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Biller & Horton

Biller & Horton – Texotica

Biller & Horton

Vinylux V0007 [2005]
The Sneak-A-Roo – Deep Eddy – Tiki, Tiki – Blackberry Bounce – The Devil’s Birthday Party – Whispering Palms – Grease Fire – Slippin the Mickey – The New Thang – Dutch Treat – Mood Music for a Tropical Depression – Adam the Inkman – Texas Twilight

Texas guitar slingers Dave Biller and Bobby Horton teamed up to record this all-instrumental album titled Texotica (for Texas and Exotica) for Vinylux records in 2005. Biller plays the guitar, and Horton takes the steel on most of the track except for a couple of tunes where Horton plays the lead guitar and Biller switches to electric bass. Bobby’s brother, Billy, plays the bass (and records the whole thing), Biller’s wife Karen plays the vibes, T. Jarrod Bonta plays some piano, and Buck Johnson is on drums.
It’s a varied mix of styles. Hence you’ll find Hillbilly swing (The Devil’s Birthday Party with Erik Hokkanen on fiddle, blackberry Bounce), some influences from Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant (The Sneak-A-Roo), jazz (Dutch Treat) and some blues oriented stuff (Slippin’ the Mickey, which I suspect is a reference to Mickey Baker, Texas Twilight). Also, plenty of songs justify the title and songs like Tiki Tiki, Mood Music For A Tropical Depression, and Whispering Palms sound like Hawai/Exotica/Martin Denny all rolled into one with a dash of Les Paul for the former.
This album will ideally find its place next to Biller and Wakefield’s or John Munnerlyn and Lee Jeffriess’ one.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Two Timin Three

The Two Timin’ Three – Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Two Timin Three

Vinylux V0010 [2009]
Black and White Baby – No Thru – I’ll Be True – Love Sick Lullaby – Lonely, Lonely, Lonely – Your New Flame – Since I Found Love – Where Did You Sleep Last Night? – It’s All your Fault – Marie – Got You Figured Out – Just One Wink – Through Foolin’ Around – One Red Rose – No Good Man

The newcomer that impressed me is the Two Timin’ Three!!! Shane, Jeff, and Eric are an excellent rockabilly trio from Austin, Texas, who write and perform in the highest quality.” That’s what Sean Mencher answered in 2006 when asked if a band recently impressed him.
The Two Timin’ Three was founded in Boston, in late 2003, by stand-up bassist Shane Kiel and lead guitarist Jeff Herring. They tried various vocalists before meeting Eric Laufer.
They carried on the long tradition of drummerless Rockabilly, but the Two Timin’ Three were not your run-of-the-mill Rockabilly band. Laufer’s voice was enough to distinguish them, being able to sing with a soft crooning one minute and calm-down menacing the other. Herring’s guitar showed that his influences went far beyond Scotty Moore and Grady Martin, contrary to many aspiring Rockabilly guitar players. One can hear a healthy dose of Jazz and some traces of Chet Atkins and Les Paul in his style. Shane Kiel’s solid slap provided a solid backbone for the band. It’s no wonder that sharing a similar musical background, the band would cross paths with Sean Mencher, who produced this album and Lance LeBeau, who recorded it.
All songs but two (Mencher’s Your New Flame and Cindy Walker’s It’s All Your Fault) are originals. They showed a high level of maturity, with special care to write melodic songs. They mainly played mid-tempos, which allows the singer and the guitar player to ‘breath’ and fully develop their melodies.
Another excellent album followed in 2006 (Payin’ the Price), then the band added Patrick Morrow on drums and became the Two Timin’ Four, thus expanding their musical scope.
Sadly, on September 4, 2008, Eric Laufer was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was only 25.
On a lighter note, I remember the Two Timin’ Three’s performance at The Rockabilly Rave. It was in the afternoon, not on the main stage, but everyone present was blown away by the energy of these three young men.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Aaron and the Beaux Ties

