Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

Tag archive

ripsaw records

Marti Brom (reviews)

in Reviews

Marti Brom Midnight BusMarti Brom & Her Rancho Notorious – Midnight Bus

Enviken ENREC177 [2019]
Come Destroy Me – Lasso Mr Moon – Belly Of The Beast – Loveaholic – Push Me Till I’m Gone – Last Ten Years With You – Lies Of A Promise – Ambush – Little Ole Wine Drinker Me – Stiletto In Black – If ‘If’ Was A Fifth – Drivin’ Me Crazy – Slippin’ And Slidin’ – Mamas Little Babies Was A Rockin’ – Midnight Bus – Damn Those Little Deamons (vinyl only)

Marti Brom is by far one of the finest singers on the roots music scene, and I said singer, not “female singer.” She seems to be able to do whatever she wants with her voice, and it even seems easy.
That said, I was slightly disappointed with “Not for Nothing,” her 2010 release. Marti’s performance was, as usual, top-notch but I found the production uneven.
Nothing like this here. Recorded in Sweden with a gang of talented Swedish guys (and a couple of guests like Rosie Flores and Chris Ruest), Midnight Bus is perfect from start to finish.
Nine out of the sixteen tracks are from Marti’s pen; the others are covers. But cleverly, next to classics like Slippin’ and Slidin’, Little Ole Wine Drinker Me or the title track, Marti had an excellent idea to include songs from today’s artist. Thus you can finds songs from Crazy Joe (Last Ten Years With You), Kathy and the Kilowatts (Loveaholic) or the late great Nick Curran (Drivin’ Me Crazy.)
From Damn Those Little Demons, a bluegrass tune only available on the vinyl version, on one end to Ambush, a sixties soul number with organ, on the other, “Midnight Bus” covers a broad range of styles. But thanks to the production, it manages to remain coherent and sounds like a whole.
There is a good dose of solid rockers like “Come Destroy Me,” “Last Ten Years With You” or “Mama’s Little Baby Was A Rockin’” which features a solid rockin’ piano.
Album after album, Brom proved she was more than at ease to sing country songs. This one makes no exception. “Lie of a promise” is a traditional honky-tonk with fiddle and steel. As I said before, she makes it sound so easy, and I thought how great it would be to have her cut a single with the Country Side of Harmonica Sam. Labels if you read this. “Push Me Till I’m Gone” is more in the Cash vein and “Lasso Mr. Moon” is a superb country shuffle with a cracking guitar solo.
Talking about guitar, Chris Ruest provides a mean guitar on Curran’s It’ Drivin’ Me Crazy while Mattias Bruhn hypnotically tickles the ivory. “If If Was A Fifth” brings a welcome touch of Jump and West coast blues.
Tunes like “Midnight Bus,” “Stilleto in Black,” and “Belly of the Beast” are the perfect vehicles to hear the intensity and emotivity of her voice. The latter is a mean and menacing rocker that sounds like a cross between Johnny Horton’s “Lover’s Rock” and “Funnel of Love.”
With that album, Brom really reached a new level with her songwriting. Combined that with her always-spectacular voice and a stellar backing band and the result is one of Brom’s very best platter.

Available at Enviken , Raucous, Tessy or other fine dealers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Marti Brom - Not for nothin'
Marti Brom – Not for nothin’

Marti Brom – Not For Nothin’

Ripsaw / Goofin GRACD 6705 [2010]
Finders Keepers / Get A Little Goner / Mascara Tears / Not For Nothin’ / Forbidden Fruit / Something Blue / Never No More / Sweet Baby of Mine / Blues Keep Calling / Sweet Thang / Write Me In Care of the Blues / Feelin’ Right Tonight / I Get the Blues When It Rains / A Fool Such As I / Spook House

