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The Helldivers

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews
The Helldivers - Starlight Rock’n’Bop
The Helldivers – Starlight Rock’n’Bop

The Helldivers – Starlight Rock’n’Bop

Wild Hare Records.RB05001
Starlight Rock ‘n’ Bop – Real Live Doll Lucky Penny – True Blue Lover Lonesome Wind – Feel So Bad – Hot Rod Boogie – Tough Tops Gone – Yeah She’s Mine – Rhythm Gonna Rock You Street Angel House Devil – Jet Plane Jump – Up A Pole – Water Boilin’
Second album of another promising young american band. When punks decide to play rockabilly, the result is a band with a name of a second world war bomber and a very «angry» first album in 2004 «Down To Nickles and Dimes». This second one titled «Starlight Rock’ Bop» is much more authentic. It is funny to hear these young people who started with saturated guitars now backing to the past and sounding just like in «54-55». Because it is all about that; the fourteen pieces (with only one cover, the Joe Penny’s «Real Live Doll», another horse of the Wild Hare Records stable which was a formed part of Hank Williams «Driftin’ Cowboys») are recorded by the guitarist Dave Moore (in its studio New Hope of Berkeley Springs) on vintage material and sound fiendishly» fifties just like these guys have sold their souls to the devil ! Listen to the first eponymous piece and you will understand what I’m talking about; there is some Pat Cupp in it and it is not by accident if he signed the liner notes! Moreover it is Ace Brown (singer and guitarist) and Johnny Bones (double bass player) assisted by the young Eddie Clendening which has accompanied the «old cat» in Green Bay and will «set the table again» at the Hemsby weekender in October 2005.I recommend you the entire album and pieces like «True Blue Lover», «Hot Rod Boogie», «Yeah, She’ s Mine», «Up has Poole» «Water Boilin’» and especially «Rhythm Gonna Rock You» (What a good one!) will undoubtedly blow your top. If you do agree, I’ll offer you a beer on our next meeting !
David Phisel

The Droptops

in Interviews
The Droptops
The Droptops

The Droptops

The Droptops are an excellent trio from Maryland. They play traditionnal (authentic as some like to call it) rockabilly influenced by Sun Records. So far the Droptops have released one excellent album (reviewed here) on Wild Hare Records, which should be a reference good enough to convince you to get it.While your order is on its way, you can learn more about this fine girls and boy by reading the interview they kindly agreed to answer
A big “thank you” to Elizabeth who collected the answers of her two partners.
by Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Would you please introduce the band?
John plays upright bass and sings and Christine plays drums and I play guitar.

How young were you when you became interested in music, and what was the origin of this interest?
All three band members have been interested in music since they were very young. In high school we all played in school music groups. John played trombone in the jazz ensemble and concert band, Christine played flute in the concert band and orchestra, and I played violin in the orchestra. I was introduced to music by my parents. My father plays classical piano, and my mother is a fan of 50s rock and roll and the Rolling Stones. John became really interested in music at the age of 7 or 8 while learning trumpet and piano. John says, “We had a piano in the house that no one used, so I started playing. As I focused on different instruments, I listened to different kinds of music featuring the kinds of things I was playing. That’s when I discovered jazz, listening to Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, all the standards.”

And then how did you get into Rockabilly?
John always liked Elvis, The Stray Cats, and Bill Haley when he was young. They were a different sound from most stuff that was played on the radio. In high school he found out that there were bands playing that style of music, and a following of people that liked it. I was into Chuck Berry and some other early rock and roll artists like Little Richard through her mom pretty much since birth, and all three of us were in the punk scene in our teens and through that community got introduced to bands like the Reverend Horton Heat and classics like Johnny Cash.

What did appeal you in that specific music?
We like the sheer enthusiasm of the music and the excellent musicianship of many rockabilly artists. Rockabilly is both interesting musically and fun. John adds that he always liked the fact that you could make good music without having to be overly-proficient at your chosen instrument. It’s a lot of fun when you don’t have to concentrate on whether or not you’re the best at what you play.

Are the Droptops your first band?
John and Christine were members of DC punk band the Drednoks, and I was a member of Connecticut punk band the Snatch before we got together to start the Droptops.

