Rockabilly - Page 27

777 (Triple Seven)

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777 Ghost Train
777 Ghost Train

777 – Ghost Train

PART-CD 689-002 {2012}
Leave It Behind – Sexafull – Rebel Yell – Ghost Train – Radar Love – Boys Who Dance – Summertime Souvenir – Last Night – Tachycardia – Chernobilly Twist – Come Together – The Woodpecker Song

Ghost Train is the brilliant second album from this German trio. In 2009 Unleashed their debut album was full of promises; it’s nothing to say that Ghost Train confirms all the hopes placed into that band. For this record they benefit of a better production with a fuller and a bigger sound that blasts through your speaker like a rocking thunder. Their music sounds like a mix between Brian Setzer 68 Comeback Special, the Reverend Horton Heat and the Quakes, with elements of Chicago Blues, metal (ah that powerful guitar on the Beatles’ Come Together), latin beat, twisted western soundtrack (Ghost Train), country jazz (Woodpecker Song) and surf with a Russian beat (Chernobilly twist). The choice of the covers is very good too (Billy Idol, Golden Earring, Beatles, Andrew Sisters). Highly recommended.


777 Unleashed
777 Unleashed

777 – Unleashed

PART-CD 689.001 {2010}
My Guitar – Riff Raff Daddy – Boundless Life – Don’t You Dare – Fulltime Jerks – Gamble Maniac – J.O.P. Lady – T*ttenf*ck – No Eye Stays Dry – Spoiled Generation – Don’t Look Back – Kill Tomcat

Bo Diddley once sang “You can’t judge a book by lookin’ at the cover” and he was wise. Keeping that in mind I put the debut long player of 777 (Triple Seven) in the player despite a cover design that first gave me a negative feeling. Boy, was I wrong! This album is excellent. These three boys come from Germany and play neo-rockabilly as if they invented it. They write their own material and they’re pretty good at that. Sure, maybe one song or two lack of originality but I’ll always prefer a rock’n’roll band that writes his own stuff rather than hearing the classics covered again and again.
Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats are obvious influences on the trio. But “influence” doesn’t mean “carbon copy”. The trio brings enough of its personnality, and sometimes even a pop sensibility, in the mix to develop a sound of their own. Nikolai Potter is a strong singer and a very good guitar player too and he’s perfectly supported by his two partners in crime, Oliver Leggewie on drums and Franz Stiegemann on double bass. A very good surprise.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ray Campi

RayCampi

Ray Campi – The Rollin’ Rock Recordings Vol. 1

Part Records PART-CD 613.004

Rockabilly Rebel / Sack Of Love / A 50 Dollar Upright / I Let The Freight Train Carry Me On / Doin’ My Time / The Rip-Off / Rockin’ And Rollin’ / Cincinnati Cindy / Goodbye Love, Hello Heartache / Jungle Fever / When I Saw Your Face In The Moon / You Stick Out In Pretty Places / Second Story Man / Don’t Get Pushy / Cravin’ / Separate Ways / I’m Gonnan Bid My Blues Goodbye / How Can I Get On Top / Little Young Girl / Chew Tabacco Rag / You Don’t Rock ‘N’ Roll At All / Ruby Ann / I Don’t Know Why You Still Come Around / Running After Fools / Jimmie Skins The Blues

After recording a batch of seminal rockabilly singles in the fifties (see Texas Rockabilly vol. 2 – Rollin’ the Rock on Eltoro) Ray Campi more or less retired from music. By 1971, when  Rockin’ Ronny Weiser contacted him, he was an English teacher. It didn’t take long to convince him to record again. Not only Ray recorded albums on his own but also became Rollin’ Rock’s studio band playing with Mac Curtis, Jimmie Lee Maslon and Jackie Lee Cochran.
This fine package gathers Campi’s first two album cut for Rollin Rock on which he plays almost all the instruments. With the help of Weiser, Campi managed to recapture the excitement and the fun of the 50’s rockabilly but with a modern twist thus creating a brand new sound. These recordings are almost as essential as his 50’s sides, not only for their musical quality but also for their historical values and the countless bands they influenced.
The cd comes with a detailed booklet featuring liner notes by Ray himself, Ronnie Weiser, Wild Bob Burgos, Rip Masters and Mario Cobo.
Essential! Part Records must be congratulated for their hard word at releasing this stuff like they did with Mac Curtis’ Rollin Rock sides, Ravenna and the Magnetics and Ripsaw records.

www.part-records.de 

Miss Mary Ann – the Ranch Girls – the Ragtime Wranglers

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missmaryann-dangerMiss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers – Danger Moved West

