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Red Hot’n’Blue

Switchblade

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Switchblade From left to right : LaCube, Grant, Bolton, Mouse
Switchblade
From left to right : LaCube, Grant, Bolton, Mouse

Switchblade

Mouse (Red Hot’n’Blue) formed Switchblade, a rockabilly/rockin’ blues band, in late 1989 with Graeme Grant (Demented Are Go, Krewmen) on bass, Eric LaCube on drums (who previously worked with Mouse in The Dillas a recording project) and Guy Bolton on lead guitar (Born Bad). The band only lasted one year, then Mouse reformed Red Hot’n’Blue. They gigged in London and its area as well as some festivals like the Hemsby Weekender.
In March 1990 the band recorded 20 songs in a professional studio. Some of them, and some demos recorded in Mouse’s bedroom, are available on the cd album “The Unreleased Recording”. Another demo was released on “Twenty Blasters From Blighty”. The full session eventually saw the light of day in 2016 on Trophy Records under the title “The Lost Album”.

Discography

The Lost Album – Trophy Records – 2016
V/A “The Unreleased Recordings – 1989-1994” DAGCD 3
V/A “20 Blasters From Blighty” – NV COMP 001


Switchblade - the lost album
Switchblade – the lost album

Switchblade – the lost album

Trophy TR005
Baby What You Want Me To Do – Blue Jeans And A Boys Shirt – Blues Blues Blues – Yes I’m Gonna Love You – Chicken Run – No More Crying The Blues – Go Go Go! – Homesick Boy – One Cup Of Coffee – One Part Stops Where The Other Begins – Pink Cadillac – Rock n’ Roll Jump n’ Shout – Come On Baby Take A Little Chance With Me – Three Alley Cats – Waiting For A Train – Warm Love – What Goes On – Wild Wild Lover – You Got To Lose

In April 1990 Switchblade found time to record a full album in a professional studio that remained unreleased until now.
If you look for slick and polished rockabilly this is definitely not for you. The sound is raw and uneven. There’s differences in term of sounds between songs, some sounding more like demos while others seem more “finished”. Their sound is a mix of rockabilly (Grant is one hell of a powerful slap bassist) with a good dose of rockin’ blues with a lot of energy and an emergency feel present all along the album (the fact that it was recorded and mixed in two days probably contributes to that feel).
Mouse penned three songs and the rest is split between rockabilly classics like Orbison’s Go Go Go, Glen Glenn’s One Cup of Coffee and Blue Jeans and a Boys Shirt, Roy hall’s Three Alley Cats, Benny Joy’s Wild Wild Lover and blues like Jimmy Reed’s Baby What You Want Me To Do, Earl Hooker’s You Got To Lose, George Thorogood’s Homesick Boy and some surprise like the Beatles What Goes On.
Despite the lack of homogeneity, it’s, with 19 songs, a good value for money, and if you like Mouse you’ll jump on this one (and the completist will find demos on the Unreleased recordings on Fury records as well as one song, Ride Ride Ride, on the compilation album 20 Blasters from Blighty).

Mouse Zinn

in Reviews

Mouse ZinnMouse Zinn – The Embassy Recordings


Foot Tapping Records – FT172  [2017]

Time Is Going By – That’s The Way – In Thoughts Of You – Searchin’ – Bar Hoppin’ Baby – Shush Don’t Tell ‘Em – Jealous Guy – Folkstone Skies – I’ve Waited So Long – Mooshataino – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Don’t Need No Star In Heaven

Is it still necessary to introduce Mouse? Well for the youngest: Mouse Zinn is the man behind Red Hot’n’Blue, the space Cadets and Switchblade. As you can see his name alone is enough to stir interest of any decent Rockabilly fan. And if I tell you that he recorded this album with none others than Darrel Higham on guitar, David Doel on double bass and Gordon Doel on drums (both from the extraordinary Doel Brothers) I can feel the excitment in your ears and in your feet. Having said that, I could almost stop my review here… but I’m a professional and I’m going to tell you a little bit more.
While Vigilante man, his previous solo album, covered many different styles, this one focuses on what Mouse Zinn does best: Rock’n’roll and Rockabilly. Three songs are penned by the singer, including the excellent “Shush Don’t Tell Em” that has a slight Gene Vincent feel and a new version of “Something I Ain’t Got” previously recorded by Red Hot’n’Blue on Ain’t Gonna Stop.
Higham contributed the desperate rocker That’s the Way and Gordon and Dave Doel added three more originals.
The remaining five songs are covers from the catalogs of Whitey Gallagher, Joe Fury, Jimmy Driftwood, Eddie Cochran (a rockin’ version of I’ve waited So Long) and… John Lennon (which is not that surprising after all, considering that Mouse and Switchblade already covered the Fab Four.)
After all these years, Mouse proves that he still has it and I would be more than pleased to hear another batch of tune from him with the same backing band.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Mouse Zinn

