Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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Nervous records

Frenzy (psychobilly)

in Contemporary artists/EF/Reviews
Frenzy - Hall of mirrors
Frenzy – Hall of mirrors

Frenzy – Hall of Mirrors

Nervous NER016 [1985]
One last chance – Schitzophrenic emotions – Choice – Hall of mirrors(1) – Frenzy – Asylum moves – Skeleton rock – Sweet money – Ghost train – Long gone – Surfin’ bird – Was it me? – Wound up – Frustration – Hall of mirrors(2) – Robot riot – Cry or die – All alone – Torment

If a label “classic psychobilly album” would exist, Hall Of Mirror would be among the first to deserve it.
In 1983, the split of the Sharks allowed Steve Whitehouse to fully concentrate on his new project: Frenzy. By many aspects Frenzy were more adventurous than the Sharks. It marked a new step for the psychobilly scene that was in full bloom and the band went into musical territories rarely explored by slap bass led combos. The recording of Hall Of Mirrors began with Simon Brand on guitar and Merv Pepler on drums, this trio having already released one ep for a Dutch label (included on thecd reissues of this album). But Brand quickly left the band (he later formed Torment) with only three songs ready for the forthcoming album (Frustration, Frenzy, Sweet Money).
Whitehouse eventually hired Kev Saunders to complete the album. Both Saunders and Pepler came from different musical horizons and combined with the double bassist’s rockabilly background the result was an unusual, unique and explosive combination.
Musically speaking, Whitehouse fast slapping and technique proved to be a lasting influence for the many psychobilly bassmen that followed.
Hall Of Mirrors offered originals (including a reworking of the Sharks’ Skeleton Rock) and one cover (Surfin’ Bird) probably the only weak track of the album (but who could come after the Trashmen and the Cramps?).
The lyrics also set up new standard. I addition to the usual crew of ghosts, skeleton etc. you can also find songs about madness, frustration and teenage angst.
Brilliant!


Frenzy - Clockwork Toy
Frenzy – Clockwork Toy

Frenzy – Clockwork Toy

I.D. Records ‎– NOSE 8 [1986]
Clockwork Toy – I See Red – Misdemeanour – Nightmares – Love Is the Drug – Mexican Radio – Howard Hughes – In My Prison – Aftermath – Nobody’s Business

With Clockwork Toy, Frenzy confirmed their status of “Psychobilly band with more than two ideas in their songs”. The accent is put on arrangements and variations, giving more elaborated melodies (and sometimes more pop sounding) than your usual fast paced rockabilly (Misdemeanour, Clockwork Toy, Howard Hughes…). And if Whithehouse’s heavy slap bass links the whole thing to the rockabilly idiom (listen to “I See Red” – which spent some decent time in the indie charts – or “Nightmares“), the sound of the guitar doesnt owe anything to the genre. There’s a lot of production work. A powerfull live band, they also want to prove they can deliver a “real” album and not only a hastily live in the studio recording of stage favorites. These’ll remain a constant (with varied degrees of success) in Frenzy’s carreer. Retrospectivly, it sometimes turns to the disadvantage of the band and this will to explore technology shows its limits. The synthetizer’s sound on “Love Is A Drug” (yes Roxy Music’s one) or the drums on “Howard Hughes” sound terribly dated now, and let’s say it, very cheap.
But this minor flaws left aside, Clockwork Toys is as important, for different reasons, as their debut album and still stands today as a classic of the genre.
It’s later been reissued on cd with two b-sides from the same period and 3 songs from Sally’s Pink Bedroom