Tell us more about you please. When did the Droptops form and how did you meet together?
All three of us have been friends for years. Christine and I met in middle school, and we became friends with John a few years later in high school. After returning to the DC area after college in 2001, we decided to get together along with another friend, Brooks, to put together a rockabilly band. We played as a four piece (with John on vocals and rhythm guitar, Elizabeth on lead guitar, Christine on bass guitar, and Brooks on drums) for a couple of years. In 2003 John and Christine switched instruments, Brooks left the band, and we formed the current version of the Droptops.

Your first album, on Wild Hare, is made of 10 originals. Rockabilly is a very codified type of music. How much of a problem is it to “respect” the genre when you write a song? I mean did you ever think “Na that sounds too modern” or “Hum it’s too close to That’s Allright”
We do think about whether our songs sound too much like other band’s songs, particularly famous songs, when we write. This can be hard, especially if you’ve spent the day listening to rockabilly! On more than one occasion I have written what I thought was a great song only to realize afterward that it was exactly like some song I was listening to earlier. When we write we don’t worry too much about sticking to the “rockabilly” genre. Most of our stuff is probably more like 50s rock and roll than rockabilly anyway. We do probably try to stay away from writing material that sounds too modern. Our main goal in writing songs is to try to write songs that tap into our strengths as a band.

Let’s talk about your influences…
We are all enamored with the Sun Records sound. I worship Chuck Berry as my guitar idol and my other guitar influences include the great Chicago blues artists like Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy. As a bass player, John really likes Marshall Lytle of the Comets for sure because that’s what got him into playing upright bass. Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, everything we listen to influences us somehow.

And what are you listening at home?
I listen to a lot of Chicago style blues, jazz from the 1940s to today, and 50s rhythm and blues and rock and roll artists. Christine listens to a lot of 50s rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and doo-wop; anything with a solid beat and energetic delivery. John listens to most of his music in the car: Hank Thompson, Jackie Wilson, Louis Jordan, The Ramones, Gene Krupa, Bob Wills, Charlie Feathers. That’s what’s in his car right now.

What are your projects? Do you have plans for a second release?
We recently recorded two songs as part of a tribute to Buddy Holly. We are waiting to see if and when they will be released. We are also working on material for a second full length album, and John’s other band, The Garnet Hearts, are working on another record as well.

One last word?
We have such a great time playing this type of music. Nothing could be more fun than playing in a rock and roll band!

V/A – Ain’t Rocket Science 101 & 202

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/VARIOUS

rocket202

rocket101Wild Hare Records WH06001- WH06004
Vol.1 : 1 Scotch Whisky 2 Gypsy Eyes 3 Minnesota Snow 4 Through With You 5 Red Lipstick on Cigarettes 6 Big Wheels Roll 7 Dear Old Dad 8 Crazy About Nancy 9 Doorbell Dreamboat 10 Buried Hopes 11 Cool It 12 Blue So Blue 13 Lovesick 14 I Want You 15 Its All Life 16 Live This Way 17 Tell Me Darlin 18 Honey Honey 19 Wined and Dined and Pocket Lined 20 Mrs Jackson 21 Why Cant You Be True 22 24 Hours a Day 23 So Untrue 24 Cant Keep My MInd Off Of You 25 Just Take Me Home 26 Feels So Good 27 Catch My Breath
Vol. 2 : 1.We’re Gonna Rock 2 Devil Doll 3 Let Me Be Your Baby 4 Let’s Rock 5 Give a Little Lovin’ 6 Have a Ball 7 Uptown 8 I’m Gonna Break a Heart 9 Epilepsy Betsy 10 What I’ve Got 11 Trouble Follows Me 12 Lonesome Trail 13 Hitch Hiker 14 Long Haul Trucker 15 Last Work In Lovin’ 16 Real Live Doll 17 Operation Complication 18 Slim Jim Sadie 19 Break Loose 20 Jambalaya 21 A Single Tear 22 My Puddin’ Pie 23 Loud Mouth 24 Midnight Train 25 My Love 26 I’d Want Your LOvin’ Anyway 27 Don’t Talk Back

