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Rockabilly

The Dry Tortugas

The Dry Tortugas

Up & down – Unbothered – Slidin’

The Dry Tortugas

The Dry Tortugas are a relatively young band formed during the pandemic. But if the band is young, the musicians are seasoned veterans. Tom the singer used to sing in the Roughnecks, and Felix (drums) and Marc (guitar) were in Lota Red. The younger element is Robin, Tom’s son, on bass.
The band plays Neo-rockabilly with heavy inspiration from the 80s and the early 90s though more modern ingredients crept in here and there.
Up and Down is an up-tempo number, very danceable. Unbothered is quite melodic and has a slight western feel to it. Sliding is heavier and leans toward Psychobilly (and by Psychobilly, I mean that distorted and mean offspring of Rockabilly, not the heavy-metal-influenced stuff). As you can see, these guys cover a wide range of genres. Tom’s voice is perfect and brings a touch of softness even on the wildest stuff, while the rest of the band does a solid job backing him. I hope to hear them on long-distance soon.

The Dry Tortugas on facebook.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Billy and the Sideburnzz

Billy and the Sideburnzz – Rockabilly Man

Keil Records [2022]
Rockabilly Man – Big Blue Eyes / Give Me A Call – Tease Me (A LIttle) – Bonus track (cd only): Rock Me Mama

Billy and the Sideburnzz

Here’s another excellent release from Keil records. Billy & the Sideburnzz are a Rockabilly band from North Germany. This is their debut output, and it comes in a super fine and limited package, including a 4 -track vinyl EP and a mini-cd with a bonus song.
The set opens with Rockabilly Man, a mighty fine piece of hard-hitting modern Rockabilly that echoes the Polecats’ Rockabilly Guy. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you stomp the ground while firmly holding your beer. The second song, Big Blue Eyes, leans more on the traditional side of the Rockabilly idiom with a slight country flair. It features a light brushed snare and nice picking too. But for me, the best track of the selection is Tease Me. It’s a slow number that takes time to build tension that perfectly suits the song’s theme. It’s always on the edge, with two superb and exploding guitar solos. Give Me A Call is a mid-paced tune with a powerful (and I mean POWERFUL) slap bass. The song also features one hot Burlisonian guitar part but with a modern approach.
The fifth track, Rock Me Mama, is only available on the cd. It’s an excellent Mystery Train/My Baby Left Me type of tune.
Great job, guys. I hope to hear more from Billy and the Sideburnzz in the future.

Available here.

Chech the band’s website.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jackals (the)

Jackals (the) – Prowlin’

Nervous Records NERD038 [1988]
Ice Cold Blues – Makes You Scream – Too Crucial – She’s The One – Some Body’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight – I’ll Go Crazy – No Brain – Party Train – My Baby Loves Rock ‘N’ Roll – The Fly – Ghetto Ride – What’s Wrong

Jackals Prowlin'

The Jackals were an American band from Portland, Oregon active between 1983 and 1992. The quartet was formed by David Corboy (guitar), Louis Samora (guitar), Rob Parker (drums), and Steve Casmano (bass). The band first released an album on Anubis records in 1984 before recording this one at Falcon Studios in 1988 for Nervous Records.
The strength and particularity of the Jackals is that three of the members (all except Parker) sing. This gives a rich and varied repertoire. Ice Cold Blues is heavy blues-rock quite similar to what George Thorogood does with tracks like If You Don’t Start Drinkin’. The tension does not fall, far from it, with Makes You Scream, a hard-hittin’ Rock’n’Roll which rushes at full speed and does not seem to want to stop.
Lighter, More Crucial is an excellent boppin’ Neo-Rockabilly. The following track is in the same spirit and evokes the style of the Rockats.
The group changes register with their cover of Somedy’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked Tonight by Earl Vince and the Valiants (aka Fleetwood Mac). The sound is raw and wild, almost Punk. The next track is also a cover, an excellent version of James Brown’s I’ll Go Crazy.
No Train is solid Modern Rock. Still on the “train” theme, Party Train has the power of a Blasters track. My Baby Loves Rock’n’Roll is a boppin’ Rock’n’roll, and even if it is not very original, the tune is devilishly effective, especially with two fantastic guitar solos.
The Fly is a Chubby Checker cover, resulting in a high-octane and energic version of Twist. The group continues with a powerful instrumental close to Webb Wilder’s style (Cactus Planet, Rough Rider). The album ends with What’s Wrong. It’s not the most original track on the album, but it’s still very effective.
Released between the first album of the Quakes and the second album of Skitzo, Prowlin contrasts a little with the label’s production, which at the time was very Psychobilly-oriented. However, it deserves to be rediscovered, and the classic Rock’nRoll lover will find plenty to enjoy with this album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Shakin’ Snakes (the)

