Monday, 29 June 2009

Ersel Hickey was born 75 years ago today

The great Ersel Hickey would have been 75 today. Unfortunately he died five years ago, just two weeks after his 70th birthday. But if you're surfing the web upstairs Ersel, thanks for the wonderful Goin' Down That Road. As with many second generation fans I first heard it on the CBS Rockabillies album. Apart from the music there's also that photo, the rock 'n' roll pose that has graced many a film, book or record/CD cover.

Rock 'n' Roll Art - No. 1

Johnny Cash by Jed Knox

Jed Knox is the psuedonymn used by Tinus Horn Jr. when he works as a caricaturist. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa before migrating to the United Kingdom. Other than this painting of Johnny I can't see any other rockin' stuff that he's done which is a shame as I love this painting.

Friday, 26 June 2009

King of Pop - my arse

So Elvis Presley's one-time son-in-law has died. Being a country music fan I like a fiddler, but not a kiddie one. I usually find it strangely sad when a celebrity dies, even if it's someone I wasn't a fan of - but not this time, I can't see the fascination with Michael Jackson. Can you name one of his songs since Thriller 25 years ago?

For me the music world has a couple of great Jackson's and it's their music that will get played in my house. So here's to Bullmoose Jackson and his Big 10-Inch Record and to the Fujiyama Mama, Wanda Jackson.

Recommended Listening: The only Bullmoose Jackson CD I've got is the old Charly one, with great r'n'b claassics, like I Want a Bowlegged Woman, Nosey Joe, Watch My Signals and the infamous, raunchy, Big 10-Inch Record. As for Wanda, where to start. I'm sure you've all got some Wanda, but if not get the Ace or Bear Family.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Jerry Lee Lewis 1963 - Previously Unseen Photos

Gene Vincent author Derek Henderson recently unearthed these fabulous photos from 1963. Derek took these photos at the Fairfields Hall in Croydon on 9th May with Gene, Jerry Lee and Heinz. They been unseen by a wider audience than his mates and it’s great for them to finally get published.

Please remember though they these photos are “copyright Derek Henderson 1963/2009 & not to be used without prior permission of the copyright holder”. Derek can be contacted via his superb Gene Vincent website at

Also included is the tour programme and a flyer. Jerry Lee’s band for that tour were the Outlaws: Ritchie Blackmore lg, Ken Lundgren rg, Chas Hodges b, Mick Underwood d. Derek remembers the ticket costing 8/6 (45p) for the front stalls. How much would that line-up be today?

I haven’t heard a bootleg of that show but the boot I’ve heard from the Olympia, Paris, later that year and again with the Outlaws sounds wild. His version of Good Golly Miss Molly puts Little Richard in the shade, with Jerry Lee and Blackmore blasting the song into orbit.

Again, please contact Derek if you want to use the photos and check out it website at

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Occasional Bootleg Series No. 7 - Shakin’ Stevens, BBC Radio 1

Shakin’ Stevens & The Sunsets - First Gear, BBC Radio 1

Lead Vocals - Shakin' Stevens
Back-up Vocals - Paul Barrett
Lead Guitar - Robert "Carl" Peterson
Bass - Steve Percy
Drums / Vocals - Rockin' Louie*
Tenor Sax - Paul "Duane The Fink" Dolan
Piano - Trevor "The Hawk" Hawkins

Tracks: Yakety Yak, I'll Try, Leroy, Forty Days, Cast Iron Arm, Lights Out, Train Kept A Rollin', Down Yonder We Go Ballin' (lead vocals by Rockin' Louie), Hawkins Mood (instrumental)

These tracks were recorded for the BBC's infamous Radio One sessions, a special Rock 'n' Roll program called "First Gear", which ran for two hours each Saturday for a couple of weeks only to give John Peel a break from his normal "Top Gear" evening show. Johnny Moran was the presenter of the show which was produced by John Walters and went out on Saturdays between 3pm and 5pm from August 8th until August 29th 1970. Other artists in session on this short series included: Marty Wilde, Bert Weedon, Billy J.Kramer and Fleetwood Mac with their Buddy Holly covers.

