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Grady Martin Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves and Hot Guitar

Grady Martin

Atomicat

Guitar maestro Grady Martin is given centre stage when it comes to new release ‘Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves and Hot Guitar’ on Atomicat Records. Featuring thirty tracks, this compilation album serves as a vehicle to highlight not only the inventiveness of guitar player Grady Martin, but also to demonstrate his influence over the genres of hillbilly, country, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll. With ‘Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves and Hot Guitar’, the first ten tracks feature Grady Martin in numerous roles whether performing with The Slew Foot Five and/or guest vocalists or going it alone. It’s during these opening songs that the listener gains an understanding of those early recordings and influences of country and hillbilly, for example, as demonstrated by Mervin Shiner with Grady Martin and His Slew Foot Five and song ‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire’, made famous by Hank Williams of course. There is a real panache to ‘Long John Boogie’ mainly as a result of Grady Martin’s guitar ironing out some of the creases of its inspiration ‘Oakie Boogie’ and with Don Cherry providing the vocals on this occasion. The remainder of this album is Grady Martin in the role of session musician, and one very much in demand when perusing the track list where a slew of country artists turned some of their output to the emerging sounds of rockabilly with the likes of Lefty Frizzell and Shirley Caddell teaming up for excellent ‘No One To Talk To (But The Blues)’. The album is complete with a string of hepcats/kittens from Elvis, Johnny Carroll, Carl Perkins, Janice Martin, Brenda Lee and Ronnie Self to name but a few, and therefore revealing the respect Grady Martin was duly given by many of those emerging rockabillies and established country artists who no doubt welcomed his presence in the recording studio.


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Farewell Britain: A Rockin’ Farewell To Britain

Various Artists

Rhythm Bomb

As a final parting of the ways is imminent between Britain and the EU, Rhythm Bomb Records issues a brand-new compilation featuring a selection of its bands and tracks where associations with this upheaval have no direct correlations to anything political and therefore selected on a criteria of emotions only. Expect to find, therefore, songs involving anger and frustration, given the tussle between Brussels and the UK, and expressed appropriately in name and title only via such tracks from Swedish rocker Fireball Steven as ‘Thunder And Lightning’ taken from his recent and critically lauded LP. With plenty of references to decision making, the always reliable Twisted Rod spin a “had enough” yarn of a life going nowhere set to a gritty rockabilly rhythm. Furthering the tension is A. J. & the Rockin’ Trio’s equally rockin’ ‘Done Me Wrong’, and The Hoodoo Tones emotionally raw ‘Who Thinks About Me’, which happens to be the closing number on recent and magnificent album ‘Still On The Run’. ‘Farewell Britain: A Rockin’ Farewell To Britain’ is not confined to rockabilly because the listener will experience a blend of old-time blues, expertly delivered by Black Patti (‘Nagging Blues’), and then given further variations involving traditional blues and rhythm and blues with hints of fresh additions by way of Bonita & The Blues Shacks’ ‘Hottest Wings In Town’; The Jelly Roll Men (‘Come Back Home To Me’) and Cat Lee King & His Cocks’ ‘You’re The Greatest’. Deep in reflection is Little Victor where lies of a relationship plummet ‘So Blue’ to the darkest depths yet remains one of the most compelling tracks available on this album. Ending on a positive note and sounding far from twee because this is a slice of hot rockin’ blues is Sara Lee and ‘Love Is Good’. It might be farewell, but the music and its strong ties between Britain and Europe will certainly live on as demonstrated by this collection of songs.


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Koko Showcase: A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Reacting to the positive reception of Koko Mojo’s rhythm and blues series of compilation albums, the final instalment arrives with a thirty-track album consisting of many of the highlights from the series of CDs. With a difficult task filtering through many hours of delightful traditional blues and rhythm and blues found on this set of albums, the final list of tracks making up ‘A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm’ features a track from each album and referenced on the back cover. From this picking list of rhythm and blues it’s such delights as Lucky Millinder’s ‘Who Said Shorty Wasn’t Coming Back’, and powerhouse vocals of Little Miss Jessie with ‘My Baby Has Gone’ to see why this compilation series was in such great demand. From there it’s the likes of opening track ‘You Drink Too Much Booze’ by Jimmy Raney & Slim Slaughter with jazz influencing its rhythm, to confident turn in more ways than one from Marty Lewis and song ‘Satisfied With My Lovin’’. It is also the anecdotes that inform much of these songs in addition to the compelling music, not forgetting some of the monikers of the artists featured and titles of a few of the songs with oddity that is the track ‘Psycho’ by Bobby Hendricks winning hands down. Those who are new to the Koko Mojo experience and missed the majority of these compilation albums would be wise to start with ‘Koko Showcase: A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm’ because during its thirty tracks provides a wide dosage of rhythm and blues with enough evidence to tempt any listener to explore the rest of this series. A limited-edition release to mark this excellent series in style is ‘Koko Showcase: A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm’.


