Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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The Krewmen

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews


The Krewmen – Ramblin’ / I’m Gonna Get It

the krewmen

Lost Moment LM024
The Krewmen were one of the best band to emerge from the british rockabilly scene of the mid-eighties along with Red Hot’n’Blue, The Riverside Trio and The Blue Rhythm Boys to name but a few. The band was formed by bassist Tony McMillan in 1982, first as a rockabilly combo. After a few changes, the Krewmen found its best line-up with : Tony McMillan on bass, Jimmy Faye on drums and a young Carl Sonny Leyland on guitar, harmonica, piano and vocals. Together they pushed the band toward a more bluesy sound. Ramblin’ is a great “delta-blues meets Chicago blues” stuff. The electricity is here but you still have a big country flavour. This tune shows what a great slide guitarist is Carl Leyland, too bad he doesn’t play it anymore. The b-side, “I’m gonna get it” is a Jazz Gillum song. Listening to this version shows that the Krewmen were more than a “cover band”. They play this song and make it their own. The song, the voice and the harp are clearly bluesy, but the way McMillan slaps his bass and the scorchy guitar look toward rockabilly. Let’s call it rockabilly blues.The band recorded an EP and this single with this line-up, both on lost moment. Then they disbanded and soon after Tony McMillan came back, this time on guitar, with a new version of the Krewmen. Carl Leyland and Judge Faye were no longer here and the sound of the day was “modern rockabilly” to soon evolve into psychobilly. Carl Leyland later moved to the USA and became the famous piano player we know and Fahy joined Get Smart . The “original” Krewmen were an amazing band and it’s really sad they didn’t last long enough to release a full length album but Lost Moment re-released this legendary recordings on a CD called “Klassic Tracks From 1985!” (LMCD054) and you can find some other Krewmen recordings on Carl Sonny Leyland’s album “I Like Boogie Woogie” (On The Hill OTHRCD 001). Look for them, they definititely worth it.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
Early Krewmen with Carl Sonny Leyland
The Krewmen - Into the Tomb
The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

The Krewmen – Into the Tomb

Lost Moment Records ‎– LMLP 014 [1987]
Let Loose – Should I Stay or Go – Devil’s Daughter – Public Enemy Number One – Hava Nagila – Curse of the Pharaohs – Solid Gold Easy Action – Hostage – I’m Not Dead – Swamp Club Ball

Third and last release with the classic Psychobilly line-up of the Krewmen (Tony Mc Millan on guitar, Mark Cole on vocals, Dominic Parr on drums and Jason Thornton on double bass).
The sound hardens a bit compared to the Adventure and Sweet Dreams with a fast paced cover of the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go (a song that was heavily covered by Psychobilly bands at one point). Other covers are T-Rex Solid Gold Action and a Dick Dale inspired version of the traditionnal Hava Naguila.
All in all it’s a solid album, though maybe a little less essential than the first two albums.


The Krewmen - Plague of the dead
The Krewmen – Plague of the dead

The Krewmen – Plague of the Dead

Lost Moment [1988] – Reissue Part Records – PART-CD 6114-001 [2014]
Plague of the Dead – I’m Not Your Stepping Stone – Scream of the Banshees – Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – What’s Wrong – I Can’t Stop – Take a Little More – The Clock – Legend of the Piper – Do You Wanna Touch – Beat the Devil – My Generation