Home Brew Records – Sonic Rendez Vous SRV059 [2013]
Danger Moved West – Little Ole You – You Made A Hit – Strange Things – The Blues Come Around – Honey – Fine Tuning Buddy – I Ain’t That Strong – Do You Wanna Rock – So You Think You’ll Come Back – Knock Knock Rattle – Falling For You – Make The Most Of It – I’ve Got Leavin’ On My Mind – Blue Days Black Nights – I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You

Sometimes, bands or artists are such a part of your musical landscape that you tend to take them for granted. Take Miss Mary Ann for example… I bought the debut album of this lady and her faithful Ragtime Wranglers when it came out nearly 20 years ago and since, I know that once in a while I’ll have my dose of Miss Mary Ann, Ranch Girls, Ragtime Wranglers or the three in the same time. Of course, I knew they were good, even extremely talented but it struck me while listening to their latest effort, like the first time I discovered them. I suddenly realised that the rockabilly (in the large meaning of the term) scene would be a much sadder place without them.
First you have Miss Mary Ann. Unlike many others of her counterparts, she’s not affected by all those mannerisms you often find, especially with female singers. She never tries to sound mean (I suspect it’s not in her nature anyway) or to fake what she’s not. She just sings frankly, sincerely and with passion and that’s all. She goes easily from hillbilly bop to rockabilly, from rock’n’roll to jazz tinged stuff like on “Make the Most of it” penned by Dave “Pappy” Stuckey who also wrote the liner notes by the way. And when she sings harmonies with Raina Thompson, the new Ranch Girl, oh my, you’re just shaking nervously in anticipation for the new Ranch Girls album (or at least for the next time you’ll see them on stage). Icing on the cake, she also writes her own material. Her six self penned songs blend perfectly with the likes of Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Ray Smith, Wayne Walker and more, if you please! Then you have the Ragtime Wranglers who always deliver the goods. Joe Sixpack draws from his bottomless bag of riffs while Huey Moore and Sietse Heslinga set the perfect rhythm. You even have Carl Sonny Leyland who guests on piano on a couple of tracks (including “Honey” an original he penned).
I know that you must think “there must be something wrong; I bet this album comes in an ugly cover!” Not even that! It comes in a superb gatefold digipack (and in vinyl format too) designed by Pieter Dorrenboom.
Take my advice, run to your music store, whether it’s on the web or in your city, and do yourself a favour, you won’t regret it!


Miss Mary Ann - Rock It Down To my House
Miss Mary Ann – Rock It Down To my House

Miss Mary Ann & The Ragtime Wranglers – Rock It Down To My House

Sonic Rendezvous Records SRR33
Rock It On Down To My House – Easy Does It – I Got Stung – Don’t Wait Up – Tell Me Who – Forget About The Past – Ooh La Baby – I’ll Be Your Slave – Watch Dog – That’s The Way I feel – Don’t Lie To Me – I Can’t Quit – Sweet Sugar Booger – What Am I Doing Here – Don’t Stop The Music.

This is the second solo album from Miss Mary Ann also known as one half of the famous Ranch Girls from Netherland. And like the Ranch Girls she’s backed by the Ragtime Wranglers. But the comparison with her other outfit stops here. If the Ranch Girls’ repertory is made upon harmonies, duets and western swing/hillbilly, Miss Mary Ann goes for a more rocking sound. And the opening track leaves no doubt about that. You’re going to rock and bop ’til the end of night and guest Carl Sonny Leyland on piano will help you to loose some weight on the dance floor. “I Got Stung” and “I’ll be your slave” (man, what a program) are in the same vein while “Tell Me Who” brings a little swing. To slow down the pace and let us take our breath there’s some honky tonk and country tunes to the mix : Faron Young’s “Forget About The Past” features the steel-guitar wizard himself, none other than Jeremy Wakefield and so does George Jones’s Dont Stop The Music. Her interpretation of Marty Robbins’ “I Cant Quit” where she seems both desperate and resigned is simply superb. I’ve always thought nobody could top Robbins on that, but right now I have serious doubts. And the smooth instrumentation of the Ragtime Wranglers reinforces that feeling. This cd is not only a pleasure for your ears, it has been beautifully designed by Mighty Sam and comes in a superb digipack.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Miss Mary Ann / The Ragtime Wranglers / The Ranch Girls - Selections 1993-2008
Miss Mary Ann / The Ragtime Wranglers / The Ranch Girls – Selections 1993-2008

