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Timo Uimonen

Hal Peters trio / & his Stringdusters

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Hal Peters and his Trio – Takes on Carl Perkins

hal peters trio

Bluelight, BLR 33218 1 [2022]
Big Bad Blues – You Can’t Make Love to Somebody – Lonely Heart – Turn Around – Somebody Tell Me – I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry – Dixie Fried – Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby – Forever Yours – Matchbox – Movie Magg – Boppin’ the Blues – Just Coastin’ – Tennessee

One of Europe’s best Rockabilly bands, the Hal Peters Trio, formed nearly 40 years ago. And their relationship with Carl Perkins dates from the same period. The compilation album Goofin’ Around featured a cover of Gone Gone Gone recorded in 1985 during a rehearsal. On subsequent releases, they often included songs from Perkins: Perkin’s Wiggle and Tennessee on their debut album, Somebody Tell Me on Baby I’m Ready in 1991 and more recently Gone Gone Gone on Crazy Mixed Up Blues in 2018.
Their latest album features 14 tracks, all written or recorded by Carl Perkins, except for I’m Sorry, I’m Not Sorry, written by Wanda Ballman.
An all-covers album is always a delicate thing. Moreover, an album dedicated to just one artist. The hardest thing is to find a good distance between fidelity and originality. If you’re too faithful to the original, what’s the point and if you’re too adventurous, there’s a risk of betraying the beauty of the original.
Fear not, my friends! Hal Peters and his band (Eino Rastas on guitar, Timo Uimonen on double bass, and Janne Junnilainen on drums) found the correct approach. Their success resides in two things (well, three, if you count their musicianship). First, they made a perfect selection. The correct balance between Sun hits and lesser-known tracks, covering the fifties and the sixties. They were clever enough not to stick to Sun, but also they also added songs Perkins had recorded for Brunswick, Columbia and even a tune that was only demoed (Somebody Tell Me). The result is a selection that ranges from his hillbilly debuts to his late 60s rockin’ sides.
The second ingredient is love. They don’t let the respect they have for Perkins’ recording legacy paralyse them. Thus, the result is not a sterile re-creation but a joyful celebration. You can’t help but tap your feet and sing with them. And they manage to add their own personality in the process.
The biggest achievement of this fine platter is that you never think, “I’d rather listen to the originals”. And that, considering the immense talent of Carl Perkins, this is not a small feat.
Note: the LP version features Turn Around instead of Let the Jukebox Keep On Playing and Honky Tonk Blues instead of Movie Magg.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Hal Peters and his Stringdusters - Western Standard Time
Hal Peters and his Stringdusters – Western Standard Time

Hal Peters and his String Dusters – Western Standard Time

Bluelight Records. BLR 331132 [2004]
Late For Lovin’ – Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand – Without You – Time/Careless Words – Ciggarets, Jukebox and A Bar Room – I Hear You Talkin’ – Take Back Your Paperheart – Play The Music Louder – My Front Door Is Open – If I Don’t Love You (Grits Ain’t Croseries) – I’m Satisfied With You – Diamonds And Cadillacs – Guess Things Happen That Way

One often says that to make good country music and especially western-swing, it is necessary to be american and live in the south of the country if possible! All this is bullshit and I ‘m gonna disclose it right now : there is a band in Finland which, since many years now, forged itself a reputation whose exceeded the borders and is far from being usurped. Hal Peters and his String Dusters’ fellows form today part of the best formations of Western-Swing and this new album «Western Standard Time» proves it easily.Since their beginnings in the rockabilly music as a quartet (Hal Peters and his Trio) the combo has changed its name, stretched and moved towards a hillbilly bop and western-swing style inspired by Curtis Gordon (to whom this album is dedicated) Roy Hogsed or Hank Thompson. These accomplished musicians who divided themselves between other bands give to this album a credibility who largely exceeds a number of other bands which today launch out in this musical kind. Listen to «Late For Lovin’» a composition of Hal Peters (his real name is Heikki Laakkonen) and you will immediately be transported to Texas or Oklahomain the middle of the Fifties. The rest of the album will firmly anchor you to it during the fourteen titles with a small detour towards the rockabilly sound of Memphis with the participation of Hayden Thompson («Diamonds and Cadillacs») and the «Cash» soundalike with the cover of «Guess Things Happen That Way». Is Helsinki goin’ to overshadow Turkey as the home of Western-Swing?? Who knows.??

