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Phil & Shaun Show - Archive #1
NARVEL FELTS' ROLLIN' ROCK CD
LINDA GAIL LEWIS: CD
Billy Lee Riley: King's Hotel, Newport, South Wales
Dale Hawkins: Born in Louisiana
The Rimshots: Tribute to Hank Williams
REVIEWS: SCOTTY & D.J
"The Devil, Me and Jerry Lee" by LINDA GAIL
BILLY FURY TRIBUTE
MACK STEVENS: HARDCORE TEXAS CAT MUSIC!
GERALD "BOUNCE" GREGORY OBITUARY
The Louvin Brothers
West Texas Bop
Bob & Lucille
Billy Fury: 40th Anniversary
Darrel Higham: Cochran Connection
Stomper Time Records
Dale Hawkins' CD
The Gene & Eddie Show
Eddie Cochran R&R Weekend
OTHER ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME CONTRIBUTIONS
BACK TO PHIL & SHAUN'S MAIN PAGE
NARVEL FELTS at ROLLIN' ROCK
With a career going back over 40 years, Narvel Felts became the latest rockabilly
cult hero to be associated with Rollin' Rock Records. Recorded over two days in August
last year, label honcho Ronnie Weiser teamed Narvel with guitarist Big Al Ek of the
ShuffleAires, drummer Jim Lovgren of Western Rain and bass player Rob Edwards of the
Ruffnecks for a feast of rockers and ballads.
Lonely River is an uptempo version of the Autry-Rose-Whitley standard with Narvel's
infamous high pitched vocals contrasting lovely with the bands playing. If I Didn't
Have You, a co-write with Joe Keene who has a hand in four of the songs, is a painful
ballad full of all the emotion of his Ī70's hot streak. This is going through the
emotions not the motions as is the case with most of todays hat acts.
Lover Boy is a fairly average mid-paced rocker. I'm Gonna Get It Right Tonite from
the pen of Keene is better, a stroller with nifty picking and some great bass
slapping from Edwards. The self-penned Tally Ho (a different song to Ernie Nowlans'
1957 single on Missouri 640) is a great shuffler with a couple of nice solos. Narvel
shines on Lonely Hours - you know he's hurting when he sings, it's the type of song
only he could do. Mrs Felts joined Narvel and Keene to write If That Ain't Music,
a mid-tempo tribute to the sounds we love.
Conway Twitty's bopper Shake It Up follows and it's a cracking take with great guitar
with even a shot of Grady Martin in there. It was a highlight of his recent Hemsby
show and it's also a high spot of this CD. The pace is maintained for Rollin'
Out Of Memphis which this time pays musical homage to the Hillbilly Cat & The Blue
Moon Boys, it would make a fabulous live song and really suits Narvel's voice.
Slim Rhodes' Sun rocker, Do What I Do follows close to the original which is fine as
it's a great song.
It's back to heartbreak time with the gorgeous Felts ballad, Jealousy,
my favourite of the slowies. When you hear stuff like this you understand why
Charlie Feathers called him "the greatest singer in the world" and Dolly Parton
said "he's my favourite". Arkansas rockabilly Larry Donn's Honey Bunn is next
up and it's a superb free flowing rocker. Fool In Paradise is a bouncy ballad,
sounding a lot like I Forgot To Remember To Forget - they're probably song
cousins or something. Leone Rene's Convicted is further evidence that he's
guilty, caught in possession of country musics highest (best?) voice.
It was nice to hear Hard Time Gettin' Home, a split rhythm rocker with firecracker
guitar runs. It was written the UK's own Steve Ansley, a Gene Vincent perv and
the artist formerly known as Tyrone Torpedo. The drummer rocks harder than
anywhere else on the disc and it could be a future classic.
The CD is rounded off with a song already afforded classic status, the fifties
tribute, Pink And Black Days. Any song that namechecks Eddie Bond is okay in
my book ! Rollin' Rock is now on a role (excuse the pun) with this release
following the Mack Stevens album. What next Ronnie? You set yourself a
standard now, and we're fussy buggers.
THAT TEASE / I'M GONNA LOSE MY MIND
HOWLIN' RECORDS, HOWL 45001 (VOCAL WITH INSTRUMENTAL ACCOMPANIMENT)
Now like the origin of the band's name this goes down a treat, especially as a double.
This has scarcely been off my deck since it winged its merry lil' way cross the big
Atlantic pond a few weeks ago. This new band are based in the Cambridge, MA area so
when I first played it I thought I was listening to a cut off the Ragin' Teens series
or the Boston Rockabilly cds. Yes, they're that good a band.
Band members are Sean Coleman lead vocals, Chris Ormsby drums, Jon Johnson upright
bass, Andrew Barnaby lead guitar and Chris DeBarge rhythm guitar. Messers Coleman
and Barnaby are the Leiber and Stoller of the team on this 45. The A side That Tease
was produced by Sean Mencher no less (and has Jerome Deupree on drums). Sean has a
great r&b styled gruff voice ala Mr Riley or Billy Gayles of the Rhythm Kings.
He hollers in fine style, with a Chester Burnett style quaver in there too.
Lead breaks are sharp, very Scottyesque if such an adjective exists. Drums,
rhythm and especially the double bass underpining the song as it hurtles around
the bend. A most promising debut.
Just like those old 45s a treat lies in store when you eventually flip it over,
the b side I'm Gonna Lose My Mind is even better in my estimation, lovely mid
tempo intro with boppin' bass, great vocal again and the lead takes the whole
toon into the stratosphere. This could easily fit into a Buffalo Bop cd and
most people would reckon it was a fifties cut. Can there be higher praise?
This cut is a belter and I can envisage many djs filling the floors with this.
If the chaser is this good what will the whole bottle of the album taste like?
Top marks all round, cool retro sleeve too and a nod to Mr Wolf in the label
name too. Go on try it, you can buy it, pay me next week to paraphrase ole Chuckie
boy. I used to write on the school reports of my most promising pupils "It augurs well
for the future!". Tip top marks boys enjoy the summer vacation!
TO CONTACT THE BOURBONAIRES
P.O. BOX 391282
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02139
0R E-MAIL email@example.com
LINDA GAIL LEWIS
"Linda Gail Lewis" CD
HERE EVER AFTER / *I'M STILL SHAKIN' / RELENTLESS / NEVER WEAR MASCARA (WHEN
YOU LOVE A MARRIED MAN) / THE DARK END OF THE STREET / SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
/ 1-2-3 I'M IN LOVE AGAIN / *LOVE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE / THIS LONG AND LONELY
NIGHT / MOORE OR LES / BABY, I WANT YOU / TURN OFF THE TV / DANCIN' 'ROUND
AND 'ROUND /** I'D RATHER STAY HOME AND ROCK'N ' ROLL. (playing time 49:39)
Produced by Stuart Colman, *Jerry Phillips & Stuart Colman, **Jerry Phillips -
Executive Producer Mark Potter. About 6 years ago I saw the delightful Linda
Gail Lewis play the tiny Hernando's Hideaway in Memphis in front of a small
crowd. A couple of days later I tried vainly to obtain copies of Linda's I'll
Take Memphis in Ernest Tubb's Record Store. The staff there had never heard of her!
Now thanks to the tenacity and drive of her manager (and life long fan) Mark Potter
she has a great album on Sire Records. It's not a country album or a rockin'
album, its a contemporary pop album with elements of both.
It was recorded in Nashville and Memphis by Uk Nashville resident Stuart Colman.
Stuart was the Uk's most successful producer in the 80s with a huge string of hits
with Welsh rocker Shakin' Stevens, he also produced the Jets, Billy Fury and Billy
Swan amongst others. He's also a hot bass player and backed Linda and Shaky on their
recent UK tour. Now Dig This the world's best rocking magazine features a Nashville
column by him. He's done a superb job here, both on his own and working with Jerry
Phillips (Sam's lad!). Another link to Linda's Sun past (she has an affinity for "S"
labels, having recorded for Sun, Smash and now Sire, oh and her husband Eddie used to
work for Stax!!) is that Roland "go Roland boy!" Janes engineered a couple of tracks.
Didn't he play guitar for some blond guy?
Whilst Linda's great stage act still features killer versions of Killer classics
this album places her firmly in the public's eyes and ears as a talent in her own
right. Powerhouse live performances of some of these songs whetted the appetite for
this disc (which sold out on the Uk tour, the huge audiences though mainly in the dark
about Linda beforehand certainly knew talent when they saw and heard it).
Opening uptempo cut Here Ever After is tailor made for airplay both in the States and
Europe, very catchy and the lottery tale unfolds like a mental image video.
Jerry Phillips penned I'm Still Shakin' features Travis Wammack on lead and slide,
nice funky Memphis feel to this, tailor made for Linda's vocal.
Relentless penned by JK Jones and Smokey Robinson as a country ballad, joined by
Jeff Bates, Linda sings her heart out on this fine song.
Never Wear Mascara (When You Love A Married Man) is a rocker as good as its witty
title. Penned by uk country singer and baby doctor( I can't spell gynecolethingy)
Hank Wangford, Linda lets rip in Ferriday mode both vocally and on the piano,
love this to bits.
Dan Penn and Chips Moman wrote this definitive blue eyed country soul ballad
back in the 60s and Linda turns in a heartfelt evocative rendition. Dan Penn
really rates this version and who am I to argue with him. This just oozes sultry
Southern passion. Richard Bennet does a great job on the lead lick.
Something Beautiful is a contemporary (rather too, for my taste) building-up style
Far more to my liking, is the rattling rocker 1-2-3, I'm In Love Again. Superb
live and as good on disc, kept reminding me of Little Richard's glorious New
Orleans style with a hint of gospel passion. Written and co-produced by Jerry
Phillips, a fine rocker in the family tradition.
Eddie and Linda co-wrote Love makes The Difference and this re-recording is THE
one, I can imagine this getting a lot of AOR airplay, this deserves to become a
They also co-wrote this Long and Lonely Night with executive producer and manager
Mark Potter. A nice souly feel to this lingering number, top marks to the lead and
backing vocals. Mr Colman pulled out all the stops here.
Mark also co-wrote tongue twisting rocker Moore Or Les, about "Seeing more of
Moore and less of Les" (are you still following this?), another goodie and stands
up well to repeated plays. Fine pumpin' and hollerin' on this cracker.
Linda and Mark wrote r&b ballad Baby, I Want You, strings give it a very classy air.
Another link to bygone Sun days with Turn Off The TV co penned by Dickey Lee.
