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Las Pistolas – Deadly Combination

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laspistolasWestern Star WSCR048 [2011]
Pistol Packin’ Peggy Sue – Rhythm In My Soul – The Cinnamon Kid – She’ll Rock Your World – Jump Start – Rock Around With Ollie Vee – Jessica Rabbit – Liquor and Las Pistolas – Don’t Shut Me Out – The Return of Eddie Sin – Lost It All – Sunday Lover – Black Widow – Lady Luck – Sad But True

Las Pistolas are a modern rockabilly trio (guitar, slap bass, drums), and though they already had a cd ep out (on Raucous I guess) Deadly Combination is their first full length featuring 13 originals and only two covers. The opening track, a My Baby Left Me/That’s Allright type of rockabilly, didn’t impress me that much: good but not very original. Things went drastically better with “I’ve Got Rhythm In My Soul”, a hot boppin’ neo-rockabilly number. The rest of the records confirmed that the first song was just an exception. The main core of their music is rockabilly with a modern twist and melodies. But one will also find a western tinged ballad (Cinnamon Kid) and some wild numbers with saxophones (She’ll Rock Your World and the excellent Jessica Rabbit that features a honkin’ Las vegas solo at the end). Liquor and Las Pistolas is a Diddley beat blues with harmonica, tambourine, maracas, distortion on the voice and slide guitar. If you like Wild Billy Childish this one is for you (I only regret they don’t do more in that style). Like any decent rock’n’roll record, Deadly Combination features a nice ballad. This one is called “Lost It All” and even features Alan Wilson on piano. The playing is great, the solos are inventive and the recording as usual with Western Star is top notch. Strongly recommended.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

V/A – Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults

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Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults
Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults

Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults – Vol.1 – X-Ray Studio
Raucous Records
The Kid From Mars – THE SHARKS / Teenage Operation – THE SHARKS / She’s Dead – THE SHARKS / Surfcaster – THE SHARKS / Scratchin’ My Way Out – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Unfortunate Jake – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Lunatics Are Raving – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Diablo – FRANTIC FLINTSTONES / Mudman’s Revenge – BREAKOUT / Witchcraft – BREAKOUT / Tornado – BREAKOUT / Borstal Breakout – BREAKOUT / Punks On Billy – SKABZ / Go Find Yourself A Guy – ROCKIN’ BANDITS / She’s All Mine – LUX / Leopardskin – LUX / Down In The Cellar – LUX / Leopard Skin – LUX / Fashion – LUX / Bad Trip – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Can’t Get Enough – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Charlie 2 – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Scratchin’ My Way Out – THE MEN FROM UNCLE / Man With The X-Ray Eyes – THE MEN FROM UNCLE

Alan Wilson (the Sharks) formed the X-Ray studios in the early 80’s. It can be seen as an early incarnation of the Western Star studio he runs today. Included on this compilation are rare tracks that were recorded there and see the light of day for the first time.
The first four tracks are Sharks demos recorded when Gary Day was in the band (around 1993-94). He sings lead on Kid From Mars and Teenage Operation. They never appeared on a Sharks album but were recorded by the Gazmen (who were basically the Sharks plus Alan Whyte). The other two are a jam around a rockabilly riff (She’s Dead) and an alternate version of Surfcaster. These are not perfect and slick recordings but they are very interesting as you can hear songs in construction (listen to Gary repeating the same verse and indicating chords during Teenage Operation). One can find more Sharks demos on the excellent cd “Ruff Stuff” also on Raucous.
Next band is the Frantic Flintstones. They recorded some of their best albums at X-Ray. Featured here are Wilson’s Scratchin’ My Way Out and demos of songs that later appeared on Jamboree. You can’t go wrong with Chuck and his gang.
Breakout was a neo-rockabilly/psychobilly band that recorded some songs at X-Ray but never had to my knowledge a proper release. They’re not exceptionnal but the songs, including a cover of the Ricochets, are good.
Skabz was a punkish band and to be honest I’m happy this cd features only one song from them instead of four.
Go Find Yourself A Guy” shows the neo-rockabilly side of the The Rockin’ bandits. What a pity there’s only one.
Lux is a band very hard to pigeonhole. They mixed psychobilly with elements of the Gun Club, some Damned and a bit of 80’s new wave. Very good. Strange but very good. This songs remained unreleased until now. Why? It’s a mystery cause they’re easily as good and ten times more originals than many bands.
The remaining four tracks are from the Men From Uncle who were actually the Space Cadets (NOT Mouse’s band) : Alan Wilson, Simon Seago and Hodge. Recorded around 1983-84, this songs previously appeared on a bootleg lp called Cream Of the Cats (long story told in the booklet) and appear here for the first time on cd . “Charlie 2”, “Scratching My Way Out” and “The Man With The X-Ray Eyes” would later be re-recorded by the Sharks.
A great comp full of lost treasures.