Frenzy - Live at the 100 Club
Frenzy – Live at the 100 Club

Frenzy – Live at the 100 Club

Nervous Records NER 033 – Raucous Records [1988]
I see red – Misdemeanour – Love is the drug 4.House on fire – Howard Hughes – The hunt – Clockwork toy – Migraine – Gotta go! – It’s All Over Now – Robot riot
In the quantity of live albums released by psychobilly bands, many were disappointing, whether they were poorly recorded (remember the Live & Loud serie on Link) or the band wasn’t able to recreate the studio recordings on stage. Among the best you find The Long Tall texans’ Five Beans In The Wheel, The Sharks’ Live In Japan, a couple of Meteors and… Frenzy’s Live At The 100 Club. Recorded in 1986, it’s a magic combination of a perfect recording and a tight band of true professionnals, playing at that time 150 dates per year. The set draws heavily into “Clockwork Toy” recorded that same year.They kick off with a roaring version of their indie charts hit “I See Red”. “Misdemeanor” quickly follows, featuring a pumping slap bass, showing how good Steve Whitehouse is.Roxy Music’s “Love Is A Drug” is far better than the album version. The keyboards parts being replaced by a guest saxophonist giving a bit of a ska touch. They alternate “straight in your face” wild numbers (House On Fire) with their more complex and melodic songs (Clockwork Toy, Howard Hughes) with equal degrees of success. Next are a couple of covers, The Ricochets'”Migraine”, The G-Men’s “Gotta Go” and a epic 8 minute “It’s All Over Now” a song previously performed by Withehouse in The Sharks’ set. This perfect disc ends with a 100 mp/h rendition of their “early” classic “Robot Riot” that almost manages to make you forget the studio version. Issued on vinyl by Nervous in 1988, it’s been reissued by Raucous in 2001.


Frenzy - best-of
Frenzy – best-of

Frenzy – The Very Best-Of

Rage CD 107 [1990]

A very good overview of the band’s seven first years including songs from Hall Of Mirrors, Clockwork Toy and This Is the Fire as well as unreleased stuff like Long Gone recorded live at Hemsby and some b-sides too.


Frenzy – Live in Japan

Frenzy Live in JapanRaucous Records RAUCD046

Nervous Breakdown- Clockwork Toy – Misdemeanour – Hall of Mirrors – I See Red – This is the Fire – CC Rider – Love is a Drug – Mad Mad World – Brand New Gun – Long Gone – Tush – Robot Riot – It’s All Over Now – Cry or Die

Another very good live album recorded in Japan (see Restless and the Sharks for others great live albums recorded in jpan with Steve Whitehouse) in 1993.

It’s a very powerful set with all the classics and a couple of covers like Brand New Gun (Tall Boys), Tush (ZZ Top), Nervous Breakdown (Cochran), CC Rider (Elvis) and Royx Music’s Love is a Drug.

It’s very different – and yet very complementary – to Live at the 100 Clubsince Carl Parry has a very Metal sound compared to Kev Saunders who was more ‘new wave meets rockabilly’. It sometimes a bit too much, but more often than not it works very well, even with the songs from Hall of Mirror and Clockwork Toy.

Frenzy

Frenzy

Deltas (the)

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

The Deltas – Boogie Disease

The Deltas - Boogie Disease

Nervous Records NER002 [1981]

Boogie Disease – As You Like It – Blues In The Bottle – Honey Babe – Victim Of My Love – London Girls – Who – That Ain’t Your Business – Raging Sea – Heart Attack – Temperature – Pie ‘n’ Mash – Moonshine – Nine Below Zero – Fashion Train – Long Black Train

The Deltas were playing wild and frantic Rockabilly but unlike many other bands, they related heavily to the blues idiom covering the likes of Doctor Ross, Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Hopkins or Sonny Boy Williamson. If the Meteors created psychobilly by mistreating rockabilly music, the Deltas were doing the same to the blues.

The Deltas were one of the very first act to be signed by Roy Williams on his Nervous label. It’s no surprise for their were among those who wanted to push the boundaries of the genre like Restless, the Meteors, the Blue Cats to name but three.

Their debut album is loaded with 16 wild and psychoticwith half of them penned by the band. The triple attack of Littlejohn’s double bass, Pat Panioty’s guitar and Steve Bongo banging his drums while singing his heart out (which often leads him to end the song faster than it started) takes no prisonners.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

deltas-first45The Deltas – Heart Attack b/w Spellbound

Nervous Records NER005 [1981] 
In 1981 the British rockabilly scene was in bloom. After Raw Deal split, Paul Fenech and Nigel Lewis formed the Meteors and Pat Panioty formed the Deltas. This single announces their excellent debut album. The version of Heartattack is different than the one that appears on the album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

 


The Deltas - You Cant Judge a BookThe Deltas – You Cant Judge a Book

Raucous Records – RAUC006 [1988]
How Come You Do Me Like You Do – You Can’t Judge A Book – Do What I Do – This Train Is Bound For Glory

Superb ep recorded for Raucous featuring high octane rockin’ blues in the same vein of Tuffer than Tuff.

