Nervous records

Frantic Flintstones

Frantic Flintstones – Bedrock!

Raucous Records RAUC002 [1987]
Bedrock – Hot Head Baby – Let’s Go Somewhere – Sugar Daddy

Released in 1987, Bedrock is the first-ever effort on wax by the Frantic Flintstones. All the ingredients are already in place: demented vocals from Chuck Harvey, furious slap bass by Gary Day, and simple but effective guitar. Three fast-paced Psychobilly tune and a slower one, Sugar Daddy, to conclude.
One thousand five hundred copies were pressed; 1000 with a printed sleeve and 500 with a white sleeve.


Frantic Flintstones - Nightmare On Nervous
Frantic Flintstones – Nightmare On Nervous

Frantic Flintstones – A Nightmare on Nervous

Nervous Records NERCD034 [1988]
Hellfire – Monte Carlo or Bust – 44 – Please Cool Baby – Oh Baby oh Yeah – Alley Cat King – Gone Gone Well Gone – Red Chevy – Ring ring ringin’ – What the Hell – Sugar Daddy – Frantic Flintstones – Safe Surf – Shake Your Honey Maker – Old Jack Joe – Jack the Ripper – Whisky Bottle Baby
Released in 1988, A Nightmare On Nervous marks the debut of a prolific career. In a certain aspect you can compare it to an early Johnny Cash album. By that I mean that this guy turn their weak points into a strength. With a guitarist far from being a virtuoso, they build their songs around Chuck’s distinctive voice and a solid rhythm section that features Gary Day on bass. Sometimes the system shows its limits. Songs like “Suggar Daddy” and “Monte Carlo and bust“, though good, could easily be one minute shorter. But this album is full of classics approaching different styles : early psychobilly (Alley Cat King, What The Hell), neo-rockabilly (44, Red Chevy) and even a wild rockin’ blues (Billy Fury’s Since You’ve Been Gone renamed here Gone Gone Well Gone). The cd version features 5 bonus tracks recorded later with Gasty on bass : two covers played the Flintstones way “Shake Your Honey Maker” and “Old Black Joe“, “Safe Surf” a semi instrumental (Safe surf repeated a dozen times doesn’t count as lyrics, does it?) variation around “Hang 10”, “Jack The Ripper” is not Screaming Lord Sutch’s but another version of “Necro Blues“, and an excellent original “Whisky Bottle Baby” previously known in a live version on the “Live & Rockin'” album.


Frantic Flintstones - Live and Rockin'
Frantic Flintstones – Live and Rockin’

Frantic Flintstones – Live’n’Rockin

Link  [1988]
Alone Again – Round the Mountain – What The Hell -. Shake Your Moneymaker – No One Stays – Rockin’Bones – Necro Blues – Hang Ten – Bedrock – Old Black Joe – Gone Gone Well Gone – Playschool Baby – Just Because -. Whisky Bottle Baby – One Night Stand – Blue Christmas

The Live and Rockin’ serie on Link was mostly a poorly recorded (and often poorly played) affair. One notable exception was the Frantic Flintstone live album recorded during the Rocking Out tour in November 1988. Despite being recorded just after the departure of ace bass player Gary “Gaz” Day who is replaced by Gasty from the Blue Ridge Rockets, it found the Flintstones in top form playing classics one after another. The songs come from Nightmare on Nervous, Rockin’ Out and for the large part Not A Christmas Album recorded a couple of weeks after this gig. It hasn’t been reissued on CD which is a shame but you can download it – legally – on Amazon or on other sites that sells music.


Frantic Flintstones – Well Gone In Europe

frantic flintstones well gone in europeKix4U KIX 3358 [1990]
Ole Black Joe – Alcohol Buzz – 44 – Honey Maker – Necro Blues – Gone Gone Well Gone – Let’s Go Somewhere – The Race Is On – Legion Song – Cryin’ Eyes (Country Mix – Broke Up (f/mushrooms Mix) – Endless Sleep (Skankabilly Mix)
The Frantic Flintstones released many albums often with the same songs. In the end, you keep wondering if you have another best-of of slightly different versions. This is what happens with “Well Gone In Europe.” Except if you’re a total and absolute completist, you can live without that one.


