neo-rockabilly - Page 3

The Rockits

rockitsThe Rockits – The Rockits

Award Records ‎– SH-1001 [1988]
Cruisin’ All Night – TwoTimin’ Baby – Stood Up

Formed in the mid-80’s The Rockits, previously known as the Top Cats, were a neo-rockabilly band heavily influenced by the earlier cat bands such as Stray Cats and Polecats. They were Buddy Dughi(Vocals/Lead Guitarist), Pete Bonny (drums), and Steve Herney (double-bass). This is their sole release, a three-song ep in pink, and black vinyl.
It contains two Buddy Dughi originals, “Cruisin’ All Night” and “TwoTimin’ Baby”, along with their tribute to Ricky Nelson, “Stood Up.” Dughi and Bonny later founded the Hot Rod Trio and Suzy Q & Her Be-Bop Boys.

Outer Limits

Outer Limits – The Chase

outer limits

Dog Rock SD 106 [1985]
The Chase – Tell Me

The Outer Limits line up on their debut single was Martin “Johno” Johnson on lead vocals and guitar, Mick Fletcher on bass, Paul Gaskin on guitar, and Rob Tyler on drums.
The Chase is a great early psychobilly/neo-rockabilly number. The flip is good too, though far less original since it borrows heavily (lyrics and melody) to Brand New Cadillac.

Outer Limits – Edge of Time

outer limits

Dog Rock SD 107 [1985]
Edge Of Time – The Car – Lago – The Quest

On their second release, a 12″ EP, Outer Limits played as a trio with Johnson switching on bass.
The music also changed a bit. The band added a solid dose of new-wave to their brand of neo-rockabilly. The result is close to the four-piece line-up of Restless or some of Dave Philips‘s sides. Not very surprising coming from Rob Tyler and Paul Gaskin.
If you dig neo-rockabilly with a modern edge like the previously mentioned bands or the G-Men, this one is for you.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Honey Hush

honey hushHoney Hush – Honey Hush

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8418 [1985]
Nowhere Train – Rock-Itis – Getaway Girl – You’re the One that Done It – She’s so Fine – Pink and Black

Honey Hush came from the Netherlands and formed in the early ’80s. After one single included here, they released this mini-lp.
This is neo-rockabilly at its best.
The singer is excellent, the band is perfect (powerful slap bass and light guitar that takes you straight into the 80’s), and they have solid originals. They complete the set with two well-chosen covers: Thomas Wayne’s You’re The One That Done It and a live version of Sonny Fisher’s Pink and Black.
Furthermore, if the tone is mostly neo-rockabilly oriented, they’re not afraid to bring a bit of psychobilly with Nowhere Train or play in a more classical Rockabilly vein with She’s so Fine. They even add a bit of jazz (with brushed snare) on Rock-Itis. As a result, it gives a very varied mini album.
Moreover, the six-song format let no place for average tunes.
After these recordings, Honey Hush changed its name and became Archie.


Honey Hush – Getaway Gal

honey hushRockhouse Records – SP8305 [1983]
Getaway Gal – She’s so fine

Rockhouse records released this excellent debut single by this Dutch neo-rockabilly band in 1983. Getaway Gal features a superb guitar solo that is reminiscent of Mark Harman. B-side is more traditional.
Both songs will appear on their mini-lp.

Honey Hush
Honey Hush

The Rockats – Secret Hearts

The Rockats - Rockin' Together
The Rockats – Rockin’ Together

The Rockats – Rockin’ Together

Lanark {2013}
Why The Doubt – Rockin’ Together – Bad Love – Road To Hell – Kitten With a Whip – Old Hickory Road – Pink and Black Cadillac – Reckless – Red Headed Rockin’ Gal – Sweet Sweet Charlotte – Tear The Roof Off – Why Do You Love Me.

For many young Rockabilly fans who, like me, discovered this music in the 80’s, Levi & the RockatsLive At the Louisiana Hayride and the RockatsLive at the Ritz were almost as important the Stray Cats debut album for their rockin’ education. They influenced countless bands (including a certain trio from Masapequa) and still continue today. So what was my surprise when I heard that after a 10 year hiatus the Rockats were back with a brand new studio album. Not a best-of, not a live, but 12 brand new sparkling songs written by the band (and their producer Quentin Jones who made a terrific job). And believe me cats, you should hide your kittens for this boys are still full of energy and they claws are sharper than ever.

