Rockabilly , Psychobilly and everything in between.

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psychobilly

Scared Stiff

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Scared Stiff – Dark Streets

Scared Stiff

Link Records Link LP104 [1989]

Johnny Cynic The Untouchables My Babe She’s So Fine Tear It Up Dark Streets Scared Stiff Ghost Hunter One More Bite Elvis O’Leary

In late 1988 / early 1989 Chuck Flintstone contacted Dave Finnegan in order to release an album of Irish Psychobilly legends Shark Bait but the band had already split.

Finnegan hastily recruited some musicians (Ciaran Murphy on guitar, Johnnie Bonnie on drums and Willo O’Brian on bass as well as a couple of guest) to record this album containing songs from the Shark Bait catalog.

The album contains its share of very good songs, all originals being from the pen of Finnegan. From the psychobilly sound of Johnny Cynic and She’s so Fine (both with wild double bass) or Ghost Hunter to the title track that sounds like what could be described as Psycho-folk. Quite different – but very good – is One More Bite featuring an accordion or the Untouchables that starts with a jazzy mood before evolving into a furious neo-rockabilly.

Next to those very good songs, their covers are totally useless and are only here to release a lp rather than a mini album.

The album also suffers from a poor production (or the absence of production should I say) and a poor mastering .

Two songs (Ghost Hunter and One More Bite) were later reissued on Long Lost Psychobilly Vol. 1 (Treasures From The Vaults Of Link Records).

Shortly after the release of the album Scared stiff disbanded and Dave Finnegan appeared in the Alan Parker’s movie the Commitments before fronting his own Commitments band for a while.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Spectre

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Spectre – Spectre

Spectre

Killjoy Records Kill O28

Out Of Time – West – I’ve Been Fine – Spectre

Spectre is a psychobilly band from Los Angeles and this is their (brilliant) debut single.

Out Of Time is a fast psychobilly number with a mean guitar riff. Andy their guitar player really knows how to craft this little riffs that enter your head then dance in and with your brain for a while. West sounds like something like the Quakes meet Torment with a western twang. Really good!

Both I’ve Been Fine and Spectre are led by a powerful slap bass and sure will delight all fans of old school psychobilly.
Their strength (or their talent call it whatever you want) is of course in the way they deliver the songs but also in their songwriting. Their songs are traditionnal (I guess that if you grew up listening to psychobilly in the 80’s you won’t be disapointed) yet original.

Good debut, now I’m waiting for the lp!

As usual with Killjoy this is a limited edition of 500: 400 copies on black vinyl, 50 on clear/black vinyl (band edition) and 50 on grey vinyl (Killjoy Records edition).

Available here

Spectre on Facebook

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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

Rusty Robots

in Contemporary artists/Reviews
Rusty Robots

Rusty Robots (the) – Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives

Killjoy Records KILL 029 [2018]

Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives – The Last Man On Earth – Dust to Dust

To my great shame I didn’t know the Rusty Robots until very recently. I must admit being some kind of a traditionalist. I like my vampires to look like Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee rather than Robert Pattinson and when it comes to Psychobilly I prefer a good old fast rockabilly slap bass, spare drums, light guitar and a mean singer rather than a punk-metal band with a double bass. And the Rusty Robots sound exactly as if they came straight from the 8O’s. Had they appear on the scene 35 years earlier they would top the bill at the legendary Klub Foot .

Their latest release for Killjoy records makes no exception. First, look at that cover! Have you seen something cooler since the front cover of the Scannerz or the back of Batmobile‘s debut album? Talking about Batmobile, the title track is a superb fast psychobilly number that would make Johnny Zuidhof and the Haamers brothers red with envy. Instant classic.

On B-side you’ll find the last man on earth, another classic old school psychobilly tune with nice changes of pace. It’s followed by Dust a Dust a demo recording. The sound is raw, but far from being a problem, this stripped down sound shows the qualities of the Rusty Robots in term of musicianship and melody.

Limited to 500 copies, 450 in black and 50 in yellow, though I’m afraid that the yellow ones are already out of print.

Available at Killjoy records or Razmataz records.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Scannerz

in Contemporary artists/Reviews/Stories

The Scannerz started in late 1985/ early 1986. Sebastian Glenz aka Semmel (guitar) met Uwe Klein through his older brother. Uwe had started to play doublebass and was looking for a guitar player to form a neo-rockabilly / psychobilly band. They were very young (Glenz was 16!) and that was the first band for both of them. Klein and Glenz were soon joined by Murphy (singer/second guitar) and Pennmütz on drums (both from Bonn). Semmel quotes Restless, The Sharks as well as Gene Vincent and Johnny Burnette as influences while the others were more into the 80’s Psycho scene and a bit of Punk too.

