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Comet Combo (the)

Comet Combo (the) – Race With The Devil

El Dandy Records – DR-007 [2023]
I Sure Miss You – Race With the Devil / Woman In Black – Incinerator

the Comet Combo

The Comet Combo is a supergroup formed by Al Nicholls (the Big Six, the Big Town Playboys) on sax, Ricky Lee Brawn (the Big Six, the Stargazers, the Space Cadets and a whole lot more) on drums, Peter Davenport and Tim Purkess (both from the Stargazers) respectively on guitar and double bass and Cliff Edmonds. (the Avengers) on vocals. Dave Brown (Darrel Higham, Rusti Steel) guests on a few tracks. Edmonds is well-known for being a huge Gene Vincent fan and recorded (see or rather hear the album he recorded with the Virginians – including Ricky Lee Brawn -for Vampirella). The other four have played together or separately in the best Big Beat bands in the UK. This Ep is the exact combination of these two major influences. The band took three carefully chosen Gene Vincent covers (two from the Capitol years and one from the end of his career) and turned them into Bill Haley-typed songs, albeit with an unmistakable British feel, so maybe Tony Crombie, too. A fourth tune, an instrumental penned by Brawn, completes the set.
The result is perfect from start to finish and highly danceable (even for a non-dancer like me). Not only does this reappropriation work terribly well (who could have guessed?), but as you can imagine, with musicians of this pedigree, the musicianship is top-notch. From Nicholls’ sax to Davenport’s guitar, which is both Jazzy and Rock’n’Roll simultaneously, backed by the hot groove delivered by Brawn and Purkess, you can’t go wrong. This is the perfect support for Edmonds’ solid vocals. Rock’n’Roll seems to be a simple genre in appearance, which is why Bill Haley doesn’t have the recognition he deserves, in my opinion. But you need top-notch musicians to make it work (don’t forget that Haley’s Comets previously played in jazz bands, including the likes of Benny Goodman). This is what we have here: high-calibre musicians and singers playing the hottest Rock’n’roll, and the result is like a well-oiled machine or the musical equivalent of a perfectly crafted piece of marquetry where each piece fits precisely into the other.
There are two bonus tracks (from Davenport and Brawn) on the CD.

El Dandy Records

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis

Shook Boys

Shook Boys – Shook Boys

Self-released [2023]
I Can’t Control – Blue Eyes, Black Hair – Dead By 22 – Tell On You – Love Bandit Jones – Miss Anne – Oh Annie

Shook Boys

If you like bluettes, delicate Rockabilly (a la Ricky Nelson or Buddy Holly) or more hillbilly-oriented Rockabilly, go your way. The Shook Boys are not for you! The Shook Boys are mean, raw and wild.
This Canadian combo formed by Murry Robe (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Big Mark (lead guitar), Mack Black (double bass) and Rockin’ Paddy (drums) plays frenetic, desperate and white-hot Rockabilly and Rock’n’Roll. Their natural environment does not seem to be the countryside or the bayou, but rather the asphalt and the urban jungle. Musically, they belong to the same family as Gene Maltais, Benny Joy or, closer to us, the Raging Teens, Johnny Carlevale and The Racketeers.

Armed with a repertoire of short, even ultra-short tunes, the group exudes an energy close to violence at times. But unlike others who confuse speed with haste or drown everything in a deluge of decibels, the Shook Boys opt for contained energy, always close to breaking. It is the interpretation that gives this feeling of power, not the noise they produce. Because when you listen closely, you realize that the group plays at a relatively low volume, and, except for the electric guitar (and what a guitar!), the sound is generally acoustic, notably a superb rhythm guitar.
Even when the group ventures to play a calmer and almost doo-wop number (Oh Annie, which sounds like a slow version of the Dell Vikings’ Come Go With Me), the result is somehow disturbing and even uncomfortable. But don’t think that it’s a gloomy album. It’s overflowing with vitality and, at times, humour, like on the excellent “Tell On You”.
Now, don’t trust my words; trust your ears and listen to this highly recommendable album here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Lily Locksmith

Lily Locksmith – s/t

Enviken Records EnRec181 [2022]
When I Put The Blues On You – Praying – Bad – Last Night – Player – Farther Up The Road – Burn Toast And Black Coffee – You Gotta Try – I Don’t Need – No Use But O’Well – When It’s Good Enough For You – I Tried – Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave – Catfight – You Did Me Wrong – What Do You Know About Love

