Friday 12 November 2010

Great Jerry Lee photo

Just found this great photo on the web. It's from the Killer's Grand Ole Opry debut in 1973. He's sat next to Del Wood with a chunky looking Kenny Lovelace in the background.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Nearly back

Nearly got the wife's business up and running. I should be back and running in a couple of days. Loads of reviews to follow. Thanks for the companies who'e sent me stuff, I haven't forgotten, I just haven't had time. See you soon.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Show of Stars '57 t-shirts

What a line-up. This concert must have been a blast. The t-shirt is the closest we can get to it now, so don't miss out. If you were there, this will serve as a neat momento. You could wear the shirt and trell people you were there. After all, millions have seen the Beatles in the little old Cavern!

Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Buddy and the Crickets, Everly Brothers, Clyde McPhatter. When did you go for a pee with a line-up like that? That must be why Paul Anka was on the bill.

To purchase, choose the size you require and click on the Paypal link.

The shirts are black, 100% cotton and professionally printed using top-of-the-range printers and heat presses. It is the aim of ShakyShirts/Julabelle to post any items within 24 hours of purchase.

The cost of this t-shirt is just £9.99.

Please note that currently we only ship to mainland UK at a cost of just £1.50.


Tuesday 14 September 2010

George Jones - Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes

George Jones is 79 today. Check out this classic 1985 video for Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes? Apart from Willie, Merle and Jerry Lee I think all the others in it are dead. How the hell are the Killer, the Possum and the Red Headed Stranger still alive. Obviously the other guys didn't abuse themselves enough!

There's a few lumps in the throat moments in the video, like the clip of Jerry lee pounding the keys and a lovely smile from Marty Robbins. When it flashes to Johnny Cash the hair's on my neck stood up - what presence the man had.

Anyway, happy birthday George, take a ride into town and have a beer. There must be some gas in the lawn mower!

Reasons to love youTube No.8 - The Honey Dewdrops

Rockin' Chair Money- The Honey Dewdrops

I've never heard of the Honey Dewdrops, but I just put Rockin' Chair Money into youTube and voila. What a great surprise. It's an acoustic take on the great Hank Williams number and it cooks. The driving sound of that acoustic guitar blows my mind.

From the look of things, they're a husband and wife folk group. Well, even if the sex gets stale they've still got the music.

Check out their other stuff on youTube, you should be impressed.

Friday 10 September 2010

Imelda May hits top of Irish Charts

Imelda May's new album ‘Mayhem’ has entered the Irish Album Charts at #1, and her first album Love Tattoo has moved up the charts to #4, making her the first Irish Female Artists to have two albums in the top 5! This is great news for the young Irish singer and she will hopefully have similar success when it's released in the rest of the UK.

Radio 2 have been playing the title song all week and a load of people from my work have commented how much they like it. Rockabilly is coming back!

Sunday 5 September 2010

Hal Harris - Gold Star Guitar

Hal Harris - Gold Star Guitar
El Toro Records - ETCD1033

1. Carroll County Boogie
2. I Have Lived, Loved & Learned
3. Flying Eagle Blues
4. I've Loved, I've Laughed, I've Cried
5. Poor Boy Rag
6. Boy Crazy Jane
7. Twin Hearts & Twin Guitars
8. Guilty Heart
9. Taggin' Along
10. I Don't Know When
11. Duck Tail
12. Rock It
13. Gonna Be Better Times
14. Tu-La-Lou
15. No Fault Of Mine
16. Sixteen Chicks
17. Doggone It
18. Won't Tell You Her Name
19. How Come It
20. Slippin' Out & Sneakin' In
21. I Can't Find The Door Knob
22. Somebody's Knockin'
23. Lonesome
24. That Ain't It
25. Trucker From Tennessee
26. I'm Through
27. You Gotta Pay
28. Can't Play Hookey
29. Little Rock Rock
30. Don't Be Long Gone
31. Goodby Goodbye
32. Jitterbop Baby
33. I'm Comin' Home
34. Please Pass The Biscuits

As Dave Penny points out in his sleevenotes, Hal Harris was “one of the most celebrated of the early rockabilly guitarists of the 1950s” whose “chaotic and spine-chillingly bluesy solos on his Fender Stratocaster for Starday Records in Houston were as distinctive (and valuable) as Roland Janes' in Memphis, Grady Martin's in Nashville or Joe Maphis' in Hollywood.” He’s undoubtedly not as celebrated as the others but this excellent compilation from El Toro will surely help address the injustice.

It features the 1950s recordings issued under his own name as well as a selection of his session work for a bunch of Texas artists whose work was enhanced by Harris’ guitar, whether it be on a hillbilly or a rockabilly session. The country stuff stuff is fine and very much of the day and location, but it’s the rockabilly cuts that really stand him apart for me.

There’s a string of rockin’ classics as he served as the house guitarist for Pappy Daily's stable of labels, Starday, Dixie and D Records. The majority of them were issued at the time to little fanfare, but became classics across many a European household during the rockabilly revival of the 1970s and 80s. The names trip of the tongue - Joe Clay, George Thumper Jones, Sleepy La Beef, Link Davis, Rock Rogers and Benny Barnes. Picking favourites is irrelevant as they nearly all hit the spot. If pushed I’d have to go for Al Urban’s Gonna Be Better Times and Jimmie & Johnny’s Can’t Find The Door Knob.

Top prove he could have been much more than a session man, he did recorded a couple of rockers himself. It was actually one of these, Jitterbug Baby, that first made me aware of him on a 20 Great Rockabilly Hits of the 50’s (Cascade Records) in the mid 80’s. It was reportedly cut at the end of a 1957 George Jones session, along with another hot rockabilly number, I Don't Know When. That pairing, together with this cracking CD will forever keep Hal Fuzzy Harris in my heart and in my ears. Buy this release with confidence, it’s a peach.

Check out the clip below to hear Jitterbop Baby. I bet like me you've got nearly all the albums shown in the clip.

