Hal Peters & The String Dusters- Western Standard Time
Bluelight Records. BLR 331132
Late For Lovin’ - Eatin’ Right Out Of Your Hand - Without You - Time/Careless Words - Ciggarets, Jukebox and A Bar Room - I Hear You Talkin’ - Take Back Your Paperheart - Play The Music Louder - My Front Door Is Open - If I Don’t Love You  (Grits Ain’t Croseries) - I’m Satisfied With You - Diamonds And Cadillacs - Guess  Things Happen That Way
One often says that to make good country music and especially western-swing, it is necessary to be american and live in the south of the country if possible! All this is bullshit and I ‘m gonna disclose it right now : there is a band in Finland which, since many years now, forged itself a reputation whose exceeded the borders and is far from being usurped. Hal Peters and his String Dusters’ fellows form today part of the best formations of Western-Swing and this new album «Western Standard Time» proves it easily.Since their beginnings in the rockabilly music as a quartet (Hal Peters and his Trio) the combo has changed its name, stretched and moved towards a hillbilly bop and western-swing style inspired by Curtis Gordon (to whom this album is dedicated) Roy Hogsed or Hank Thompson. These accomplished musicians who divided themselves between other bands give to this album a credibility who largely exceeds a number of other bands which today launch out in this musical kind. Listen to «Late For Lovin’» a composition of Hal Peters (his real name is Heikki Laakkonen) and you will immediately be transported to Texas or Oklahomain the middle of the Fifties. The rest of the album will firmly anchor you to it during the fourteen titles with a small detour towards the rockabilly sound of Memphis with the participation of Hayden Thompson («Diamonds and Cadillacs») and the «Cash» soundalike with the cover of  «Guess Things Happen That Way». Is Helsinki goin’ to overshadow Turkey as the home of  Western-Swing?? Who knows.??
David Phisel
  Hal's Angels - And the angels swing
AS 4401
Lester Leaps In - Ridin’ On The L & N - Everybody Loves My Baby - Moten Swing - All Right, Okay, You Win - Lulu’s Back In Town - Creole Love Call - Truckin’ - Down The Road Apiece - Corner Pocket - House Of Blue Lights - Now Will You Be Good - Kansas City Southern - I’m Beginning To See The Light - The Kid From Redbank - Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
Don’t let that awful cover design stop you. This is a very good album and you’d really miss something. This bands consists of veteran Hal Smith (a top jazz drummer who played with so many bands that it would be too long to name ‘em all), Mike Earls on upright bass, Anita Thomas and Katie Cavera on reeds and guitar respectively (they both play in the Reynolds Brothers) and Carl Sonny Leyland (need I say more?). Swing, boogie woogie and early jazz influenced by Fats Waller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Lester Young can be found here. The two ladies both sing (alone or in duet) and I must confessin a little preference for Katie Cavera and her little girl’s voice (Everybody loves my baby). But the lion’s share is held by Carl Sonny Leyland with a great rendition of Freddie Slack’s House of Blue Light, a song he already played on one of his solo album and one of the highlight of the album «Lulu’s back in town». This band has surely one of the tightest rhythm section, just listen to «Moten Swing» or «The Kid From Red Bank» to be convinced. This fine cd ends with «Drinkin’ Wine Spo Dee-O-Dee» and the band gives a new life to this classic played so many times. Recommended.
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  The Helldivers - Starlight Rock’n’Bop
Wild Hare Records.RB05001
Starlight Rock ‘n’ Bop - Real Live Doll Lucky Penny - True Blue Lover  Lonesome Wind - Feel So Bad - Hot Rod Boogie - Tough Tops Gone - Yeah She’s Mine - Rhythm Gonna Rock You Street Angel House Devil - Jet Plane Jump - Up A Pole - Water Boilin’
Second album of another promising young american band. When punks launches out in the rockabilly, that gives a band with a name of a second world war bomber and a very «angry» first album in 2004 «Down To Nickles and Dimes». This second just released «shot» titled «Starlight Rock’ Bop» is much more authentic. It is funny to hear these young people who started with saturated guitars now backing to the past and  sounding just like in «54-55». Because it is all about that; the fourteen pieces (with only one cover, the Joe Penny’s «Real Live Doll», another horse of the Wild Hare Records stable which was a formed part of Hank Williams «Driftin’ Cowboys») are recorded by the guitarist Dave Moore (in its studio New Hope of Berkeley Springs) on vintage material and sound fiendishly» fifties just like these guys have sold their souls to the devil ! Listen to the first eponymous piece and you will understand what I’m talking about; there is some Pat Cupp in it and it is not by accident if he signed the liner notes! Moreover it is Ace Brown (singer and guitarist) and Johnny Bones (double bass player) assisted by the young Eddie Clendening which has accompanied the «old cat» in Green Bay and will «set the table again» at the Hemsby weekender in October 2005.I recommend you the entire album and pieces like «True Blue Lover», «Hot Rod Boogie», «Yeah, She’ s Mine», «Up has Poole» «Water Boilin’» and especially «Rhythm Gonna Rock You» (What a good one!) will undoubtedly blow your top. If you do agree, I’ll offer you a beer on our next meeting !