One can distinct three main periods in the history of the Krewmen. The first one was the Rockabilly-blues years that saw the release of two singles with Carl Sonny Leyland. Next they changed their style to psychobilly with Mark Cole on vocals and the recordings of three classic psychobilly albums (the Adventure of, Sweet Dreams and Into the Tomb). Cole eventually left in 1987 and Tony McMillan, then guitar player took over the vocal duties and came with a new line-up including Steve Piper on drums and a Mark Burke.
The sound changed with the line-up too, getting harder and including different elements than Psychobilly and Rockabilly like metal, punk rock, glam rock. “Plague Of The Dead” combines all those influences. The choice of the covers reveals this orientation and McMillan’s varied tastes. From Eddie Cochran’s Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie to Gary Glitter’s Do You Wanna Touch via The Who’s My Generation and Steppin’ Stone (Paul Revere, The Monkees but also covered by The Sex Pistols). Tony quotes classic rockers like Chuck Berry and Elvis for influence but he also adds Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix and Sex Pistols to the list.
It wasn’t easy to follow Cole and their first three albums, but McMillan succeeds to renew the band and “Plague Of The Dead” contains some very good moments like “Legend Of The Piper”, “Take A Little More” and the previously mentioned covers. It’s  also quite refreshing to see a band that doesn’t care about boundaries.
So once again it’s agood job from Part Record to reissue this album (with interesting booklet that contains press clips). Hopefully they’ll release the rest of the band’s discography in the near future. One can only regret the label didn’t include the non-album b-sides released at the same time as bonus.


The Krewmen - Power
The Krewmen – Power

The Krewmen – Power

Lost Moment LMLP 021 [1990]
Devils Lair – Miranda – Undead – The Rats – Anymore – Stone – Get Lost – 2 Souls – Knight Moves – Back To The Ball

Little by little, fans of the Krewmen saw them adding more and more hard core elements to their music and slowly drop the rockabilly idiom out of their sound. This musical position culminates with Power, which is plain hard-roce with heavy and distorted guitars, hard pounding drums with breaks, raspy voice and powerful slap bass. Some elements are even strictly heavy metal / hard rock with tatseless guitar like Knight Moves.
It’s still very well produced and play and features ecellent tunes like Back to the Ball a follow up to Swamp Club Ball from Into the Tomb, but far from the traditionnal psychobilly sound of the three albums released with Mark Cole.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ravenna and the Magnetics

in Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

The Magnetics – Rockabilly Fools

the magnetics rockabilly fools

Rollin’Rock LP-025 [1980]
Bound To The Sound – Rockabilly Fool – Waterproof Love – I Like Your Kinda Love – Hypnotized – Headaches & Heartaches – Rock Around With Ollie Vee – Bang Bang – Willin’ & Ready – Good Love – Hot Pink Cowboy Boots – Changing All Those Changes – I Need Your Love – Swamp Sally

The Magnetics – Mean Mean Man

Rollin’ Rock 45-050 / RoundeletROUND 1001

Mean Little Mama / Mean Mean Man

Mean little 7″ indeed.
A side, sung by Jeff Poskin and is a cover of Roy Orbison’s Mean Little Mama . It’s a wild piece of Rockabilly.
B side is a cover of Wanda Jackson’s Mean Mean Man sung by Ravenna. It features a superb guitar solo that rocks like no tommorow.

Ravenna and the Magnetics – Tennesse & Texas

Rollin Rock /Rondelet ABOUT 1008 [1981]
Tennessee & Texas – Find My Baby for Me – The Turning Tide – Surefire Shaker – Lonely Weekends – Waitin’ To Come Back – I Never Lie – Nite Owl – Feel So Good – Baby That’s All Right – 6918 Peach – Vibrate

Ravenna & the Magnetics - partRavenna and the Magnetics – Rockabilly Fools / Tennessee & Texas

Part-CD-691.001
Bound To The Sound – Rockabilly Fool – Waterproof Love – I Like Your Kinda Love – Hypnotized – Headaches & Heartaches – Rock Around With Ollie Vee – Bang Bang – Willin’ & Ready – Good Love – Hot Pink Cowboy Boots – Changing All Those Changes – I Need Your Love – Swamp Sally – Tennessee & Texas – Find My Baby for Me – The Turning Tide – Surefire Shaker – Lonely Weekends – Waitin’ To Come Back – I Never Lie – Nite Owl – Feel So Good – Baby That’s All Right – 6918 Peach – Vibrate

