Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

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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

Minestompers (the)

in Reviews

Minestompers (the) – Porno Mags and Body Bags

minestompers

Crazy Love CLCD64410 [2019]
Shellack Smile – Bone Breaking Beat – Vinyl Wonderland – Whirlwind – Attack of the Space Sluts from Planet C.U.N.T. 6 – Porno Mags – Pogo the Clown – Unleashed – Cop Killer – Demon up my Arse – Suburban Savages – For a Fistful of Schlonz – One Last Record

The Minestompers, my favorite Psychobilly poets, are back with their second album on Crazy Love records. And with songs like Space Sluts from Planet C.U.N.T.S 6 and Porno Mags, how could they fail?

The album kicks off with a powerful instrumental part Batmobile’s Dynamite, part Meteors. After that hot introduction, the band takes you into a wild psychobilly rollercoaster. The Minestompers are among those bands who favor the electric bass rather than the near mandatory slap bass. It gives them a sound somewhere between the very early Guana Batz (before Sam joined the band), the “Ein Bier Bitte” era of the Coffin Nails, and the Mad Pig period of the Meteors.
Max, the guitar man, always keeps a clean sound that works very well and is complimentary with the fat electric bass sound.
Their melodies are original and varied. It ranges from the strolling Whirlwind to the title track – a rewriting of “Brand New Cadillac” with new lyrics – with a cover of Body Count in between and the Diddley beat of “Suburban Savages.”
The whole album is very well balanced, and all songs are great. However, I particularly enjoyed the blues-inspired “Demon Up My Arse” (with harmonica), “Pogo the Clown” which alternates paces and reminds me of the Griswalds’ “Night Hawk” (on Psychobilly Tendencies) and the second instrumental of the album, the Morricone meets Surf “For a Fistful of Schlonz.”
The Besides the cd version and the usual black vinyl, Porno Mags & Body Bags is also available on pink, orange, yellow, and red vinyl, and the superb cover really deserves the vinyl format. Grab it, you know you can’t resist!
The Radioactive Kid

Minestompers (the) – Minestompers (the)

Crazy Love CLCD64354
Minestomp – Mama’s Clit – Invasion – Toxic Avenger – Drive By Cumshot – Possessed To Skate – Surfride To Hell – Bukkake Blues – Demon Twist – Leprechaun Boogie – Place To Go – Bad Dreams – Stomp Around The Swamp – Tohuwabohu

Minestompers
Minestompers (CLCD64354)

The Minestompers are a German quartet founded in 2008 with Daniel Gotsche on bass, David Naumann on lead vocals, Martin Grobe on drums, and Max Jakuschew on guitar. This is their debut album.
They play wild and frantic Psychobilly with an electric bass. Soundwise one could compare them to the early Coffin Nails, the Termites, the Frantic Flintstones (“the Nightmare continues” era,) and of course the Meteors.
The singer has a raw and raspy voice, sounding more like Sparky or Koefte than Steve Whitehouse if you want, but their guitar player, while mean and aggressive, keeps the Rockabilly element to the band.
All songs are originals, except for Possessed to Skate, a cover of Suicidal Tendencies, which is introduced by none other than Chuck Flintstones.
The songs deal with the usual horror themes (Toxic Avenger, Surfride to hell, Leprechaun Boogie) but the Minestompers also prove they’re no stranger to poetry with songs like Mama’s Clit, Drive by Cumshot, or Bukkake Blues.
If you dig the heavier side of Psychobilly, jump on this album.

The Radioactive Kid

Pharaohs (the)

in Reviews

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

Fractured

in Reviews

Fractured – No Peace for the Wicked

fractured

ID Records NOSE 17 [1987]
Raucous Records RAUCD 213 [2007]

Honest Lovin’ – Chauffeur Driven Limousine – Dark Blue Sea – Kisses Sweeter Than Wine – Girl On The Corner – Gamblin’ Man – Sold My Secret – Big John

