Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

Tag archive

Restless

Restless

in Reviews

Restless ‎– Love Like A Bullet

restlessBluelight Records ‎– BLR 45143 7 [2019]
Love Like A Bullet – Get Up And Get Out

In the recent years, Restless went back to their mid 80’s quartet line-up consisting of Mick Malone on guitar, Jeff Bayly on bass, and, of course, Ben Cooper and Mark Harman, respectively on drums and guitar and vocals. This line-up gave us the best (the Vanish Without a Trace ep that I hold as one of the best neo-rockabilly records ever made) and some different stuff, to put it mildly, with After Midnight.
Penned by Cooper, Love Like A Bullet starts with the band shouting “Gotta Give me your love” that reminded me of the opening of What Can You Say?. But my fears quickly vanished (without a trace) when the tune evolved into a rip-roaring boogie blues with a modern edge. The result is both a classic and a contemporary song.
The b-side, penned by Malone, is exclusive to this single and won’t be available on the forthcoming album, which is a reason good enough to buy it, but the quality of the song is another good reason.
These two songs augur the best for the album that will be released in 2020. And since the band has decided to call it quit, it will probably be their last which is very sad. But if all the songs are from the same wood, Restless will leave the scene on a very high note.


Restless live in TokyoRestless – Live in Tokyo 1989

Foot Tapping Records
Intro-Ghost Town / People Love A Show / Radar Love / All By Myself / Roll Your Monkey Maker / Vanish Without A Trace / That’s Alright / Neutron Dance / Ice Cold / 16 Tons / Baby Please Don’t Go / Edge On You / Money Honey / Little Pig / Long Black Shiny Car / Mr. Blues

This album, with the Sharks‘ Live in Japan and Frenzy‘s Live in Japan tends to make me believe that the best live albums are recorded in Japan with Steve Whitehouse slapping the double bass. If the Meteors Hell in the Pacific could easily prove me wrong on the first point, the Blue Cats’ On A Live Mission certainly confirms the second.

In 1989 Jeff baily left Restless and the band considered calling it quit. But with a tour of Japan scheduled, Ben Cooper and Mark Harman decided to hire a temporary bassist, namely Steve Whitehouse, to honor the booking. As Mark said in an interview to Deathrow “If Steve had said no, then if would have almost certainly been the end of Restless. Thankfully he said yes and after five minutes of rehearsing we went to Japan.”

The result as I said is an excellent live album with a surprinsigly tight band – considering the condition this line-up embarked to the tour – that plays all the classics (you can check, they’re all here) with carefully choosen covers and more unusual stuff like People Love A Show, a song that previously appeared on the b-side of Ice Cold.

Recorded by Pete Gage and mastered with the help of Alan Wilson you can’t go wrong in term of sound. Most of all this recording perfectly completes the other live albums released by Restless.

The choice of Whitehouse proved to me a pretty good one since the band recorded three studio albums, including the excellent Movin’ On, with him.


Restless – Beat My Drum

The Madhouse Recording Co. ‎– NUTA LP 001
Radar Love – Neutron Dance – Beat My Drum – Do What I Do – London Boy – New Orleans – Dance With The Devil – Get It While You Can – Tumblin’ Down – Big Wheel – Crossed Line – Ain’t Got You – Just Can’t Take It

In late 1987, Mick Malone left Restless, and the band was back to a trio again. It didn’t weaken the group, and the following year, Harman, Cooper, and Baily were back with a vengeance with “Beat My Drum.”
Maybe they thought that after the heavy produced “After Midnight” they had something to prove, but it found Restless in fine form.
“Beat My Drum” sounds like a perfect mix of the band’s first three albums. You can find the neo-rockabilly of “Why Don’t You Just Rock?” on “Do What I Do,” the modernity of “Do You Feel…” on “Get It While You Can” and the pop edge of “After Midnight” in their covers of Radar Love and Neutron Dance. But most of the time, helped by the clean production of Pete Gage, all these influences merge to create a unique style that will be Restless sound in the forthcoming albums.