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Gene Vincent T-shirts For Sale

My wife's business, Julabelle Fabrics and Crafts has branched out into making t-shirts, mugs, coasters, mouse mats, etc. Whereas in the past she has concentrated on the arty farty, flowers and prety patterns line, I have persuaded her to make a few rockabilly style t-shirts. She has started with a Gene Vincent one and you're welcome to buy one. To purchase, choose the size you require and click on the Paypal link.

The shirts are 100% cotton and professionally printed using top-of-the-range printers and heat presses. It is the aim of Julabelle to post any items within 24 hours of purchase.

The cost of the t-shirts is only £9.99.

Please note that currently we only ship to mainland UK and Europe.

Cost incl. P&P

Saturday 28 August 2010

Dale Watson - Carryin' On

Dale Watson - Carryin' On
E1 Entertainment

I've been a big fan of Dale Watson for years and just about got everything he's done. Hell, I even paid twenty quid for a signed CD one at Narberth. Phil laughed his head off but I didn't have a lot of choice after getting him to sign it before asking him how much it was. I think he was still working in dollars which was about 2-to-1 back then. Never mind, I've played it at least three times since!

There was a spell a few years ago when his personal life went belly up with divorce followed by the death of his new lover. He carried on with his music through this difficult period and to be honest, there was such a sadness and desperateness to it, that made it hard to listen to. It was like watching a train wreck.

Things look a bit better for him now and it reflect on this latest effort. In fact, the opener, Carryin' On This Way is as infectious as he's ever sounded. It has a Gentle On My Mind feel to it, and it has the same timeless quality of much of Glen Campbell's best work. The whole album is written by Watson and is beautifully played by a band that includes no less than Lloyd Green, Hargus "Pig" Robbins and Pete Wade.

There's not a bad track but a couple really stand out. I love the breakneck paced, I'll Show You. Heart Of Stone may be his finest ever vocal performance, and vies with the opener for the albums killer track. The closer, Hello, I’m an Old Country Song is a fine piece of writing that shows that his heart still belongs in the days when country records had fiddles and steels.

A great album that confirms that the old Nashville Rasher is back on track.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Hub Caps - 3rd Base

Hub Caps - 3rd Base
Enviken Records

Track Listing:
1. Betty Lou
2. Little Linn
3. Mary Lou
4. I Want U
5. Cindy
6. Sweetheart
7. Warpaint
8. Island Bop
9. Hot Rod Racing
10. Long Blond Hair
11. Tiger
12. I Like It Like That
13. Pretty Little Baby Love
14. Quicksand Love

The Hubcaps are a Swedish band formed in 2001 by Johnny Valentine (guitar and vocals) and Ricky James (slap bass). Dutch drummer Igor Slootman joined the band in 2005 to form the trio they are today. I haven't been aware of their previous releases but their latest on the excellent Enviken label is a blast.

This is pure rock 'n' roll energy and there isn't a weak track on offer. Most of the fourteen songs are original with a couple of great covers. The opening track is a belting rockabilly number in the Pearly Lee category, and if it's as good live as Billy Lee's was then the band are on a winner. There's a few flat out stompers in the style of Jack Baymoore, particularly Little Linn.

They've obviously spent a couple of terms at the School of Dave Edmunds, as his influence looms large on two superb tracks, I Want U and Pretty Little Baby Love. Cindy kicks off in Warren Smith mode before turning into a mid tempo beauty and Island Bop is just so damn hypnotic. The covers of Quicksand Love, Warpaint and Long Blond Hair are great, although they don't quite match Shaky on Tiger.

A wonderful release that's amongst the best modern CD's of the year. Brilliant.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

The Baseballs new single - Chasing Cars

With their debut album entering the UK album charts at number 4, and their first single, "Umbrella" gaining loads of airplay, German rockers, The Baseballs are strking out again. Their new single gives Snow Patrols "Chasing Cars" a complete kick in the ass. Whilst the orginal is a slow, moody number (which I actually quite liked I'm ashamed to say), the Baseballs give it the pumping piano treatment.

Friday 13 August 2010

Reasons to Love youTube No. 7 - Dion and the Belmonts

Dion and the Belmonts - I Wonder Why (1958)

A massive thanks to the Flip Top Flippar for bringing this beauty my way. This is a brilliant, rare clip from 1958 and shows white boy doo-wop at it's finest. They moves and routine might not be as dynamic as some of their black counterparts, but the choreography is still as tight as the vocals - which is tight. The only down side is the hard looking mama at the 1 min 30 mark who looks like she'd slit your throat with her papa's switchblade without batting an eyelid. Wonderful stuff.

Friday 6 August 2010

Imelda on the Big Screen

Went to the cinema last night to watch the British comedy Wild Target featuring Emily Blunt and Bill Nighy. It's a pretty good comedy, but for two of the film's major scenes, the music used is Imelda May. There's Going Up Country and Mayhem, but the real show stopper is Johnny Got A Boom Boom which sounds so great in this context with the double bass pounding out of the big speakers. It felt wonderful as well to be sat in a packed cinema knowing that the guitar everyone was enjoying, comes courtesy of such a nice guy as Darrel Higham. Long may the success continue (and rise) for Imelda and the boys.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Stray Cats - Ubangi Stomp (youTube)

The graffiti on the wall says "have a wank". After watching this I nearly did.

Please Give Me Something - Roots Of The Stray Cats

Please Give Me Something - Roots Of The Stray Cats
Bullseye/El Toro

Track Listing:
Icky Poo : The Nomands
Tear It Up : Johnny Burnette Trio
Lonely Travelin' : Lonesome Lee
Sweet Love On My Mind : Jimmy & Johnny
Somethin' Else : Eddie Cochran
Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop : Lew Williams
Ubangi Stomp : Warren Smith
Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie : Eddie Cochran
Please Give Me Something : Bill Allen
Double Talkin' Baby : Gene Vincent
My One Desire : Ricky Nelson
That Mellow Saxophone : Roy Montrell
Your Baby Blue Eyes : Johnny Burnette Trio
Wasn't That Good? : Wynonie Harris
Let's Have A Ball : The Wheels
Rock Therapy : Johnny Burnette Trio
Race With The Devil : Gene Vincent
I'm Looking For Someone To Love : The Crickets
Beautiful Delilah : Chuck Berry
One Hand Loose : Charlie Feathers
Everybody's Movin' : Glen Glenn
Slip Slip Slippin' In : Eddie Bond
Your True Love : Carl Perkins
Stood Up : Ricky Nelson
Let It Rock : Chuck Berry
Mystery Train : Elvis Presley
Sleep Walk : Santo & Johnny
Hidden Charms : Chet Atkins

I’ve just had the good fortune of receiving a tasty package from Dave Penny on behalf of El Toro records. Amongst the delights was the new CD, Roots of the Stray Cats which looks at the original songs that they covered or in some cases, borrowed from. To top it all, the set also comes in vinyl format with the much missed gatefold sleeve. It’s easy to forget how much easier it is to read the sleeve notes on this format than the handy, but tiny CD sleeve.