“Not For Nothing” is not only the return of Marti Brom but it’s also the return to life of a legendary label: Ripsaw. For this album, the rockin’ brunette gathered a cast of musicians of the Washington DC scene.
The opening track – Finders keepers – is a cover of Wynona Carr on which she’s appropriately backed Del Pushert (who toured with Elvis) on sax. The singer does a great job, and it’s good to hear her on this genre of tune. Get A Little Goner, the following number finds her in familiar territories. It’s a twangy honky-tonk number featuring Bill Kirchen. It’s by far the best track of the album with Arty and Linda Hill’s Mascara Tears a straight honky-tonk on which her Patsy Clyne’s voice does wonders. In the same vein, you’ll find Something Blue from the pen of Teri Joyce. The Austin songwriter wrote some of the best songs ever sang by Brom and this song makes no exception. The title track, penned by Sean Mencher, features an organ. The arrangement is perfect until a weak, distorted guitar solo ruins the song.
Pat Brown’s Forbidden Fruit is way better and the solo more inspired.
Bobby Sharp’s Sweet Baby Of Mine could have been excellent. It’s a groovy number in a similar vein than Hit the Road Jack with saxes but once again the guitar could be a little bit more subtle. Globally, one can say that the weak point of this album lies in the rockin’ numbers on which the guitarist can’t help but over playing, and to make things worse, with a bad sound. Strangely, for a singer that delivered some outstanding rockabilly numbers this album works better on the country or blues-inspired numbers. But as they say, every rule has its exception and “I Get the Blues When It Rains” is the perfect demonstration of that. They try to give it a western swing touch but end sounding more than Asleep At The Wheel rather than Bob Wills. In the end “Not For Nothin’” is only half convincing, but I wouldn’t say that Brom is to blame, but the problem comes from the band. You can only regret her previous albums on which she was backed by members of High Noon or the excellent Barnshakers.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Marti Brom plays Heartache Numbers
Marti Brom sings Heartache Numbers

Marti Brom – Sings heartache numbers

Goofin’ Records
One Way Ticket To The Blues – Alone At A Table For Two – Three Hearts Later – Four Walls – Five Fingers To Spare – Whiskey Six Years Ago – Seven Lonely Days – Eight Weeks In A Barroom – Apartment No 9 – Ten Minutes Till Heartaches – A-11 – The Twelfth Of Never – Thirteen Steps Away

I heard about this “Heartache Numbers” project a couple of years ago, and was very interested in the concept. Each track is a song containing the number of it’s track listing on the CD. (for example: Track #7- «7 Lonely Days», Track #9- «Apartment #9», etc.) HOW CLEVER!!! And it ends with the unlisted track- «Heartache By the Numbers». Okay- so Marti’ gets kudos for the concept of the record alone. Even though I usually have gripes with records that are all covers, this is an exception because of the clever concept and the fact that it is Marti’ Brom and she can pull it off. I was thrilled to find it was no longer just a «concept», and that the recordings were finally finished and released in time for the Oneida 50’s Fest. I had to get a copy. I have always been a Marti’ Brom fan, no matter what she does. Every record is different for her, but she has such an impressive range, she can master a multitude of musical styles. Still my favorite Marti’ recordings are her country ballads. Imagine- a whole record of country ballads by Marti’! The emotion of these songs perfectly showcases her ability as a singer. I don’t know much about 60’s Country, but I was turned on to the genre when I lived in Austin, TX, where it is a staple. I miss the honky-tonks where I could have a tear in my beer, but this CD brings it all back to me. My only warning to listeners is that, if you are drinking while you are playing the CD, you will probably be crying by the end. Remember that the title is «Heartache Numbers».There is only one Patsy Cline cover on the record, but the obvious comparison to her vocal stylings is still evident. Like Patsy, Marti can yank at those heartstrings with her dynamic range and emotional vocal manipulation. (Marti- don’t get offended about another Patsy comparison. It is definitely a compliment from me.) Vocally, this record is flawless. It is, in my opinion, Marti’s best vocal performance on a recording-and all of her recordings are superb. And, as always, she has selected the best backing musicians for the genre. (Bobby Flores- fiddle, Justin Trevino and Kevin Smith- bass, Debra Hurd- piano, Levi Mullen- guitar, Dickie Overby- steel, Buck Johnson and Lisa Pankratz- drums) If you like 60’s country, it doesn’t get any better than this! When I am drinking alone, I am going directly to this CD for company.To top it off, the «Maven of Style» models a «Cari Lee» original creation on the cover- a saloon-girl style satin/fringe dress! (I thought Cari Lee was a singer- how did she have time to become a kick-ass seamstress as well? I want my own «Cari Lee» dress!). Plus, the liner notes are by the one and only Wanda Jackson! You know it must be good if the «legends» are raving about it.

In conclusion, Marti’ is still my idol. Buy all of her records!

