Matchbox was formed in Middlesex, in 1971 playing their rockabilly revival music and have been putting out albums and touring right up until the present. The band appeared in the 1980 film Blue Suede Shoes which detailed the revival of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll music scene at the time. Eventually, time and changing tastes meant the hits stopped coming and the various members went off to do other projects. Then, back in 1996, as the rockabilly and rock’n’roll scenes saw another surge of interest, these five guys got back together again to do a couple of shows, and now, the original band is back touring. This is a 65 track 4 CD box set rounding up all of the band’s recordings for Magnet Records between 1979 and 1982.
Being a lover of rockabilly and not owning any of their albums, this is a perfect way for me to get into the band with their original albums and go from there. They started off kicking and screaming right out of the gate with energy and a thrilling sound that will draw you in. Real rockabilly that quickens your heart and fills you with the desire to get up and dance. Disc one is their self-titled debut for the label which reached No. 44 in the UK chart. It contains the hit singles “Rockabilly Rebel” (No.18) and “Buzz Buzz A Diddle It’”(No.22) as well as the non-charting “Black Slacks.” These are great songs that show that they can write catchy songs that still sound great after all these years. The album now comes with four bonus tracks including two recorded under the name of Cyclone. The second disc is 1980’s Midnite Dynamos album which reached No.23 in the British charts. The title track gave the band a No.14 hit single and the album also includes the No.4 smash “When You Ask About Love.” This album continues the wild ride of the first album and you can see the band getting tighter and the writing getting better. The eight bonus cuts include the No.15 hit “Over The Rainbow/You Belong To Me” as well as two ultra-rare Japanese only singles, “I’m A Lover Man” and “Little Lonely Girl.” Disc 3 is the Flying Colours album which contained the hit singles “Babe’s In The Wood” (No.46) and “Love’s Made A Fool Of You” (No.63). Buddy Holly’s “Love’s Made A Fool Of You” is a great cover that doesn’t mimic the original, they give it the respect it’s due, but make it their own, and then do the same to Holly’s “You’re The One.” Another winner of an album. The final disc is the 1982 LP Crossed Line, released here on CD for the first time. It features the No.63 hit single “One More Saturday Night” plus their collaboration with the late Kirsty MacColl on “I Want Out.” This album sees the band continuing their progression into one of the finest rockabilly bands around and should have got them more popular around the world since others like the Stray Cats came along and stole the spotlight away from them.
Housed in a sturdy clamshell box, each disc comes in a card wallet depicting the original LP art on the front. The 20-page booklet comes complete with in-depth liner notes plus pictures of all relevant singles sleeves and memorabilia. So, as you can see, this is not only a top-notch collection with bonus tracks and a great booklet but a great bunch of songs from a band that deserves to be heard and played over and over again. This is the kind of compilations that truly showcase a band and gives the listener a true taste of what was going on for the band back then and lets you dig deep into the great music.
The Kingbees second album The Big Rock is being re-issued with four bonus tracks. This was the band’s final release on RSO, and it features mostly originally material written by Canadian band leader Jamie James. For this special re-issue, James provides some new liner notes about the album, and has improved sound with the remastering.
Living just outside of Toronto, Ontario back in the old days of the ’80s, I got to hear this album a fair bit since local radio stations played songs from this album. I was surprised and happy to see that this was being reissued and couldn’t wait to hear it again. The remastering is terrific, clean and clear sound that makes the album sound better than ever, and a cool booklet with information about the recording. The band plays a mix of rock’n’roll, rockabilly and has a punky/new wave feel to it that just outs a smile on my face. You just want to get up and dance around when you listen to the album, especially songs like “The Big Rock,” and “Let Myself Go.” The album is a high energy party that deserved to big a bigger hit and hopefully now will reach out to those who missed it the first time around. The band doesn’t stick to a traditional rockabilly sound like later bands like the Stray Cats, instead they use that as a starting point and really just play great music. The songs still hold up to this day, which is a testament to great songwriting, well done production, and terrific playing. They have covers of Charlie Rich, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis on the original album, and a cover of the Burnettes as one of the bonus tracks.