 

 


The Deltas - Mad for itThe Deltas – Mad for it

ID Records NOSE 11 [1986]
Whip It Up – Cigarette – Catch’em Young – The Cat – Age Of Nil – Electric Chair – Hit The Road Jack – Mad For It – Sex Therapy – Gimme The Drugs – No More No More No More – How Come You Do Me Like You Do* – You Can’t Judge A Book* – Do What I Do* – This Train Is Bound For Glory* (*cd bonus)

In 1986 the Deltas returned with a brand new album and a brand new lineup. The orginal trio (Captain Pat Marvel, Little John and Steve Bongo) added a drummer Ricochet Ray (allowing Steve to fully concentrate on the vocals) and a second guitar and a saxophone in the person of Boz Boorer of the Polecats who also produced the album and wrote several originals. With the addition of guests on piano and blues harp, the result is a blusier album, yet with a rockin’ feel to it, and a fuller sound.
It also sees them more at ease to go into new territories like the jazzy “Electric Chair”. But fans of the first lp and their psychotic rockabilly will sure enjoy the title track and their cover of the Cat. The cd version includes the “You Can’t Judge a book… ep” recorded for Raucous in 1988.

Deltas


Three Blue Teardrops

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Three Blue Teardrops – Ballin’ Jack/Morbid Teenage Love Song

Three Blue Teardrops

Swelltune Records SR45-004 [2018]

At last some new music by Three Blue Teardrops!

Dave Sisson, Randy Sabo and Rick Uppling are back with a brand new single recorded at Hi-Style studios.

Side A is a hot jiver that benefits of the addition of a saxophone and features a mean and superb solo.

B-side is even better. Imagine a sad rockabilly ballad with female backing vocals produced by Shadow Morton. I was almost expecting to hear car crash sound effects in the middle of the song.

Buy it at Swelltune records.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Three Blue Teardrops - Rustbelt Trio
Three Blue Teardrops – Rustbelt Trio

Three Blue Teardrops – Rustbelt Trio


A-OK – Shocked – Lincoln ’59 – Alone At Last – Headin’ For Disaster – American Way – Hard-Boiled – Little Lovely – Lord Send Me An Angel – Damage Control – The Dead Know Nothing – I still Dream Of You – I’m Still Standin’ Here
The fourth album relased by Three Blue Teardrops, more than 10 years after their debut release ‘One Part Fist” on the legendary British label Nervous Records. I’m a huge fan of Alan Wilson’s work as a musician (The Sharks) or as a producer (Frantic Flintstones, Gazmen, Colbert Hamilton…) but I was a little disappointed by his production on “One Part Fist”. I think he tried to give some kind of English psychobilly sound to a 100% American band which didn’t really fit them. The two following albums are now very hard to find but are more reflective of what their true sound is. So is “Rustbelt Trio” produced and released by the band. Here you have a real wild rocking and stomping modern rockabilly album made of 13 songs (all band’s originals, half written by guitarist Dave Sisson and the other half by upright bassist Rick Uppling). One of their best quality is to be able to mix genres, adding traditional vocals harmonies on heavy rockers, or enhance what could be a classic hot rod song (Lincoln 49) with a fine and swing drumbeat. Harmonies and superb brushed snare can also be found on “Alone At Last”, a teenagers’ song with a modern edge. The sound hardens a bit on “Headin’ For Disaster”, which talks about alcoholism and self destruct (Stayin’ out late at the beer joints, poppin’ pills and livin’ hard / Drivin’ too fast on the highway, slow at work and feelin’ tired / You’re lookin’ older everyday you spend gettin’ bent / But pretty soon this gift you got is going to be spent). “American Way” is a true heavy rockabilly or psychobilly (call it whatever you want) song which shouldn’t be out of place in The Quakes repertory. Nice! Changing the mood a bit, “Lord Send Me An Angel” is what you can expect with a title like that, a fine ballad with just the guitar and a very light snare, and once again traditional harmonies on the chorus. And right after this calm and peaceful moment they rush into the wild “Damage Control”. Another change of tempo comes with “The Dead Know Nothing” a western ballad with Mexican trumpets, gunshots and percussions ala Ennio Morricone. An Everly Brothers influence can be heard on “I Still Dream Of You”, and the album ends with “I’m Standin’ Here”, dedicated to Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns, but the message is clear and can apply to Dave, Rick and Randy. It’s very good to see the band back in action, with a all-killer/no-filler album. With the new interest toward psychobilly in the USA, it would be more than justice to find them, who were among the first with The Quakes to play that music in America, achieving the same level of success The Reverend Horton Heat did.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Nitros (neo-rockabilly)

