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  • Phil & Shaun Show - Archive #1
  • NARVEL FELTS' ROLLIN' ROCK CD
    BOURBONAIRES: 7"
    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
    NOVEMBER, 1955
    CHARLIE FEATHERS
    "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
    Charline Arthur
    Bob & Lucille
    Billy Fury: 40th Anniversary
    Faron Young
    Darrel Higham: Cochran Connection
    Stomper Time Records
    Fernwood Rockabillies
    Dale Hawkins' CD
    The Railmen
    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

    GRCD 6097

    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.

    Shaun Mather
    shaky@lsmather.freeserve.co.uk




    .

    The BOURBONAIRES
    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!

    Phil Davies
    May 99.

    TO CONTACT THE BOURBONAIRES
    P.O. BOX 391282
    CENTRAL STATION
    CAMBRIDGE, MA 02139
    0R E-MAIL bourbonaires@juno.com



    .

    LINDA GAIL LEWIS
    "Linda Gail Lewis" CD


    SIRE/LANTASI 4344-31063-2
    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 ballad.

    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 classic ballad.

    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.

    Phil Davies
    May 1999



    .

    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 former "boss".

    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 lengthy solos.

    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 Gwent.

    Shaun Mather and Phil Davies
    March 99.

    .

    DALE HAWKINS
    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 this cut.

    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 expectations.

    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), ooh mama! 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.
    Phil Davies
    March 1999



    .

    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!

    Phil Davies
    March 1999


    .

    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 bankrupt." Albert.

    "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.

    Shaun Mather
    March 99



    .

    MACK STEVENS
    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 Campi.

    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!

    Shaun Mather
    March 99



    .

    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.

    Shaun Mather
    March 1999.




    .

    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.

    Shaun Mather February 1999.




    .

    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 diminutive Peanuts.

    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 and Roses.

    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!

    -Phil Davies




    .

    CHARLINE ARTHUR
    - 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
    17. WALTZING
    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 a movie.

    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. musically.

    -Phil Davies





    .

    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 a classic.

    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 1990.

    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.
    -Phil Davies





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    BILLY FURY
    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 http://www.dlc.fi/~nallew/fury.html

    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.

    Shaun Mather
    December 1998.
    e-mail: shaky@lsmather.freeserve.co.uk




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    FARON YOUNG
    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 vocals.

    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.

    Shaun Mather
    November 1998.






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    Darrel Higham:
    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






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    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 egg.

    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 soon), 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 particularly noteworthy.

    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 European tour.

    Phil Davies
    Phil and Shaun Show

    PS: When's volume 3 coming?






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    FERNWOOD ROCKABILLIES
    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 more contrived.

    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 Clement.

    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 collection.

    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 Janes).

    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.

    Shaun Mather





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    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 cuts.

    Phil "Where's Juanita?" Davies





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    THE RAILMEN
    Self Produced debut CD


    TRACKS
    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





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    THE EDDIE COCHRAN ROCK'N' ROLL WEEKEND
    SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER 1998, CHIPPENHAM
    By Shaun

    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.

    HEAVY MAN
    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.





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    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 and sax.

    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!!





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  • 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



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