Go out and grab a copy of this album, do yourself a favor and introduce your friends and family to this band and start a rocking party in your house as soon as you hit play. Now I need to go get their first album…..lol.
San Francisco based power trio ROCKETSHIP ROCKETSHIP play a fantastic mix of punk, rockabilly, and surf that gets the old feet tapping right away.
These five songs are a nice mix of styles and really show off the energy and talent that this trio has, lots of fun and a mix of instrumentals and edgy, but sweet female vocals carry this recording far. Every song has its own feel and vibe that makes you hit the repeat button again and again.
Check these guys out, they really have the chops and a lot of raw talent that deserves to be heard by the masses. Totally fun and it made me smile…can’t get better than that!
Based out of Birmingham, West Midlands, UK; THIRTEEN SHOTS have just released their sophomore album of horror / garage rock with a touch of rockabilly thrown in. These nine tracks are made with passion and enough energy to light up Times Square for a week.
The opening track “Death Jam 2000” kicks off with the sound of cheering fans and an announcer introducing the band before the music kicks in and it’s a catchy song, combining horror punk / psychobilly with some hard rock mixed in and holy hell…it works! “Zombies From The USSR” is a great garage rock song that will get you up and boogieing around your house and it will infect you with its infectious disease and turn you into a THIRTEEN SHOTS zombie fan, not looking for brains, but for all of their hooks to feed you. “‘Bewitched” is a horror punk song with heavy bass, and frenetic drumming, great riffs, and the howling vocals make this one a lot of fun. “Psycho Jukebox” starts off with an early rock’n’roll guitar lick then the song mixes a touch of ska and surf rock to make a catchy song with a great chorus. “Get In My Crypt” is a super hard-hitting song that name checks Dracula, has a killer guitar solo, and super thick bass mixed with pummeling drums. Listening to this album is like being a kid and going to an all day horror movie fest, showing the classic and sometimes cheesy movies from the ’50s and ’60s. There are a lot of styles mixed together on this album and everything flows together perfectly, making the album sound more varied and interesting than others who are playing in this genre. John on vocals, Izzy on guitar and backing vocals, GMT on bass and Chelsea on drums really play with not just power, but with finesse and true love for what they are doing and it shows on every song. “Nekro-Sexual”, my favorite song with the classic chorus of “Stomp on my balls!” is fantastic, and “Tales That Start With A Whisper” is nice and gritty and ends the regular album perfectly. The last two songs are live and they sound like they were recorded in the audience which is a shame because the band is so good that the songs take away a bit of the excitement that the rest of the album has. They do give you an idea of how good they are and that if they come around, you had better get out and see them.
THIRTEEN SHOTS have released an album that shows the pretenders just what a band on the top of its game can do, kick your ass and rock your balls off! This is an album for psychobilly, horror punk, and people who just love good music fans.
Danny Thompson was a major member of the punk band SLOPPY SECONDS and he recorded this album in 1996 as a solo effort after leaving the band. This fusion of rockabilly and punk covers has been passed around to friends and family, but never seen a real release until now!
We kick things off with “When Worlds Collide”, a punk charged rockabilly song that has incredible guitar playing and made for a very impressive start to the album with the power and inspired playing. “Ariva Derci Baby” Is another fast paced song that has a ton of energy and makes you want to get up and jump around. “Angie Baby” is a nice slow burner that just gets better as you listen to it and is definitely one of my favorites on here, such great playing and potency in the playing. “Forgive Me Father” has a tasty buzzsaw guitar with some nice licks thrown out, and spirited playing. This is such a well-played album that you wonder why this has not had an official release until now. The playing, the vocals and the song selection are stellar, and the clear production just gives it the sheen of a major release. “True Romance”, “Rockabilly Cool”, “Born To Lose”, “Clock On The Wall”, and “Getting Head From The Dead” were all stellar tracks, but you can’t go wrong with the others not mentioned either.