Miss Mary Ann / The Ragtime Wranglers / The Ranch Girls – Selections 1993-2008

Sonic Rendezvous Records SRV055
Hang On Folks – Mama’s Here – Rock-a-bye Baby – I Got Stung – Baby Of Mine – Flying Saucer Boogie – I Ain’t Worried About Tomorrow – Rock It On Down To My House – My Adobe Hacienda – Homebrew Hooch – Kokomo – What Am I Doing Here – Hey Doll Baby – Kaw-liga – Groovesville – Don’t Lie To Me – Hi De Ank Tum – Flipsville – Sweet Thing – If You Don’t Somebody Else Will

Wether it’s with the Ranch Girls, Mary Ann’s solo act or the Ragtime Wranglers on their own, this bunch of guys and girl has conquered the world with their mix of hillbilly harmonies, rockabilly and early country (when this word still meant something).
This album is a celebration of the band’s first 15 years and gathers songs from most of their releases. I can hear you say: “Great! a best-of, but we already own the albums”. Sure, but there’s more than one reason to buy this cd.
First it comes in a deluxe digipack in DVD format, beautifully designed with lots of photos inside. I see I grabbed your attention. Then you have a couple of tunes from not so easy to find 7″ (Kaw-Liga, Flying Saucer Boogie…) which should be enough to convince you, but you also have unissued live demos (Hi De Ank Tum), outtakes from their second album (My Adobe Hacienda, Rock A Bye Baby), two live songs recorded on the Radio that makes you regret they didn’t release a live album too (Sweet Thing and If You Don’t Somebody Else Will), and icing on the cake six tracks entirely remixed , giving them a fuller and a better sound.
At the end, this cd is far more than just a best-of, it’s almost a brand new album, sure to gain them new fans and please old ones like me, who, 15 years ago fell in love with the sound of the Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers and never stopped digging them since.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers - Can You Hear It?
The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Can You Hear It?

The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Can You Hear It??

Homebrew Records HB6 / Hayden’s Ferry Records 22032 [2001]
Can You Hear It – Tennessee Saturday Night – Be Gone – Hang On Folks, Here We Go -Seashore – O.k. You’re My Baby – I Ain’t Worried About Tomorrow – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See – Harmonize – Don’t Lie To Me – City Boy – You’ve Got Everything – Baby Of Mine – Hillbilly Jive With a Boogie Beat – Sugar Booger

Can You Hear It is the third long play by the Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers. Still with Miss Mary Ann at the helm, this one features the new Ranch Girl Mary Lou, who replaced Esther (aka Lil Esther) who had already replaced Caroline.
Except for this, there’s no big changes and one will be happy to find the brand of stuff one can expect from this excellent band, mostly from the pen of Miss Mary Ann.
Can You Hear it, the tile track, is full of Collins Kid exhuberance and fun. Red Foley’s Tennessee Saturday Night is turned into a fast paced swing with questions and answers by Mary Lou and Mary Ann and features Carrie Luz Rodriguez on fiddle. Next is Be Gone, a plain rockin’ tune. Hang On Folks, Here We Go is a two parts harmony version of Miss mary Ann’s song previously recorded on her solo EP. Hard to chose which one is the best (and glad I don’t have to).
Mary Lou proves to be a solid songwriter too with Seashore that sees the return of one thing I particularly like in the Ranch Girls: the accordion. Also of her composition is the very good City Boy with fiddle.
Back to the rockin’ Collins style with OK You’re my Baby. Jimmy and Johnny’s I AInt Worried About tomorrow follows on which they added a bit of Rumba beat . The accordion makes a welcome return with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (not the jazz standard) which is pure hillbilly gold. You’ve got Everything is a solid hillbilly boogie with steel guitar played by Jimmy Roy (Ray Condo, Big Sandy, Jimmy Roy’s Five Star Hillbilly).
Baby of Mine was the song that really hooked me and made me crazy about the Ranch Girls on their debut album and I was glad to find a brand new version on this album. This one features a prominent mandolin instead of the accordion. It’s different, are as the slight variations in the vocals, but equally great.
The album ends with two covers : Reece Shipley’s Hillbilly Jive with a Boogie Beat (that perfectly sums up what the Ranch Girl are) that features none other than Deke Dickerson on vocals and twin guitar and the Marcus Brothers’ Sugar Booger.
Needless to say that the Ragtime Wranglers – Sietse on drums and percussion,Patrick on double bass, Jerome on acoustic and electric mandolin and Joe on acoustic and electric guitar – are as usual perfect, swingin and boppin’ when it’s needed and blending perfectly with the vocals.
Another killer from our favorite European hillbillies !
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The ranch Girls and the ragtime Wranglers – Hillbilly Harmony
The ranch Girls and the ragtime Wranglers – Hillbilly Harmony