Shakin' Stevens and the original line-up of the Sunsets recorded their session at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in North London on 15th June 1970, and they were broadcast over two weekends on 15th and 22nd August. The BBC have long confirmed that the session was still in their archive, but to date have yet to release it. It’s about time they did so officially, together with the other stuff he did for them like the Stuart Colman sessions for It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll in ’76, ’77 and ’79.

For now we have to do with this, and although it might not be from the master tapes, it’s still very listenable, with just a bit of snap, crackle and pop. You really get a feel for what a dynamic band they were. The sax and piano are prominent in the mix and they generate excitement throughout. Numbers like Yakety Yak and Leeroy explode and must sounded great blasting out of the airways nearly forty years ago.

The sound quality dips at the beginning of Conway’s I’ll Try, but it can’t detract from Shaky’s brilliant delivery. Hearing this in hindsight it’s no surprise that Shaky was to become a massive star a decade later. He oozes sex and drools over the words, a master craftsman even this early in his career.

When Mac Rebennack wrote Lights Out, this type pof treatment must have been everything he hoped for – just what the doctor ordered if you see what I mean. Shaky’s vocals and Trefor Hawkins’ pumpin’piano give Jerry Byrne's original a run for it’s money. Carl Peterson’s guitar is either restrained or low in the mix for most of the set, but the shackles are off for the thunderous version of The Train Kept A Rollin’. It’s probably the best and wildest thing here, a version that the Burnette boys would have been proud of. An absolutely priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll history that deserves a wider audience. These songs were recorded at the time for the Legend album, but this live glimpse is essential. As the man once said - Baby That Is Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Although the youTube clip that follows is slightly later than this bootleg, it shows how great Shaky and the Sunsets were. 9 minutes of breathless, no-frills rock 'n' roll. The second clip comes from Let's Rock and although the Sunsets are no longer with him, it's worth a look to see Shaky's stage manner. Check out the mic action on Billy Fury's Don't Knock Upon My Door.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 57 - Gordon Terry - Battle of New Orleans

Gordon Terry was a good looking dude, big and strong with a solid quiff and a big personality. I’m not sure what is the most important thing in a man, his quiff or his personality. Terry was born in Decatur, Alabama and became an accomplished fiddle player at an early age. Amazingly, he made his debut on thr Grand Ole Opry at the age of nine. He backed artists like Bill Monroe before serving in the army in Korea. After his discharge, he relocated in Tinsletown and with his rugged looks he landed a part in the 1956 western Hidden Guns. Half a dozen more film roles followed before he returned to the music scene. He never made it massive, despite his abilities, but did get to work with most of the biggies, from Elvis to Merle Haggard. He could count on the Nashville greats as his buddies, with Johnny Cash being a firm friend. He founded ROPE Reunion Of Professional Entertainers, an association with an aim to build a retirement home for entertainers and in 1981 he was inducted into the Fiddlers Hall of Fame. In the 1980s, he had the Gordon Terry Parkway named after him. He died in 2006 in Spring Hill, Tennessee, a couple of months before he was inducted into The Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

The song of his I’ve been listening to today, was unissued at the time (not surprisingly), and sees him recording with Johnny Cash. It was recorded at the Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood on May 10th, 1960, with Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, Marshall Grant and Roy Cash Jnr, together with Terry’s usual pickers, Fury Kazak on drums, Jim pierce on piano and Dick Stubbs on steel. The session details in the Bear Family booklet have Johnny Cash listed as session leader – this was more like the blind leading the blind. While Terry struggles to remember the lyrics (especially written by former Drifting Cowboy, Don Helms), him and Cash crack up during their duet in the chorus. The new words tell the story like no Nashville books were telling it at the time. The guys behind the scene get a right going over for their single-minded money making schemes, hiring and firing and taking backhanders left, right and centre. You’ve got to hear the song right through, but some of the characters assassinations include, Oscar Davis, “he told us he was gonna make us rich, and we starting believing that little son-of-a-bitch”, and Jim Denny “A short fat bastard with artificial hair, Jim told Hank he wanted half of what he made, else he was gonna tell Audrey of all the girls Hank had laid”. Great fun, if only there were more of these things out there. I’m sure some of these guys must have goofed around all the time on tour buses and backstage, it’s just a shame more of them didn’t get recorded.

