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Released Out now

 

Stroll-A-Rama: Jump and Bump

Various Artists

Atomicat

Third volume in the series that likes to introduce the tracks that will transfer avid listener into avid dancer, ‘Stroll-A-Rama: Jump and Bump’ is that record. In addition to a more than wholesome thirty tracks, this is also the compilation series that doesn’t necessarily play by the rules as it introduces two tracks from contemporary artists yet who operate within the original 50’s blueprint of music. Add to the roster artists from various continents such as British talent Marty Wilde and song ‘Jezebel’, and French singer Richard Anthony with a rendition of ‘The Wanderer’ (‘Le Vagabond’), then clearly this collection is content with providing a little something else. Such tactics work tremendously as there is variation from the traditional rhythm and blues end such as The Drifters ‘Honky Tonk’ and The Flares charming ‘Jump And Bump’, to guitar and  brass duel of ‘Midnite Creep’ (Al Bruno), surf instrumental from German band Spo-Dee-O-Dee, and tight rockin’ numbers by the likes of Fention Robinson ‘Crazy Crazy Loving’. Jittery Jack’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ gives the game away only slightly when it comes to identifying the modern artist, but it’s a glorious stompin’ racket that provides much spice. It’s not only the rhythms (Bobby Doyle’s ‘Hot Seat’ is simply irresistible!) that entice because the majority of the lyrics grab the attention as well, with examples from ‘When Will I Be Loved’ (The Everly Brothers) to ‘What A Lonesome Life It’s Been’ (Skeets McDonald) that declares this album a true all-rounder.


Released Out now

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol.3

Various Artists

Atomicat

Third instalment in the series featuring all-female rockers from a bygone era is ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens – Shakin’ The Blues’. Bringing light to an area of rock ‘n’ roll that needs highlighting, the latest volume focuses on the “Blues” of its title in more ways than one. By bringing to the listeners attention songs with blues references, albeit rhythm and blues from Etta James ‘Good Rockin’ Daddy’ and big band sound of ‘Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad’ from Betty Hutton, the blues also refers to emotional blues whether given the ‘Run Around’ via Valli Hilton or more positive outlooks by way of female trio Nita, Rita & Ruby and ‘Baby You’re The One’, to celebratory ‘Lover Boy’ from Carol Jarvis. As with previous volumes, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens – Shakin’ The Blues’ is packed full of rockin’ tunes, but also songs that show a variety of musical influences than being a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll compilation.


Released Out now

 

Boss Black Rockers Vol.1 – She Can Rock

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

As the end of the sleeve notes to this brand-new compilation from the Koko Mojo label declares “Dig It!” there’s no wiser words to adhere. Titled ‘Boss Black Rockers’, the first volume provides an array of tracks from the vaults of a 50s era, in addition to touching upon the fringes of the early 60s. There’s a heavy dose of rhythm and blues mixed with the raw edges of what became known as rock ‘n’ roll throughout this volume, and it shines bright once the likes of The Upsetters, featuring Little Richard, get underway with ‘I’m In Love Again’ or The Cues delivering a nifty racket via ‘Killer Diller’. The tempo loosens further with a raucous ‘She Can Rock’ supplied by Little Ike and attention-grabbing ‘Comin’ Around The Mountain’ from appropriately named Johnny Two-Voice. In fact, the tempo of this album never really lessens as examples from Dee Clark, Frank Ballard, Four Scores and Bobby Flare amply provide, only this is often a controlled rhythm yet equally red hot to those cooked up by the more known white rock and rollers of the period. Where the edges become frayed, and this being a definite positive, then look no further than Leon and the Hi-Tones’ ‘Rock And Roll In The Groove’ and downright mischievous ‘Love Bandit’ by The Cadets which, along with the other twenty-six tracks making up this collection, cries winning score all round.


