Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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neo-rockabilly

The Swamp Dogs (german psychobilly band)

in Profiles/Stories
swamp dogs

The Swamp Dogs

Member of various German rockabilly and rock’n’roll bands since 1982 as a drummer and/or singer, Roland Heinrich aka The Lone Wolf learned to play the double bass in 1984 (one time members of the Percolators and Fall Out) . He formed the Swamp Dogs the following year with Doc Preatorious on guitar and Atilla Yüncüoglu on drums.
Their first influences were the Stray Cats and the Polecats. Between 1985-88, their set included covers of Buena Sera, Black Magic Baby, Live Fast Die Young, Down the Line and Lonesome Train.
Slowly the band gained a following and a distinctive sound. Their influences evolved toward bands like the early Meteors (Nigel Lewis era), The Sharks and The Ricochets. They then opeedn for foreign bands touring Germany like the Wampas, the Long Tall Texans, the Meteors, Batmobile and the Krewmen.

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The begining of the year 1987 saw the release of their 7” on Rundell Records with two songs taken from their “played live in the studio demo”. Side one is a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising. If good it doesn’t bring anything real new to the song, just a good sped up rockabilly version. The flip is more interesting. The self penned “Mind & Music” is good and original and though the sound is a bit “young” (it’s a demo) it shows that the band had broader influences than many of their counterparts.

Later that year, in December, the band went in the studio to record what would be their mini-lp. The idea was to release it to coincide with a tour supporting the Krewmen. But the tour was cancelled and the mini album stayed in the vaults of the label until February 1989. It marked another step in the band evolution, mixing fast rockabilly/early psychobilly (My True Story, Ardath Bay) with garage sound like their excellent cover of Ug and the Cavemen’s Be A caveman. The Sting Rays and The Escalators were at the time a major part of their influences.
As good as it is, this lp is not a true picture of what the Swamp Dogs were in 1989.

Between 1987 and 1989 the band grew dillusioned with the rockin’ scene, especially in Germany. The violence one could find in certain gigs and the fact that more and more bands hardened their sound to include Heavy Metal didn’t sastify them. As a result Doc Preatorius left the band who stopped its activities.

In 1988, the Lone Wolf met Mitch who became the new guitar player and turned him toward new sounds like Jump Blues and Swing. That’s the new direction the Swamp Dogs took in 1989. They also recorded a couple of songs under the name “Little Green Men” available on “Listen To The Apecall”. A full lp was planned for late 1989/early 1990 but never saw the light of day. They dissolved in 1990 after the release of “Jump For Joy” and Heinrich joined the Crackerjack.
He now has a succesfull solo career. Find more infos his current project here. Atilla has also played with his brother in Cruisin a neo-rockabilly German outfit.

Bad Moon Rising / Mind & Music [1987]
My True Story (6 track mini lp) – Rundell [1989]
Jump For Joy [?]
(infos about this release needed please)

Tiger Men (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Profiles/Reviews

Tiger Men 1

The Tiger Men formed in the second half of the 80’s in Belgium with well known name on the local scene coming from the Red Monkeys and the Swampy’s. They were Michel Texier aka Texas : vocals / guitar, Thierry Dupuis : doublebass, Saki : guitar and Gilbert : drums.

They recorded one album (“Tiger Men”) for Kix4u. 
In the early 90’s Texas moved to Bruxelles and left the Tiger Men. They carried on with a new singer, Fabrisio, and a new drummer Jean but split around 1992.  They evolved into The Raggin’ Stuff to play White Rock.