The Ranch Girls and the ragtime Wranglers – Hillbilly Harmony

Goofin Records – GRCD 6071 [1996]
Move Over Rover – I Wanna Wanna – Make Up Your Mind – Sure To Fall – Rock-A-Bye Baby – Travelling Blues – Rock’n Roll Polka – Buzzin’ Around – Oh, Monah – Seven Lonely Days – Pal Of My Lonely Hour – Mad At You – Hopin’ That You’re Hopin’ – Hey, Sheriff – Roundup Of Fun

Except for the label and the bass player, not much has changed betwen the first album and this one. You’ll find on this platter the same brand of hillbilly boogie, close harmony with a dose of Rockabilly that you liked on Rhythm on the Ranch. Another little change is that you’ll find more western swing influences with the Mc Kiney sisters’ Pal Of My Lonely Hour and Buzzin’ Around, an instrumental penned by the band’s steel guitar player.
The girls seem also more confident in their vocal talent and explore new manner of singing. I particularly like how they trade intricate vocal lines in some sort of canon (listen to Seven lonely Days to hear a fine example of what I’m telling about.)
All in all a solid second album thta makes more than confirming the very good impression made by the first.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


the ranch girls and the ragtime wranglersThe Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Kaw Liga

Home Brew HB002 – [1995]
Kaw Liga – I’ll get Him Back

Excellent single in the wake of the band’s debut album with a cover of Hank Williams (via the Davis Sisters) Kaw Liga and the Davis Sisters’ I’ll Get Him Back.
Limited edition of 1000 copies.


The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers - Rhythm on the Ranch
The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Rhythm on the Ranch

The Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers – Rhythm on the Ranch

Longhorn Records, Holland ‎– LHC 502 [1994]
Gotta Git Goin’ – Baby Of Mine – I’m Done, I’m Through – Go Away Don’t Bother Me – Hi De Ank Tum – Hey, Doll Baby – I Gotta Know – Hot Rod – Peepin’ Eyes – Hillbilly Gal – Crazy – Foggy Mountain Top – Wildwood Flower – Fiddle Diddle Boogie

Rhythm on the Ranch is the Ranch Girls’ debut album. The Ranch Girls are a hillbilly duet formed by Mary Ann and Caroline and backed by the Ragtime Wranglers a fine aggregation of musicians containing members of the Greyhounds and the Bugaloos.

Their sound mixes hillbilly harmony vocals reminiscent of the Davis sisters (whom they cover three songs Gotta Git Goin, Foggy Mountain Top and Fiddle Diddle Boogie) or any of the other « sisters » bands of the same style (Dining, Miller…) with the joyful exuberance of the Collins kids (present here with Hot Rod and Go Away Dont Bother me) sprinkled with some Rose Maddox and a bit of bluegrass too with Charlie Feather’s Peepin’ Eyes.
Each girl takes a solo spot, Caroline with Wanda Jackson’s Gotta Know and Mary Ann with a moving rendition Patsy Cline’s Crazy.
Shaun Young of High Noon fame is the author of « I’m Done I’m Through » performed here in full honky tonk style with appropriate steel guitar (and talking about High Noon, Sean Mencher introduces Fiddle Diddle Boogie).
Joe, the guitar player, penned Hillbilly Gal and Mary Ann contributed by far my favourite song of the album, the excellent baby of Mine perfectly arranged with accordion.

The band is simply perfect with a tight rhythm section and includes some guests on steel, fiddle and mandolin, and Joe Sixpack’s Maphis inspired guitar licks are the last piece of this superb musical puzzle. They shine throughout and give all their best on the instrumental Wildwood Flower.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Ragtime Wranglers - 15 Smoking tracks
The Ragtime Wranglers – 15 Smoking tracks

The Ragtime Wranglers – 15 Smoking tracks

Home Brew Records/Sonic Rendez-Vous SRV057
Harissa / Firewater Stomp / Thunder Reef / Red Rod Race / Sin City Serenade / Resaca / The Sky’s Gone Out / Amor Perdido / Mojo Bag Bop / Mexican Standoff / Driving All Night / Lullaby For Louis / Buck ‘n’ Rich / The Chicken Room / Smoke ’em Out

