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Little Tina and Flight 56

in Reviews

Little Tina & Flight ’56 ‎– Little Tina & Flight ’56

little tina

Rockhouse Records ‎– MLP 8416 [1985]
My Boy Elvis – Need A Little Lovin’ – This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’ – Let’s Jum The Broomstick – Ooby Dooby – Honky Tonk Train Blues

Released in the Rockhouse Mini LP Collection series in 1985, this mini album contains six tracks previously released on the 1977 album.
My advice is to get the album since Tina Dawes’originals really makes the difference.
So nothing new but a beautiful object.


Little Tina & Flight ’56 ‎– This Little Girl Is Gonna Rock It!

little tina and flight 56

Rockhouse Records ‎– 7704 [1977]
This Little Girl Is Gonna Rockin’ – My Boy Elvis – Can’t Help Loving You – 12 O’Clock Rock – Cupid – Need A Little Lovin’ – Why Do Fools Fall In Love? – Honky Tonk Train Blues – Everlasting Love – Let’s Jump The Broomstick – Who Else But Me – Frankie – Ooby Dooby – He’s Gone – Don’t Ever Go – Let’s Elope Baby – Twenty Flight Rock – Let’s Have A Party

After Mal Gray left, Tina Dawes, aka Little Tina, took over the lead vocals duties. The band (Nick Barnes on bass guitar, Jerry Kelk on guitar, and Lesly Bailey on drums) was sharp as a razor and was ready to record. The got an offer from Rockhouse. Thus, in January 1977, the band flew to Holland and, during a four-day session, cut 18 tracks. For the recording, they hired Dave Taylor on piano.
Little Tina remains to this day one of the best female Rockabilly / Rock’n’roll singers since the golden age of the genre. She was able to sing pure Rockabilly numbers, straight in your face Rock’n’roll, Doo Wop, and ballads that no one dares to sing today, which is a pity.
She was also more than able when it came to writing songs. Next to Cupid (the ballad that I was talking about), one will find the great Need A Little Lovin. This superb dialog between Tina and Taylor’s piano is in a similar vein than Ubangi Stomp . She also penned a superb Rockabilly (Can’t Help Loving You), a western swing influenced tune (Who Else But Me) that featured hot solos by Taylor and Kelk. Other originals include Taylor’s 12’O Clock Rock and Don’t Ever Go, which he also sang. The former is a boogie with steel guitar, and the later is a beautiful slow number.
Barnes sang Cochran‘s Twenty Flight Rock and co-wrote with Kelk the country-tinged “He’s Gone.”
The remaining songs come from the catalogs of Janis Martin, Connie Francis, Wanda Jackson, Roy Orbison, Etta James, Barbara Pittman, and Frankie Lymon. Their breathless interpretation of Let’s Have A Party closes the album in beauty.


Mal Grey (sic) & Flight 56 ‎– Look Out For Love

mal grey

Arista ‎– Arista 8 [1975]
Look Out For Love – Ballroom Queen

Before Tina Dawes joined the band, Mal Gray, ex-Wild Angels, briefly fronted Flight 56. They recorded this single in 1975 for Arista.
Both songs are originals and produced by Pete Gage.
Mal Gray sings the A-side, a Rock’n’roll tune with a strong glam influence.
The flip is way more interesting. It’s a classic Rock’n’roll tune with piano and sax and by bass-player Nick Barnes sings it.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Little Tina and Flight 56
Little Tina and Flight 56
Little Tina and Flight 56
Little Tina and Flight 56, late 1975

Honey Hush

in Reviews

honey hushHoney Hush – Honey Hush

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8418 [1985]
Nowhere Train – Rock-Itis – Getaway Girl – You’re the One that Done It – She’s so Fine – Pink and Black

Honey Hush came from the Netherlands and formed in the early ’80s. After one single included here, they released this mini-lp.
This is neo-rockabilly at its best.
The singer is excellent, the band is perfect (powerful slap bass and light guitar that takes you straight into the 80’s), and they have solid originals. They complete the set with two well-chosen covers: Thomas Wayne’s You’re The One That Done It and a live version of Sonny Fisher’s Pink and Black.
Furthermore, if the tone is mostly neo-rockabilly oriented, they’re not afraid to bring a bit of psychobilly with Nowhere Train or play in a more classical Rockabilly vein with She’s so Fine. They even add a bit of jazz (with brushed snare) on Rock-Itis. As a result, it gives a very varied mini album.
Moreover, the six-song format let no place for average tunes.
After these recordings, Honey Hush changed its name and became Archie.