Murphy stayed with the band for less than a year then left leading Semmel to take over the vocals duties and the band carried on as a trio. Then Pennmütz left and Gonzo took the drums. Finally Klaudia Menzel joined the band sharing the vocals with Semmel.

They eventually got a contract with the newly created Maybe Crazy records (later home of Mad Sin, Scallywags) but Gonzo left before the recording because he had to go to the army.The Lp was recorded with Johannes Bokskopf who Semmel knew from another musical project.The album is quite good and has aged rather well. It features 10 originals and one cover. It’s solid neo-rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly featuring an excellent lead guitar and a powerful slap bass with a sound very close to Restless (Vanish Without A trace/Girl Invisible era). The songs are well done, with a will to make melodic and original tunes. Klaudia’s voice is a real plus. She sings b-vox on a couple of tracks and lead on two, including the cover of The Ricochets’ Night Ship and the ska/new wave/psychobilly Change Myself. Sadly this is the sole release of the band (with the exception of one demo).

The band kept on with another drummer (Johannes Bokskopf wasn’t able to join the band full time, which maybe explains why you can’t see the face of the drummer on the cover of the album) called Gammel but the musical direction changed and Semmel left the band. The Scannerz continued a bit with a new guitar player (Michael) and Gonzo back on drums, playing more in a 60’s beat style but it didn’t last and by the end of the decade the band was no longer in activity.

scannerz
scannerz

Since then Sebastian has played with the Hot-Riffs, The Paralysers and today his “Mark Harman meets Cliff Gallup” guitar style can be heard in The Tin Cans.

Discography

1987 -S/T – Maybe Crazy LP 001 (black vinyl and 433 copies in clear vinyl)
Later reissued on cd in 2003 by Crazy Love Records – CLCD 64200

A big “Thank You!” to Semmel for the infos.

the Scannerz - s/t
the Scannerz – s/t

The Scannerz – s/t

Maybe Crazy / Crazy Love Records CLCD64200
I’m A Victim Of Your Love – Tell Me – Night Ship – He’s A Murderer – Crime – Fun On The Fretz – Stupid Informations – Want A New Life – Station Girl – You’ve Left Me – Change Myself
The Scannerz were a German quartet. They only had one release in 1987 on Maybe Crazy records. They played neo-rockabilly with a touch of psychobilly featuring an excellent lead guitar and a powerful slap bass with a sound very close to Restless (Vanish Without A trace/Girl Invisible era). The songs are well done, with a will to make melodic and original tunes but the real plus of the band comes from Klaudia. She sings b-vox on a couple of tracks and lead on two, including a superb cover of The Ricochets’ Night Ship and the ska/new wave/psychobilly Change Myself. If you dig 80’s neo-rockabilly/psychobilly this one is for you.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jekills (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

jekills-1The Jekills

Country: Belgium
Genre: Psychobilly

Leo Alfano: vocals / guitar
Fofo Mulone: drums
Sergio Vallan: doublebass

The band got together in 1986 under the name of Riot Guns (they were a quartet at that time with Michel Varga) playing neo-rockabilly. One year later, they became a trio, changed their name to The Jekills and started to play Psychobilly.
In September 1989, they released their self titled album that contains 9 songs on their own label that quickly sold out its initial pressing of 1000 copies and was re-released by Tombstone. 
Another song (Père Noël s’est Vengé) can be found on the compilation album “Wreckin’ Around the X-Mas Tree”
Sadly the rise of the band was brutally stopped by the tragic death of their doublebass player in January 1991.


The Jekills - The Jekills
The Jekills – The Jekills

The Jekills – s/t

Tombstone [1989]
Aston – Nobody In The Street – Marilyn Monroe – Gladiators – The Girl Is Mine – You’ll Be A Priest – Psycho Beat – Dr Jekills – Ballade Du Chomeur
A short lp that is the only testament of the short career of this Belgian psychobilly band that had a bright future in front of them.
The band is clearly influenced by Batmobile both for the music and the voice but with enough personnality. The album is not flawless far from it. The sound is a bit thin at places, it’s not always in tune and there’s a couple of filler, for example “Marilyn Monroe” x-rated tribute to the famous actress (“I’d like to f*** her” doesn’t represent what I consider to be great lyrics). But at least half of the songs are very goog uptempo psychobilly numbers with good slap-bass including Nobody’s in the street, Girl is Mine and la Ballade du Chomeur that reminds of Los Carayos.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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