This is the second all instrumental album for Miss Mary Ann’s backing band, the Ragtime Wranglers, and if you’re too lazy to read the full review here’s what you need to know: it’s a killer!
It opens with the surf tinged “Harissa”, an ode to this North African sauce with sax. I couldn’t help but think it would make a fantastic double-sider with Los Straitjackets’ “Casbah”. With the intro played on the tom-tom, “Firewater Stomp” carries an Indian mood (a bit like Kaw-Liga) and features the one and only Jeremy Wakefield on steel guitar. Next is “Thunder Reef”, the sole cover of the album (from the pen of Bobby Fuller): a solid rocking and surfing number with great drums break. “Red Rod Race” is a rockabilly track that comes complete with car sounds and would have made Bob Keane, boss of Del-Fi, happy. Pictures of desert, setting sun and such other things come to mind while listening to “Sin City Serenade”, a cool atmospheric tune with accordion and muted Mexican trumpet. “Resaca” (hangover in Spanish) has a kind of film noir groove with a Latin beat and a superb tenor saxophone part. And don’t forget Miss Mary-Ann contribution on vocals. If Tarantino doesn’t pick this one for his next movie he’s a dumbass. “The Sky’s Gone Out” is simply perfect or perfect in its simplicity with just the acoustic guitar, a double bass and a mandolin. More Latin fever with “Amor Perdido” which is a mix of twang guitar and mariachi trumpet. How could you resist? Mojo Bag Bop is a rockin’ blues that’ll remind you of John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillun with a rockabilly beat. If good, The Mexican Standoff is not very original. More interesting is “Drivin’ All Night” that makes good use of the reverb. “Lullaby For Louis” follows. It’s a gentle waltz that sees the return of the accordion in the background. They couldn’t have done it nice, Louis is a lucky baby. Wakefield returns on “Buck’n’Rich”, a tribute to Buck Owens and Don Rich ‘and incidentally a tribute to the good old Fender Telecaster). “The Chicken Room” sounds like Link Wray (Run Chicken Run) meets the Ventures. “Smoke ‘em Out” closes the album with Joe Sixpack in full Larry Collins/Joe Maphis mode (don’t forget they’ve backed the Collins Kids many times) duelling with Jeroen Jongsma on mandolin.
Icing on the cake, this album comes in a beautifully designed digipack. Pleasure for the ears, beauty for the eyes.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Ragtime Wranglers - Groove A Tune
The Ragtime Wranglers – Groove A Tune

The Ragtime Wranglers – Groove A Tune

Sonic Rendez vous Records SRR 22
Low Man On A Totempole- Groovesville- Homebrew Hooch-. Groover’s Bop- I Can’t Stand It- Blue Smoke- Town Hall Shuffle-The Manhunt- Guydid- Get My Bread- Hop Scotch- Black Mountain Rag- Bronco Boogie-West Indies Groove

Do we still need to present the Ragtime Wranglers, this Dutch band who foams the world stages since the beginning of the Nineties with the Ranch Girls and Miss Mary Ann but also backing some of the genuine rockabilly stars (Curtis Gordon, Hardrock Gunter, Sid and Billy King, the Collins Kids, Larry Donn, Marvin Rainwater, Frankie Miller and Jack Earls) and more recent artists (like Sage Guyton and Jeremy Wakefield of Lucky Stars). However this “Groove a Tune” is their first album as a “real” band if one does not take account of two instrumentals “The Rocking Gypsy” and ” Road Stop ” published on a Ranch Girls’ EP in 1995. That 14 instumentals album (in LP or Cd) is an additional demonstration of the combo skills lead by the always phlegmatic Jelle Van Atten – more known under the nickname of Joe Sixpack – (guitar, steel-guitar) with Sietse on drums and percussions and Huey Moor on the double bass.
I can hear you thinking for yourselves: “a whole album of only instrumental ones! what a wound!” But you’re wrong, that doesn’t have anything unpleasing when it is played with as much talent and sincerity. The three rogues helped of some guests take you along for a musical journey through their tastes -comparable with those which Biller and Wakefield organize-with some covers but also a majority of self-penned ones, moreover Jeremy W. is invited on two tracks! Flavors and colours are multiple but always of good quality. There will be of course some country and western with references to Joe’s great inspirers as Jimmy Bryant (“Low Man One A Totempole” which opens the album) Merle Travis (his “Blue Smoke”) and Joe Maphis (“Town Hall Shuffle”). There‘s bluegrass (“Homebrew Hooch” with the mandoline of Joroen Jongsma who belongs to several folk formations like “Valleys Dish” “The Watchman”, “The Very Girls”) and stroll as “Groovesville” in an “exotica” style with the atmospheric steel of JW and “Get My Bread”. The rockabilly sounds are also part of the album (“Groover’ S Bop”) and even surfing music (“I Can’t Stand It” with organ) and some powerful rock ‘n’ rollers as “The Manhunt” which walks on the Link Wray side and “Guydid” reminds me of Cochran). It wouldn’t be complete without some sun of the Caribbean with the swaying “West Indies Groove”. But there are some more for you to discover…believe me, the trip is worth paying!!!
Long Tall