The track list is phenomenal, and in fairness to the Cats, their versions of them all are top quality. In common with thousands of others my age, I became aware of a lot of these songs courtesy of Massapequa’s finest. I heard Ubangi Stomp for the first time on their debut, before I ever heard Warren Smith’s original. I know this’ll bring tutts and moans from one and all, but that’s the way it was. The Stray Cats brought some of this music to a new audience, who like me dug deeper in a quest to discover just where it came from. In the days before the internet that wasn’t easy, and a school kid couldn’t afford to but the wealth of reissues coming out at the time.

Amongst the Stray Cats catalogue there’s some straight covers, such as Tear It Up, Your True Love and Rock Therapy together with a couple of naughtier moments. Changing the odd words, didn’t make the song your own. Crawl Up And Die was Bill Allen’s Please Give Me Something, Wild Saxophone was definitely Roy Montrell’s Mellow Saxophone. Not quite as blatant, but pretty close was their adaptation of Lew Williams’ Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop into Fishnet Stockings and the Wheel’s Let’s Hall A Ball became Gonna Ball.

As well as being a great CD in it’s own right, there’s a couple of numbers that a lot of fans may not be familiar with. What’s amazing is the way that two of them, The Nomands’ Icky Poo and Lonesome Lee’s Lonely Travelin' were both used for the beat to Stray Cat Strut. I find it fascinating to hear them both, as they both provided elements of the Strut, but the contribution that Brian Setzer made to reinvent the number is mind blowing. The two originals are really good, but SCS is brilliant.

A great collection that pays equal homage to the Stray Cats and the guys that inspired them.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Laid to rest while my PC was laid up

Unfortunately there's been a few deaths whilst I've been off-line. Two mjor ones in my world are Harvey Fuqua of the Moonglows and Hank Cochran.

I'm away from home this week so I've got no records with me. But my iPod will celebrate all three lives with the likes of;

Ten Commandments of Love, Sincerely and See Saw for Harvey.

Tired and Sleepy (Cochran Brothers), The Chair (George Strait) and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge for Hank.

Whilst writing this I've just found out that guitar legend Fred Carter has died. It gets worse and worse.

Monday 19 July 2010

Jerry Lee on All Stars Anything Goes - 1977

I've no idea what All Stars Anything Goes is, but a guess would be that it's a bit like the UK's It's A Knockout with the odd celebrity addition. These clips are weird. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine seeing Jerry Lee in this type of thing. What strikes me is how fit he looks in 1977 when you consider what Elvis was like (even before August!).

To think that him and Tom T. Hall would be in a sack race together. Wierd. Basically it's Mercury Records against RCA. Choose your favourites and cheer them on. Go Jerry.

On a more serious note, Jerry Lee has just has to cancel his European dates as he is reported to be seriously ill. Get well Killer, we need you.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Last Train From Memphis CD

LAST TRAIN FROM MEMPHIS - Last Train From Memphis
Foot Tapping FT094


Last Train From Memphis are a newly band who individually have been mainstays on the European rockabilly scene. They comprise Rob Chapman on vocals, Paul Gaskin on guitar, Thomas LaVelle on piano, Wayne Hopkins on bass and Rob Tyler on drums and between them their CV’s include The Houserockers, Blue Moon Boys, The Playboys, Dave Phillips & The Hot Rod Gang, Restless, The Outer Limits and others.

What I love about this band is the full blown nature of their sound. Like the very best of the Sun artists that obviously influenced them, they’re more than just a slapping trio, with a rolling piano underpinning the songs and giving them an extra dimension. The other stand out aspects of this band for me, are Gaskin’s guitar and Chapman’s voice, which has a real Hayden Thomspn quality to it.

Chapman wrote ten of the tracks here, including the sensational opener. Crazy Little Mama is one of the best Sun styled modern songs I’ve heard with great guitar and vocals. You Knocked Me Out is another fine tribute to the 706 sound. The Struggle shows the bands versatility and reminded me of Carlos and the Bandidos with it’s Mexican feel and guitar sound that Malcolm Chapman would be proud of.

Say You’ll Be Mine is a superb powerhouse piano rocker and one of the albums high spots. I really enjoyed the slower, Promise Me Darling which sounded like early Charlie Rich. Fay Wray, Last Train From Memphis and A Little Bit Of Love and the jazzy ballad I Get The Blues are all okay without being world beaters.

Of the covers, Johnny Burnette’s If You Want It Enough and Bobby Helms’ overrated Tennessee Rock ‘n’ Roll stick faithfully to the originals and Al Ferrier’s Kiss Me is a fine choice. LaVelle’s piano puts a pep in the step of Elvis’ I’m Counting On You which Chapman again handles really well. Best of the lot though is Love Me Baby which fits the band to a tee and Chapman pays a brilliant tribute to Hayden Thompson. It’s uncanny how much he sounds like him – its as if the Boonesville Flash has found a time machine.

So all in all, a great debut release that should be helped later in the year when the band start touring. To me their sound is sort of a mix between the Kingcats and Jack Rabbit Slim. I look forward to hearing more from them in the years to come.

Friday 11 June 2010

Howlin' Wolf - 100 Years Old

The great Howlin' Wolf was born 100 years ago yesterday in White Station, Mississippi. He was christened Chester Burnette, but he was born to be the Howlin' Wolf. The greatest bluesman the world has ever seen. Happy birthday Wolf.

I'm just sat here in bed watching videos of him and my misses just says to me, play that "Spoonful". I didn't even know she knew it - she's as surprising as he is awesome.

And finally, check out the entrance he makes to this live spot.

Rockin' Song of the Week No.102 - Elvis Presley

Rockin' Song of the Week No.102 - Elvis Presley - Hard Knocks
Roustabout Soundtrack

The Elvis Presley career is always classified as three main areas, the rockin' 50's, the Hollywood 60's and the Vegas 70's. The middle period gets dismissed by all and sundry as a wasted decade of crap films and rubbish songs. To a large degree that's right, but there are some wonderful songs dotted about, it's just a case of wading through it to find the gems. By 1964 proper rock 'n' roll was hard to come by, with the exceptions standing out like lighthouses in a storm. Big Al Downing and Jack Scott spring to mind but the pickings were slim. That's what I find fascinating about tracks like Elvis' Hard Knocks. For the time and in the backdrop of the time, this was a spirited stab at hard rockin'.

The song was written by either one of a husband/wife team. Joy Byers was a songwriter who was married to Bob Johnson (Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan ) who claims that he wrote a lot of the Elvis stuff as Joe Byers, even penning the wonderful, It Hurts Me with Charlie Daniels. Whoever wrote it, it's a solid piece of rock 'n' roll for 1964. The lyrics aren't bad for an Elvis movie tune, a far cry Do The Clam. "I walked a million miles I bet, Tired and hungry and cold and wet, I’ve heard that lonesome whistle blow, From New York City down to Mexico, Some kids born fancy free, Nobody never gave nothing to me".

The song was recorded on March 2nd, 1964 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, in a pretty productive session for the forthcoming Roustabout movie, that also spawned Little Egypt, Poison Ivy League and It's A Wonderful World. To my ears, that's a good quartet. The King was still using the crème de la crème of musicians at this time, with the likes of the Jordannaires, Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Bob Moore, Boots Randolph, Buddy Harman, Billy Strange and Barney Kessel.

The song might not be as good as the primetime 50's rockers and the film clip might not have the magnetism of the Loving You live scene, but it's still good. Don't just write this period off - there's some good rock 'n' roll to be had. Spinout, anyone?

Sunday 6 June 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No.101 - Ray Hudson

Ray Hudson and the Western Rhythmaires - Jackhammer
Dixie 45-1043

I know nothing about Ray Hudson and the Western Rhythmaires other than what I can see at Terry E Gordon's great Rockin' Country Style website (thanks for the label shot). He had two singles on the legendary Starday-Dixie label, the first one, The Blues Walked Away being a favourite on the rockin' scene. That came out on Dixie 45-819 in late 1959, a full four years before his next effort.

The second single (Dixie 45-1043) is a classic. The flip side, Here I Am Drunk Again is a well known cover of the Autry Inman country bopper. The a-side is a monster instrumental. The intro is all Duane Eddy before moving into Link Wray and Sandy Nelson mode. Does anyone know who the guitarist is? I know a lot of the Starday stuff is Hal Harris but it doesn't sound like him to me. It packs more punch than a jackhammer and if savage rock 'n' roll is your bag, you'll love it.

Saturday 5 June 2010

Reasons to love youTube No. 6 - Carl Perkins

There can't be many arguments that Carl Perkins is the true king of rockabilly in it's purest form. Check out these clips that run through the years. The Ranch Party clip is phenomenal. What a find these old clips were - footage that we never dreamed we'd see.

Your True Love (from Ranch Party tv show)

Turn Around (from Nashville Now - he was a great rockabilly, but just as awesome at country music)

Johnny Cash medley 1974

The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll ( from Class of '55)


Blue Suede Shoes/Matchbox medley from 1971 - I'm not sure which was worse, the waistcoat or the dance steps! The rest is great though.

TV chat with Scotty Moore

Matchbox with Duane Eddy and the Mavericks (what a line-up)

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Kingcats – In The Mood

Kingcats – In The Mood
Foot Tapping FT091


I’ve raved over these guys before, both on record and on stage. Their latest Foot Tapping offering doesn’t disappoint and maintains the high standard they’ve set for themselves. Again the format is a short album full of well chosen covers and reminds me of the type of albums you used to get in the late 70’s.

As with their earlier Back On Track CD, there’s a trio of Elvis covers. Treat Me Nice and Don’t Leave Me Now showcase the quality of Bill Crittenden’s voice but add little to the original. The CD opener is something else though – they romp through Promised Land. I love the way the Kingcats turn the 70’s Elvis songs into 50’s rockabilly, a further example being Crittenden’s cover Hurt for an album he did with The Sweet Georgia Boys – check it out.

Again the covers on this album are well chosen. Jerry Lee’s In The Mood Boogie is a fine band workout that differs little from the Killer’s and the cover of the old nutmeg Washing Machine Boogie is superb. Crittenden is similar in style to James Intveld, so their cover of his Perfect World was always going to be good. Perfect voice, perfect song, perfect world indeed. Lonesome Life For Me and Time Of My Life are very Elvisy and the Mavericks Losing Side Of Me is tailor made.

The best song though, and one that I haven’t been able to stop playing is Leroy Van Dyke’s Walk On By. It’s a brilliant version and even manages to surplus Leroy’s original. The vocals on this are superb. On my review of Back On Track I finished by saying that BC was the Paul Ansell. If he keeps this up he’ll be the new Elvis. Bill Crittenden take a bow.

Monday 31 May 2010

Reasons to love youTube No.5 - Crazy Cavan

Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers - Put A Light In The Window

Another brilliant clip of Cavan from a tv show somewhere down the road. Judging by Cav's hair I'd say it was in the late 70's. He certainly ain't got that much now! I love the comment at the bottom where someone describes it as poppy and more like Tenpole Tudor. Thinking about it, I'd love to here Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers doing Swords of a Thousand Men - wow.