This really was a treat that I’m now going to put in the car and listen to it as much as possible. I was a fan of SLOPPY SECONDS and now that they’re gone, this is one of my new favorites that I will be forcing people to listen to as much as possible. For a good time, you need to get this album and play the hell out of it!
Danny Thompson’s first real band was SLOPPY SECONDS, a ’70s punk and ’50s rock influenced group that Thompson helped form in 1983, after ten years, that band ended. He’s been in a bunch of other bands since then and is still releasing fun music, including this limited run CD of 100 copies.
“So Glad You’re Mine” is the start of a CD filled with the ghost of Elvis, and it’s a great rock’n’roll song that brings the essence of Elvis’ early material back to life. Great playing and an actual love for the music brings a smile to your face. “Don’t Be Cruel” just sounds fantastic with the total ability to update the song enough to give it a bit more edge without losing the strength of the original, plus the guitar playing is beautiful. “Return To Sender” has great drumming and the background singers made me smile when they came in for their lines. “I Beg Of You” is a hip-shaking fun song that makes you want to get up and dance to. “Lonesome Train” is a nice high energy song the just keeps a galloping beat and more of that great guitar playing that has gone throughout the album. Thompson proves his love for Elvis and his ability to play guitar with finesse and skill that puts others to shame. The album just is one fun and well-played song after another that it’s a complete treat to listen to, it’s great to hear this early rock music played with this level of talent and love for the music. “Wild One” adds some punk rock to the song and really kicks ass with the high energy of the playing, especially the wild solo. “American Girl” by TOM PETTY is a great cover with power and the combination of the Elvis and PETTY vocals really made this a stand out track. After fifteen songs that were a delight to hear and not one filler track in the bunch, we get ten tracks recorded live and give you the idea of how great he would be to see in person. The songs are recorded well, not a lousy recording at all, which is impressive with how well everything sounds, it really made for a treat for a change. You can hear how much fun everyone had at this gig and the playing was terrific as well.
I really can’t give this more glowing praise than to go out and buy this CD and turn it up loud and enjoy the great time that you will have listening to it. Go see Thompson live, but just don’t call him Elvis!
RAYGUN COWBOYS are back with their third full length album of nine original songs and one cover of “Daddy Ya” by CLARENCE “Gatemouth” BROWN. This psychobilly band from Edmonton, Alberta started in 2000 and gets people on the dance floor from the first to last song. Their horn section sets them apart from other bands from their genre, and makes them a band that has more diversity than others in that genre.
“Break These Chains” really jumps out with the punk rock vocals, the rockabilly feel mixed with the powerful sound of the horn section. “I’m Coming Home” has a great galloping drumbeat mixed with horn stabs, passionate vocals and some tight guitar playing with nice riffs. “One Of Them Tonight” starts off with a rocking rhythm and blues sound that kicks into more punk rock with a ’50s feel and really was a favorite of mine. “I’m Not One To Judge” is a straight forward rockabilly song that had a nice clean sound that would have been a hit back in the ’50s or when rockabilly got popular in the early ’80s, great song. “Rock’n’Roll Ruined My Life” is a great punk song with great piano playing that would have fit in perfectly back in ’76, another great song that reminded me of “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle” off of the album of the same name. This band really is unique with all the different styles that they play, keeping you guessing as to where they are going to go from track to track. Everything is played with conviction and love and just jumps out from the speakers and grabs you. Other songs that stood out were, “Daddy Ya” a classic song, “Broken Down In Montreal” a great honky-tonk song, and “Wasted Night”.
I was expecting a more straight played psychobilly album, but the diversity on this album took it over the top for me. This is going to get played a lot, my wife loves rockabilly, I think I’m going to have to play this for her.
