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Pharaohs (the)

Pharaohs (the) – Vigilante

pharaohs vigilante

Nervous Records – 12 NEP 005 [1987]
Vigilante – Cleopatra – Your On Your Own – Pharaohs To Cowboys

With Vigilante, their second release, the Pharaohs switched from double-bass to electric bass, with Lee Brown in place of Jeff Horsey. Brown later joined the Meteors to play bass on some of their very best albums.
Apart from that, nothing really changed since their debut album. Glenn Daeche is still one hell of a songwriter, providing tunes that are both melodic and rocking at the same time. Furthermore, the production and the arrangements are outstanding too. A song like Cleopatra could easily have reached an audience beyond the rocking scene. Pharaohs to Cowboys features harmony vocals and adds a touch of hillbilly to the sound of the band.
Everything here is perfect, except for the ugly cover, designed by Kevin Haynes, drummer of Torment.

The Radioactive Kid

Pharaohs (the) – Blue Egypt

pharaohs blue egypt

Nervous Records NERD020 [1986]
Crazy Love Records ‎– CLCD 6486 [2001]

Wild Thing – Tomb Of The Dead  Keep On Running  Radar Love – Wipe  Dead To The World  Theme From Cairo  Down The Line  Killed Love  Blue Egypt  Drinkin’  Never Coming Back – Smell of Cop* – Crazy and Wild* – Turkey Dance* (*CD only)

The Pharaohs were a Psychobilly band with strong rockabilly roots. After a show at the Klub Foot, Roy Williams of Nervous records proposed them a record deal, and the result was Blue Egypt. The line up on this album is Glenn Daeche (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ben Evans (lead guitar), Jeff Horsey (double bass), and Nick Becker [drums.)

Blue Egypt opens with a cover of The Troggs’ “Wild Thing.” It’s not bad, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the title, especially if you compare it to the Meteors’ version. Things get better with the second song. Written by Daeche, it’s a very original tune with changes of paces, organ, and a bizarre atmosphere. “Keep on Running” is a cowbell and drum fest and has a very pop feel.

They play Golden earing’s “Radar Love” at a frantic pace and gives it a mean approach that the original (and the Restless cover) doesn’t have. “Wipe Off” is a simple but highly effective instrumental. “Dead to the World” is a melodic Psychobilly tune that demonstrates what a great songwriter Glenn Daeche is. “Theme from Cairo,” the second instrumental of the album, brilliantly blends surf with psychobilly and a touch of spaghetti western too. It evolves into a crazy version of Orbison’s Down the Line. Another killer track by Daeche, the slap-bass propelled Killed Love, shows how blurry could the difference between neo-rockabilly and psychobilly be in the mid ’80s.

But the best is yet to come with the highly original Blue Egypt, both melodic and powerful. From the start, the Pharaohs had more ideas than the usual horror and ghouls cliches, and their songs were different than just fast-paced rockabilly tunes. Blue Egypt encompasses all that. “Drinkin’” has a laid back feel, kinda jazzy with piano and acoustic guitar. The original album ends with the rocking “Never Coming Back.”

The cd version features three bonus tracks, including Crazy and Wild a little gem, taken from Zoch Factor One and Three as well as Psycho Attack Over Europe.  

The Radioactive Kid

Skitzo

Skizo – Skitzo Mania

skitzo

Nervous NERD 028 [1987]
Skitzo Mania – Doctor Death – Shipwreck Island – Witching Hour – Lonesome Train – Possessed – I´m Going Skitzo – Caledonia – Poltergeist – Your Cheatin´ Heart – Under Pressure – House of The Rising Sun

Sometimes trash, noisy at places, often raw and always fast. They play every song as if the devil were after them, or the nurses were chasing them to bring them back to the asylum. Skitzo counts among the bands that, in the psychobilly idiom, favor the “psycho” element over the “billy.”
That said, their brand of Psychobilly is quite effective. The guitar sound remains true to the origins of the genre, and the sparse drumkit keeps things simple. Thinking about it, and I know that the Rockabilly purists will hate me for saying so, Skitzo could be described as a modern and psychotic version of the Johnny Burnette Rock’n’Roll trio.
Most of the songs are originals, some being very good like Witching Hour or Under Pressure. They added four covers of classic Rockabilly and Honky-Tonk tunes that don’t add anything to the album, some being almost unrecognizable like Caldonia. Even worse, they weaken the final result and sound a bit amateurish.
Anyway, if you concentrate on the original material, you have a solid slice of schizoid Psychobilly.
Nervous records later released it on cd with seven additional bonus tracks.
The Radioactive Kid

