Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

Tag archive

Rhythm Bomb

Levi Dexter

in Reviews

Levi Dexter and the Ripchords – In the Beginning

In the beginning

Mistral Records BLOW 1 [1980]
I’m Gone – It’s The Beat – Cat Fight – 21 Days in Jail

Sometimes when a band splits, it’s a colossal waste of talent. On the contrary, the split of Levi and the Rockats gave us two great bands: the Rockats and Levi and the Ripchords. A bit like the original Blue Cats’ split gave us Dave Phillips and the Blue Cats with Clint Bradley.
Anyway, back to Levi Dexter. When he parted ways with the Rockats, he quickly searched for potential members to form a new band. Dexter approached different musicians for the Ripchords, including Brian Setzer and his brother Gary. Still, the line-up finally settled on Danny B. Harvey on lead guitar, Jimmy Reed on rhythm guitar, Dave Curry on bass, and Pat Brown on drums.
This hot combo cut this EP in April 1980 at Alaska studios in London. It features three originals and one cover.
Danny Harvey penned two songs: I’m Gone and Cat Fight. The former is a superb fast-paced Rockabilly number, the latter has a menacing mood, which carries the theme of the song. You’d expect the violence to erupt anytime. Also, it features a fine slide guitar on the solo.
It’s The Beat, written by the singer, is a mid-tempo dancing tune with drums to the fore, not surprisingly with such a title.
The fourth track is Magic Sam’s 21 Days In Jail. Dexter and the Ripchords turned the song into a superb Rockabilly with a powerful double-bass and Harvey’s guitar galloping (or should I say “galluping”) behind the melody.
In 1980, the band managed to capture the excitement of the Fifties while keeping it relevant for a contemporary audience that saw the arrival of Punk. Forty years later, it still sounds fresh.


Levi Dexter & The Ripchords – I Get So Excited

I Get so excited

Fresh Records – FRESH 40 [1981]
I Get So Excited – The Other Side Of Midnight

Recorded in July 1981, Levi and the Ripchords’ second single shows a slight departure from the band’s debut effort. After Curry and Reed decided to return to Los Angeles the previous Summer, the band recruited Bobby Brennan on double bass, and Danny Harvey remained the sole guitar player. It’s also produced by the expert hands and ears of Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, Robert Gordon, the Strangeloves, Holly and the Italians). It finds Dexter and the Ripchords leaving the traditional Rockabilly idiom to flirt with Neo-Rockabilly. Suffice to compare the Other Side of Midnight’s version recorded by Levi and the Rockats on their Louisiana Hayride album with this one. The former is played in a medium train beat and sounds traditional, whereas the latter is slightly faster, the vocal is meaner, and the guitar sound is more modern. Those differences may sound subtle, but in the end, you almost have an entirely new song.
I Get So Excited is from the pen of Danny Harvey, and drummer Pat Brown is in the same vein. I always get chills when the song stops and Harvey erupts into an amazing, yet brief, guitar solo.


Levi – The Fun Sessions

levi the fun sessions

PVC Records – PVC 5905
I Get So Excited – The Other Side Of Midnight – Victim Of Kool – Let Er Roll – Jitterbop Baby

Both I Get So Excited and Other Side Of Midnight were released as a single in 1981. Victim of Kool comes from the same session (July 1981) produced by Richard Gottehrer. It sounds like a modern version of Gene Vincent’s Dance In The Street.
The remaining two songs, a cover of Hal Harris’ Jitterbop Baby and Sid King’s Ler Er Roll, come from a Trident Studio session in London in November 1980. The sound is more traditional and closer to the band’s debut single in terms of sound.


Pomp!
Levi Dexter – Pomp!

Levi Dexter – Pomp!

Jappin’ and Rockin’ JRCD3 [1992]
Other Side of Midnight – Just Go Wild – Hot’n’Cold – Lolita – Joint Jumpin – Dub-Scratch Boogie – Crazy Blues – Everytime – Stealin Corn – Motorhead Baby – All Night Rockin’

In 1985 Levi Dexter gathered a fine array of musicians and did what he does best (and better than many): ROCK! The result was Pomp!
Actually there’s more than just rockabilly here and everyone who likes good music will find something on this platter that is sure to please him . Of course the amateur of Neo-rockabilly as defined by Dexter with the Rockats and the Ripchords will be knocked off by his new version of his classic “Other Side Of Midnight” – that plays in the same league as, say, everything the Blue Cats recorded on the Tunnel in term of modern Rockabilly – or by his interpretation of classics like “Hot’n’Cold”. But there’s also a good dose of good old Rock’n’roll with saxophone, a jazzy ballad (Lolita) with a great solo that is worth the price of the album itself (even if it sells for big money on the internet now!) a rockin’ blues with steel guitar (Crazy Blues) and a bit of western swing influence (Everytime) too. There’s even an instrumental in the Bakersfield style.
As I said before, “Pomp” is not that easy to find but definitely worth the hunt.