Good medium tempo rocker with tasty guitar.
Dancin' Round and Round shows how Linda's singing has become more subtle
over the years. Excellent production on this mid tempo song with a hint of
Southern Louisiana in it.
I'd Rather Stay Home And Rock n Roll certainly appeals to the philosophy of
this rapidly ageing reviewer. Jerry Phillips has done a fine job on this
chugging rocker. There's a very tasty video to go with this too.
This disc is head and shoulders above anything else Linda Gail has ever recorded,
congratulations to all involved. If the US contemporary audience take to this like
the UK audience it certainly augurs well for Linda who has certainly "hung it in
like Gunga Din" waiting for this richly deserved opportunity to show the world that
she's certainly more than JLL's lil'sis!
No wonder the disc is dedicated to all those great unknown talents out there,
telling them to hang on in there. She's got the t-shirt etc when it comes to
tenacity and perserverance. With her funny book, great charisma and wild stage
act and a quality new product in the market place Linda Gail's certainly deserved her
grab at the brass ring this time.Top marks to Sire for having the vision to see the
untapped talents that have lain dormant for so long.
BILLY LEE RILEY
King's Hotel, Newport, South Wales
28 March 1999
The King's is the most prolific venue in Wales, thanks to the sheer enthusiasm
of owner Mac, whose love of the music has enabled us to see the likes of
Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Jack Scott, Johnnie Allen, Sonny Burgess and The
Comets etc. This Sunday saw the return of Sun's greatest "unknown" Billy
Lee Riley. Coming all the way from Newport, Arkansas to Newport, Wales, Billy's
tour also took in Spain and England.
The crowd was smaller than normal, due to the proximity of the previous
night's gig in Swindon, which split the audience. Support band The Red Hot
Pokers commenced proceedings with a well received rockin' 45 minute set,
with covers ranging from Chuck Berry to Louis Prima. Guitarist and vocalist
Ned also played fiddle on Big Mamou. The Pokers had backed Jerry Lee on his
egendary 3 nights of rocking at the Kings. This time it was the Killer's
With the Pokers now augmented by piano wizz-kid Stu Mcilroy, Billy Lee
took the stage with a prolonged version of his own Everybody Rock,
which featured guitar, piano, sax and harmonica solos. Dressed in black
slacks, two-tone shoes, white dress shirt, narrow black tie and bright
red jacket, Billy Lee looked cool with a capital K. His immaculate silver
quiff and high cheek bones still remind me of Hollywood star Jack
Pallance. Having already worked a date with the band the boss was soon
into the groove and smiling throughout, encouraging the guys to take
Next up was his first Sun single Rock With Me Baby, and it was clear
that Billy and the band were on the same wavelength. A blistering
version of Flyin' Saucer Rock Īn' Roll was next with Roland Janes and
Jimmy Van Eaton playing from behind the curtain - they must have been,
the sound was that close to the original! Top marks to "Roland" Ned and
"J.V." Colin for doing their homework.
One of my favourite Billy Lee tracks, the b-side of the first single,
Trouble Bound followed. It lasted five minutes with sax, piano and guitar
again given solos. The pace was unrelenting, and we were treated to
I Want You Baby, the vocals were a bit low in the mix, but the backing was
again first class. That's All Right Mama and Lawdy Miss Clawdy seperated
the glorious call and response Pearly Lee. It was like a chapel revival
meeting at times.
After reminiscing about Sonny Burgess, Billy led the instrumental
Itchy with some great harmonica, interplaying with fabulous guitar work.
Good Rockin' Tonight started with some slow, blues piano, but finished as a
rollickin' bopper. Billy Lee told the crowd that he'd had this real young
piano player, Jerry Lee Lewis with him for about four months, but he didn't
seem to get along with him, so he sacked him. He then finished the show with a
stomping version of Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On, with more great piano and
guitar. Billy chuckled as Stu replicated the rolls off Sun 267. Drummer
Colin's shirt was soaking at the end of this lengthy rendering.
The crowd demanded an encore and boy did we get one. The last time I'd seen
him a couple of years ago, I'd been knocked out by Pearly Lee, but tonight my
favourite was Red Hot. The vocals were brilliant and so was the band.
Red Hot was shit hot (well it rhymes with Doodly thingy)!
A second encore was called for and it was a reprise of Flyin' Saucers,
another great performance. Ned's "outer space" guitar intro sent shivers
through the crowd. After the show, Billy Lee took time to sign autographs
and chat until the last customer was gone. Many copies of the Collectibles
Red Hot Sun cd were imported into eager Welsh hands. It's great when you get
to meet one of your heroes, and even better when they're charming as well.
Hopefully he'll be back soon, he's magic. I hope the citizens of Newport
Arkansas revere this national treasure as greatly as the citizens of Newport
Shaun Mather and Phil Davies
BORN IN LOUISIANA
(ROCK AND ROLL RARITIES)
GOOFIN' 10" lp - GOOFY 1091
What a great few month its been for we Hawkinophiles, firstly Dale tours
Europe, Ace issue a definitive Checker cd (see review on this site) and the
icing on the cake Finland's GOOFIN RECORDS label issue this lil' package.
After years of drought we have the years of plenty.
This 10" lp is beautifully packaged, a moody blue pic of our hero on the cover,
detailed notes by Tapio Vaisanen (Dale must have Viking ancestry!!), rare label
photos and a superb booklet discography as well. Apart from not including a
guitar pick, the key to Dale's front door and a date with Margaret Lewis its
purty damn good!!
Side one collates 6 mega rarities from the golden era whilst side two has
Dale in fine fettle with five contemporary bluesy sides.
Vintage side opens with a faster alt. take of Someday, One Day. The original
was the b side of Checker 913 Take My Heart. This starts with a doo woppy
intro before chugging nicely into a fine mid tempo number featuring the great
Margaret Lewis on harmony (check out her fantastic Ace cd Lonesome Bluebird).
Tasty guitar on this superior version. MMMM a goody.
Then a brave attempt at the classic doo wopper Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight.
Dale had a liking for this style amongst his more famous bluesy rockers
(eg Heaven and Lonely Lonely Nights). The original is so definitive you wonder
why Dale attempted it, but this grows on you.
Cute Little Girl from the New York sessions has nice sax, a pop rocker
typical of its era and location. greatly influenced by the uptempo stylings of
Bobby Darin. Nice to hear at long last.
Lovely bluesy intro to Women What's Happening. Great guitar lick and passionate
vocal. Strange how Dale and cousin Ronnie were attracted to this kind of
material. Very like Ronnie's early 60s Roulette sound. Tasty harmonica fills on
Excellent mid tempo r&b mover, Wish I Hadn't Called Home. Guitar lick is
infectious. Song suprisingly written by quirky country genius Roger Miller.
Very Jimmy Reedish in places, both in tempo and vocal. I wish Dale would cut
some of Mr Reed's lesser known numbers like Too Much, Good Lover or I Don't Go
For That. That style would suit him down to his lil' cotton socks. Top dollar
for this side.
With A Feeling is very country soul sounding, perhaps because its co-written
by Joe Tex's mentor and publisher extraordinaire Buddy Killen. Ahead of its
time perhaps, Dale's vocal a shade too high in places. The sleeve notes
contain a detailed chronological account of these recordings, so check out
the facts there m'am (apologies to Lt Joe Friday).
If you dig da blooz modern styles ya'll dig side two too! If you're expecting
boppers etc look elsewhere( eg Goofin' fine ep Wildcat Tamer Goofy 587).
These recent recordings. Dale wrote 3 of the 5 cuts here so that shows where
his interests lie today.
Opener Goin' Down The Road features cool slide guitar from Kenny Brown and
John Fogerty like vocals from Dale (hang on padner, Fogerty owes it all
to Dale anyway!)
Sparse and cool this one.
A chugging Goodnight Irene follows, lean and mean this cut.
The Killer's hoarse version on the Odd Man In lp still the boss though.
Summertime Down South as atmospheric as it gets, pick of this side, again
reminds me of the Ronnie Hawkins bluesy sides of the mid 70s. Obviously Dale
sneaked down from northern Louisiana to the delta whenever he could.
Now Dale recording with Dr John, that'd work! The guitar lick reminds me of
the Evs Walk Right Back for some reason.
Born In Louisiana is a heartfelt and evocative summation of the talents and
sounds of my favourite musical state. Jerry, Fats, Little Walter etc etc.
The closer Hat Trick, is far too Rock for my personal taste. Pickers do a
good job though, Joe Osborn back with Dale again.
Perhaps the diversity in styles will put some people with narrowly defined
tastes off, but I think its a fine showcase of Dale's talents then and now.
European audiences would certainly want the classic r&b sound of Checker
and not these bluesy outings. A similar dilemma faces Billy Lee Riley.
Artists must balance their creative outlet against the paying audiences
A reviewer can also only reflect personal taste and I am a great fan of
Dale's and I greatly appreciate the hard work put into this project by all
involved. Congratulations on a fine release.
Phil Davies - April 99
PS Bonus review: EP Dale Hawkins - WILDCAT TAMER - Goofy 587
First release of new material by Dale since 1970! Cut at various times at
the Hawk's Nest.
Title cut a stompin version of Tarheel Slim's great blues bopper (Feb 97),
My Babe recut of classic Checker side (Sept 89), slide guitar.
Home Grown Natural Man (Jan 97).
More contemporary sound ala Carl Perkins later recordings.
Suzy-Q (Live Sept 97).
First live recording since Let's All Twist At The Peppermint Lounge lp 1961!
Recorded live at Club Chocktaw in Arkansas with the Big Boy's, as Homer
would say Woohoo!!
Cool green tint period shot and good notes from Tapio,
top marks for packaging and contents to ya Goofers.
THE RIMSHOTS / RUSTI STEEL & the TIN TAX
TRIBUTE TO HANK WILLIAMS
BE BE'S Records BE BE CD004
Rimshots: If Only Hank Had Lived A Little Longer / Rockin' Chair Money /
Honky Tonk Blues / I'll Be A Bachelor Till I Die / I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry /
I'm Going Home / Fool About You / Lovesick Blues.
Rusti Steel: I Know Hank Wrote Them Songs For Me
No One Will Ever Know / Fly Trouble / Rootie Tootie / Devil's Train /
Roly Poly / I'm Satisfied With You / Mind Your Own Business.
(Playing Time 45:33).
Also available on 12" vinyl lp, 7" ep.