Fractured was a British neo-rockabilly quartet from the mid-’80s formed by Paul Everdell on lead vocals and lead guitar; Mike Herman on guitar; Nick Hoadley on double bass and Paul Davies on drums. Released in 1987, “No Peace for the Wicked” is their sole musical testament, and this is too bad for this band was excellent. They played a fast slappin’/clean guitar brand of neo-rockabilly in a similar vein than Caravans or Restless in the same period. Besides, Pete Gage (Restless but also Frenzy, Rattlers) produced the album giving the band a clean and crisp sound that shows off the band’s musicianship.
Except for the cover of Kisses Sweeter than Wine, originally played Jimmie Rodgers (not the King of Country Music, the other one), each song is performed at a breathtaking pace. Out of the eight songs of this mini-album, six are from the pen of Everdell, while the remaining two are the previously mentioned “Kisses…” and Jimmie Dean’s Big John in a live version that closes the album.
Fractured was very popular among the psychobilly scene. The band played twelve times on the stage of the Klub Foot, the Psychobilly mecqua, and had two songs included on Stomping at the Klub Foot volume 5. More live songs resurfaced on the five-cd box set “Dragged from the wreckage of the Klub Foot” out on Trophy records. Paul, their lead singer/guitarist, also played bass for the Meteors (probably a last-minute replacement) and can be seen on the Attack of the Chainsaw Mutant video.
Nick Hoadley later played with Bob and the Bearcats, Arsen Roulette, the Houserockers and the Cordwood Draggers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Long Tall Texans

in Reviews

Long Tall Texans - Ballroom Blitz
Long Tall Texans – Ballroom Blitz

Long Tall Texans – Ballroom Blitz

Crazy Love
Indians – Right First Time – Ballroom Blitz [Metal Mix] – Texas Beat – Non Stop Loving – 900 Miles – Rockin’ Crazy – One More Time – Shot Dead – Ballroom Blitz [Alternate Take] – Get Up and Go

Ballroom Blitz is a rarities album featuring rare and unissued stuff from the Long Tall Texans’ early years.
The first four tracks date from 1986 and were scheduled to be released on Northwood but the label folded before the ep materialized. The song were later re-recorded on albums with the
exception, correct me if I’m wrong, of Ballroom Blitz that only appeared on their live album.
The remaining tracks were recorded in 1985 with the band’s first line-up featuring Bill Clifford on drums instead of Theo. It’s very interesting to compare with the later studio version and hear a band in mutation. It’s still classic rockabilly/neo-rockabilly but here and there appear elements of what would become their trademark sound.


Long Tall Texans - Sodbusters
Long Tall Texans – Sodbusters

Long Tall Texans – Sodbusters

Razor Records – RAZ 23 [1987]
Poison – My Babe – Get Up & Go – Rockin’ Crazy – Texas Boogie – Long Tall Texans – Paradise – My Idea Of heaven – Mad About You – Wreckin’ Me – Dance Of the Head Hunters – Endless Sleep

Formed in the mid 80’s, the Long Tall Texans released “Sodbusters” their debut album in 1987. The core of this album is mainly made of modern rockabilly with fast slap bass that became the trademark of the band (Poison, Rockin’ Crazy, Long Tall Texans). Some other songs border on psychobilly like Paradise and Get Up and Go. There’s also a strong blues influence with Little Walter’s My Babe that receives a superb rockin’ blues treatment or the jump blues influenced “Wreckin’ Me” that sounds a bit like Red Hot’n’Blue. There’s even a touch of ska mixed with a blues harp (My Idea Of Heaven) and an interesting mix of Glam rock with Rockabilly (Rock’n’Roll Party/Endless Sleep). Two instrumentals round up the album and prove that these cats are serious musicians.


Long Tall Texans – Saturnalia

Razor Records RAZ 37 [1989]
Anagram CDM PSYCHO 75 [2008]
Get Back, Wetback – Crossing Swords – Don’t I Know It – Fill It Up Tight – Low Down Mean Old Son Of A Gun – Cairo – Shiver Street – Bloody – Mercy – No Tomorrow – Get Back, Wetback (Alamo Mix)* – Get Your Teeth Out Of My Jugular* – Something’s Cooking* – Get Back,Wetback (Live)*
* CD Bonus tracks

Initially released in 1989, Saturnalia saw a little departure from the band’s usual rockin’ sound. With this album, they started to experiment with new sounds and spend more time in the studio.
“Bloody” counts among the highlights of the album. It’s a cover of the Golinsky Brothers, a Brighton combo like the Texans sounds a bit like the Housemartins and could easily have been a hit beyond the limited borders of the rockin’ scene. The same goes for “Get Back Wet Back,” one of the band’s most famous songs. For good reasons, it has written ‘brilliant’ all over it. The cd reissue includes two more versions, a different mix that doesn’t bring anything new and a live take. Another cover, “Cairo,” mixes fast slappin’ bass with mellow ska bits in it.
The cd reissue comes with bonus tracks taken from the b-side of the Get Back Wet Back single and an interesting booklet written by Simon Nott featuring memories (so to speak) from the three band members.