The Reach Around Rodeo Clowns – Rockabilly Deluxe

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The Reach Around Rodeo Clown - Rockabilly Deluxe
The Reach Around Rodeo Clown – Rockabilly Deluxe

The Reach Around Rodeo Clowns – Rockabilly Deluxe [2013]
Lanark Records
King of the Slot Car Track – Long Gone Daddy – Bowling Alley Baby – Wild Crazy and Out of Control – Paranoid Boy – I Used to Be the One – I got the Shakes – I’m Obsessed – It’s Rock & Roll – The Light So Bright
The Reach Around Rodeo Clowns approach their brand of modern rockabilly with a punkish attitude. Their motto here seems to be “Grab them by the balls, don’t let them go and keep it short!“. With ten songs all written or co-written by guitarist, label owner, producer, arranger Quentin Jones, it’s “misson completed” for the quartet. It’s a mix of powerful rock’n’roll, some with horns, classic rockabilly, a bit of 80’s neo-rockabilly and even some mariachi stuff with a bit of surf thrown in for good measure. The two highlights are “Wild Crazy and Out of Control” that sounds like an anthem and “I’m obsessed” a superb melodic rocker that could be a potential hit if the radio had enough “you know what” to play real rock’n’roll.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Buddy Dughi

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Buddy Dughi - Rev It Up
Buddy Dughi – Rev It Up

Buddy Dughi – Rev It Up

Golly Gee Records GGR 1050
Velvet Collar, Iron Fist – Let’s Go For A Spin – Metal Flake Coupe – Hot Rod Hell – Love My Gretsch – Suicide Ride – Hot Rod’s and Harleys – Vampire Girl – Demon’s Got A Motorcycle – Rev It Up!

Do you remember when rock’n’roll was still synonym of “wild” or “restless”. This is what this album is. Ten songs written by Buddy and talking mostly about hot rods, cars, motorcycles with Rip Carson on bass and drummer extraordinaire Craig Packham. The opening track has a kind of stripper music feel in it ala Las Vegas Grind with hot and threatening sax by Archie Thompson. The sax is a really nice addition and on “Hot Rod Hell” you’d swear you hear a engine roar. Fantastic. Thompson also appears on piano on the Chuck Berry inspired rocker “Metal Flake Coupe” bringing some Jonnie Johnson licks. You also have some songs on the psychobilly edge like “Demon’s Got A Motorcycle”, the kind of tune with one thing in mind “Take no prisoner!” if you see what I mean. After the almost punk “Suicide Ride”, “Hot Rod & Harleys” adds some change in the pace. Buddy is always at ease on guitar whatever the style he plays, a wild distorded growl or a clean sounding style on more “traditional” rockabilly tunes like “Let’s Go For A Spin” and “Love My Grestch” where his hiccupy vocal is perfect. Climb aboard and take a ride with Buddy…

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Buddy Dughi plays Hot Rod Surf
Buddy Dughi plays Hot Rod Surf

