Rockabilly, Psychobilly and everything in between.

Tag archive

Rusti Steel

Darrel Higham

in Reviews

Darrel Higham – Mobile Corrosion

Nervous Records NERCD082 [1995]
Like A Brand New Man – If You Can Live With It – Long Lonely Road – Deep In The Heart Of Texas – I Like Me Just Fine – Second Hand Information – In My Heart – No One Will Grieve – Revenue Man – Country Lila Rhue – You Were Right, I Was Rong – I’ve Been Gone A Long Time – Don’t Bug Me Baby – Amanda’s Song – Travis Pickin’ – Life Goes On – Rockin’ Band Blues

Recorded in 1995 for Nervous Records with Rusti Steel (lap steel), Les Curtis (drums), Mick Wigfall (bass), and Dave Brown (piano), Mobile Corrosion is one of Higham’s most country-tinged albums.
Like A Brand New Man is a perfect opener, sounding like a cross between Johnny Horton’s Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor and Berry’s Promised Land. If You Can Live Without It is a country ballad yet muscled up by the slap bass and features nice guitar picking.
Long Lonely Road is a Rock’n’roll tune on which Darrel’s Cochran inspired vocal makes wonder. Geraint Watkins’ Deep In the Heart Of Texas is an excellent country drive with a powerful drive. The following track, I Like Me Just Fine, is way heavier, with mean guitar and powerful vocal. Back to traditional Rockabilly, with a hillbilly touch, with Gentleman Jim’s Second Hand Information. Every good Rock’n’Roll album should feature a slow number. Good news, you have two on this album, In My Heart and Amanda’s Song, and one more time, Higham’s voice, not far from Cochran on Lonely Street here, is perfect.
No One Will Grieve is a modern Rocker with a solid bass part. Revenue Man is a cover of George Jones tune, Country Lila Rhue is more on the hillbilly bop vein, while You Were Right, I Was Wrong is a Rockabilly ballad.
I’ve Been Gone Too Long is a mean Country-rock, and you could easily imagine Sonny George singing it. Though Milton Allen did the original of Don’t Bug Me Baby in 1957, Higham’s version comes from the cover made by Shakin Stevens in 1981. It’s instrumental time with Travis Pickin’. No surprise, all is in the title. Life Goes On shows the influence of Gene Vincent, which means brushed snare drums and plenty of jazz influences in the guitar. Rockin’ Band Blues is a Cochran pastiche. Nothing really original but a good song nonetheless.


Darrel Higham & the Barnshakers – Pretty Little Devil

darrel higham

Goofin Records GOOFY 570 [1997]
Sweethearts Or Strangers – Don’t Be Gone Long – Pretty Little Devil – Flattin’ & Thumbin’

Darrel Higham recorded this ep in 1997 with the ever-excellent Barnshakers from Finland. That was not the first collabration between the British guitar picker and the Finnish Rockabilly band. Both recorded a full album together in 1993. Sometimes when two talented artists or bands join forces, the result doesn’t keep up with the expectations (I have a few example that I’ll keep for myself.) That was not the case here, this four-track ep is excellent.
Side one kicks off with a cover of the old classic “Sweethearts or Strangers”. Higham’s vocals and guitar give it a strong Eddie Cochran feel, and Lester Peabody’s steel guitar nicely enhances it. Next is a cover of Bod Doss’ “Don’t Be Long Gone.” Like the original, it’s jet-propelled by a solid slap bass intro.
Vesa Haaja, the singer of the Barnshakers, joins forces to sing harmonies for the Everly sounding Pretty Little Devil, recorded initially by Bob Denton and Eddie Cochran.
The last track is a guitar duet between Higham and Peabody/Jussi Huhtakangas. Well, the title says it all. It’s a gentle battle between these two great pickers. One can only regret that Deke Dickerson wasn’t there at the time of the recording.
There are still a few copies left on Goofin Records.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Lil Red and the Doghouse Trio

in Contemporary artists/Reviews


Lil’ Red and the Doghouse Trio – Dirty Word

Red Wolf Records 1001

Lil Red

Dirty Word – Let’s Elope Baby – I’ve Had My Fill – Gonna Be Loved – Stop Look & Listen – My Little Baby – Black Snake Boots – Ain’t Gonna Stand For This No More – No Good Lover – Surly & Grouchy – Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul – Guitar Picker – Stop Whistling Wolf – Finger Prints

Lil’ Red/Diane Urquhart is a new name on the scene, but her musicians surely are not. You may know Rusti Steel (guitar/steel guitar) and Stuart Dale (doghouse bass) from Rusti Steel and the Tin Tax. And that’s a reference solid enough for me. Lil’ Red plays a clean type of rockabilly, with a huge influence from Janis Martin and a bit of hillbilly, and even if her voice lacks of insurance every so often, the global result is pretty pleasant partly due to the strong musicianship of the band. She proves her dedication to this music by writing six of the fourteen songs of this album, including the best cut here, the threatening “Black Snake Boots” a rocker with sax and a bit of “Bertha Lou” feel in it. The rest comes from the catalogs of Janis Martin, Patsy Cline, Rose Maddox, Mickey and Sylvia (Rusti gsings duet on “No Good Lover”).

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rusti Steel

in Contemporary artists/Reviews/S

Rusti Steel & the Startones - Gone With The Wind
Rusti Steel & the Startones – Gone With The Wind

Rusti Steel & the Startones – Gone With The Wind

Western Star Records WSRC 041 [2010]
Gone With The Wind – Gone With The Wind – Missing You Blues – Can’t Go Out – Hopin’ For The Best – Baby You Doin’ Me Wrong – A Lovers Question – Lucky Guy – Speed Crazy Baby – Slow Down Suzie – I’ll Do Anything For You – Please Baby Please Be Mine – Whirl – Share Your Life With Me – Wedding Bells Ring – I Can’t Hide

Rusti Steel & the Startone are a rockabilly country boogie band featuring guitar, bass, drums, pumpin’ piano and occasionnal steel guitar. Rusti is not really a newcomer having released rockin’ albums since the mid 80’s. And though it sounds a bit cliche, I have to say that Gone With The Wind is by far his best. With 15 songs and only one cover it’s a killer.

It opens with the Bill Haley & the Saddlemen sound of the title track: propulsive beat on the bass and drums, powerful piano and agressive steel guitar. Next is Missin’ You Blues that owes more to Elvis circa 1956, with Alan Wilson providing back up vocals for a full Jordanaires effect. Double bass player Stewart Dale wrote the Burnette inspired Can’t Go Out, a perfect number though I waited until the end, hoping to hear at least of them scream. The country boogie of Hopin’ For The Best is the good occasion to put the piano to the front. But no time to loose and back to good ol’ rockabilly ala Baby Let’s Play House with Baby You Doin’ Me Wrong followed by the sole cover of the album: Clyde McPhatter’s Lover’s Question.Lucky Guy is a piano led rockabilly with a Danny Cedrone solo in the middle. Speed Crazy Baby is halway between Just Because and Maybellene. Stewart Dale sings Slow Down suzie his second contribution to the album and a good rocker. After a couple more rockabilly numbers the album closes on a high note with I Can’t Hide, a mean rockin’ numbers ala Gene Maltais’Raging Sea.It’s a western Star release so expect top notch production and recording work and special mention to Chris Wilkinson (Bonneville Barons) for the superbly designed cover and booklet.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Go to Top