Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

Tag archive

Restless

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

Restless

in Reviews

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 - 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 - 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

Shortly after the release of Do You Feel Restless, the band’s second album, Paul Harman left Restless to be replaced by Jeff Bayly. Around the same time they added Mick Malone on second guitar.
In 1985 the ep Vanish Without A Trace announced a slight change in the band’s sound, slowly moving from neo-rockabilly to modern-rockabilly, sometimes bordering on psychobilly but their fans couldn’t imagine that their sound would change so drastically. “After Midnight” took everybody by surprise with its radio friendly production, synthethic drums sound, keyboards and horns. In trying to gain a wider audience, which they never really did, Restless had lost its personnality. The rockabillies ignored the album and so did Top Of The Pops, a typical case of a no winners situation. “After Midnight” was a total waste of talent comparable to Frenzy’s Sally’s Pink Bedroom.


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)

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

Javes (the)

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Javes (the) – TV Quarrel

Javes tv quarrel

Razzle Dazzle Records – RAZ 811101 [1985]

TV Quarrel – 77 Sunset Strip – Stranger than Paradise – Jivin’ with my baby

The Javes were a German trio formed by Torsten Langner on guitar and vocals, Jürgen Berger on double bass and Oliver Hartmann on drums. They released this ep with four original songs in late 1985 / early 1986.

The title track is pure neo-rockabilly in the style of Restless’ first album. Very good guitar, solid double bass and drums and screams. Both 77 Sunset Strip and Stranger than Paradise border on early Psychobilly. If you want to pursue the comparison with Restless, let’s say those two tracks would be more at their place on Do You Feel rather than Why Don’t You Just Rock. Despite what I can say, don’t believe this guys were copycats, it’s just to give you an idea of the sound.

The last track is Jivin’ With My Baby which has a superb jazz feel to it with brushed snare drum and appropriate jazz chords.

Maybe the production is a bit thin at place and a fuller sound would have been better (especially when you know that they recorded some démos for Northwood later that year with Boz Boorer.) But that’s just one minor flaw (so minor you can’t even call it a flaw.)

Both Jurgen and Torsten later joined 45rpm.

Javes

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Go to Top