Recommended listening: I’ll be honest with you here, his Bear Family CD is not one of my favourites in their catalogue. But there are obviously a few standouts, notably A Lotta Lotta Women and his covers of Revenooer Man and Honky Tonk Man.

Wild Honey from Ranch Party

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Tiny Topsy

There’s nothing in rhythm and blues quite like a big, fat mama bringing the house down with a set of lungs that match her physique, telling the tale of her little old man banging her like a drummer. And if you though that Big Maybelle and Big Mama Thornton had the monopoly on the genre, you obviously haven’t heard Tiny Topsy.

Born Otha Lee Moore in 1929 or 1930 depending on what you read, Tiny Topsy began performing with Al Smith’s band in Chicago in 1945. This group split in 1952, with Smith becoming an in-house band leader for the likes of Chance, Parrot and Vee-Jay.

It was five years before Tiny's first recording session, for Federal Records in Cincinnati. On July 9th, 1957 she cut the wonderful "Aw! Shucks Baby" and "Miss You So". It was released as Federal 12302 as by Tiny Topsy With The Five Chances.

Although she never became a big name star and frequent occupier of the charts, her records were always great and even a couple even got released in the UK on Parlophone. Singles like "Come On, Come On, Come On" (Federal 12309) and "You Shocked Me" (Federal 12315) were hot rockers that are the equal of the two Big M’s mentioned above. The fourth single, "Western Rock 'n' Roll" incorporated snippets of hit singles like At The Hop and Get a Job. her fifth and last single for Federal was the original of "Just A Little Bit" which picked up numerous covers, most notably for me by first Rosco Gordon and then Jerry Lee Lewis.

Her next single, "Working On Me Baby" came out on Argo, and in 1963 King Records released an alternate take of "Aw! Shucks Baby". She died tragically in August ’64 in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 34, unaware that her music would still have an appeal half a century later.

Recommended purchase: Tiny Topsy & Friends (Rock 'n' Rhythm Records)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 56 - Hi-Voltage

High Voltage - Gasoline

High Voltage are quality quintet from Edinburgh who have built a reputation as one of the top bands on the scene. I loved their I Gotta Gun album from last year and dug the vocals and guitar work of Vince Turner and Paul Peterson. The other band members at the time were Big Al on doghouse bass, Ian Morris on drums and Kenny Tomlinson on sax. Gasoline comes from the 2006 release Rockin' Dance Floor Hits. Written by Turner and Peterson and is one of those western tinged rockabillies I'm suck a sucker for. Mack Stevens was great at these in his Rollin' Rock days and Gasoline is reminiscent of his best work then. Kicking off like the Tennessee Two meets the Planet Rockers, it has hints of Ghose Riders In The Sky without actually stealing any of the licks.

Recommended listening: The saxy instrumental stroller When The Big Cats Walk, the straight rockabilly Let's Rock Tonight with a hot guitar and the relentless John Lee Hooker boogie of Rock No More. From I Gotta Gun try My Gal Lillie and Pretty Baby.

Bill Fadden & The Mostly Losers - Looking For Some Happiness

Bill Fadden & The Mostly Losers - Looking For Some Happiness
Western Star Records

Tracklisting: Just A Waiting / La Mesa Prison Blues / Mission Bell / Tell Me Why / Gil's Place / Hold On Tight / Mexicalli Bound / The Dead Balladeer / North Wind / Dia De Los Muertos / Little Baby / Little Green Bag

Bill Fadden & The Mostly Losers are: Bill Fadden - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Alan Wilson - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Jack Boxwell - Bass (except "Little Baby" which was Upton Lovell), Ben Turner - Drums, Bob Dixon - Pedal Steel, Graham C. Reynolds - Trumpet, Moses - Accordion, Steve Holbrook - Piano, Bill Fadden, Alan Wilson and Liz Avent - Backing Vocals