Little Rachel

Martha Hull

in Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews/Singles

Martha Hull – Feelin’ Right Tonight

Martha Hull

Feelin’ Right Tonight / Fujiyama Mama
Ripsaw Records 217

Martha Hull first sang Tex Rubinowitz’s Feelin’ Right Tonight (Ripsaw 212) when she was singing for the punk band D.Ceats. She somehow caught the attention of Tex Rubinowitz who decided to record her.

Thus, on May 29, 1980, Martha Hull got into Bias studio to record these two tracks. The session was produced by Rubinowitz and his band, the Bad Boys (Eddie Angel, Ratso, Johnny Castle and Scotty Flowers) backed her up.

Side A is a hot rockin’ version of Tex’s song and the flip is Wanda Jackson’s Fujiyama Mama. Both are solid Rockabilly with strong vocal. One can only regret that Martha Hull didn’t record more stuff in that style.

Released on Ripsaw, the 45 is now very sought after. It now can be found on the Part reissue compilation “the best of Ripsaw”. This serie of compilations also included an alternate take of Fujiyama Mama recorded during another session.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Marti Brom

in Interviews

Singin’ and Satan:  Marti Brom Gives the Devil’s Music a Heavenly TwistMarti 1

By Denise Daliege-Pierce

Satan,” Marti Brom quipped when asked why she had chosen to take her eclectic blend of rockabilly, rhythm and blues, swanky pop standards and anything in between to the stage. That one word response, derived from a 2011 interview conducted via e-mail, was an indication of Brom’s charm and tongue-in-cheek humor, traits that—along with her fiery vocals—have served the songstress well.

While frequently uttered in the same breath as such modern rockabilly notables as Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys and Kim Lenz, Brom’s catalog, like those of her associates’, is as varied as the locales that she has called home. Early exposure to such musical and topographical diversity did more than just mold the singer’s harmonic style. “I grew up in St. Louis and spent many of my summers in Baton Rouge with my grandmother and her country doctor husband,” she recalled in 2011. “Many of his patients paid for his services with live crabs and shrimp and oysters, so I would say that my summers in Louisiana did more to shape my tastes in tastes than in music. Of course, the great music and shows such as ‘Hee Haw’ were definitely part of the background.
More important to shaping my style on stage was my access to my grandmother’s grand trunks filled with fabulous outfits and jewelry,”  Marti Brom continued. “When I wasn’t in the pasture squishing my toes in cow poop, I was pretty much spending all of my time plundering and playing dress-up with my grandmother’s things.

It was around the age of 13, while living in Italy, that Marti Brom received an introduction to the music of Suzi Quatro. Although Quatro would become primarily known throughout the United States for her recurring role as Leather Tuscadero, the tough talking, leather-clad guitarist of the popular television sitcom, Happy Days, in Europe, she was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest acts. Quatro’s edgy sound—think Joan Jett and the Runaways—stirred the musical yearnings within Brom and, a few years later, she decided to fly to England in hopes of stoking her own fledgling singing career. The decision, however, was not a fruitful one. “I wasn’t hoping to be discovered, exactly; I had simply read about Chrissie Hynde’s adventures in England and decided to follow suit,” she explained. “Unfortunately, I truthfully answered the customs agent that I did not yet know how long I intended to visit the country. My honesty cost me a year’s worth of the money I had saved for the trip—airline tickets cost much more back then—and a night in jail. I can say that the officials were not pleasant—not to me, and especially not to the African families who were my cellmates. Oddly, as an adult, I’ve never been asked that question again. I think England, at the time, had its fill of punk rockers and wasn’t looking for more.

marti bromFate, destiny, chance—call it what you will—oftentimes dons the guise of practical joker. Hampered by stage fright, it would be several years before Brom would finally make her singing debut, performing in the Officers’ Wives Club-produced musical, “The 1940s Radio Show”, at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Along the way, she became acquainted with budding musician Michael Stipe, who would achieve renown as frontman for the popular alternative rock group, R.E.M. “I was the poster girl for a band that my guitarist boyfriend, Joe, led back around 1978, Bad Habits,” began Brom. “Joe placed an ad for [a] vocalist, and Michael Stipe answered the call. I never did see the band perform because, at the time, I was between fake IDs, so I mainly knew Michael from our trips to ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. I would go as Magenta and Michael, of course, was Frank-N-Furter. He was an Army brat; a high school student living near Scott Air Force Base, the same base where I, much later, kicked off my own music career after marrying my own military man.” Brom later added, “But I can thank Mr. Stipe for first suggesting to me that I might like the music of one Patsy Cline. He thought my voice suited her style. My path did not cross with Mike’s again until I ran into him at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas, almost 25 years later. Austin is one of those towns where celebrities can just hang out without everyone around them acting like a fan.