Released Out now

 

Climate (Single)

Rylos

Rylos Music

Another release that rightly feels the urge to address the current environmental issues that are constantly in the media right now. The band in question is Rylos who hail from Helsinki in Finland and their new single, appropriately titled, ‘Climate’ is a rather catchy affair. With its sound crossing borders between alternative rock and hard rock, ‘Climate’ introduces itself via tumbling drums, buzzing guitars and near-operatic vocals, before taking a moment to catch its breath and then continue its journey with a hard-hitting message to basically take care of this planet. ‘Climate’ was recorded at Astia Studio with Anssi Kippo in early January 2020, and it’s recorded completely using analogue recording technology. With the band adding to the mix new bassist, Riina Suikkanen, it looks like 2020 is going to be a serious year for Rylos judging by the energy and addictive qualities of latest single ‘Climate’ that combines its efforts equally between being a compelling tune and one with a conscience.


Released Out now

 

Blues For Mother Earth / Freak Knowledge

the Harvey Steel show

Sell Out! Music

Arriving in the form of two albums, yet packaged as a single release, are the brand-new offerings from the Harvey Steel show. Leading the way from Norway when it comes to raising awareness of social, political and environmental issues via their brand of DIY psychedelic folk art rock or whatever label one deems fit to apply to the band’s musical creations, the Harvey Steel show continue their musical exploration with a vinyl edition presented as a double A-side showcasing ‘Blues For Mother Earth’ and ‘Freak Knowledge’. Running first with ‘Blues For Mother Earth’, this side of the album reveals contents lighter in textures of folk, jazz and acoustic rock that eventually make their way to its centre masterpiece, and that being the album’s title track. Unfolding in 14 minutes, ‘Blues For Mother’ (track) goes through musical transitions involving folk and near gospel, to orchestrated jazz and breaks of psychedelic rock that remain under control nearing its conclusion. Lyrically, the song is worth adhering to if the present stranglehold of environmental pollution is ever going to be resolved. “Snap, snap, snap,” goes the flipside ‘Freak Knowledge’ that maintains the same A-sided status as ‘Blues For Mother Earth’ yet is the more aggressive sibling of the two. That’s not to say that we’re entering post-punk territory here, far from it, more that ‘Freak Knowledge’ is a little rougher around its edges as it pays its respects to those free spirits of this world prepared to open their minds and buck the norm of following trends. The Harvey Steel show certainly open their DIY box of creativity where blues, jazz and garage rock are on the menu. Former single, ‘Honey Voodoo’ is one such candidate that fits such a description as everything but the kitchen sink gets tossed in where, for example, you’ll hear more than one set of drums, distorted bass, harmonica, keys, saxophones, strings, vocal harmonies and an overload of guitars. Compelling chaos in other words. Less is also more here, with songs more concise as the short-sharp stabbing rhythm of ‘Artsy Crocodile’ with its protest-sounding vocals and bluesy harmonica are a match made in heaven, and one that would make PJ Harvey proud. There is only one way for the Harvey Steel show to go, and that is to continue pursuing their own musical destiny because this double A-side long player is a triumph.


Released Out now

 

Rock Ya Baby

Various Artists

Pan American/Atomicat

Continuing what has become something of a great tradition, not to mention series, the latest release on the Pan American record label is volume 45. With 26 tracks of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll goodness, the listener is spoilt for choice with newest in the series ‘Rock Ya Baby’. Whether it’s letting off some steam via Johnny Faire and wild ‘Bertha Lou’, to equally rowdy The Spades ‘Jim Dandy’, this compilation of artists will not fail to disappoint. By mixing a few NAMES with those less known or perhaps less featured on similar collections is a major appeal of this fascinating series and really brings attention through such tracks as Sonny Russell with ’50 Megatons’ and its intriguing quirks, to the slim instrumentation of ‘Baby By Rock’ by Winnie Starr And The Omaha Kid, and other places where the rockin’ beat definitely holds a swagger such as ‘Bad Bad Way’ from Rodger & The Tempests. Far more than a simple introduction to rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll, ‘Rock Ya Baby’ via PanAm certainly lives up to its title, but these songs and artists will guarantee further investigation due to a lack of familiarity and, more importantly, for being of the highest quality.


