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Rock’n’roll

Lily Locksmith

in Reviews

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

Tommy Steele

in Reissues

Tommy Steele – Doomsday Rock – The Brits are Rockin’ vol. 1

Tommy Steele

Bear Family BCD17581
Rock Around The Town – Giddy-Up A Ding Dong – Teenage Party (LP version) – The Trial – Tallahassee Lassie – Give! Give! Give! – Build Up – Knee Deep In The Blues – Rock With The Caveman – Take Me Back, Baby – Time To Kill – Hair-Down Hoe-Down – Swaller Tail Coat – Drunken Guitar – Kaw-Liga – Elevator Rock – Grandad’s Rock – Puts The Lightie On – On The Move – Cannibal Pot – Hollerin’ And Screamin’ – (The Girl With The) Long Black Hair – Rebel Rock – Two Eyes – Hey You – Happy Go Lucky Blues – Singing The Blues – Butterfly – Doomsday Rock – Razzle Dazzle – Come On Let’s Go – Honky Tonk Blues – Young Love – You Gotta Go

2019 saw Bear Family launching a new series called The Brits are Rockin’ dedicated to the British pioneers of the ’50s.
They couldn’t choose a better artist than Tommy Steele (real name Tommy Hicks) to begin this series with. If he wasn’t the best nor the most rocking, Steele was one of the first – if not the first – and he had a strong British identity to boot. Above all, unlike Tony Crombie, who was already 30 when he jumped on the Rock’n’roll bandwagon, Steele was a teenager singing for the teenagers.
Steele began his musical career by singing Hank Williams tunes and playing guitar various bands. George Martin signed him. He later recalled: “We sat with our coffee and watched this genial young man bounce on to the stage with his guitar over his pelvis, and my immediate impression was that he was a blond cardboard imitation of Elvis Presley. Tommy had a lot of energy, but he didn’t sound too great.
Fortunately for the young lad, people at Decca saw some potential in Tommy and, following his test audition, they almost immediately signed him. Two days later, Steele was in the recording studio to cut his debut single “Rockin’ with the Caveman / Rock Around the Town.”
This 34-song/71 minute compilation album spans the years 1956 to 1960. It shows how versatile Steele was, playing styles as various as pop-tinged stuff, country and western, novelty songs, and more. But, of course, the most exciting songs, were his Rock’n’roll sides. Steele was a credible rocker, and tunes like Teenage Party, Rock With the Caveman, Doomsday Rock, Two Eyes are small classics. This album also proposes good live versions of Freddie Bell’s Giddy Up Ding Dong and Haley’s Razzle Dazzle and the weird and Link Wray sounding semi-instrumental Drunken Guitar.
At first, I was surprised that the songs were not in chronological order, but it happened to be a good idea. It avoids the problem of too many compilations, especially when they are copious like this one, to have ten solid rockin’ tracks at the beginning and, as the years pass, you find mellower material. This is not the case with this compilation, which alternates styles and paces as well as studio and live recordings.
As usual with Bear Family, it comes with a 40-page booklet richly illustrated, though, for some reason, there’s no sessionography.
This album definitely proves that the Brits, and Tommy Steele, could easily rock like their American counterparts.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long series.

Available on Bear Family’s website

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rhythmaires (the)

in Reviews

Rhythmaires (the) – Breakfast in Bed

Pink and Black PWB 001 [1985]
Breakfast In Bed – Stormy Weather – Drivin’ To My Baby’s House – Trans-Europa Express (Live)

The Rhythmaires started around 1981 under the name of White Lightnin’, with Stuart Warburton on vocals, guitar ad saxophone, Phil Morris on double bass, Gary Leach on drums, and Paul Murphy on lead guitar. Murphy later joined the Crawdads. They took the name of Rhythmaires when Big Dave Machin joined the band on drums. This line-up lasted one year before the group split to reform as a six-piece combo. By 1984 the Rhythmaires were Warburton still on vocals, tenor saxophone and harmonica; Cyril Chadwick on alto and tenor saxophones; Ian park on rhythm guitar; Jeff Pilkington on lead guitar; John Wilton on double-bass and Dave Machin on drums.
With two saxes and two guitars and the solid rhythm section formed by Machin and Wilton, it was a compelling band that recorded this ep at Twilight Studio, Salford.
Penned by Warburton, the title track is a solid jive number, quite similar in the style to the Stargazers with a touch of jazz. Their cover of Stormy Weather is in the same vein, with some doo-wop backing vocals thrown in for good measure. Nice. B-side opens with another rockin’ original that leaves plenty of room to the musicians. A live cut completes this excellent ep.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band - Jive Time
The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Jive Time