Skizo

Skitzo – Terminal Damage

skitzo terminal damage

Nervous Records NERD 039 [1988]
Empty Room – Frustrated – The Game – Sore Point – Honey Don’t – Victim – Psycho Ward – Terminal Damage – Double Talkin’ Baby – No Return -Green Door – Condemned to Death

One year after Skizo Mania, Skitzo returned with a brand new album as well as a brand new line-up. Skitzo was now comprised of Phil (vocals), Tony (bass), Strut (drums), and Pete (guitar). With a new drummer playing a full kit and a new guitarist Punk and Hardcore as well as Garage/Trash and Rockabilly stuff, Terminal Damage is way faster, heavier, and louder than Skitzo Mania.
Contrary to their debut album, there’s no trace of Rockabilly here, especially not in their covers, the term “massacre” would be more appropriate, of Carl Perkins’ Honey Don’t and Gene Vincent’s Double Talkin’ Baby. And there’s not much Psychobilly either.
At the turn of the 90s, many Psychobilly bands included more and more hardcore, heavy metal, and punk influences to their music. Terminal Damage can be seen as a forerunner of that current.
The Radioactive Kid

Rattlers (the)


Rattlers

The Rattlers – I Don’t Want You

Lost Moment LOM003 [1984]
I Don’t Want You – Hey Baby

Debut single for the Rattlers (Mark Carrington on vocals, Steve Davey on lead guitar, Nick Peck on slap bass and Graham Woodside on drums.) Both songs are originals.
A side is a good Rockabilly number with powerful slap bass and clean guitar, while B side shows some Psychobilly influences in the structure and the vocals.

Rattlers promo card
Rattlers promo card
The Rattlers - Never Say Die - Nervous
The Rattlers – Never Say Die – Nervous

The Rattlers – Never Say Die

Nervous 052 [1989]
Crazy Love CLCD6494
Gone Forever – Cruisin` Around – For Your Love – She`s The One – Savin` It All For You – Loaded Dice – Leavin` You Behind – Never Say Die – The Man With The Twilight Eyes – For You No More – Forbidden Love – October Moon – Never Catch Me Again
The Rattlers formed in 1984. the band released various albums, singles, ep’s before splitting a couple of years later. Nick Peck (slap bassist) joined Paul Roman (Quakes) in Paul Roman and the Prowlers for a short time but soon re-frormed the Rattlers, with Doug Sheperd on guitar (formerly in Something Shocking and one time member of the Rattlers for the stage) and Doug McCarthy on drums. A deal was concluded with Nervous Records and they recorded “Never Say Die” with Pete Gage in 1989.
This album is really excellent and though the previous one were good it’s by far a more accomplished work (I believe that Gage is no stranger to that).
The core of the album is made of a majority of self penned neo-rockabilly numbers very well written with tight arrangement and a special care on the vocal harmonies. Peck is a more than competent singer too. A couple of songs border on psychobilly like the title track (superb) and Forbidden Love. At the exact opposite October Moon and Leavin’ You Behind find the band in a jazzy-rockabilly style similar to the Nitros.
The original pressing is now long out of print but it’s been reissue on cd by Crazy Love records and is also available as mp3 download.


The Rattlers - Never a lost moment
The Rattlers – Never a lost moment

The Rattlers – Never A lost Moment

Lost Moment [1991]
Tear It Up – Mystery Train – She’s My Baby – Good Rockin’ Tonight – Rockhouse – Hey Baby – Ting-A-Ling – Little Red – Your My Baby – Walkin’ Whistlin’ Blues – I Don’t Want You – Mine All Mine – Dancin’ Doll – Your My Baby – Rattlin’ Boogie – Life in a Coffin – Take a Ride – Bad Moon Rising – Love Me – 007

What happens when a label wants to cash in on a band’s name? They gather early recordings (very early and much uninspired), poorly recorded live songs as well as a couple of outtakes and alternate takes and the result is a 20 song album that is barely audible. It’s a pity because the Rattlers were a good band and deserved a better treatment than this hastily made compilation. For hardcore fans only (but only them!).


rattlers live in europeThe Rattlers – Live in Europe

Jungle Noise – APECALL 004 [1990]
Rock On – She’s the One – You’re My Baby – Face the Fact – Running – Life in a Coffin – My Way – For Your Love – Twilite Eyes – Waiting for You – Loaded Dice – Bad Moon Rising – I Feel Fine – Forbidden Love – Friday on my Mind – I’m ready – Never Catch Me Again – Little Red – King Creole – Oh Boy
The Rattlers recorded this live album in 1990 with the four-piece line-up of the band, which is the trio of Never say Die with new member Al Dick on bass, allowing Peck to concentrate on vocals.
With 20 songs, it’s a good value for money, though the majority of them are played at the same tempo, which tends to be slightly monotonous after 12 songs. Eight songs are originals while the remaining twelve come from Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Easybeats, Garry Glitter, the Beatles and the Jackals, an American Rock’n’roll band that released one album on Nervous.
The sound is excellent, and the slap bass is very well recorded. It’s a nice addition to your Rattlers collection, though I prefer the studio recordings on which the vocals are better.

