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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

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)

Minestompers
Minestompers (CLCD64354)

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

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

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

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