Rockin’ Together” kicks off with “The Doubt” a superb modern rockabilly that sets the pace of the album: Dibbs’ vocal on top, solid guitars and rhythm section and top notch production. The title tracks lives to its name. “Why Do You Love Me (If I Don’t Treat You Right)” is a superb modern number that a strong commercial appeal without selling itself. Next is “The Road to Hell” a pure Rockabilly with an Elvis feel and featuring what Brian Setzer calls in his liner notes “the twin rockabilly guitar attack” of Barry Ryan and Danny Harvey.

Another highlight for the guitars is the surf tinged instrumental “Kitten with a Whip” penned by drummer Mike Osborn. With the next tune, they prove to be more than able on the honky tonk side with “ Olde Hickory Road ” featuring harmony vocal, piano and pedal steel effect on the guitar. They definitely should do more like this (actually you should try Dibbs’ solo album for more in that style). By comparison, Red Headed Rockin’ Gal is more on the blues side completed by finger snaps for that late 50’s rock’n’roll feel. You can find the same feel in Sweet Sweet Charlotte a rockaballad with echo not far from Gene Vincent.

Then the album ends with a string of three rockers. Starting with Tear the Roof Off (very appropriate name), going harder with “Bad Love” (not that far from a rockin’ Morrissey) and climaxing with the hot rocker ‘Reckless Rebel” again featuring strong guitar parts.

As a result, this is a great album and one thing is certain: the Rockats will continue to inspire many more bands!

More infos at www.lanarkrecords.net


The Rockats – Plays Elvis

Rockats plays ElvisHeartbreak Hotel – Baby Let’s Play House – Blue Moon – Good Rockin’ Tonight
This four-track mini cd was a Japan bonus sold with Downtown Saturday Night. I don’t think it was available separately.
The title says it all, what you’ll find are four Elvis Presley covers. Being the excellent singer he is, Dibbs has no problem to revisit the King’s repertoire.
Barry Ryan plays two hot and bluesy solos on Heartbreak Hotel (which also, like the original, features a piano.) Back to straight Rockabilly with Baby Let’s Play House. Though they remain respectful to the originals, the band bends the songs to make them fit in their style. This is by no mean a sterile act of recreation.
The highlight of this EP is the cover of Blue Moon. The band had an excellent idea to blend the melody with Sleepwalk. The result gives a very atmospheric mood, almost like a dream while Preston flies over this version with class and elegance only attained by Chris Isaak (and Elvis) before him.
The closing number is a smoking rendition of Good Rockin’ Tonight.
Though it’s not easy to find, it definitely worths the hunt.


The Rockats – Make That Move

Rockats make that moveRCA [1983]
Burning – One More Heartache – That’s the Way – Go Cat Wild – Never So Clever – Make That Move – Be Bop A Lula – Woman’s Wise

With Make that move the Rockats slowly departed from their neo-rockabilly sound to explore new territories. It was recorded in two sessions; the first one with Lewis King on drums for the title track and Marvin Gaye’s One More Heartache and the second with new drummer Mike Osborne. Both were produced by Mike Thorne of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love fame.

The result is a mix of all the things that influenced the band at the time. Never so Clever and their cover of Buzz and the Flyers Go Cat Wild are straight rockin’ tunes though with a modern sound. On the other hand That’s the Way (with keyboards) and One More Heartache have a strong new wave influence. And right between those two extremities you have Make That Move, a modern rocker with a catchy melody and the excellent Burnin’ that wouldn’t be out of place on Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell.
The cd reissue contains two bonus tracks recorded for the movie Where the Boys are.


the Rockats - Live at the Ritz
the Rockats – Live at the Ritz

The Rockats – Live at the Ritz

Island – ILPS 9626 [1981]
Rockin’ Baby – Rite Time – My Way – Go Kat Wild – (Don’t Treat Me Like A Dog) Love This Kat – Start Over Again – Krazy Baby – 50 Miles From Nowhere (A 1000 Miles From Home) – (Knockin’) At My Front Door – Wrong Rite Reason – Room To Rock – All Thru The Nite – I Wanna Bop