If you are turtle, don’t try to catch this Wild Hare cause he’s running fast and .he ‘s got a double mission : “to help promote historic artists as well as promising new artists involved in the Rockabilly and Hillbilly Circuit”. Since Dave and Kiersten Moore founded in 2003 this label “of Rockabillies for Rockabillies”, they recorded historic talent such as Pat Cupp, Roc LaRue Ron Berry and Joe Penny, both present on this two “Ain’t Rocket Science” first class compilations but also new talents such as The Garnet Hearts, Thommy Burns,Jason Hoss Hicks, Amber Lee, Jerry King, Screamin’ Scotty and many more.
As announced by the owners of the label “no big city attitutes or corporate schemes here”, no “rocket science” “no tracking, no overdubs” but for sure some good ol homebrew rockabilly chemistry concocted by an ever-present Dave Moore (engineer, guitarist and member of the The Saddle Pals)
The 101 is a blend of smooth honky tonkin’ rockabilly sounds (The Saddle Pals) with some raw hillbilly songs as the ones composed by the 20’s and 30’s inspired Thommy Burns hepcat There ‘s even some Sun soundin’ with the veteran Ron Berry (listen to “It’s All Life” that could come right from the fifties Union Avenue studio) and the Steubenville Knight Jason Hicks “close to the Sun Elvis bone” melodic rockabilly
On 102 the starting mood is more on the rockin’ and rollin’ side with the terrific Amber Lee. That gal sure knows how to rock.! Jerry King and his assured strong voice that we already know with his Rivertown Ramblers is here with The Falls City Boys on a more hillbilly repertoire and sounds like an american Jack Baymoore. The legendary Hank Williams sideman Joe Penny sincere and true rockabilly is tremendous; “Real Live DollI” is a “real live masterpiece” and his Jambalaya rendition sounds like a real early fifties Cajun one popped up from the past. Screamin’ Scotty ends up brilliantly and frenetically this second compilation with a great “Don’t Talk Back” rocker.

Dave “Long Tall” Phisel

Droptops (the)- Wild Hare Records presents…

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

droptops Wild Hare07002
Where There’s Smoke – Rock! Rock! Rock! – Walkin’ The Floor – You Treat Me Mean – She’s My Baby – Back With My Baby – Lovesick Blues – Stuck On You – When You Go – Disappearing Baby
The Droptops are a rockabilly trio coming from Maryland. The members are John on vocals and upright bass, Elizabeth on guitar and Christine on drums. Yes, they are not just the “lovely girls on the cover”, they can actually play. Their sound is obviously influenced by Sun records and John’s voice shares some similarities with Jimmy Bowen. But don’t misunderstand me, he ain’t no copycat and has his own style, like Elizabeth on guitar. This album is made of 10 self penned songs (although titles like “Rock! Rock! Rock!” and “Lovesick Blues” sound familiar, they are written by the band and are not Johnny Powers and Hank Williams’ songs), alternating slow and mid-tempo tunes. If the slow ones are good, I find them more at ease with the fastest numbers like “Where There’s Smoke”. The whole cd is very coherent and the production (as on every Wild Hare productions) is very well done. If your ideal of rockabilly is Carl Perkins, Johnny Powers or today’s bands like The Flea Bops or The Raging Teens, this one will please you from start to finish.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

David Moore – The Hillbilly Stroll

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

dmoore_small Wild Hare WH09002 [2009]
If you dig rockabilly music (which one can assumes as you read this lines) and especially 50’s sounding rockabilly the name of Dave Moore may be familiar to you. He’s the guy behind the excellent Wild Hare records label and has played on countless recordings (the liner notes say “43 professionnal releases with 29 different artists on 280 tracks!”).
This is, to my knowledge, his first real solo effort, including 12 self-penned songs on which he’s backed by Ryan Cain, Wendy Lebeau and Buck Stevens among others.
Some of this tunes have previously been sung by members of the Wild Hare roster like the Pat Cupp influenced “Blue So Blue” by Ron Berry, “Uptown” by Amber Lee and “You Better Leave” (appearing here in a very demo sounding version) by Buck Stevens.
Musically this is what you can expect – and love – from Wild Hare: a mix of vintage and raw sounding rockabilly with its feet solidly anchored in the hillbilly tradition, going from “Love Eternally” a country weeper in a Hank Williams vein to the frantic rockabilly of “I Do What I Want When I Want” all recording on vintage equipment that makes the Wild Haresignature sound.
A must have.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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