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Perdition

The Redhot Trio

Western Star

Either there is a cleverly formulated master plan afoot here or The RedHot Trio is blissfully unaware of the confused signals they are transmitting. Walking out from underneath a blanket of darkness, the artwork gracing the Trio’s ‘Perdition’ is more akin to that of a heavy rock band rather than the sauntering Johnny Cash-inspired ditties on offer. The only real indication of the wildness suggested by the exterior arrives in the shape of the superbly boisterous ‘Devil Woman’ with its red-hot guitars and occasional hollers. From then on in, The RedHot Trio pull off the unexpected by driving into mid-tempo territory and, in the process, reveal a succession of jaw-dropping numbers. Look no further than the on/off love affair of ‘Whiskey Train’ or the rolling down the tracks of ‘Unspoken Words’ to the deep regret flowing through ‘Letter To Donna Jayne’ in order to understand that there is great talent at work. Marinated in western flavours ‘Day By Day’ and ‘My Old Guitar’ nearly reach the summit, especially the latter with its wondrous brass instrumentation, only to give way to the guitar picking and quirky instrumental that is ‘The Mental Breakdown’. If The RedHot Trio can reproduce or better songs of this magnitude, then the next instalment is one to savour. As it stands, ‘Perdition’ is a beguiling collection of songs from a genuinely gifted set of musicians.


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Live Love, Give Love

Fanny Mae & The Dynamite Believers

Enviken

Latest export on the Enviken label is Sweden’s Fanny Mae & The Dynamite Believers with the rather magnificent ‘Live Love, Give Love’. Thirteen songs ranging from varying degrees of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll with added swing and a knowing pop sensibility that sets out this debut as a little bit different. Such indications are clearly signposted in the dark undercurrent flowing through ‘Condition Unknown’ and the ballad-esque ‘Rocket Scientist’ with both giving way to the possibility of crossover appeal. There is of course more familiar territory with the rockin’ and gritty ‘Right Here Again’ and seriously infectious soda pop inflections of ‘Hipshakin’ that will even have the normally restrained amongst us shaking their limbs. ‘A Place In My Heart’ reveals a lilting chorus that catches you unaware and soon claims your heart whereas polar opposite ‘Can’t Stand Your Love’ has more than a whiff of Buddy Holly about it. With a more than competent cover of Bobby Darin’s ‘Dream Lover’ possessing glimpses of sunlight, especially when the vocal reveals its rawness, to the cautionary tale of ‘Time Don’t Heal Every Wound’ and gallows bound ‘Stand Up’, ‘Live Love, Give Love’ is a prime example of a band leaning on the past yet equally at home in the present.  


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Running Late

The Magnificatz

Castor Wax Recordings

Hailing from the West Midlands, The Magnificatz ‘Running Late’, a thirteen track album of original neo-rockabilly material, was apparently recorded in ‘complete takes’ which definitely has a grain of truth about it during ‘Baby’s Gone’ as one can almost hear lead vocalist Tim Jackson nearly lose composure as laughter almost gets the better of him. In fact, this album possesses bags of charm whether it’s songs about finding love at a party for the dearly departed ‘Dead Man’s Ball’, the lyrically soured yet utterly addictive and departing down the tracks of ‘There You Go’ or Tim Jackson’s unconventional vocal best heard on the lurking in the shadows paranoia of ‘Cat Come Scratching’. Willing to cast bets on The Cramps being a source of inspiration for the songs comprising ‘Running Late’, it remains, however, this fascination with all things lingering on the darker, greasier side of life coupled with the intentional simplistic sounding nature of the band’s songs that sets The Magnificatz apart.


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Mama’s Back

Ruby Ann

Rhythm Bomb

It is not difficult to comprehend why Ruby Ann is one of German-based record label Rhythm Bomb’s top earners when hearing the wondrous vocals and authentic musicianship stemming from ‘Mama’s Back’. The belting R&B influenced ‘Call His Name’ sets the tone admirably but more notably for revealing the ace in the pack with Ruby Ann’s nothing short of compelling vocal delivery. In fact, it’s hard to differentiate between time periods throughout the entirety of the album as one literally feels transported back to a fifties era when things were perhaps a little simpler (‘I’ll Never Get Rich’) due to the authenticity of ‘Mama’s Back’. With leading contenders for such assertions being the chugging rockabilly ‘Do Right Mama’, ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ and defiant ‘No I Won’t Cry’, one can at least rest in the comfort that artists such as Ruby Ann is one of the forerunners for replicating a retro sound but within a modern framework of original material. With a new album set for release on the not-too-distant horizon, Ruby Ann will no doubt be securing more deserved success when that time is upon us. In the meantime, bask in the retro glory of ‘Mama’s Back’.