The Ranch Girls (Miss Mary Ann and Caroline)
The Ranch Girls (Miss Mary Ann and Caroline)
The Ranch Girls (Miss Mary Ann and Caroline)
The Ranch Girls (Miss Mary Ann and Caroline)
Lil Esther Mary Ann
Lil Esther with Miss mary Ann when she replaced Caroline in the Ranch Girls around 1998-1999
The New Ranch Girls (Miss Mary Ann with Raina Thompson)
The New Ranch Girls (Miss Mary Ann with Raina Thompson)
Miss Mary Ann and the Ragtime Wranglers
Miss Mary Ann and the Ragtime Wranglers

Obscuritones (the)

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the-obscuritonesThe Obscuritones – S/T

Brockwell Records BRKR1
Angel Eyes – HS Baby – 15 Seconds – Bad Mood – Rockabilly Boogie – Jim Dandy – Vapour Club Boogie – This Little Girls Gone Rockin’ – Genocide Blues – Brockell Beach – Dumb Luck – Molly Broom
The Obscuritones are a London sextet fronted by two female lead singer (Joey Hill and Gaby Romano) . The rest of the band consists of Hugh Byrne and Samantha Kidman on guitars, Andrew Bavington on double bass and Phil Casey on drums.
I first came across their name while browsing on youtube and to say the truth I wasn’t that impressed but I was probably in a bad mood because after listening to their debut album I promptly revised my judgement. These guys and gals are good. They play rockabilly but they doesn’t sound contrived or limited by the genre. They approach it with a free and open minded attitude that is refreshing when most of the bands try to either sound mean or more authentic than Charlie Feathers (or both!). To give you a slight idea of their style try to imagine the sweet harmonies of the Miller Sisters backed by the Stray Cats . As said before, they are not limited to Rockabilly, bringing a touch of surf here and there (especially with Sam’s twangy guitar on the surf instrumental Brockwell Beach), a more country tinged number (Molly Broom) and 80’s neo-rockabilly/psychobilly with Andy Byrne’s Vapour Club Boogie and Genocide Blues that he also sings (he also duets on the excellent Dumb Luck).
On the twelve songs that make the album you’ll find three covers (Rockbilly Boogie, Jim Dandy and This Little Girls Gone Rockin’ originally performed respectively by Johnny Burnette Rock’n’Roll Trio, Lavern Baker and Ruth Brown) the remaining nine songs are originals with every member (except for bassist Andy Bavington) having penned at least one song.
All in all an excellent debut album (they also have a vinyl single on Rydell Records with Angel Eyes b/w Rockabilly Boogie).
www.theobscuritones.com/

 

Flea Bops (the)

The Flea Bops formed after the tragic death of Darren Lee Spears of Go Cat Go in which Lance LeBeau played drums. The band initially went under the name of the Twilite Ramblers but soon evolved into the Flea bops. The members are Ronnie Joyner (vocals, rhythm guitar), Preston Lebeau (electric guitar) Lance Lebeau (drums) and Lance’s wife, Wendy on double bass. Both Ronnie Joyner and Preston LeBeau previously played in Red and the Pepperpot Boys with Bill Hull (guitar player for Go Cat Go) on drums.

fleabops-45The Flea Bops – Good Time Woman b/w I’m Ready

Vinylux V0003
Debut single for this quartet made of Ronnie Joyner (vocals, rhythm guitar), Preston Lebeau (electric guitar) his brother Lance (drums) and Lance’s wife, Wendy on double bass. Two sizzling hot rockabilly tunes with a striong Carl Perkins/Johnny Burnette influence. Great.


flea_bops_imreadyThe Flea Bops – I’m ready

Vinylux V0005 [2000]
I’m Ready – Who’s That Knockin’? – Heart’s On Fire – You Can Do No Wrong – So Long, Farewell, Goodbye – What’s She Gonna Do – I’ve Had Enough – Rock It – Believe In Me – Tears Today, Gone Tomorrow – Good Time Woman – Little Bit More – You’re Undecided – Hey Little Honey – Train Of Loneliness
Debut album for a band too often overlooked. This guys and girl deserve more credit. Ronnie Joyner’s originals sound like long lost fifties recordings and drummer’s Lance Lebeau contribution “Hey Little Honey” ain’t bad either. The production and the sound are just perfect. If you dig Carl Perkins, Johnny Horton, Johnny Burnette you don’t want to miss this one.