Frantic FLintstones - Take A Hike
Frantic FLintstones – Take A Hike

Frantic Flintstones – Take A Hike

Kix 4 U KIXCD3363 [1991]
Your Cheatin’ Heart – Dream On-Blue – Just A Dream – Sweet Nothings – So Sad – Little old Lady – Necro Blues – Burned’n’Turned – Rockin’ Bones – Frantic – Honey Maker – Gone Gone Well Gone – Blue Xmas – Santa Bring My Baby Back – Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Old Black Joe – Dream On-move
Though the sound is quite good, this album is far from being essential. Actually, on the 17 songs , 7 come from “Not A Christmas Album”, 3 are re-recorded versions of Flintstones classics (Burned and Turned, Rockin’ Bones, Necro blues) and in the remaining 7, Dream On is featured two times (a slow one and a fast one). That said the new versions are excellent, the group is in fine form and the Frantic Flintstones have released far worst than this album. One for the completist.


Frantic Flintstones – Cuttin’ A Fine Line

Rumble RUMBCD009 / Raucous RAUCD0000106 [1991]
Chilled bones – You’re the one who done it – Sweet Marilee – Jungle love – Time of day – You got me rockin’ – Tom Dooley – Gotta know – Brown eyed girl – Boneshaker baby – Slowly killing me – Don’t want you baby – Drug squad – West of London – Love me – Am I that easy to forget.

Released in the early nineties for the German label Rumble Records (Scum Rats, Rockabilly Mafia, Punishers etc.) “Cuttin’ A Fine Line” finds the band in superb form with the return of Gaz Day on bass with Rich Taylor on drums (Nitros), Pug still on guitar and of course the unmistakable voice of Chuck Harvey. This excellent album (one the very best ever released by the band) mixes classic psychobilly numbers (Chilled Bones, Don’t Want You Baby that features Gaz on lead vocals), blues (Time Of A Day), first class rockabilly (You’re The One That Done It, Sweet Marilee, Gotta Know), skiffle (Tom Dooley) and some country songs like West Of London and Drug Squad that deals with one of Chuck’s favourite subject. The selection is rounded with two acoustic numbers (Elvis’Love Me and Am I That Easy To Forget) with just Pug and Chuck that announces their following album, the all acoustic Skin Up, Chill Out, Just Buskin’ Through.


Frantic Flintstones - Skin Up, Chill Out, Just Buskin' Through
Frantic Flintstones – Skin Up, Chill Out, Just Buskin’ Through

Frantic Flintstones – Skin Up, Chill Out, Just Buskin’ Through

Rumble RUMCD018/ Raucous [1992]
Hello Marylou – Blue Moon of Kentucky – Will the Circle be Unboken – You Are my Sunshine – Tom Dooley – I Can’t Help it – Born to Lose – Goodnight Irene – It’s Hard to be Humble – Love me – Drugs in the Valley – Take me Home, Country Roads – I Gotta Baby – Am I That Easy to Forget
The only thing predictable with the Frantic Flintstones is that they are unpredictable. For this record originally released on Rumble Records in 1992 the band – reduced to just Chuck and Pug – went for an acoustic session. The mood is very laid back and the repertoire is made of covers of classic rockabilly and hillbilly tunes taken from the catalog of Hank Williams, Mac Davis, John Denver, Ricky Nelson, Elvis, Johnny Cash, The Carter Family and though they appear in brand new version here, some of them have been recorded by the band before. It’s not completely representative of the style of the Frantic Flintstones but it’s a nice addition to your collection.