Honey Hush – Getaway Gal

honey hushRockhouse Records – SP8305 [1983]
Getaway Gal – She’s so fine

Rockhouse records released this excellent debut single by this Dutch neo-rockabilly band in 1983. Getaway Gal features a superb guitar solo that is reminiscent of Mark Harman. B-side is more traditional.
Both songs will appear on their mini-lp.

Honey Hush
Honey Hush

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang

in Reviews
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang - Wild Youth
Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Wild Youth

Rockhouse [1982]
Wild Youth – She Will Come Back – 56 Boys –  Tainted Love – Love Me – My Turn – On The Move – One And Only – Flea Brain – Should I Ever Love Again – Summertime – Baby Blue – Just Can’t Believe – Wow

Having left the Blue Cats in 1980, Dave Phillips took some time off before forming his own band. Still with Gene Vincent in mind he named his new band the Hot Rod Gang after the 1958 movie featuring the screaming kid. The first line-up consisted of John Day and Ray Thompson on guitars, Rob Tyler on drums and of course Dave Phillips on double bass and lead vocals. But it’s the second line-up with Mark Harman from Restless on guitar replacing both Day and Thompson that entered the history of modern rockabilly. Harman was the perfect choice, his fast Gallup influenced licks being the perfect complement to Phillips. The trio recorded Wild Youth in late 1981 and contrary to what the cover reads it’s Tyler on drums and not Andrew Wrightson who was the band’s driver (even on the cd reissue features the mistake).
One can suppose that the label (Rockhouse for both) acted with Phillips the same way he did with the Blue Cats’ second album (with Clint Bradley) hence the presence of many familiar cover in a more traditional style (Flea Brain, Summertime, Baby Blue and the Phantom’s Love Me sung by Harman). But there’s enough modern stuff to make of Wild Youth a benchmark in Neo-Rockabilly history, the best known being their cover of Tainted Love. It’s an instant classic that will have a lasting influence on many young bands.
Essential to any decent collection.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Dave Phillips

Dave Phillips – Rockhouse Mini L.P. Collection

Rockhouse Records – MLP 8420 [1985]

Brand New Beat – The Fun Of It – In My Dreams – So Now You’ve Lost her – You Don’t Want to Know – The Trip

I said it before and I’ll say it again, mini lp are often the best support for Rockabilly. It’s short, every number counts and there’s no place for fillers.
Dave Phillips’ mini lp for Rockhouse is the perfect exemple of that statement.It’s almost perfect and dare I say, even better than his debut solo album.
Once again one can hear the influence of Gene Vincent, with the covers of Brand New beat (imagine Vincent revisited by Restless of vanish Without A Trace period) and In My Dreams which is probably the weakest song of the album (but to his discharge it’s hard to compete with Vincent on that type of song.)
The four remaining tracks are originals. You Don’t Want to Know features Mark Harman of Restless (and former hot Rod Gang member) on guitar and is a rockin’ ballad with once again the shadow of Gene Vincent over it.
So You’ve Lost Her is a medium rocker while the Fun of it is a fast neo-rockabilly with breaks later covered by French band the Happy Drivers on their debut album and the Trip is Worth th eprice of the album alone. This fast modern rockabilly number (with a dash of psychobilly) is a modern masterpiece.

Dave Phillips – The Best Of

Rockhouse records ROCKCD8603
Tainted love -’56 Boys – Wild youth – She will come back – Love me – On the move – It was free – The trip – Every walk of life – I saw her standing there – Sunshine girl – So now you lost her – The fun of it – Brand new beat – I’m gonna die – I’m driving home – Boogie up roar – Pink thunderbird – Cat man

If you don’t have any of the solo albums of Dave Phillips or the Blue Cats (which is, in my opinion, a shame), you should definitely acquire this best-of album.
It covers the “Rockhouse years” of the fame double-bassist, with songs from the first Blue Cats album, the studio recordings (including the hit Tainted Love) and two live songs lifted from the Live at the Rockhouse compilation album.
It also shows that Phillips always had the best musicians to back him, Rob Tyler on drums and aces like Mark Harman, Paul Gaskin and Mick Malone on guitar.


Dave Phillips – Understatements

Kix 4 U Records ‎– 4U 3334
Rescue – Desert Town – Every Walk Of Life – Next Stop – Night Life – Paradise For The Children – The Trip – Room At The Top – Sunshine Girl – I Saw Her Standing There – Dancing Shoes – The Fun Of It!