Aaron and the Beaux Ties – El Matador

Aaron and the Beaux Ties

Vinylux V0012 [2021]
El Matador / I Walked All Night

Aaron is Aaron LeBeau, son of Wendy and Lance LeBeau (Flea Bops). The less that you can say is that Rock’n’Roll runs in this family’s blood. The Beaux Ties are, of course, Wendy on bass and Lance on drums.
Side one is a mean garage instrumental and is an original tune, not to be confused with the Paladins tune of the same name. One can hear the influence of the great Link Wray with the appropriate Latin feel.
The B-side is a cover of the Embers’ I Walked All Night. It was penned by Hargus “Pig” Robbins, also known as Mel Robbins of Save It fame. Wendy sings it perfectly with detachment and lascivious arrogance.
It’s raw and primitive Rockabilly with a strong garage feel. Just when I thought that this song would have been perfect for The Cramps, I remembered that they had covered it on Big Beat From Badsville. Aaron and the Beaux Ties’ version is excellent and has nothing to envy to any other version.
I hope to hear more from that young fellow soon.

Buy it here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Go Cat Go

Go Cat Go – Let’s Hear It Once Again for…

Go Cat Go - let's hear it once again for

Vinylux V0002 [1999]
Good Rockin’ Tonite – Little Baby Doll – Please Mama Please – Mystery Train – Flyin’ Saucers Rock n Roll – ‘Til the Cool Cats Cry – Just Because – Can’t Tie Me Down – Blue Days Black Nights – I’ve Got My Eyes on You – Time to Rock – Forever’s Much Too Long – Other Side of Town – Who Was That Cat – Milkcow Blues Boogie – Reconsider Baby – Lonesome Road – Big Train – Ten Ways to Rock – Drugstore Rock n Roll – Hot Rod Man – Stockins and Shoes – Blue Moon of Kentucky – Pink and Black – Tell Me Why

This CD compilation was released shortly after the single. I place Go Cat Go very high in my own Rockabilly pantheon, so you won’t be surprised if I tell you that this CD is an absolute must-have.
One will find two early recordings from March 1990, Forever’s Much Too Long and Time To Rock. Forever is, for me, one of Spears’ best moment. The array of subtleties that you can hear in his voices is simply amazing (I have to confess that I’m always moved and almost bursted into tears when I hear the line ‘Why can’t I be the one you love Instead of just your in-between’. Considering that Freeman had only joined the band three months before the recording, it only adds to the thing’s beauty.
This compilation also contains the 10″ recorded for Willie Lewis in April 1991, the single and three more tracks from the Sun session (Flyin’ Saucers Rock’n’Roll, Til The Cool Cats Cry, Blue Days Black Nights), and twelve live tracks. These songs – mostly Rockabilly classics – demonstrate that Go Cat Go was a fantastic live band. They also confirm that Darren Lee Spears’ songwriting could stand proudly next to classics like Blue Moon of Kentucky, Mystery Train or Drugstore Rock’n’Roll, to name but three.
The booklet contains a complete history of the band written by Wendy LeBeau.

Go Cat Go – Please Mama Please

Go Cat Go - Please Mama Please

Vinylux V0001 [1999]
Please Mama Please / Who Was That Cat

During one of their tour, the band stopped by Sun Records in Memphis and recorded six tracks. These two songs come from that session and were released after the tragic death of Darren Lee Spears in 1993.
Both Please, Mama Please and Who Was That Cat are two instant classics. They contain everything that made Go Cat Go one of the very best Rockabilly bands of the nineties. Only Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Trio and High Noon reached that level. Darren Lee Spears had a fantastic voice. It reminded me of Elvis, not for the tone, but for the extreme facility he had to sing and his wide vocal range. Spears also knew to dose his effects. The hiccups he placed were rare enough to have an impact. He also was a double threat for not only he was a fantastic singer, but he also was a highly talented songwriter. The song he wrote always sounded as if they came straight from the Fifties but remained originals at the same time. Such a talent could have been waste with an average band. Thanks to the Rockabilly gods, it was not the case. Hull was a gifted guitar player that mixed Scotty Moore and Cliff Gallup, and the team formed by Freeman and Lebeau was the perfect Rockabilly rhythm section.

