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Swamp Dogs (the)

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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

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

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