Buddy Dughi plays Hot Rod Surf

Golly Gee Records GGR 1038
Tiki Head Shift Knob – Fireball – Mag-Neato – Good Humor – Pipeline – Lonely Gasser – El Gato – 40 Miles of Bad Road – Devil’s Octane – Head Hunter
When Deke Dickerson writes some good of another guitarist it is that the latter should not be completely bad! This colleague guitarist has a name, Buddy Dughi and he officiates in the rockabilly “Hot Rod Trio” with his wife Suzie (also present at the bass on this album) and Pete Bonny. Buddy, for his crossbred surfing of rock’n’roll’ roll and rockabilly likes to use guitars and amp from Fender which seems to be his sponsor!! (Buddy specifies on the liner notes and on his website that Fender Jaguar doubles neck guitar and Standel 25LIS amp with Fender Reverb tank has been used on almost all tracks)
All this beautiful stuff between the hands of a drudge would be like throwing pearls before swine but not in the Buddy’s case! These 10 tracks (for an entirely instrumental album that seems to me sufficient) are enough original not to be another so- and- so surf album Moreover the three covers “Fireball” from the same name band the stainless Chantays’ “Pipeline”and the Duane Eddy “40 Miles Of Bad Road” has sustained radical treatments for example the Duane’s cover has become a rockabilly. The self-penned Buddys are typical (“Tiki Head Shift Knob” is a prototype of surf music) melodic (“Mag Neato”) twistin’ (“Good Humor”) melancholic (“Lonely Grasser”), full with movement (“El Gato”) powerful (“Devil’ s Octane”) or tribal (“Head Hunter”)… In a word an album with a lot of variety where one did not expect such an amount of it!!!
Dave “Long Tall” Phisel

 

Suzy and Buddy Dughi (Hot Rod Trio, Suzy Q and her Be Bop Boys, the Rockits…)

Hot Rod trio (Pete Bonny, Suzy Dughi, Buddy Dughi)
Hot Rod trio (Pete Bonny, Suzy Dughi, Buddy Dughi)

Buddy Dughi is a guitar player and singer. He plays in the Hot Rod Trio, Buddy Dughi Combo and also in his wife’s band, Suzy-Q and Her Be Bop Boys who also plays in double bass in The Hot Rod Trio. Here’s the interview they kindly gave us.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

How did you meet together? Is this some kind of rockabilly romance?
Suzy Dughi – First I went to see Buddy’s band at that time, “The Moonlight Wranglers” and then ran into him at a local record store. Our mutual interest in rockabilly music drew us together and the rest is history!How long have you been doing music?
Buddy Dughi – l’ve been playing guitar since I was a child and have been in bands since I was a teenager.

How did you get started?
Buddy Dughi – First I tried playing drums along with the Beatles records, and then my parents suggested I take up guitar instead.

Buddi Dughi
(© all rights reserved)

Did you grow up in a musical family?
Buddy Dughi – No, my family is not musical, although they listened to lots of music while I was growing up, including country, doo-wop, and of course rock and roll. My mom was lucky enough to have seen greats like Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran live a the Brooklyn Paramount Theater. So that had an influence on me and my musical tastes.
Suzy Dughi – No one in my family (mom/dad) is very musical, as far as playing an instrument goes but my mom likes to sing. They both were teenagers in the 1950’s, and I had discovered some of their old records like Elvis, Duane Eddy, etc… but most notably was my moms “Beatles for Sale” album which I found when I was about five or six and listened to nonstop, especially “Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Tryin’ to be My Baby”, I loved the guitar on it! I had no idea who C. Perkins was as indicated on the credits, nor did I know that what I was listening to was actually second generation rockabilly, but I loved it!

Suzy Dughi
© all rights reserved

Do you remember the first record you bought and thought “Whoa ,that’s what I want to do”!
Buddy Dughi – The first record I ever bought was “Meet the Beatles”. After listening to that album I wanted to play everythinging I wanted to play drums like Ringo, and guitar like George! It had a very big impact on me.
Suzy Dughi – I don’t really remember the first one I ever bought, but I do remember in the early 80’s when the Stray Cats came out, I was about 14, I heard one of their songs on the radio and it reminded me of the music I had discovered years earlier on those old records.So, I immediately went out and bought their album and of course that led to digging deeper into the vaults of long forgotten rockabilly artists.

George Harrison was heavily influenced by rockabilly guitar pickers and they used to cover tunes like Honey Don’t, Everybody’s trying to be my baby or Words of Love… Did the Beatles connection helped you to get into rockabilly?
Buddy Dughi – Yes, they got me interested in digging deeper and finding out who originally did the songs.

Cliff Gallup, George Harrison, Brian Setzer… They’re all “Gretsch Men”and I believe you are one too. You even wrote a song about it…
Buddy Dughi – Yes, I love Gretsch guitars and those guys are the reason why I play one!