Bill Fadden and his band The Silvertone Fliers, hit the scene like a tornado a few years ago with two great albums, Bop Party and Satellite Rock. He now works with the remnants of the Rimshots/Gene Gambler's Shufflers, but for this latest release he's backed by a mix of musicians. It was recorded about five years ago with Western Star owner, Alan Wilson, who was also involved in the previous two albums. The story goes that Wilson invited Fadden to his over over Easter 2004 to write and record a few songs. Fadden turned up with two massive sombreros and a bottle of Tequilla. Wilson was fresh from a trip to Tijuana so everything took on a Mexican buzz.
For the most part the band comprises Fadden on vocals and rhythm, Alan Wilson on guitar, ex-Silvertone Flyer Jack Boxwell on bass and Ben Turner on drums. With their pedigree you won't be surprised to hear that the musicianship is spot-on throughout, be it rockabilly, country or the Tex-Mex sound that oozes throughout the album. The opener is a Western ballad complete whistled intro and outro that is an inspired, subtle way to show that the guy is happy to keep "just a waiting". La Mesa Prison Blues is the first of the quartet that Fadden and Wilson co-wrote. It tells the gruesome tale of life in a shithouse Mexican prison, set to a dark rockabilly sound and trumpet. Mexicalli Bound and Dia De Los Muertos again get their inspiration from south of El Paso, with the instrumental Dia De Los Muertos being ideal fodder for a tarantino or Coen Brothers movie. The Dead Balladeer is a rhumba ballad with trumpet that doesn't really work for me, but then I don't like the rhumba beat.

Fadden wrote three of his own, the best being the rockaballad Tell Me Why. The best track on the album is Little Baby, a stop start rocker that has a hint of His Latest Flame. North Wind is a western rockabilly number that runs Little Baby a close second. The album is rounded off with a rockin' take on the late 60's hit Little Green Bag. So bhasically what you've got is a hot little platter that should appeal to rockers and westerners alike.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Roomates - Lost on Belmont Avenue

The Roomates - Lost on Belmont Avenue

The Roomates are to Dion’s Belmonts what Darrel Higham is to Eddie Cochran. This is the English quartets fifth album and second for Ace Records, released a few months ago in celebration of their 20th Anniversary. They are steeped in the white vocal groups of the late 50’s, early 60’s such as the Mystics, the Elegants, Vito and the Salutations and especially the aforementioned Belmonts. Of the generous thirty tracks on offer, Steve and Mark Webb, Nick Kennedy and Glen Brentnall wrote no less than nineteen of them with the covers being well chosen, less obvious numbers.

The opener, Echoes of the Past gives Carlo and the boys a name check and it sets the scene for the whole album. They have the crystal clear vocals that the white-woppers specialised in and they have the same bounce and general happy feeling that their heroes employed. Throughout the album, they are as tight as a drum with clever backing vocals to enhance the strong leads (witness If You’ve Got A Girl).

Highlights of the ballads for me are Remember, She Won’t Cry and Wanderin’. In the rockin’ mode the standouts are Dance, Dance Girl and a great cover of the Searchers’ Wow Wow Baby. Surely Human Angel is Dion and the Belmonts, not the Roomates. There are a couple of songs that don’t cut the mustard like Internet Baby and I’m Still Countin’, but otherwise the songs and performances are top notch.

Put this on a crackly twelve song vinyl long player and people would swear that it was a long lost Laurie Records album. Great performances from a quality outfit.

Check out this version of The Shrine of St Cecilia, performed in a subway in true doo-wop style. Then check out their amazing version of Elvis and the Jordanaires version of I Want I Need You I Love You with Axel of The Downhomers in Germany, 2007.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Refreshments - A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do

The Refreshments - A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do

1. A Band´s Gotta Do What A Band´s Gotta Do
2. I Still Love You
3. Keep Movin´ On
4. Cadillac Rock
5. Takin´ A Chance
6. He´s Doing Well
7. Rock´n´Roll Heaven
8. A Man Among Men
9. Forever Yours
10. She Makes Me Cool
11. Just Like Jerry Lee
12. Day By Day
13. Hard Luck Jim
14. High On You

This year sees the twentieth anniversary for Swedish band The Refreshments who formed in the Autumn of '89, looking to enjoy themselves and make a few records. Their reputation has grown consistently over the ensuing decades with 2003 seeing them top the Swedish charts with their album Rock'n'Roll X-mas. This year seems like being their biggest yet with a summer long tour planned and this new album has shot straight to number one in the charts within two weeks of release. It's their twelfth release and looks like being their biggest to date. The album cover looks like the cover shot on one of the Sopranos box sets I recently bought, I don't know whether they're fans or it's just a co-incidence - it doesn't matter either way.