Go Cat Go – S/T

Rock-a-Billy Records R-301-LP [1992] / Vinylux V0004 [1999]
Little Baby Doll – I’ve Got My Eyes on You – Can’t Tie Me Down / Big Train – Other Side of Town – Lonesome Road

Go Cat Go formed in 1989 with Darren Lee Spears on vocals, Bill Hull on guitar, Lance Lebeau on drums and Paul Turley on electric bass, soon replaced by Brian Freeman on slap bass. In March and April 1991, they recorded these six songs, and Willie Lewis released this ten-inch on his Rock-A-Billy label in February 1992 (R-301-LP). The original release (650 copies) had no jacket, and the following year, the band financed the printing of some jackets (designed by Ronnie Joyner) for the remaining 350 copies. It quickly became a collector item, and Vinylux reissued it seven years after its initial release.
Little Baby Doll is the epitome of Rockabilly. Freeman’s propulsive slap bass and LeBeau’s perfect drumming allow Hull to weave a delicate and subtle pattern behind the singer’s voice who equals the best of Elvis and Gene Vincent. All that in two minutes! Likewise, the Other Side Of Town can only be described as rockabilly perfection.
I’ve Got My Eyes On You is a threatening tune with a slight Jack Scott feel. Can’t Tie Me Down is a ballad that allows Spears’ voice to develop all his range and shows echoes of Jerry Lee Lewis in his best vocals moments. Big Train features a harmonica and can be described as Rockabilly Blues. The last song, Lonesome Road, is from the pen of the young Brian Freeman, and one can only regret that he didn’t write more songs.

See also the Flea Bops and our interview Lance and Wendy LeBeau

Check out Vinylux records website.

Vinylux records

vinylux records

Vinylux Records is a Rockabilly label launched by Ronnie Joyner (Flea Bops singer), Lance LeBeau and Wendy Lebeau.

7“ single
Go Cat Go – Who Was That Cat – V0001 [1994]
Flea Bops – Good Time Woman/I’m Ready – V0003 [1999]
Aaron and the Beaux Ties – El Matador – V0012 [2021]

10“ mini albums
Go Cat Go – Go Cat Go – V0004
Flea Bops – Gotta Bop – EP V0011 [2009]

Promo copies
Go Cat Go – Who Was That Cat
Go Cat Go – Forever’s Much Too Long

CD albums
Go Cat Go – Let’s Hear It Once Again For… – CDV0002 [1999]

Flea Bops – I’m Ready – CDV0005 [2000]
The Boom Boom Cat – Tell Me Who… Told You ‘Bout Lovin’? – CD0006 [2002]
Biller & Horton – Texotica – CDV0007 [2003]
Flea Bops – Git To Gittin’ – CDV0008 [2004]
Wendy LaBeau and Her Beaus – Garden Of Eden – CDV0009 [2004]
The Two Timin’ Three – Where Did You Sleep Last Night? – CDV0010 [2005]

Vinylux records on the web :

Vinylux, Lance & Wendy LeBeau

Vinylux records, an interview with Wendy and Lance Lebeau


Here’s an old interview conducted years ago with Lance and Wendy LeBeau, known for their work with Go Cat Go, Flea Bops, Wendy and Her Beaus and Vinylux, their excellent Rockabilly label.

At first, could you introduce yourselves, where do you come from etc.?
Lance: I’m a native of the Washington, DC area and reside in the state of Maryland.
Wendy: I’m originally from Texas, but after having traveled about the world with my military family, we finally settled in Maryland where I met Lance.

What is you musical background? How did you discover rockabilly?
Lance: Rockabilly came to my attention via a very convoluted path. My parents had a mixture of old records around the house, including the likes of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, the Ventures, Elvis, and the Beatles. My father enjoyed the guitar records and this is probably what I was exposed to the most. So given this mix of music, as one can imagine, I was lured down several different paths when researching the history behind this music. Much to my surprise I found all paths ultimately leading back to the same places; early 50’s hillbilly and blues. From here I was scouring the record stores for anything that had the evidence of the background for this music, and rockabilly was one.
Wendy: I grew up listening to my parents’ Elvis records, so that sound has always been close to my heart. Lance introduced me to rockabilly, or gave a name to music I’d liked all along but didn’t know what to call it.
Lance’s interest in digging deeper into the musical history sparked my interest too, so I kind of went along for the ride and really liked what we found.