David Phisel
  The Hi-Q’s - Hop and Bop
El Toro Records. ETCD-3090
Dirty White Bucks - Hi-Q Boogie - Bop Crazy Bop - Worn Out - Rock ‘n’ Roll Guitar - I Wanna Live - Twenty-One Days - Jungle Boy Jack - Speed Limit - Wiggle Walkin’ Baby - Hop ‘n’ Bop - All The Time
The United States undoubtedly are reconcilied with the rockabilly and to be convinced is only to see multiplicity of high-quality bands which have  emerged on the tracks of  headlights bands of the US revival of the beginning of the Nineties like Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys, High Noon and the Dave & Deke Combo. It is necessary to add now  this Detroit trio make up of Matt Strickland singer (and  creator of the site www.planetrockabilly.com/ devoted to... rockabilly) and composer of 9 of the 12 titles of this first album published on the Spanish label El Toro. Around him there are not unknown ones but musicians of talent who work already in many prestigious combos: Rudy Varner the double bass player (Starlight Drifters, Jack Scott and the Signal Ranks, Earls Jack & The Jimbos) Paul ‘ Smokey Links’ Cook with the guitar (Missing Links, the Big Barn Combo, Rumble, Tilt-a-whirl and Jack Earls & the Jimbos) and Loney Charles the drummer (Big Barn Combo, Jack Scott & the Top Ranks and Jack Earls & the Jimbos) which are all irreproachable, combining smoothness of the play and constant and fascinating rhythm. This «Hop and Bop» is remarkable from the beginning to the end: of «Dirty White Bucks» which open the disc with the Sleepy LaBeef «All The Time» resumption of while passing by the boppin «à la Burlison» eponymous title and the purple passages like «Bop Crazy Bop», «I Wanna Live»( which makes me think of Ramblin’ James) , «Jungle boy Jack» and the strolling «Wiggle Walkin’ baby». I guess you  have already understood it by yourself right now: a VERY highly recommended album
David Phisel
  The Highspeed Heartaches- Runnin' on an empty heart
Self Released
Shot Rod - Highspeed Heartaches - Forever’s Gone - Agent Peter’s Secret Gun - All These Chicks - Who’s The Dealer - Broken Glass - Blowing Me Away - Devil’s Overture - Runnin’ on An Empty Heart - Walking The Other Way - Trailer Park Reunion - Let’s Go -Charlie & Jack
The Highspeed Heartaches come from Corpus Christi, Texas. They play a mix of rockabilly, country, surf and even some latin influences. This album is not really new (2004), but I think I should talk about it ‘cause there’s some good stuff on it.The opening song has female backing vocals and is not far from “King Of The Drape” by The Cramps. Good drums and slap bass breaks in this one. “Agent Peter’s Secret Gun” is one of the three instrumentals you’ll find on this album. This one and “Broken Glass” both have a twangy electric bass and will delight all The reverend Horton Heat fans as would do “Devils Overture”. You have good changes of paces with more neo-rockabilly anthems like “Let’s Go” (this one also have drums and slap bass solos) or “Who’s the Dealer” and the bluesy “All These Chicks”. The album closes on the nice “Charlie & Jack” or so you think cause you have more : a very good acoustic country ballad where Jon is supprted only by a light guitar and a slap bass.
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln – Runaway Girl
Too Drunk to Drive - You're Gonna Lose - Runaway Girl - Walk Away - Joints Gonna Jump - Blue - Words by Heart - Invasion from Mars - Blue Moon Nights - 18 Miles from Memphis - Maybe - Queen of Hearts - Betty Page - Isabelle - I Only Go Out When it Rains
At last this is the newest album from Buzz Campbell, now member of Lee Rocker’s band, and Hot Rod Lincoln. And it was worth the wait. It’s a fine collection of mostly self penned songs. The title track, “Runaway Girl” sounds like a modern Buddy Holly tune, a bit like “Gina” by the Stray Cats. Another one inspired by the Kid from Lubbock is “Maybe”. I thought the recipe for that kind of ballad was lost the day Buddy’s plane crashed. You’ll also find plenty of rockin’ songs like “Too Drunk To Drive” with good lyrics (Gotta call my baby can't drive my car / She'll be mad cause I'm still at the bar / One more time and she said we're though / But what the hell else am I suppose to do?) or the sci-fi themed “Invasion From Mars”. Their covers of Stray Cats’ “18 Miles To Memphis” and John Fogerty’s “Blue Moon Nights” are close to the originals, but when a tune is good, why change? “Joint Gonna Jump” brings a touch of jumpin’ jive / early rock’n’roll with horns and piano while country fans will be delighted by “Isabelle”. And if “Walk Away” and “Betty Page” are both built on the same melodic line, when the first one is given a honky-tonk treatment with piano, the second one sounds more like a rockin’ blues with a heavier guitar. A very inspired and varied album, and the cover ain’t bad either.