They started off as a covers band but have developed as solid writers in their own right - this latest album has just one cover. They worked with Dave Edmunds (check out the great live CD, A Pile Of Rock) and Billy Bremner and their sound is very much in the Dave Edmunds/Rockpile mode. The band line-up has been the same for years and features Joakim Arnell (bass/vocals), Johan Blohm (piano/vocals), Micke Finell (sax/vocals/guitar), Mats Forsberg
(drums) and Robin Olsson (guitar/vocals). Joakim Arnell produced the album and he's obviously learnt along the way from Dave Edmunds, as he has the mixture just right with a rolling piano always present in the mix without dominating at the expense of the others.

The opener says everything about the band, it's a good-time, rock 'n' roller with piano and sax underpinned by a solid drum beat and upbeat vocals. The Refershments are not the band to commit suicide too. Al Anderson's I Still Love You has backing vocals that give it a catchy pop sound that again sounds like Dave Edmunds - I won't mention him again alright. The first single is Keep Movin´ On, a great hypnotic rocker that sounds like, well, you know…. I wish songs like this were getting into the UK charts. What's with the Swede's, all them leggy blonde bombshells and rock 'n' roll in their charts.

Other highlights include the sax driven Cadillac Rock and Rock´n´Roll Heaven pays homage to the greats that are no longer with us, and is delivered with a Buddy Holly and the Crickets beat. I was expecting the same of Taking A Chance as it was written by Finell, Brian Hodgson and Holly perv Mike Berry, but it's more Mavericks than Crickets. Arnell's semi-autobiographical She Makes Me Cool wasinspired by Annie Marie Dolan, daughter of Linda Gail Lewis - "Well I never was one of the boys/I was just a weird dressed kid making noise/when the guys hit the town I stayed in/playing old records again and again".

Just Like Jerry Lee is set to the Killer's early Sun sound and acknowledges all the piano pounders who worship at the Church of the Ferriday Fireball. Johan Blohm, take a bow. Hard Luck Jim, based on My Babe, is okay but nothing great. Don't let that put you off though, this is a cracking album that is the perfect way for the band to celebrate twenty years. You can buy this with confidence.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Rebel Ted Rock - Teddyboy Express

Rebel Ted Rock - Teddyboy Express
Rebel Ted Records 2008 - TEDCD103

Track list: Rebel Ted Rock, Southbound Train, Gonna Be A Star, Oakie Boogie, The Gambler, Teddy Boy Rock'n'Roll, (Wait All Week Long Till It's) Friday Night Blues, Juke Joint Johnny, Wild Side Of Life, Bonie Moronie, Mean Rockin' Bopper, Rain, Rollin' Through The Night, Tongue Tied Jill

I don’t know a lot about Rebel Ted Rock, but I do know that I like them, with their unadulterated teddy boy sound. From what I can gather they are from Germany, whether that be Darmstadt, Hessen or Frankfurt. They consist of Michael Frick on guitar and vocals, Bojan Lutz on bass and Uwe Jung on drums, having come out of two German Ted bands, Rawhide and the Crusaders.

The trio are now a big name on the European circuit and this release can only enhance their reputation. Their sound is dynamic and they have real 70’s teddy boy sound along the lines of Crazy Cavan and the Wild Angels.

The album blasts into live with rebel Ted Rock, a battle cry that must bring the house down at their live shows. Their original songs all have the sound and the lyrics to encapsulate the life of a teddy boy, with it’s images of rockin’ all night.

Their covers are varied and for the most part work well. They give a nod to Cavan with a fine version of Gonna Be A Star and sound really good on Oakie Boogie which gathered a new lease of life during the rockabilly revival of the 70’s. The transformation of Wild Side of Life works really well, but Charlie Feathers’ Rain is let down by the vocals, which sound strained for the only time on the album.

A cracking album that will have teds old and new boppin’ in the streets. The title track in particular is hypnotic and I’ve found myself singing it for weeks now – always with a sneer and an Elvisy hick-up. Strange, but you’ll know what I mean when you hear it.