Restless - Live at the Klub Foot
Restless – Live at the Klub Foot

Restless – Live at the Klub Foot

Trophy Records TR002
Roll Your Money Maker – Fools Gold – Last Chance Baby – Baby Please Don’t Go – Bottle On The Beach – Long Black Shiny Car – Girl On Death Row – Live A Lie – Ghost Town – Ice Cold – Edge On You – Love Me – Mr Blues

Recently Alan Wilson (of Western Star and the Sharks fame) found a box full of tapes recorded at the Klub Foot, the mecca of Psychobilly and Neo-rockabilly in the mid-80’s. These tapes needed to be restored and cleaned, a very costly process and two of these shows (Batmobile and Sting Rays) were released on Anagram/Cherry Red Records. Sadly the sales weren’t enough for the label and they called it quit. Knowing he had history in his hands, Wilson created a sub-label to his own Western Star to keep on releasing this stuff.
The second release in the serie concerns another well established name on the scene: Restless. I don’t think it’s possible to find someone who doesn’t like “Why Don’t You Just Rock?” or “Do You Feel Restless?” They made a name on both rockabilly and psychobilly scenes. When this gig was recorded in September 1984 they were at their finest, the line-up being original members Mark Harman on guitar and Ben Cooper on drums plus bassist Jeff Baily and, freshly recruited, Mick Malone on second guitar. The quartet plays killer tunes one after another (with the exception of the Phantom’s Love Me which doesn’t fit them well – sorry Mark you’re not a wildman). This set even features an original that never appeared on a studio album and written by Malone.
Buy it at Western Star


Restless – Ice Cold

Restless Ice ColdABC – ABCS 013T [1987]
Ice Cold (The 1987 Remake) – The Hunt Goes On / Stranger – People Love A Show

In March 1987, the four-piece line-up of Restless recorded a new version of Ice Cold. It’s a very different than the one you can find on their debut album. This new version has little to no connection with Rockabilly except for powerful slap bass. It’s almost a brand new song. The tempo is slower, the drum production is more massive, and there’s a slight variation on the melody. The result is surprising at first, but quite addictive.
The Hunt Goes On is an excellent modern-Rockabilly with once again a superb double bass part by Jeff Baily. The weak point is maybe the drums sound that betrays the date of recording.
Let’s put it frankly, Stranger has nothing to do with Rockabilly. It’s in the straight line of the material recorded by the band for After Midnight, but, on the other hand, this is probably one of Restless unsung gem.
Back to modern Rockabilly in the pure Restless style with People Love A Show. This one, with Ice Cold, was also released as a single.
Despite what have been said about this period of Restless, it was one of the band’s most creative peak; this 12” EP, featuring songs that weren’t available elsewhere, proves it.


Restless – Just A Friend

Restless just a friendABC – ABCS 012 [1986]
Just A Friend – The Girl Invisible

Just A Friend, the A-side comes from After Midnight. It has a 80’s pop meets jazz sound that one could find find in some bands of that era. It’s clean and features as usual a superb solo by Mister Harman. The Girl Invisible first appeared on the B-side of the Vanish Without A Trace ep. It’s one of the band’s best modern rockabilly effort.


Restless - After Midnight
Restless – After Midnight

Restless – After Midnight

ABC [1986]
What Can You Say – Somebody Told Me – Do You Really Need To know? – Trouble rides A Fast Horse – Bye B B By By Bye – How Can I Find You? – You Lose – After Midnight – Dark Blue Sea – The Face – Just A Friend

Back in college, thanks to a friend, I discovered Restless chronologically. I was blown away by “Why don’t you just Rock?” and amazed by “Do You Feel…” After that, Paul Harman left the band, which was joined by Jeff Baily on double bass and Mick Malone on second guitar. This line-up released “Vanish without a Trace,” one of my all-time favorite modern Rockabilly recordings.
Then, the quartet released “After Midnight.” I was young and dedicated to Rockabilly body and soul. I didn’t understand it and, you know how you are when you’re a teenager, I felt betrayed. Did Restless sell out? Nevertheless, I kept on buying Restless records, and the following albums were, to my relief, more to my tastes.
Now years have passed, I’m older – my quiff is far long gone – and, I hope, wiser. I decided to revisit “After Midnight.” And I was pleasantly surprised. More than that, it’s actually an excellent album. Sure, if you expect “Why Don’t You Just Rock part. 2” you’ll be disappointed, but if you approach it with an open mind you’ll be rewarded with solid melodies and some of Mark Harman’s best guitar parts (listen to the way he jumps on the solo of the title track for example.)
The band also had the ambition to go beyond the Rockabilly label. “After Midnight” featured more adventurous songs in terms of melody and arrangements, hence the presence of horns, accordion, synths, and keyboards of all sorts. So, yes, maybe they pushed it too far at places, and the production, especially now, seems dated, but you can’t blame an artist for having the will to create.
In 1990, Madhouse reissued the album under the title “Kickin’ Into Midnight.” It is a remixed version without the horns and most of the arrangements. It’s quite good, maybe more rockin’, but to be honest, I wonder if I don’t prefer the original mix. Anyway, it’s good to have both.
So if you think that anything that Elvis recorded after the Army was crap, you can live without that album, but if you’re curious, open to new melodies, and not too allergic to the production sound of the ’80s, you’ll find plenty of good things.