David Phisel


Hal Peters and his Trio - Fireball Mail
Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Hal Peters and his Trio – Fireball Mail

Goofin Record GRCD 6038 {1994}
Fireball Mail – Make Up Your Mind – Rock Me Up – Baby I’m Ready – You’re My Very Special Baby – Doggone It/If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – You’re There – Satisfied – Starlight – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon/You’re Gone – Steelin’Home – Blue Blue Day – Tired Of Rockin’ – Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’ Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

A must have. This cd album contains the band’s debut album (Snatch It and Grab It), songs from various singles, eps, compilations and a selection of songs from their 1991 album « Baby I’m Ready« . And if it wasn’t enough it also features five brand new recording that announce the new direction – more western swing – taken by the band in the following years.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis


Hank Ewards - In the silence of the Night
Hank Ewards – In the silence of the Night

Hank Edwards With Hal Peters And His Trio – In the Silence of the Night

Goofin Records GOOFY 533 {1992}
In the Silence of the Night – I Wish I Has a Nickel
Another case of « wrong time, wrong place ». Had Hank Edward come from the USA and been active in the late 40’s/early 50’s, he would have shared the stage of the Opry or the Hayride with Hank Williams or some other great names of the time. Instead he comes from Sweden and began releasing records in the 80’s for an audience of fine connoisseurs.
This honky tonk single released for Goofin seems to come straight from the 50’s. Everything here is close to perfection the songs (one original on side A and a cover of Hank Williams that certain discovered under the name of Tell Me Little Darlin on the Riverside Trio debut album – on the side B), the voice and the backing provided by the always excellent Hal Peters and his trio.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis


Hal Peters and his Trio - You Don't Have to Worry ep
Hal Peters and his Trio – You Don’t Have to Worry ep

Hal Peters and his Trio – EP

Goofin’ Goofy 511 {1988}
You Don’t Have To Worry – If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will – Doggone It – When I Saw Your Face In The Moon

The name has changed to Hal Peters and his Trio with the addition of Jussi Huhtakangas on drums and steel guitar but the quality remains. A guest fiddle can also be heard on Jimmy and Johnny’s If You Don’t, Somedy Else Will. The result is one great rockabilly number (Joe Clay’s Doggone It) and three mellower hillbilly bop straight from Texas circa 1955.

Fred « Virgil » Turgis


Hal Peters Trio - Snatch It and Grab It!
Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

Hal Peters Trio – Snatch It and Grab It!

 

Moondogs SRLP 8525 {1986}
Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive – Snatch It And Grab It – Big Fool – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – You Can’t Do Me No Wrong – Perkins Wiggle – Slippin’Out And Sneakin’ In – Tennessee – If You Can’t Rock Me – Love Charms – Blue Days-Black Nights – Freight Train

Released in 1986 Snatch It and Grab It is the debut album of this Finish trio. They formed in 1984 with Heikki Laakkonen on vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, Eino Rastas a mighty guitar player in the style of Hal Harris formerly of the Rhythm Wheel Combo and Timo Uimonen on double bass. They are probably one the best rockabilly band of the eighties and one the very few to capture the feeling of the 50’s recordings.
Despite a majority of covers (Carls Perkins, Freddie Hart, Curtis Gordon, Buddy Holly, Joe Clay…) and only one self penned tune (You Cant Do Me No Wrong) they manage to have a highly personnal sound. Most of the songs are in the drummerless trio format though one can here a light drums on some tracks and occasional piano. Excellent from start to finish
Later reissued with various other tracks on the cd album « Fireball Mail » (Goofin records GRCD 6038).
Fred « Virgil » Turgis

Hal Peters and his Trio
Hal Peters and his Trio