Signed to Island records, the next and natural move for the Rockats was to release a lp. After a failed attempt to capture their energy in studio, the label decided to record them in their natural environment: the stage. The result was Live at the Ritz, recorded, mixed and pressed in 48 hours. 
After an enthusiastic and drunken introduction by Billy Idol, the gang kicks off with Rockin’ Baby, a boppin’ rockabilly with fine Gallupin’ guitar. With the second song, Rite Time, the doubt is no longer possible: we are in 1981 not 1956. The Rockats don’t re-create, they totally make the genre their own by including elements of their era like Punk, as proved by their rendition of Cochran’s My Way, covering contemporary bands like Buzz and the Flyers (Go Kat Wild) and writing their own originals (All Thru The Nite; 50 Miles From Nowhere…).
Sure, their youthful exhuberance can sometimes lead to confusion but much to the chagrin of some purists, this bravado is closer to what Gene Vincent or Billy Lee Riley should sound on stage and despite some minor flaws the full platter is a neo-rockabilly rollercoaster. Culminating with the wild Krazy Baby, it contains just a few slower numbers to let you take your breath like the torrid Love this Kat (written by Bobby and Larson Paine who later wrote stuff for Brian Setzer and Stray Cats) and the bluesy Start All Over Again, quite close to the early Rolling Stones.
Listening to this album more than 30 years later, it is impossible not to aknowledge the huge influence the Rockats had on the whole rockin’ scene.
As the time of writing this it hadn’t, to my knowledge, been properly reissued on cd, except maybe in Japan.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read the whole Rockats story here.

Crazy Legs

Crazy Legs – Suspicious Mainz

crazy legs suspicious mainz

Tally-Ho Records TH 310314 [2014]
Tornado – Lonely Blue Boy – Elevator Rock – Come Go With Me – Mahlzeit – In My Dreams – Sittin’ On Top Of The World – I Will Follow – Personal Jesus – Do What I Do – So Sad – Well Respected Man – Raindrops Or Teardrops – Hey Good Lookin’ – Morning Of My Life – Baby Let’s Play House – Your Love Is True

Suspicious Mainz, a word of play between Elvis’ Suspicious Mind and Mainz, the native town of the band, is by far Crazy Legs’ best effort, both in terms of sound and musicianship.
The album is a good balance between well-known covers, more obscure tunes, some surprises (Bee Gees’ Morning Of My Life and Depeche Mode‘s Personal Jesus), and self-penned tunes.
Among those are Malhzeit, a rocking instrumental, I Will Follow in their very own style and sung by Christian the drummer, Well Respected Men with a Diddley beat, Raindrops and Teardrops another one in the manner they polished all through the years and Your Love, a heavier tune that closes the platter. Close? Not exactly. If you wait a little, you’ll hear a hidden track, a second and more rockin’ version of Conway Twitty’s Lonely Blue Boy.

Available here

Crazy Legs – Wir Sind Wieder Wer…

crazy legs wir sind wieder wer…

Tally-Ho Records [2001]
Buona Sera – Es ist so einfach – Hallo, Hallo – Kansas City – Rip it up – Louise – Soll ich bleiben oder geh’n? – Wir wollen Rock – So geht das jede Nacht – Gutnacht Sweetheart – Giddy up-a Ding-Dong – Honey don’t – Wildwood Boogie – Green Door – Boppin’ the Blues – Have a Ball – Route 66 – Rock House – Pink Thunderbird – Cherished Memories – House of the Rising Sun – 20 Flight Rock – I’m a Fool – Don’t push – More than I can say – Everybody’s moving – Little Pig – Tell me the Place

With 28 tracks, this cd is a good value for money. Songs 1 to 10 are studio recordings with three originals and seven covers ranging from Louis Prima’s Buena Sera to Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. They’re all sung in German. My German is not good enough to tell if they respect the lyrics, though looking at the titles, I think so, but the musicianship is excellent.
The remaining tunes are live recordings, mostly consisting of covers. It’s a good complement to the studio sides.

Crazy Legs – The Vinyl Years ’89 – ’93

crazy legs - the vinyl years

Tally-Ho Records [1999]
Hello, Hello – Crazy Legs – Ring Of Fire – Let’s Fall In Love – Death In Neck – A Teenager In Love – Cool Hot Jump Boogie – Singing The Blues – All Fools’ Day – I Shouldn’t Love You So – Diamonds & Lovers – It’s So Easy – Wedding Bells – All State Tennessee Ball – Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-o-dee – Carol-Ann – Tennessee – You’ ll Be Mine – Rockin’ Henry – Loving You Is – I’ll Be Watching You – Too Much Drinkin’ – Folsom Prison Blues – I’m Just Living – Blue Moon Of Kentucky – Red Hot – Stella Got A Fella – Always It’s You – Since You Broke My Heart – Shirley

This 30-tracks album gathers the early recordings of the band, that were until now, only available on vinyl. In addition to the band’s first two EP’s and their debut album, you’ll find six additional bonus tracks recorded between 1991 and 1993. All but one are sung by Christian Kron, the best being “Shirley,” which also features a saxophone.

