CD and LP Reviews – Published And Otherwise Part 2

I thought I’d start posting published and unpublished reviews I’ve written for various publications here. I’ll do six at a time for ease of sharing but not so many that it’s a scrolling nightmare. Please feel free to share and comment. Anyone who wishes to send me their stuff to review please email me


‘It’s A Rockabilly Riot’
(Western Star)
Another shop window compilation from the prolific Western Star stable, this time showcasing the rich vein of rockabilly that the studio delivers. There are 25 tracks on this album and exhibit the wide range of style that can bop under the genre umbrella with no fear of an identity inquest by the billy police. Ever since I first became aware of the word rockabilly as a kid care of Matchbox in 1979 I have wondered why the music and its performers don’t appear to be given the respect afforded to other genres like blue and jazz that pre-date it by some years. To outsiders, bands playing rockabilly have always been revivalists, or neo or something or other else rather than just performing a genre of music. Listening to this album it strikes me that the finest purveyors and exponents of rockabilly can no longer be sniffily shuffled into second-rate status. What you have on display in this compilation is the full gamut of what rockabilly has to offer. From one of the original home-grown rockers Vince Eager, though authentic 1950’s sounding Rusti Steel, the tougher than tough Bullets and alarmingly youthful Sharna Mae & The Mayhems proving the whole thing has gone full circle. Nobody is trying to be 19 year old Elvis anymore, Western Star aren’t trying to recreate the Sun Sound. What is happening is that this collection of ultra-creative and talented people are doing it their own way. Of course to ears that have been listening to the genre for years there are a whole front row full of nods to those gone by but also the unmistakable stamp of individuality. For a label with its own ‘feel’ from its in-house recording studio the originality, variation and vibrancy of the current batch of artists that play rockabilly is astounding and certainly proves it not a dead genre in need to resurrecting but a thriving current entity. Yeah I know, deep – but true. Simon Nott



‘March To Your Own Beat’
(Lime Digital)
I got this so hot off the presses that I the finished product in my hand before Sam Woods head Hyperjack had seen it. It’s seven years since their last release. In that time the band has regrouped and come back swinging with a solid mash up of psychobilly, punk and rockabilly. Lyrically Sam’s spitting feathers and the band play with equal venom. Songs are generally stripped bare bass, guitar and drums but with flourishes added where deemed appropriate, honky-tonk piano and melodeon anyone? The result is a cracking album well worth the wait. Simon Nott

‘Lipstick Party Killer’
(Western Star)
I was going to call this a breath of fresh air but that would be a little misleading as it’s definitely got the slight bouquet of twilight about it. Of course everyone knows that is a good thing and don’t worry Bella Raye’s haunting voice is there to guide us through the shadows. Make no mistake she get us dancing in places too, ‘Oh La La’ is one such uplifting double bass driven track. All but one are self-penned, the one that isn’t ‘I’m In Love With A German Filmstar’ is The Passions 1981 hit and fits perfectly. Simon Nott


Slaughter Of Soho/Beautiful Songs That Tell You Terrible Things
(Sub-Ver-Siv 7”)
The A side is taken from this London collective’s album ‘Songs For Hope About Despair’ and is a dark and ominous ode to what appears to be happening to London’s musical heritage. It’s driven by horns and teased by barroom piano over a solid jazz-blues beat while vocalist Clive laments and warns that Soho will be back to bite arses. Flip it over and we are treated to a non-album track, atmospheric to the max that simply oozes class but with a desolate feel to match the disconsolate lyrics. Simon Nott


‘Just Dance’
(Western Star 7”)
This is a cracking rockablly EP from Lew Lewis and cohorts, 4 tracks none of which are entitled ‘Just Dance’. As an instructive title it’s pretty needless as you’ll have to be pretty hard to impress not to be bopping along to this after the very first minute. It’s authentic stuff that doesn’t get bogged down trying too hard to be authentic stuff with its crisp modern sound. Stand-out track for me is the mid-paced ‘What Might Have Been’ as I’m a sucker for that guitar echo. Top notch stuff. Simon Nott

‘Tumbling Heights’
(Voodoo Rhythm)
I make no apologies for quoting Voodoo Rhythm themselves here because I couldn’t put it better myself ‘A Swiss acid trash raw power rock n roll trip, direct from an up-in-smoke low rider garage directly into your crummy little home’. Well you get the picture before you listen, I also got a message from Beat-Man himself saying it was a ‘head-fuck’, anyone knowing the label will either recoil or salivate at that. Expect a sound that takes up where the Cramps used to enter cacophonic melt-down totally on tilt? It’s like that but better. Simon Nott

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