One listen to blonde bombshell Josie Kreuzer will tell you this is no simple aw-shucks good ol' gal. The voice says Wanda Jackson and the music says Johnny Horton, but the lyrics say, don't mess with me, I ain't nobody's fool. Her Beggin' Me Back album from two years back is a glorious bit of modern rockabilly, with a beautiful authentic '50s sound capped with a set of candid, modern time lyrics.

The only child of a one parent family, she moved with her mother to New Orleans at the age of sixteen. And while the sound of the city wasn't the white country and rock 'n' roll she liked, it did lead to her discovering Tower records where she was able to buy Wanda Jackson records and discover Kicks magazine, which in turn lead her to heaps of obscure rockabilly. Within a year she had learnt guitar and was hell-bent on living the retro lifestyle. She left home and moved to San Fransisco, then Austin and finally Los Angeles.

It was in LA that she formed the all-girl rockabilly group, Whistle Bait, who despite not recording any albums have since attained a cult status. They gigged around Southern California for three years before splitting in 1996. Still determined to live her dream Josie decided to go solo and formed her own label, She Devil. It was a big step, that showed the drive and desire to succeed in the music business. You wonder where she'd be now if she was cutting bland pop-country. Probably living in a big farmstead outside Nashville. Thankfully, she still loves the rockabilly beat with strains of Patsy Cline honky tonk and shows no signs of giving up the ghost.

To date she's cut three albums, "Hot Rod Girl," "As Is" and the completely self-written "Beggin' Me Back." She's played all the big festivals in both the US and in Europe and Australia although she seems to have taken a bit of a lay off since her marriage to Eric Barajas in Las Vegas last August.

Album review:
Beggin' Me Back
She-Devil Records 1952

            Her third album is a superb honkybilly delight with all twelve songs being originals. Produced by Mark Neill on vintage equipment, the sound is bright and clear as a bell. His other credits include Big Sandy's On The Go and Slippin' In by the Paladins and he's also the lead guitarist on this alum, joined by Jeff Graves on lead guitar and Craig Packham on drums. They are a tasty, authentic unit with Neill obviously being a scholar of the Grady Martin school of picking.
            The songs are clever and there's not a bad cut on the set. The lead off track, Lucky And Wild has a dirty rockabilly stop-start beat that has echoes of Janis Martin. Good Time Girl and After I Stop Lovin' sound like Johnny Horton in tight trousers - both the band and Kreuzer are brilliant on these. The top trio of the set are Gone Fishin', 10% and the title track.
            A clever song is Reminder To Remember (To Forget Him), a re-write of the Stan Kesler-Charlie Feathers track that Elvis cut at Sun. My Sin (Mi Pecado) is Mexibilly with Kreuzer never sounding better on the vocals.
            I can't praise this album highly enough. If you like the spunky woman voices of rockabilly like Jackson, Martin or Lorrie Collins and you're also partial to a bit of Johnny Horton, then this is the album for you. Get it and dig it.

Shaun Mather
April 2004

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