The Frantic Flintstones - Rock it Boy
Frantic Flintstones – Rock it Boy

Frantic Flintstones – Rock it Boy

Rumble RUMBCD024 [1993]
Marylou – You Call Everybody Darlin’ – You Ain’t Nothing But Fine – I Cant Trust Me In Your Arms Anymore – Carry Me Back To Old Virginia – Blues Stay Away From Me – Blue Moon Of Kentucky – Your Cheatin’ Heart – I’m Walkin’ – Sweet Baby Doll – Will The Circle Be Unbroken – So CLose To Heaven – Jimmy Jazz – Love For A Nutter – Broken Heart

Originally released in 1993, this is the third Frantic Flintstones’ album for the German label Rumble records. And like “Cuttin’…” and “Skill Up…” it has a strong rockabilly flavour in it. The line-up for this one is Chuck, Pug, Johnny Bowler (Get Smart, Guana Batz) and Scag. It’s a very good album that only lacks of original songs, but with a charismatic band-leader like Chuck (and a solid band to back him) that’s not such a big problem. The band draws into the catalog of Jerry Lee Lewis, hence the presence of a piano, Ricky Nelson, Rockin’ Sydney, Johnny Burnette/Delmore Brothers, Hank Williams and delivers an excellent rockabilly version of the Clash’s Jimmy Jazz. As usual with the FF it features different versions of previously released tunes like Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Will The Circle Be Unbroken and Your Cheatin’ Heart wasted by the backing vocals. “Love For A Nutter” is a demo recorded with Alan Wilson that announces the following albums (X-Ray Sessions and Jalmboree) and the beginning of a fruitful collaboration. Bowler closes the set with a vocal prestation on “Broken Heart” that won’t figure as one of the highest moment in the Frantic Flintstones history. It’s been reissued on the British label Raucous Records with a slightly different cover.


Frantic Flintstones - Jamboree
Frantic Flintstones – Jamboree

Frantic Flintstones – Jamboree

CDMPSYCHO15 [1993]
Detroit Dirtbox – Love For A Nutter – Your Time Is Up – Mean Mean Woman – Diablo – Stay With Me – Sweet Georgia Brown – Lunatics (Are Raving) – Busted – Mindkill – (To The Devil)A Son – Oh 898 – Candyman – He’s Waitin’ – Sad N’ Lonely – Suspended – Chop-Chop, Slash Slash – Honey Child – Hey Chuck – Detroit Bloodbox

Previously issued in 1993 but out of print since then, Anagram had the good idea to reissue this 20 songs album in their Psychobilly serie. Produced by Sharks frontman Alan Wilson who also plays most of the guitar parts, with former bassist Gary Day back in the line-up, this is one of the 3 best album the Frantic Flinstones ever made and probably the richest in styles approached. Wilson is one hell of a guitar player and songwriter and his team with Chuck Harvey is just perfect. From “Diablo” with its surprising jazzy solo in the middle, to the country tune “To the Devil A Son”, and even a waltz (“Sad’n’Lonely”) they apparently have fun to work together and explore various kind of music. Some guests are present too. Detroit Donny plays harmonica on “Detroit Dirt Box” a bluesy instrumental and on Roy Orbison’s “Candyman”, Sonny West, who had an album on Nervous, plays some guitars and sings The Sonics’ “He’s Waitin’”. Alan Wilson sings “Mindkill” he co-wrote with Hodges. This one can be seen as the first song from the resurrected Sharks for this is during this recording that Gaz Day convinced him to reform the band. Psychobilly is present, of course, with”Your Time Is Up” which is not far from “What The Hell” on their debut album, “Sweet Georgia Brown” (not the jazz standard) and the great “Love For A Nutter”, although I do prefer the demo version issued on “Rock It Boy”. Add a bit of rockabilly (“Honey Child” and “Mean Mean Woman”) and if you still wonder why are the Frantic Flinstones so great, just ask yourself who could better than them sing a song about a psycho killer like a sixties pop ballad?

The Radioactive Kid

Freddy Frogs

Freddy Frogs ‎– At My Front Door

Freddy Frogs

Nervous Records ‎– NERD 013 [1984]
Cheap Thrills – Boppin ‘N’ Jivin – Roxy – Desperate – Livin’ In The Dark – She’s So Mean – Crazy Little Mama – Ain’t Got No Home – Don’t Make Me Wait – All The Girls (Do The Bop) – Pledging My Love – Feelin’ No Pain – I Don’t Care Any More – No Frills