Shakin’ Snakes (the) – Showdown

Mystic Records – M745135 [1984]
Showdown / Billy Club

Shakin’ Snakes (the) - Showdown

The Shakin’ Snakes were Scott Sheperd on Drums, John Jorgensen on vocals and bass, and Jeff Ross on vocals and guitars.
Ross is known for his stint with Rank & File and Candye Kayne, and he also appears on Levi Dexter’s Pomp. This single was the debut of Jorgensen on record, but his credits now include, on guitar, Levi Dexter, The Hellecasters, The Desert Rose Band, Marty Stuart, and many more.
In 1983, the band appeared on the (Art Fein Presents) The Best Of LA Rockabilly with the track Surrender. Then they recorded this single.
Side one is credited to Ross, and side two to Jorgensen. I guess each sings the song he wrote.
Showdown is rockin’, yet with a very strong pop edge and a modern production, more along the lines of the Rockats’ Make That Move. The flip is a no-nonsense rocker.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Wild Rooster

Wild Rooster – No Way Out to Hell

Part Records – 693.002 [2013]
King Of Dreams – Angels – On The Other Side – I’m Coming Home – Running Against Time – No Way Out Of Hell – Old Black Joe – Train To Heaven – All I Can Do Is Cry – Rockin’ Little Jill – My Inner Beast – Crying When It Rains

For their fifth album that comes in a superb cover drawn by Vince Ray, these four Swedish Rockers show a slight departure in their sound. If you still find elements of teddy Boy music that was the bulk of their previous album. They have hardened their sound. Thi snew sound, mixed the hoarse voice of their singer, gives a final result that is not that far from Social Distortion or Mike Ness solo stuff


Wild Roosters
Wild Roosters – Take It Off

Wild Rooster – Take It Off

Part Records – 693.001 [2011]
Sweet Revenge / Tennessee Zip / Demon Riders / Fancy Dan / Forever Ted / Ride On Rebels / The Only One / Take It Off / Sisters In Crime / Tore Up / Motorbike / Won’t Waste My Time / Raw Deal / Southern Rose

Despite a very distasteful cover (front and back) I really enjoyed Wild Roosters’ latest effort. These Swedish guys are on the scene for quite some time having played with Snakebite, Crossfire or Wild Bob Burgos. As you can easily guess with this pedigree, they play Teddy Boys rock’n’roll with a sound close to Cavan’s Our Own Way Of Rocking. They have good originals and also give a breath of fresh air to well chosen covers (including Burgos’Ride On Rebels). You’ll find the usual anthems about bikes (Motorbike, Demon Riders), girls and Teds with the soon to be a stage classic “Forever Ted”. They sure won’t change the face of Rock’n’roll, but you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

High Noon – the Rockabilly Trio

High Noon – Change

Swelltune Records – SR45-007 [2020]
Change – You Done Did It

high noon

In early 2020, Shaun Young, Sean Mencher, and Kevin Smith, internationally known as High Noon, the finest purveyor of today’s Rockabilly, got back together to make their first new recordings since 2002.
You wouldn’t believe that 18 years have passed since What Are You Waiting For. The trio sounds as fresh as the first time as I heard them when they released Glory Bound on Willie Lewis‘ Rock-A-Billy Records.
When these three guys are in the same room, you can expect the best in rural bop and drummerless Rockabilly.
Each is in fine form. Mencher is particularly inspired on You Done Did It. One could complain that on Change, Youngs tends to quaver more than usual (and necessary), but that’s a minor flaw.
Both songs are originals, Young penned the side one, and the whole trio is credited for the flip.


High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

Bear Family
Glorybound – Stranger Things – She Forgot Her Memory – When She’s Good – Let’s Go Daddy-O – Long Empty Stretch Of Highway – My Ex Is Why – Beautiful – Rock Too Slow – Rockin’ Wildcat – Rockin’ Beauty – Old Habits – Flatland Saturday Night – Bluebonnet Boogie – Not For Nothin’ – Rattlesnake Man – Mixed Signal Mama – Fishing Hole Boogie – I’m Not Blue – Gotta Lotta That – Doggone That Cat – Now You’re Gonna Be Loved – Comanche Moon – Kiss And Tell Baby – Slow Down Baby – It’s The Beat – High On A Hill – Hanging From The Old Oak Tree – My Little Thrill – Call Of The Honky-Tonk – Quick Hand (demo) – My Heart Cries Yes (demo)

High Noon - Flatland Saturday Night
High Noon – Flatland Saturday Night

If you’re familiar with the Rockabilly genre, High Noon needs no introduction. But just in case… They were with Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Trio and the Dave and deke Combo, one of the bands that led the revival of American Rockabilly and among the first in the USA to play this music as if it came straigth from the fifties.