Nitros (the) – 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

This well-deserved reissue gathered the Nitros’ first two albums, only available on vinyl until now.
Tracks one to eight features their debut mini-album released on Link with the first line-up (O’Malley, Swain, Attrill.) It contains excellent modern/neo-rockabilly with powerful slap bass, some blues influences (Well Now Baby), and even a touch of Psychobilly (the dark Misery.) Most of all, this is the instant revelation of a talented guitar player mixing the influences of Cliff Gallup, Mark Harman, Carlo Edwards, and jazz players like Django Reinhardt to create his own style.
The following twelve tracks come from Stompin’ Beat, the band’s second album released on Nervous with Gay Day (Frantic Flintstones) on slap bass and Richie Taylor on drums. It’s another killer release, and though it lacks the freshness of their earlier recordings, it benefits of a tighter and cleaner sound. O’Malley also shows more of his jazz influences with the fantastic Swingville. The covers are very well chosen too, coming from the catalog of Queen (Crazy Little Thing Called Love), the Beatles (I’ll Cry Instead) and the Polecats (Rockin’ All Night.)
The last two tracks are bonus tracks (All I Can Do Is Cry, and the jazzy/Stray Cats influenced Midnight Special) that will be later recorded for their third album.
The booklet features a story of the band (written by yours truly), but more importantly, it also contains a lot of rare and previously not seen pictures of the group.
Too bad that, probably for license reasons, Anagram didn’t include songs like Echoes of Love, Destruction Road, Taxi Cab, Running out of Time, and previously released on compilation albums.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


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

See review of the cd release.


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

See review of the cd release.

Blue Cats (the) / G-Men / Beltane Fire

The Blue Cats - The Blue CatsThe Blue Cats – The Blue Cats

 

Rockhouse LPL 8011 [1980]
Just Go Wild Over Rock ‘N’ Roll – I’m Gonna Die – Pretty Pretty Baby – I Dreamed You Left Me – Southbound Blues – Boogie Up Roar – Five Days Five Days – I’m Driving Home – Sweet Love On My Mind –
Caldonia – I Sure Miss You – Jumpin’ Little Mama – Juke Joint Jem – Sure-Fire Way – Goofin’ Around
Debut album featuring the Carlo Edwards (guitar), his brother Stef (drums), Clive Osborne (sax, rhythm guitar) and Dave Phillips (vocals and double bass). Excellent from start to finish. A true classic!

 


The Blue Cats - Fight BackThe Blue Cats – Fight Back

Rockhouse ROCKCD 8111 [1981]
Fight back – Hot & cold – Tired & sleepy – Love me – Jump cat jump – Up a lazy river – Who stole my blue suede shoes – Who slapped John – Wild night – Thunder & lightning – Life fast die young – Made for rockin’ – Slippin’ in – Idle on parade – Birth of the boogie – Everybody’s rockin’
By the end of 1980 the Blue Cats found themselves in need of a bassist and a singer after the departure of Dave Phillips. They quickly recruited Mitch Caws and Clint Bradley both from The Tennessee Rebels and started to work right away. From that moment they started to experiment and write new material with a more modern edge. Released in 1981 Fight Back is representative of that era.
Half of the album reminds the “old” Blue Cats with covers of the Cochran Brothers, Gene Vincent, Eddie Bond, The Phantom, Marvin Rainwater, that are probably here to satisfy the label who didn’t want to make a big departure from their successful debut album. The other half is by far the most interesting with six neo-rockabilly jewels, sometimes close to early psychobilly, written by Bradley.
One can only regret the light production on some of this tracks and wonder how it would have sounded with more studio time.
Almost three decades later, “Fight Back” remains a key album of the early 80’s and a huge influence on numerous bands.