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Jive Time

El Toro Records ETCD2036
She Walks Right In – All of Me – Just A Gigolo – Swanee River Boogie – What’d I Say – Hook, Line & Sinker – Stagger Lee – Chicken & the Hawk – Boogie Woogie Country Girl – Shortenin’ Bread – Buona Sera
If you dig contemporary bands like The Stargazers, the Big Six and Ray Gelato’s Giants Of Jive and of course Louis Prima and Louis Jordan this one is for you. Recorded live it proposes a good set of danceable music. I really enjoyed the excellent “Swanee River Boogie” (think Jerry Lee meets a Jive band), “Hook, Line and Sinker” which is full of joy, the instrumental “Shortnin’ Bread” with great saxes (both juicy and screaming) and the rockabilly “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” with a heavy slap bass and piano. That’s too bad they only play covers, and extremely well known ones, cause these guys (and girl) are good musicians and a little bit of originality would have been good. This said, I must say I couldn’t help but tapping my feet while listening to it, so I guess this is the more important, don’t you think?

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


The Slammers Maximum Jive Band - Hey There You !!!!
The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Hey There You !!!!

The Slammers Maximum Jive Band – Hey There You !!!!

Hey There You ! – Bim Bam – Choo Choo Ch’Boogie – Oh Marie – Straighten Up And Fly Right – Such A Night – Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chicken – Shortnin’ Bread – Boogie Woogie Country Girl – Swanee River Boogie – Corrine, Corrina – What’d I Say – Bloodshot Eyes – Linda Lu – All Of Me
All right boys, grab your dancin’ shoes, push the furnitures on the wall, roll the rug, you’ll need a maximum of space cause this guys (and girls) are here to make you dance. Captured live on the stage of the Warrington Blues Festival in 2007, this cd shows the Slammers Maximum Jive Band at their best: full of energy, excitement and with a communicative “joie de vivre”. You can hear from every note they’re happy to be here (and the listener regrets he wasn’t there to see them that day), and I think this is the key of the success of such a recording.
There’s no radical departure from their studio album, but as I said, the live recording really advantages them. The powerful rhythm section supports the solists who trade solos. All of them are great players, but I’d like to make a special mention to Claire Hamlin whose talent shines on her rendition of Swanee River Boogie and Ray Charles’ What’d I say. Add James Gray warmful vocal and you’ll have every ingredients for a great band. The show starts with Freddie Bell’s Hey There You, and you’re off for 49 minutes and 15 songs of jumpin’ jivin’ rhythm blues, with a touch of rockabilly here and there, that won’t let you a second to catch your breath. I’ll look forward the next one.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

The Starjays

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

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

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 .

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jeff Potter – Great Big Beat

in Albums/Contemporary artists/OPQ/Reviews

Jeff Potter - Great Big Beat
Jeff Potter – Great Big Beat

El Toro Records – ETCD 8010
She’s Got A Great Big Beat – All Right With Me – When The Moon Comes Up – Golden Roll – I Can’t Believe – She’s So Explosive – Time On My Hands – Somebody Loves You – High Octane – Kinda Lovin’Man – Let’s Go To The Moon – Modern Busy World – Get Some Rest – Some Of The Time – The Romp

Jeff Potter (who plays piano, guitar, drums, organ) with the help of a cast of fine musicians (including Betsy-Dawn Williams and guitarist extraordinaire Graham Tichy) offers here a very good self penned album full of piano led rock’n’roll (“High Octane”, “She’s Got A Great Big Beat”), doo wop (“She’s So Explosive” with excellent bass vocal from Tichy),ballad (“I Can’t Believe”, “It’s A Busy World”) and a couple of instrumental thrown in for good measure “Golden Roll” (a tune with a strong Bill Dogget’s Honky Tonk feel on which Potter plays organ) and the rockin’ (with a 60’s vibe) “the Romp”. You can hear the influences of Jerry Lee Lewis (of course), Fats Domino, Buddy Holly (on “Some Of The Time”) and more modern bands like The Blasters. Truly a great rock’n’roll album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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