 

Red Hot’n’Blue

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews
Red Hot'n'Blue - Wait'n'See
Red Hot’n’Blue – Wait’n’See

Red Hot’n’Blue – Wait’n’See

Northwood Records / Be Be’s (reissue) [1985, reissue 1998]
Sure like the look in your eyes – Yes, I’m gonna love you – Clicketty clack – Aw c’mon baby – Long way home – Bad girl – Postman’s blues – Move baby move – Wait ‘n’ see – She got back on that train – Take a walk up the apple tree – It’s my lucky day – So lonely on my own – Hey gringo – Sure like the look in your eyes (live) – She got back on that train (live)
Finally after their apparition on the Big Noise From Northwood compilation, Red Hot’n’Blue released a full album. And what album!
With the addition of Kevin Ellis on sax, the band (Mouse on vocals, Ashley Kingman on guitar, and the twins Andy and Dave Bourne on bass and drums), helped by producer Boz Boorer (Polecats) shows a rare cohesion and maturity for a debut album.
With a majority of self penned tunes (only two covers) they go from boogie blues (Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes) to rockabilly (Clicketty Clack, Move Baby Move) without forgetting jump blues (It’s My Lucky Day, Bad Girl), jazzy ballad (So Lonely On My Own produced by Peter Davenport of Stargazer’s fame), latin instrumental with a Django Reinhardt feel (Hey Gringo) and rockin’ blues in the best Chess Records tradition (Postman Blues with blues harp and the Diddley tinged Take A Walk Up The Apple Tree). All this (and much more) make of Wait’n’See one of the best and most influential album of the 80’s.
The cd version offers two live cuts of Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes and She Got Back On That Train. One can find a very jazzy version of Caldonia from the same session son the now hard to find compilation album “The Northwood Story vol 1”.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Hey There Man - Zinn001
Red Hot’n’Blue – Hey There Man – Zinn001

Red Hot’n’Blue – Hey There Man!

Zinn 001 [1991]
Hey There Man – Jumpin’ Around – You Know I Love You So – If You Think I Don’t Need You – Baby You’ve Been To School – Give Me Back My Wig – Hi Fi Baby – Rock With Me – Big Sandy – Little Girl From Memphis – Can’t Keep Me Waiting – Come Over My House

Shortly after their reformation in the early 90’s Red Hot’n’Blue recorded this 12 track album and released it on their own Zinn label.
They reformed in the original quartet minus sax and decided to drop out all the jump/jive stuff from their set and focus more on the rockabilly/rockin’ blues side of their music. The whole album has a strong Chess/Chuck berry flair in it (at the same time Ashley Kingman was playing with the Blue Rhythm Boys) in the same vein of “Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes”. Some guest appears on harmonica, sax , steel guitar (Lee Jeffriess) and piano (Paul Ansell). Half of the songs are originals and the rest come from Hound Dog Taylor, Bobby Roberts, Teddy McRae, Elvis,). Excellent from start to finish.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes
Red Hot’n’Blue – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

Red Hot’n’Blue – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes b/w Clickaty Clack [1992]
Zinn 002
This 45 is hotter than the girl on the cover. In December 1992, Red Hot’n’Blue were back in studio to recut two songs from their debut album. This new versions are awesome and the song became a hit at every records hops around the world.
Limited edition of 1000.

 


Red Hot'n'Blue - Ain't Gonna Stop
Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop

Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop

Time Bomb TB11 [1993]
Going Away – Funny Kinda Feeling – My Brand Of Blues – Uptown Cat – Blues Stop Knocking – I Wanna Go Back Home – You’re The One – Find Out Whats Happening – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Every Saturday Night – Caroline – Ain’t Gonna Stop – You’re The One #2 – My Babe – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