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Carolina & her Rhythm Rockets

Carolina & her Rhythm Rockets

Rhythm Bomb

With an eponymously titled debut album in the offing consisting of fourteen tracks of authentic rockabilly – thirteen of which are self-penned – new recruits to the Rhythm Bomb roster, Carolina & her Rhythm Rockets seem set to follow in the footsteps of label mates Marc & the Wild Ones as ones to watch in 2013. Being only of tender age yet sounding as if they have been producing these rockin’ tunes for a lot longer, such is their aptitude for songwriting, Carolina & her Rhythm Rockets debut is an accomplished affair yet nicely balanced with a slightly rough around the edges approach that is guided by the rather aptly titled ‘Walk With Me’ that literally leads the listener into the heart of this work with its occasional vocal hiccups, handclaps and dexterous guitar. It is that VOCAL, however, that really defines this four-piece band from Germany due to its immense power that clearly states its intent during ‘Be Mine’ and crystal clear demands of ‘Treat Me Right’ (‘well if you want me don’t be bad’). There is simply not much room to come up for air as Carolina & her Rhythm Rockets maintain the rockin’ momentum in a blistering array of rawness ‘Can’t Stop Boppin’, ‘Looking Up’, ‘Waiting’ that will leave you gaping in awe. If this is the sound of the rising underground of rockabilly talent, then FLW will struggle to contain its excitement as Carolina & her Rhythm Rockets have already reached the stars.


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We Got The Bug!

The Bird Doggin' Daddies

Rhythm Bomb

Predominantly a covers affair with a mammoth eighteen tracks to consume, The Bird Doggin’ Daddies ‘We Got The Bug!’ does not outstay its welcome. This is largely due to the frenetic pace of the chosen covers, revealing en veldig god smak, but also the deft musicianship that binds these driving rhythms together. There is a certain freshness about the manner in which this four-piece attack versions of ‘Daddy-O-Rock’ and ‘We’re Gonna Rock It’ nearly claiming both numbers as their own because that’s exactly the impression given throughout due to confidence riding high yet not without an abundance of respect given to the originals.

It is this very same self-assurance, however, that needs to be leaned on further when it comes to the band’s own compositions because when The Bird Doggin’ Daddies rely on their own compositions they more than stand up to the covers being offered here. Look no further than the guitar pickin’, rockin’ belter that is ‘Better Be Gone’ and even more compelling low-slung ride of ‘Crossbone Jim (Mystery lane)’ suggesting a band with a lot more in their locker than is currently being revealed. As it stands, ‘We Got The Bug!’ is stunning in its execution and a teaser until the next instalment where it is hoped The Bird Doggin’ Daddies state their authority further with an album full of original compositions.


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London Crawlin EP

Viva Le Pink

Diablo Records

The pink revolution begins here! Newly arrived on the FLW desk is Viva Le Pink’s three-track EP ‘London Crawlin’. Any preconceptions of this being something of a novelty act, then think again as this debut offering comes out of the traps at considerable haste with the swinging rockabilly influenced ‘Hell Kitty’ which is more snarling than purring and deceiving rather than loving, ‘You know she’s bad, she’ll make you sad’. It is left to ‘Queen O’ Jack’, though, to steal the limelight with its self-deprecating humour and delightful lyrical touches, ‘Every time I get near you, I feel like ahead of the pack’ as sometimes in life it’s not always about the monetary value. Nearly having laid all the cards on the table, Viva Le Pink rounds off proceedings with the appropriately chosen cover ‘Pink Elephants’ nicely supplemented with splashes of saxophone and gritty, driving guitars.

If the form displayed here can be maintained, then ladies and gentlemen we could be witnessing a new emerging talent on the rockin’ scene and one that is most definitely pink.