It was in Austin that Marti Brom began to earn her reputation as a versatile performer, drawing material—and inspiration—from numerous sources, from Martha Carson and pop balladeer Connie Francis to Charlie Feathers and “The Queen of Rockabilly” Wanda Jackson. “I guess some of the biggest would have to be Mama Cass and Big Mama Thornton; the smallest would have to include Little Jimmy Dickens and, of course, Little Brenda Lee,” she joked. “But seriously, my influences are too many to mention. I’ve worn out the grooves on artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Doris Day. I pretty much absorb music and song from every performer and musical style—well, except rap, but that is really poetry, not song; usually very bad poetry.
Unbeknownst to Brom, rockabilly’s raw energy and rebellious sound had long ago seduced her into its fold. “I think like, as with most Americans, it was just part of the fabric of rock ‘n’ roll,” she related. “I grew up on Elvis Presley movies, but I never thought of there being a separate sound called ‘rockabilly’. That was more of a British thing. Even around 1980, when I had seen such acts in clubs as The Rockats and Chris Isaak and Carl Perkins, I did not think of those acts as being anything other than being normal rock ‘n’ roll music like other acts I saw, such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or The Ramones. I don’t really recall even using or hearing the word ‘rockabilly’ in a conversation, until one day, a guy I was dating came over to my apartment while I was playing one of my favorite albums, a collection of George Jones tunes called ‘Rockin’ the Country’, and he called it ‘rockabilly’. Of course, that guy, who proposed to me five months later in New Orleans, was a rockabilly fan who, on one of our first dates, took me to Memphis to hang out with Tav Falco and Panther Burns and, of course, The Cramps were the ultimate experience as far as being a rockabilly revelation. So, in other words, I was [a] rockabilly fan all my life without ever knowing it.

From its infancy during the mid-1950s to the early 1980s renaissance that made the Stray Cats the darlings of MTV and its current incarnation of hip subculture, the genre continues to resonate with music aficionados. “It may just be because it is the last man standing; the least diluted term,” Brom remarked. “If you put on a rockabilly record, you know, at the very least, it will be a rock ‘n’ roll tune. If someone says they are going to play a rock ‘n’ roll song for you, it is very likely to be a whiny white folk song. And country music, of course, is even worse. That term does not mean anything at all anymore—well, it does mean that the song you are about to hear on the ‘country’ radio station is guaranteed to not be country music.”

In the USA,” Brom elaborated, “rockabilly music seems to be currently kept alive and young by the Hispanic population, especially in Texas and out west. I do not know why, exactly. I think, maybe, the imagery and the hot rods draw them in at first, and then they discover that the music is a real hot alternative to the boring radio rap. When I or Wanda Jackson play on the West Coast, our audience is mainly young Hispanics. On the East Coast, it is a smaller audience of older white folks. The sad thing is that the music is probably least popular among the descendants of the rural white hillbillies who started it all! Of course, a lot of them just don’t know it is still around. It hasn’t helped that trappings of southern heritage are now often suspected as being vaguely racist by polite, ignorant society.

Marti Brom would perform with a variety of groups throughout her lengthy career, belting out rockabilly numbers with the Jet-Tone Boys and western swing rompers alongside the Cornell Hurd Band with similar ease. Though her leanings toward the oeuvre entrenched her within the nouveau rockabilly niche, Brom’s musical cornucopia contains much more than a cover of Joyce Green’s “Black Cadillac” or another Wanda Jackson rocker. Brom’s ability to seamlessly segue from rockabilly to country to pop has groomed her into a multi-faceted singer, a far cry from the convenient one-size-fits-all labels frequently attached to artists of varied styles. “Well, when I decided to get on stage, I was attracted to the idea of singing music along the lines of the George Jones ‘Rockin’ the Country’ LP and my Patsy Cline records, so my image was, naturally, rockabilly, but I have simply never thought in terms of genres. I am just attracted to good songs, great performances and, of course, fabulous outfits,” the vocalist explained. “Probably the genre that I have the hardest time paying attention to is that of modern folk music, and that is partly because most of those performers do not seem to have a sense of style. They look like they just stepped up from the audience—well, kind of like new ‘country music’. Who wants to see that? The old country singers had a lot of great style, which is one reason I do like to perform country music on stage. They also had songs [with] real heart and soul.
That abundance of music styles fueled a string of songs and albums, including 2000’s “Feudin’ and Fightin’”, a Dorothy Shay-inspired collaboration with the Cornell Hurd Band, and “Sings Heartache Numbers”, a 2005 ode to Patsy Cline and other vintage country queens. “‘Heartache Numbers’ is for people who love real country music and ‘Feudin’ and Fightin’’ is for people who don’t,” Brom stated. “Actually, in the 1940s and thereabouts, there was a genre of music that was popular in the North, where singers lampooned their idea of Southern white music. It fit in with their Li’l Abner visions of the great unknown South. The hillbilly lampoons, such as Lum ‘n’ Abner, went hand in hand with the lampoons of Southern black culture, such as Amos ‘n’ Andy; all of it a neglected art form.”