tigermenThe Tiger Men – s/t

Kix4U – KIX3364
Chuck Style ~ Uranium Rock ~ Johnny Was A Bad Boy ~ Tiger Stomp ~ Crawdad Hole ~ Shake Your Hips ~ Gone Gone Gone ~ I Will Miss You ~ I’ll Go On My Way ~ Chris Baboon ~ Love In A Coffin ~ Hit The Road Jack ~ Wild Child ~ Shake Your Money Maker ~ Tiger Man ~ My Babe
The Tigermen were an Belgian quartet from the early 90’s. They played a majority of up-tempo neo rockabillies with clean electric guitar, slap bass to the fore and light drums. If not very always original (half of the songs are covers and many of the 16 titles have similar tempo which is a bit monotonous) and despite a limited voice the result is rather pleasant. Highlights are “Johnny Was A Bad Boy“, a slow bluesy-jazz number with harp that sounds like a cross between Restless, the Wild Ones and Vaya Con Dios, “Tiger Stomp” an instrumental in the vein of Crazy Cavan’s “Crazy Rhythm“,the melancholic “Gone Gone Gone” and the almost psychobilly “Love In A Coffin” that reminds of the Long Tall Texans.
Too bad some covers are just fillers (My Babe, Shake Your Money Maker, Tiger Man…) and reduce the quality of the final result.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Tiger Men
Tiger Men

Scannerz (the)

in Profiles/Stories
The Scannerz
The Scannerz

The Scannerz

Germany – Neo-rockabilly/psychobilly

The Scannerz started in late 1985/ early 1986. Sebastian Glenz aka Semmel (guitar) met Uwe Klein through his older brother. Uwe had started to play doublebass and was looking for a guitar player to form a neo-rockabilly / psychobilly band. They were very young (Glenz was 16!) and that was the first band for both of them. Klein and Glenz were soon joined by Murphy (singer/second guitar) and Pennmütz on drums (both from Bonn). Semmel quotes Restless, The Sharks as well as Gene Vincent and Johnny Burnette as influences while the others were more into the 80’s Psycho scene and a bit of Punk too.
Murphy stayed with the band for less than a year then left leading Semmel to take over the vocals duties and the band carried on as a trio. Then Pennmütz left and Gonzo took the drums. Finally Klaudia Menzel joined the band sharing the vocals with Semmel.
They eventually got a contract with the newly created Maybe Crazy records (later home of Mad Sin, Scallywags) but Gonzo left before the recording because he had to go to the army.The Lp was recorded with Johannes Bokskopf who Semmel knew from another musical project.The album is quite good and has aged rather well. It features 10 originals and one cover. It’s solid neo-rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly featuring an excellent lead guitar and a powerful slap bass with a sound very close to Restless (Vanish Without A trace/Girl Invisible era). The songs are well done, with a will to make melodic and original tunes. Klaudia’s voice is a real plus. She sings b-vox on a couple of tracks and lead on two, including the cover of The Ricochets’ Night Ship and the ska/new wave/psychobilly Change Myself. Sadly this is the sole release of the band (with the exception of one demo).

The band kept on with another drummer (Johannes Bokskopf wasn’t able to join the band full time, which maybe explains why you can’t see the face of the drummer on the cover of the album) called Gammel but the musical direction changed and Semmel left the band. The Scannerz continued a bit with a new guitar player (Michael) and Gonzo back on drums, playing more in a 60’s beat style but it didn’t last and by the end of the decade the band was no longer in activity.

Since then Sebastian has played with the Hot-Riffs, The Paralysers and today his “Mark Harman meets Cliff Gallup” guitar style can be heard in The Tin Cans.

scannerz
scannerz
Discography

1987 -S/T – Maybe Crazy LP 001 (black vinyl and 433 copies in clear vinyl)
Later reissued on cd in 2003 by Crazy Love Records – CLCD 64200

A big “Thank You!” to Semmel for the infos.

Built for Speed

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

built for speedBuilt for Speed – Even Roadies Get their Share

Flipside Records

the Duke – I’ll Get You – Where Are The Groupies – Hot Rod Hell – Eat You Alive – I’m Glad, Glad – Too Many Guitars – Just A Rumour – Old Car Blues – I Thought I Was Over You – Rock ANd Roll – Why Do You Treat Me This Way – I Wanna Be A Millionaire

Built For Speed come from Norway and play an excellent brand of modern rockabilly with, its’s no surprise with such a name, influences from the Stray Cats.
You can hear that a lot of work has been made in the studio to get a good sounding album (not just a bunch of friend who record a rehearsal) which is very important with this style (I think).