The initial reformation was supposed to last only 6 months, but due to the amazing response from the audiences all over the world Red Hot’n’Blue dedided to carry on.
They recorded Aint Gonna Stop for Time Bomb a Japan label, a land where the band was highly popular. It finds Red Hot’n’Blue returning to a wider variety of styles including rockabilly (Ain’t Gonna Stop, Funny Kinda Feeling, Uptown Cat), rock’n’roll love song (You’re the One), rockin’ blues (a recut of Sure Like the Look in your Eyes that became a dancefloor filler), Chicago blues (Willie Dixon’s My Babe and the Elmore James inspired Caroline) and country-ish numbers like Going Away.
Compared to their previous releases the production is cleaner but also a bit thiner at places, but it remains a very good album with strong songwriting.
Just after the recording, Ashley Kingman left the band to move to the USA and join Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Boys, hence the title, Ain’t Gonna Stop, given by the three remaining members.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Bo Diddley Medley
Red Hot’n’Blue – Bo Diddley Medley

Red Hot’n’Blue – Bo Diddley Medley

Bo Diddley Medley b/w I’m Moving Away [1994]
Fury 005

Two tracks taken from “Havin’ A Ball”. Limited edition.

 

 


 

Red Hot'n'Blue - Havin' a Ball
Red Hot’n’Blue – Havin’ a Ball

Red Hot’n’Blue – Havin’ A Ball

Fury FCD3033 [1994]
Havin’ a ball – I’ll be long gone – Here in London town – Just for a day – Get back on that train (94) – Let me know – I’m moving away – Only one – Bo Diddley medley – I’ve never seen (such a thing like you before) – Next time I’m gonna do it right – Beggin’ time – Nothing to lose – Laughing and joking – Love me – Little girl from Memphis

Fourth album recorded with Pascal Guimbard (Sprites, Wild Ones) who replaced Ashley. The sound is less bluesy (though you find an excellent Bo Diddley medley) and more Rock’n’roll with a strong inspriration from late 50’s / early 60’s Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent. You’ll also find a bit of country (Beggin’ Time, Just For A Day, Let Me Know) and a dash of Neo-rockabilly.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Still Jumpin' Around
Red Hot’n’Blue – Still Jumpin’ Around

Red Hot’n’Blue – Still Jumpin’ Around

Jappin’ & Rockin’ JRCD34 [1998]
Things Are Gonna Be Different – Who – There’s No Need To Tell Me – Kiss Me Baby – Sinful Woman – Hold On To What You’ve Got – What Did You Say? – Gimme Some Lovin’ – Me And You Are Through – Phone Call – I’m In A Daze – I Had A Real Good Time – Still Jumpin’ Around – Big Sandy (’98)

Fifth and latest album to date from this rock’n’roll quartet. Mark Harman (Restless) has replaced Pascal Guimbard on lead guitar which gives the band a more neo-rockabilly sound with some songs logically sounding like the Space Cadets.
It’s a good album, not as essential as their earliest recordings, especially the ones featuring Kingman, but it features good originals.


Red Hot'n'Blue - Northwood EP
Red Hot’n’Blue – Northwood EP

Red Hot’n’Blue – Northwood EP

Crazy Love [2000]
Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes – I Wanna Tell You That I Love You Baby – Sad In My Heart – It’s My Lucky Day – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes

The songs of this EP result from a late session recorded in 1986. The twins, Andy and Dave Bourne had left the band. The new line-up was Paul Diffin (doublebass), Ashley (guitar), Stuart Simpson from the Slingshots (drums), Mouse and Kevin Ellis (sax) , a session piano player plus Boz Boorer who played guitar on Sad in my heart.
It’s My Lucky Day dates from the Big Noise From Northwood sessions produced by Peter Davenport (Stargazers).
The songs are good but definitely lack the rockin’ edge that made band so great.


 

Red Hot'n'Blue - Ain't Gonna Stop/Hey There Man
Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop/Hey There Man

Red Hot’n’Blue – Ain’t Gonna Stop/Hey There Man

Rarity records [2003]
Going Away – Funny Kinda Feeling – My Brand Of Blues – Uptown Cat – Blues Stop Knocking – I Wanna Go Back Home – You’re The One – Find Out Whats Happening – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Every Saturday Night – Caroline – Ain’t Gonna Stop – You’re The One #2 – My Babe – Sure Like The Look In Your Eyes
Hey There Man – Jumping Around – You Know I Love You So – If You Think I Don’t Need You – Baby You’ve Been To School – Give Me Back My Wig – Hi-Fi Baby – C’Mon And Rock With Me – Big Sandy – Little Girl From Memphis – Can’t Keep Me Waiting – Move Baby Move – Clicketty Clack – Baby You’ve Been To School #2 – Yes I’m Gonna Love You – Come Over My House

Two cd set gathering the second and third album of the band, including four bonus tracks recorded in 1991 during the Hey There Man sessions.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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