Very good idea from part to reissue on one cd this two album by Ravenna and the Magnetics. Too often overlooked and neglicted in modern rockabilly history. Ravenna and the Magnetics formed in the late 70’s and disbanded in late 1982. The first 14 tracks represent the bands’ debut album recorded at Rockin’ Ronny Weiser’s studio. At the time they went under the name of the Magnetics and were a tight rockabilly combo with Ravenna (aka Freda Johnson) on vocals, Tom Bergham on guitar, Jeff Poskin on second lead guitar and vocals, Steve Grindle on slap bass and Tom Svornich on drums. Both Ravenna and Poskin sang lead sharing the vocals duties equally and writing the stuff they sang, with occasionnal help from Bergham and Grindle. This brings a great variety to the album. Ravenna has a strong voice, in the style of Sparkle Moore and Janis Martin. One can also hear the influences of Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly (covered twice with Rock Around With Ollie Vee and Changing All Those Changes) with a contemporary twist.
After a few line-up changes, Ravenna and the Magnetics recorded Tennessee & Texas. They had lost Poskin who left to form the 88’s but added a saxophone and a piano. As a result Ravenna sang lead throughout and the sound of the band morphed from straight rockabilly to piano led rock’n’roll, most of the original being written by pianist Richard Hogan. Two songs taken from a single complete the set.
Retrospectively it’s hard to imagine that in the wake of the Rockabilly boom initiated by the Stray Cats they didn’t have more exposure. They could easily have national chart success. Maybe they were too raw at places and Rollin Rock’s distribution probably couldn’t handle a national distribution (that’s why the Blasters moved from Rollin Rock to Slash). On a sad footprint to the band’s history, Ravenna passed away in 1997, at the very young age of 42). It’s good to see that her talent is now available to a brand new generation of young Rockabilly fans who will enjoy the Magnetics’ music and perpetuate her legacy. The cd comes with a thick booklets featuring the original liner notes written by Ronny Weiser, a band bio by Tom Bergham, a detailed discography and additionial infos from Bernd Holzapfel and Paul Diffin (Sugar Ray Ford, Blue Cats) who played with the band during their European tour (many rare photos included too).
Get yourself this piece of Rockabilly history.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ravenna & the Magnetics

Hot Rod Gang

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Hot Rod Gang – Silver Wedding

Hot rod gang

PART CD 633.003 [2010]

Silver Wedding Anniversary Song ~ Kingx Of Jesterz ~ Sexbomb ~ Beauty Queen ~ Heatwave ~ I Curse The Day ~ Rawhide ~ Mercury Blues ~ Get Rhythm ~ Little Less Conversation ~ On The Road Again ~ Honey Hush ~ 10 – 11 – 12

A wise man called Bo Diddley once said: “you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover”, that’s exactly what I thought when I listened to the latest output by this German rockabilly trio.
They celebrate their 25th birthday, so you can expect experience. The album is mostly good (very good I’d even say) but I find them more at ease on their own songs than on the covers. They either suffer from a lack of originality (Get Rhythm) or too much originality. I mean it’s good to cover unusual tunes and many rockabilly bands have done that, but all songs are not good to cover (Sexbomb). That said their cover of Canned Heat’s On the Road Again is perfect. And when you listen to the originals you’re rewarded by a strong dose of neo-rockabilly.
Anyway, happy anniversary to the band and hope to hear you soon with more original material.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Johnny Knife & the Rippers

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews

Johnny Knife and the Rippers
Johnny Knife and the Rippers

Johnny Knife & the Rippers – Sinister Street

Part Records Part CD 6102 [2012]
Teddy Boy Five – Heads Or Tales – Break Up Today – Growl – My Old Man Is A Square – Be Bop Teddy Girl – Mysterious Night – Jack The Ripper – Don’t Take Your Love From Me – Riot At leister Square – Fiddler On The Roof – Texas calls You Home – Sinister Street – Gonna Type A Letter – Dankee Belle – Saturday Night At The Duckpond – At The Ace London Rocker