This superb collection of authentic sounding songs has broken down music
industry resistance to the word "hillbilly or 50s", it has deservedly won the
British Country Music Association Award as ALBUM OF THE YEAR.
Take a Welsh band, an English band, place them to record versions of old
78s (and 2 new songs) in the ballroom of a hotel in Wales and a small studio
in Hitchin, use vintage equipment to record and release on a small fifties
label in Germany and beat the line dancers hands (or hats) down. Sounds
like the small indies of the fifties taking on Columbia, Decca etc.
For years I was a Hank purist, only Hank or Jerry Lee versions were in my
collection. I knew the other J.L.(John) Lewis, the Rimshots singer was a huge
Hank fan(he's over 6' too) and their version of Ramblin' Man on a previous release (Let's Bop), started off like Hank's and ended up like a cross between the Burnette's and Howlin Wolf!!!
I eagerly awaited this album an gave it a glowing review in the July 98 issue
of Now Dig This.
The opener written by John and fellow Welshman Rob neddin is tremendous,
indeed If Only Hank Had Lived A Little Longer, surely his proto rockabilly
style would have developed into the real thing. Probably along the same
lines as his good buddy Johnny Horton.
Ricky lee Brawn has done a great job capturing that authentic sound on his
vintage recording equipment.
Both vocals and backings are spot on on all 8 songs. Mark's brushes, Tony's
steady slap beat, Rob's lead licks and particularly Paul Godden's
immaculate fills on steel and mandolin. His wife Jean guests on fiddle
and Paul Crosby (aka Rusti) provides harmonies. on top of all this is John's
singing, paying homage to hank he pulls out all the stops. Marvellous
stuff, no wonder it got such good reviews in both 50s and country mags.
Even staid old BBC radio played it amongst all the hat acts coming out
of Nashville hi -rise offices like a plaque.
Highlights, where do you start? Fool About You shows what Hank
would have sounded like if Sam Phillips had got him in front of a mike.
The gospel number I'm Going Home is delicious, with Rusti joining in.
Honky Tonk Blues is a cracking version of this oft covered song, finishing
with the song that made ole Hiram a legend at the Opry, Lovesick Blues.
The Ferriday Lewis would raise a glass to the Cardiff Lewis vocals here.
no wonder Mac Curtis, Narvel Felts and Merrill E Moore rate these guys so
highly. Dedicated to their craft and outstanding musicians one and all.
12 years on the road in Wales, Uk, Ireland, Europe and the US have honed
them into Europe's finest honky tonkers.
Like John, Paul Crosby is deeply influenced by the old Hankster
(aren't we all). His feelings are nicely conveyed in the sleeve notes.
Indeed the cover painting of Mount Olive West, Alabama is by thr Rev R
Crosby. Rusti Steel and the Tin Tax (great name) give us a heartfelt
original in I Know Hank Wrote Them Songs For Me. A sentiment most would
agree with, Hank's strength was that he always sounded like he was talking
from the heart directly to you. The Hank songs here sound like they've been
lifted of old bright yellow MGM 78s.
Recorded at the Priory (that would have given Hank a good laugh)
Studio in Hitchin, Herts, England. Mr Brawn has again done a top job with
his old valves. musicianship is faultless, Fly Trouble for example has guests
Chris Haigh and Moe Kabir providing fine fiddle and steel.
Both Rusti's voice and the interplay with Ian Speller's lead guitar is
exemplary. They remind us of what great musicians Hank worked with.
Both bands could easily have been Driftin' Cowboys in previous lives.
A damn fine release of which both bands and their many admirers can
feel proud of. As well as commemorating Hank the songwriter they also
remind us what a brilliant performer he was. Hank only wrote five of the
fourteen "covers" here. This set can proudly sit next to your hank 10 cd
set or your old MGM 10" albums, yes its that good. Don't take my word for
it, just look at the award its won!!
If only he had lived a little longer and drifted from Nashville down I-40 to
Memphis and Union Avenue.
The Devil, Me and Jerry Lee
by LINDA GAIL LEWIS
(with Les Pendleton)
LONGSTREET ISBN 1-56352-526-7 - www.lspress.com
For your $20 you get 166 pages of tales from Linda Gail Lewis, younger sister
of the legendary Jerry Lee. The stories go from Mamie and Elmo Lewis' early days
in Ferriday Louisiana to Linda's home in Big Sandy (why hasn't someone used that
for a performing name, oops they have!) Tennessee.
I've had the pleasure of seeing Linda perform on stage many times, both with
her brother and as an excellent solo artist. She is a charming person, full of
warmth and compassion. She is also a great and funny story teller, and that is
reflected in this annecdotal book. It is a very entertaining read and will
amuse you and sadden you in turn. There are some absolutely outrageous
stories and comments packed into this brief account.
Fans of Janis Joplin avoid page 79, Connie Smith (hallelujah!) fans avoid page
55,etc. etc. all absolutely hilarious. There's a photo section, though the
captions could be more accurate. An index would help, as would a discography
(I'll add one to Linda's web page in the future). Linda has had an interesting
recording career, on Sun, Smash and Mercury with Jerry (highlight being the
1969 Together lp on Smash, great rockin Roll Over Beethoven duet). Her
recent solo career deserves far more attention than given here. Like many
Jerry Lee fans I'm baffled withn the current problems surrounding Jerry and
his blood relatives. Linda Gail talks it like she walks it here, taking no
prisoners and shooting from the hip.
She's a great solo live performer doing the incomprabable Lewis Boogie in
the Lewis way. Her many European fans and friends get rightly mentioned.
I was delighted to see Wales' best venue the Kings Hotel, Newport get a
mention. Linda earned her spurs there in front of the demanding Jerry Lee
fans at the great Lewis fan club conventions. Charles DR Rock White,
Little Richard and Jerry Lee's biographer was there and would make an
ideal future writing partner for Linda. Both she and husband Eddie
(who worked for Stax) have enough stories for another book,
so get writing guys! Worth buying this just for the gorgeous picture
of her on the back cover!
BILLY FURY TRIBUTE
DAILY POST Wednesday, March 3, 1999
The Daily Post is one of two national newspapers for Wales. The Post also covers
the Liverpool area and it was therefore fitting that on March 3rd they ran
a double page feature on Billy Fury and a tribute CD from his brother Albert
Wycherley, himself a singer who hit number 44 in the UK charts in 1966 as Jason
Eddie and the Centreman. The CD includes a song called I Never Met Collette,
which is receiving a lot of support from local radio stations.
The CD is available from Music Box, Derby Road, Liverpool Connections,
School Lane, Liverpool and also via Mail Order from Geoff Bell, PO Box 130,
Liverpool, L13 4HA.
With circulation being limited to a million or so, I know a lot of fans
won't have had the chance to see the article by David Charter so here are
some of the best quotes:
"I don't try and sing like him, honestly I don't, there must be something
inherited there. I just sing the way I feel. I sing Last Night Was Made
For Love and it sounds like our kid. Billy Kingsley, who had worked with
our kid, said in the studio that my brother would do something that wasn't
right with a note. He'd sort of bend it. But it came out right. He said that
I do something exactly the same." Albert.
Asked whether he envied Billy at all - "No, not at all, I don't envy him at
all. But I admire him for his talent. Even when I was young I admired him.
To see him on stage was electrifying." Albert.
"I was 15 when his fame began and he was appearing on "Oh Boy" on the TV.
A lot of girls started coming to the house in Haliburton Street. The
"Oh Boy" thing led to him touring the country with Eddie Cochran and Gene
Vincent and Marty Wilde, and then he was on the Empire and, of course,
everyone knew he was from the Dingle. Our kid was a friend of Eddie
Cochran, right up to the time he died (April 17 1960)" Albert.
"He developed his own style and was far more sexual on stage. They
dropped the curtain on him in Dublin because he was so sexy with the
stroking of the microphone and all that. They had warned him not to do it.
He was closing the first half so that Bridie Gallagher, who was a big name in
Ireland, could come on for the second. But the girls there were going
absolutely berserk, rushing out the theatre to surround the stage door
when he came off his spot. When Bridie Gallagher did go on stage, there was
nobody there." Albert.
"One day he was Ronnie Wycherley and the next he was Billy Fury.
The Parnes' stable had people with names like that - Tommy Steele,
Marty Wilde, Duffy Power, Dickie Pride, Johnny Gentle. I don't think he
minded the name because on stage he started off gentle and became furious,
do you know what I mean? I can remember he would get letters saying things
like "postman, postman, don't be slow, be like Billy and go man go!.
Furiously yours!." But I think of him as "our kid". I think it sounds more
affectionate than Billy. At times there was a lot of fun after his fame,
but other times it was a nightmare. There could be a lot of jealousy and I
got beat up quite a few times because I had a famous brother. But he
didn't have the money people thought, you know. He had 16 hits. If he
had so many these days he would have been a millionaire, but he died
"I still think about him all the time. I have just been down to HMV
to buy the record. I used to buy all Billy's records. As soon as they
came out, I would buy them. I can't say which is my favourite. There were
so many." Jean Wycherley (Billy's mum).
Charters acknowledged the influence of Billy Fury and said "The definitive
moment in his career was the recording in 1960 of the Sound Of Fury, ten of his
own songs. To the generations accustomed to singer/songwriters that might not
seem remarkable. But then it was. It showed that the old boy of Wellington
Road Secondary Modern School, Dingle (Liverpool), who spent much of his
boyhood in hospital, had a poetic streak; understanding, absolutely, that
rock 'n' roll is more about heartache than satisfaction."
After the interview had concluded Billy's mum and brother were off to
Blackpool as guests of honour at a Billy Fury Convention.
Long live our King.
HARDCORE TEXAS CAT MUSIC!
ROLLIN' ROCK CD101
Well, I've never had so much fun with my trousers on! This latest release from
Mack Stevens is a real blast. It's his second for the Rollin' Rock label and
hopefully head honcho Ronnie Weiser has already booked the studio for the
third. Currently blazing a trail across the western states of America, Mack
Stevens is apparently a wild showman with an act to match. Stevens and Weiser
have done an excellent job in transposing that excitement to disc, not always
an easy task.
The first track and arguably the best is I Hate The Moon, a self written (he
had a hand in all but three of the songs featured) rockabilly western
shuffler, that always seem to be done best by Texans. With strong deep
vocals and twangy guitar, you can just imagine Gary Cooper on double bass.
It finishes with high, eerie vocals and Duane Eddy style guitar. What a start.
Hate And Gasoline is a mid tempo rockabilly, again with a western feel.