For any true Rockabilly lovers, High Noon almost sounded too good to be true: Shaun Young’s voice conjured the memories of the great Texas Rockabilly singers (among them a certain guy from Lubbock). Sean Mencher’s bag of riffs seemed bottomless. Unlike too many Rockabilly guitar player who were happy to copy Hank Garland or Scotty Moore, Mencher developped his style by listening to the generation that came before like Merle Travis but also Oscar Moore or Charlie Christian. And there was Kevin Smith who showed everybody what “slapping a doghouse bass” really meant (and he was more than able to sing harmonies too.)

Like an aknowledgement to their contribution to this music, High Noon now receives the Bear Family treatment, a well deserved treatment to the legends they are.

Except for the two demos (Quick Hand and My Heart Cries Yes) all songs (32 !) here are lifted from their Goofin’ records. So don’t expect to find songs recorded for Willie Lewis’Rock-A-Billy records or songs from their mini-album Texas style that saw High Noon playing with steel, fiddle, banjo and accordion (maybe for volume 2, who knows?)

Anyway if you don’t own anything from this great band, this is the best introduction you’ll find with a thick 40-page booklet (though the interview with shaun Young looks exactly like the interview I did with him a couple of years ago).
Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/high-noon-flatland-saturday-night.html


High Noon ‎– What Are You Waiting For?

Goofin’ Records ‎– GRCD 6116 [2002]
Let’s Go Daddy-o – Hanging (From The Old Oak Tree) – Old Habits – Prelude To The Blues – Bayou Beauty – Not For Nothin’ – Railroad Crossing – Beautiful – Yard Dog – I’ve Never Felt As Lucky – Kiss And Tell Baby – Comanche Moon – Gotta Love That – Misunderstood – It’s The Beat

high noon

Between Stranger Things in 1995 and this album, the three members of High Noon kept themselves busy. Shaun Young recorded a solo album, formed the Jive Bombers, and played with the Horton Brothers. Sean Mencher toured with Wayne Hancock and also produced bands. In the meantime, Kevin Smith lent his talents to many artists, including the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Set to appear at the Green Bay 50’s Festival in 2002, High Noon decided to record a new album to present new material on stage.
Recorded and produced by Billy Horton, “What Are You Waiting For?” contains 15 original songs. All their various experiences nurtured the sound of the trio and expanded what they started with Stranger Things.
From the boppin’ Let’s Go Daddy-O to the Cajun tinged Bayou Beauty, with the excellent Travis/Atkins instrumental Comanche Moon and the beautiful ballad Not For Nothing, the band goes from style to another with class and refinement.
But in case you’d forget that High Noon is “the Texas Rockabilly Trio”, listen to songs like Hanging (from the old oak tree) with its powerful slap bass, Misunderstood, It’s the Beat, the Holly-esque Beautiful and Railroad Crossin with its guitar solo evoking Grady Martin.
Young’s tremolo makes wonder on slow songs like I’ve Never Felt As Lucky. Kevin Smith proves one more time that he’s the undisputed master of the slap bass. He provides the backbone of the sound with, here and there, some short and brilliant solos. On guitar, Sean Mencher enlightens the whole album with his amazing licks, quoting Paul Burlison, Grady Martin, Chet Atkins, and Merle Travis.
What are you waiting for? Buy it!


High Noon – Stranger Things

Goofin’ Records GRCD6060 [1995]
Stranger Things – Slow Down, Baby – Call Of The Honky-Tonk – High On A Hill – Fishin’ Hole Boogie – I’m Done, I’m Through – My Little Thrill – Long Empty Stretch Of Highway – Now You’re Gonna Be Loved – Rockin’ Beauty – Bluebonnet Boogie – She Forgot Her Memory – Mixed Signal Mama – I Done Caught On – Doggone That Cat