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  The Hot Rollers- Got Your Number
Sweaty Betty Records SB002

You Don't Do It - Black And Blue - Mileage - Hooker - Got Your Number - Casper Guido - Wild Man - Hello Vapid - You May Be Right - Ice Princess - Bad Word For A Good Thing -. I Wanna Go Home - Wrap Your Heart
Coming from Seattle this girl band featuring Kirsten from The Donettes and Lori from The Poontwang, as well as a great drummer Heidi, plays a mix of 60's garage with some Billy Childish influences (Headcoatees, Delmonas), punk rock and even a bit of Pixies in it. And it works rather well. Engineered by Kearney Barton (who worked with The Sonics) they deliver a wild and powerfull sound but always with a good balance between the bass and the distortion on the guitar and a will to keep the melody. Lori's voice is perfect for that. She can shout, she can scream and she can sing with scorn. Listen to "Got Your Number" and you'll have a full spectrum of her vocal capacities. Talking about The Pixies, this one has a bit of Kim Deal style in the bridge (and a direct reference in the lyrics). "Casper Guido" has a nice farfisa played by bass-player Kirsten, and personnaly I'd love to hear more of that stuff.. As said previously Billy Childish and the girl bands he led is an obvious reference and they cover Headcoatees' Wild Man which is better than the original. But the best cover is yet to come as they play Billy Joel's "You May Be Right", and if you're a Rock'n'Roll geek, you can't help but turn your knob to 11 and play it again and again. "I wanna Go Home" is another cover with fine backup vocals and handclaps. Once you've finished listening to this album, you just want to hear it again. They sound so perfect together that I'm curious, and a little bit anxious, to hear the "new" Hot Rollers as Heidi and Kirsten are no longer in the band. Hope Lori'll keep The Hot Rollers in that direction.More infos at thehotrollers.com
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  Howlin Hound Dogs- Cat By The Tail
Self Released
Cat By The Tail - Behave Be Quiet Or Begone - Take & Give - Stranger Than Fiction - Thinking’s Man Woman - Bottle To The Baby - Broken Heart - Gonna Be Better Times - Hungry For Your Lovin - My Baby Walks All Over Me - Gonna Love My Baby - Servant Of Love - Give My Love To Rose - Slip Slip Slippin In
This is the second album from this Montrealbased band. The first one is now out of print, hope it’ll be re-released some day. What you’ll find here is classic rockabilly, or authentic if you prefer, that wouldn’t be out of place in the Sun catalog (despite the cover art and its Elvis / RCA graphism). One original (the excellent Cat By The Tail) and 13 covers, but played with so much personnality they make this songs their own. Even well known songs like “Slip Slip Slippin’ In” or “Give My Love To Rose” sound fresh.The reason is the musicianship of course, but mainly Noël Thibault’s voice.He has those kind of rockabilly voice I enjoy, where you can still hear the country roots in it (listen to “Behave Be Quiet Or Begone” with its falsetto). Slim Rhodes’ “Take & Give” is given a rockin’ treatment with the steel part being replaced by a Burlisonian guitar  à la “You’re Undecided”. “Broken Heart” is the occasion to salute the work of the rhythm section. The drums and the bass work perfectly together. Sometimes in rockabilly bands, especially when they have a drummer, the bassist tends to over-slap which is not necessary. This is not the case of The Howlin’ Hound Dogs. I could go on, telling you how “My Baby Walks All Over Me” is moving or how “Give My Love To Rose” almost makes you forget the Man In Black, but the best thing for you is to grab a copy now. Try to get it at www.slimsandy.com
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
  The Hollywood Combo
Swingin’ Records SW CD-001
Intro with Hunter Hancock - We’re Gonna Have A Party Tonight - From The Bottom - Max Is Back - When My Baby Goes Rockin’ - Pucker Paint - Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle - Take Your Time - Full House - Leave Your Love To Me - Sugaree - The Spell Of Your Smile - It Wouldn’t Do - All Nite Long
