Straight away, if you are a fan of Voodoo Rhythm records in general, especially the more ‘out there’ then you can add a couple of points to the score. This is definitely on the perimeters of the musical universe, described by the label itself as ‘Spooky Exotica burlesque made with broken cassette players and fucked up record players’. Well, I couldn’t have described it better myself. Some of it sounds like the ravings of a lunatic, ‘Morfo’ while ‘13th Floor City’ has an orchestra backing his vocals, I don’t know what language, Japanese I’m guessing. Apparently, this was all recorded on a mobile phone then put through the ringer at Voodoo Rhythm. Beware tracks like ‘Dreaming Party’ especially if you are partial to LSD, mind you it will probably all make perfect sense then. Let’s say this is for the real aficionado of the weird, if that’s you, welcome home.
KING SIZE TAYLOR
Hot on the heels of his appearance as part of ‘The Brits Are Rockin’ series, King Size Taylor returns for an encore, with only four tracks duplicated from that release here. It comes as a 10” vinyl and CD combination. There are 12 tracks on the album and a whopping 27 on the CD. Pretty much parallel to a band from his neck of the woods that went on to more substantial commercial success, Taylor was born in Liverpool, cut his teeth on Skiffle then earned his keep at the Star Club in Hamburg, his releases the focus of the aforementioned compilation of his work. This is far more fascinating, 27 tracks, 25 of which were recorded in pianist Sam Hardie’s living room. It’s as raw as you are likely to get, while not sounding like a living room, the recording isn’t studio quality either. It’s an exuberance packed soundtrack of youngsters awe struck by rock n roll blasting out the hits of the day in the way only teenagers can. This is the roots of British rock n roll, as it actually happened and for that reason alone is essential listening.
NOT FADE AWAY – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1964-1982
Packaged in an impressive 4CD collection with extensive sleeve notes this spans the career of Western-Super-Mare’s Fumble. After five hours of listening it will leave you wondering why your possibly haven’t heard of them. Described as a ‘rock n roll revival band’, weird that was even a ‘thing’ in the early 1970’s only a decade since rock n roll was supposed to have died, they were so much more. They straddled 60’s beat, ‘revival rock n roll’ through Glam. They so much more, original songs ‘Free The Kids’ and ‘Marylin’ should have been massive hits, while their 1950s covers were imaginative not reverential. They were on one hand had rock n roll credentials to share a stage with Bill Haley and Chuck Berry but so on point that David Bowie had them support him for two tours. The collection spans pre-Fumble to early 80’s BBC sessions deserving this quality release.
LEE CURTIS & THE ALL STARS
‘LET’S STOMP – THE BRITS ARE ROCKING VOL 5’
Lee Curtis, the fifth artist to feature in the ‘Brits Are Rocking’ was another to fare betting in Germany than home in the UK. His band, The All Stars, featured ex-Beatle Pete Best on drums and were beaten into second place only by the Fab Four in a 1962 Mersey Beat Poll. Film star good looks and plenty of stage acumen and singing talent augured well for Lee and the boys. Sadly, for Lee, despite some excellent releases it wasn’t to be. The sleeve notes suggest that less than auspicious management was to blame for stardom proving to be out of reach. In reality, as this series proves, there was so many great artists out there at the time it was easy for talent to slip through the cracks. Luckily for us, there are 29 tracks on this album to ensure that Lee Curtis gets his time in the spotlight. These are mostly taken from the 64 to 66 period with some stomping, and period renditions of some classic tracks, the title gets two airings, both cracking examples of British rock n roll. The ‘All-Stars’ appear to have been just that, a revolving door of great musicians counting into the dozens. The sleeve notes are extensive though largely historic due to the apparent reluctance of the still performing Lee to be interviewed. He’s working on an autobiography which could well be the reason, and is sure to make good reading.
‘THE GREAT BRITISH ROCK N ROLL & ROCKABILLY REUNION VOL 2’
The follow-up to the 2018 first volume which was a revisit of the 1980’s albums of a similar title. This follows the same format, a mixture of ‘new’ tracks and a selection from the original 1980’s albums, Screaming Lord Sutch’s classic ‘All Black And Hairy’ being one of the latter. The first four recordings on the album were produced by Phillip H Bailey the brainchild behind the series. This slightly frustrating thing about this compilation is that unless you ‘know’ there’s no indication as to when these 16 tracks were recorded. That aside, it’s an excellent collection of rock n roll and rockabilly, the fact you don’t know where the joins are testament to the ‘genre’ itself post-1950’s rock n roll has become, at least in the UK. Stand out tracks are hard to find as it’s a great selection, but ‘Drivin’ Wheel’ by Graham Fenton’s Matchbox is a stomping rockabilly. Another standout, and an aside, one of the first Teddy Boy weekenders I went to Wild Bob Burgos was billed as ‘The Tattooed Sledgehammer of Rock n Roll’, his offering ‘Boppin’ Rock-A-Bella’ lives up to that billing, cracking stuff. Bob features on several of these tracks, including The Wild Angels. No compilation of this genre would be complete without Crazy Cavan & The Rhythm Rockers, ‘Peak A Boo (Got My Eye On You)’ a reminder of the huge loss Cavan Grogan was amidst a wide spectrum of music he was the top of a heap of.