When asked who was his favorite musician, Brian Setzer once answered ‘Freddy Frogs’. This lp, first released in 1982 by Off the Wall records, then licensed to Nervous records in 1984, gathered the sides recorded by Frogs (real name Ferdinando Toscano) with his two bands: the BMT’s and No Frill. The BMT’s featured Tommy Byrnes, who briefly joined the Stray Cats in 1984 as the second guitarist.
The lp opens with Cheap Thrills, a classic Rock’n’Roll in the style of Bill Haley with sax and appropriate backing vocals and handclaps. The program of Boppin and Jivin’ lays in its title. It bops, it jives, and it features fine doo-wop backing vocals too. The next track, Roxy, is an excellent soft Rockabilly. It’s followed by a slow in the best tradition of the Fifties. Freddy Frogs delivers a superb vocal performance, perfectly backed by the band. Livin In The Dark is a good rocking song. Maybe not the most original but quite effective. She’s So Mean is a superb Rockabilly with a blasting saxophone solo. Crazy Little Mama, a cover of El Dorados & Magnificents, is a fantastic doo-wop with a solid dose of Rock’n’Roll in it.
The B-side opens with the logical choice of Clarence Frogman Henry’s Ain’t Got No Home. Don’t Make Me Wait has echoes of Buddy Holly while Do the Bop is in Danny and the Juniors’ style.
You must be one hell of a singer to sing Pledging My Love and compete with Johnny Ace and Elvis Presley. Frogs totally makes this song his own, and his version has nothing to envy to anyone. Feelin’ No Pain is more modern, showing some New-Wave influences, especially in the bass line. Back to boppin’ Rockabilly with I Don’t Care Anymore. No Frills that concludes the album is an instrumental track that answers the LP’s first song, showcasing the piano and the saxophone.
A genuinely great Rock’n’Roll album.
Sadly Freddy Frogs passed away in 2009 at age 66.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Buzz and the Flyers

Buzz and the Flyers – Little Pig

Buzz and the flyers

Sing Sing Records ‎– S1002 [1980]
Little Pig – You Crazy Gal You – Let’s Bop

Buzz and the Flyers were one of the leading bands of the Rockabilly revival of the late seventies. Like the Rockats and Robert Gordon, they helped to pave the way for the Stray Cats‘ international success.
This EP features the group’s early line-up with the fantastic Dig Wayne on vocals, Michael Gene on guitar, Pete Morgan on bass, and Rock Roll (if you have to choose a nickname to play this music, you might as well pick this one) on drums.
Syl Sylvain, of the New York Dolls, produced it and released it on his own Sing Sing label. It’s interesting to see that at the same time, Jerry Nolan, drummer of the New York Dolls, played with the Rockats.
The A-side is a cover of Dale Hawkins’ Little Pig. Its bare-bone and sparse sound captures the Rockabilly spirit like very few managed to do since the fifties.
Even better is You Crazy Gal You. This one has a strong Charlie Feathers feel without sounding like a carbon copy. Listening to this today, you realize that the fantastic Michael Gene is one of the Rockabilly scene’s unsung heroes. His style incorporates the best of Cliff Gallup and Scotty Moore to mix it with more moderns elements.
This essential EP end with a frantic cover of Jack Earl’s Let’s Bop.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Kevin Fayte and Rocket 8

Kevin Fayte and Rocket 8 – Ridin’ In A Rocket

Kevin Fayte and Rocket 8 - Ridin’ In A Rocket

Nervous Records NERD 024 [1985]
Bluest Of Blue – County Jail – Money Talks – Blame It On The Moon – Hey, Baby – Gal O’ Mine – Rock Candy – So What – Oh, My Little Claudie – Ridin’ In A Rocket – Baby, I Know – I’m A Rebel – Big Ol’ Sun – You Can’t Come Out Tonight – I Don’t Know – Teacher, Teacher – Get Off My Train – Movin’ To Memphis – Bop, Man, Bop – Gonna Rock