Rebel lyrics and haunting theme make it ideal for a Nicholas Cage/Dennis
Hopper soundtrack. Jim Foley's Goodbye Train is up tempo with biting guitar
and piano. Rockabilly Barbecue is a neat rocking duet with fillie Mary EK of
the Shuffle Aires.
I May Be Right But I Hope I'm Wrong has more in common with I'm Left,
You're Right, She's Gone than a long title. There's plenty of Sun influenced
guitaring and the fine interplay between the slap bass and drums gallops
the whole thing along.
Next up come two ballads, both of which show the versatility of Stevens' voice.
Texas Cotton Field is a bass driven rockaballad with great singing and
lashings of twangy guitar. I'll Die Alone is a haunting western style slowy
which fits his voice like a Nudie suit. This song has as much right to be in
the Cowboy Hall Of Fame as Trigger! Whilst it was playing I'm sure some
tumbleweed blew across the living room floor.
Peckerwood Rock is a fabulous adaption of Nat County's Woodpecker Rock with
great rhythm and stinging guitar. This would make a hell of a single with the
Rimshots' cover of Woodpecker on the flip. No Good Gal is another mover
in the style of Johnny Burnette and The Rock'n'Roll Trio. I Might Just
Run Away is a mid tempo shuffler which benefits from more top notch slap
bass' good vocals and more hot picking.
Crazy Mama's got real bad ass vocals - it sounds to me like papa's crazy,
not mama. The mid tempo shuffle and singing give it a feel of Rollin' Rocks
heady days of the 70's. What a way to keep the tradition going. The same is
true of the up tempo rocker All That And More with Mack sounding like Ray
The only track that didn't do anything for me was Gene Maltais' cult classic,
Raging Sea. It's a suitably frantic version but I've never liked the song.
The same can't be said of The Future Is All I See, a brilliant moody number
full of the spirit of Gene Vincent.
Lost That Lost Highway is a Texas rockabilly bopper with shit-hot picking
which must be a highlight of the live set. Whatever It Takes is mid tempo
with more authentic guitar.
Big Dog Rock is BRILLIANT. It reminds me of Go Cat Go's, Please Mama Please
with Elvis vocals, Duane guitar and catchy lyrics. There's a growling contest
between the guitar and the voice, and they end up sharing first prize.
The CD is rounded off with an out and out rocker, Women Crawlin' All Over
Me. It sounds like a party took place in Las Vegas when this was being cut -
this really is a mover.
The band of Big Al EK (Shuffle Aires) on guitar, Roger Casanova
(Dragstrip 77) on double bass and Western Rains' Jim Lovgren on drums
deserve congratulations for their inspired support throughout.
I don't know if any singles have been released from the album but an EP
featuring I Hate The Moon, Peckerwood Rock, Big Dog Rock and Women Crawlin'
All Over Me would sell out at Hemsby before Friday had turned into Saturday.
The only problem I have with this CD is that I went to a record fair the other
day and bought a few things but I haven't heard them yet - I can't get this
bugger off the hi-fi. It really is that good!
GERALD "BOUNCE" GREGORY OBITUARY
Gerald Gregory, the bass singer with doo-wop legends The Spaniels
died in his hometown Gary, Indiana on 12th February 1999 at the age of 64.
His place in rock history is secure thanks to his "duh duh-da-duh duh" at
the start of Goodnite Sweetheart Goodnite.
Born in 1934, Gregory earned the nickname "Bounce" by reverberating his
deep voice around the corridors of Roosevelt High School in Gary. With
fellow students Ernest Warren, Willie C.Jackson and Opal Courtney Jnr.
They started singing in school and on street corners. After the arrival of
lead tenor James "Pookie" Hudson they became Pookie Hudson and the Hudsonaires,
but after Bounce's wife remarked that they sounded like a bunch of dogs,
they changed to The Spaniels. In 1953 they were singing accapella style in
a local record store, when the owners Jimmy Bracken and his wife Vivian
Carter were sufficiently impressed to record them and start their own record
label. Basing their new concern in Chicago, they chose VeeJay (based on their
Christian name initials) as the label name and on May 4th 1953 they took the
young Spaniels to the Universal Recording Studio in Chicago where they cut two
Hudson-Gregory compositions Baby It's You and Bounce.
Released originally as VeeJay 101, Baby It's You climbed into the R&B Top Ten
following it's lease to Chance Records. At the next session, Hudson and Calvin
Carter provided Goodnite Sweetheart Goodnite which became an instant classic
reaching the pop charts Top Thirty despite a white cover version from the
McGuire Sisters. High profile engagements were forthcoming but a follow up
hit wasn't. They continued to produce great records like (You Gave Me)
Piece Of Mind, Great Googley Moo, Play It Cool and You're Gonna Cry.
Their last hit was Everyone's Laughing but it needn't have been as apparently
they were offered but turned down The Twist. Before they split, nine singles
had been issued.
Hudson, Gregory and Warren briefly reformed The Spaniels in 1960,
after which Gregory joined Sonny Til's New Orioles.
Bounce Gregory was performing until the end and will never be forgotten.
Goodnite Bounce Goodnite.
THE LOUVIN BROTHERS
COUNTRY LOVE BALLADS /
A TRIBUTE TO THE DELMORE BROTHERS
EMI 7243 4 99028 2 4 -
Country Love Ballads - Capitol T1106 -
Are You Wasting My Time; If I Could Only Win Your Love; Today; Read What's In
My Heart; I Wonder If You Know; Memories And Tears; On My Way To The Show;
My Heart Was Trampled On The Street; She Will Get Lonesome; Red Hen Hop;
Blue; Send Me The Pillow (You Dream On).
A Tribute To The Delmores - Capitol T1449 -
Weary Lonesome Blues; Midnight Special; Blues Stay Away From Me; Sand Mountain
Blues; Southern Moon; Nashville Blues; Brown's Ferry Blues; When
It's Time For The Whippoorwill To Sing;
Freight Train Blues (Boogie); Put Me On The Trail To Carolina; Gonna Lay
Down My Old Guitar; The Last Old Shovel
The latest batch of twofers from the vaults of Capitol include two sixties
albums from western-swinger Hank Thompson and this peach, two Louvins from '59
and '60. Ira and Charlie Louvin started out in the early forties and their
works are some of the finest in a long line of sibling country outfits.
By the time they disbanded in 1963 they had enjoyed ten top twenty hits
including such classics as When I Stop Dreaming, Cash On The Barrel Head,
My Baby's Gone and the fantastic Knoxville Girl. It was in the middle of all
this success that these two albums were issued.
In the first ten days of August 1958 the Louvin Brothers laid down thirty
two tracks, the contents of which formed six singles and two albums. One
was the gospel album Satan Is Real and the other Country Love Ballads.
The majority of Ballads was cut on 6th and 7th August and featured six
covers and six originals, none of which made it to singles release.
Don't let this fool you, virtually any of these cuts could have been
issued on 45. Don't let the title fool ya either, Red Hen Hop is a great
hillbilly boogie with Ira as comfortable as a new sofa on this up-tempo frolic.
The album boasts some of their finest harmonies, particularly evident in such
tracks as Are You Wasting My Time, Blue and If I Could Only Win Your Love.
Memories And Tears is from 25th May 1955, a mandolin driven ballad with
the usual lonesome vocals. I always get a kick out of thinking that the same
guys who sang Satan Is Real also hit with Knoxville Girl. There's no lines
in this album about hammering the girlfriend across the head till she's soaked
in blood, but despite the saccharine lyrics this really is a beautiful album.
The Delmore Brothers Tribute was recorded at three sessions over 12/13 May 1960.
It was a special project for the Louvins who were strongly influenced by Alton
and Rabon Delmore, and even got to befriend and tour with their heroes when
they all lived in Memphis in the early fifties. Wanting everything to right
for the tribute, they visited Alton at home in Huntsville, Alabama (Ruben had
died of cancer in '52). They had jotted down twenty potential tunes and asked
Alton which ones he felt should be cut. Before they left, Alton went upstairs
and returned with Rabon's guitar which hadn't been played since his death.
It was armed with this guitar that Ira and Charlie entered the studio together
with scores of other musicians and well wishers, amongst them, Grandpa Jones,
Chet Atkins, Johnny Western and Merle Travis. These last two had driven in
rom California in Western's camper van, with an ill and weak Travis spending
the entire journey in a makeshift bed. He perked up once at the studio and
having played on the Delmore originals, kept showing guitarist Paul Yandell
how to replicate his licks. When the album was released later in the year,
Merle Travis also provided the enthusiastic sleeve notes.
The music itself is a treat from start to finish. The high harmonies are as
exquisite as ever, although I don't think they have the same boogie bounce
as the originals. Highlights for me are the beautiful Put Me On The Trail To
Carolina and Southern Moon which is tailor made for the Louvin's. Alton Delmore
was a class writer, having a hand in nine of the songs chosen. Nashville
Blues is another which could have been written especially for Ira and
Charlie as is Sand Mountain Blues, their northern Alabama hometown.
Yandell's picking is also worthy of mention, just listen to his acoustic
playing on the likes of Weary Lonesome Blues and Midnight Special.
The whole project is as enjoyable to listen to today as it must have been
when they recorded it nearly forty years ago.
There you have it, twenty four classic tracks for less than a tenner.
This series is providing some real gems and should be supported.
Go get it, it's like an indoor toilet, every house should have one.
WEST TEXAS BOP- ACE CDCHD 699
TexPhilShaun.jpgI've Had It* / My Heartbeat* - Peanuts Wilson
Rock-ola Ruby / Sweet Rockin' Baby - Sonny West
Tease* - Don Lanier & Roses
Tryin' To Get To You* / So Long, Good Luck & Goodbye - Sale Of
Broken Hearts* - Weldon Rogers
All A Your Love / When Sin Stops Love Begins - The Nighthawks
Talk About My Baby - Sonny Curtis
Whatcha Gonna Do - Earl Henry
You've Got Everything*/ Paper Boy* - Peanuts Wilson
Honey,Honey* - Gary Tollett
Queen Of Love* / Good Time Girl* - The Nighthawks
I Just Want Your Love* / Blue Baby* - Wes Bryan
Midnight Monster Hop - Jack & Jim
My Babe - Ronnie Smith
Starlight - Jack Huddle
You've Got Love / Cast Iron Arm - Peanuts Wilson
* Denotes Unissued
Like the title says, 24 tracks, mainly prime West Texan Bop, centred around
Clovis and Norman Petty's legendary studio that helped introduce Texan
talent to an unsuspecting world audience, all tracks being from the Golden
era 1956-60. There are 12 unreleased tracks here too as if the thought of
Peanuts, Sonny(s) and Jack Huddle didn't already have you drooling like
Homer Simpson with a bucket of nachos.