Long Tall Texans - Five beans In The Wheel
Long Tall Texans – Five beans In The Wheel

Long Tall Texans – Five Beans in the Wheel

Razor
Saints And Sinners – Don’t I Know It – You Gotta Lose – Get So Excited – Bloody – Off My Mind – Breakaway – Low Down Mean Old Son Of A Gun – Get Back, Wetback – Heatwave – Indians – Rock’n Roll Pt. 2 – Your Own Way – Right First Time – Long Tall Texan – Everybody’s Rockin – We Say Yeah – Ballroom Blitz – Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

This is probably one the best live recording to come from a Psychobilly band. As the majority of the other live recordings were issued on the poor «Live and Rockin’» serie on the Link label, it’s not that hard. But this one is REALLY good.
Do you know many records while listening to them you can see the smile of the musicians? But being a fun band doesn’t mean they’re not serious with their music. They’re a tight band playing their songs at a frantic pace (Mark Carew is one hell of a slap bass player). The band revisits its back catalog playing classic after classic (Get Back Wet Back, Saints and Sinners, Indians… they’re all here) and a judicious selection of covers (from the glam of Gary Glitter’s Rock’nRoll Part 2 and Sweet’s Ballroom Bitz to Earl Hooker’s You Got To Loose, Jackie Deshannon’s Breakaway and of course The Clash’s Should I Stay...) completes the set (19 songs!). A good starting point to discover this excellent band and must have for the fans.


Long Tall Texans - Singin' To The Moon
Long Tall Texans – Singin’ To The Moon

Long Tall Texans – Singin’ to the Moon

Rage Records 108 / Crazy Love 64242 {1991}
Singing To The Moon ~ Axe To Grind ~ Rock Bottom Blues ~ Suicide At The Seaside ~ Klub Foot Shuffle ~ Smiling Eyes ~ Winding Me Up ~ Alcohol ~ Indian Reservation ~ Nine Days Wonder ~ Reactor ~ Senses Six and Seven ~ Witch Hunting ~ Alabama Song ~ Singing To The Moon.

Originally released in 1991, Singing To The Moon is the band’s last album with Mark Denman (though he’ll keep on writing songs for them). It’s in the wake of Saturnalia and covers a wide range of styles and demonstrated that the Texans weren’t that easy to pigeonhole. Thus, next to classic sounding Long Tall Texans numbers like Axe To The Grind, Senses Six and Seven or Witch Hunting, you find on this platter a ska number not that far from the Clash (Singing To The Moon), a jazzy instrumental with a Shakin’ Pyramids feel (Klub Foot Shuffle), a pop tune (Smilin’ Eye), a rockabilly with a bluesy slide guitar (Nine Days Wonder), heavy rockers (Alcohol and Rock Bottom Line that sounds a bit like Guana Batz on Electra Glide In Blue) and Reactor evokes the Escalators.
The cover range from Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weil to Peter and the Test Tube Babies with John Loudermilk in between. Fine.


Long Tall Texans - Aces & Eights
Long Tall Texans – Aces & Eights

Long Tall Texans – Aces and Eights

CDMPSYCHO16 [1994]
Notice Me ~ Nothing Left But The Bones ~ Sister ~ And I Wish ~ Lip Service ~ Everyday ~ Bloody ~ Don’t Go Back To Rockville ~ Border Radio ~ Tomorrow Today ~ Innocent Look ~ Piece Of Your Love.

If Singing To the Moon announced a new direction for the band, Aces and Eights came as a big surprise and let’s say it a huge deception. There were many reasons for that. First Mark Denman had left the band, though he kept on writing stuff for the band and figured among the guest musicians. The addition of  a sax player to the line-up, omnipresent all along the album, didn’t bring anything to the songs (and to make things worse the player is not Lee Allen if you see what I mean). The songs themselves are far from the usual Texans standards and mostly sound like average pop songs. If you add a clean and cold production you’ll understand that the result is a more than dispensable album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Meteors (the)

in Reviews

meteors psychobilly revolutionMeteors (the) – Psychobilly Revolution

Raucous Records RAUC079 [1999]
Intro – The Crazed – Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me – Deep Dark Jungle – Blue Sunshine – Little Red Riding Hood – Night Of The Werewolf – Wild Thing – Chainsaw Boogie – Corpse Grinder – Maniac Rockers from Hell – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Insane – Rawhide – Mutant Rock