Kevin Fayte and Rocket 8 were a traditional Rockabilly trio consisting of Kevin Fayte on vocals and guitar, Buster Fayte on vocals and bass, and Joe Snare on drums. They seem to be forgotten today, which is rather unfair. Maybe they came too early. When most of the bands were trying to follow the Stray Cats paths, Kevin Fayte and Rocket 8 choose to remain faithful to the Rockabilly of the origins.
The band formed in 1983 and disbanded around 1986. In between, the trio managed to release this album consisting of twenty original songs, penned by the band members, but their producer, Gary Rebholz, also contributed to the songwriting. One could fear that twenty tracks are a tad too much for a rockabilly album, but the songs are short, and since both Kevin and Buster share the lead vocals, they manage to keep variety all along the lp. Most of all, they really knew how to write songs, focusing on the melodic aspect.
This excellent album deserves to be rediscovered today.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Sharks (the)

 The Sharks ‎– Phantom Rockers
The Sharks ‎– Phantom Rockers

 The Sharks ‎– Phantom Rockers

Nervous records ‎– NERD 008 [1983]

Moonstomp – Skeleton Rock – It’s All Over Now – Crazy Maybe – Take A Razor To Your Head – Death Row -Love Bites – Short Shark Shock – Ruff Stuff – Phantom Rockers – Charlie! – Slipped Disc – I Can’t Stop – Electrifyin’ – Ghost Train* – We Say Yeah* (* cd only)

There’s a thin line between Neo-Rockabilly and Psychobilly. “Phantom Rockers” the Sharks’ debut album falls exactly somewhere between those two categories.
Their sound is closer to Restless than the wildness of the Meteors or the garage sound of the Ricochets. But the comparison ends here. While Rockabilly bands are happy to sing about girls and boppin’ all night, the Sharks embrace the Psychobilly idiom with a delectable pleasure. Their songs are about vampires, skeletons, ghosts (trains and rockers), and Charlie, a schoolboy who cuts the head of his classmates and family with a chainsaw.
The music is punchy and aggressive yet melodic and clean. Both Wilson and Whitehouse, who share the vocal duties, show a solid mastering of their instruments and a knack for writing songs that stay in your head.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you call it Psychobilly or Rockabilly or whatever, you must own this album, that’s all you need to know.


The Sharks - First and Last Live
The Sharks – First and Last Live

The Sharks – First and Last Live

Nervous /Crazy Love [1988 – reissue 2002]
Rock The Joint ~ Pink & Black ~ Tired ‘n’ Sleepy ~ Teenage Boogie ~ Tear It Up ~ Wildcat Rock ~ Sugar Doll ~ We Say Yeah ~ Deathrow ~ Moonstomp ~ Ghost Train ~ Crazy Maybe ~ Buddy Can You Spare A Dime ~ It’s All Over Now ~ Phantom Rockers ~ Chainsaw Charlie ~ I Can’t Stop.

This album captures two shows. The first one has been recorded by the trio at the beginning of their career and the second is the last they played just before they split in 1983, hence the title. It’s mostly made for fans and it’s surely not the best album to discover this great and highly influential band. But it remains very interesting. You can hear a band of teenagers evolving from a good rockabilly cover band (the first show: well played but nothing too exceptional) into a tight psychobilly unit, this time with self penned material and a sound truly of their own.


The Sharks - Live In Japan
The Sharks – Live In Japan

The Sharks – Live In Japan

Crazy Love CLCD 64143
Deathrow – Bye Bye Girl – Cold Heart – Crazy Maybe – Dealer – Schitzoid Man – Love Bites – Morphine Daze – Side Show Freak – Between Two Worlds – Moonstomp – Surf Caster – Phantom Rockers – Charlie – Time Bomb – Ghost Train – Skeleton Rock.
The psychobilly scene counts very few solid live recordings. The reason can be found in the fact that the majority has been released in the mediocre Live’n’Rockin’ serie on Link records. But one can find some exception like The Meteors Live I, The Quakes’ Live In Tokyo, Long Tall Texans’ Five beans In The Wheel (though it’s half fake), Live’n’Undead by the Nekromantix and on top of the list : “Live In Japan” by the Sharks.
 This live recording has been captured on tape in September 1998 in Nagoya and Tokyo, during a successful tour of Japan with the pair Wilson and Whitehouse (both on top form) and Carl Parry (guitar player for Frenzy at the time) on drums who replaces Hodge the original drummer. 
The set spans the entire career of the band with “Phantom Rockers” taking the lion’s share. The trio gives a breath of fresh air – and even surpasses the studio recordings – to their classics like Love Bites, Charlie, Moonstomp and breathtaking versions of Skeleton Rock and Ghost Train. The songs from “Colour My Flesh” and “Recreationnal Killer” are well represented too here and the live gives a grittier sound than the well produced studio versions.
There’s a spirit of sheer joy (even with songs about vampires, psycho killer, electric chairs…) all along this hour plus of tight musicianship (remember we’re talking about Alan Wilson and Steve Whitehouse) that is highly communicative. In the end it’s more than a great psychobilly album, it’s a great rock’n’roll album (that deals with kids with chainsaw, girls from Transylvannia and so on, okay I know).


