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The Hot Rollers

The Hot Rollers- Got Your Number

Sweaty Betty Records SB002 [2005]
You Don’t Do It – Black And Blue – Mileage – Hooker – Got Your Number – Casper Guido – Wild Man – Hello Vapid – You May Be Right – Ice Princess – Bad Word For A Good Thing -. I Wanna Go Home – Wrap Your Heart

hot rollers

This girl band comes from Seattle and includes Kirsten Ballweg from The Donettes and the Black Crabs on bass, Lori Campion from The Poontwang on guitar and vocals, and drummer Heidi Jessup. Their music mixes 60’s garage with some Billy Childish influences (Headcoatees, Delmonas), punk rock, power-pop, and a touch of Pixies. Engineered by Kearney Barton (who worked with The Sonics), their sound is wild and powerful, yet they maintain a good balance between the bass and the guitar distortion while emphasizing melody. Lori’s versatile voice can shout, scream, and sing with scorn when needed, as you can hear in “Got Your Number.” Talking about The Pixies, this one has a bit of Kim Deal style in the bridge (and a direct reference in the lyrics).
Casper Guido” has a nice Farfisa played by bass player Kirsten, and I’d love to hear more of that. As I mentioned, Billy Childish and the girl bands he led are also apparent influences. That’s why they cover The Tamrons’ “Wild Man,” also covered by the Headcoatees on Girlsville. I’m still trying to figure out which version inspired them, but theirs is the best. But the best cover is yet to come, as they play Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right.” If you’re a Rock’n’Roll geek, you can’t help but turn the volume up to 11 and play it repeatedly. Their cover of “I wanna Go Home” by Holly and the Italians is equally good, with excellent backup vocals and handclaps.
Beware, this album is very addictive, and once you’ve finished listening to it, you just want to hear it again.

Debbie & Jackie

The Donettes


Donettes - Hello Baby
Donettes – Hello Baby

The Donettes – Hello Baby

Boogie Woogie Country Girl – Mercy – The Walk of Shame – Going Steady – The Right String but the Wrong Yo-Yo – Got My Mojo Working – Rocket Sixty-Nine – Sweet Boy – Whipper Snapper – Hello Baby – Baby, Baby (Don’t Be Mean)
The sound of the Donettes has changed a little bit on this album (their third). You can hear the influence of the Black Crabs (the other band Kirsten, Tom and Jonathan play with) to bring their traditional rockabilly into more “modern” fields as shown on the opening tracks : two wild pieces of rockabilly with mean guitar. Then, it’s time for a break in the pace with the fine “Walk Of Shame” with nice backing vocals provided by The Horton Brothers. “Going Steady”, is a honky tonk from the Faron Young’s catalog with guest player Jeff Bottomley on pedal steel guitar. “Right String (but the wrong Yo-Yo)” is another rockin’ tune with Kirsten, Johnny and Tom taking a chorus each and Rebecca proves, once again, she can yodel with ease. The next song is the occasion to change the mood once again, giving a superb rendition of Muddy Waters’ Got My Mojo Working with Hammond organ by Ian Mc Lagan (is he the same from The Small Faces? I think so.). Another link to The Small Faces is the Todd Rhodes-Connie Allen’s risqué blues “Rocket 69”, also covered by Ronnie Lane,.but their version while staying true to the original brings some nice jazz chords into the mix. Back to rockabilly with “Sweet Boy” penned by lead singer Rebecca Kemberling. “Whipper Snapper” and “Hello Baby” are two slow/mid tempoes where the skills of guitar player Jonathan shines throughout. The album ends like it starts with the rocking “Baby Baby (Don’t be mean)”. It’s available at and while you’re there, buy the other two : they’re both great.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis