Thursday, 29 April 2010

Jimmy Edwards - Love Bug Crawl

Jimmy Edwards - Love Bug Crawl
Bear Family BCD16621

Track listing: Love Bug Crawl / Do That Again / Love Bug Crawl / My Honey / Your Love Is A Good Love / Golden Ruby Blue / Live And Let Live / Rosie Lee / Honey Lovin' / Sorry I Lied / What Do You Want From Me / The Way To My Heart / Recipe Of Love / Wedding Band / Silver Slippers / Favor For A Friend / The Way To My Heart / Wedding Band.

As Phil will no doubt confirm, I haven’t exactly got the biggest singles collection in the world. About 150 probably, but it’s the quality not the quantity that counts. Among my stash are two Jimmy Edwards singles, Love Bug Crawl and Your Love Is A Good Love.

The legend of Jimmy Edwards revolves around his hit record, Love Bug Crawl which is a stunning rocker by anyone’s standards. Nothing on this collection quite matches it, but that’s not to say that it can be dismissed. It’s got some great soft rock moments and as with all Bear Family releases, it comes with a detailed booklet and the best possible sound. Edwards has been totally overlooked on the reissue front, making this even more important for fans.

He was born James Wiley Bullinton in Mississippi, but was working in the General Motors Buick plant in Flint, Michigan when he first cut Love Bug Crawl in 1957. It was issued on the local Wednesday label before getting picked up by Mercury. Bear Family give us both the original and the re-recorded version from later in the year. Everyone must know and love the Mercury cut, and all of you will love the original as well. It’s a bit more basic but still goes like the clappers and shows Edwards had already cracked the vocal hiccups.

Two more Mercury singles failed to chart despite My Honey and Do That Again being mighty fine records. RCA took a chance with him but they too couldn’t get him on the hit parade. The pick of the RCA tracks is Your Love Is A Good Love, a near perfect pop rocker with it’s LBC intro and backing vocals. It’s very much of the 1959 Nashville sound. The flip, A Favour For A Friend is a spoken word ballad that features Chet Atkins at his jazziest. Live And Let Live has a Marty Robbins feel.

There’s a couple of unreleased numbers to round things off, the pop rockers, Recipe Of Love and Sorry I Lied. This CD is recommended to anyone who can take their rock ‘n’ roll on the softer side – just don’t expect a platter full of Love Bug Crawl rockabilly boppers.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Western Star WSRC037
Track listing: One Track Mind / The Fire Is Burnin' / Too Late / Time is Wastin' / Gone Gone Gone / Don't Hurt Me Baby / Gonna Get Back Home Some How / What About Tomorrow? / Record Hop / Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad / Cinderella Story / Walkin' With Angels / Time is A-Wastin.

This is an inspired pairing from Western Star, with Sue Moreno and Jack Rabbit Slim being a couple of the finest acts on the circuit. I’ve only got one of the Dutch Wanda Jackson’s previous albums but it’s not as good as this. The tracks are mostly originals from either the pen of JRB’s Bob Butfoy or Moreno herself.

The album kicks of with the melodic title track with backing vocals giving a nice rounded sound. This is pretty much the style for the album with JRB replacing their usual sleazeabilly sound for a purer rockin’ sound that suits Moreno clean vocals.

There’s no duffers here, but plenty of highlights. Record Hop is probably the hardest rockin’ track complete with Darren Lince taking two hot solos. The countryish What About Tomorrow? is nice with some lovely guitar and shows Moreno to be in the same class as Marti Brom. The band are superb on the cover of Elvis’ underrated 1962 moody rocker, Gonna Get Back Home Some How. They also cover Tupelo’s other star, Tammy Wynette, with a fine reading of Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad.

There’s two versions of Time is Wastin', one a duet with Butfoy and even better is the first version where she’s double-tracked to duet with herself. The cover of the Everly’s mid 60’s Gone Gone Gone is classy. Also worth mentioning is Butfoy’s Cinderella Story which has a Gene Vincent sound from the drums rolls to the guitar. I think my favourite is Walkin' With Angels which benefits from a great countrified beat and some piano from Holbrook. The introduction of the backing vocals at the end give a it neat rousing gospel finish. Very tasty, as is the singer, and the album.

Rockin’ Song of the Week No.96 - Tommy Spurlin

Tommy Spurlin and the Southern Boys
One Eyed Sam

Tommy Spurlin is one of the artists who achieved nothing financially or chart wise during the 50’s but became a near legendary name following the rockabilly revival. To me he’s one of those exciting names that conjure up images of hard rockin’ hillbilly shitkickers, like Groovey Joe Poovey or Hershel Almond. They might have only had one or two songs to get excited about, but they were enough.

Tommy Spurlin was brn in Elba, Alabama in 1928 and formed a band with his half brother, Benny Dumas, Virgil Powell, Jimmy Slade and Bill Johnson. A couple of country singles led to them joining Harold Doane’s Perfect label. One Eyed Sam is a country bopper of gambling and double dealing where one sore guy who cotton’s on to the scam says, “I know who’s cheatin’, but his name I won’t shout, but if he don’t look out, I’ll shoot his good eye out”. Also from the same 1956 session was the a-side, and future rockabilly classic, Hang Loose which has seen action on hundreds of rockabilly compilations.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

On holiday - back in a week

Gonna be relaxing in Somerset. Back next week.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 95 - Breathless – Oh You Babe

Breathless – Oh You Babe
Magnum Force MFEP005

All those soppy assed prudes that think Crazy Cavan are the Status Quo of rockabilly, must absolutely hate Breathless. They come from the same stock but turn their amps up one extra notch. Both bands come from Newport, South Wales with Breathless having no less than two of Crazy Cavan’s brothers, Pat and Colin Grogan.

Breathless, formed in the late seventies, with the two Grogan brothers joined by lead guitarist Robert Davies, rhythm guitarist lan Haines and Colin "Eddie" Edwards. They undertook tours all over Europe with Cavan, Little Gina, the Stray Cats, Freddie Fingers Lee and Whirlwind among others.

They released their first EP, "Sock Hop Boppin'" on Magnum Force in 1981 and all four tracks were great. They were all self written by various band members. In 1985 their first self written album appeared on the French Big Beat label, titled "Bad Bad Boys". The last time I saw them was at a Cavan gig at Dewstowe a couple of years ago, and they were really good, and really loud.

Oh You Babe was written by guitarist Davies and it’s a no holds barred rocker, very much of the early 80s, with a modern, heavily amplified sound. At a time when rockabilly was hitting the charts left right and centre, there was no reason why this couldn’t have landed them a spot on Top of the Pops.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Billy Fury - Happy 70th

I know today is all about remembering Eddie Cochran, but don't forget to play some Billy Fury. Today would have been his 70th birthday. Happy birthday Billy, you're sorely missed.

Here's a couple of youTube clips you might have missed.

BEAT IN THE BORDER INTERVIEWS MARTY WILDE, BILLY FURY, AND JOE BROWN - 1962. Check out Marty's make-up - I don't think Kim wore that much on Top of the Pops!

BBC's Nationwide clip from November '82. His farm was two fields from where my dog was born. Aah. Nice to see Stuart Colman as well.

Granada TV news story about the Billy Fury statue unveiling in Liverpool.

Eddie Cochran – Cherished Memories

As you know, today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the tragically early death of the immortal Eddie Cochran. Here are 50 reasons that I remember and love Eddie baby.

The Holy Grail – These songs are a part of the rock ‘n’ roll fabric, with a massive influence that has seen them covered by everyone from rockers to the top punk bands.

1. Summertime Blues – Flip’s favourite, say no more.
2. C’Mon Everybody – rock ‘n’ roll anthem.
3. Somethin’ Else – so good that the Pistols didn’t have to change a thing to make it sound relevant and punky, twenty years later.
4. Three Steps To Heaven – even better than Showaddywaddy’s!!!!
5. Twenty Flight Rock – I love his voice on this.

Instrumental genius – the solos in his songs were just a glimpse at what this guy could do on the guitar.

6. Guybo – the first instro of his I heard.
7. Strollin’ Guitar – I think I first heard this atmospheric gem on the Arena documentary a couple of decades ago.
8. Eddie’s Blues – could someone really play the guitar like this in 1959?
9. Chicken Shot Blues – another mind blowing guitar tour-de-force.
10. Pushin’

Rock ‘n’ Roll Classics – if the first five were the Champions League contenders, these five are definitely pushing for the Europa League spots.

11. Skinny Jim – dynamic classic.
12. Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie – allegedly written for actress Jeanne Carman who starred and got romantically involved with Eddie during the filming of Untamed Youth.
13. Nervous Breakdown – a rocker in the Somethin’ Else mode.
14. Weekend – hard to imagine why this was never issued as a single at the time.
15. Cut Across Shorty – Possibly the last song Eddie recorded in the studio – what a way to go.

Inspirations – his influence was massive, just ask those British musicians who watched him opened mouthed fifty years ago.

16. Brian Setzer – forget his appearance in La Bamba, and play the Stray Cats’ tribute, Gene and Eddie.
17. Darrel Higham – the Eddie aficionado who lives and breathes Eddie. His two tribute albums for Rockstar will never be bettered.
18. Marco DiMaggio – great Italian guitarist who worships at the Church of Eddie.
19. Tony Barrett – the Rockstar Records owner who has given us a mountain of previously unheard Eddie records. And his good lady comes from Aberystwyth as well.
20. Bill Beard – the lovely Cockney geezer who puts in a phenomenal amount of work for his Cochran Connection mag. Last time I met Bill was at a Stray Cats gig in London where he was waiting to hear Gene and Eddie.

Eddiebilly – I’m not a fan of most of his ballads (Never, Dark Lonely Street, etc), but I adore that mid-tempo sound he had, with backing vocals and smooth vocals. In fact, the next batch are my favourites of his and I play them more than the biggies.

21. Teresa – superb. Dig that voice.
22. Stockin’ And Shoes – my mum and dad bought me the Sunset LP when I was in school and this cracker kicked off the B side in fine style.
23. Drive in Show – I’ll bet my penis to a candy bar!
24. Teenage Heaven – he seemed like he had the idyllic teenage life in California, with pretty girls and rock ‘n’ roll guitars.
25. Sittin’ In The Balcony – probably the song that sums up this Eddie sound the most.

Session Guy – many an artist has had their songs transformed by the blond picker.

26. Guitar Picker (Bob Luman)– an absolutely dynamic rocker that had fans scratching their head when it first surfaced. Luman and Cochran is a winning formula and they’re both on top form here in this early ’58 recording which also has guitar ace Fred Carter in the line-up.
27. Git It (Gene Vincent) – a great doo-wop rocker that me, Julie and my sister used to sing all the time when we were kids. Eddie’s bass vocals as so distinctive on this classic.
28. New Shows (Lee Denson) – stunning space age solo from Eddie.
29. Watch Your Mouth (Troyce Key) – I first heard this beauty on the Red Hot Rockabillies lp back in the late 80’s.
30. You Oughta See Grandma Rock – old country meets young rockabilly gunslinger with great results. Rock it, but don’t ruin it – he won’t!

Early Days – the early collaborations with Jerry Capehart and the Cochran Brothers stuff with Hank Cochran were brilliant. As with a lot of people I heard this courtesy of the Rockstar album, Many Sides of.

31. I Hates Rabbits – a fun bit of nonsense totally transformed by the brilliant guitar.
32. I’m Ready – pure rockabilly.
33. Pink Peg Slacks – hot potato in the mouth rockabilly.
34. Tired And Sleepy – great duet.
35. Latch On – another hot duet.

Any other business – there’s more to the memory of Eddie’s legacy than just the music. His image was sort of wholesome, but with an edge.

36. That hair – apart from Elvis, Eddie’s blond quiff must be the ultimate rock ‘n roll haircut.
37. That guitar – while the photo of Hersel Hickey seems to be the most used rock ‘n’ roll image, to me, any picture of Eddie with his orange Gretsch is the real deal.
38. The Girl Can’t Help It – Eddie’s cameo role stole the show in that film, and with Jayne Mansfield looking like she did that was no mean feat.
39. Sharon Sheeley – whether they’d have stayed together, who knows. But at the time, this was a lovely romance.
40. The 1960 UK Tour – still talked about today. With Eddie playing the cool California kid to Gene Vincent’s dark, psycho rebel. Why isn’t there any tv footage of this tour.

The covers – his best work was his own, but he did a handful of great covers.

41. Hallelujah I Love Her So – roll over Ray Charles, this is how to do it.
42. Milk Cow Blues – More Sleepy John Estes’ than Elvis Presley.
43. Blue Suede Shoes – hard driving, acoustic version of the Carl Perkins classic.
44. Long Tall Sally – piano-less Little Richard tribute.
45. White Lightnin’ – superb duet with Gene Vincent from the Boy Meets Girl tv show in February 1960.

The photos – numbers 46 to 50 come courtesy of these photos. Not only was he a great songwriter, singer and guitarist, he was a good looking dude as well. Thanks for the music Eddie, your memory will never die.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Eddie Cochran - Sittin' In The Balcony

Tomorrow marks the 50th Anniversary of the death of the great Eddie Cochran. He was one of the first rockers I got into when I was in school and he's still one of my favourites. I'm gonna plauy his records all day tomorrow, as I'm sure you all will. For now, enjoy him doing Sittin' In The Balcony for the approprately named Dick Clark.

23 years today - I Saw The Light

Jerry Lee Lewis, Civic Centre, Newport, South Wales, UK
April 16th 1987

It was 23 years ago today that I saw Jerry Lee live for the first time. I still ain't over it yet. The guy was phenominal that night and he became the love of my life. The misses has learnt to deal with it - some things you just can't compete with.

If you thought that the Killer was past it in '87, check out the clip below. His hands were always quick but at the 58 second mark he takes his jacket off so quick you won't believe it!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Jerry Lee in Close-up action

Anyone know the story behind this mad clip?

Update: Thanks for Flip for the following - "Tony Palmer ITV music doc from 70s All You Need Is love, now out as dvd box".

Jerry Lee Lewis Live in France, 1972

Palais d'hiver, Lyon, France, 9.5.72

Is there any other guy in the world who mid song would shove the mic in his pants and comb his hair. Class.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Bill Smoker - The Rockabilly DJ Podcast

I did a revieww on Bill Smoker's Rockabilly DJ podcast two years ago for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. I said then and it still rings true now, this guy is probably the most prolific podcaster on the web, bringing out a show at least once a week.

As his site says, the show features "the hottest in Rockabilly, Rhythm & Blues, Hillbilly and 1950s style Rock'n'Roll, broadcasting from the world-famous studio under the stairs in Croydon, south London."

What I love most about his show is that he plays some tracks that you think, wow, I love that song, don't think I've heard that before. Then after every three songs he gives a quick run down on the trio and he say that was so-and-so on the Ultra Rare Rockbilly Volume 86 Cd and I think, shit, I've got that. So you then dig it out and play it to buggery for a few weeks.

Great shows of recent vintage have been, Look What The Postman Just Delievered No.7, Rockabilly Today and Got Rocking On My Mind, where I've come across such delights as George Weston (Don't You Know) and a stunning version of Banks of the Ohio by the Hodges Brothers. He also played a wonderful Onie Wheeler tune, You'e Getting All Over Me which isn't on the Bear Family CD of some years ago.

His podcasts are available to download either from his site (see link above) or direct from iTunes. Tune in and have a lsiten, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Mel Tillis - I Got The Hoss

Is it I Got The Hoss or I Got The Horn? After watching this I ended up stuttering more than ol' Mel. And as for the bird at the two minute mark, I reckon Little Jimmy Dickens could play in there for weeks.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Elvis Is Back - 50th Anniversary

50 years ago this week, Elvis Presley was in Nashville recorded some of his most amazing work. With a voice that was even better than when he went into the army (if that was possible), and a crack band of Nashville's finest, the material formed either hit singles, or the contents of his best ever album.

Everything about Elvis Is Back is perfect, from the music to the album cover. Even the title was spot - Elvis Was Back - and with one hell of a bang. You must all have it, so chuck it on and groover to the wonders of Such A Night, the beauty of I Will Be Home Again or the blues classic, Reconsider Baby.

April 3-5, 1960
RCA Studio B, Nashville, Tennessee

Fever, Like a Baby, It's Now or Never, The Girl of My Best Friend, Dirty, Dirty Feeling, Thrill of Your Love, I Gotta Know, Such a Night, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, The Girl Next Door Went Awalking, I Will Be Home Again, Reconsider Baby.

Rock 'n' Roll Art No. 3

I don't know anything about Tommervik other than he's a 31 year old male from the States. He might be Tom Mervik or he might be Vick Tommers. What I do know is that he does some wonderful interpretions of Pee Wee Herman and SPock among others in a range of "modern" styles such as cubism.

He does a handful of Elvis paintings, all of which you can see at

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Jerry Lee Lewis: European Tour 2010

Diba International Concerts has announced the dates for Jerry Lee Lewis' next European Tour. The tour, also featuring Linda Gail Lewis & Some Like It Hot and the
Memphis Beats will run from July 20th to August 1st. I'n not sure whether any othe dates will be added, but the current itinary is;

20.07.2010 - Laslo Papp Sportarena, Budapest, Hungary
23.07.2010 - Lycabettus Theater, Athens, Greece
28.07.2010 - Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland
01.08.2010 - Tampere Hall, Tampere, Finland

I've started telling my misses how lovely she looks and to leave the dishes, I'll do them. Not sure whether that'll get me to Athens, but you gotta try. I've been to Budapest and it's a beautiful city, it would make a great city break, with a Killer concert thrown in.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Alan Jackson - Freight Train

I try not to get swayed by other people’s reviews of albums, but must admit that after reading Ninian Dunnett’s review on the BBC website, before I’d bought the album, I was a bit worried. The over-riding feeling from her review was that with his 20 year tenure at Arista coming to an end, Alan Jackson had left his best stuff in the locker, ready for the next chapter of his phenomenal career.

On first hearing I agreed with the review, there were maybe ahlf of the dozen tracks that sounded good, the rest being nothing more than filler. Three more listens over the last two days have changed all that. I really like this album and even though it might not have any career songs like Here In The Real World, Chattahoochie, and countless others, it had no duffers either.

AJ wrote eight of the dozen and hopefully there are better songs still in his pen, waiting for the label change before sparking back to life. It’s probably no coincidence that the best songs are the ones written by others.

His slow Georgia drawl shines throughout, this guy has a great voice and it’s perfectly complimented by the strong country of fiddles, steel and twangy guitar. The title track moves along nicely and will get repeated plays on my iPod over the coming years. Best track for me is the clever Jay Knowles and Adam Wright co-write, Taillights Blue.

The first single – It’s Just That Way

Hard Hat And A Hammer on the Late Show with David Letterman