Marti Brom’s pairing with Finnish roots band, The Barnshakers, resulted in some of her most recognizable material, including the albums “Snake Ranch”, released in 1999, and 2003’s “Wise to You!”. One might suspect that working with such a diverse triumvirate of groups would pose problems or result in favoring one more than the others but, for the musically flexible Brom, it’s been a blessing. “Ain’t no comparing! What are you trying to do, start a feud?” she teased. “Actually, what they all have in common is they all represent the top practitioners of their art forms: the best of the best. I have said, many times, that I have been unbelievably fortunate in the caliber of musicians and human beings with whom I have worked. They are all friends, as well as partners. I think I am also attracted to musicians who are both outstanding and giving. All of the Jet-Tone Boys, The Barnshakers and all of the Cornell Hurd Band were fully dedicated to supporting other musicians and the art forms that they love. I can tell you all of them have given more than they have received. They deserve far more than they could ever receive.

Brom’s twentysomething years in music have afforded her the opportunity to share the stage with a number of her heroes, including rockabilly artist Robert Gordon, “The Female Elvis” Janis Martin and Wanda Jackson. “I especially enjoyed the first time I got on stage with Wanda at her first birthday bash in Austin that my friend, Rosie Flores, hosted,” she shared. “I did not sing; rather, I played finger cymbals while Wanda sang ‘Funnel of Love’.

Breathing new life into the works of some of her favorite artists has its advantages, too. “Check out my new release, ‘Not for Nothin’’, and you will see a photo of me and Pat Brown, the original singer of ‘Forbidden Fruit’. Daryl Davis, East Coast pianist extraordinaire, pitched a 45 for me recorded by a teenager in 1961 and, a few months later, Daryl brought that teenager over to my house!
Meeting these folks has been one of the greatest fringe benefits of my singing hobby,” Brom went on. “I became close to Janis Martin before she passed away so suddenly and have remained close to her family. And, as you probably know, Kathy Cranston, the wonderful grandniece of Dorothy Shay, ended up flying to Austin to be in the audience for the ‘Feudin’ and Fightin’’ record release show—and she lent me Dorothy Shay’s dress to wear for the occasion! It fit perfectly.

Marti brom

Marti Brom’s desire to spend time with her family, to the dismay of her fans, frequently resulted in a lighter touring schedule. With “Not for Nothin’”, Marti Brom ’s datebook has rapidly filled. “This is a very cool project, and it was released jointly by Goofin’ Records and by the old D.C. rockabilly label, Ripsaw Records,” she commented.
Grammy award-winning producer Peter Bonta lent his expertise to the record, an homage to Washington, D.C.’s rich musical heritage. “We tried to include as many connection[s] to the greater D.C. area that we could: local musicians, studios, songs and, of course, the label itself,” Marti Brom explained. “D.C.-based Bill Kirchen supplies a song and accompanies me on a duet that I let him pick out.
The aforementioned Davis, guitarist Pedro Sera, bassist Louie Newmyer and Saul T. McCormack on drums were amongst those to flesh out the disc’s something for everybody tone. “By the way, the fact that Peter Bonta is first cousin to Mr. T [Jarrod] Bonta from our ‘Snake Ranch’ record was a pleasant surprise to us,” Brom noted.