Crazy Legs – Rockin’ Out, Swingin In

Tally Ho Records [1992]
Wedding Bells – All State Tennessee Ball – Drinkin´ Wine Spodee-o-dee – Carol-Ann – Tennessee – You´ ll Be Mine – Rockin´ Henry – Loving You Is – I´ll Be Watching You – Too Much Drinkin´ – Folsom Prison Blues – I´m Just Living

Crazy Legs’ debut album features solid originals and three covers from the catalog of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Stick McGee. To be honest, these covers are not the strongest point of the album. Otherwise, it’s a very good one.
Musically, not much has changed. It’s still the same brand of neo-rockabilly and doo-wop close in style to the Keytones. The biggest difference you will find from the previous recordings is that the band is now better and tighter. The little flaws in the voice one could find in their debut ep and single are now corrected.
Their guitar player sings on “Carol-Ann” and the drummer takes lead on “I’ll be Watching You” and “I’m Just Living” (both excellent). Having three different singers brings a lot of variety to the sound of the band.

Crazy Legs – Cool & Hot

Crazy Legs Cool & Hot

Tally-Ho Records – TH 201090
Cool Hot Jump Boogie – Singing The Blues – All Fool’s Day – I Should’nt Love You So – Diamonds & Lovers – It’s So Easy

Released in 1990, this second ep is a more accomplished effort. The sound and the production are way better and each member of the band improved his musical skills. And it features four originals for only two covers.

Cool Hot Jump Boogie sounds a bit like the Ringlets Trio with a dash of early Batmobile. Marty Robbins is given the doo wop treatment. Next is a galloping neo-rockabilly number with a powerful slap bass. Christian Kron sings lead on the Keytones inspired I Shouldn’t Love You So and Buddy Holly’s It’s So Easy. Diamonds & Lovers is a gentle and very good ballad.

Crazy Legs – Hello, Hello

Crazy Legs - Hello Hello

Tally-Ho Records ‎– TH 14189  [1989]
Hello, Hello – Crazy Legs – Ring Of Fire – Let´s Fall In Love – Death In Neck – A Teenager In Love

Crazy Legs is a German band formed by Mike Reuter on double bass and vocals, Armin Frob on guitar and Christian Kron on drums. Hello Hello is their first effort on vinyl and was released in 1989.

If a bit young in term of sound, this ep shows the potential of the band. This is neo-rockabilly in which one can hear the influence of bands like the Keytones to name but one.

The result is quite enjoyable with two self penned songs (Hello Hello and Death in Neck) and four covers. Gene Vincent’s Crazy Legs is an obvious choice and is pretty good. Ring Of Fire is sung by Christian the drummer. Cole Porter’s Let’s Fall In Love seems to be a mountain to high to climb for the band but to be honest this has too be one the hardest song to sing whereas Dion’s Teenager In Love suits them better.

Crazy Legs
Crazy Legs

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Hellcats (the)

Hellcats (the) – Dance to the Devil’s Beat

hellcats

Foot Taping records FT190 [2019]
Hug me kiss me call It a day – Toe that line – If you can’t bop me – Rockin’ all nite – Midnite lover – Ain’t gonna worry – No time to cry – Satan saved a place for me in hell – Bad habit – Broken and stumblin’ – You gotta move – Feel that heat – Ain’t nobody gonna take my babe – Hug me kiss me call It a day (alt version)

First, there is the name that makes you fear of a sub-Stray Cats band. Then there is the cover, and you think, “Can I trust a band that puts so little effort in their cover design?” But this shouldn’t prevent you from listening to this album, the first by this London trio, because the Hellcats – Lee Motler on guitars and vocals; Malk Motler on double bass and John Buck on drums – are a really good band.
If you still had doubts, the presence of John Buck (Polecats, Guana Batz, Deltas) is a token of quality. Another good sign is the fact that all songs here are originals, and you won’t hear for the umpteenth time the same old covers.
The sound of the Hellcats is a mix between early Psychobilly, when the ‘billy’ element was predominant, and neo-Rockabilly popularised by groups like Stray Cats, Polecats, and so on (well the ‘Cat’ bands, which is logical after all.) However, classic Rockabilly is not forgotten, and a song like If You Can’t Bop Me sounds like a cross between Gene Vincent’s Blue Jean Bop and Ricky Nelson’s If You Can’t Rock Me.
The majority of the songs are powerful, with tight musicianship (I really enjoyed the guitar sound) that supports Lee Motler’s voice, which sometimes sounds like Mike Ness on his’ Under the Influences’ album.
Once again, Bo Diddley was right, and this album proves it: you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.

Available here.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

1 2 3 4 5 12