lily locksmith

Caroline Låås, aka Lily Locksmith, had an incredible voice. Her sudden death, at the too-early age of 37, left a massive void on the Rock’n’Roll scene. When she passed away, Lilly was working on an album. Friends of the singer, knowing that her dream was to release a full-length vinyl album, decided to finish it. Thanks to the label, her friends, musicians, and fans who contributed to the project via a Kickstarter campaign, the project was completed and saw the light of day.
Among the sixteen tracks, nine are covers, the remaining seven being from the pen of Locksmith or guitarist Chris Bergström. The covers range from Candye Kane to Bo Diddley, with tunes by Nick Curran, Shorty Long, Little Richard, Chris Ruest, Big Mama Thornton, Larry Davis and Bobby Blue Bland in between.
The whole album is a rollercoaster through the blues idiom. You go from straightforward blues to Rock’n’roll, with groovy stuff and plenty of Rhythm’n’Blues thrown in for good measure. And, of course, like all good albums, there’s a tear-jerker ballad (Last Night). The band is top-notch, providing an excellent job and a solid structure to put the spotlight on Locksmith’s vocals and her impressive range of emotions.
We lost a great singer, but this album is not a monument commemorating the death of someone. Instead, it’s a celebration of life. Each groove of the vinyl and each bit of the CD ooze energy and vitality. This is the best hommage that could’ve been done to this fantastic singer, and I suppose that’s how her friends wanted her to be remembered.

Lily Locksmith – I Don’t Need

Enviken ENREC4512 [2020]
I Don’t Need / Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave

Lily Locksmith has a strong and powerful voice. But, unlike many, she knows how to control it, and this single is the perfect vehicle to show her skills.
The A-side, penned by Locksmith’s guitar player Chris Bergström, is a Bo Diddley tinged song with tremolo guitar and a hint of Garage.
The B-side is a cover of Little Richard. This slow tune allows the singer to play with her voice and its variations, containing the power before letting it explode.
I’m looking forward to the whole album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Sabrejets (the)

Sabrejets (the) – The Restless Kind

Raucous Records – RAUCD288 [2021]
You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone – Hell Yeah! – Tennessee Flat Top Bop – If I Gotta Explain – Faster Than The Eye Can See – Lightnin’ – Blue Moon Baby – Don’t Turn Your Back On Love – I Got The Shakes – Train To Hell – Zorita – Someone’s On The Loose – You Don’t Love Me – Storm In A D-Cup – The Restless Kind


The Sabrejets from Belfast have been on the Rock’n’Roll scene for some time now. But time doesn’t seem to have a hold on them, and the band is still just as creative, energetic and biting, to say the least.
Their new album, appropriately named the Restless Kind, is clear proof of this. This record demonstrates that with almost 70-year-old recipes drawn from Johnny Burnette and Chuck Berry (to name just two), one can produce a powerful and inventive Rock’n’Roll album. Because it is Rock’n’Roll that we are talking about, the real deal, the unadulterated and original one. The dangerous version, always on the edge, not this bastardized version that the media tries to sell us. I let you put here the names you want, there are too many, and I don’t have the time or the desire to dive into it. I prefer to talk about the Sabrejets, which give back their letters of nobility to this music. They approach it in a pure and straightforward way, and if I were not afraid that it would be taken pejoratively, I would say naive. We have four guys who know their stuff and play this music, not because they hope to sell records or gather huge crowds, but because it runs in their blood. It’s obvious from the first track that grabs you right away. Throughout the fifteen songs, one can hear references, a bit of Burnette in one intro, the same kind of tension as in Johnny Horton’s I’m Comin’ Home in another, or the Meteors’ aggressiveness a little further, but the result is always 100% Sabrejets. It’s always exciting, and it never feels like a band on autopilot each time our interest is revived, either by a Surf/Hot Rod instrumental (Lightnin’) or by a surprising melodic song with pop accents (Don’t Turn Your Back On Love). Most songs are written by Brian Young, the singer-guitarist or Liam Killen, the guitarist. Three well-chosen covers complete the set: Dave Diddle Day’s Blue Moon Baby (sung by Bill Johnston, the bassist), Willie Cobb’s You Don’t Love Me and ex-Whirlwind Nigel Dixon’s Someone’s on the Loose.

Get this album as soon as possible, and a good tip, crank up the sound!

Available here

The Sabrejets on facebook

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Starjays

The Starjays - Bang! It's the Starjays
The Starjays – Bang! It’s the Starjay

The Starjays – Bang! It’s the Starjays

Rhythm Bomb – RBR5828 {2016}
Who Do You Love The Most? – The Right Girl – Flat Broke – I’ll Wait – Nobody Loves You Like Me – My Wild Girl – Cadillac Of Woman – Keep On Talkin’- One Quick Stop – What’s Gone Wrong? – Turn Down The Lights – Tintarella Di Luna – A Sin Comin’ On – Get Closer