Do You Feel RestlessRestless – Do You Feel Restless?

Nervous Records NERD015 [1984]
Bottle On The Beach – Here I Am – Fool’s Gold – Down At The Swamp – Alabama Jailhouse – Prisoner Of Love – Sob Story – Crack Up ‘n’ Fall To Pieces – 16 Tons – Baby Please Don’t Go – Here I Am (dub version) – Sweet Surprise

Released in 1984 on Nervous records, Do You Feel Restless is the second full-length album from the British trio. It sounds like the modern counterpart of their debut album, with songs that Nervous could have judged too adventurous to be included on their debut album. Ben Cooper, the drummer, takes the lion’s share in terms of songwriting with seven songs out of twelve (the cd reissue features fifteen songs.) The other tunes are covers (Alabama Jailhouse, Baby Please Don’t Go, Sixteen Tons), and one song penned by Mark Harman (Bottle on the Beach) and another by the whole band (Crack Up And Fall to Pieces.)
While Why Don’t You Just Rock remained in the boundaries of Rockabilly with very few modern elements, Do You Feel Restless explore new territories. It flirts with Psychobilly at places, adds a touch of Reggae (Here I Am), and thus creates a new brand of modern Rockabilly that will be their trademark in the following years.


Restless - Why Don't You… Just rock!
Restless – Why Don’t You… Just rock!

Restless – Why Don’t You Just Rock

Nervous records Ner004 [1982]
It’s A Scam – Ice Cold – Why Don’t You Just Rock! – High Time – Last Chance Baby – Tag Man Tag – Long Black Shiny Car – Face In My Gin – Yellow Cab To Midnight – Morning Comes Slowly – Black Cat – Travellin’ – High Time 2* – Later* – That’s Alright* (*cd only)

Restless have a problem: their first album was perfect. One could argue that this is not such a big problem and many bands would like to have such a problem. It became a problem for them when they never managed to recapture the magic of that first album (though Do You Feel… came close).
Why Don’t You Just Rock was like a lightning in a bottle. The band had it all: the songs (mostly penned by singer and guitar player Mark Harman), the talent (with Harman’s guitar everywhere but also a tight rhythm section made of his brother Paul and Ben Cooper on drums)  but also the freshness and some form of carefree attitude that you have when you’re a teenager and you play that kind of music. Thus, they brought something new to the genre, making a lively album that rocks, bops, swings and rolls. A 80’s equivalent to Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps (a huge influence on the band).
There’s no need to do a song by song review, each number here is almost a classic: the title track, Ice Cold, Yellow Cab to Midnight, High Time (with its crazy jazzy guitar), Long Black Shiny Car. Unlike many they’re not afraid to play a ballad (Morning Comes Slowly) seriously.
And if you still need to be convinced, just count the numerous band this particular album influenced. They are legions. Restless, with Why Don’t You Just Rock, almost define, with the Blue Cats and a couple more bands, what neo-rockabilly is.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Restless
Resless (Mark Harman, Paul Harman, Ben Cooper)
Resless (Mark Harman, Paul Harman, Ben Cooper)
Resless (Mark Harman, Paul Harman, Ben Cooper)

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang

in Reviews
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang - Wild Youth
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Rockhouse [1982]
Wild Youth – She Will Come Back – 56 Boys –  Tainted Love – Love Me – My Turn – On The Move – One And Only – Flea Brain – Should I Ever Love Again – Summertime – Baby Blue – Just Can’t Believe – Wow