Recorded live in the late ’90s St Petersburg’s Spartak Club, Russia, this album is very representative of the sound of the band at the time.
Too bad that the recording quality is not top-notch and that Fenech’s voice is a bit buried in the mix because the band (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums) is in fine form.
The setlist presents no big surprise and mixes classics of the band (Crazed, Blue Sunshine, Mutant Rock…) with more recently released stuff at the time of the release (Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me…)
This live album remains good but not essential. For example, Welcome to the Wrecking Pit has more or less the same setlist but with a better sound.


meteors-live-leary-fucking-loudMeteors (the) – Live, Leary and Fucking Loud!

Dojo Limited [1995]
Wipe Out – Maniac Rockers From Hell – Lonesome Train – I Ain’t Ready – Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – Sick Things – When A Stranger Calls – Sweet Love On My Mind – Mutant Rock – Rhythm Of The Bell – Lil’ Red Riding Hood – Long Blond Hair – Rock Bop – Rattlesnakin Daddy – Blue Sunshine – These Boots Are Made For Walking – Wild Thing – I Go To Bed With The Undead – Wreckin’ Crew – Meet Me At The Morgue – Spinebender

Live, Leary and Fucking Loud is a live album gathering songs taken from the Meteors’ first three live albums (Live, Horrible Music, For Horrible People, By This Horror-Ble Band and Live Style of the Sick and Shameless.) It gives a good overview of the live sound of the band during their first decade after the original line-up split. Also present are two live renditions of Spinebender and Meet Me At the Morgue. They make a very welcome bonus since both songs, taken from The Mutant Monkey and the Surfer from Zorch, never appeared on any live album before. The line-up on these songs is probably the mid-’90s line-up (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums.)


meteors_internationalMeteors (the) – International Wreckers – Live 4

Sonovabitch Records ROTT 90062 [1992]
Mutant Rock – Dateless Nights – Swamp Thing – Corpse Grinder – Alligator Man – Death Dance – Wild Thing – Bertha Lou – Get off of My Cloud – Electro II – Wrecking Crew – Rhythm of the Bell – Psycho Cat – Get off of My Cloud – Vibrate – The Crazed – Mind over Matter – These Boots Are Made for Walking
Unlike the previous live recordings released officially by the band, International Wreckers doesn’t present a complete show but a collection of songs recorded in various countries (France, Germany, UK, Holland) and at various venues. It’s a good idea and the occasion to include rarer material that appear on a live album for the first time like Swamp Thing (that is made for the stage), Alligator Man, Dateless Nite, Psycho Kat, Death Dance, Electro II next to the band’s stage favourites like Mutant Rock, These Boots Are Made Walking, Wrecking Crew or Rhythm Of the Bell featured here in a wild version. An essential addition to your collection.


Meteors (the)  – The Mutant Monkey and the Surfers from Zorchmeteors - The Mutant Monkey & the Surfers from Zorch

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO12 [1988]
Swamp Thing / Electro II / The Revenge / Sidewalk Psycho / I’m Invisible Man / She’s My Baby Again / Surfin’ On The Planet Zorch / Spine Bender / Dance Crazy Baby / Rawhide / Oxygen Dog / Yellow Zone / Meet Me At The Morgue / Little Red Riding Hood
Released in 1988 and featuring new bassist Lee “Red” Brown (ex Pharaohs) and Coffin Nails drummer Toby Griffin, the Mutant Monkey is a bit disappointing. It’s not bad (I don’t believe the Meteors ever released anything bad) it just lacks of a little something that made of Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit a killer release. It contains its usual dose of solid Fenech’s originals (Surfing On Planet Zorch, Spine Bender, Swamp Thing, Meet Me At The Morgue) but some songs are just good (which is for a Meteors album disappointing) and the sound is uneven compared once again to Bang Bang Fruit that hardly contained a weak number and was perfectly produced. The cd version contains one bonus song, a cover of Lil’ Red Riding Hood. Good album but not essential.