in Profiles/Stories

nitros_480The Nitros

Early Years

The Nitros story begins in 1984 when Mark Swain (double bass) and his cousin Jon Attril (drums) recruit John O’Malley “I met the band when I answered an advert in Melody Maker. Mark & Jon had advertised for a Rockabilly guitarist so I went along to the audition. It was at Mark’s house in Tottenham, North London. I’d been in bands since about the age of 12 but this was my first Rockabilly band with a proper stand up bass, I was about 15 at the time”.
O’Malley gets the place and the band begins to rehearse with its singer Gary Pudney. For the first time on stage together, they open for The Guana Batz but after a few gigs Pudney quits the band. He’ll resurface in The Griswalds, still as a lead singer. “I didn’t think he was right for the sound we were trying to get. He probably suited more of the Psychobilly sound when we wanted to be like Restless or the Blue Cats.” remembers O’Malley.
The remaining trio doesn’t look for a new singer and decides to carry on with O’Malley taking over the vocals duties. They record “Destruction Road” for Fury Records and “Taxi Cab” and “Echoes Of Love” for Katz Keep Rocking. In 1988 the band releases “Nightshades” their debut mini-lp on Link in the “Chuck Flintstone presents” collection. Mixing fast rockabilly tunes with O’Malley’s inventive and jazzy riffs and a bit of blues, this album is a true masterpiece. The ability of each of them to write originals gives this 8 songs lp plenty of diversity to please the listener like the bluesy “Well Now Baby”, the darker “Misery” and of course plenty of neo-rockabilly, all wrapped up with O’Malley’s inventive and impressive riffs, this album is a true masterpiece.
Sadly this line up doesn’t last long and this first incarnation of the Nitros splits in the late 80’s. “Jon wanted to leave as he had a few personal problems and Mark was losing interest so things just went down hill.” explains the singer “It was good while it lasted and we did quite few good gigs and released Nightshades so it wasn’t all in vain.” Mark will later form the pornabilly (sic) band “The Shocking Truth where he can still be found today.

