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 CafĂ© 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:"

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 97 - The Stargazers

The Stargazers - Rocket Ship To The Moon
CBS Records

I love the Stargazers back in the 80's. Their 1983 album, Watch This Space, seemed to be on my record player a hell of a lot back then. They were a British band with a flair for the big band rock 'n' roll ala Bill Haley and the Comets. Their sound also had a sprinkling of Louis Prima, and they played with the same flair and fun that encapsulated the best of Prima's work. They sort of predate the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Whilsy Hey Marie and Groove Baby Groove are solid rockers, and Tossin' and Turnin' is brilliant, I always had a soft spot for the slower, jazzier number, Rocket Ship To The Moon.

I've just come across a great collectors website. The guy who runs it appears to be mates with original Stargazer Rocky Lee Brawn and it looks like the site will focus on all the records the band recorded and released over the years. Check it out at:

Monday 3 May 2010

Rock 'n' Roll Art No.4

Here's great little gallery that has no details about the artist but plenty of wonderful paintings. The guy seems to specialise in the blues, and I love his Robert Johnson one.

The website is at:

Sunday 2 May 2010

Jerry Lee Lewis Highway - Memphis, TN

The good folks of Memphis, Tennessee have decied to rename part of Getwell Road, the Jerry Lee Lewis Highway. Click on the link below to see WMC TV's coverage of the ceremony with the Killer looking frail but proud.

WMC TV Coverage

Feleena - Marty Robbins on youTube

Thanks to Shakin' Steve Walker for finding this gem on youTube. It never ceases to amaze me what turns up out of the blue. No idea where this early 60's black and white clip comes from. No idea who the bartender is, but he does well to contain himself that much. I'd have gone off my trolley if I'd been two feet from Marty Robbins as he crooned this western classic.

Josh Thompson - Way Out Here

I’d never heard of Josh Thompson until my mate Jeff borowed me this, his debut album. First impressions from the cover photo weren’t good. A ponytail ain’t my cup of tea until it’s on some blonde waitress in a little summer dress. As Jeff likes to say, "that doesn’t make me shallow does it?"

Josh Thompson was born in the late 70’s in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The state might have spawned Bob Timmers, but it isn’t renowned for being a country music breeding spot. Thompson moved to Nashville five years ago as a songwriter and last year landed a recording contract with Columbia’s Nashville division. This is his debut album for them and there’s a handful of excellent numbers. He had a hand in writing all ten songs, all but one with co-writers. And what a high profile bunch of buddies to have with David Lee Murphy (Party Crowd, A Little Dust On The Bottle) collaborating on two numbers, Rhett Atkins (I Brake For Brunettes, Friday Night In Dixie) and George Ducas. It’s good to see Ducas on the scene, I loved his 90’s debut with the likes of Lipstick Promises, Teardrops and My World Stopped Turning.

The title track, Way Out Here pretty much tells you what the album is about and you’d swear this guy was a chest thumping redneck, “Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun, And you might meet ‘em both if you show up here not welcome son”. The chorus emphasises the point, “We’re about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere, Way out here”.

Other highlights of the set include the country rocker, You Ain’t Seen Country Yet, with the disturbing line, “if you ain’t made love to a Haggard cassette, well you ain’t seen country yet”. Now I’m a pretty big Merle fan myself, but I’ve never been tempted to put my pecker in one of his cassettes!

A Name In This Town is witty, with lines like “I still hold the land speed record down County Road 509, Judge Taylor said he was real impressed but wouldn’t waive the fine”. Another one I really liked was the opener, Beer On The Table which reminded me of the Not A Moment Too Soon Tim McGraw era, back when he was good. McGraw was country back, now the tastiest thing he does is Faith Hill.

There’s a couple of decent ballads in Sinners and the clever, I Won’t Go Crazy. Talking of crazy, Blame It On Waylon is also really good. It does just what it says on the tin and fades out to a Waylon beat complete with the Hoss guitar.

The album peaked at number 9 in the country charts and even made 28 on the pop charts, so Columbia and Thompson will no doubt be back for another ride next year. As for the singles, I see that Beer On The Table peaked at 17 whilst the tile track has just entered the top 40. An entertaining album that although it nods towards soft rock, stays the right side of country, and always has a clever or funny lyric thrown in.