Reasons to love youTube No.4 - Wilburn Brothers

Continuing the long line of brother-duos, the Wilburn's were probably the last bona-fide act in the tradition. Had rock 'n' roll not materialised in the mid-50's I'm sure the Everly Brothers may have claimed that honour, but it did and they can't! The brothers, Doyle and Teddy were born in Hardy, Missouri in 1930 and 1931 respectively, the final kids in a bunch of five. Before they reached puberty they were part of the Wilburn family band with brothers Lester and Leslie and sister Geraldine, playing on guitars, mandolin, and fiddle that their dad had bought from the Sears, Roebuck catalogue. A series of local gigs soon made way to appearances throughout the south until in 1940 they came across, and impressed Roy Acuff who arranged for them to join the Grand Ole Opry. They lasted for six months until the Opry were forced to drop them because of child labour infringements.

In 1948 they joined the legendary Louisiana Hayride and had formed a close allegiance with future Hall of Famer Webb Pierce. This exciting period was scuppered by the Korean conflict which saw both Doyle and Teddy called up for action. When they returned from duty they were forced to become a duo as the elder brothers had left the business and Geraldine had gotten herself hitched. Webb Pierce was by now working at the Opry and with the two Wilburns old enough to fight for Uncle Sam and therefore definitely old enough to sing on the radio (!) they rejoined the famed Nashville show. They became a part of Pierce's backing band and signed in their own right to Decca records.

They enjoyed their first hit record in mid 1954 when Sparkling Brown Eyes spent four months on the charts, peaking at number four. They made national television appearances on both The Arthur Godfrey Talent Show and American Bandstand. Over the next 15 years they notched up 30 hit records, including Go Away With Me, Which One is to Blame, Trouble's Back in Town, It's Another World, I Wanna Wanna Wanna, I'm So in Love With You, Go Away With Me, Roll Muddy River, and their biggest single, 1966's Hurt Her Once for Me. From a rocking point of view there was only one record to warrant mention. As with most country artists in the 50's they were tempted into taking a stab at rockabilly. They cut little known but pretty good rocker, Oo Bop Sha Boom which was released as a single (Decca 9-30591).

Their talents didn't just end on the performing front though. They formed the Wil-Helm Talent Agency with former Hank Williams sideman Don Helms and started a music publishing house called Sure-Fire. These helped the early careers of among others, Sonny James, the Osbourne Brothers, Jean Shepherd and most controversially of all, Loretta Lynn, who parted in a sour manner from the set-up. When she collaborated with Hollywood on her biopic Cole Miner's Daughter the Wilburn Brothers were omitted completely from the story line despite their massive role in her career. Such was the ill feeling between the three after the split that Loretta started to use other writers instead of writing herself and letting Sure-Fire get the publishingIn 1963 they started their own weekly TV show, in colour, The Wilburn Brothers Show, that ran until 1974. They were named Duet of the Year in the Music City News Awards in 1967 and were nominated for Vocal Group of the Year at the 1972 CMA Awards.

Doyle died of cancer on October 16, 1982, which left Teddy to carry on as a solo act on the Grand Ole Opry until his own death from congestive heart failure on November 24, 2003. As with most acts from the past, their artistic talent is long forgotten by the country music industry but real fans of the real sound still hold them close to their hearts. Their harmonising and countrypolitan sound still has a freshness today which outshines the majority of stuff the Nashville labels are producing today. If they are to be the last of the sibling duos they certainly carried the torch with proud. The stage is set for someone to take the throne, but when and who will that be?

Top Ten Picks:

1. Trouble's Back In Town - Top 5 hit from 1962 is countrypolitan Nashpop that has the Big O and Jim Reeves written all over it.

2. Trouble Keeps Hanging Around My Door - The Wilburn's revived the Delmore Brothers style on this great Ted Daffan ballad. All that was missing was a Wayne Raney blast on harmonica.

3. Hey, Mr Bluebird with Ernest Tubb - A perfect slice of Nashville pop from the pen of the late-great Cindy Walker that sees Ernest as tuneful as he ever got.

4. Which One Is To Blame - 1959 hit record in the Ray Price shuffle beat. You'd swear the Cherokee Cowboys were backing the boys here.

5. I Wanna, Wanna, Wanna ­ Louisiana music guru J.D. Miller penned this uptempo two minute chunk of fiddle laden hillbilly.

6. Somebody's Back In Town ­ Top ten honky tonker written by Teddy and Doyle and Don Helms.

7. Arkansas ­ a deviation into the folk field that suits the guys to the ground.

8. Sparkling Brown Eyes with Webb Pierce ­ this classic split tempo number was their first hit.

9. Fighting A Mem'ry ­ pure honky tonk from the pen of Danny Walls.

10. Hurt Her Once For Me ­ their biggest hit from 1966 which reminds me of Buck Owens.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Reasons to love youTube No.3 - Stonewall Jackson

For some reason, Stonewall Jackson is a much overlooked artist. He's got a great voice, a good strong quiff and some pretty good songs as well. Here's a few selections from the wonderful world of youTube.

That's Why I'm Walkin'

I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water

Don't Be Angry

Rockin' Song of the Week No.100 - The Highliners

The Highliners - The Benny Hill Boogie
Razor Records RZS 119

This little bit of madness came out in 1989 and pays tribute to the hotties on the Benny Hill Show. It’s a psychobilly rocker based on Benny Hill’s theme song which in turn was based on Boots Randolph’s Yakety Sax. The backing is very similar to King Kurt with the main ingredient being danceability, fun and sax.

The band started on ABC Records and found a reasonable amount of fame when 'Double shot of my baby's love' and 'Henry the Wasp' landed on the singles charts and led to appearances on MTV and Top of The Pops. They recorded their first album here in Wales but ABC went tits up and it was two years before the album was eventually released by Razor Records. After they disbanded, some of the band members formed The Death Valley Surfers.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No.99 - Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy – Lonely Boy, Lonely Guitar
RCA 47-8180

Most Duane Eddy compilations are heavily stacked with his early Jamie recordings, but I actually prefer his RCA stuff. I love the Jamie recordings, in the most part they’re some hard rockin’ tunes, but I just adore some of the atmospheric, western tinged numbers he did at RCA. It’s probably because the first album I had of Duane was a cheap album, I think on RCA Camden, with a painting of Duane on the cover, that focussed on the RCA era (the same cover was used for the Hits & Rarities CD shown above). Things like The Ballad of Paladin, (Dance With The) Guitar Man and Fireball Mail blew me away. But the track that has always stuck with me and one of those that you sing to yourself for no apparent reason is Lonely Boy, Lonely Guitar.