Whatever the still untangled complex of financial wranglings that taint
Norman Petty's reputation, there's no doubting that his Clovis studio allied
with his commercial ear must have seemed like manna from heaven for these
young rockers, perhaps sparked into action by an early cataclysmic
performance by Elvis and his Blue Moon Boys in some rural backwater high
school gym. From his early dabblings with Buddys Knox and Holly, Norman
capitalised on his musical contacts in the New York music biz and took his
studio's distinctive sound to a greater audience. Here we have 24 songs that
did not sell a million, but quantity has never equated quality (ref career
of Pat Boone!).
CD opens with an unreleased goodie by Peanuts Wilson, I've Had It (not the
Bellnotes song), moves nicely,good vocal and sax break probably the same guy
who played on cast Iron Arm. My Heartbeat is more poppy with the Roses
backing vocals more prominent. Both titles written by Roy Orbison and the
Ooh mama, then we come to Sonny (as billed here or Sonnee elsewhere) West's
absolutely dazzling pairing of Rock Ola Ruby and Sweet Rockin' Baby. Worth
the price of admission alone, can't believe there's someone out there who
hasn't heard these, if so you're in for a real treat. Excellent sound, much
clearer than on those repro 45's. Good news too for Rollercoaster
Records(who licensed these and other cuts) are to issue a Sonny West CD in
the future. Label owned by Holly author and box set compiler John Beecher.
Unissued song by Don Lanier and Roses, Tease, is a good chugging rocker. Co
written by Don and Jimmy Bowen. Three Weldon Rogers tracks follow, the
superb So Long, Good Luck & Goodbye and 2 unissued, his take on the Eagles
Tryin' To Get To You (not a patch on the more famous cover versions) and a
Cash styled Sale Of Broken Hearts. Weldon and girlfriend Jean (who played
accordion sometimes the Teen Kings!) set up the legendary Je-Wel label.
There is a cd on Bear family of Weldon's material if you need a further fix.
The Nighthawks provide the original version of When Sin Stops Love Begins
from 1958, covered of couse by future country legend Waylon Jennings and
produced by Charles Hardin himself. The Nighthawks and their Crickets alike
All A Your Love (I'm sure they sing All Of not A, but then I am a retired
teacher!) well worth a listen. The Roses are there too, great production on
these by Norman.
Recorded in Nov 1958 but not issued until May 1960, we have Sonny Curtis'
(backed by Jerry, Joe B., Roses and Vi) Talk About My Baby, typical Clovis
sound. More Holly/ Crickets connection with Earl Henry (Sinks) Whatcha Gonna
Do backed by the Big Beats this came out on Dot in in 58. Good to hear this
again. He later produced Merle Haggard.
Back to Peanuts for 2 unissued songs from Sept 58, the rocking You've Got
Everything with great guitar from Tommy Allsup ( of Winter Dance Party
fame). Then Paper Boy, written and later recorded by Roy Orbison (RCA), a
typical ballad of the era, nicely sung. Peanuts sadly died in 1980 as stars
like Kenny Rogers and Crash Craddock were having hits with his songs.
UkK legend Rod Pyke picked Rollercoaster's Gary Tollet recent EP as his pick
of the year,well Hot Rod you'll be delighted with Tollet's super fine
Honey,Honey on shiny disc. Unbelievably George Goldner of NY's Gone records
rejected this song! Recorded overnight 12-13 July 57, features Buddy on
guitar, Jerry, Joe B. or George Atwood on bass.
Back to the Nighthawks and 2 unissued songs recorded Feb 1 1959 when legend
has it that Norman had a bad headache during the session and later claimed
it as a portent to the imminent plane crash. the songs recorded were Queen
of Love and Good Time Girl, the former is a pop rocker and the latter moves
well, good guitar, reminds me of the later sound of Bobby Fuller. Eddie
Reeves the singer/guitarist later It's A Hang Up for jerry Lee on Smash in
mid 60's. Story of his later career is well covered in the most informative
and illuminating booklet as Ace traditionally provide.
Wes Bryan's unissued I Just Want Your Love kicks of with a Holly style intro
from Sonny Curtis and develops into a good mid tempo rocker. Sonny says Wes
was an actor pal of Buddy Knox's and these cuts are from a "split session"
with Knox,14 Jan 1959, which produced I think I'm Gonna Kill Myself and Just
To Be With You. Blue baby is a good ballad featuring Sonny,Jerry, G Atwood
Jim Robinson and Jack Huddle are Jack & Jim who cut the novelty rocker
Midnight Monsters Hop from 59 followed by Ronnie Smith's bluesy take on
Willie Dixon's classic My Babe, excellent guitar and hand claps here.
Hopefully his Lookie Lookie Lookie will be included on a future release.
Ronnie had the sad task of replacing Buddy when the Winter Dance party
resumed on Feb5 59, the show must go on some say, money grabbing vultures
the promoters me thinks. Ronnie died young too in 1962.
3 classics to finish with Peanuts gives us 2 contrasts in styles, his and
Roy's song (oh and Norman's name is there too!!!), the gentle You've Got
Love and the rasping all time classic Cast Iron Arm . This song will make
sure that people will always remember Johnny Ancil "Peanuts" Wilson . If
that song don't move ya dad yer not well! This cd is a bit cheaper than an
original copy of Brunswick 55039 or Coral Q 72302.
I've left Jack Huddle's Starlight till last cos its one of my all time favs.
Objectivity vanishes when ole Buddy unleashes those stinging guitar breaks.
jack was a Lubbock TV personality who gave Buddy and Jack Neal their TV
debut,sadly not preserved on tape. Recorded April 28 1957 is a fine tribute
to the late Mr Huddle. This one is always on the replay button.
Top marks to Ace and everyone involved in this outstanding release, it
helped ease the pain of reaching 45rpm years old this week. Top plaudits to
Chesterfield and the world's leading authority on Mr Holly and his acolytes,
check out John Ingham's book AOK-record Labels of West Texas. His superb
notes aid our listening pleasure and this reviewers task. Plenty or photos
and a tantalising shot of the session tape boxes. Many moons ago Charly
brought out a vinyl LP Clover Sessions Vol. 1, sadly no Vol 2 surfaced.
Hopefully Ace will remedy that .Ace have recently put out 3 crackers the
dale Hawkins (reviewed here too and a Benny Joy cd.Special mention here for
Bob of Bim Bam Records (mail order) here in UK, he's allergic to computers I
phoned my order Monday pm and it was here Tuesday am. That's service even
taking into account snail mail!
- WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Bear Family CD BCD16279 AH
1. BURN THAT CANDLE
2 JUST LOOK, DON'T TOUCH, HE'S MINE
3. I LOVE HIM BETTER THAN YOU DO
4. HOW MANY WOULD THERE BE
5. WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW
6. WELCOME TO THE CLUB
7. I'M HAVING A PARTY ALL BY MYSELF
8. HONEY BUN
9. LOOKING AT THE MOON & WISHING ON A STAR
10. HE FIDDLED WHILE I BURNED
11. I HEARD ABOUT YOU
12. LEAVE MY MAN ALONE
13. FLASH YOUR DIAMONDS
14. I WAS WRONG
15. TOO LONG TOO MANY TIMES
16. I'M IN LOVE WITH) SOMEONE'S USED TO BE
18.THE GOOD & THE BAD
19. HEARTBREAK AHEAD
20. SOFT HEARTED GAL
21. FOR OLD TIME'S SAKE
22. LATER ON
23. DOUBLE CROSSED MY LOVE
24. KISS THE BABY GOODNIGHT
25. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
26. I KEPT IT A SECRET
27. PLEASE DARLIN PLEASE
28. HELLO BABY
29. CRYIN' ALONE
30. I GOT THE BOOGIE BLUES
31. IS LOVE A GAME
32. DREAMIN OF YOU
There's reissue labels and there's Bear Family, surely the Rolls Royce of
the scene. An A team production, Bob Jones sound, Richard Wieze discography,
Colin Escott's additional notes and photos worth the price of admission
alone . E.g. Charline in western finery with Skeets Mcdonald and Hank
Thompson, with Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith and a colour cracker with Bobby
Helms. What of Mrs Arthur then?
Spanning 1949 to 1956 we see what an under rated figure in the femme Country
music history Charline was. born in Sept (date open to dispute) 1939 in
Henrietta Texas. she picked up pop bottles on the road to get cash to buy a
guitar (can't imagine Garth or Shania doing that). Aged 12 she wrote her
first song I' ve got the Boogie blues which she later recorded for Bullet in
1949. growing up in Paris texas she was swept away by Ernest Tubb promoting
Then she joined a travelling medicine show and soon after married Jack
Arthur.after the Bullet records sang and DJ'd on KERB. Then two songs were
released by Imperial records in 1951, I Don't Need a Diary and Dreamin Of
You. Colonel Parker ( the Lying Dutchman) heard her in his Eddy Arnold days
and recommend her to Hill and Range and thus RCA, Parker's usual style. she
stayed with RCA until 1956 produced by Steve Sholes in Dallas and Nashville
though Chet Atkins later got involved. She toured with Elvis who told her
that Gladys was a big fan of hers. Eventually she tired of hill & Range's
limitations and quit and recorded the rockin Hello Baby for the indie Coin
which didn't live up to its fiscal promise. She recorded it on her Ampex
recorder in her mobile home! Then it was a slow downward spiral recording
on the west Coast for Republic and smaller labels like Rustic and Wytra.
She retired with a small disability pension for arthritis living in rural
Idaho. she wrote to Richard Wieze in 1986 after her Bear Family LP was
issued and many of us will echo her sentiments, "Thank God you had an ear
for something that no one else seemed to have."
Charline died in her sleep on November 27 1987 and she was buried home in
Texas in Fort Worth. This cd confirms her important developmental status as
a link between the staider Kitty Wells style of honky tonk and the Janis
martin era. Strange how RCA had two great rockin females and failed to
capitalise on the talents of either.