DON’T formed in Portland, OR during the spring of 2009, after nearly a year they released their first full length CD. The four members of DON’T were in such bands as LADIES OF THE NIGHT, AUDIOS AMIGOS, THE WIPERS, and NAPALM BEACH and are Jenny Don’t on vocals and guitar, Sam Henry on drums, Dan Lowinger on guitar, and David Minick on bass.
The CD starts off with “Too Young” with some great surf guitar, Jenny’s SIOUXSIE SIOUX style singing and the repeated pleading of please, that gets stuck in your ear. “Out Of My Head” has a nice throbbing bass line running throughout that reminded me of “Teenland” by THE NORTHERN PIKES, and Jenny’s voice has an almost country music emotion coming through, “Impala” is a great country-tinged song that has rockabilly overtones and was a definite standout, and “Guilt Trip” is a slow burner that drips of emotion and a great bass line and guitar playing. The band really gets the emotion out of their instruments and puts it forth in their playing on this album. Henry’s drumming keeps the songs together with his steady and tight playing, Minick’s bass playing is a highlight, melodic, and bouncy, guitarist Lowinger and Jenny both play guitar with feeling and a sense of tunefulness that makes you groove right along with them and Jenny’s vocals go from the post punk gothiness of SIOUXSIE to a country twang and more rock like all in a heartbeat. Some other songs to check out are, “Junk Me” which was super catchy, “Missing Out with some bluesy vocals”, “I Am Not Ready To Leave” which was a great surf instrumental, and their version of THE WIPERS “Window Shop For Love”.
This was a very diverse and well produced album that caught me off guard, I thought that it was going to be more hard rock or punky, but this was a definite treat that will get replayed a lot. Whatever you do, DON’T ignore this band, they are worth going to see and picking up their music.
Far From Here is the debut release from THE LONESOME ONES and features the veteran musicianship of such hard rocking bands as LOS INFERNOS, SECOND CHANCE, LONGWAY and The LEGENDARY SWAGGER. The album is a blend of 60′s garage rock with a little bit of punk rock attitude and features guest appearances by Pete Dee from The ADICTS, Jake Cavalier from The LORDS OF ALTAMONT, Brophy Dale from LEE ROCKER, Geoff Yeaton The LEGENDARY SWAGGER and Vanessa Soto.
On “Set Me Free” things start off with some feedback and then the jump into a garage rock song that has some rockabilly twang to it mixed with a touch of punk, vocals that are a bit rough sounding, guitar playing that grabs you and a chorus that gets into your head really easily. “You Lied” has a strong rockabilly vibe that makes you want to get up and dance to from the get-go, “Far From Here” was made into a video and has some of the best guitar playing on the album, you can see why this song was made into a video, catchy, great playing and it has the feel of HAVANA 3AM which is cool. “Is She There Or Gone?” has great saxophone and was a nice change of pace with the 1950s sound that it gave the song. Other songs that made the replay button were “Leave Me Alone”, “Strings”, “Freedom” and their cover of “House Of The Rising Sun” which was dirty sounding and just made it one of the better covers of that song that I have ever heard.
With the great playing and songs on this album, these guys should be getting tons of exposure like they did on an episode of MTV’s Ridiculousness. You need to grab this album and make them a household name, you will be playing this album a lot, I know that this will be on repeat in my stereo.
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These Colombian rockabilly maniacs put out six songs in English and Spanish on their debut album, including an ode to Bettie Page and do a pretty good job doing it too.
Rockabilly has never been a hugely popular genre down in Columbia, but these guys rip out some tight sounding songs that bring back some feel of the 50s with their music. It’s nice to hear that they also sang in their native language on here because it gets boring to hear bands forcing themselves to conform just to be heard, I might not understand what they’re singing, but I still rocked out to them. They have a very raw feel to them on this album which is cool; you can tell they aren’t slick pretenders, but guys really into this style of music.
They are good players and the production is a bit raw, but I think it sounds good on this album; a bit of grittiness brings out a bit more emotion from them. I think that with some time, these guys will just get better, but this is a really good beginning for them.
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