Lonely Boy, Lonely Guitar was cut on Independence Day 1962 in Pheonix, Arizona with a four piece band and overdubbed vocals from the Rebelettes. Duane Eddy is acknowledged as the king of twang, but even by his standards this was amazing. There’s great contrast between the sweet high pitched harmonies of the Rebelettes and the deep, needle dragging twang of Duane’s guitar. The song only made number 82 in the US charts when released the following year, but just managed to sneak into the top 40 in the UK. What I find most amazing is the song is regularly overlooked by compilers the world over. If someone asked me how things like Desert Rat and The Iguana can make a Best of RCA CD but Lonely Boy, Lonely Guitar can’t, I’d find it easier to explain how Lost panned out.

Saturday 22 May 2010



Ocala Baby is the latest release for Cincinnati quartet, Jerry King and the Rivertown Ramblers, on the great El Toro label. The band consist of King on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Jason Roeper on lead guitar, "Jumpin" Jeremiah Brockman on double bass and "Swingin'" Dave Johnson on drums.

For anyone who’s never heard them before, they are a rock ‘n’ roll band with a less frenetic sound than most bands go for. These intersperse their rockers with a fair number of ballads and mid tempo numbers with backing vocals. If you had to compare them with any 50’s act I’d probably place them in the Ral Donner category. The youTube clip at the bottom features a great song of theirs from a few years ago and will give you the flavour of their sound.

Throughout their career they’ve tended to write their won material and on this latest they’ve written all fifteen numbers. There’s not a bad song amongst them, which is an amazing feat when you consider that this diverse album sees them sing rockaballads, piano led rock ’n’ roll, some straight ahead rockabilly and even a couple of country influenced tracks.

Guest Christopher Girton helps get the album off to a great start with some pumping piano. The best of the genuine rockabilly numbers is Epilepsy Betty. Do You Mind is a lovely ballad that shows King’s vocals to great effect and again sounds like Hayden Thompson and competes with I Can’t Do this Anymore for best ballad. Tell Me That You Love Me is a Johnny Cash Sun era styled slowie, while Will I Ever Love Again and I Apologise are pure Ral Donner.

Her Whispers is a neat song that’s hard to categorise, so why bother! Just put it in the “bloody good” box. My favourite track at the moment is Kisses Of Fire, which has the western sound that Mack Stevens excels at – in fact, this number sounds like Hayden Thompson being backed by the Mack Stevens band.

Great band, great album, great label. Nuff said.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Reasons to Love youTube No.2 - Conway Twitty

You've Never Been This Far Before

If it's true that real men wear pink, ol Conway must have been more manly than Martina Navratalova. Is this the same suit that Olivia Newton John used in Let's Get Physical? What made me laugh was the old cliche of having a country act singing from a fake barn - what farmer have you ever seen in a little salmon pink outfit and white loafers?

Also, can you imagine what the likes of Jerry Lee, Sam Phillips, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris and Billy Lee Riley thought as they watched this on tv.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Imelda May - Psycho (new single)

I know some of the guys on the Shakin’ All Over forum have been getting all hot and steamy under the collar with the new Imelda May video. Yeah, Darrel looks so dreamy doesn’t he!

She’s filmed a new, official video for Psycho, the forthcoming single, due to be released on the 28th June. The song is also on her brand new album Mayhem, coming in September 2010.

The video is great fun and seems to have cameo roles from Breathless Dan and Rufus Thomas! In honour of the songs title, Al Gare seems to have visited the barber.

Below are a couple of live clips where both Imelda and Darrel shine like beacons. Dh is smoking on Pat Cupp's Don't Do Me No Wrong.

Don't Do Me No Wrong - Boardwalk - 2.12.08

Walking After Midnight - Boardwalk - 12.2.08

Tuesday 18 May 2010

What The Hell Happened To? No.1 - Stacy Dean Campbell

What the hell happened to Stacy Dean Campbell. I loved his two early 90’s albums, Lonesome Wins Again and Hurt City, but somehow he just couldn’t crack the country charts. I’ve no idea why, he had the looks and the voice and wrote ssome really good songs. He always struck me as rockabilly type of guy with his songs having a real 50’s feel. I'd go as far as saying that his debut Lonesome Wins Again ranks up there with Dwight's Guitars, Cadillacs and Steve Earle's Guitar Town.

Checking his Wikipedia page I see that in 2004 he wrote his first novel, Cottonwood, set in West Texas in 1937. Included with the book was a CD featuring twelve original tracks inspired by the novel.

In recent years, he has been working as a producer and director in music videos and short films. He is one of the founders of Gravel Road Productions which produces Bronco Roads, a PBS travel series that showcases New Mexico. Campbell serves as host. The clip below is one of episodes where he goes to Clovis to check out the legendary Norman Petty Studios.

Eight Feet High

Friday 14 May 2010

Reasons to Love youTube No.1 - Lightnin' Hopkins

Lightnin' Hopkins - Baby Please Don't Go

Wham Bam Sam playing the much covered Big Joe Williams classic. Lightnin' plays the guitar solo with the love and freedom that Jerry Lee sometimes plays a piano solo. It looks so effortless - amazing. The only negative thing I can think of is that his quiff wasn't as pomped as it sometimes was.

Lightnin' Hopkins - Mojo Hand 1962

I've seen five peice bands who couldn't boogie like this mutha.