Journalist Bob Allen spoke to Charline at length in conjunction with the 1st
B. Family LP and some great quotes are included here ( buy it yerself!). Her
Bullet song Boogie My Blues "leaned heavily" on Johnny Barfield's 1939
Bullet recording. it would 've made a fitting title for this cd except the
label used it for the SUPERB Merrill e Moore 2 CD set. Songs by Sheb Wooley
and Jessie Mae "Let's Have A Party" Robinson. charline had a bluesy tint to
her voice unlike many other Nashville ladies. there's a tasty cover of Rudy
Grayzell's Looking at The Moon ( also covered by Skeets). Excellent hank
type Leave My Man Alone, penned by Hy Heath who co wrote Take These Chains
etc. Good version of Billy Mize's Flash Your Diamonds (famous for Who Will
Buy The Wine) and the r&b styled Honey Bun (not Mr Donn's).
After touring with Elvis there was more a Lavern/ Ruth r&b style to her
recordings, like Soft hearted gal and the Cues classic Burn That Candle. She
recorded that within 6 days of the Comets. A fine cover of Sun's Jean Chapel
record Welcome to the club. although she never sold prolifically her stage
shows and her recordings stand her claim to bob Allen that "Wanda, Brenda,
Patsy all in some way patterned their styles after me, i was a trend
setter~~ a blues singer and I wanted to sing something different~ I was the
first to break out of the Kitty Wells Stereotype and boogie woogie!". Rose
Maddox might have disagreed but not many others.
To sum up ,a nice mixture of styles here, the full 50's hillbilly gamut.
session men like Chet and Sugarfoot, Bob Moore and even ole Tommy Sands
always sustain musical interest on the weaker material. It won't sell
millions or even thousands but Bear Family continue to deserve our support
for contributing this for the next millennium and our quest to hear all the
musical mosaics that make the fifties the most interesting decade.
BOB & LUCILLE
"The Canadian Sweethearts"
Hydra Records BCK 27106
1 Teenage Boogie (1954)
2 Lost (mid 50's)
3 When You Say I Love You (mid 50's)
4 Vibratin (1957)
5 Hen House Rock (1957)
6 Eeny Meeny Miney Moe (1959)
7 Demon Lover (1959)
8 The Big Kiss (1960)
9 What's the Password (1960)
10 No Help Wanted (1961)
11 The Flirtin Kind (1961)
12 The French Song (1964)
13 Freight Train (1964)
14 Wayward Wind (1964)
15 Looking Back To See (1965)
16 I'm Leavin It Up To You (1964)
17 My Happiness (1964)
18 Tarantula (mid 60's)
19 Heartaches By The Number (1965)
20 Highland Lassie (mid 60's)
21 Crazy Arms (1964)
22 Colinda (1964)
23 Don't let The Stars Get in Your Eyes (1964)
24 Hootenany Express (1964)
25 Jolie Jacqueline (1964)
26 Rocky Mountain Special (1964)
27 Love (1964)
28 Don't Knock On My Door (1966)
29 Teenage Boogie (1985)
30 Eeny Meeny Miney Moe (1985
* last two by New Canadian Sweethearts
Congratulations to Klaus Kettner for this 30 track cd on the Hydra label
who also put out the superb Jack The Cat cd by Jackie Lee Cochran). The
beauty of the cd age is that we get a beautifully packaged and annotated
package for a reasonable price. It features a mixture of styles from across
the decades, from the proto hillbilly rocker the self penned Teenage Boogie
to the recuts of this and their best known rocker Eeny meeny Miney Moe.
Many early cuts are rocking and the 60's cuts pleasant country, always
nicely performed. I first heard the duo on a King rockabilly compilation in
the late 70's. The Wanda / Janis type femme rocker is the outstanding cut
on the album.
Klaus' excellent booklet gives the full story of Bob Regan ( real name
Fredrickson), born near Canadian / Alaskan border in 1931. a veritable
musical prodigy playing harmonica, guitar, mandolin and fiddle as a child.
Bob toured with his older brother Keray Regan's band, aged 14 he played the
great guitar on The Peace River Rangers 1954 Teenage Boogie ( not the Webb
Pierce song!).This along with the uptempo boogie Vibratin' and Hen House
Rock are fine examples of country musicians unleashing the rockabilly genie
from the moonshine bottle. bob was a fine guitarist though still in his
teens. His sister Fern stayed with Bob when Keray retired to run a studio.
The duo played in Canada and over the border in the States, sort of Ronnie
Hawkins in reverse. Fern soon retired to get married.
Lucille Savoie was born in Manitoba of French Canadian roots. She met Bob
when he played at a wedding party she attended. They became an exciting
musical duo, with Lucille's good looks and voice and Bob's guitar wizardry.
They worked out in California as Bob and Lucille. Lucille Starr was the
missing ingredient. They recorded Eeny Meeny Miney Moe for the small Ditto
label in Hollywood, with Demon lover as the flip. this was followed in 1960
by The Big Kiss / What's the Password. Neither single was commercially
successful but Lucille's soaring vocal and Bob's cutting guitar came to the
notice of legendary tightwad and label owner Syd Nathan of Cincinnati's King
label. He issued their classic Eeny Meeny Minny and Big Kiss off their Ditto
45s. They toured extensively and married. Eeny Meeny rightly is regarded as
They signed to Soma records as the Canadian Sweethearts and issued the
Carliles song No Help Wanted and The Flirtin Kind. They toured with Gene
Vincent and Bob became an honorary Bluecap when he sat in with Gene on
stage. Through the 60's they recorded mainly country with involvement of
names like Dorsey Burnette( a close friend) and Herb Albert. In fact they
had the first million seller on his fledgling A&M label, the French Song
reached 54 on Billboard in 1964 and became popular in Canada and Europe.
more hits followed with some released under Lucille's name, with Bob still
on guitar, he recorded instrumentals like Tarantula and Highland Lassie.
They then recorded for Epic, but the rockin' days were long gone. Like many
artists long awaited success brings domestic troubles and they eventually
parted. Lucille tragically wasn't able to record for several years after
severe vocal problems, eventually making an artistic comeback in the early
80's. Happily in 1987 she was the first female elected to the Canadian
Country hall of fame and is a firmly established artist there.
Bob carried on as a solo until he formed a new duo with Canadian Karre J
Rose, the final 2 cuts show that bob still had his "chops". A planned LP
with Capitol a&r man Cliffie Stone came to naught. Bob became great friends
with Jackie Lee Cochran in California. Sadly Bob died of cancer on March 5th
This cd with its diversity of styles stands as a fine testament to an under
anthologised duo, showing how many rocking acts of the 50's had to
compromise by concentrating more on country songs to make a living in later
decades. With the proviso that this isn't a 30 track cd of uptempo
rockabilly it is another fitting piece in the overall rockabilly jigsaw,
showing us that fine music wasn't confined to the South or to US cities.
40th Anniversary Anthology
DERAM 844 874-2
This year marks 40 years since the great Billy Fury first recorded for the
Decca label in their London studio. To celebrate the occasion we are blessed
with this double CD with a generous 63 tracks and an enjoyable booklet crammed
with great photos. Probably unknown to most Americans, Billy was one of
Britain's few real deals with his brilliant Sound Of Fury album rightly
regarded as the closest thing produced here in Britain to the rockabilly
sounds of the southern States. In the early sixties he rented a permanent
space in the top ten with superbly sang big ballads. His stage show remained
a highly charged sexual affair but as the sixties progressed the hits dried up
and being a man of exquisite taste he retired to the beauty of Mid Wales.
A brief comeback in the early eighties was halted when Billy passed away
following a heart attack.
The tracks on this treat range from 1959 to 1966 and there were only
about five I didn't like. The first disc starts off in cracking style with
Maybe Tomorrow appearing in stereo for the first time. The voice is so pure
and this is one of the features of his career. Even when Billy was backed
by an orchestra you knew you were listening to Billy Fury not Tony Bennett.
The flip was the great rocker Gonna Type A Letter and this impressive debut
just crept into the top twenty in Blighty. The follow up followed the same
format, a beauty in Margo backed with a rocker in Don't Knock Upon My Door.
This only climbed to 28 and the next two failed to register despite the same
high standards. All four sides are featured here. The fifth single is a belter,
Collette sounds like an Everly Brothers classic and justly cracked the top ten,
the first of ten singles to do so during the next five years. The mean and
moody Baby How I Cried is pure magic with Billy's voice as good as Elvis on
Elvis Is Back - honestly.
Only three tracks from the exquisite Sound Of Fury album are included here,
the bouncy That's Love (no. 19), My Advice and Turn My Back On You.
All three are great with Scotty guitar, Jordanaires backing vocals
and the usual brilliant vocals. (As an aside, my cat Billy Furry has just
come and sat on my lap as if to keep an eye on me.)
Next up is one of my Desert Island discs, Wondrous Place. The backing is
hypnotic and the voice, wow, he out Ral's, Ral Donner. The worst thing
about the song is that it only reached 25 in the charts and Decca got
Billy to turn the collar down and put the pen back in the drawer.
The new formula was a winner but the chart action would now revolve around
mostly covers of big ballads with big bands. They're still great songs and
all are featured here together with most of the flips. Non-hit highlights
are the fabulous, self-written Don't Jump, great vocals and Duane Eddy
style guitar and the commercial Cross My Heart, a typical early sixties
pop tune like Johnny Burnette was doing at the time. Please Don't Go is
another that really Ral's and you can't hear it without seeing Billy swaying
in the studio, hands draped by his side, quiff perfectly sitting above up-turned
collar, face tilted to the side, eyes closed and after it's finished,
Billy still stood there, completely wrapped up in the performance. This is
what you call singing with soul.
As the sixties progressed and the damn Beat-less and the Stoned started
to take over, most of the original rockers went back to the building sites
only to return to the stage for nostalgia shows. Billy Fury however,
continued to pepper the top of the charts with great covers like When Will You
Say I Love You, Nothing Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Tree) and It's Only
Make Believe, the flip of which was a brilliant version of Baby What
You Want Me To Do, featured here in crystal clear sound.
The last hit to be featured on the Anthology is the big sound of I'll Never
Quite Get Over You, a sentiment shared by his many devoted fans this side
of the pond. The last few songs bear little reference to the true Billy
Fury sound, but are great for the completists.
This really is a quality product and should be supported by one and all.
For those in the US, buy with confidence, this is better than sex (well,
it lasts longer anyway!). I bought mine in Tower Records for £17,
although I told the misses it was a fiver. If you have trouble finding it,
contact Rod Pyke at the UK HoF shop who may be able to help.
NB.For the curious there's a great Billy Fury web site available on
Fact. Billy Fury spent 281 weeks on the British charts but never got
to number one, the Spice Girls have had three no. 1's at Xmas - life is crazy.