Following the success of Tainted Love, Bert Rockhuizen of Rockhouse/Kix4U pushed Dave Phillips to add even more modern elements on Understatements.
Hence, despite having good melodies, most of the album is made of pop/new wave-influenced music with a modern production that has little if nothing in common with Rockabilly.
Nevertheless, a bunch of great self-penned Neo-Rockabilly numbers (The Trip, The Fun of it, and the Beatles influenced Next Stop) and two good rocking covers of the Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There and Buzz & the Flyers’Every Walk of Life, save half of the platter.


Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Look Out!

Bank Of Troy Recordings ‎– AR-92-1-33, My Way Records ‎– WAY LP 1223 [1992]
New Job – Git It – Goin’ Up The Country – It Was Free – She’s A Woman – No Comeback – Joy Ride – Ain’t That Good News – Handsome Johnny – Linda Lou – A Soft Growl – It’s Murder On The Streets

After going too deep into the musical experimentation with “Understatements” his previous album, Dave Phillips wisely chose to return to what he does best: ROCK! And what a better band than the original Hot Rod Gang (the faithful Rob Tyler on drums and Mark Harman as well as Paul Gaskin on guitars) to help him?
The result is a superb twelve track album. Some tracks a pure neo-rockabilly (almost Psychobilly for “It’s Murders On the Streets”); others are more traditional sounding. As usual with Phillips, there’s special care to write melodic songs (or cover songs with strong melodies), and he’s attached to add a variety of instruments (piano, harmonica, flute) to explore styles and moods. There’s even a slow, which is always a good point!
The only low point being the drawing on the cover.

Available here.


Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang – Good Thing

Fury Records F3035 [1995]
Good Thing – I’ve Just Seen A Face – Rollin’ Danny – Teenage Partner – Here Comes The Night – Linda Lu (Live Recording)

Recorded in 1995, Good Thing features Rob Tyler on drums and Darrel Higham on guitar. This mini-album features six covers. Next to the now mandatory Beatles cover, there are songs from Fine Young Cannibals, Gene Vincent, Hank Noble, and Ray Sharpe.
Good Thing, the song, captures the same vibe as Tainted Love. Phillips is as usual extremely at ease when it comes to singing Gene Vincent his idol, and both Here Comes the Night and Linda Lu rock (the latter being recorded live.) Surprisingly, they do not convince with their cover of the Beatles, which is usually one of their strong points.
The whole atmosphere is very laid back, and it benefits to the final result.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Read our in depth interview with Dave Phillips here.

Blue Cats (the) / G-Men / Beltane Fire

in Reviews

The Blue Cats - The Blue CatsThe Blue Cats – The Blue Cats

 

Rockhouse LPL 8011 [1980]
Just Go Wild Over Rock ‘N’ Roll – I’m Gonna Die – Pretty Pretty Baby – I Dreamed You Left Me – Southbound Blues – Boogie Up Roar – Five Days Five Days – I’m Driving Home – Sweet Love On My Mind –
Caldonia – I Sure Miss You – Jumpin’ Little Mama – Juke Joint Jem – Sure-Fire Way – Goofin’ Around
Debut album featuring the Carlo Edwards (guitar), his brother Stef (drums), Clive Osborne (sax, rhythm guitar) and Dave Phillips (vocals and double bass). Excellent from start to finish. A true classic!

 


The Blue Cats - Fight BackThe Blue Cats – Fight Back

Rockhouse ROCKCD 8111 [1981]
Fight back – Hot & cold – Tired & sleepy – Love me – Jump cat jump – Up a lazy river – Who stole my blue suede shoes – Who slapped John – Wild night – Thunder & lightning – Life fast die young – Made for rockin’ – Slippin’ in – Idle on parade – Birth of the boogie – Everybody’s rockin’
By the end of 1980 the Blue Cats found themselves in need of a bassist and a singer after the departure of Dave Phillips. They quickly recruited Mitch Caws and Clint Bradley both from The Tennessee Rebels and started to work right away. From that moment they started to experiment and write new material with a more modern edge. Released in 1981 Fight Back is representative of that era.
Half of the album reminds the “old” Blue Cats with covers of the Cochran Brothers, Gene Vincent, Eddie Bond, The Phantom, Marvin Rainwater, that are probably here to satisfy the label who didn’t want to make a big departure from their successful debut album. The other half is by far the most interesting with six neo-rockabilly jewels, sometimes close to early psychobilly, written by Bradley.
One can only regret the light production on some of this tracks and wonder how it would have sounded with more studio time.
Almost three decades later, “Fight Back” remains a key album of the early 80’s and a huge influence on numerous bands.