Second line-up

That doesn’t stop O’Malley who keeps the name and the band going, this time with Gary “Gaz” Day on double bass formerly of The Mysterons and The Frantic Flintstones. They tried two or three drummers that didn’t fit the band, so Gaz called Rich Taylor “It went well so I got the job” . “When I got together with Gary and Rich it was like a whole fresh approach to what we were doing, they were more into the scene and the atmosphere in the band was better, it was more fun. Gary was and still is a great bass player and very enthusiastic towards what we were doing so the sound just got better” recalls O’Malley. The new Nitros secured a contract with the Sun records of modern Rockabilly, Roy Williams’ Nervous Records and go to the studio to record their second album, “Stompin’ Beat”, in 1990. This one features some great moments like “Devil’s Ship” or “Swingsville” a jazzy instrumental that shows O’Malley’s rich influences “I’ve always liked Brian Setzer, he’s great. I started off liking all the usual rock’n’roll guitarist like Cliff Gallup, Franny Beecher, Danny Cedrone and Scotty Moore, they still sound good today. As I’ve gotten older my tastes have widened and yes, I listen to a lot of Django , Oscar Moore and Danny Gatton to try to take some of there style. But my all time hero is Jimmy Bryant, he was so fast and clean, absolutely amazing without a doubt.” In his capable hands this mix is… well, explosive.
The choice of the covers is also particularly judicious with songs from The Polecats, The Beatles and Queen. And if “Stompin’ Beat” doesn’t have the freshness and the exuberance of “Nightshades” it benefits from a tighter rhythm section. But to achieve such a great result hasn’t been easy “Stomping Beat was especially a bit of a nightmare, the engineer was always stoned and couldn’t get anything done, in the end we had to get Pete Gage to take over and mix it, he kind of saved it.” Taylor completes “He was always looking for drugs, so we ended up trying to mix the L.p ourselves. Roy was not happy and we got Pete Gage to mix it.”
Around the end of 1991, John O’Malley was also a member of “Rabbit Action” featuring Phil Connor from the psychobilly band Skitzo on vocals, Mickey Wigfall on bass, and Paul Moxon on drums. “I’d known Phil from the early days of the Nitros, we used to be on the same bill together a lot and we became good friends. Phil is a great guy and I’d love to run into him again.” The band stayed together for a short while “but it just fizzled out”. In 1990 Gary went back to The Frantic Flintstones and brought Rich with him. Together they played on “Cuttin A Fine Line” (Rumble Records) and later “Jamboree” (Anagram). During this sessions, produced by Alan Wilson, Day suggested to reform The Sharks. He was drafted in on bass and recorded “Recreationnal Killer” in 1993. He also debuted his partnership with famous popstar Morrissey.

Colbert Hamilton

Still in 1993 the Nitros released its third LP on Day’s short lived label Rockout : “Something’s Gotta Give”. Another very good one, with Boz Boorer (Polecats and many others) in the producer’s seat. Mostly self written with the exception of Wayne Walker’s All I Can Do Is Cry and Bobby Roberts’Big Sandy this one goes from wild rockabilly to the jazzy “Midnight Special”. A guest singer is also present on four songs “Chris Harvey was with the band for about six months. A great singer but didn’t seem to fit in with our sense of humour. I haven’t seen him since he left the band, maybe he went back to Scotland.”.
The same year they backed Colbert Hamilton, the Black Elvis, on “Still Taggin’ Along”. “We met Colbert when he used to work in Kensington market. We had seen him perform before and thought he was great. We approached him and found out he wasn’t with any band at the time so we got him in and it went from there. Colbert is an amazing singer and front man, he really knows how to put on a show. The two CDs we did together were cool, he had a load of his old songs he’d never recorded and I’d written a bunch of songs so we put them all together and out came the 2 CDs”. O’Malley has very fond memories of the Japan tour backing Hamilton “It was great and we were treated really well, the crowds were just so into what we were doing, I remember me and Rich walking down the town and young Rockabilly kids stopping us to sign pictures and take our photo… Cool.”
In 1994, the band and Hamilton returned to Nervous to release Hamilton’s third lp “Wild At Heart” produced by Alan Wilson (The Sharks) and featuring covers of The Reverend Horton Heat and Thin Lizzy.(Hamilton collaborated with Phil Lynott). For Taylor and O’Malley “Wild at heart is the best one, I wouldn’t change a thing about that one”

The Nitros never officially disbanded but each of them got involved in other projects. Taylor played with Paul Ansell’s N°9,  The Caravans, The Playboys and The Crazy Crocodiles. He also had a project with Dibbs Preston (The Rockats) called The Leopardmen. Day was busy with his own band The Gazmen, The Caravans and of course as bassist with Morrissey.
O’Malley joined the heavy touring band “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. They released numerous albums and his sparkling guitar can still be heard with them today. He also formed The Poker Dots in Spring 2002 with Zac Zdravkovic and Spencer Lingwood, a band inspired by The Platters, The Crew Cuts with a bit of Nat King Cole here and there.
When he thinks about his days in The Nitros, O’Malley says : “It was good fun and I’m glad I was a part of it. ” 

“Something Gotta Give” is now out of print (sadly) but Nigthshades and Stompin’ Beat have been released on the same cd in 2009 by Cherry Red /Anagram. With three bonus tracks and a booklet full of rare photos, this is a must have.
If mp3’s are more your thing, Stompin’ Beat, Wild At Heart (with Colbert Halmiton) and the songs from Outrage vol 1 and 2 are available.