Clip from The Blues According to lightnin' Hopkins

Has the blues ever been more powerful than Lightnin' and Howlin' Wolf. This five minute clip comes from the brilliant 1967 documentary dedicated to Lightnin' Hopkins. Check him out 30 seconds in, that quif I mentioned is just a comb away.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Teddy Boy Rock ‘n’ Roll – Crazy Cavan Tribute

Teddy Boy Rock ‘n’ Roll – A Tribute To Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers
Rollin Records RRCD010

Boz Boorer provides an insight into how inspirational Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers were in the UK during the 70’s and how he and his mates all “wanted to be Lyndon Needs so all of us jumped around like epileptic hillbillies”. He also talks about how drummer Mike Coffey’s brother, Breathless Dan was revolutionary in going Stateside to discover unheard singles and bring them back to Europe.Boz adds, “As a result of his travels he supplied Cavan with a lot of 45’s that people had never heard in England (Wales!!). This stood them head and shoulders above any competition at the time and added to their unique sound. So I think a tribute album to them is long overdue”. I totally agree, and although there’s been the odd song (Teencats – Hey Mr Grogan) and a recent album from Mr Breathless, this is the first major venture. Just a quick glance of the song-writing credits shows how dersereving this tribute is. They’re all household favourites across the rockabilly world and fourteen of them were written by Crazy Cavan Grogan or Lyndon Needs.

Eleven of the fifteen tracks were cut over two Sundays in Hollywood in early 2008, with four bonus cuts from this side of the pond. The first session from 6th January 2008 mainly features Boz Boorer, Dean Micetich (Kid Rocker), Solomon Snyder and Joe Perez, with a couple of guest spots fro Big Sandy, Tim Polecat and Ashley Kingman.

The CD bursts out of the speakers from the get-go with both Boorer’s Teddy Boy Rock ‘n’ Roll and Big Sandy’s Wildcast Cats In Town being brilliant Cavan tributes, full of the energy and power that made Cav and the Rockers the legends they are. Big Sandy actually sounds like Cavan at the beginning. The band are great on the five tracks featured with Boorer and Micetich sharing some rip-snorting solos. Boorer’s other number Teddy Boy Boogie is equally wild, I would love to have heard his cohort Morrissey get involved. He’s a bit of a rockabilly, I could just imagine him doing a dark version of Put A Light In The Window. Micetich is the Kid Rocker on Bop Pretty Baby and he hiccupos and growls for all he’s worth, great stuff. Tim Polecat gives flick of the middle finger to all the Teds who booed the Polecats at Jerry Lee gigs with a stompin’ take of She’s The One To Blame.

The second session from the end of February BB and Micetich joined by a mixture of session men including Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom, Danny Harvey and James Intveld. Boorer is again superb with the Hard Rock Café anthem. I love James Intveld and think some of his songs like Perfect World and Samantha are stupendously good, but I don’t he’s really a Crazy Cavan kinda guy. Don’t get me rong, I’m chuffed he’s a fan of Cavan and wanted to be involved in the project, I’m just don’t think his voice suits it. Then again, Crazy Rhythm might have been a great name for a Cavan album, but it isn’t exactly their best song – perhaps if Intveld had of covered one of the ballads like Dolores it might have been better suited to his controlled vocals.

Levi Dexter returns to form without My Little Sister’s Gotta Motorbike and even gives us the bike noises that Cav revels in doing. It's nice to hear this song with a double bass (played by Intveld) so prominent, and makes you wonder what CC&RR would sound like with more of this than an electric bass.

The best of the five bonus tracks is Johnny Fox and the Hunter’s My Bonnie. Then again that oldie belongs to Teds everywhere, not just Cavan. The Batmobiles deserve a mention for their spirited neo-rockabilly blast through Frankie’s Got A Quiff.

Boz Boorer and Kid Rocker deserve a slap on the back for producing a magnificent album. This isn’t just the fitting album that Cav and the boys deserve, this is a truly wonderful album in its own right. And what about the photos on the front and back covers.

The Baseball – Strike

The Baseball – Strike
Warner Music Group

Most people have now heard of the Baseballs, a three-piece German band who take modern pop songs and give them a rockin’ make-up with doo-wop vocals and double bass slapping away. I know there will be detractors throughout the rock ‘n’ roll circuit, but there’s room for more than just Charlie Feathers tribute bands. Anyway, what’s wrong with covering pop songs. The history of rock ‘n’ roll is saturated in souped up versions of pop standards - what was Blueberry Hill, etc. Anyone who doesn’t approve of the sound, must surely acknowledge that the look is good. Three young lads, one who’s hot (the wife’s opinion not mine) - you can’t have too many quiffs on the charts!

The Baseballs are a bit of fun and sound more doo-wop than rockabilly. To me, they sound a bit like some of the Jets stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t know any of the original songs here except Angels and Don’t Cha.

I Don’t Feel Like Dancing has a more pronounced double bass than most songs here and it works really well. Their adaptation of Robbie Williams’ Angels is superb. It starts off like When and the vocals are so much better than the Port Vale Poseur. Don’t Cha is another gem, given a wonderful doo-wop opening. Johnny Maestro would approve. When my misses sees Sam the tall one singing “don’t cha wish your boyfriend was hot like me”, I can see here nodding in approval. Bitch.

Don’t get your head mixed up about whether Hank done it this way. He didn’t, but what the hell. This is fun time music which might just find a way into the charts. If Jack rabbit Slim can come in through the back door, great – but someone has got to get that door cranked open first.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Hank Williams Revealed: The Unreleased Recordings

Hank Williams Revealed: The Unreleased Recordings
Time Life Entertainment

Hank Williams Revealed is the follow up to last years, Hank Williams: The Unreleased Recordings. The format is the same, three CD’s featuring some complete 15-minute “morning shows” of hits, narratives and gospel. The shows were pre-recorded in Nashville and sponsored by Mother’s Best Flour and Feed for distribution to radio stations across the land. Hank Williams Revealed features three full Mother’s Best programs first heard nearly 60 years ago, as well as stand-alone songs, in-studio conversations and banter between Hank and the Drifting Cowboys.

The first CD is billed as The Hits… Like Never Before. The first thing that strikes you is the quality of Hank’s vocals and the band. These versions are so tight they could have been released as singles. The disc kicks off with his then current single, Cold, Cold Heart, running at over three minutes. It’s of particular interest because this is believed to be the first public appearance of the song. Highlights include Move It On Over, described by Hank as “The Doghouse Blues, the dog song”.