The Sharks - Songs from the Sarcophagus
The Sharks – Songs from the Sarcophagus

The Sharks – Songs from the Sarcophagus

Western Star [2011]
She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man – Draculas Daughter – Jack The Ripper – Monster In Black Tights

We’ve waited for years for it. Here it is, at last, a brand new release from those neo-rockabilly/psychobilly masters.
This 4 songs vinyl ep is a tribute to the late Screaming Lord Sutch and who was more designed to do it than the Sharks and Joe Meek specialist Alan Wilson? They manage to give their own rendition of these classics while staying true to Meek and Sutch versions.
A total, definite and absolute must have.


The Sharks - Infamy
The Sharks – Infamy

The Sharks – Infamy

Western Star WSRC 057 {2012}
House of Wax – A Tornado Called Smith – Holloway Road – The King Of London – First Men On the Moon – Control – Ship To Shore – Hell Riders – I Can’t Believe You’re Back – Breakin’ Bones – Luck O’ The Irish – Desert Diamond – She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster Man

The Sharks are back! After a 15 year hiatus Alan Wilson (guitar, vocals), Steve Whitehouse (super sonic slap bass, vocals) and Hodge finally got together again to record a new album. I must say that I was a little apprehensive when I put the cd in the player. Could the band match my high expectations, after all they had released some of the best neo/psychobilly album made in the 80’s (Phantom Rockers) and the 90’s (Recreationnal Killer and Color My Flesh). Recently released material on compilation albums and an ep showed they were still in good shape, but could they make it on long distance? It took just one song to see all my doubts vanish. Not only the Sharks were good but they sounded better than ever, benefiting of 30 years of experience in term of producing, playing and writing songs. Most of all they managed to keep what make their identity and reinvent themselves in the same time. You don’t have a band of fifty year old men (or so) who run after their youth, trying to sound like they did in thirty years ago. They don’t come back by pure nostalgia but because they have solid songs to defend (mostly penned by Wilson with the exception of the First Men On the Moon co-written with Whitehouse and Lord Sutch’s She’s Fallen In Love With the Monster Man). Of course there are hot psychobilly numbers like House Of Wax (perfect opener with superb vocals from Whitehouse), A Tornado Called Smith (listen to this guitar solo, it kills!), Men On the Moon and Breakin Bones (already a classic alternating slow and fast parts). Next to this psychobilly gems you’ll find an instrumental mixing Surf guitar with Mariachi music (Hell Riders),  60’s country music with a Bakersfield feel (Desert Diamond), and a great tribute to Joe Meek in the form of a pop song (Holloway Road) featuring female backing vocals and Merv Pepler (Frenzy) playing some strange noises that would have pleased the producer of Telstar. Other real life character also have their own song like the notorious bare knuckle boxer Pretty Boy Shaw (The King Of london with plunking piano) and Ronald Biggs. That’s what I call a casting!  More surprising is Luck’o the Irish sung by Doyley (Klingonz) with accordion and penny whistle for a full Pogues ambiance.
It was worth a wait of 15 years..
Comes in a nice digipack with lyrics included.