The Nitros
The Nitros (John O’Malley, Rich Taylor and Gary Day)

  • Albums
    Nightshades – Link MLP 062
    Stompin’ Beat – Nervous Nerd049
    Something’s Gotta Give – Rockout Nit001
    Nightshades/Stompin’ Beat CDM Psycho 78
  • with Colbert Hamilton
    Cadillac Baby– Vinyl Japan JRT02
    Still Taggin’ Along – Vinyl Japan JRCD05
    Wild At Heart– Nervous Nerd076
  • Compilation albums
    One track (Destruction Road) on I Love My Car – Fury Records
    One track (Echoes Of Love) on Katz Keep Rocking Vol.1– Link
    One track (Taxi Cab) on Katz Keep Rocking Vol.2– Link
    One track (Big Sandy) on Twenty Blasters From Blighty– NV Comp1
    One track (Running Out Of Time) on Outrage Vol.1– Rage 104
    Two tracks (Midnight Special, All I Can Do Is Cry) on Outrage Vol.2– Rage 105
    Three tracks (I’ll Get Mine, Teenager’s Mother, Something’s Gotta Give) on Five Inches Of Pleasure

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis
Thanks to John O’Malley and Rich Taylor.

Nitros (the) – reviews

in Albums/Contemporary artists/MN/Reviews

The Nitros - Nightshades/Stompin' Beat
The Nitros – Nightshades/Stompin’ Beat

The Nitros – Nightshades/Stompin’ Beat

CDM Psycho 78 [2009]
Cat With 9 Lives / Deadly Nightshades / Saigon Baby / Misery / Crazy Crazy Crazy / Medusa / Get Off My Wagon / Well Now Baby / I’m Doing Fine / What’s Gonna Come Of Me / Stompin’ Beat / I’ll Cry Instead / Scrapin’ The Barrel / Crazy Little Thing Called Love / I Ain’t Mad / Gotta Pay / Rockin’ All Night / Dying Day / Devil’s Ship / Swingsville / Running Out Of Time / All I Can Do Is Cry / Midnight Special

 

 


The Nitros - Something's Gotta Give!
The Nitros – Something’s Gotta Give!

Rockout NITLP001 [1993]
North’n’South – Love ‘Em ‘N’ Leave ‘Em – Something’s Gotta Give! – One For You – All I Can Do Is Cry – I’ll Get Mine – I Ain’t The Giving Kind – I Won’t Worry Any More – Big Sandy – What It Worth? – I Wrote My Baby A Letter – Midnight Special

 

 

 


The Nitros - North'n'South
The Nitros – North’n’South

Rockout NITEP001 [1993]
North ‘n’ South – I’ll Get Mine – Wrote My Baby A Letter – Midnight Special

 

 

 

 

 


The Nitros - Stompin' Beat
The Nitros – Stompin’ Beat

The Nitros – Stompin’ Beat

Nervous NERD 049 [1990]
I’m Doing Fine – What’s Gonna Come Of Me – Stompin’ Beat – I’ll Cry Instead – Scrapin’ The Barrel – Crazy Little Thing Called Love – I Ain’t Mad – Gotta Pay – Rockin’ All Night – Dying Day – Devil’s Ship – Swingsville

 

 


The Nitros - Nightshades
The Nitros – Nightshades

The Nitros – Nightshades

Link LINK MLP 062 [1988]
Cat With 9 Lives – Deadly Nightshades – Saigon Baby – Misery – Crazy Crazy Crazy – Medusa – Get Off My Wagon – Well Now Baby

Sharks (the)

in Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

 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)

 

 


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.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

 

The Sharks
The Sharks

 

 

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