The Blue Cats - The TunnelThe Blue Cats – The Tunnel

Nervous records Nercd069 [1992]
Man With A Mission – Galluping Man – Casting My Spell – The Tunnel – Heavens Gate – Cry On The Wind – Car 76 – Take And Give – Bad Mans Money – Wild Dogs Of Kentucky – Rivers Bend
All I Can Do Is Cry

Winning return for the Blue Cats with this 1992 album with Paul Diffin (Sugar Ray Ford) on bass. Every track here is a killer from the manic neo-rockabilly of Man With A Mission and the Tunnel to the tributes to Cliff Gallup (Gallupin’ Man) and Gene Vincent (Cry On the Wind) and what could possibly be the definitive version of All I Can Do Is Cry. 
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Blue Cats (the) – 1978 The Re-discovered Masters 1984

Count Orlock – COCK XXIII
I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine* – Jumps Giggles and Shouts* – Mystery Train** – I’ll Never Let You Go** – The Saints Rock ‘n’ Roll** – Gotta Git A-Goin’ ** – Baby’s Number One** – I’ve Got No Time For You** – Gotta Go*** – Left Out*** – Eldorado**** – The Master’s Call****
*Blue Cat Trio – **The Blue Cats – ***The G-Men – ****Beltane Fire
The title says it all. It’s a compilation of rare and mostly unissued material by the Blue Cats in all their incarnations. It features songs from their beginning with Dave Phillips as a Rockabilly trio. The songs with Clind Bradley easily shows they could have topped any weekender as a traditionnal Rockabilly band. Instead as we know it they continue to explore and pushed the boundaries to create their unique neo-rockabilly sound. It culminates with the G-Men, a band that created something new that had a lasting impact on the Psychobilly scene with Gotta Go being covered by Frenzy and Long Tall Texans.
Two songs by Beltane Fire find Bradley in his natural element singing Marty Robbins tunes.


Blue Cats (the) – Best Dawn Yet

Blue Cats - Best Dawn Yet

Blue Light Records BLR 33165 2
Billy Ruffians – The Norton Spirit – Turn My Back On You – Blue Prairie – My Dark Dark Mind – Badon Hill – Long Road Home – Captain Blood – Burnette – Following Ahab – Secret Agent Man – Lonesome Desperado

Twenty years after the release of the Tunnel, a landmark in the history of modern Rockabilly, the Blue Cats returned with a new double bass player (Steve Whitehouse of Frenzy and the Sharks) and a new album.
Since Clint Bradley joined the band, the Blue Cats always tried to push the boundaries of the genre while keeping the spirit and the essence of true Rock’n’Roll. And this platter doesn’t disappoint. Modern yet classic.
Billy Ruffian is a fantastic piece of modern Rockabilly with exciting changes in the melody, with what I call “typical Carlo Edwards riffs.” The rhythm section is powerful and demonstrates that Steve Whitehouse was the right choice to succeed to Mitch Caws and Paul Diffin. It could be hard to follow such an opener, but not for Bradley and his gang. The Norton Spirit is a powerful rocker. And even with a straight-ahead rocker like this that lets very little margin to the singer, Bradley proves he’s one of the best singers on the rockin’ scene today.
Billy Fury’s Turn My Back On You is pure Rockabilly gold straight from the ’50s with echo and hiccups.
The Sons of the Pioneers’ Blue Prairie seems tailored-made for Bradley’s voice, and it’s the occasion to hear Carlo Edwards play some steel-guitar.
My Dark Dark Mind is another slice of modern Rockabilly. This one features Paul Diffin on bass, so it’s probably an old recording.
The Blue Cats always took care to write different lyrics than your usual “love my Cadillac” thing. Billy Ruffians evoked Trafalgar and Nelson, and Badon Hill is about King Arthur.
Long Road Home is not the most original track of the album, but once again, the playing and the production are flawless. Captain Blood takes the listener back to the Beltane Fire days with Mitch Caws on bass. A good one, though the production is a bit too much for me. Burnette is a tribute to Johnny Burnette and Grady Martin. No big surprise but very well done and pleasant. Though, maybe, I find Gallupin’ Man their tribute to Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup on the Tunnel more interesting.
After a rocking Secret Agent Man, the album ends with Lonesome Desperado; a superb Marty Robbins influenced tune on which Bradley’s voice is more eloquent than ever.

blue cats
The Blue Cats (Clint Bradley, Stef Edwards, Carlo Edwards and Paul Diffin)

Quakes (the)

The Quakes – The Quakes

Nervous Records NERD037 [1988]
Pack Our Bags And Go – You’re Dead – Other Side Of The Tracks – Where Did It Go? – You Are The Scene – Psycho Attack – Show Me – Nine Lives – The Deal – Psychobilly Jekyll And Mr. Hyde – Hangman’s Noose – Satan On My Side

Despite its cover, a nod to the Stray Cats, the Quakes debut album has little, or nothing, to do with the Long Island trio.
The music they play on this album is a mix between hard-hitting Psychobilly and hardcore. The songs are powerful, the rhythms are basic, and the distorted guitar plays short and straightforward solos.
The album contains a couple of classics like Pack Our Bags and Go, Psychobilly Jekyll, You’re Dead and Where Did It Go. Certains songs also show a deliberate choice to avoid the usual Psychobilly clichés like ghouls, zombies, and cemeteries.