Sharks (the) – Space Race

sharks space raceWestern Star Recording Company ‎– WSRC EP006 [2014]
Mercury Mission – Cosmonaut – Rockabilly Moonquake – First Men On The Moon (Queen Victoria Mix)
The Sharks recorded and released this space-themed 10″ mini-album in 2014.
Sung by Whitehouse, Mercury Mission is the most Psychobilly sounding of all four tracks. Knowing Wilson’s admiration for the work of Joe Meek, it’s no surprise to find a Telstar vibe in the following instrumental titled Cosmonaut.
On the b-side, there’s an excellent neo-rockabilly tune that you could easily imagine sung by the Polecats, whereas the Queen Victoria Mix of First Men On The Moon doesn’t add much to an already great song.
It’s a limited white vinyl edition.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Sharks
The Sharks

Darrel Higham

Darrel Higham – Mobile Corrosion

Nervous Records NERCD082 [1995]
Like A Brand New Man – If You Can Live With It – Long Lonely Road – Deep In The Heart Of Texas – I Like Me Just Fine – Second Hand Information – In My Heart – No One Will Grieve – Revenue Man – Country Lila Rhue – You Were Right, I Was Rong – I’ve Been Gone A Long Time – Don’t Bug Me Baby – Amanda’s Song – Travis Pickin’ – Life Goes On – Rockin’ Band Blues

Recorded in 1995 for Nervous Records with Rusti Steel (lap steel), Les Curtis (drums), Mick Wigfall (bass), and Dave Brown (piano), Mobile Corrosion is one of Higham’s most country-tinged albums.
Like A Brand New Man is a perfect opener, sounding like a cross between Johnny Horton’s Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor and Berry’s Promised Land. If You Can Live Without It is a country ballad yet muscled up by the slap bass and features nice guitar picking.
Long Lonely Road is a Rock’n’roll tune on which Darrel’s Cochran inspired vocal makes wonder. Geraint Watkins’ Deep In the Heart Of Texas is an excellent country drive with a powerful drive. The following track, I Like Me Just Fine, is way heavier, with mean guitar and powerful vocal. Back to traditional Rockabilly, with a hillbilly touch, with Gentleman Jim’s Second Hand Information. Every good Rock’n’Roll album should feature a slow number. Good news, you have two on this album, In My Heart and Amanda’s Song, and one more time, Higham’s voice, not far from Cochran on Lonely Street here, is perfect.
No One Will Grieve is a modern Rocker with a solid bass part. Revenue Man is a cover of George Jones tune, Country Lila Rhue is more on the hillbilly bop vein, while You Were Right, I Was Wrong is a Rockabilly ballad.
I’ve Been Gone Too Long is a mean Country-rock, and you could easily imagine Sonny George singing it. Though Milton Allen did the original of Don’t Bug Me Baby in 1957, Higham’s version comes from the cover made by Shakin Stevens in 1981. It’s instrumental time with Travis Pickin’. No surprise, all is in the title. Life Goes On shows the influence of Gene Vincent, which means brushed snare drums and plenty of jazz influences in the guitar. Rockin’ Band Blues is a Cochran pastiche. Nothing really original but a good song nonetheless.


Darrel Higham & the Barnshakers – Pretty Little Devil

darrel higham

Goofin Records GOOFY 570 [1997]
Sweethearts Or Strangers – Don’t Be Gone Long – Pretty Little Devil – Flattin’ & Thumbin’

Darrel Higham recorded this ep in 1997 with the ever-excellent Barnshakers from Finland. That was not the first collabration between the British guitar picker and the Finnish Rockabilly band. Both recorded a full album together in 1993. Sometimes when two talented artists or bands join forces, the result doesn’t keep up with the expectations (I have a few example that I’ll keep for myself.) That was not the case here, this four-track ep is excellent.
Side one kicks off with a cover of the old classic “Sweethearts or Strangers”. Higham’s vocals and guitar give it a strong Eddie Cochran feel, and Lester Peabody’s steel guitar nicely enhances it. Next is a cover of Bod Doss’ “Don’t Be Long Gone.” Like the original, it’s jet-propelled by a solid slap bass intro.
Vesa Haaja, the singer of the Barnshakers, joins forces to sing harmonies for the Everly sounding Pretty Little Devil, recorded initially by Bob Denton and Eddie Cochran.
The last track is a guitar duet between Higham and Peabody/Jussi Huhtakangas. Well, the title says it all. It’s a gentle battle between these two great pickers. One can only regret that Deke Dickerson wasn’t there at the time of the recording.
There are still a few copies left on Goofin Records.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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