Wendy, there’s not so much girls in rockabilly, fewer who plays doublebass. How did you come playing it?
Wendy: I had never played an instrument before in my life, but the first time I saw a double bass played in person, I fell in love with the sound and the physicality of playing the instrument. I decided on the spot that I’d have to learn how to do that. Lance and my father bought my bass for my 21st birthday after I went through a six-month stint with an electric bass. The electric was a good learning tool, but not the direction I wanted to go. I was privileged to have many opportunities to watch Brian Freeman of Go Cat Go and Kevin Smith of High Noon in action. I think I learned quite a bit just from seeing them play – and asking them a lot of questions. On a visit to Memphis, Lance and I met Stan Kessler. I introduced myself to him as an aspiring upright bass player. He told me I was too small to play the bass, and that I ought to put it away for good and learn how to play electric. I think that encounter steeled my decision to try even harder. I guess reverse psychology works almost every time! Besides, I’m taller than he is.

Lance, did you play in other bands before Go Cat Go?

Lance: I had played a bit with friends who were into different types of music but nothing organized. I mostly spent time just banging around on the drums in my parents’ basement.

Go Cat Go (Darren Lee Spears, Bill Hull, Lance lebeau and Brian Freeman)
Go Cat Go (Darren Lee Spears, Bill Hull, Lance lebeau and Brian Freeman)

You’ve recorded some songs with Go Cat Go at the legendary Sun studio.
How was it?

Lance: Sun studio is an amazing place, the vibe in that room is chilling?; there’s a definite air to that place. To me the room felt alive of energy. From a recording studio standpoint it is of course not the studio it used to be. The room sounds great acoustically speaking and is very inviting but without Sam Phillips there to work his magic it’s just a decent room in which to record. During the heyday of Sun there was so much happenstance that went into the sound.
Let’s talk about Vinylux, when was it created?
Lance: Vinylux was born out of my desire to have a record label and studio in the fashion of Sun, King, Chess and Starday records; everything done in-house. A sound and a look with a distinct identity created with simplicity. Initially Darren and I were to partner on this venture but as the tide turned, the partnership became Wendy, Ronnie Joyner (Flea Bops singer) and me. This partnership is actually very efficient and logical because we cover all the bases of operation; Ronnie does the artwork, Wendy the legwork and I do the technical recording related work.

When you started Vinylux, was it to launch a label with new artists, or the main purpose was «Go Cat Go»?
Lance: I’m sure that Vinylux appears at first glance to be born a vanity label, but this was the logical way for us to begin. Go Cat Go had established somewhat of a following and needed an avenue to release music without all the hassles of negotiating terms, so why not do it ourselves?
From this small start our objective was to startup with an initial monetary offering from each partner and let the money snowball from that point forward. And fortunately we’ve been able to do just that and today find ourselves able to expand and open Vinylux up to other bands, which was a goal we were aiming for from the beginning.

Is there any unreleased stuff from «Go Cat Go»?
Lance: Yes, mostly live recorded material that would require very tedious selection and editing. We will actually be releasing some material I had recorded of Darren solo and with a trio setting, no drums.

What about the Flea Bops? It looks like a family affair.
Lance: Very much so. Wendy my lovely, multitalented wife on bass and my younger brother Preston on lead guitar, as well as a close friend we consider family, Ronnie Joyner, on lead vocals and acoustic guitar. Having such a close knit combo as we do affords a unique synergy so essential to creating music.

Vinylux artist, the Flea Bops
The Flea Bops

What about Wendy LeBeau and her Beaus? It shares a lot with the Flea Bops but the lead vocal is held by Wendy. Do you try to sound different?
Lance: We don’t make a conscientious effort to sound different. Having a female singer with a different song selection makes it different, but we still like to play straight-ahead rockabilly.

Who writes the material for Wendy LeBeau and her Beaus?
Lance: Wendy has written some songs. We have a song from Darren Spears that Go Cat Go was never had an opportunity to record. We also use material written by our acoustic guitar player, Dave Moore, who’s got some great original songs.