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Southern Bred: The Hot Thirty Picks

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Due to the resounding success of the Southern Bred series on the Koko Mojo imprint, the final say to this excellent series goes to a strictly limited-edition compilation featuring a selection of tracks from several states in America. With the regions of Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and the City of New Orleans featuring here, the curators of Southern Bred no doubt had tough decisions to make when compiling this list of thirty tracks considering the ten volumes previously issued. No matter as the selection of songs provides more than enough evidence that investment in this series is worth every penny of anyone’s hard-earned cash for those new to the Southern Bred albums. Interestingly and the right decision to go with is the mixture of well-known artists with the less than familiar and providing further details of what to expect if considering further investigation of the series as a whole. Opinions will no doubt differ but highlights featuring ‘The Hot Thirty Picks’ include Sonny Boy Williamson with Willie Love and ‘Too Close Together’; Howlin’ Wolf ‘Wang-Dang-Doodle’; Big Bill Broonzy and His Big Little Orchestra ‘Tomorrow’; Lloyd price and His Orchestra ‘The Chicken And The Bop’; Floyd Dixon ‘Roll Baby Roll’; Baldemar Huerta ‘El Rock De La Prison’ and Clayton Lou ‘Mary Lou’. The truth in fact is that the whole contents of Southern Bred: The Hot Thirty Picks’ is simply engaging and with numbers limited there is only one investment worth making right now.


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The Mojo Man’s Halloween Party

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

More a party at home this year considering the unprecedented times we are all experiencing, but at least this new long player will provide hours of entertainment given the carefully considered track list with far more than the usual suspects. Yes, it’s marketed as a Halloween album, but considering the quality and diversity available here, ‘The Mojo Man’s Halloween Party’ is an album to spin any time of the year if you’re a connoisseur of all things rockin’ or you enjoy a touch of humour and eccentricities with your rockin’ delights. With Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Well, you can’t really leave him out) introducing this compilation with ‘Little Demon’, and then followed by equally gripping track ‘At The House Of Frankenstein’, complete with captivating vocal performance by Big Bee Kornegay, makes for a winning start. There are instrumentals from The Nite Caps (‘Haunted Sax’) and others containing smatterings of haunted vocals for effect from the likes of Oscar Hamod & His Majestics with ‘Haunted House’ and Bill Doggett ‘Monster Party’. Intro of the album goes to Tyrone A’Saurus & His Cro-Magnons and rockin’ ‘Monster Twist’, which is not to suggest the rest of its contents fail to live up to such quality because it happens to be one of several highlights to be discovered here. Serving up a modern twist is Little Victor and raw electric blues of ‘Graveyard Boogie’, before reverting to more rockin’ treasures from the vaults by way of The Verdicts’ ‘The Mummy’s Ball’ and The Monotones’ ‘Legend Of Sleepy Hollow’. The Mojo Man does it again with another ten out of ten selection of oddball snippets and rockin’ tracks that make this album a must have for any Halloween party or to enjoy all year round.


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Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

With number one in this series already available, ‘Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 2’ follows quickly on its heels with another thirty-two tracks of German rock ‘n’ roll goodness. If you’re looking for something a tad different when it comes to rockin’ music, then you’ve arrived at the right destination as a whole host of German rock ‘n’ roll artists apply their skills to said genre of the 50s and 60s. As with volume one, numerous artists feature once more with Billy Sanders, Ted Herold, Peter Kraus, Ralf Bendix, in addition to some new faces such as Frank Olsen with jazz and big band influences adding to very light rock ‘n roll that is ‘Bist Du Noch Mein Baby’, or elsewhere IIIo Schieder leaning towards a pop sound with ‘Dolly Dick’ and, even more appealing, Conny Froboess providing a rather excellent version of Paul Anka’s ‘Diana’. Adding to the female ranks of strong performances during this second volume is Dany Mann and ‘Sexy Hexy’, which turns out to be a cover of ‘Stupid Cupid’. As with the first volume, there are plenty of up-tempo numbers with strong examples served by Billy Sanders’ ‘Rocky Rocky Baby’, Peter Kraus ‘Teddybär’ made famous by a certain Elvis Presley and ditto ‘Jailhouse Rock’ with Peter Kraus applying his skills to the German version ‘Hafenrock’. Like its predecessor, ‘Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 2’ will likely appeal to serious record collectors and those with a penchant for something “different” when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll.