Meteors (the) – Don’t Touch the Bang Bang Fruitbang_bang_fruit

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO38 [1987]
Go Buddy Go – Midnight People – Low Livin’ Daddy – Your Worst Nightmare – Wildkat Ways / Repo Man – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit – Crack Me Up – Shakey Snakey – Psycho Kat – Let’s Go – Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos – Go Buddy Go (Wonkey Donkey Mix) – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit (Manky Monkey Mix) – Dateless Nights – Corpse Grinder

After the success of “Sewertime Blues” in 1986 (it reached #9 in the indie charts) Fenech came back the following year with a new line-up consisting of ex-Coffin Nails Toby Griffin on drums and Arms Malone on bass (if you look closely to the back cover of the reissue, you’ll see written in small characters “Arms Malone is Austin Stone”), and a new platter called “Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit” one of their best and most diverse album to date.
It starts with a total appropriation of The Stranglers “Go Buddy Go”, takes a detour by the hillbilly inspired “low Livin’ Daddy” with harmonica and ends with the Hank Marvin meets Ennio Morricone instrumental “Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos”. In between, Fenech, contrary to many followers, remembered the rockabilly roots of psychobilly with a cover of Jimmy Lee Maslon’s“Wildkat Ways” already sung by Nigel Lewis in the early days of the band and the frantic boogie “You Crack Me Up” previously heard on Live 1. The production is perfect, full of good ideas to set the ambiance, slide guitar, cow bell and notice the fine use of the acoustic rhythm guitar on “Let’s go” and “Revenge…”. The listener goes from the haunting “Your Worst Nightmare” to the funny title track via the threatening “Repo Man” and the bluesy “Midnight People”.
This reissue contains the 12” mixes of “Bang Bang Fruit” and “Go Buddy Go”, which for some obscure reasons weren’t on the Anagram Single Collection, and two B-sides : a fantastic cover of “Dateless Night” and a Fenech’s own good enough to be a A-side called “Corpse Grinder”.
By 1987, despite the massive arrival of new bands, the Meteors were still the Kings of Psychobilly.


meteors_sewertimebluesMeteors (the) – Sewertime Blues

Anagram – CDMPSYCHO37 [1986]
Ain’t Taking A Chance / So Sad / Here’s Johnny / Mind Over Matter / Acid And Psyam / Sewertime Blues / Return Of The Ethel Merman / Deep Dark Jungle / Never Get Away / I Bury The Living / Vibrate / Surf City / The Edge

Sewertime Blues marks the beginning of the fruitful collaboration between the psychobilly combo and Anagram/Cherry Red. The Meteors incarnation of 1986 was newcomer Austin Stone on bass and Ian “Spider” Cubitt who previously drummed on Stampede and Monkey’s Breath.
Fenech proves once again that he has a strong vision and delivers another set of solid originals completed by well selected covers (Bob Luman’s Deep Dark Jungle, Mac Self’s Vibrate and Jan & Dean’s Surf City). It’s also another proof of Fenech’s skills on guitar. One listen to his sharp solos on So Sad and Here’s Johnny to name but two shows how he has incorporated elements of rockabilly merged with surf to create his “monster”. Equally great is the instrumental “Return Of Ethel Merman” (don’t know how they got the idea for the name). Sewertime Blues reinforced the band status as the undisputed leader of the scene and made, for good reasons, a decent stint in the indie charts.


Meteors (the) – Night Of the Werewolfmeteors-nightofthewerewolf

Raucous Records RAUCD 039 [1987]
X-Men Boogie ~ Rawhide ~ Maniac ~ Rock House ~ I’m Just a Dog ~ Stampede ~ Deep Dark Jungle ~ Hills Have Eyes ~ Kit Boy ~ Domino ~ Shout So Loud ~ Night of the Werewolf ~ Graveyard Stomp ~ These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ~ It’s All Over Now.
Previously released on a semi-official vinyl bootleg in the 80’s, Night Of The Werewolf has been reissued officially by Raucous in 2007. Though there’s no indication of dates, place or line-up, one can affirm by looking at the track listing that it has been recorded sometime around 1985 and the sound is quite similar to Live II released at the same period. It’s heavy and compact with Fenech’s voice full of anger. They rip through the first part of the set at a pace that would make the Ramones turn red in envy. Next to the band classics you’ll find many live versions of lesser played songs of the Stampede/Monkey’s Breath albums only available here, which is a reason good enough to buy it.


Meteors (the) – John Peel Sessions (1983-1985)the-meteors-john-peel-sessions-1983-1985

Raucous Records – RAUC 044
Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – You Crack Me Up – Lonesome Train – Long Blond Hair – Stampede – Deep Dark Jungle – Surf City – I’m Just A Dog – Torture – Meat Is Meat – Bertha Lou – Maniac
Twelve tracks recorded during three sessions for John Peel in 1983 (tracks 1-4 with Rick Ross on bass and Matthew Fraser on drums), 1984 (tracks 5-8 still with Rick Ross on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums and Steve Andrews on backing Vocals) and 1985 (tracks 9-12 with Nev Hunt on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums). These recordings totally differ from the album versions, some are even better. Sadly the cd has been deleted from the catalog I guess but maybe you can find a second hand copy on the net.