Do you do more songwriting Lance? Your song «Hey Little Honey» was very good!
Lance: Thank you for the compliment. There’s actually an interesting story behind this song. The song was originally written for a recording session we had planned with Arthur Lee May. Ronnie, who is a historical baseball enthusiast, had contact with Arthur for his baseball career and eventually talked music with Arthur as well. One thing led to another and we found ourselves entertaining the prospect of getting together for a session here at Vinylux studio with Arthur. Well the date didn’t work out and soon thereafter Arthur passed away. So Flea Bops then included it, along with a song Ronnie wrote for Arthur’s session, «Believe in Me» on the first CD.

On the liner notes of the Go cat Go CD, it says you had a band called The Twillite Ramblers. Did they release anything? Does this band still exist?
Lance: Twilite Ramblers became Wendy LeBeau and Her Beaus. We were doing a lot more hillbilly-influenced material in that band, which again were Lance, Preston and Wendy with various acoustic guitar players. We felt that the name restricted our song selection, so we dropped some of the slower tunes, added more rockabilly and became Wendy LeBeau and her Beaus. We never released anything as Twilite Ramblers except for one track («The Coffee Addict») on a Vinylux Sampler cassette that Wendy passed out to attendees at a Viva Las Vegas weekender a few years ago.

The Twillite Ramblers
The Twillite Ramblers

Lance, you made a session with «Roc» La Rue Can you tell us more about that?
Lance: This session was organized by our friend Dave Moore at his studio New Hope Recording in West Virginia. Dave is very good at contacting original artists from the 50’s; it’s quite the passion for him. He tracked down Roc somehow and arranged a recording session, which resulted in a four song EP on Dave’s label Wild Hare records. The session included Thommy Burns (of Atomics and Saddle Pals fame) on bass, Dave on lead guitar, Roc on acoustic guitar, me on drums, and a co-conspirator Chris Filbert (also of Atomics and Saddle Pals) at the recording controls. We had such a great time and wound up with some very good performances. Roc sounds great! And is a great person as well.

Do you work alot as a session drummer?

Lance: I occasionally do sit-in work for other bands in the studio and for live performance.

Can you describe your drumkit, your influences...
Lance: I play an old set of Ludwigs, nice open, woody sound. Pretty Spartan approach, I mostly only play with a bass drum, snare, rack tom, hi hat, 8» splash, and a 20» crash/ride cymbal. I prefer the old style thin, dark sounding cymbals without much crisp edge. To me the dark, swooshing sound really swings.Influences for me mostly are the old school be bop drummers like Kenny Clark, Sid Catlett, and Max Roach, Dave Tough and Gene Krupa are favorites as well. Small combo jazz is very appealing to me. With the right gathering of musicians this is the most exciting.
My personal approach to playing drums is to be supportive of the musical situation while adding color and texture without over-playing. So much can be done with just even a snare drum!

You also toured with Dave Stuckey…
Lance: Dave was organizing his first tour to support his new CD on Hightone, «Get a Load of This», and needed a drummer. His normal roundup was not available so he gave me a call and I was able to work my schedule to support him. We had such a great lineup that included Billy Horton on bass, Jeremy Wakefield on steel, and Dave Biller on lead guitar. We toured through the Midwest, Austin, Texas up through Chicago, Illinois. I actually recorded every night we performed. Who knows, maybe it’ll make a nice CD someday.

What are the plans for Vinylux?? I guess there’s a album with Dave Biller and Billy Horton in the near future (Of course it is now released and it’s great – Virgil)
Lance: Vinylux continues to grow and we have many plans in place for new CD releases, including a compilation. This comp will bring together various singers we work with as the Vinylux Variety Show. The Biller and Horton release is available now, entitled «Texotica.» This is a great instrumental CD with everything from the stylings of Jimmy Bryant/Speedy West to Les Paul and even a bit of Martin Denny.

To finish a word about this «Go Cat Go» reunion and Eddie Clendening?
Lance: For now Go Cat Go is only getting together to perform at two festivals. Eddie is a young, exciting new talent that I feel will help us, as Go Cat Go, capture the spirit of the music we made with Darren.

Vinylux on the web :