 


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Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 1

Various Artists

Atomicat

A compilation with a difference from Atomicat Records featuring German artists performing rock ‘n’ roll songs from the 1950s and early 1960s in their native language. With thirty-two tracks making up the first volume of this series, there’s plenty to digest with Ted Herold starting the album with a determined rendition of ‘Little Linda’ and Ralf Bendix closing the album with a lively big band version of ‘Sputnick Rock’. There’s an interesting touch given to this album with rebranding of some song titles such as ‘Holiday City’ being a cover of Jan and Dean hit single ‘Surf City’ and, for the purpose of this album, served up by equally interesting moniker Club Gerry Friedrich. Speaking of thought-provoking names, Cat’s Bimbo Box raises an eyebrow, yet the sound is rockin’ with excellent piano during ‘Baby Bitte Bleih Bei Mir’. Add to the mix some novelty via Hans Blum and ‘Charly Brown’ with, again, nifty piano work, before turning up the heat a notch with Billy Sanders’ ‘Du Hast Zuviel Sex-Appeal’ and Peter Kraus with ‘Tiger’. On the evidence of volume one, the series ‘Rockin’ Schlager Party’ is likely to achieve cult-status amongst record collectors given the different approach of this brand-new series from Atomicat.


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Falsehoods (EP)

Terrible Love

Bandcamp

The future of Terrible Love remains unclear, with truly little information surfacing from the band’s social media pages. That said, the latest breaking news concerns brand-new EP ‘Falsehoods’, issued (For the moment?) as a digital only release. The new material is welcome news, despite a clear statement from the band that the tracks are DEMOS carefully selected from a still unfinished/unreleased full-length album. With much credit owed to Sam Manville for tidying up, mixing an mastering the songs featured on ‘Falsehoods’, it is difficult to accept that these tracks are not the finished articles because the quality is of a high calibre and worthy of an official CD/vinyl release. Likely financial constraints have taken their toll here, not to mention the unprecedented times society is undergoing, but no matter as fans of post-hardcore, post-punk and alternative music in general will lap these up. Beginning with the lone-skeletal guitar chords of ‘Dose’, which soon morphs into second-track ‘Come To Harm’; that has all the feel of a demo during its opening bars, only to unfold into a thunderous, guitar-driven song with melodic passages and red-raw vocals. Whether it is an individual or agency at the centre of ‘History Will Not Be Kind’ is open to interpretation, but either way makes for compelling listening in addition to the more considered approach of the song musically. Concluding with the excellent and forceful ‘Maw’ that signposts feelings of angst concerning the unusual times society is experiencing, Terrible Love fire enough flares during ‘Falsehoods’ signalling for life to be given to this EP, which is warranted considering the quality on display and therefore persuasive enough for any suitors listening to officially release the long overdue album. Trying times indeed.


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Hoodlum’s Wildest Wingding!

Various Artists

Atomicat

Fresh out of the stable is a brand-new album compiling some of the finest rockabilly tracks the genre had to offer. The entire album will delight those new to the world of rockabilly, but also appease those with similar content already in their record collections as this album makes for compelling listening from start to finish. Beginning with excellent fodder as Hank Mizell’s ‘Jungle Rock’, cool-as Eddie Fontaine and ‘Nothin’ Shakin’, and even more stylish Glen Glenn’s ‘Everybody’s Movin’. From there, the quality never dips and the “All killer, no filler” phrase often applied to such compilations certainly lives up to such billing with none other than wild, wild offerings from Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock ‘Ah Poor Little Baby’, Wynn Stewart ‘Come On’, Joe Poovey And The Royal Dukes ‘Move Around’, Gene Wyatt ‘Lover Boy’, Johnny Strickland ‘She’s Mine’, and Ric Carty ‘Scratching On My Screen’. What is also appealing here is the inclusion of artists who are not always the first to be drafted when compiling such rockabilly collections and, therefore, even more comforting when the quality remains high from the likes of Magic Sam ’21 Days’ and David Ray with ‘Lonesome Baby Blues’; the latter track holding an ear to Carl Perkins’ ‘Matchbox’ and perfectly acceptable considering the interpretation and song in its own right from David Ray. Moving on, Don Head offers a combined intoxicating brew of vocals and rhythm with excellent ‘Goin’ Strong’, and then further jet-propelled rockers by way of Roddy Jackson and ‘Hiccups’ and, for its intriguing title, not to mention very convincing turn from its performer Bobby Milano, ‘Life Begins At Four O’Clock’. The album ‘Hoodlum’s Wildest Wingding!’ is a thrilling ride of rockabilly and, therefore, an essential purchase for fans of rockabilly and music in general.