Having left the Blue Cats in 1980, Dave Phillips took some time off before forming his own band. Still with Gene Vincent in mind he named his new band the Hot Rod Gang after the 1958 movie featuring the screaming kid. The first line-up consisted of John Day and Ray Thompson on guitars, Rob Tyler on drums and of course Dave Phillips on double bass and lead vocals. But it’s the second line-up with Mark Harman from Restless on guitar replacing both Day and Thompson that entered the history of modern rockabilly. Harman was the perfect choice, his fast Gallup influenced licks being the perfect complement to Phillips. The trio recorded Wild Youth in late 1981 and contrary to what the cover reads it’s Tyler on drums and not Andrew Wrightson who was the band’s driver (even on the cd reissue features the mistake).
One can suppose that the label (Rockhouse for both) acted with Phillips the same way he did with the Blue Cats’ second album (with Clint Bradley) hence the presence of many familiar cover in a more traditional style (Flea Brain, Summertime, Baby Blue and the Phantom’s Love Me sung by Harman). But there’s enough modern stuff to make of Wild Youth a benchmark in Neo-Rockabilly history, the best known being their cover of Tainted Love. It’s an instant classic that will have a lasting influence on many young bands.
Essential to any decent collection.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dave Phillips

Dave Phillips – Rockhouse Mini L.P. Collection

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8420 [1985]

Brand New Beat – The Fun Of It – In My Dreams – So Now You’ve Lost her – You Don’t Want to Know – The Trip

I said it before and I’ll say it again, mini lp are often the best support for Rockabilly. It’s short, every number counts and there’s no place for fillers.
Dave Phillips’ mini lp for Rockhouse is the perfect exemple of that statement.It’s almost perfect and dare I say, even better than his debut solo album.
Once again one can hear the influence of Gene Vincent, with the covers of Brand New beat (imagine Vincent revisited by Restless of vanish Without A Trace period) and In My Dreams which is probably the weakest song of the album (but to his discharge it’s hard to compete with Vincent on that type of song.)
The four remaining tracks are originals. You Don’t Want to Know features Mark Harman of Restless (and former hot Rod Gang member) on guitar and is a rockin’ ballad with once again the shadow of Gene Vincent over it.
So You’ve Lost Her is a medium rocker while the Fun of it is a fast neo-rockabilly with breaks later covered by French band the Happy Drivers on their debut album and the Trip is Worth th eprice of the album alone. This fast modern rockabilly number (with a dash of psychobilly) is a modern masterpiece.

Dave Phillips – The Best Of

Rockhouse records ROCKCD8603
Tainted love -’56 Boys – Wild youth – She will come back – Love me – On the move – It was free – The trip – Every walk of life – I saw her standing there – Sunshine girl – So now you lost her – The fun of it – Brand new beat – I’m gonna die – I’m driving home – Boogie up roar – Pink thunderbird – Cat man

If you don’t have any of the solo albums of Dave Phillips or the Blue Cats (which is, in my opinion, a shame), you should definitely acquire this best-of album.
It covers the “Rockhouse years” of the fame double-bassist, with songs from the first Blue Cats album, the studio recordings (including the hit Tainted Love) and two live songs lifted from the Live at the Rockhouse compilation album.
It also shows that Phillips always had the best musicians to back him, Rob Tyler on drums and aces like Mark Harman, Paul Gaskin and Mick Malone on guitar.


Dave Phillips – Understatements

Kix 4 U Records ‎– 4U 3334
Rescue – Desert Town – Every Walk Of Life – Next Stop – Night Life – Paradise For The Children – The Trip – Room At The Top – Sunshine Girl – I Saw Her Standing There – Dancing Shoes – The Fun Of It!

Following the success of Tainted Love, Bert Rockhuizen of Rockhouse/Kix4U pushed Dave Phillips to add even more modern elements on Understatements.
Hence, despite having good melodies, most of the album is made of pop/new wave-influenced music with a modern production that has little if nothing in common with Rockabilly.
Nevertheless, a bunch of great self-penned Neo-Rockabilly numbers (The Trip, The Fun of it, and the Beatles influenced Next Stop) and two good rocking covers of the Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There and Buzz & the Flyers’Every Walk of Life, save half of the platter.


Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Look Out!