THIS IS FARON YOUNG!/HELLO WALLS
EMI 7243 4 96855 2 9
One of the best things about the CD age is the twofer - two original albums
on one disc. This latest offering gives us This Is Faron Young! from 1959
and 1961's Hello Walls. Unfortunately Faron is no longer with us following
his death on 10th December 1996 at the age of 64 and this release is
therefore a fitting, belated tribute. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana on 25th
February 1932, he joined the local Louisiana Hayride and spent ten golden
years at Capitol where he enjoyed no less than twenty-five top ten country
hits. He moved to Mercury in early 1963 and his success continued for
another fifteen years.
This Is Faron Young! was a collection of his early hillbilly hits ranging
from 1953 to 1959. The majority show the obvious influence of Hank Williams
and still sound fresh forty-odd years later. My favourites are the
hillbilly boogie shit-kickers I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night
(#4, 1956) and If You Ain't Lovin' (#2, 1954) but the farmers amongst you
will be happy with the whole shootin' match.
The whole thing has a Webb Pierce feel too it (except Faron can sing in
tune) which isn't so strange as they played together on the Louisiana
Hayride as early as 1951. Live Fast Die Young is a classic honky tonker and
served him well, reaching the top slot in 1955. Tattletale Tears is a slowy
which reminded my misses why she hates country but the brighter Goin'
Steady, Just Married and It's A Great Life (If You Don't Weaken) are pure
Hank. In fact, Just Married with its optimistic lyrics is like Hank when he
fell for Audrey, prior to realising what a witch she was.
He scored big with his version of Don Gibson's Sweet Dreams in 1956 with a
version that strayed little from Don's. Have I Waited Too Long is nothing
special with Nashville pop piano and fiddles and Faron trying to sound too
sincere. For The Love Of A Woman, That's What It's Like To Be Lonesome and
If That's The Fashion are typical fifties country, mid-tempo with down home
Hello Walls, wails less, but slicks more. It's still a good album but the
sound is more Jim Reeves styled countrypoliton than its predecessor is. The
splendid title track spent nine weeks at the top slot in '61 but none of the
others cracked the Top 20. I really enjoyed Big Shoes". I've got big shoes
to fill, and I hear he wore them well, but don't forget, those big shoes
walked right out on you". The temporary lack of big hits may have been an
indication that Faron's established fans took a little time to adjust to his
new polished style.
Selling for about eight quid this is a real bargain and anyone with either
an interest in the roots of rockabilly or a lover of proper country music
would do well to add this one to the collection.
The Cochran Connection
Rockstar CD RSRCD 01 5
21 tracks, playing time 49:16 min.
Cards on the table, I've enjoyed young Mr Higham's live shows and recordings
since I first heard him with Bob and the Bearcats. Whilst most of his
records were good I always thought that they lacked a little something as he
had the potential to be one of the very best contemporary acts in the world.
The standout recordings were always those that were Cochran influenced.
Rockstar has done more than anyone to keep the Cochran flame burning
brightly, so it appropriate that they release this outstanding record.
Elsewhere on this page you can read how highly Shaun and I rate Darrel's
live shows. It is most pleasing to hear him take advantage of the lengthy
recording time (18 months) and deliver the goods in style. The time spent in
the States with the Original Kelly Four paid off in spades.
Recorded and engineered by Ricky Lee Brawn on his legendary valvemobile
studio and produced by Mr Higham (who probably made the tea and sarnies
too!) there are 21 superlative tracks to choose from. Pick any from the Hank
and Eddie days like I'm Ready via session work like You Oughta See Grandma
rock (2 Versions), through the Singing To My Baby LP - 20 flight Rock, Am I
Blue or Lovin Time. Guitar and vocals spot on every time. Fittingly there
are cracking versions of Cochran songs unearthed by Rockstar over the
decades like Sick and Tired.
Special mention must be made of the guests on the album, Shelley (or should
that be Sheeley?) Blond, Mr Brawn, Anders Janes, Tim Whitnall, James Compton
and the Jets. Top marks all round. One very minor criticism would be the
modern sounding piano on a couple of tracks. As a Jerry Lee nut 1 don't even
like the sound that the Killer gets off these things, why not a vintage
honky tonk upright. OK off the soapbox now.
If you dig the cat from Albert Lea you'll love these. As close as you could
get to catching the Cochran spirit. This is no sound a like tribute album
this is a most talented young man paying respects to an exceptional original
genius. Thank you Darrel and Rockstar.
Phil Guybo Davies
Stomper Time Records presents:
The Last Great Rockabilly Saturday Night Vol. 2 STCD 8
Prime 50's rockabilly sprang on an unsuspecting global audience from a
plethora of small independent labels owned by a mixture of visionaries,
entrepreneurs and quick buck merchants. The labels whose output has stood
the test of time musically once included the original US Stomper Time. This
prestigious name is now under the careful auspices of Dave Travis, musician,
producer, songwriter, soundman, publisher, YTS tea boy and all round good
Mr T. provides us here with a phenomenal 35, yes 35, tracks of seminal music
from such legendary names as Glen Glenn (appearing at a Hemsby near you
Eddie Bond, Johnny Carroll etc etc. The sound quality is outstanding so even
if you have a few of these on dodgy vinyl or CD bootlegs you need the
pristine versions of such gems as Marion Grisham's Ain't That A Dilly from
the small Memphis label Cover records. Thomas Wayne's Fernwood classic
You're the One That Done It and Jimmy Pritchett's Crystal goodie That's The
Way That 1 Feel to paraphrase
50's PM Harold Mcmillan "Never sounded so good".
There are so many highlights amongst the 35 tracks that you merely need to
press random or shuffle play to be engulfed by great songs both from the
golden age and more recent vintage, Jimmy Evans' Pink Cadillac being
A tiptop release, only a £1 0 guv, available from the usual suspects or by
post from Stomper Time, see ad elsewhere on the RAB HOF. For trainspotters
amongst you B.B. Cunningham played bass for the Killer on his recent
Phil and Shaun Show
PS: When's volume 3 coming?
STOMPERTIME STCD 7
Following on from the recent 10" album of the same name, Dave Travis now
offers a generous 35 track CD of the rockabilly music emanating from the
Memphis based Fernwood label. The tracks range from 1956 (Ramon Maupin/Buzz
Busby) to 1965 (Paul Sullivan) with the original singles being on either
Fernwood proper or one of it's many subsidiaries. Unlike some of the other
Memphis labels, the Fernwood catalogue has seen surprisingly little action
in the reissue market and this shiny Stompertime gem is all the more welcome
and refreshing for it.
The first thing that struck me was the quality of the early sixties tracks,
Doug Clayton's Sally Ann sounds like a fifties Sun track despite it's 1963
vintage with the A-side Saturday Night Twist being okay but sounding a bit
The Typing Jive by Alvin & Bill - The Invictors is a very commercial'60
track which could have hit at the time. The drumming of possible Elvis
drummer Johnny Bernero drives the track along as it does on the Sid King
soundalike Knock Down Drag Out by Buford Peek. The flip of Knock Down is
the catchy Wishing which features the trumpet, no doubt inspired by that man
across town, Sonny Burgess.
Two belting double-siders from'58 are Gene Criss' Hep Cat Baby/I Don't Know
and Ramon Maupin's What's The Use/Rockin' Rufus. Maupin's earlier tracks
are the mid tempo hillbilly effort No Chance which sounds like Warren Smith
and the more pedestrian Love Gone which features nice steel guitar from Jack
The young voice of a teenager Travis Wammack adds to the enthusiasm of his
three great rockers all of which are enhanced by cracking lead guitar and
piano breaks. Eldon Rice's excellent pair both have the typical Memphis
sound with the added bonus of killer Roland Janes contributions. Shelby
Smith's three tracks also benefit from great backing.
The unknown Jimmy and James supply a corker in The Moon Will Shine and the
Everly styled vocals of No Kisses Have I as does Virgle Baker who's
Dissatisfied/That's All You Do make Smitty 55784 a neat 45 to have in the
For a change of pace, there's three hillbilly items from Eddie Collins with
the standout being the hick lyrics of the bouncy I've Been Around Too Long.
The two most reissued songs are the fantastic opener You're The One That
Done It by Thomas Wayne and the frantic Rock'n' Roll Fever by Buzz Busby
(not the only song to be lifted to another plain by the magnificent Roland
The problem with a lot of such compilations is the padding out of the CD
with loads of average instrumentals. Here we only have one, and it's the
class Have Guitar Will Travel by three fellows, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and
DJ Fontana (who are those guys?).
As with other Stompertime product, the packaging is top notch as is the
sound quality. The most successful CD for the label so far is the excellent
The Last Great Rockabilly Saturday Night, but for me this is even better due
to it's constant quality and the "newness" of so much of the material.
Make no mistake; this stuff stands up by itself. Fernwood was not just in
the shadow of the SUN.
DALE HAWKINS CD
Rock &, Roll Tornado - ACE cdchd 693
This is the legitimate release of 30, yes 30! of Dale's finest rockin' most
blues wailin' Checker classics.
As a 60's kid John Fogerty and Creedence introduced me to Dale via their
heavy cover of Susie Q, Then legendary US but UK based radio DJ Emperor
Rosko played THE version on a wet Saturday morning. Once you hear teenage
guitar wiz James Burton, Howlin' Wolf, Hubert Sumlin prototype blues riff
and then that ass kicking cowbell then you fall immediately under Dale's
hypnotic spell. Never mind "Where were you when Kennedy got shot?" where
wereya when ya first heard Checker 863? In the early 70's Bill Millar
compiled and annotated a fine Best of Vol. 1 of Dale's sides for UK
Phonogram. Sadly it never sold enough for a volume 2. Dale was overlooked
in the 70's reissue rockabilly "revival" (it never went away!).
Then US Chess gave us a cool Dale LP with goodies like Hawk Walks and
Gooblie Wooblie. After a fine article in Now Dig This by Mad Mike Price in
the 80s some dodgy European bootlegs appeared in my collection. Then CDs
came along as the Chess catalogue went thru reissue after reissue. I waited
in vain for a definitive Dale CD, a legit one properly annotated and
sonically sound. Both US and European MCA tried valiantly but fell short.
Miracles happened, Dale came over to Europe a couple of times and Norton
brought out a fine LP/CD of unissued sides.