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Café A-La-Rock

Rusti Steel and The Star Tones

Western Star

As far as rockabilly revival albums go, they don’t come much better than this. Rusti Steel and The Star Tones have done it again with a supreme batch of authentic sounding rockabilly numbers that would easily find a home in the 50s. ‘Baby, Won’t You Baby Me’ is a prime example of this authentic delivery with its high desires matching the pacey tempo and equalled by the guitar-driven ‘See My Baby Rock’. It is the rip-roaring ‘Prisoner Of Your Charms’, however, that really competes for supremacy here, and suggests that Rusti and The Star Tones are more than capable of turning it up a notch or two. Despite being a tad too long at fifteen tracks, ‘Café A-La Rock’ is leading proof that Rusti and his Star Tones are governing the pack when it comes to the rockin’ circuit of revival bands.


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Sons Of The Gun

The Bullets

Western Star

Straight outta the Western Star stable come highly tipped trio The Bullets with an array of original rockin’ compositions. ‘Sons Of The Gun’ is the end result of a busy period spent honing and crafting the contents of this long player under the watchful eye of Alan Wilson (The Sharks). Songs brim with a raw energy such as ‘Jump When I Want’ and muscular ‘Mean To Me Baby’ as does the deceptively titled ‘Moonshine’ with its merest hint of twanging guitar yet howling at the moon vocal supplied by Brett Waters. There is petulance afoot with ‘I Don’t Wanna’ whereas ‘The Beast In Me’ contains traces of Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio which is always a winning ingredient. It is left to the less energized and more country leanings of ‘Desperate Man’ to reveal another facet to The Bullets which is further compounded with the Western flavoured and always welcome brass of ‘Son Of A Gun’. The betting odds have just shortened on The Bullets as most likely artist to breakthrough this year.


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Together We Made Music

Chas Hodges

Western Star

Currently touring the length and breadth of the UK due to popular demand as none other than Chas & Dave, ‘Together We Made Music’ sees Chas Hodges flying the flag alone in a tribute to some of the great musicians he has had the pleasure of working with whether as providing backing support or merely strumming a few well-known ditties with the likes of The Beatles or Cliff Richard. Such details can be garnered from the comprehensive liner notes that are as compelling as the covers selected for this solo effort such as ‘Bring A Little Water Sylvie’, ‘Crazy Arms’ and tribute to Screaming Lord Sutch ‘Don’t You Just Know It’. It remains, however, closing number ‘Where Am I Gonna Find Ya’ – a Hodges and initial starting point for co-writer Dave Peacock to pen their own contribution – that really sticks in the throat and offers a timely reminder of why the duo are held so affectionately.


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Infamy

The Sharks

Western Star

The return of Alan Wilson’s The Sharks has been greatly anticipated by the rockabilly and psychobilly fraternity, and what a worthwhile wait new album ‘Infamy’ is proving to be. If it had not been destined for the music world, then a large proportion of ‘Infamy’ could have passed for a criminology thesis concerning the causes and effects of crime, due to its tip of the hat references to the criminal underbelly of society. Despite the darker tones of the lyrical content, ‘Infamy’ is not without considerable humour as ‘House Of Wax’ gives the impression of a silent black and white film complete with hapless victims hotly pursued by a relentless killer, whereas ‘She’s Fallen In Love With The Monster-Man’ conjures up much hilarity with its sweetly seductive girl group vocals and lines offering, ‘Now the monster was weird and just a little unreal, seemed kinda short of that sex appeal’. The swinging rhythms of ‘The King Of London’ and ‘I Can’t Believe You’re Back’ details the infamous exploits of Roy ‘Pretty Boy’ Shaw and Ronnie Biggs respectively, leaving the upbeat tempo of ‘Breakin’ Bones’ to shift theme (Evel Knievel of all things!) along with the intimate ‘Desert Diamond’ making this a true return to form.


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Unfinished Business

Wanda Jackson

Sugar Hill

Hot on the heels of the Jack White-produced ‘The Party Ain’t Over’, Wanda Jackson continues her renaissance with new album ‘Unfinished Business’. This time it’s Justin Townes Earle on production duties; even contributing vocally on the quite superb ‘Am I Even A Memory?’ With ‘Unfinished Business’ being a more subtle affair than the aforementioned White project, it would seem that Jackson still has much to offer, and long may it continue, as this resurgence in creativity and recognition is much welcomed.



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