As technology progresses, so do the formats through which audiophiles consume and purchase music. Thanks to the internet, the days of popping into your area record store for that sought after album are rapidly being relegated to the endangered species list. YouTube has superseded the once domineering MTV for video availability, while digital downloads have made the recorded output of acts from across the musical spectrum readily— and cheaply—available. It’s a change that, for Marti Brom, has its benefits, as well as drawbacks. “Well, unheard music is unbought [sic] music,” she observed. “Many people, such as myself, listen to downloaded music much as we used to listen to the radio. We find things we like from the dross, and it creates an itch to actually own the artifact—especially if that artifact is made of virgin vinyl and comes with a full-sized LP cover and the complete analog recordings—not digitally sampled where my brain has to connect all the aural dots. I have no idea if that holds true for the youngest generations. My guess is that, overall, it has helped independent artists and done more harm than good for major music companies.

Two years following the release of “Not for Nothin’”, Marti Brom remains an in-demand commodity. She continues to perform—the Teri Joyce-penned “Blue Tattoo” remains a fan favorite—and, in late 2012, she joined fellow rockabilly songbird Rosie Flores on tour in support of Janis Martin’s posthumous effort, “The Blanco Sessions”. It’s a seemingly perfect fit: the catalog of the pioneering “Female Elvis” living on through the vocal skills of Brom: country crooner, western swing singer and—perhaps—the ideal candidate to introduce rockabilly music to another generation willing to throw caution to the wind…and a decent record on the jukebox.

The Best of Ripsaw records

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/VARIOUS

Best of Ripsaw records - Vol. 1
Best of Ripsaw records – Vol. 1

Vol. 1
PART Records 650.005
The Boogie Disease – Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets / Bad Boy – Tex Rubinowitz / Feelin’ Right Tonight – Martha Hull / When I See You – Billy Hancock / Get A Little Goner – Marti Brom / Wheels On Fire – Kid Tater & The Cheaters / This Time – Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets / Oooh-Wow! – The Uptown Rhythm Kings / Both Wheels Left the Ground – Bobby Smith / Rootie Tootie – Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets / Mascara Tears – Marti Brom / Sweet Alla Lee – Louie Setzer & The Appalachian Mountain Boys / House Rocker – The Uptown Rhythm Kings / Lonely Blue Boy” – Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets / Hot Rod Man – Tex Rubinowitz / Alley Cat” – Billy Hancock / What Do I Hafta Do – Bobby Smith / No Use Knockin’ – The Uptown Rhythm Kings / Oh, Caroline – Billy Hancock / Finders Keepers – Marti Brom

Nest of Ripsaw records - vol. 2
Best of Ripsaw records – vol. 2

Vol. 2
PART Records 650.007
Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets – Do It If You Wanna / Tex Rubinowitz – Red Cadillac and A Black Moustache / Martha Hull – Fujiyama Mama / Billy Hancock – I Need You Now / Marti Brom – A Fool Such As I / Kid Tater & The Cheaters – You Oughta Know Better / Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets – Rockabilly Fever /
Uptown Rhythm Kings – Open Up The Back Door /
Bobby Smith – I Wanna Be With You Billy Hancock – Christmas In Tennessee / Marti Brom & Bill Kirchen – Sweet Thang / Louie Setzer – Bluegrass Hall Of Fame / Uptown Rhythm Kings – Let Me Give You Lovin’ / Roy Kyle – I Like Your Style Baby / Tex Rubinowitz – Ain’t It Wrong / Billy Hancock – Sarah Lee / Bobby Smith – Tough Girls / Uptown Rhythm Kings – Sad As A Man Can Be / Artie & Curt – I Wanna Bop With You / Marti Brom – Feelin’ Right Tonight.

Best of Ripsaw records - vol.3
Best of Ripsaw records – vol.3

Vol. 3
PART Records 650.009
Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets – Miss Jessie Lee / Tex Rubinowitz – I Wanna Bop With You / Marti Brom – Write Me In Care Of The Blues / Billy Hancock – Broken Heart / Martha Hull – Fujiyama Mama / Switchblade – She Makes Me Rock Too Much
Billy Hancock – Marie Marie / Uptown Rhythm Kings – ‘Til I Say Well Done / Bobby Smith – It’s Summertime / Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets – Knock-Kneed Nellie Marti Brom – I Get The Blues When It Rains / Louie Setzer – Wood Smoke
Uptown Rhythm Kings – I’m Gonna Have To Send You Back / Billy Hancock & The Tennessee Rockets – Stay A While / Tex Rubinowitz – Feelin’ Right Tonight / Narvel Felts – It’s Not The Presents Under My Tree / Roy Kyle & Nite Life – Flyin’ High / Memphis Rockabilly Band – Lindy Rock / Billy Hancock – Great Shakin’ Fever / Marti Brom – Forbidden Fruit

