darn good album closes with Teddy Boys Never Walk Alone that would make Crazy Cavan proud.If there was a justice on earth, Gilles, Mickey and Alex would tour the world and the Baseballs would be their roadies.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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