Then the lovely ACE label in London slipped this out on the blindside and
hit a home run. This is my reissue of the decade let alone the year!!!! Even
the superb notes are by good old Bill Millar. There are 30 testaments here
to Dale's fine vocalising and to his superb range of legendary guitarists.
These include such names as Burton, Buchanan, Moore and the vastly under
rated Kenny Paulson, Names like D J Fontana, the Mathis Bros. and the great
Margaret Lewis (check out her fab Ace CD too) all play their part.
Highlights? Try tracks 1 thru to 30. All the obvious classics, gems like
back to School Blues, Grandma's House and Lovin' Bug, If that don't tempt ya
howz about EIGHT previously unissued sides. Baffling once you hear them to
think that the Chess Bros put out some below par cuts when they had these in
the can. I love them all especially Superman, Boogie Woogie Teenage Girl,
Boy Meets Girl. Ah it's so good, can't wait any longer gotta hear them one
more time, Don't just sit there get your copy now! Sod Garth Brooks, and all
the fake modem cowboys, listen to a time when young southern cats were hip
to the big beat and changed the world. Many thanks Dale for so much
enjoyment over the decades; it's almost been worth the wait.
Ace records and Bill deserve all the goodies that Santa will bring them.
When is Volume 2 coming out? I mean we still need Baby Baby, Lulu, Take My
Heart, Gooblie Wooblie, Every Little Girl and all the other unusual
Phil "Where's Juanita?" Davies
Self Produced debut CD
1 Wild Wild Mind
2 Rock It
3 Wide Open Road
4 All Messed Up
5 Don't Play Around
6 Nobody's Woman
7 Milkcow Blues Boogie
8 Only Time Will Tell
9 Rock It (Alt)
10 All Messed Up (Alt)
11 Heart Of A Fool
12 Some Other Time
13 Baby Let's Play House (Live at Cleethorpes, March 97)
14 Just Because (Live CMR Radio Good Rockin' Country)
Tracks 1 - 6 recorded at Riverside Studios
Tracks 3- 5 feature Chris Cummins on Steel
Tracks 8 - 12 recorded at Railroad Studios, Oxon
The Railmen are a hot rockabilly trio who are gathering fine live reviews
and it is no wonder they are already featured in the RAB HOF. This 14
tracker is their debut recording and a little cracker it is too. All covers,
it is a fitting sample of their live repertoire and their influences.
Mind you, Ian the Welsh singer is taking his Johnny Cash fixation a bit far
by also serving in the airforce in a'foreign land' Oxford, however if he
comes up with his own Cash type classic it will be worthwhile. The band are
aware of the need to feature original songs on future releases. However,
that no way detracts from this release as a calling card of their great
commitment to furthering the rockabilly cause.
The word "uthentic" is over used by many modern bands but it fits these
boys as aptly as a steam train conjures up images of a glorious heyday. The
classic trio sound of vocal/acoustic, slap bass and electric lead is an
unbeatable formula. Mark's acoustically recorded bull fiddle chugs along,
underpinning the vocal and lead in a precise complimentary manner. Ian's
voice growls aptly on Rock It and deepens for Wide Open Road, to my mind the
best cut on the album (but it is a close call). Chris Cummins steel fits in
well on this cut. Stephen's guitar sound is INCREDIBLE, what a player, hours
spent practising in his bedroom whilst cutting school have certainly paid
off in spades. Along with Rob of the Rimshots Wales have perhaps the two
finest vintage style guitarists on the scene today. Stephen's picks on Cash
songs are absolutely spot on, with that level of concentration no wonder he
sits down when he plays. The sleeve photo already is a collector's item as
it features Steve standing up!!
Favourite tracks are always arbitrary, mine for what it is worth are the
cash song previously mentioned, Capehart's, Heart Of A Fool, Nobody's Woman,
a fine tribute to the rockabilly king Charlie feathers and Johnny Jano's,
Some Other Time. Mind you the scantily clad cowgirl on the cover brandishing
her 45's takes some beating.
With a debut as promising as this is it is surely only a matter of time
before a European label snaps them up. Then it will be full steam ahead
right down the line.
Phil "Choo Choo" Davies
THE EDDIE COCHRAN ROCK'N' ROLL WEEKEND
SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER 1998, CHIPPENHAM
For the uninitiated, Eddie Cochran was killed in Chippenham in April 1960 on
his was from Bristol to London where he was due to fly back to the states
with companions Gene Vincent and Sharon Sheeley. For the past four years
the Eddie Cochran Rock'n' Roll Weekender has been held here a joint venture
involving the fans and the locals. Saturday's attendance was the biggest in
the Weekenders four years, which was a fitting memorial to Eddie Cochran who
would have been 60 that day.
SUN SHINES AGAIN
The first band I saw was the Welsh/West trio, The Railmen who produced
another outstanding set of authentic rockabilly. The Sun sound was
recreated with covers of Charlie Feathers, Carl Perkins and a couple of
Johnny Cash numbers referred to by the lead singer as "the king of
rockabilly" - no arguments here mate! With their debut album set for
immanent release, things really look good for them. Special mention should
be made to the legless guitarist who recreated the sounds of the likes of
Scotty and Luther.
HIGHAM MIGHTY ENFORCERS
With excellent support from Les Curtis on drums and Mick Wigfall on slap
bass, Darrell Higham gave a set of originals and Eddie numbers which left no
one in any doubt that the spirit of Eddie Cochran is alive and very well
indeed and lives on these shores!! Highlights - well being there for one
thing! The opener was a blistering version of Cliff's High Class Baby. The
best Eddie covers were Jelly Bean, Teenage Cutie and a blistering version of
Mean When I'm Mad - the vocals and growls on this were spot on. The guitar
work on the instrumental Tennessee Gallup was fast and furious and proved a
great tribute to another sadly departed guitar hero, Cliff Gallup of the'56
Blue Caps. The set closed with a crowd pleasing stab at C'Mon Everybody.
If ever you get a chance to see these guys or Darrell Higham in his own
right, just go, the mortgage'll sort itself out.
The sound of Eddie's nephew Bobby Cochran was not for the faint hearted or
the purists. Bobby's heavy metal guitar sound went down well with the
locals who were even taught how to hand jive. Although not my cup of tea,
he did well to rescue a set which looked like it could be ruined by a couple
of sounds problems - the first from the sound system half way through, the
second from the bass player the whole way through it.
BA BA BA
The above refers to the start of Think It Over, not the sound Phil and me
love to here during lovemaking. The show headliners took to the stage just
before eleven with an enforced change to the advertised line-up. Sonny
Curtis was unable to leave the states due to his wife's illness and his
place was taken by long time fan Mike Berry on vocals with lead guitar
duties taken by one off Berry's players Mark Lewis. The stalwarts Jerry
Allison, Joe B Mauldin and Glen D Hardin provided the rhythm section and the
interest. The set was a split between the Buddy Holly days and later
Crickets tracks. JI look the lead for Real Wild Child and the appropriate
Summertime Blues. During the set, Sharon Sheeley was introduced to the
crowd and she appeared slightly nervous as she thanked the masses and
stressed how important it is that the world never forgets Eddie Cochran -
Hallelujah to that.
After a well received hour long performance the Crickets retired to the
foyer to sign autographs and we returned across the bridge, Darrell Higham
still ringing in my ears.
THE GENE & EDDIE SHOW
DARREL HIGHAM AND CRAIG MARTIN
THEATRE LLANELLI SOUTH WALES
SEPT 11 1998
By Phil Davies
The names Gene n Eddie evoke memories of The Girl Can't Help It, the Record
Date LP and the fateful 1960 UK tour. This great musical show, currently
touring, is an evocative and worthy tribute to two of the greatest names of
the fifties. This is not an over commercialised, error ridden West End
musical ala "BUDDY" but a fast moving and ROCKING musical re-creation of our
heroes on stage.
To paraphrase many a sports commentator it's a show of two halves!!! Young
Liverpudlian Craig Martin portrays Gene firstly as the blue cap wearing
Gene, ala Girl Can't Help It and secondly as the Black Leather Rebel. Whilst
Craig doesn't capture Gene's wild intensity and brooding stage presence he
performs really well vocally. His voice is well suited to the classic
Vincent ballad style on Jezebel, Unchained Melody and Over the Rainbow.
Craig and guitarist Andy Meredith also perform good versions of rockers like
Bluejean Bop, Jumps Giggles and Shouts, Baby Blue and an outstanding version
of She She Little Sheila. Darrel joins in on a great Git It. Craig has the
potential to mature into a great vocalist in the future. Performing on this
show will enhance his reputation. The four piece band acquit themselves in
fine style too.
What can I say about Darrel Higham? I've been a Cochran worshipper since I
first heard the Memorial Album over 30 years ago. Darrel Higham simply IS
Eddie Cochran. His pedigree speaks for itself; he has played with the Kelly
4 in the States. The Gretsch guitar sound is spot on, from the Merle Travis
licks through to C'mon Everybody. Dressed in the Singing To My Baby LP style
in the first half and dressed in red check shirt, lame' waistcoat and
leather pants in the finale, he simply is Eddie. OK, he's too tall (which
explains why he didn't do Cut Across Shorty!!!), there, that's the criticism
over with. From Skinny Jim through Stockings and Shoes, via Jelly Bean, I
Remember and to 20 Flight Rock it was magic all the way. If you dig the cat
from Albert Lea you'll love this guy, what a TALENT. If there were any
justice he'd be a huge star. The whole show was like watching your old
London, Liberty and Rockstar 45s become 3D on stage. Despite the small
audience Darrel, Craig and the band gave their all. After dazzling us with
What'd I Say, Eddie's Blues, Summertime Blues the guys finished with White
Lightning and Shakin'. Nice humour too and fine backing especially on piano
As an ex head teacher I'd give it 10 out of 10 and an extra gold star (or
"GOLDSTAR") for Mr Higham. GO and see it, it deserves success. H941 it's
fine looking it's SOMETHIN' ELSE!!
PHIL & SHAUN'S OTHER ROCKABILLY HOF CONTRIBUTIONS:
Shaun's SHAKIN' STEVENS page
Phil & Shaun's DAVE EDMUNDS page
Shaun & Phil's STRAY CAT page
Phil's CARL MANN page
Shaun's Great Page on Johnny Horton
Phil & Shaun's Rockabilly HOF Page on BOB LUMAN
Shaun's Rockabilly HOF Page on BUCK GRIFFIN
Phil & Shaun: WARREN SMITH
Phil's excellent MOON MULLICAN'S page
© Rockabilly Hall of Fame®