I’ve seen pics of you with a Duo Jet, a Gretsch “Cochran/Chet Atkins” model and you also have that double-neck Jaguar. Are you a guitar collector?
Buddy Dughi – I do collect them, but unlike some collectors, I actually play all of them!

Do you have a favorite model ?
Buddy Dughi – My favorite would have to be any 6120 up to 1959

Buddy around 1988 (© All rights reserved)
Buddy around 1988
(© All rights reserved)

What are your influences as a singer?
Buddy Dughi – As a singer, l’ve always based my style on some of the more obscure Sun artists with the real hiccupy-hillbilly wildness, although l’d have to say without a doubt. Gene Vincent was the BEST singer EVER!!!

Talking about Gene Vincent, do you know some of the European bands of the early 80’s like the Blue Cats, Dave Phillips or The Sprites?
Buddy Dughi – Yes, I am aware of them and have their records and would love to have a chance to play guitar with the Blue Cats, I really dig those guys!

Any musicians that influenced you?
Buddy Dughi – As a musician my main influences are Paul Burlison, of the Rock’n’Roll Trio and Cliff Gallup of the Blue Caps. Brian Setzer also had a very big impact on me when I was first learning how to play in a rockabilly band.

Paul Burlison was still very active until his death. Did you have the chance to meet him and even play with him?
Buddy Dughi – Yeah, I did get the chance to meet Paul Burlison and got to watch him play, he also gave me one of his guitar picks!

And Brian Setzer?
Buddy Dughi – I have known Brian Setzer for many years now and and have shared the stage with him as well.

Suzy, is there any bass player who’s a model for you?
Suzy Dughi – I can’t say there is really one model bass player for me, but through the years, even before I knew it, people like Bill Black, James Kirkland (bass player for Ricky Nelson), Ray Campi and of course Lee Rocker influenced me because I absolutely drowned myself in that music. Years later when I started playing myself I think some of their styles emerged in my playing. I do have to give credit to Lee Rocker for bringing the upright bass, as big and clumsy as it is, back in vogue

Tell us about your different bands and the musicians who play with you…
Buddy Dughi – As for the Hot Rod Trio, Pete our drummer answered an ad for stand-up drummer many years ago, we chose him and we’ve been friends and bandmates ever since. My then girlfriend, now wife, Suzy picked up the stand-up bass almost instantaneously, out of necessity when our bass player quit and we were in dire need of a bass player for a new years eve party, and the rest is history.
Suzy Dughi – I had to learn pretty quick because the band (“The Rockits“) had a show booked and no bass player.Also at that time (1990) not too many people were playing upright bass. Fortunately I new the music really well and had attended almost every one of their shows, so I kind of knew what to do and with some help from Buddy I was able to pull it off in about a month. The only thing I played before was guitar for about a year when I was ten, but I really didn’t remember much from that experience!
Buddy Dughi – As for my combo, it also included Pete on sit-down drums, Bobby Cavener on bass, which also plays for his wife’s band, Amber Foxx, and Mike Homer on acoustic rhythm guitar. This band is very traditional 50’s rockabilly in comparison to the Hot Rod Trio.

Suzy Q and her Be Bop Boys (© All rights reserved)
Suzy Q and her Be Bop Boys (© All rights reserved)

Please don’t take me for a horrible “macho man” but rockabilly slap bass is kinda physical… How do you approach that?
Suzy Dughi – That’s really what I love about it as opposed to playing electric bass, it really gives you the opportunity to really dig in and feel the rock’n’roll beat! In the beginning though it does require building up the stamina to keep going even when your arm gets tired, but if the audience is diggin’ it and their really into it you kind of get energy from that and you tend to forget about it

Wendy LeBeau (Flea Bops) told me that Stan Kessler tried to discourage her to play upright bass and told her she should stick to the e-bass…
Suzy Dughi – I think anyone, male or female, as with most things can learn do just about anything if they really want to as long as they stick with it. If anyone told me that it would give me even more reason to do it!

That’s what she actually did. Do you also play electric bass too?
Suzy Dughi – I learned to play electric bass a few years ago for a side project we did called the “Mag-neato’s”, a surf instrumental band. I also played on Buddy’s solo surf cd called “Buddy Dughi plays Hot Rod Surf”. I really like playing upright bass alot better, but electric bass definitely has it’s place music.