Bank Of Troy Recordings ‎– AR-92-1-33, My Way Records ‎– WAY LP 1223 [1992]
New Job – Git It – Goin’ Up The Country – It Was Free – She’s A Woman – No Comeback – Joy Ride – Ain’t That Good News – Handsome Johnny – Linda Lou – A Soft Growl – It’s Murder On The Streets

After going too deep into the musical experimentation with “Understatements” his previous album, Dave Phillips wisely chose to return to what he does best: ROCK! And what a better band than the original Hot Rod Gang (the faithful Rob Tyler on drums and Mark Harman as well as Paul Gaskin on guitars) to help him?
The result is a superb twelve track album. Some tracks a pure neo-rockabilly (almost Psychobilly for “It’s Murders On the Streets”); others are more traditional sounding. As usual with Phillips, there’s special care to write melodic songs (or cover songs with strong melodies), and he’s attached to add a variety of instruments (piano, harmonica, flute) to explore styles and moods. There’s even a slow, which is always a good point!
The only low point being the drawing on the cover.

Available here.


Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Good Thing

Fury Records F3035 [1995]
Good Thing – I’ve Just Seen A Face – Rollin’ Danny – Teenage Partner – Here Comes The Night – Linda Lu (Live Recording)

Recorded in 1995, Good Thing features Rob Tyler on drums and Darrel Higham on guitar. This mini-album features six covers. Next to the now mandatory Beatles cover, there are songs from Fine Young Cannibals, Gene Vincent, Hank Noble, and Ray Sharpe.
Good Thing, the song, captures the same vibe as Tainted Love. Phillips is as usual extremely at ease when it comes to singing Gene Vincent his idol, and both Here Comes the Night and Linda Lu rock (the latter being recorded live.) Surprisingly, they do not convince with their cover of the Beatles, which is usually one of their strong points.
The whole atmosphere is very laid back, and it benefits to the final result.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read our in depth interview with Dave Phillips here.

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

Various artists – Black Lagoon

in Reviews

Black Lagoon No. 3 – Eddie’s Return

Rumble Records ‎– BL003
Deuces Wild: Completely Sweet – Klingonz: Something Else – Resless: 20 Flight Rock – The Sharks: Tired’n’Sleepy
Rare four-track single released as a bonus with the German Psychobilly Fanzine “Demon Love No. 4.” It gathers four Eddie Cochran covers played by four well-known names on the psychobilly-rockabilly scene.
The Deuces Wild song comes from their second album and is a solid piece of neo-rockabilly with an excellent guitar solo. Cochran’s catalog is vast, and it’s good to find a band that goes beyond the ultra classic numbers. This is not the case with the Klingonz and their version of one of Cochran’s most well-known songs: Something Else. Well, I’ve never been a fan of the punkish brand of Psychobilly played by the Klingonz, and this cover did nothing to change my mind.
Taken from the lp “the early years,” Restless’ Twenty Flight Rock is raw, exciting and everything you come to expect by this legendary trio.
The Sharks close the program with an early live track taken from “First and Last live” that shows the Rockabilly roots of the band.

The Radioactive Kid

Stringbeans (the)

in Reviews
Stringbeans

Stringbeans (the) – You Better Do It

Raunchy FREP-002 [1985]
You Better Do It – I Just Keep Loving Her – Stomp and Climb the Walls – Born to Love One Woman

The Stringbeans was a Finish trio. They play a brand of fast neo-Rockabilly that showed the influences of Restless, Blue Cats, and Dave Phillips.
You Better Do It and Stomp and Climb the Walls are originals penned by Sami Roine, lead singer and guitarist of the band. The former is kinda wild and has a bit of Psychobilly vibe in it à la early Batmobile while the latter is more in the style of Dave Phillips solo stuff.
The other two, I Just Keep Loving Her and Born To Love One Woman are covers, respectively of Little Walter and Don Johnston.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Fretz (the)

in Reviews

Fretz psychobilly neo-rockabillyFretz (the) ‎– Don’t Fret

JPM Records ‎– FRET 1
Don’t Fret – Better Change Your Ways – Wishful Thinking – A Place In The Sun

An excellent though rather short mini lp by the Fretz, a neo-rockabilly band from Suffolk released around the mid 80’s. The Fretz were Jason Scopes on lead vocals and lead guitar, Mark Parker on double bass and Paul Smith on drums. The first three songs show the influence of Restless, Scopes guitar playing being clearly influenced by Mark Harman.
The last tune of the ep is more modern, closer to the style of Frenzy’s second album “Clockwork Toy”. All in all a very good ep. If you dig bands like Restless, the Nitros and the Cellmates this one is for you.

Fretz

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Go to Top