The first track of the album sets the pace: Gretsch guitar led instrumental, with slap bass and double bass drum pedal with a slightly western feel, as good as any Reverend Horton Heat tune of that kind (think “Big Sky”). “I’ll Get You” adds a touch of melodic Punk (kinda reminded me of The Queers) to their rockabilly. “Where are the groupies” is not only well played (with a nod to the Stray Cat’s Give It To me in the solo) but also features some darn clever lyrics too (I picked up the guitar cos I figured joining a band might be my only chance / now, the ugliest athletes you can imagine get supermodels in bed / so if I’d known then what I know now, I would’ve played football instead).
Psychobilly-blues is the word I’d use for “Hot Rod Hell’. More in a traditionnal blues vein “Eat You Alive” wouldn’t be out of place in The Paladins setlist (yes it’s THAT good) and features a brilliant solo from Anders. Their cover of Lloyd Price’s I’m Glad is no less excellent, still with a blistering guitar part. Totally their own and totally respectful to the original in the same time. The country beat of “Too Many Guitars” is perfect to take your breath. Featuring a piano, “Just A Rumour”, is a Dave Edmunds type of rocker and you’ll find a Mystery Train / Setzer feel on “Old Car Blues”. “I Thought I Was Over You” has a structure of a good old Honky Tonk song with a neo-rockabilly sound, and man I love that. A piano and and a sax are used to transform Led Zeppelin’s Rock’n’roll into a rockin’/rhythm’n’blues number featuring once again blistering guitar solo and screamin’ sax. “I Wanna Be A Millionaire” has a bit of Setzer in it but also reminds me of a great combo of the late 80’s, the Nervous Fellas, mixing rocking blues with hard hitting rockabilly. Also featured as a bonus track an amazing, ears blowing, balls shakin’ version of Motorhead’s The Ace Of Spades.
Excellent!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Rockabilly express #1

in News

The Rockabilly express is a brand new column to keep you posted about the latest news in the Rockabilly world, the latest releases and the latest things you’ll find on this website. 

On August 4, we were very sad to hear the passing of the Lawrencine May Collins best known by the Rockabilly fans as Lorrie Collins. She formed with her brother Larry one of the most exciting acts of the Fifties, the Collins Kids. They performed again together in the 90’s and proved to the younger generation that they were still kids in their mind.
The Collins Kids stuff is available on Bear Family.

We took a much deserved break to rest but now we’re back. We recently added some new stuff to the website and will do more in the near future.
Here are the latest reviews:
– Memphis Rockabilly Band – Betty Jean
– Restless – Live In Tokyo
– The Wild Ones – Feelin’ Good (single)
– Kim Lenz – Percolate (single)
– The Sure Shots – Four to the Bar
– Mouse Zinn – The Embassy recordings
– The Ridgetop Westernaires – single

We still have many albums to review, so if you sent us stuff and it doesn’t appear here, it’s just a question of time.

Rhythm Bomb/Rockstar records have plenty of new releases scheduled for the forthcoming months. Look at that!
August 15th (CDs only)
CT Ian Cal Ford  Wood & Wire
CT Tom Cat & The Zodiacs Train Of Life
 
September, 15th (CDs only)
5891 Rob Ryan Roadshow Comin Home
5892 The Hoodoo Tones Here To Stay
5893 Shaun Young & The Three Ringers Movin
5894 Hymn For Her Pop-N-Downers
5895 Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue The Heister
KM-CD-12 VA Holy Smoke
KM-CD-13 VA Voodoo Lou
KM-CD-14 VA Wild Life
 