Released Out now

 

Bop-A-Rama: King Of The Ducktail Cats

Various Artists

Atomicat

Second instalment in the new CD series for jivers, boppers and strollers of the rockin’ scene, ‘Bop-A-Rama: King Of The Ducktail Cats’ brings another thirty tracks guaranteed to keep those feet moving. The first segment of the second volume is a tougher proposition in the sense that many of the tracks focus on the rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll numbers including the likes of Buddy Holly (‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’), Sonny Fisher (‘Hey Mama’), T. Texas Taylor (‘Shake ‘Em Up Rock’), Larry Nolen & His Bandits (‘King Of The Ducktail Cats’) to name but a few. With things heating up considerably, there’s room for a little reflection with various strands of country seeping into the mix and beginning with Rudy Hanson (‘Saturday Jump’), and then curiously finding room for Bill Monroe’s ‘Lonesome Truck Driver’s Blues’, before gaining considerable momentum with more rockin’ delights from Buddy Burke to Sonny Cole & His Rhythm Roamers and appropriate offering ‘I Dreamed I Was Elvis’. Add to the list two artists from the current rockin’ scene and any listener, not to mention any person who enjoys to bop, jive and stroll, cannot fail to be impressed with the collection that is ‘Bop-A-Rama: King Of The Ducktail Cats’.


Released Out now

 

Rock And Roll Mama

Various Artists

Pan American/Atomicat

Going from strength to strength is the latest addition to the PanAm stable and that being ‘Rock And Roll Mama’. As said in a previous review regarding this album’s predecessor is the informative findings of lesser-known artists from the genres of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll. By including a vast amount of tracks to wade through which, by the way, is never tiresome because the quality is consistently high, it’s the turn of the female with Stormy Gayle offering a powerful start with the engaging ‘Flipsville’ which, if you listen closely enough, cleverly picks parts of its rhythm from ‘Train Kept A Rollin’. There’s frantic guitars with The Sonics ‘Marlene’, to compelling vocal performances, and for different reasons, from the likes of Eddie Chase and ‘Ginger’, Stan Gunn And The Country Hepcats ‘Baby Sitter Boogie’, Russ Veers and keepin’ it on the edge of its toes rhythm ‘Warm As Toast’, and not forgetting ghostly feel of ‘Midnight Dreams’ from Tommy Bell. If you’re searching for the epitome of cool, then two such contenders can be heard via Roy James And The Rhythm Rockers ‘Rock & Roll Mama’ and soon followed by Danny And The Galaxies ‘If You Want To Be My Baby’. As mentioned earlier, this series of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll goes from strength to strength; ‘Rock And Roll Mama’ is no different as each of its 26 tracks does the Pan American label proud and will leave any listener eagerly anticipating the next volume.


Released Out now

 

Jive-A-Rama: It’s Rock And Roll

Various Artists

Atomicat

A new series arrives on the Atomicat imprint that focuses on the dance styles of jive, bop and stroll. With the first volume titled, ‘Jive-A-Rama: It’s Rock And Roll’ the songs come thick and fast and begin in some style via Arthur Lee May and The Crowns and ‘Do The Bop’, and concludes in equally fine style with The Starjays ‘Turn Down The Lights’. What’s interesting about this new CD set, which is scheduled for five releases, is that each volume includes artists from the 50s and early 60s, but also two songs from bands writing and recording in the present. Rather than give the game away, it’s up to the listener to untangle which two bands are the fresher sounding because once the 30 sides of jive, bop and stroll gets underway it’s not an easy answer to arrive at, especially for those less familiar with the rockin’ scene and therefore full credit for the authenticity of the modern bands involved. With some great names included and further interesting twists of artists and tracks chosen (i.e. Del Shannon’s version of ‘Runaround Sue’ rather opting for more obvious take by Dion), Jive-A-Rama: It’s Rock And Roll’ makes for an exciting compilation (listen to Curtis Lee’s ‘I Never Knew What Love Could Do’ for definitive proof) that will keep any dancer moving into the early hours.