High Noon Stranger Things

In 1995, during one of its trips to Finland, the band recorded another album at Hitsville IV studio in Helsinki with long-time collaborator Janne Haavisto.
Stranger Things marked a new step for the band. Of course, the musicianship was top-notch. Sean reached new heights on guitar, and everyone willing to learn the double bass should listen to Bluebonnet Boogie, Long Empty Stretch of Highway or Now You’re Gonna Be Loved. Let’s take this occasion to mention the band’s secret weapon: Shaun’s rhythm guitar. It blends and works perfectly with the slap to build a solid melodic backbone. There are no drums in High Noon, but when I listen to the band, I always think of what the great Freddie Green once said: “You shouldn’t hear the guitar by itself. It should be part of the drums so it sounds like the drummer is playing chords”. High Noon’s rhythm guitar is precisely a snare with chords.
Lyrically wise, the songs are also far above the vast majority of what one can find in Rockabilly, with songs too often revolving around girls kissed by boys in the backseat of a car. Take I’m Done, I’m Through, a verse like “I think congratulations are due, to the one who changed my mind and left me blue, I don’t want to sound cynical – but my condition’s critical, and I don’t think I can ever be true” could have been written by Harlan Howard, while “I done caught on when he winked his eyes, I saw you wink back when he passed by, it may take me a while to figure things out, but I done caught on and now I’m cuttin’ out” echoes the great Hank Williams. As if it wasn’t enough, Kevin Smith joins the songwriting team with two excellent songs (Slow Down Baby and Fishin Hole Boogie).

High Noon – Texas Style

 Exile Records ‎– EX10EP09 [1994]
Crazy Mixed Up World – He Won I Lost,  She’s Found – Across the River – My Heart Cries Yes (but my mind whispers no) – Movie Magg – Red Barn Boogie

Texas Style
High Noon – Texas Style

The Texas Rockabilly trio released this 10″ mini album in 1994. First, look at that cover! It’s perfect! Congratulations to Carlos Fernandez who captured the band in action. Then the music… For this one, High Noon took a slight departure from their usual brand of stripped down rockabilly and brought some guests to the party.
The opener is a cover of the Willie Dixon song made popular by Little Walter. The trio with the help of Alvin Crow on fiddle and John Ely on steel turns it into a superb hillbilly bop with Shaun Young yelling the name of the musicians in the great Bob Wills tradition. As usual Shaun’s vocals are superb, Sean Mencher’s guitar inventive and Kevin Smith provides the perfect backbone with his slap.
Next is He Won, I Lost, She’s Found, penned by Mencher. This Honky Tonk with steel, fiddle and harmony vocals (provided by Brent wilson of the Wagoneers) is sure to make you cry in you beer. The side A closes with Across the River, another Mencher original. It’s another fine ballad enlightened by Mike Maddux on accordion.
Side B opens with My Heart Cries Yes. Can these boys play bluegrass. You bet they can! With the help of Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo. Perkins’ Movie Magg is here to remind you that High Noon is one of the very best (if not the best) Rockabilly band of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Finally the steel and the fiddle return for Hank Harral’s Red Barn Boogie to conclude this mini album in beauty.

High Noon – Rocks Me Right

Rock-A-Billy Record Company R-1002-LP [1992]
Late Train / Mona Lisa / Your New Flame ( Is Burning Me ) / Who Was That Cat ? / Crazy Fever / Don’t Have A Heart Left To Break / Rocks Me Right / Feeling No Pain / Branded Outlaw / Hannah Lee

Glory Bound

In May 1992, the band was at Jet-Tone studios to record their second album. Jet-Tone studios were actually Young’s extra bedroom. The name came from the fact that it was close to the airport.
Once again, these ten tracks are a masterclass of Rockabilly. Next to two classic covers (Glenn Barber’s Feelin’ No Pain and Carl Mann’s Mona Lisa) and a song by Darren Lee Spears from Go Cat Go (Who Was Cat), it features seven originals written by Mencher and Young.
If the core of the album is pure Rockabilly, some songs show different influences. Branded Outlaw is more hillbilly, while the riff of Rocks Me Right is a superb variation around the Charlie Christian A Smooth One lick. There’s also some blues with Hannah Lee that Sean Mencher sings. Jussi Huhtakangas, aka Lester Peabody of The Barnshakers, plays steel guitar on two tracks.


High Noon – Train of Misery

Rock-A-Billy Record Company R-107 [1990]
Train Of Misery – Midnight Shift / Rockin’ Wildcat – Glory Bound

In 1990, High Noon met Willie Lewis, of Rock-A-Billy Records Co fame. The band told him how cool it would be to have a 45 rpm record out on Rockabilly records, and Willis agreed. The result came in the form of a four-song EP (Rock-A-Billy R 107) recorded at the Texas Tube Room. It featured two new songs, Train of Misery and a cover of Buddy Holly’s Midnight Shift, and two new recordings of Glory Bound and Rockin’ Wildcat. Those versions have a rawer sound and are even better than the ones you can find on Show and Dance.

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