November, 15th (vinyl only)
5939 Slapback Johnny Hit Me Up 12inch
5940 Cat Lee King and his Cocks Cock Tales 12inch
KM-LP-101 VA Too Much Booze 12inch
KM-LP-102 VA Bad Hangover 12inch
KM-EP-101 Gene & Eunice 7inch
KM-EP-102 Johnny Guitar Watson 7inch
KM-EP-103 Larry Williams 7inch
KM-EP-104 Joe Tex 7inch
KM-EP-105 Andre Williams 7inch
 
work in progress, but probably not released before January 2019
5938 Vince and The Sunboppers By Request 10inch
5941 Lily Moe & The Rock-A-Tones 12inch
5942 Billie and The Kids Soulful Woman 12inch
5943 Hymn For Her Pop-N-Downers LP 12inch
KM-LP-103 VA Walkin’ Girl 12inch
KM-LP-104 VA Guitar 2 12inch
5898 Bonita & The Blues Shacks new release CD
5899 Nico Duportal new release CD



Midniters (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

Midniters - Easy MoneyThe Midniters – Easy Money

 

Razor [1988] – Planet X [2018]
Easy Money – Little Devil – Dead Man`s Curve – Sin City – Better Of You – When The Walls Come Tumbling Down – Another Nail In My Heart – Swords Of A Thousand Men
Easy Money (Demo) – Nightshift (Demo) – Walls Come Tumbling Down (Demo) – Gun Law (Demo) – Dead Man’s Curve (Live) – Little Devil (Live) – Walls Come Tumbling Down (Live) – Swords of 1000 Men (Live) – Easy Money (Live)

The Midniters formed in the mid 80’s. After appearing on Fury’s compilation album they released their debut album in 1988 for Razor with Steve Jeffery on vocals and guitar, Nick Wade on drums and Mark Beard on double bass. This album is now reissued on cd with extra bonus tracks.
Being friends and labelmates with the Long Tall Texans, it would be all too easy to compare both bands. And though they sure share some similiraties in term of sound, the Midniters have enough personnality in their songwriting or vocally speaking to avoid this comparison.
With only 8 songs, Easy Money (the original album) is a relatively short affair which is always a good thing for a debut album. Not only you won’t find any filler but it allowed the band to spend more time on each song. And with the help of producer Roger Tebutt (Long Tall Texans, Happy Drivers, but he also worked with the Meteors on Sewertime Blues) they tried different things in term of sound and texture and used the studio as a creative tool. This is not your usual “Live-in-the-studio-with-a-pack-of-beer”
As I said the songwriting is pretty solid, oscillating between neo-Rockabilly and Psychobilly. Fans of heavy double-bass will also appreciate this album too and since it’s been remixed I believe it helps too (since I only owned the original on cassette I can’t remember if that fat bass sound was already in the original mix.)
Six of the songs are originals and the covers are Jan and Dean’s Dead Man Curve and Tenpole Tudor’s swords of 1000 Men.
Tracks 9 to 12 are demos including two songs that didn’t make it to the album but they possibly are from another era of the band since a sax can be heard on Nightshift.
Five excellent live tracks rounds up the package.
All in all a very good and well deserved reissue.


Midniters Terror IncognitoThe Midniters – Terror Incognito

Planet X [2017]
Got Too Hurry – Personal Jesus – Dead Man’s Hand – Pistolero – In the Shadows – Motorbike Mike – House of Stone – Terror Incognito – Drive By – Face in the Dark – All Out Attack – Butchers Basement

Here’s a new Midniters album, nearly 30 years after Easy Money. But if you expect a trip down memory ane, let me tell you you’re plain wrong. ”Terror Incognito” is here to tell you that we’re in 2018, not 1988 !
The Neo-rockabilly bordering to Psychobilly of their first effort evolved into a modern form of Rockabilly with a harder and a fuller sound. In the same time they added elements of New-wave. This mix of influences, some songs could be defined as Adam Ant meets the Stray Cats makes them sound at place like the recent Quakes album. Some songs are much harder and more psychobilly that are not that far from the early Nekromantix.
All songs but two are originals written by Steve Jeffery, the cover being Depeche Mode’s Personnal Jesus in a very personnal rendition and a Spaghetti western influenced instrumental composed by Steve Stevens (guitar player for Billy Idol.)
It’s good to see a band that dosn’t try to run after its youth and return to create and propose something new.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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