Johnny Knife and the Rippers are a 1/3 Norwegian-2/3 German powerful rockin’ trio formed by John Sindre Lynhaug (aka Johnny Knife) on lead vocals and electric bass, Christian Hockmouth on guitar and Sven Schürmann on drums. These three guys are solid musicians having respectively played with three famous Teddy Boys bands: Rebels Revenge, the Town Rebels and the Foggy Mountain Rockers. And it shows in the final result.It’s a very tight album that mixes influences from the late 50’s/early 60’s British rockers (with covers of Johnny Kidd, Billy Fury and Screamin Lord Sutch) with the sound of the mid 70’s Teddy Boys bands. Take your drape jacket and your creepers and bop to the sound of Johnny Knife and the Ripers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Jailbirds

in Albums/Contemporary artists/IJKL/Reviews

The Jailbirds - Special
The Jailbirds – Special

The Jailbirds – Special

PART-CD 694.001 [2011]
Viva Las Vegas / Light My Fire / Layla / Blue Blue Day / Sealed With A Kiss / She’s Gone / As Long As I Live / Boppin’ Rosalie / Number One / Cats In The Cradle / My Girl No.1 / Secret Agent Man / Hurt Again / Faith / Good Luck Charm / Tornado / Spend A View / One Eyed Jack / Tell Me Why / Birds Are Back / Waterboy / Summerwine / That Blue Moon / You Never Talked About Me / Gone Away / Midnight Train / Wild Ones

The subtitle says it all: “15 years of Rock’n’roll”. During this 15 years, the Jailbirds have released 5 cd’s and appeared on numerous samplers. This CD covers in 27 songs and 80 minutes (good value for money) this 15 year journey and features the best of their recordings as well as some re-recordings too.

To best way to describe their music is to look at the samplers they’ve appeared on: Graveyard Hop, Psychomania, Das Best des Deutsches Rockabilly, Don’t Mess With the Rebs, Rock’n’Pop meets Rock’n’roll. That’s what describes them the best, a neo rockabilly band with element of Teddy Boy music, Psychobilly, a taste for classic Rockabilly, some unusual covers (the Doors, Eric Clapton) and of course a lot of Elvis Presley. Not a bad cocktail.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Texabilly Rockets

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/T

The Texabilly Rockets - 20 years rollin’ down the track
The Texabilly Rockets – 20 years rollin’ down the track

The Texabilly Rockets – 20 years rollin’ down the track

Part –CD 638.009
Flying High and Hit the Sky – I’m Runnin’ – Wild Nights – Better Lonely – La Chica Stroll – 56 Days – Cry and Shame – Let’s Bop! – Gotta Love You Baby – I Found My Place – Your Heart in My Garbage Can – Honey Let’s Go – Hot Rod Race 13 – Bop Cat Bop
The Texabilly Rockers formed in 1993, in Lisbon, Portugal. They later changed their name to the Texabilly Rockets and they now celebrate their 20th anniversary. All songs are penned by the band with some “oldies” dating from the the “Rockers” day (Honey Let’s Go) and each member contributed to the songwriting.
The core of the album is made of sizzling hot rockabilly ranging from the most traditional (Cry and Shame; Honey Let’s Roll) to the wildest. In between, they’re clever enough to vary the moods with a bit of country and hillbilly bop (Better Lonely, 56 days), a stroller with sax (La Chica Stroll), some boogie blues like Hot Rod Race 13 or Let’s Bop, the latter, with a harp, sharing a similar feel to Red Hot’n’Blue’s Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes. Also featuring a harp is Bop Cat Bop an acoustic new version of a song previously released on their fourth album of the same name.
Good album.
www.facebook.com/TexabillyRocketsofficial

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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