Rockabilly Central

Traditional Rockabilly, Hillbilly, etc - Reviews

Raging Teens - "Self Titled"

This is a great record! The Raging Teens do the near impossible by making a tradional rockabilly record without sounding even slightly pretentious, I mean, there's not a single hick-up on here.

What you do get is pure, simple, straight-ahead rockabilly music. There's uptempo rockers like "That's How I Like It", "Hot Rod Shotgun Boogie #2" and "Move Move Move", and slower rockers like "Grandpaw" and "Cry". One cut, "Roving Eyes", even brings back memories of pre-grunge Rev. Horton Heat. The band also writes most of their own material.

I guess the simple test comes when you leave the CD in the player for ages and don't get bored of it, and this one passes with flying colors. (9/22/99)

Buy it at CDNOW

Johnny Dilks - "Acres of Heartache"

Johnny Dilks is probably related to Hank Williams somewhere down the line, he has certainly inherited something from the man.

"Acres of Heartache" is the debut disc from this West Coast singer, but it surely won't be his last. If you like the music of people like Wayne Hancock and Dale Watson, you owe it to yourself to check out this disc, I promise you won't be disappointed. The disc kicks off with the rockabilly rocker "Comin' On Thru" and goes straight into the hillbilly balad "Lose That Woman Blues" that really showcases Billy Wilson's steel guitar. "Close But So Far Away" will have you cryin', "The Check's In The Mail" will have you cuttin' a rug with your partner and "Stalin Kicked The Bucket" might even tempt you to start line dancing!

I can't recommend this record strongly enough, buy it today, then check the tours page to see when Johnny and the gang are hitting your town and check them out in concert. (9/22/99)

Buy it at CDNOW

Go Cat Go - "Let's Hear It Once Aain For..."

I never did get a chance to see Go Cat Go while they were still around, but hearing this disc sure makes me wish I had. The late Darren Spears had such a great voice, totally made for rockabilly. Musically the band got it's style, and much of the material, straight out of the Sun Studio vaults. The strange irony is that they probably wouldn't have made a record like this if they still around today. Most of the tunes are 50's standards like "Flying Saucers Rock 'n Roll" and "Good Rockin' Tonight" which I seem to remember alot of bands doing in the early nineties, when this was recorded, but you're less likely to find a band doing such well known material today. That being said, Go Cat Go totally get away with it because they do the material so well. This CD is a great reminder of a band and a singer that are dearly missed. (9/23/99)

Buy it at CDNOW

Rip Carson and the Twilight Trio - "s/t"

This disc is custom made for the rockabilly tradionalists, it's pure fifties rockabilly without any of the modernizations that some artists favor. You've got the slap-echo bass, twangin' lead guitar and hickupy vocals. Most of the tunes are straight-ahead rockers, with "I Gotta Rock" being a stand out and there's a few slower cuts like "All Alone & Blue" and "Down That Line". "Keep Your Pain" and "Tornado Love" have a spagetti western feel. "Full Of Sin" is not unlike the classic "Matchbox", "Come On Back" brings back memories of "Twenty Flight Rock" and "2 Timin' Woman" stomps along in a similar groove to Ronnie Dawson's "Knock Down Drag Out". I think anyone who likes their rockabilly done the way it used to be will be more than happy with Rip Carson's first effort for Rollin' Rock. (9/23/99)

The Paladins - "Slippin' In"

This is the most traditional sounding disc to come out of the Paladins camp in quite a while. With cuts like "The Hard Way" and "Baby DOn't Move Me" they obviously want to give the Derailers a run for their money. "Slippin' In" starts off with a primitive beat reminiscent of Hank Mizzell's "Jungle Rock", and just like it's predicessor it turns into a wild rockabilly rocker. "Strong Boy" and "California Boogie" even sees the band digging out the steel guitar and "Return To Polara" could be right out of Link Wray's song book. Over all, this is a great hillbilly bop CD, lots of good uptempo dance tunes, I like it. (9/23/99)

Buy it at CDNOW

CIGAR STORE INDIANS - "El Baile De La Cobra"

I just got this fine piece of work yesterday and I must say it's great. I like it just as much as their first album, and it makes me wanna see them live even more. They've got some sax and piano on a couple tracks that complements the music perfectly (not overdone, and it doesn't make the song reliant on the extra instruments), and Ben Friedman's songwriting is still great. Lots of tunes about women, naturally, and a cool instrumental to boot. There's even a couple not-so-hidden tracks that are kinda like acoustic versions of two of the songs on the album. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes good music.

Dave Smith - 10/16/98

Buy it at CDNOW

Mack Stevens - "Hardcore Texas Cat Music"

On this CD, Stevens comes as close as we are likely to get to being a successor to the legendary Jack Scott. Putting a backing vocal group to good use on several of the cuts helps with the illusion ("I Hate The Moon", "Hate and Gasoline" and "I'll Die Alone") -- although this is sure to unnerve the hardcore rockabillyfans a little. Never fear, Mack also includes some of his patented stompers like "Rockabilly Barbeque" , "Peckerwood Rock" and "No Good Gal". For a slight change of pace, "I May Be Right But I Hope I'm Wrong" effortlessly takes the listener back to the days of the "Sun Sound". Mack also includes a few songs leaning precariously close to country; but, again, this is just a fine artist showing that there is more to him than pounding hot rockabilly. On the other hand, if you want a little rave in your rock, listen to "Raging Sea" the with volume pumped up. From Rockin' Ronny Weiser -- nothing else needs to be said.