wendylebeau-gardenWendy Le Beau and her Beaus – Garden of Eden

Vinylux Records V0009 [2004]
Garden of Eden – Just Like a Dog Barking Up the Wrong Tree – One Track Love – Skull and Crossbones – Speed Limit – Jealous Hearted Me – Lie To Me Baby – Stop ‘n’ Go Boogie – The Coffee Addict – Kiss Me Baby
Though it came under the name of Wendy Lebeau and Her Beaus this one can be integrated to the Flea Bops discography as it shares the same line-up with the difference of Wendy LeBeau who takes the lead vocal duties.  But this is not the sole difference. The band made a conscious effort to sound different. Of course this is still first class rockabilly but they brought various element to their music like jazz chords progression (enhanced by Lance’s superb brush work) on the Carter Family’s Jealous Hearted Me or a barrelhouse piano on three tracks. Dave Moore of Wild Hare fame played acoustic guitar on two tracks too. It’s a mix of covers (Sparkle Moore, Tommy lam, Bonnie Lou, Johnny Tyler, Big Mama Thornton) and originals, three penned by Wendy and one by the late Darren Lee Spears.


flea_bops_gittogittinThe Flea Bops – Git To Gittin’

Vinylux V0008 [2005]
Git to Gittin’ – Drivin’ Home – I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry – Get On Home – Railroad Tracks – Too Hot For Me – Long Gone Love – You’d Be Thinking of Me – Skull and Crossbones – Hardball Boogie – I Was a Fool – Has the Devil Gotten You? – Goodbye Lonesome – So Good, So Right – Long Blonde Hair
Their second album is as good if not better than the previous one. Joyner confirms his status of one of today’s best rockabilly songwriter. He penned 8 songs for this albums and Lance one. The remaining songs are covers of Wynonie Harris, Carl Perkins (a big influence on the band), Johnny Powers, Johnny Horton, Sparkle Moore, and Shirley & Lee (with a great duet between Ronnie and Wendy). Wendy sings lead on Skull and Crossbones (also available on her side project Wendy and Her Beaus). No possibility of disapointement with this band, this is rockabilly as it sould be done!


FleaGottaThe Flea Bops – Gotta Bop

Vinylux V0011 [2009]
My Babe – Crackerjack – Rattlesnake Kiss – Gotta Bop – Jakes Juice – Everybody Wants To Steal My Girl
This 10″ – six songs mini album opens with two covers, a rockabilly rendition of Little Walter’s My Babe and Joe Clay’s Crackerjack (sung by Wendy). The third song of the side is an original written by Ronnie that sounds like an unissued take by Johnny Burnette Rock’n’roll trio with frantic vocals and screams. The three songs of the XXX side are all originals. Gotta Bop is a hot… bopper penned by bassist Wendy Lebeau, Jake’s Juice is a strong rockabilly number and Everybody Wants To Steal My Girl is a superb hillbilly bop, both written by Joyner.
Another killer release from the Flea Bops!

Flea Bops
The Flea Bops

Rockin’ Books reviews

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rockabilly-underground-london1
Rockabilly Underground London 1980’s – William Jones

Rockabilly Underground London 1980’s – William Jones

With bands as different as the Blue Cats, the Stargazers, Restless, the Meteors, the Deltas, Red Hot’n’Blue, the Riverside Trio (and many many more) London was in the early 80’s a creative bubble for all things rockabilly. That’s what I expected to find in this book, after all the title sounded promising. But, from the second I opened it I was hugely disapointed. First the layout is very poor, in fact there is NO layout at all. The same goes for the pictures. Some could be interesting but they are of such poor quality that one can barely see anything. But the main problem is the content of the book. There is little or no informations about the bands but mostly recollection from the authors of his friends and the girls he dated. There’s no real construction and you go from personal memories to interviews with Mac Curtis and Ray Campi (very London, uh!) or a trip to Finland without transition. In that mess there are some bits of infos you can pick from Mouse (Red Hot’n’Blue), Paul Roman (the Quakes) or Rob Glazebrook (Rochee & the Sarnos) but that’s pretty all you can save from this book.