Ripsaw records was a mostly Rockabilly label founded in 1976 and active until 1990, though the label was revived in September 2010 to release, jointly with Goofin records of Finland, “Not For Nothin’” by Marti Brom. With the years Ripsaw gained, with reason, a cult status.
Recently Part-Records, from Germany released a bunch of compilation albums titled “the best of Ripsaw records”. A very good idea as the vast majority of this recording never made it to cd. There are three volumes so far and I guess a fourth one is in the making. Part hasn’t cut corners and each cd comes with a detailed booklet featuring a song by song analysis, biographies and a complete and detailed sessionography.

One of the most prolific and best known artists is Billy Hancock. With or without his band the Tennessee Rockets, he’s featured here with no less than 18 cuts of high. The listener is treated to the whole gamut of Rockin’ music like Hillbilly bop (Rootie Tootie), classic Rockabilly (Caroline, Do It If You Wanna, Knock Kneed Nellie that sounds like a cross between Charlie Feathers and Buddy Holly), Presley influenced Rock’n’roll, some with Jordanaires type of vocals (Stay Awhile, Lonely Blue Boys, I Need You Now), Rock’n’roll (Marie Marie), frantic rockin’ blues (Boogie Disease), Christmas (Christmas in Tennessee) and neo-rockabilly pastiche (Alley Cat).
Though Tex Rubinowitz made just a few recordings for Ripsaw, his legacy is equally important. He influenced countless band and acts like High Noon or Go Cat Go respectively covered Ain’t It Wrong and Hot Rod Man. They’re all here as well as a live cut.
Hancock and Rubinowitz also recorded once together under the moniker of Artie and Curt and their Classmates a fine duet with hillbilly harmonies.
Martha Hull only had one single out on Ripsaw on which she’s backed by Rubinowitz’s touring band of the time featuring Eddie Angel (Planet Rockers, Los Straitjackets). Both sides (a cover of Tex’s Feelin Right Tonight and Wanda Jackson’s Fujiyama Mama) are solid rockabilly and are included here as well as an alternate track previously unreleased. Also linked to Rubinowitz is Switchblade a band that consists of members of the Bad Boys. It’s a hard rockin’ combo. She Makes Me Rock Too Much is a hard rocker ala Chuck Berry but lacks of originality on the chorus.
Also a one single band for the label, Kid Tater and the Cheaters provide two solid rock’n’roll with piano. Bobby Smith’s songs come from his album the two sides of… Guitar freaks will jump on his cover of Crazy Cavan’s Both Wheels Left the Ground that features an amazing guitar part by the late Danny Gatton. There’s a chance of pace with the joyful It’s Summertime, the boppin’ I wanna Be You. Most surprising is Tough Girls that has a strong 60’s feel revisited by the 80’s with sax and weird guitar part, a bit like John Cafferty.
Roy Kyle
brings a welcome country feel with I Like your Style while Flyin’ High is more on the rockin side of things.
Though Ripsaw is mostly associated with Rockabilly and Rock’n’roll they also released stuff by the Uptown Rhythm Kings, a hot Jump Blues combo that is also at ease with straight blues and even some mambo, and Louie Setzer & the Appalachian Boys an excellent Bluegrass combo.
Some artist didn’t have releases on Ripsaw but were linked to the label in on way or another. Narvel Felts is a Rockabilly legend and needs no introduction. His song It’s Not the Present is a Christmas ballad, originally released on Billy Poore’s Renegade records and penned by Poore and Rubinowits. Likewise the Memphis Rockabilly Band has reached a cult status. Lindy Rock is one of their earlier cuts and features an amazing guitar solo by Bill Coover.
Latest artist who released an album on the label is Marti Brom. The songs included here mixes some average cuts like I Got the blues When It Rains that doesn’t really swing with the best tracks of the album (Mascara Tears, Get A Little Goner).

As said before, this collection is very well done and features very interesting stuff and it is safe to say that these three volumes belong to the collection of anyone interested in the Rockabilly Revival movement.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Go to Top