Lee Cotten, Rock and Blues News.

Buy it at CDNOW

WAYNE HANCOCK - "That's What Daddy Wants"

Where Thunderstorms was a diverse mix of styles and sounds, Hancock's latest release, That's What Daddy Wants, is more about a sweet, relentless swing, whether it's smoky or smokin'. The mystique is there in spades, and Hancock's band is every bit as fantastic as they were in '95. Steel guitar, a major component of Hancock's sound, is handled ably by Chris Miller, who distinguishes the record not by burning up every track but with sublime solos that are about taste and tone. When the band does stretch out and take turns in the spotlight ("Louisiana Blues"), the results are memorable. However, the greatness of this band is in their dedication to the structure of the songs. Solid is an understatement.

That's What Daddy Wants goes out with a surprise: a spy-ish cross between garage and rockabilly called "Brand New Cadillac" that features a trombone and a pair of trumpets doing unusual little solos before melting into a free-form melee. It's almost as if Hancock's saying this album focused a tighter spotlight than Thunderstorms did, but we can still do any damned thing we wanna. And you better believe they can.

(C) 1998 - DJ Johnson

Buy it at CDNOW

WAYNE HANCOCK - "Thunderstorms & Neon Signs"

While the Nashville hats are alluding to honky-tonk, Wayne Hancock is making the real thing. His debt to Hank Williams is obvious, but his use of rockabilly-tinged guitar riffs and cool swing undercurrents puts him head and shoulders above the rest. Hancock's 1995 debut, Thunderstorms And Neon Signs, was released on Dejadisc. A thoughtful album with enough mystique for the intellectuals and plenty of swing for the dancers, Thunderstorms placed Hancock in a corner of the country scene occupied by few (Lyle Lovett resides there by virtue of his refusal to conform to either Nashville camp) and, unfortunately, noticed by only a few more. The songs weren't all about about my baby leaving me and my horse dying. The young country mainstreamers just didn't know what to make of lyrics rooted in rail-riding folk over music Hank would've dug.

The wandering spirit in Hancock's stories is always tempered by the strong pull of home. His eloquent descriptions make you long for that place, too, despite the fact that you've never been there. When he does sing about his "gal," it's not a string of tired clichés wound around a slick production number. She doesn't just up and leave him a tragic figure whining and falling in his whiskey bottle; he stands upright and says "you want a sensitive sissy that'll hear your command, not a honky-tonk singer with a five piece band." Not the usual stuff, as you can see. Re-released on Ark 21 Records, Thunderstorms And Neon Signs should be back in the racks and readily available.

(C) 1998 - DJ Johnson

Buy it at CDNOW

Nick GILROY KOMBO - "Crazy Lovin' Daddy"

This disc contains some of the finest rocking music to come out of the UK in the last decade. This is a huge boast to live up to, but the Kombo's latest release does so with ease.

The Nick Gilroy Kombo is not just another identikit rockabilly band, rehashing the same cover versions as every other bunch of wannabe greaseballs. These guys live the rocking man's life at 130 MPH. They are steeped in the rich traditions of rockabilly, blues, rock'n'roll, western music. Their passion for the one true church of bop saturates this record.

So is it 'authentic rockabilly' I hear you ask? The songs themselves are certainly authentic enough; they are about authentic emotions; real love, real hate, genuine joy, true blues. Close your eyes and suddenly you are there; it's spring 1957, in a hell-hot barn just off route 66, bopping to the local anti-heroes playing their finest custom-pressed rockers.

Your heart doesn't beat, it slaps with the thunk of Nick's doghouse bass. Your breath is inflamed with the searing heat of Boz and Malcolm's intricate guitar licks. Your feet twitch involuntarily to the relentless pounding of Roger's drums. And through it all, weaving like the silken kiss of a razor sharp switchblade, is Nick Gilroy's unmistakable voice. Listen to the lusty power of 'Gonna Make Some Love', the dark angst of 'Come Back', the lonesome heartache of 'Silent Telephone'. Go ape to the just-for-the-sheer-bloody-joy-of-it, breakneck wildness of Kombo Boogie and Crazy Lovin' Daddy.

Even when the Nick Gilroy Kombo tackles other peoples' material, they make it their own. No dull carbon copies here, these songs are as refreshing as a cold glass of beer on a hot Tennessee night. To take a pop standard like Billy Fury's 'Don't Knock Upon My Door' and turn it into a thundering bopping-blues snarl is a master stroke; the first listen is likegetting a haymaker punch from your grandma.

The previous track record of each of the Kombo-men reads like a best-of-British rocking masterclass. Nick first came to our attention as the pulse of the Blue Rhythm Boys. Roger's work with the Bop Shack Stompers proved to be one of Fury records hottest sellers. Malcolm has backed just about every rockabilly legend going, from Ronnie Dawson to Curtis Gordon. He has also provided the meat on many a contemporary record hop classic. It is no wonder that the mighty Deke Dickerson has spoken of his admiration for Malcolm's skill. The same can also be said for the semi-legendary Boz Boorer. Perhaps best known as guitarist for the hugely successful Polecats, he is a constant feature of the live music scene throughout the Rockin' planet. His skills are in demand amongst the biggest names in popular music today.

Bill Smoker 1999

Russian Language

Rockabilly Central | Tours | Chicago | Swing | Photos | Articles | Reviews | Movies | Links

Get Smart! lisa wertman marc koch frank loose kansas chicago One For All remotes