The upbeat manner and jokey nature of Hank belie the pain and suffering he was going through at this time in his life. We do get a glimpse of it at the beginning of the second disc when during the introduction to That Beautiful Home he says he’ll get up out of this chair to the mic if his back can stand it. This second disc, Southern Harmony, contains the spirituals and although this isn’t really my favourite genre, there are some great numbers on offer. How Can You Refuse Me Now is beautiful and Lord Build Me A Cabin also hits the spot. Something Got A Hold Of Me is a duet with Miss Audrey where she maintains her 100% record of always sounding like she’s in the middle of an argument.

The third and final disc, Luke the Drifter, is an intriguing collection of less familiar songs. Hank jokingly refers to Luke The Drifter as his half brother before reciting the clever, bittersweet, Everything’s Okay. I love the version of Jimmie Davis’ honky-tonkin’ homage to Dixie, Where The Old Red River Flows with Hank’s strange yodel which is part Lovesick Blues, part Muleskinner Blues. A drop or two of moonshine liquor must surely have passed his lips before this recording. Prime-time Hank. His revamp of Tennessee Waltz to Alabama Waltz drags a bit, but not so a rompin’ Orange Blossom Special, which sees Jerry Rivers shine. I Hang My Head and Cry is neat ballad, almost a rewrite of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.

As with the first box, this is a superb release that sits nicely alongside the 10 Hank box and the Health & Happiness Shows. He was a freak of nature to be such a brilliant and consistent artist even when his personal life was in tatters. He remains the bench mark for all country singers.

Saturday 8 May 2010

Don Woody - You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Don Woody - You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Bear Family BCD-17137

Track listing: You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree; Bird-Dog; Make Like A Rock And Roll; Morse Code; Hula Hula Girl; A Lesson In Love; Red Blooded American; Not I; A Lesson In Love; Bigelow 6-200 (Brenda Lee); The Rope (Billy Eustis)

I gotta be honest here and tell you that I’m reviewing a mate’s copy, as I wasn’t sure that I could justify the fifteen quid for an eleven song CD. I know that with Bear Family you get the whole package but the reality is that there’s only half a dozen songs here I hadn’t got.

Don Woody was one of those figures so revered in the rockabilly world. He had a couple of singles released to no acclaim back in the day, before getting discovered in Europe a couple of decades later. Woody came to our attention when he Decca quartet were highlights of the great 1975 album, “Rare Rockabilly” on MCA. That quartet, You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree, Bird-Dog, Make Like A Rock And Roll and Morse Code were cut on December 21st 1956 in Nashville with Grady Martin almost dominating proceedings. The first two were issued as a Decca single whilst surprisingly, the other two remained in the can until the MCA album. All four are rockabilly in it’s purest form and everyone of them could grace any compilation album. For what it’s worth, my favourite is the hypnotic Morse Code.

The next stage in his career could well have been the end stage but for a revival two decades and four thousand miles away. The Atco single, Not I backed with Red Blooded American was new on me, and probably for most fans. There a definite easy rock feel to Red Blooded and the verses reminded me of the Jimmy Edwards CD I reviewed last week.

From a demo session in early 1958 we get two songs, a charming enough Hula Hula Girl and A Lesson In Love which is no great shakes. The set is rounded off with two songs written by Don Woody. Surely everyone reading this has got Brenda Lee’s great Bigelow 6-200 whilst Billy Eustis’ The Rope is less known. It’s a western style story song that is better than Eustis. He’s okay but if someone like Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins would have cut it, it would have been excellent.

So to nitty gritty. Does it give enough value for money in these hard times. For me, no. The best ones are the four Decca’s and Brenda’s Bigelow. However, if you collect everything on Bear Family and have been living on Mars and haven’t heard Morse Code and co, go for it, it’s great stuff.

Rockin' Song of the Week No.98 - Kingbeats

Kingbeats – I’ll Tell My Mama On You/I’ve Been A Bad Boy
Flash 1553

I can’t find much out about the Kingbeats other than that they were a three piece from
Olive Branch, Mississippi and consisted of Robert Geeslin, Gene Sullivan, and Larry Houston. I heard them through their inclusion on the Chicken Rock: Rockin’ Around The Mountain. The Eagle CD (1999) is well worth checking out for it’s Memphis area rockabilly from Sun era Carl Perkins, Jimmy Evans, Tommy Tucker and the great title track from The Mountain Ramblers featuring an up and coming Bobby Bare.

The Kingbeats were the 185th Inductees into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, purely on the strength of their Flash single. According to Terry Gordon’s brilliant website, Flash Records came out of Senatobia, Miss, and this Kingbeats classic seems to be its only release. It could be their own vanity label?

Despite the singles 1964, its more Gene Vincent than Beatles. I’ll Tell My Mama On You is a great rocker that could have been cut a decade before. This vocals are so exciting and the guitar is pure rockabilly. I’ve Been A Bad Boy is a strolling blues number with some stinging guitar, rudimentary drumming and call and response vocals.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Don Rader Tribute

Check out this short little tribute to Detroit rockabilly Don Rader. It was produced for his Detroit Music Award after his death in 2004. But he was rock 'n' roll grandpap long before he reached old age.

Looking back, this is how the great Rockabilly Hall of Fame reported his death. "The Legendary Don Rader, Detroit's first Rock artist, lost his battle with heart disease at the University Of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor on July 5th. He was 66.

Don Rader was born in Royal Oak Township, (Now Hazel Park) on December 15, 1937. He has been writing, recording, and performing since he was a teenager. Don Rader is well known for songs like "Rock And Roll Grandpap," and "Goodbye, I Hate To See You Go." In 1959, Don moved to Chicago, and later moved to Florida to host his own T.V. show. A few years later, Don moved to Nashville, and recorded his Country hit, "Goodbye, I Hate To See You Go." Don then moved back to Michigan, and wrote, and recorded many more songs, and records.

Don Rader was still writing, recording, and performing around the Detroit area until his death. A tribute show is scheduled for Wendsday, July 28th at Memphis Smoke, in downtown Royal Oak, at 9pm, and is open to all ages. Guests include Scott Campbell, Carl Bradychok, Dave Rowe, Mark Pazman, and many more guests. For more information about Don Rader's life and music, contact:"