Let’s get a bit technical here, especially for all the young ladies who’d like to play the slap bass. Do you do something to protect your fingers ? Do you have advices?
Suzy Dughi – Most of the time when playing with the Be-Bop Boys I don’t use any protection on my fingers because the blond Engelhardt bass I use in that band is very easy to play as far as the way it is set up. The black flamed Engelhardt I use in the Hot Rod Trio seems to have a bit more tension on the strings which makes it not so kind to your fingers so I usually use white, cloth, athletic tape because it is flexible, it doesn’t slip off the strings and it stays put. Of course using gut strings as opposed to steel is also a lot easier on your hands and sounds a hell of a lot better too!

What about your albums?
Buddy Dughi – I have several albums out, although my first recording experience was a 45 on pink vinyl which I recorded with the Rockits (which was the Hot Rod Trio prior to Suzy’s joining the band). I now have two studio albums out with The Hot Rod Trio, one live Hot Rod Trio album, a solo surf album, and a soon to be released on Golly Gee Records solo rockabilly project called Buddy Dughi-Rev it Up!

Do you record live in studio?
Buddy Dughi – I am a firm believer in recording live whenever possible and my latest project was recorded live to tape with tape echo, just like they would have done back at Sun Studios.

What is the most memorable gig you played and or went to?
Buddy Dughi – One of my most memorable gigs l’ve played was when we played at a car show and Brian Setzer came down and sat in with us, that was pretty cool!
As far as the most mémorable show l’ve been to, it would probably hâve to be going to see Cari Perkins and meeting him after the show and getting a picture with him by the first hot rod I ever built!

How about your future plans
Buddy Dughi – I plan to play rockabilly forever! l’d like to possibly do some touring, I’d love to come to Europe to play, and l’d like to start recording some vinyl 45’s.

What do you think about the rockabilly scene today in Europe and the US?
Buddy Dughi – It seems to me like some of the younger people in the US rockabilly scene don’t really know what rockabilly is, it’s getting too mixed up with psychobilly and punk and that stuff is getting mislabeled as rockabilly. the Europeans however, seem to have a better understanding and appreciation for the true meaning and history behind the music and ail that goes along with it.

Some of your songs, especially on Hot Rod Trio Live have a psychobilly edge. What do you think about this kind of music. Do you think it could bring younger kids to “real” rockabilly?
Buddy Dughi – It’s probably the only way to bring kids to rockabilly. I recently played a concert with 14 Psychobilly bands, all young kids, and they loved the straight-up rockabilly we played, but kept their interest with songs like “Demons got a Motorcycle”, etc…and besides, it’s fun to let loose and go crazy now and then!

It sounds like the Hot Rod Trio is your wild/neo rockabilly side and Suzy Q. is more your Vincent/Gallup side…
Buddy Dughi – Yes, it’s very confusing for people and hard to have a “defined” sound, image and style when you switch back and forth between styles during a show. I also have a very traditional band called “The Buddy Dughi Combo” which is based on the sound of the more obscure Sun artists. I am planning on releasing only vinyl 45’s with this band.

A last word?
Buddy Dughi – If I could never listen to anyone else again, l’d die happy just Iistening to Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps!

What about you Suzy?
Suzy Dughi – That’s really hard to say because I love so many different artists and styles (of rockabilly). The same answer would probably go for me too, but really anything on the Sun label or Ricky Nelson would be just fine too! As a last word I would just like to thank anyone playing, listening to, or supporting rockabilly music in any way, shape or form simply for keeping this great form of “truly American music” alive for generations to come!

R.A.T.S

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R.A.T.S - Always Alone
R.A.T.S – Always Alone

R.A.T.S – Always Alone

R.A.T.S. Records ‎– #1 [1986]
Always Alone – That’s Right

R.A.T.S are not very different from the plethora of neo-rockabilly bands that appeared in the eighties like mushrooms after the rain. Their songs are not exceptional, they are not amazing musicians, and their singer is even out of tune at places. Not good, not bad, just another neo-rockabilly single to your collection. They’ll do much better with their mini-lp.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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