Hayden Thompson is back in the studio

I've just has an email from Mika Myyryläinen of Sony Music Finland regarding my review of Hayden Thompson’s recent country CD. Mika said that he “just wanted to let you know Hayden will visit Finland to record a follow up to his first CD on Bluelight label.” As good as Hayden’s voice is at country music, it was warming for the rockers among us to when he added, “The musicians will be the same bunch as on the country CD, but this time the songs to be recorded will be more or less rockabilly.”

At this time the release date has not been set yet, but it will most likely it will be spring 2010. Good news, because Hayden Thompson is one performer who has not lost a voice and sounds as great today as he did fifty years ago.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Chuck Mead - Journeyman's Wager

Chuck Mead - Journeyman's Wager
Thirty Tigers Records

Track List: Out On The Natchez Trail, Gun Metal Gray, She Got The Ring (I Got The Finger), Albuquerque, Up On Edge Hill, I Wish It Was Friday, A Long Time Ago, After The Last Witness Is Gone, In A Song, Old Brown Shoe, No Requests

This is the debut solo album of Retro hillbilly Chuck Mead, one time headfront-man of the inspirational honky tonk band, BR549. Or BR5-49 as they were before the marketing guys who guided them decided that the reason they weren't making it big time was because of the hyphen, not the fact that radio ignored them because they sounded too country. Anyway, the album is here and to be honest the first listen didn't really do it for me. It just sounded like we'd heard it all before. When I returned for a second slice, I realy enjoyed it, perhaps expecting less. The music is everything you'd expect from him, with hints of BR549, a touch of Gram Parsons and plenty of good time. "I Wish It Was Friday" is a fun-time romp that will no doubt be the first single to be ignored. "Old Brown Shoe" is a really nice version of the little-known George Harrison song, a mile away from the throw-away "She Got The Ring". "Gun Metal Grey" is a strange, moody number that may be an acquired taste for some, unlike "A Long Time Ago" which has Mead written all over it.

Highlight for me could just be the atmospheric "Albuquerque". So, a very encouraging album that should please his fans and could find some appeal with non-believers, whoever you mean spirited buggers are.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Sam Butera - RIP

Bim Bam sax man, Sam Butera died this week in Las Vegas aged 81. Known to rockers for the fabulous rock 'n' roll laster, Bim Bam, he is probably known to the wider world for being an intrigal part of the Louis Prima sound. Prima, Butera and singer Keely Smith were the dymanic front-trio to an amazing show band that slayed audiences across the states for decades. Check out any Louis Prima hits compilations and enjoy the charms that are Jump, Jive & Wail, Just A Gigola, I Ain’t Got Nobody, Angelina or Hey Marie. And when those have sunk in, you're ready for the brilliant Beuno Sera.

Sam Butera was born in New Orleans on August 17th, 1927 and followed in the footsteps of his musical father Joseph. He took up the saxophone when he was 7 and became a professional musician at 14, playing in a strip club on Bourbon Street. At 19 he won a talent contest sponsored by Look magazine, which led to an appearance with other winners from around the country at Carnegie Hall.

He working with the big bands of Ray McKinley, Tommy Dorsey and others before forming his own group at the 500 Club in New Orleans. In December 1954 he joined fellow New Orleans native Louis Prima, and the rest is history. They formed the Witnesses and started plying the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, a town that was to be their home for the rest of both their lives. Their live shows were legendary, mixing great music and a mass of showmanship, with no small amount of humour.

They worked together until 1975 when Prima fell into a coma following brain surgery, dying three years later. Sam Butera continued to wow audiences, performing the Prima catalogue. He retired in 2004, but not before playing the Rhythm Riot in England. I was lucking enough to be there and it was a great show. I'll never forget all the Italian rockabillies and swingsters, swaying across the dance floor to such anthems as Beuno Sera and Hey Marie.

Sam is survived by his wife Vera, two daughters, two sons, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Rest in peace Sam.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Slim Jim and Lee Rocker hit and slap around the world

Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom, the hip-swivellinest drummer in rock 'n' roll history is embarking on a few new projects this summer. The first, in early July will see him play a handful of dates in South America with guitarist Jimmy Rip, who many of you might remember for his recent association with the Killer. He's no mean guitarist and Jim knows how to lay a thin bit of stick on a tight bit of skin.