Meteors (the) – Wreckin’ Crew meteors-wreckincrew

I.D. Records ‎– NOSE 1
Insane – I Ain’t Ready – Johnny Remember Me – I Don’t Worry About It – Axe Attack – Zombie Noise – Rattle Snakin’ Daddy -When A Stranger Calls – Phantom Of The Opera – Blue Sunshine – Wreckin’ Crew – Sick Things – Wild Thing – Get Off My Cloud – Mutant Rock – Hills Have Eyes – Fear Of The Dark – Scream Of The Mutants

When Nigel Lewis left the Meteors in 1982, one could fear that the band wouldn’t survive to the loss of one of its founder member. But Paul Fenech, still with Woodie Taylor on drums, far from being discouraged quickly recruited a new bass player, Mick White, switching from double bass to electric bass in the process and a guest singer, Russel Jones. White re-recorded the bass parts on some previously recorded songs by Lewis and they released Mutant Rock b/w Hills Have Eyes. This single and the Johnny Remember ep are included here as bonus. When the band went to the studio to record their second album, Taylor had already left to be replaced by Steve Meadham.
Without Lewis, the band sounded less garage/psychedelic and more rockin’. The developped what would become the psychobilly sound of the Meteors for the next decades and Wreckin’ Crew contains instant classics like Blue Sunshine, Wreckin’ Crew, I Ain’t Ready, I Don’t Worry About It and some still remains in the band’s setlist today . White’s contributation to the album didn’t limit to the bass duties as he penned two songs fort the album (Phantom of the Opera and Axe Attack) and two more that are included as bonus (Fear Of the Dark and Scream of the Mutants). All four of them are sung by Jones and if they don’t reach Fenech orLewis standards they remain quite enjoyable (especially Phantom of the Opera). Wreckin’ Crew also includes three covers The Troggs’ Wild Thing, a new version of Get Off My Cloud (that the band had already recorded for In Heaven) and the spooky Johnny Remember Me that even found its place in the UK pop charts.
In the end, Wreckin’ Crew proved to be as important as In Heaven for the band and the whole Psychobilly scene. And it was just the begining…


The Meteors - the Lost Album
The Meteors – the Lost Album

 

Meteors (the) – The Lost Album

Raucous Records – RaucCD144 [2004]
I Don’t Worry About It – Your Wildkat Ways – Maniac – You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down – Ain’t Takin’ A Chance – Psycho For Your Love – The Room – Love Me – Red Headed Woman – Long Blond Hair – Haunt You Baby Rock – Your Baby Blue Eyes – Honey Roll – Domino – Drowning All My Sorrows – Crazy Crazy Lovin’
Psychobilly fans and radioactive kids knew the existence of this recordings for years. Those were demos paid by EMI in 1980, when the young Meteors were looking for a contract, before Island got the deal. This is the original line-up (Fenech/Lewis/Robertson) halfway in their mutation from rockabilly to psychobilly. This ain’t no longer the clean sound one can hear on the “Alligator recordings” (My Baby Loves Me, Go Away, Crazy Love) but not yet the sound of “Meteor Madness” or “In Heaven”. Songs like Long Blonde Hair, Domino and Red Headed Woman are true (and wild) rockabillies while you can hear the seeds of psychobilly on Meteors’ songs like Psycho For Your Love, The Room and You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. It’s very interesting to compare this demos with the definitive version recorded on later albums and ep’s. The drums are lighter here for example, but you know rockabilly will never be the same after that. “Your Wildkat Ways” and “Crazy Crazy Lovin’” sung by Lewis will resurface later on albums but this time sung by Fenech. This album gives you a chance to see what psychobilly is. Just compare Johnny Burnette’s “Sweet Love On my Mind” on these demos to the version the band plays on “Monkey’s Breath” to understand. A great album, indeed, you even have a blues (Honey Roll). So, as you – clever reader – have already understood, this is essential listening. More than music, history.

© Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Meteors circa 1983 (Steve Meadham, Paul Fenech, Rick Ross)
The Meteors circa 1983 (Steve Meadham, Paul Fenech, Rick Ross)
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