The Blue Cats - The TunnelThe Blue Cats – The Tunnel

Nervous records Nercd069 [1992]
Man With A Mission – Galluping Man – Casting My Spell – The Tunnel – Heavens Gate – Cry On The Wind – Car 76 – Take And Give – Bad Mans Money – Wild Dogs Of Kentucky – Rivers Bend
All I Can Do Is Cry

Winning return for the Blue Cats with this 1992 album with Paul Diffin (Sugar Ray Ford) on bass. Every track here is a killer from the manic neo-rockabilly of Man With A Mission and the Tunnel to the tributes to Cliff Gallup (Gallupin’ Man) and Gene Vincent (Cry On the Wind) and what could possibly be the definitive version of All I Can Do Is Cry. 
Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Blue Cats (the) – 1978 The Re-discovered Masters 1984

Count Orlock – COCK XXIII
I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine* – Jumps Giggles and Shouts* – Mystery Train** – I’ll Never Let You Go** – The Saints Rock ‘n’ Roll** – Gotta Git A-Goin’ ** – Baby’s Number One** – I’ve Got No Time For You** – Gotta Go*** – Left Out*** – Eldorado**** – The Master’s Call****
*Blue Cat Trio – **The Blue Cats – ***The G-Men – ****Beltane Fire
The title says it all. It’s a compilation of rare and mostly unissued material by the Blue Cats in all their incarnations. It features songs from their beginning with Dave Phillips as a Rockabilly trio. The songs with Clind Bradley easily shows they could have topped any weekender as a traditionnal Rockabilly band. Instead as we know it they continue to explore and pushed the boundaries to create their unique neo-rockabilly sound. It culminates with the G-Men, a band that created something new that had a lasting impact on the Psychobilly scene with Gotta Go being covered by Frenzy and Long Tall Texans.
Two songs by Beltane Fire find Bradley in his natural element singing Marty Robbins tunes.


Blue Cats (the) – Best Dawn Yet

Blue Cats - Best Dawn Yet

Blue Light Records BLR 33165 2
Billy Ruffians – The Norton Spirit – Turn My Back On You – Blue Prairie – My Dark Dark Mind – Badon Hill – Long Road Home – Captain Blood – Burnette – Following Ahab – Secret Agent Man – Lonesome Desperado

Twenty years after the release of the Tunnel, a landmark in the history of modern Rockabilly, the Blue Cats returned with a new double bass player (Steve Whitehouse of Frenzy and the Sharks) and a new album.
Since Clint Bradley joined the band, the Blue Cats always tried to push the boundaries of the genre while keeping the spirit and the essence of true Rock’n’Roll. And this platter doesn’t disappoint. Modern yet classic.
Billy Ruffian is a fantastic piece of modern Rockabilly with exciting changes in the melody, with what I call “typical Carlo Edwards riffs.” The rhythm section is powerful and demonstrates that Steve Whitehouse was the right choice to succeed to Mitch Caws and Paul Diffin. It could be hard to follow such an opener, but not for Bradley and his gang. The Norton Spirit is a powerful rocker. And even with a straight-ahead rocker like this that lets very little margin to the singer, Bradley proves he’s one of the best singers on the rockin’ scene today.
Billy Fury’s Turn My Back On You is pure Rockabilly gold straight from the ’50s with echo and hiccups.
The Sons of the Pioneers’ Blue Prairie seems tailored-made for Bradley’s voice, and it’s the occasion to hear Carlo Edwards play some steel-guitar.
My Dark Dark Mind is another slice of modern Rockabilly. This one features Paul Diffin on bass, so it’s probably an old recording.
The Blue Cats always took care to write different lyrics than your usual “love my Cadillac” thing. Billy Ruffians evoked Trafalgar and Nelson, and Badon Hill is about King Arthur.
Long Road Home is not the most original track of the album, but once again, the playing and the production are flawless. Captain Blood takes the listener back to the Beltane Fire days with Mitch Caws on bass. A good one, though the production is a bit too much for me. Burnette is a tribute to Johnny Burnette and Grady Martin. No big surprise but very well done and pleasant. Though, maybe, I find Gallupin’ Man their tribute to Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup on the Tunnel more interesting.
After a rocking Secret Agent Man, the album ends with Lonesome Desperado; a superb Marty Robbins influenced tune on which Bradley’s voice is more eloquent than ever.

blue cats
The Blue Cats (Clint Bradley, Stef Edwards, Carlo Edwards and Paul Diffin)

WIld Ones (the)

in Reviews

Wild OnesWild Ones (the) – Feelin’ Good

Migraine Bop 32 [2018]
Feelin’ Good – I’m Coming Home

One of Europe’s best rockin’ band returns thirty years after its latest release. I really liked the Wild Ones back in the days and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect with this new release. Would it be as good as their old recording, Wouldn’t it tarnish the legacy of the band? What if Dee had lost his voice? My fear quicky vanished as soon as I played the record. The Wild Ones still have it and with the help of Tony LaMonica their newly recruited guitar player they rock like hell.
These two sides are full of rockin’ blues with mean guitar and equally mean blues harp (and yes, Wild One Dee still has his voice). Now, let’s just hope this is a warming up before a full LP.
Limited edition.