The following month looks brilliant, with Slim Jim teaming up with rockabilly legends Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding, together with original Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, who Jim knows from his Dead Men Walking days. To date they've got ahandful of dates arranged for the northern states of America, but are looking for more. It would be great to see that line-up head over here.

Meawhile, slap bass supremo Lee Rocker continues to be the most prolific of all the Cats, with a summer long diary that sees him criss-cross North America as well as a mid October date at the Cerdanyola Blues Festival in Spain.

Setzer set to sizzle this summer

The remainder of 2009 looks busy on the Brian Setzer front with him and the big band playing the States, Canada for the first time in 14 years and even a couple of dates in Europe. His shows at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland and the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam are his first here with the band for nine long years, and I can't make it! On September 6th, Brian Setzer & The Nashvillains will be co-headlining a show with Chris Isaak at the Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys, CA, which promises to be a great show with that line-up.

He's also been busy completing all the rhythm tracks for a new album which will be out in the Fall. It will feature 12 new originals, nine of them featuring the big band with orchestrations by Frank Comstock. Setzer describes the new project as "the sound of the album is very "Film Noir". It could really be a soundtrack album for an unwritten film, which is how I approached the song writing. If you liked previous songs I have written like "Switchblade 327"," Drive Like Lightning"or "Ignition", I think you'll like this record. Oh, by the way, the album title is, "Songs from: Lonely Avenue". Don't worry, there's plenty of guitar on it!"

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Jason D. Williams and a Krystal Burger

Memphis piano pumper and Jerry Lee Lewis soundalike Jason D. Williams has been recording an advert for Krystal Burger's new $5 Value Meal. Jason D can't believe that you can get a Big Angus Burger, 2 Krystals, a basket of fries and a drink for just 5 bucks! Filmed in Nashville, Tennessee by director Peter Zavadil, it's the type of colourful, fun advert we'd have killed to see done by the likes of the Killer and Elvis in their heyday. Why, oh why, wasn't tv and MTV around in 1955? Who would have been the best one to advertise a Krystal Burger, Fats Domino or Elvis?

Deke Dickerson is coming to Wales

It's just been announced that July 7th sees one of the biggest rockin' nights to hit Wales in years. The legendary Deke Dickerson and the Ecco Fonics featuring Jimmy Sutton and Craazy Joe will perform at the Paget Rooms in Penarth, together with local hero John Lewis. The club hope the event will be successful enough that further shows can take place.

The promo blurb describes the four talents like this:

"Deke Dickerson is one of the most versatile and talented artists in American roots music today. Far more than just a rockabilly revivalist, he pushes the envelope by expertly drawing from virtually every 20th century musical genre: country, rhythm and blues, western swing, rockabilly, surf instrumentals, ghostly ballads and pedal-to-the medal rock 'n' roll. Armed with his signature double-necked guitar and batch of new songs from his latest release, he continues to entertain fans World wide. Bob Dylan even Interviewed Deke for his show. He is well known for his regular column in Guitar Player magazine & Hallmark Guitars have even produced the Deke Dickerson model guitar.

Jimmy Sutton has been playing the doghouse bass since his school days. Nominated twice by the Illinois Entertainer as the best bass player in Chicago, Sutton incorporates many diverse musical styles. He is also one hell of a singer and front man in his own right and can be seen with his own band The Four Charms

Crazy Joe has been playing guitar for nearly 25 years; producing and engineering recordings for 20 years; and designing musical, recording / hi-fi equipment for over a decade. He’s another amazing guitar picker and singer in this line up, who will be playing drums this tour .yea crazy But I’m sure he won’t be back on drums for long as these 3 swap instruments back and forth in a show that will leave you amazed

John Lewis Trio Mr Rimshots, Mr Johnny Bach, The front man of these two great bands is here with his new Rock’n’Roll trio bashing the piano and finger picking the guitar in a manner to scare to most accomplished musicians. He’s toured all over the world and has work with Rock hero’s to Cult ledgends With his instantly recognisable voice he’ll rock you with great classic tunes & some songs written yesterday."

Tickets are £8 in advance and £10 on the door and are available from:- The Albion Glebe St, Penarth or at Spillers Records, Cardiff. Tel: +44(0)29 20224905 or email