Led by Roy Kay (the Roy Kay trio\Combo, the Margraves) and Angela Tini (Angelatini and the Trebblemakers) and featuring the talents of piano wizard Carl Sonny Leyland, Marshall Scott Warner on drums, Tony Laborie on double bass, Sean Jensen on sax and Mike Geglia on guitar (also from the Roy Kay trio connection), the Starjays are a hot combo that plays rhythm’n’blues and rock’n’roll (and I mean real Rock’n’roll) with, for a song or two, a slight 60’s feel. They reminded me of the Jive Bombers, the excellent and now defunct Austin based band that featured Shaun Young.
Roy Kay and Angela Tini share the vocal duties (solo or in duets) which brings a lot of diversity to this album. As she is probably lesser known than her partner Roy Kay who have quite a few albums under his name, I have to sing here the praise of Miss Tini’s voice who manages to be powerful, subtle and dare I say a bit naughty (Get Closer), all that with a Ruth Brown vibe. Other names come to mind, but it would reduce Tini’s own personnality that is present here from start to finish (understand “she has her own voice and she is no impersonnator”).
All songs but two are originals penned by Kay and Tini. It’s very well produced, recorded, sung (I’ve already said that, but better twice than never) and played, each solist having plenty of room to express himself.
And icing on the cake, it comes in a nicely designed digipack .

The Starjays – Jump With…

starjaysVLV Records [2021]
That’s Love – Tomorrow Will Come – Prove My Love – I Can’t Stop – I’m Stuck – You’re For Me – Late At Night – Say What You Mean – Somehow, Someway – Is It Murder – Makin’ Me Hungry – Calling Out To You

I won’t try to fool you and create fake suspense, The Starjays return with a second album, and it’s as good if not better than the first one. Roy Kay (Roy Kay Trio/Combo, the Margraves, The Ember Brothers) and Angela Tini still lead the band and share the vocal duties, either solo or duet. Kay also plays tenor and baritone saxophone. Having two vocalists brings a lot of diversity, and their voices are very complimentary. Most of all, Kay and Tiny have strong flexibility in their voices. Hence, their repertoire can go from hot Rhythm’n’Blues/early Rock’n’Roll to soulful ballads or pure dancing ditties. They’re helped by a selection of very catchy songs and cleverly mix tempos and moods, from the lighthearted to the very dark.
The rest of the band features Robin Cady (also from the Roy Kay Trio) on bass, Eddie Martinez on drums, John Olufs on guitar, and Robert Lee Mitchell on piano. Each does a terrific job, and together, they constitute a very well-oiled jumpin’ machine.
Jump on this record, then jump with the Starjays!

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Nina and the Hot Spots

Nina and the Hot Spots – Monkey Business

Nina and the hot spots

Part Records PART-CD 6116.002
Hot Spot Boogie – This Cat’s Sleeping (In A Big Bass Drum) – Can’t Believe You’re Gone – Monkey Business – Magic Fire – Cruisin’ Baby – Pretty Face – Little Bit – Mars Marriage – Everytime – Barber Bop – The Day – Love ‘n’ Seduce

Nina and the Hot Spots are Nina Salhab (lead Vocals, blues harp), Christian Dietkron (guitar), Sebastian König (drums), Thias Salhab (double bass) and Uwe Pickardt (saxophone).
After an excellent mini-album released in 2015, the band returns for our biggest pleasure with a full-length album. What strikes the listener when he puts the record in the player and plays the first song is the quality of the recording and how tight the band is. The rhythm section blends perfectly to lay down a solid groove, and then the saxophone erupts into a hot solo. But wait! I forgot to mention something! Sorry guys, but the one who steals the show is Nina with her superb and confident voice.
This Cat’s Sleeping (In A Big Bass Drums) is a solid rocker with a strong Stargazers feel. The next song is also in the Rock’n’Roll mould. Although it borders on Twist, it never falls into it. The title track is more Rockabilly-tinged yet jazzy at the same time. It features a superb harmony part between the sax and the guitar to launch the solo. Glen Campbell’s Magic Fire could and should be the theme of the next Jame Bond film. All songs but this one are originals, either penned by Nina, Uwe or Thias, who takes the lion’s share. Pretty Face brings a welcome touch of Latin beat while Little Bit Of This is a boogie blues, which sees, what an excellent surprise, the lady playing the harmonica (more like this one on the next album, please.)
Mars Marriage brings a different beat than your usual Rock’n’Roll and somehow evokes me the best of the Speedos. The highly melodic Everytime brings a touch of pop with a slightly modern feel. The Day is a ballad in the grand tradition of the Fifties, while the last tune ends the selection with a solid Diddley beat.
All in all, you have a good and varied album, which is sure to make you have a real good time.

Available here
Nina and the Hot Spots website.

Nina and the Hot Spots

Nina and the Hot Spots – Cha-Ching!

Part records [2015]
Get Up – Rock Me Crazy –  Schwing Dich –  Farmer Girl – I’m In Love

A good and varied five songs ep by this German combo. Get Up and Rock Me Crazy are two Rock’n’Roll and Jive tunes with solid saxophone with a touch of Jazz that are sure to please fans of the Stargazers. Schwing Dich is sung in German and leans more toward German Rock’n’Roll singers like Conny Froboess or Peter Krauss.
Farmer Girl is a duet with a strong hillbilly flair, with nice finger picking guitar and harmonica. The last song is a slow blues-jazz number that sounds as if it had been recorded in the wee hours of the morning in a small and smoky jazz club.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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