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Still On The Run

The Hoodoo Tones

Rhythm Bomb

Firmly back on the saddle is Rhythm Bomb Records with latest album release by French rockabilly outfit The Hoodoo Tones. Firing up the old classic of its front cover, The Hoodoo Tones embark on a third trip packed with twelve new songs. The latest long player sees the band ‘Still On The Run’ and blending traditional rockabilly with the modern trimmings found on the rockin’ scene. Examples of such influences can be heard via ‘Train Yard Boogie’ that hints at Johnny Cash but never quite ventures on the former legend’s territory, yet you can almost hear that “train a comin’…” via The Hoodoo Tones’ bristling rhythm and chiming guitar sound. Where the Hoodoo Tones also excel is their ability to inject something a little different as heard by the verses of ‘Young Guns’, sounding thoroughly modern yet held together and making perfect sense by the glue of its choruses due to its close affiliations with rockabilly. It all makes for a compelling track, and one fearful of its aging status due to the talented young bucks waiting closely in the wings to become the next big thing on the rockin’ scene. Doing things differently appears to be The Hoodoo Tones philosophy as ‘Still On The Run’ throws up a few additional surprises such as introducing female voice of Crystal Dawn who provides a really strong presence during the chuggin’ country-light and rockabilly-heavy rhythm of ‘The Crystal’s Kick’, hotly followed by the near-country and western feel yet overwhelmingly rockabilly of ‘Another Toy’, with lyrics deploring the unfair status of one half of a seemingly doomed relationship. In fact, there isn’t much this talented three-piece cannot do as they turn their attention to rhythm and blues during ‘The Taste Of Love’, with saxophone supplied by Alex Bertein, to offering other avenues containing a bluesy rhythm topped off nicely with nasally vocal of ‘Coming Home’ to full of attitude and probably one of the coolest tracks you’re likely to hear all year ‘The Rooster Song’. What more do you want? It’s no wonder The Hoodoo Tones is on the run because they’ve clearly bagged all of the available talent and made a dash for it because all the evidence resides under the bonnet of ‘Still On The Run’ as it’s C’est magnifique!


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.10

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Quite possibly the final chapter in what has been a mesmerising spell of blues and traditional rhythm and blues of “Southern Bred” artists who left their musical legacy to history and served as reminders throughout all these volumes. Arriving at number ten in the series, ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ continues with the by now standard format of twenty-eight tracks featuring many well-known artists, in addition to a few lesser known names. With the latest album including several musicians featured on the previous volume such as Roy Hawkins, Peppermint Harris, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Floyd Dixon to name a few, the quality of this latest compilation is already assured to be exceedingly high. Beginning with the excellent and lively rhythm and blues of Big Walter and His Thunderbirds and song, ‘Pack, Fair & Square’, and continuing with engaging vocals and rhythm found during ‘Bippin’ An Boppin’ (Over You)’ by Bobby Byrd and Orchestra. If this is truly the end of this fine series, then the final volume is certainly ending on a high as evidenced by the inclusion of wonderful rough diamond ‘Seven Days’ performed by Gory Carter, to saxophone stompin’ rhythm of Joe Houston’s ‘We’re Gonna Rock ‘N’ Roll’, and equally captivating ‘Wine Drinkin’ Woman’ from Roy Hawkins whose vocal adds to the overall conviction of this record, not to mention standout lead guitar that scorches a few holes in this player! Finishing with smooth as silk numbers as ‘Baby Don’t Go’ from Jesse Belvin, to piano boogie via Lloyd Glenn and His Joymakers and ‘Midnight Boogie’, ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.10’ is a record that stands out on its own merits yet is part of a series of albums equally on par with the quality offered here.


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.9

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Under the knowledge that the previous volume of ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ was the last in the series, up pops another volume much to this publication’s delight. Hosting a further twenty-eight tracks, ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.9’ continues the fine selection of its predecessors as it begins in fine fashion via Bobby Day and ‘That’s All I Want’, and concluding in equally fine manner by way of Young Jessie and ‘I Smell A Rat’. The tracks in between offer much to enthuse over and starting, in no particular order, with the likes of Floyd Dixon ‘Roll Baby Roll’, to rhythm and blues featuring much harmonica from namesake Harmonica Slim and ‘Going Back Home’, and elsewhere the improvised feel and finger pickin’ blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ ‘New York Boogie’. With Marie Adams (‘Ain’t Car Crazy’) adding to the rhythm and blues of this album, and Barbara Lynn (‘Teen Age Blues’) offering something a bit more advanced from the same genre yet still within the boundaries of its traditional foundations, there’s much to take in as far this latest volume goes. Such examples can be cited from somewhat unconventional approach of “Smokey” Hogg, who makes several appearances throughout this compilation and, most notably, during ‘Good Mornin’ Baby’ where instruments seem to overlap one another and, on occasions, sound off-kilter before finding their rhythm once more. A fascinating song. There is much to like about volume nine of ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ but, most of all, it’s the fact that the series has maintained its previous momentum and continues rolling.



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