 

The Strat In The Attic - Deke Dickerson
The Strat In The Attic – Deke Dickerson

The Strat In The Attic – Deke Dickerson

Regular writer of liner notes for cd reissues, most notably for the German label Bear Family, guitarist extraordinaire Deke Dickerson presents his first book. And guess what? It’s about guitars.  Guitarcheology to be exact, the art of finding beautiful and rare models on flea markets, second hand stores, ads or any other way one could ever imagine.
You want to hear the stories and the often strange journeys of  Bob Dylan’s Stratocaster, Link Wray’s Danelectro, Deke’s trademark TNM guitar or Scotty Moore’s Echosonic amp that was used for the recording of Mystery Train? All these stories and more from models you’ve never heard before are in this book.
But what makes this book so interesting is  that you don’t have to be a guitarist to enjoy it. You read it like you read a book about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter (and you’ll agree that you don’t have to be an Egyptologist or an archaeologist- to enjoy it). It’s a book about passion and the excitment of finding or just holding a rare guitar – sometimes a piece of history. Being a great storyteller Dickerson knows how to translate all those feelings into words and describe a setting very vividly.
A great book and definitely looking forward a volume 2.

Learn more about this book by reading this interview of Deke Dickerson by Dollie DeVille here.he Strat In The Attic is available almost everywhere but you can also order it directly on Deke’s website and get iy autographed.


Marshall Lytle - Still Rockin' Around the Clock
Marshall Lytle – Still Rockin’ Around the Clock

Still Rockin’ Around the Clock – Marshall Lytle with Michael Jordan Rush

I respect Marshall Lytle a lot. I worship every side he recorded with Bill Haley as well as the Jodimars. I enjoyed a lot his recent musical ventures like Marshall & The Shooting Stars and the fact he was still being able to play on stage at an advanced age forces the admiration. So I bought this book with great expectations, hoping to read the story of one of the greatest rock’n’roll band from the point of view of someone who actually lived it.
The first things you notice when you have this book in hands is that it’s printed very big and with a mere 200 pages you read it very quickly.
The main problem is not that it’s not very well written (after all he’s a bass player not a writer) but it’s not very interesting either. Marshall never goes deep into details and doesn’t seem very interested by the music (you’ll find more info about his incomes as a real estate agent than about the recording of Shake Rattle & Roll).
And when he gives some details you doubt about them. For example he says that they never played Rock Around The Clock before the recording session except for one rehearsal the day before though many books say they used to play it on stage and had a great success with it. This minor things aside, the main thing you remember when you finish this book is a deep feeling of bitterness. Maybe Bill Haley wasn’t the best boss on earth, I don’t know I wasn’t here (but Marshall was! you’ll object), but it seems that in every chapter you read Marshall saying “Bill never gave me credit for Crazy Man Crazy”, “Bill never paid us this”, “Bill was jealous of my talent”, “Capitol never promoted the Jodimars”, “I was never credited for writing Clarabella so I never saw a cent for the Beatles cover” and so on.
It’s not very expensive so you can try it but don’t expect to learn anything on the musical side.


Sweat, the story of the Fleshtones
Sweat, the story of the Fleshtones

Sweat the story of the Fleshtones – Joe Bonomo

How can’t you love the Fleshtones? For three decades, no matter of the bad luck they could have encountered, they never failed to deliver your dose of “super-rock”. The other band with the same integrity that comes in mind is The Cramps. But in a cruel twist of fate, the Fleshtones reputation has never been further than a bunch of devoted fans who recognize themselves with such enigmatic words as “Speed Connection”, “Roman God”, “Hexbreaker” and so on. This is their story that Joe Bonomo relates in his book “Sweat” rightly subtitled “30 years – 2000 shows – 1000 Blue Whales – no hits – no sleep”. Bonomo made countless interviews with band members and relatives to explore every single detail. Many anecdotes are revealed. Bonomo sure is a fan of the band (you have to if you write a 400 pages book about such a band) but he’s objective though and he’s never compliant.
The Fleshtones have released numerous good albums all through the years but the place where they shine is definitely on stage, and the same way it’s hard to capture them on wax (or tape, or whatever…) you could wonder how a book could transcript the “bigger than life” characters of the band. But Bonomo’s style is lively and you’re with them looking for a record label, in the studio or in a van heading for the next gig. When rock critics think that The Strokes are the last hope of rock’n’roll and records labels build from nothing pre-made stars the Fleshtones are precious. And if you consider them as the ultimate rock’n’roll band “Sweat” could possibly be the ultimate rock’n’roll book.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis