Switchblade (review)

Mouse Zinn

Mouse ZinnMouse Zinn – The Embassy Recordings


Foot Tapping Records – FT172  [2017]

Time Is Going By – That’s The Way – In Thoughts Of You – Searchin’ – Bar Hoppin’ Baby – Shush Don’t Tell ‘Em – Jealous Guy – Folkstone Skies – I’ve Waited So Long – Mooshataino – One Thing I Ain’t Got – Don’t Need No Star In Heaven

Is it still necessary to introduce Mouse? Well for the youngest: Mouse Zinn is the man behind Red Hot’n’Blue, the space Cadets and Switchblade. As you can see his name alone is enough to stir interest of any decent Rockabilly fan. And if I tell you that he recorded this album with none others than Darrel Higham on guitar, David Doel on double bass and Gordon Doel on drums (both from the extraordinary Doel Brothers) I can feel the excitment in your ears and in your feet. Having said that, I could almost stop my review here… but I’m a professional and I’m going to tell you a little bit more.
While Vigilante man, his previous solo album, covered many different styles, this one focuses on what Mouse Zinn does best: Rock’n’roll and Rockabilly. Three songs are penned by the singer, including the excellent “Shush Don’t Tell Em” that has a slight Gene Vincent feel and a new version of “Something I Ain’t Got” previously recorded by Red Hot’n’Blue on Ain’t Gonna Stop.
Higham contributed the desperate rocker That’s the Way and Gordon and Dave Doel added three more originals.
The remaining five songs are covers from the catalogs of Whitey Gallagher, Joe Fury, Jimmy Driftwood, Eddie Cochran (a rockin’ version of I’ve waited So Long) and… John Lennon (which is not that surprising after all, considering that Mouse and Switchblade already covered the Fab Four.)
After all these years, Mouse proves that he still has it and I would be more than pleased to hear another batch of tune from him with the same backing band.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Mouse Zinn

 

Switchblade

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Switchblade - the lost album
Switchblade – the lost album

Switchblade – the lost album

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Baby What You Want Me To Do – Blue Jeans And A Boys Shirt – Blues Blues Blues – Yes I’m Gonna Love You – Chicken Run – No More Crying The Blues – Go Go Go! – Homesick Boy – One Cup Of Coffee – One Part Stops Where The Other Begins – Pink Cadillac – Rock n’ Roll Jump n’ Shout – Come On Baby Take A Little Chance With Me – Three Alley Cats – Waiting For A Train – Warm Love – What Goes On – Wild Wild Lover – You Got To Lose

Mouse (Red Hot’n’Blue) formed Switchblade in late 1989 with Graeme Grant (Demented Are Go, Krewmen) on bass, Eric LaCube on drums and Guy Bolton (Born Bad) on lead guitar. The band only lasted one year, then Mouse reformed Red Hot’n’Blue. In April 1990 they found time to record a full album in a professional studio that remained unreleased until now.
If you look for slick and polished rockabilly this is definitely not for you. The sound is raw and uneven. There’s differences in term of sounds between songs, some sounding more like demos while others seem more “finished”. Their sound is a mix of rockabilly (Grant is one hell of a powerful slap bassist) with a good dose of rockin’ blues with a lot of energy and an emergency feel present all along the album (the fact that it was recorded and mixed in two days probably contributes to that feel).
Mouse penned three songs and the rest is split between rockabilly classics like Orbison’s Go Go Go, Glen Glenn’s One Cup of Coffee and Blue Jeans and a Boys Shirt, Roy hall’s Three Alley Cats, Benny Joy’s Wild Wild Lover and blues like Jimmy Reed’s Baby What You Want Me To Do, Earl Hooker’s You Got To Lose, George Thorogood’s Homesick Boy and some surprise like the Beatles What Goes On.
Despite the lack of homogeneity, it’s, with 19 songs, a good value for money, and if you like Mouse you’ll jump on this one (and the completist will find demos on the Unreleased recordings on Fury records as well as one song, Ride Ride Ride, on the compilation album 20 Blasters from Blighty).