Wild Ones - Sounds like Gene Vincent
Wild Ones – Sounds like Gene Vincent

Wild Ones (the) – Sounds like Gene Vincent

Rockouse – MLP 8804   [1988]
Wildcat Boogie – Two Eyes – Ain’t She Sweet – It Won’t Work – My Baby She’s Gone – In My Dreams – Cruisin’

With such a title and musicians dressed like the Blue Caps circa 1956 you won’t be surprised to find more than a strong Gene Vincent influence on this mini-lp.
In My Dreams, Cruisin and Ain’t She Sweet are lifted from the Sreaming Kid repertoire and a fourth cover, Two Eyes, is a Tommy Steele song. They are played with the right energy and intensity in the vocals and the guitarist is good enough to play some Cliff Gallup inspired parts and despite being very close to the originals, they are not just note for note versions.
The remaining three songs are penned by the band’s singer Didier Borra.
Both It Won’t Work and Wildcat Boogie previously appeared on a single and sound as good as anything the early Blue Cat Trio released. Though there’s no indications of recording date or place, one can assume that all the songs come from the same sessions, or at least the same period, that is to say 1983.
The remaining song, My Baby She’s Gone, is by far the best of the album, opening with a strong slapping bass for two and a half minutes of Rockabilly. It would later be reworked under a new title and with a new sound for the band’s debut album « Crossroads ».


Wild Ones (the) – Wildcat Boogie

Blackjack – NR 4035 [1983]
Wildcat Boogie – It Wont Work

With this second single, the Wild Ones are more confident, and the musicianship is better. The influence of Gene Vincent and bands like the Blue Cats can be heard all over those two original songs from the Cliff Gallup inspired guitar solo to the production.
Note: the bass player on this single and the following mini-album “Sounds Like Gene Vincent” is Dirk Schoufs who later formed Vaya Con Dios with whom he found success. Sadly he died in 1991.


Wild Ones (the) – I’m A Wild One Baby!!!

Little Big One ‎– L.B.O. 116 [1981]
I’m A Wild One baby!!! – Crying All Alone
Released in 1981, this is the debut single from this famous Belgium band. As one can guess, it’s a bit young and needs some cohesion in places, but the result is quite pleasant.
“I’m a Wild One Baby!!!” lives to its title with call and response from the band, screams, and whistles, the whole thing played at a frantic pace.
The flip side is a mid-tempo with some Cavan vibe and an exciting guitar solo.

wild ones
The Wild Ones [Sounds Like Gene Vincent line-up]

Bugaloos (the)

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

The Bugaloos – In the Mood

bugaloos

Rockhouse Records – ROCKCD9318 [1993]

Rockabye Boogie – Most Of All – Be Bop Baby – Baby I Love You So – At The Old Town Hal – Love Me – Rocky Road Blues – In The Mood – Crazy Real Gone Blues – Bye Bye Blues – Frankie’s Out On Patrol – You Can Do No Wrong

The Bugaloos were a three piece female harmony band from the Netherland, featuring Lil’ Esther.
Their sound was a mix of “sisters” bands (Fontane, Davis, Dinning, Miller) as well as Nita, Rita and Ruby with a dash of Rockabilly à la Collins Kids thrown in for good measure.

In the Mood is their second album and benefits of the presence of Jelle aka Joe Sixpack (who later joined the Ranch Girls and the Ragtime Wranglers) on guitar. This guy is one the great masters of the Rockabilly guitar on the modern scene next to pickers like Deke Dickerson, TK Smith. He brings rockabilly to their swing and swing to their rockabilly.

All songs are covers but the band is good enough to always turn them into something new and interesting. Even an ear worm like In the Mood that makes me cringe even when played by Bob Wills is pleasant here. But how could you resist to the charm produced by the sweet voices of those three girls.
From Hillbilly bop with a hint of western swing to a sweet ballad with Rockabilly in between and a bit of jazz, you’ll sure enjoy this moment with the Bugaloos.

After the Bugaloos disbanded Esther and Marga formed Jess’n’Jill & the Sinners before singing as a solo act. Read more about all that here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Bugaloos with Lil Esther
The Bugaloos
Bugaloos
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