Levi Dexter - Roots Man
Levi Dexter – Roots Man

Levi Dexter – Roots Man

Dextone Records/Rhythm Bomb records RBR5776 [2014]
Roots Man – Honey Bun – Completely Sweet – Oakie Boogie – Boppin’ Bernie – Rollin’ To The Jukebox Rock – Hadacillin Boogie – I’m Laying It On The Line – Put Your Cat Clothes On – Move Around – The Man Who Counts – Hurricane – Restless – Cannibal Party

Levi’s back! Not that he was really gone – though he’s a real gone cat but that’s another story – but his latest album released jointly by his own label Dextone records and Rhythm Bomb records sounds like a sonic bang and a slap in the face. A shoot of Rock’n’roll directly injected through your ears to your feet. Boppin’ fever guaranteed.
Roots Man, quite an appropriate name, was recorded live mostly o n vintage gear and it shows. One can hear the emergency and the excitement that make the essence of Rockabilly. Special mention also to the perfect backing band: Buzz Campbell (Hot Rod Lincoln, Lee Rocker) sets his guitar on fire while Johnny Bowler (Guana Batz, Head Cats and many others) and Stinky provide the beat.
Among the 14 songs, three are Dexter originals. The title track is a hot rocker with stop-starts arrangements with Levi naming his favourite rockers while Campbell answers with the appropriate riffs. Boppin’ Bernie (I wonder who this Bernie can be?) has a slight Gene Vincent feel and is sure to make you… bop! The third song, quite possibly my favourite track, is the humorous Cannibal Party that sounds like a mix between Jungle Rock and the MeteorsVoodoo Rhythm.
The remaining songs are covers from the songbooks of Larry Donn, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Don Rich & the Buckaroos, Jack Guthrie, Benny Joy, Hank Penny and, that’s a good point, contemporary artists like Bob Butfoy( Jack Rabbit Slim) and Steve Bloomfield. Dexter assimilates them, mixes them with his own influences (Do I hear a bit of Cavan on Oakie Boogie?) and in the end the songs are what I call “Dexterised”, sounding 100% Levi.
A must have.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Levi Dexter (Photo by Bernie Dexter)
Levi Dexter (Photo by Bernie Dexter)

Twisted Rod

in Reviews

Twisted Rod – Bring It On

twisted rodRhythm Bomb Records 5789 [2014]
Twisted Rod – I Love You My Way – Down The Line – I Dig Rock – Eight Days A Week I’m Rockin’ – Stutterin’ Cindy – Tommy Gun – Cats In The Night – You’ve Done Me Wrong – Please Give Me Something – I Won’t Change – Wild Wild Lover – Tijuana 45 – Ridin Down The Highway – When I Watch You

A solid album from this Czech band, loaded with energetic, wild and frantic Rockabilly and Rock’n’roll. If you dig stuff like Gene maltais, Benny Joy and recent bands like the Racketteers and the Raging Teens, go for it, you won’t be disapointed.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

A.J. and the Rockin’ Trio

in Reviews

aj_rockin_trio_howlin_at_the_moonA.J. and the Rockin’ Trio – Howlin’ at the Moon

Rhythm Bomb RBR5827 {2016}
Waiting For You – Hot Rockin’ Mama – She Do The Bop – Lonesome Sinner Blues – Let’s Howl At The Moon – Hey Senorita – Miss Bobby Sox – You Lose – Gunfight At OK Corral – Baby Baby – Feel The Motor Runnin’ – Even The Blues Don’t Wanna Get Along With Me
A.J. and the Rockin’ Trio come from Portugal. This is the band’s debut album. they play Rockabilly both traditional and wild with a particular care brought to the changes of atmospheres using different microphones on the voices and lots of little things like that that keep hinges interesting. Lonesome Sinner Blues and Gunfight at OK Corral feature a trumpet and a trombone for a mariachi/ classic western movie feel and Even the Blues don’t wanna Get Along With Me has a jazz feel and features a lap steel. In the end it makes a very entertaining and varied album. Recommended.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


A.J. and the Rockin’ Trio – Rockin’ the Blues

Rhythm Bomb Records – RBR-5869
Moonshine Blues – Can’t Take It Anymore – Done Me Wrong – Girls Wine Kiss & Love – Rockin’ My Blues – Crazy ‘Bout That Baby – Call Me (I’ll Be Here) – All Day and Night – You Should Have Known – Rockabilly Fever – Have a Ball – You Can’t Run Away – From Your Blues

Rockin’ the Blues is the band’s second lp. It contains twelve songs and one cover, Leon Rhodes’ Have A Ball.
If not exceptional and sometimes limited at places, A.J. has a good voice, and the musicians of the Rockin’ Trio are more than competent. The thing is that the final result, though rather pleasant, lacks originality and personality. Most of the songs are average Rockabilly, ranging from the Burnette influenced Moonshine Blues to the more traditional Done Me Wrong, which features a piano and Pedro Sera on harmony vocals.
There are some attempts at mean Rock’n’Roll like Can’t Take It Anymore and its hypnotic riff as well as Hillbilly Swing, which, despite the efforts of the band and their guest trombonist, has a hard time to really swing.
Coral Lee appears on Call Me, a tune that evokes Sea Of Heartbreak.
Unfortunately, she only sings harmonies. It’s a missed opportunity for her beautiful voice would have been perfect for a duet.
The best and most exciting song of the album is by far the country-noir You Should Have Known.
Lyrics are included, and not surprisingly, most of the songs talk about women, booze, and often both.

Ray Black & The Flying Carpets

in Reviews

Ray Black & the Flying Carpets – Better Way To Move

Rhythm Bomb – RBR-5883 [2018]
Favorite Doll – Rolling Stone – Secret Lover – Big Boy Rock – Better Way To Move – It Ain’t Right – Shakey Heart – Something Blue – Little E – She’s Gone I’m Fine – Rollerskating Girl – Guy Fawkes Blues
Ray Black & the Flying Carpets is a German quartet. The bandmembers are Ray Black (Singer, Upright Bass), Martin Bone (Lead Guitar), Howlin’ Herbst (Rhythm Guitar, Baritone), and Boz Doz (Drums.)
This album covers a wide range of musical genres. If they don’t convince me with their brand of wild electric Rockabilly, I find them more interesting when they explore other styles. They’ve got a couple of blues bopper and blues-oriented numbers with harmonica and piano that are quite good as well as their more traditional stuff like It Ain’t Right.
I also enjoyed Little E, an early ’60s rocker ala Bertha Lou.
The main problem is that you jump from one style to another, but in the end, the whole album lacks coherence. It’s hard to find the real identity and personality of the band within all those styles. They really should stick to one genre and develop their own style.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Phil Trigwell

in Reviews

Phil Trigwell – Boogie Woogie Cowboy

Phil Trigwell

Rhythm Bomb Records – RBR 5643 [2005]

Phil Trigwell is an Englishman who lives since 1971 in Sweden. His career really began in 1993 with his group the Deputies and his albums for the german Tessy Records. Then he will often change his musicians and labels signing with Tail Records, Enviken Records, and Armadillo Records. Here is returning to Tessy Records for a new album (not that new cause the tracks were recorded in 2003 but never released before) distributed by Rhythm Bomb Records. Phil shares all the instruments with A.J.Hakwinson. “Boogie Woogie Cowboy” contains 18 titles. It’s a blend of western swing, hillbilly and rockabilly played in a very easy-going style, with a lot of pickin’, and the kind of relaxed way that only the self-assured musicians can afford! This album is well-balanced between Phil’s excellent self-penned songs (seven of them) and covers (sometimes very different than the originals) as for example “Freight Train Boogie” (Scott, Nobar), “Since You Went Away to School” (N Petty), “Sugar Moon” (B Wills), “No good Lover” (Baker, Vanderpool), “Hillbilly Express” (Garland, Collie) “Travelling Light” (sung by Cliff Richard) and “Hooray For That Little Difference” (Autrey Inman)
It’s evident that Phil is one of the most talented European musicians and composers playing in a very unique and sensitive way. But he’s also (and it’s a shame) one of the most unrecognized! Buy that great album and discover his unique touch!

Dave “Long Tall” Phisel

Mad Men (the)

in Reviews

Mad Men (the) – Rhythm And Sin

RBR 5647 Rhythm Bomb Records RBR 5647 Rhythm and Bomb Records

Dig This Action – Early Next Morning – Bop Disease – Breaking Hearts And Promises – Little Franny – ‘long About Midnight – Mary – Rhythm And Sin – Only You – Saturday Night Rich – Snap Your Little Finger – Baby Baby – Big Mama – Intoxicated – It’s Time To Howl

Holy mackerel! What a blast! I thought my CD player was goin’ to melt while listening to this second album of the Croatian Mad Men! Never a band better deserves his name. These 15 tracks are hotter than hell. From the first track “Dig This Action” to the last one which is not listed, a raw cover of the Italian rocker Adriano Celentano’s “24 mila baci” from 1961 sung in Croatian by Altic Emir and done today by Branko Radovancevic. This crazy dynamite album was recorded, produced and mastered for Rhythm Bomb Records by the german wizard Axel Praefcke. And it sounds just like comin’ from an obscure 50’s wild rockin’ combo. Listening to these guys, I caught a “Bop Disease” that you’ll probably catch you too; I’m quite sure. Would you resist to the catchy drive of “Little Franny”, the powerful “long about midnight” (what a perfect one to listen to while cruisin’ with your hot rod!), the strollin’ “Mary”, the frantic “Rhythm and Sin” (my idea of a perfect live!), the boppin’ “Saturday Night Rich”, a Presley influenced “Snap Your little finger” (that will remind you “Baby I don’t Care”), the cover of Mike Waggoner & Bops’ “Baby Baby”, the jivin’ “Big Mama”. Okay, now you’re “Intoxicated.” And ‘It’s Time To Howl” cause you’re having such a ball that you cannot help from screamin’, yellin’ and barkin’ like a rabid wolf. I easily can understand you for my neighbors called the police, and they’re now taking me away in a camisole… So long, fellows… Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

David “Long Tall” Phisel

1 2 3 8
Go to Top