Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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psychobilly

Honey Hush

in Reviews

honey hushHoney Hush – Honey Hush

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8418 [1985]
Nowhere Train – Rock-Itis – Getaway Girl – You’re the One that Done It – She’s so Fine – Pink and Black

Honey Hush came from the Netherlands and formed in the early ’80s. After one single included here, they released this mini-lp.
This is neo-rockabilly at its best.
The singer is excellent, the band is perfect (powerful slap bass and light guitar that takes you straight into the 80’s), and they have solid originals. They complete the set with two well-chosen covers: Thomas Wayne’s You’re The One That Done It and a live version of Sonny Fisher’s Pink and Black.
Furthermore, if the tone is mostly neo-rockabilly oriented, they’re not afraid to bring a bit of psychobilly with Nowhere Train or play in a more classical Rockabilly vein with She’s so Fine. They even add a bit of jazz (with brushed snare) on Rock-Itis. As a result, it gives a very varied mini album.
Moreover, the six-song format let no place for average tunes.
After these recordings, Honey Hush changed its name and became Archie.


Honey Hush – Getaway Gal

honey hushRockhouse Records – SP8305 [1983]
Getaway Gal – She’s so fine

Rockhouse records released this excellent debut single by this Dutch neo-rockabilly band in 1983. Getaway Gal features a superb guitar solo that is reminiscent of Mark Harman. B-side is more traditional.
Both songs will appear on their mini-lp.

Honey Hush
Honey Hush

The Gazmen

in Reviews
The Gazmen - Rigormortis Rock
The Gazmen – Rigormortis Rock

The Gazmen – Rigormortis Rock

Vinyl Japan JRT9 [1996]
Western Star [2020]
Rigormortis Rock – Teenage Operation – Kid From Mars – Ace Of Heart

This ep initially came out in 1996. The Gazmen formed around the charismatic personality of Gary “Gaz” Day. Day is known for his collaboration with many influential bands, notably The Frantic Flintstones, The Sharks, The Nitros, The Caravans without forgetting his stint with popstar (and rockabilly aficionado) Morrissey, whose influence can be heard on the last track of this ep. The rest of the band was basically The Sharks with the addition of ex Born Bad and Morrissey’s guitarist, Alain Whyte. They played a traditional brand of psychobilly close to the Sharks (not very surprising) and the early Meteors, Day’s voice reminding the great Nigel Lewis, but with a fuller sound. The song Rigormortis Rock was first released by Alan Wilson (who wrote it ) under the moniker of The Space Cadets (not to be confused with Mouse’s band) around 1984 on the Nervous compilation Hell’s Bent on Rocking. Some of these songs were also part of the set when Gary was in the Sharks. One can hear early versions of Teenage Operation and Kid From Mars on the excellent compilation Rare Psychobilly from the Vaults.
In 2000, the American label Rock-It re-released it on cd.
The vinyl version became an object of collection with both Psychobillies and Morrissey’s fans looking for it.
Western Star has now reissued it on 10” colored vinyl, but don’t wait to buy one it’s a limited edition
Available here.

Pharaohs (the)

in Reviews

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

Swamp Dogs (the)

in Reviews

Swamp Dogs (the) – Teenage Werewolf

swamp dogs teenage werewolf

Crazy Love Records 64416
Side A: Hopeless Aimless – Three Wolfmen – Power of the Drums – Teenage Werewolf – I Dreamt – The Night The Banshees Cried – Bad Moon Rising
Side B: Hopeless Aimless – My True Story – I Dreamt – Ardath Bey – The Night The Banshees Cried – Be A caveman – Moonblood – Mind and Music