Released Out now

 

Indian Bred Vol. 2: Chief Whoopin’ Koff

Various Artists

Atomicat

The next instalment in the ‘Indian Bred’ series from Atomicat sees another jampacked compilation of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll with many familiar names, and some less featured when it comes to other collections of rockin’ tracks. It’s not only the presentation of this current series that impresses, but the attention to detail considering space and time is restricted here. The choice of tracks this time leans more towards songs directly referencing native Americans, and with roots planted firmly in the various strands of country as far as the music goes. Therefore, step forward The Miller Brothers and Their Band (‘Geronimo’), Eddie Noack (‘Squaws Along The Way’), Roy Hogshed (‘Red Wing’) and Pee Wee King with ‘Indian Giver’. There are plenty of rockers as well with the album’s title track supplied by the driving guitars of The Fireballs, and then Barry Darvell letting fly with some serious rock ‘n’ roll with ‘Geronimo Stomp’, before adding further irresistible quality by way of Larry Manuel (‘Comanche Rock ‘N’ Roll’) and electric ‘Cherokee’ from Pete Goble and Billy Gill with The Kentucky Rebels. Where else are you going to find such wonderful eccentricities as ‘Indian Boogie’ by Buster Pack and His Lonesome Pine Boys’ and then supported by more household names and rockin’ tracks from Ray Scott, Bo Diddley to Link Ray and His Wraymen? That’s right, ‘Indian Bred: Chief Whoopin’ Koff’ because it’s a mighty fine collection of songs.


Released Out now

 

Indian Bred Vol. 1: Fire In The Teepee

Various Artists

Atomicat

A hot-rockin’ new series finds its way on to Atomicat by the name of ‘Indian Bred’. The first volume of songs features various artists with a Native American heritage performing numbers that either reflect such native links or songs reflective of the period i.e. Wild West or quite simply rock ‘n’ roll’s meal ticket of songs of love and heartbreak. Housed in a foldout digipack and with concise liner notes by DJ Mark Armstrong (Germany) of every artist featured, ‘Indian Bred – Fire In The Teepee’ is aesthetically appealing as well as informative, but does it cut the mustard sonically? Well, the immediate answer is yes, yes it does, and boy does this album deliver! From the big sound of Bill Haley & His Comets ‘Ten Little Indians’ fuelling the launch of this compilation and then proceeded by such rockin’ delights as ‘You Break Me Up’ (Ben Hewitt), wild, wild ‘Chonnie-On-Chon’ via James Brown and bristling rock ‘n’ roll of cover artist Eddie Clearwater ‘I Was Gone’, there’s much to be said of this album and it’s all positive. From its merging of predominantly rock ‘n’ roll with shades of rhythm and blues and expertly delivered by Art Neville and sublime ‘Zing Zing’ for example, to featuring country/honky-tonk troubadour Hank Williams with ‘Baby, We’re Really In Love’, proves a clever strategy as the track list functions with ease and offers great variety. There’s even room to show off here, and good reason when featuring the “ahead of its time” and fantastically oddball ‘Boo Hoo’ by Marvin Rainwater and even the King himself Elvis Presley closing out this session with ‘How Do You Think I Feel’. Quite simply, ‘Indian Bred: Fire In The Teepee’ is a red-hot long player, skilfully compiled and, if anything, a perfect introduction to some of the artists of the 50s rockin’ scene.


Released 7 February

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol. 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Second volume in the series ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens’ that focuses on the female rockers of the 50s and early 60s. With no introduction needed, Wanda Jackson is the perfect start with a “takin’ it to them” attitude summed up by the dominant force of the vocals and lyrics holding strong repercussions if you choose to step on the wrong side. From such a grand entrance, the rest of the compilation has much to live up to and it certainly delivers. Reasons for this is the change in tempo and emotions expressed where one instance songs are sultry and suggestive in their desires such as Lu Ann Simms ‘I Wanna Hug You, Kiss You, Squeeze You’ and equally the mysterious and little-known Cile Turner and excellent ‘Crap Shootin’ Sinner’, before entering a world full of regret where there really is only one outcome expertly done by two rhythm and blues numbers Dolores Frederick ‘Get A Transfer’ and Rosalle & Donell ‘Shame On You’. As with the previous volume, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol. 2’ would have been wise to drop by the wayside the sickly twee offerings from Rosie & Retta ‘I’m Gonna be Loved Tonight’ and title track by Sally Starr. That said, volume two in this new series just about edges things if a winner really must be decided.



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