The Quakes – Voice of America

Nervous Records NERD058 [1990]
Puttin’ Out The Flame – One Of A Kind – Nuthin’ Goin Down – Paint It Black – U.S.A. – Chick Hunt – Stick To Your Guns – All Messed Up – Far Away – What Will They Say About Me? – Ice Cold Baby – I Gotta Go

After the release of their debut album, the Quakes were deported back to the U.S.A. due to visa problems. Paul Roman stayed in London and briefly played with Nick Peck in Paul Roman and the Prowlers. In the meantime, Dave Hoy, the band’s drummer died in an accident. Roman returned to Buffalo and, still with Peltier on bass, reformed the band with Brian Doran on drums. This new line-up recorded Voice of America for Nervous. Gone was the hardcore influenced Psychobilly of their debut album. On this one, the Quakes added a good dose of Neo-rockabilly and, like the Rockats, they also included echoes of New-wave too.
The result is a superb and absolute killer album and the perfect balance between energy and melody. It’s also very well produced and recorded (listen to the slap bass on Stick to your Gun.)
Once again, Paul Roman shows he can write lyrics that are different from the usual run of the mill Psychobilly lyrics.
It’s nearly impossible to find a weak track on this platter.


The Quakes – Live in Tokyo

Planet Records PCD009 [1992]
Lonely Boy – You’re Dead – Puttin’ Out The Flame – One Of A Kind – Paint It Black – Strike Out King – Stick To Your Guns – All Messed Up – Psycho Attack – Fishnet Stockings – Hangman’s Noose – Shook Shake – Shake Your Moneymaker

This live album was recorded on February 1992, in Tokyo, Japan (hence the title) where the Quakes, and the Psychobilly and Rockabilly genres, were hugely popular. This popularity would later see the band sign with Sony Japan and release “New Generation.”
After an enthusiastic introduction by Roy Williams of Nervous Records, ‘Live In Tokyo’ kicks off with a breathtaking rollercoaster of Psychobilly and hard-hitting neo-rockabilly. The setlist draws songs from the Quakes’ first two albums with a couple of covers added for good measure. Among those songs, you’ll find the Stray Cats’ Fishnet Stockings, Elmore James’ Shake Your Money Maker and Wigsville Spliffs’ Lonely Boy.
The sound is excellent, and the band with Chris Van Cleeve their new drummer is tight. It benefits the songs taken from their debut album that takes here a brand new dimension.

The Quakes - Planet Obscure
The Quakes – Planet Obscure

The Quakes – Planet Obscure

ORREXX – REXX005 [2012]
Dark shadows – Die too young – Promise – It’s a curse – Streets are so lonely – Don’t follow me – This night – Wildcat – You’re a joke – Anti social girl – Festa do estica e puxa – All about you

After 25 years or so of existence, The Quakes still led by the inexhaustible Paul Roman release their 7th studio album and they don’t seem to run out of inspiration. Very few bands can claim that. Roman’s song writing is still sparkling, full of creativity with a superb ability to write complex songs with strong melodies. “Planet Obscure” is in the very same vein as their previous album (the excellent Negative Charge) with some nods to earlier material. Thus “It’s A Curse” sounds a bit like an updated version of “you’re Dead”. Talking about their debut album, there’s a tribute to the band’s first drummer, Dave Hoy, tragically killed in an accident. The lyrics are well crafted too, avoiding the endless clichés of bats, zombies, graveyards and so on, a thing the Quakes never really did.
Most of all, Roman doesn’t seem to care about tags, in that he’s similar to Alan Wilson of the Sharks. Rockabilly, Psychobilly, New Wave, Hillbilly, Brazilian pop… if it’s good to his ears, he incorporates it to create that great Quakes sound that is instantly recognizable. This is all that, and more, that you’ll find on Planet Obscure.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Official page: http://www.thequakes.com/

The Quakes – Chris Van Cleve, Paul Roman and Rob Peltier