The late eighties were an exciting time for the teenager that I was. After the initial shock stirred by the Stray Cats, the Cramps, and the Meteors, I delved into this new music scene like there was no tomorrow. I was discovering and devouring with no distinction records by Hank Williams, Johnny Burnette, and the Frantic Flintstones. Each week I found a new band, thanks to a friend who had a much more extensive collection than me. One day he recorded me a cassette with the Swamp Dogs mini-lp. I was hooked. The Swamp Dogs were different from the rest of the Psychobilly bands. After much persuasion, I managed to buy the vinyl from him. I had to have it. In the following thirty years, my record collection grew up and changed. I sold some records, traded others, but the Swamp Dogs remained firmly in the “do-not-sell-at-any-price” category, even though I carefully transferred it onto a cd.
One year after pleasing all the Psychobilly fanatics by releasing the long lost and last album of the Krewmen, Crazy Love reiterates with the complete recordings of the Swamp Dogs.
The first four tracks of side one are the early studio recordings of the band. Roland Heinrich takes the lead on two tracks (including Three Wolfmen that sounds like a psychotic version of Crawdad Hole), and Screamin’ Stefan Schuster sings the threatening and bluesy Power of the Drums and Teenage Werewolf (an original song, not the Cramps tune.) Yes, the Swamp Dogs briefly had a second singer, that’s what you’ll learn with this album, and the extensive liner notes included.
Four months later, when the Swamp Dogs returned to the studio to record their next session (tracks A5 to A7 and B1 and B8), Schuster was gone, and the trio had developed its unique sound. Next to Roland’s unmistakable vocals and powerful slap bass, it is essential to mention Christian’s one-of-a-kind style. This guy created a sound of his own by mixing influences that, I suppose, went beyond the Psychobilly and Rockabilly genres. With the help of Attila’s sparse drumming, the trio slowly departed from the “rockabilly on speed” pattern that was often used to play Psychobilly and expanded their style with songs featuring unusual structures. Except for “Bad Moon Rising” and “Mind and Music,” the whole session, like the previous one, remained unissued and appears here for the first time.
At the end of 1987, the trio was back in the recording room to cut their mini-LP (THE famous mini LP.) Once again, they took their vision one step further. If “My True Story” and “The Night the Banshees Cried” bring the essential touch of fast Psychobilly, the new and improved version of “I Dreamt” is an eerie and hypnotic tune. Likewise, Ardath Bay keeps the Rockabilly ingredients to which they add an Oriental vibe as well as a quote of Swan Lake.” Moonblood” manages to be raw and melodic, and is another proof of Heinrich’s songwriter talent. The set is completed by a cover “Be A Caveman” from the Avengers (via Ug and the Cavemen.) that shows some garage influences.
Crazy Love didn’t cut corners: heavy cardboard, superb printing*, a lengthy history of the band, tons of pictures, and I repeat seven tracks released here for the first time.
Considering that the mini-LP is also hard to find, this reissue is sure to sell like glasses of water in the burning desert. But no need to write to me, even though I have this album, I keep my mini-LP too.

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis
*The preview doesn’t do justice to the print job since it’s been done using fluorescent Pantone inks.

Ten Strike

in Reviews

10_strike_cover
Ten Strike – Rawkabilly

Ten Strike – Rawkabilly

Trail To Hell – That’s Right – Under Vultures – Lonely Nights

Hailing from Germany, this trio played a mixture of wild rockabilly and what is now called old school psychobilly. They started in the 80’s, had an album on Tombstone Record in 1989 (Outlaw) and supported acts like The Guana Batz, Stray Cats, The Keytones and The Frantic Flintstones. On hiatus for a few years the band returned with this mini lp. The slap bass led mid-tempo “Trail To Hell” has a fine cowboy ballad feel. The singer’s voice on this one reminds a bit of the dutch bands The Tigermen and their song “Gone, Gone, Gone” for those who remember them. “That’s Right” is maybe more classical, a fast rocker with a psycho edge but nonetheless very pleasant. Under Vultures is a new version of a song from their Outlaw lp, and has that fine 80’s neo-rockabilly in the chorus I like so much with backing vocals and stop-starts with slap bass solos. This too short ep ends with “Loneley Nights” a slow tempo with a bluesy feel. The overall production work is very well done and the songs are all written by the band.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Ten Strike - Outlaw
Ten Strike – Outlaw

Ten Strike – Outlaw

Tombstone – Tomb-Disc 681  [1990]

No More Reason To Cry – Long Legs – Under Vultures – Wide Open Land – That’s Right – Country Playin’ – Outlaw Man – Bound To Die – She Ain’t No Good – Wheels Of Steel – Don’t Look Now – 51 Merc – So Many Times

First long play by this German band released in 1990. The line up on this record is Jürgen Fröhlich on Guitar, Vocals, Peter Urban on Double Bass and Jochen Vaupel (who previously played in the Swamp Dogs) on drums.
This is a classic neo-rockabilly album with twelve self-penned songs and one interesting cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Dont Look Now.

Skitzo

in Reviews

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

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