This Cd is bread-blessed for the chronicler who I am, all the job is  already made at the beginning of the disc in the presentation of the band made by the DJ Hunter Hancock. He announces to you after a roll of drum some be-bop and ballads,swing and sweet, blues and boogie all that interpreted by some of the best musicians of the West coast (of the United States of course not of Peru!). And now what is left for me to do since they make the job themselves? I could get tired tryin’ to be contradicted, to dismount the unit to find the least fault, quibble or speak ill gratis of the band just only to avenge myself of not to have more doing. Even not possible, conditions of contract are scrupulously respected; there is actually be-bop («Full house») ballads and sweet («Take Your Time» and the typical «The Spell of Your Smile»with the choruses of the Lonely Blue Boys) swing (no problem at all,, there’s plenty of) blues (which is often combined with rhythm»sprinkled by juicy brasses) and the boogie is brilliantly assured by the piano of Carl Sonny Leyland. The musicians are all here of the sizes (which played with groups as «poor» as the Royal Crown Revue, the Lucky Stars, Deke Dickerson or the Billy Bacon’s Forbidden Pigs)... But wait a minute, there’s something wrong in there, that’s it, I hold them finally these bloody californians... they forgot to say that there was also honkin’ and rockin’ in their music!! When one has as invited Big Jay McNeely one expects sax hurlor and not ocarina, no? Mama however always repeated me that it was necessary to beware of Hollywood!! This Mark Tortonici and its gang seems to me a damned band of liars who moreover want to make us believe that they recorded all that LIVE in only one catch! And then what still when it is common knowledge that music is done martyrizing vinyls on a turntable or while fixing some sounds during months on computers! How if one could draw such a control, such a virtuosity of simple pieces of wood with strings  and twisted metal in which one blows!! Really, although all the good words I was going to say to you on this Combo it appears now impossible to me in the light of the beam of evidence I collected and revealed to guarantee such a masquerade any longer!! But best still would be to buy many copies of this album to realize by yourself of that swindle. How dumb would these rogues look when their album is out-of-stock and the truth would appear naked and then all together we will be able to shout: Make another album, if you dare it!!!
David Phisel
    Phil Hummer & The Nitros - Kiss My Axe
Wild Teen Records. WTCD 0001
Sometimes You Win, Darlin - Fix Of Your Trix - Kiss My Axe - Snow Cone - Mamma, I Crossed The Line - My Dove - Ruin You - My Mine Own Hands - Wish For A Kiss - Pour Me One More - If I Was Any Later (I’d Be Goin Back In Time) - Liquormission - Hit Man - Diesel Drinkin Daddy - DWI - Gas Pumpers’ Blues - Life’s A Bitch (so is you) - Wild Cherry will get right back to you
Imagine what the improbable meeting on the graves of Hank Williams Sr., Elvis and Johnny Cash between Dale Watson, Lux Interior and Tom Waits would be. Imagine now that these three take welcome on their board an hitch-hikin’ Nick Caveand in this road-movie with a Link Wray soundtrack it is unavoidabled at one time or another that they  get boozed and have a fight!!Phil Hummer is a kind of that summary! That handsome guy from Michigan which grew up in Tennessee has already signed three albums and this fourth one, «Kiss My Axe», title which sounds as that of a last issue of a Cramps album is an unworked diamond in its gangue, hard, badly cut but with an enormous power. The New York Times qualified the style of this of Michigan boy as «Hillbilly Hardware» what wants nothing to say in oneself but which sticks rather well to that cranky and rough country. Listen to these 18 titles including seven live recorded. As of the first piece «Sometimes You Win, Darling» you will be catched by this sticky presleyen slow number and that carries on with «Fix Of Your Trix» a cramps-kind and evil one. Then be prepared for the eponymous song which is a kind of modern, violent and radical follow-up to the Buck Owens «Act Naturally». The tone is given and reached its paroxysm with «Ruin You», a ballade with the poisonous and animal dangerosity, skin-deep, a true powerful cult-song which I easily imagine as an underground movie soundtrack.But that lad is rather a romantic kind («Wish A Kiss») but when he start to drink nothing can stop him (listen to the nervy «For Me One More»). The live pieces  start very extremely with  a hallucinated version of Buddy Holly’s «Baby Won’ T You Come Out Tonight  (oddly renamed «Liquormission»!) and it is not «Diesel Drinkin’ Daddy» or «Gas Pumper Blues» which will cool down the atmosphere and when the rhythm lowers (a little) it is for some lyrics like Life is a bitch (So Is You»).The final «Wild Cherry» is as the entire album sounds like: Gutsy and frenzy! The country-punk and psychobilly amateurs should appreciate,the others are invited to discover that very talented man.
David Phisel