ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAMEŽ MERCHANDISE & SERVICES
SIX SUGGESTED SUPER
BY BARRY M. KLEIN - December, 2005
In no particular order, here are six new CD's which, if you like rockabilly music and some
of its hillbilly bop and rhythm and blues cousins, should be made to order for your
listening enjoyment, or as a last-minute holiday gift that is sure to please.
Rip Carson's latest CD, "My Simple Life," is a mostly up-tempo, well put together CD
featuring Rip on vocals and guitar, Joel Morin on electric and steel lead guitar, Michael
Faughnan on drums, and Paul Diffin on upright bass. Diffin, who also plays with the CC
Jerome Band in the Los Angeles area, co-wrote two songs on this CD, also contributing much
of the studio work in the production of the CD.
Another vital person involved in this release is Mel Spinella, the owner of Golly Gee
Records, who has many groups and artists in his stable, including several who appear on
the CD "Rockabilly Showdown Volume I," also reviewed in this article.
If you don't know too much about Rip Carson, you really should! A man of many talents,
Carson provides vocals and guitar work on this CD, as well as most of the songwriting. A
multi-instrumentalist, Carson has been seen on stage playing bass, guitar, saxophone,
piano and drums. In addition to his instrumental talents, songwriting skills and vocals,
Rip Carson has a stage presence second to none. When seeing him in person, you don't know
if he is going to set himself on fire, turn somersaults on and off the stage, or make love
to a chair (all three have been described by me in past articles for this web site since
There is something different about this CD than others I have heard from Rip, and he's
better than ever. Rip's clear and clean vocals blend very well with the musical
production, which is basic but essential. You get the feeling that you are sitting in
front of the band in the studio when you listen to any one of these 14 songs. Rip's
articulation of the lyrics is the best he has ever done, without losing any of his
"dangerous" personna. Although most of the songs are Rip's compositions, we also get
treated to some nice covers, including "Miss Heartbreak," an original of the late Jackie
Lee Cochran; a great cover of Charlie Feathers' "Stutterin' Cindy," which keeps the
original arrangement, but still has Rip's musical fingerprints on the song; and "Happy
Heart," a song co-written by Paul Diffin that infuses doo-wop vocals into the song, and it
works just fine.
Some of the Rip Carson self-penned songs that I was particularly partial to were "That
Ain't Enough," "Let Me Be," "The One I Want" (the good dancers would will love this one),
"Keep Movin," and "Sinkin' Down."
The bottom line: an excellent studio effort by a man who always draws a crowd when he is
THE HORTON BROTHERS TEMPO FOR TWO
Bobby Horton and Billy Horton have been known as being a big part of the Austin music
scene for many years. In the past they have pursued careers, both jointly and severally,
and Billy has an impressive resume as a music producer in recent years.
BOB AND BILLY PERFORM
AT THE ROCKIN' FIFTIES FEST II IN GREEN BAY.
The last album of the Horton Brothers that I can remember was "Roll Back the RugIt's the
Horton Brothers," which I bought a few years ago and enjoyed very much. In April of this
year the Horton Brothers drew a big crowd for their show at the six-day Rockin' Fifties
Fest at the Oneida Casino in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Bobby does vocals and plays lead
guitar, steel and xylophone, while Billy also does vocals and plays bass and sax.
Rounding out the personnel for this CD is guitar virtuoso Dave Leroy Biller on electric
and acoustic guitar, Buck Johnson on drums and percussion, and T. Jarrod Bonta on piano.
Shaun Young, of the legendary trio High Noon, contributes vocals and guitar, as he did on
stage with the Horton Brothers in Green Bay.
If you have never listened to or seen the Horton Brothers, I would describe them as
"hillbilly bop" with a definite infusion of rockabilly, and they have been accused, and
should be extremely proud of, having a real "fifties sound". The 11-song CD is mostly
comprised of songs written by Bobby and/or Billy, but they also pay homage to Buddy Holly
and The Crickets by doing "More Than I Can Say," a song written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry
Allison, and they give the Johnny Horton song, "Shadows of the Old Bayou," a good turn.
One of my favorites, "North to Dallas," was written by Bobby and Billy, and was one of the
best new songs I heard in Green Bay (I was there for six days and nights watching
performances in four venues, so this is truly a compliment).
Bobby and Billy's vocal harmonizing is definitely in the great tradition of other
"brother" acts, including the Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers. All of the songs
are enjoyable listening, and the dancin' crowd also will not be disappointed.
All eleven of the songs were good, but in addition to "North to Dallas," I particularly
liked "Locked Out of Love Again" and "I Had One Too Many." "Yesterday's Blues," written
by Billy, Bobby and Dave Biller, had great harmonizing, good sax by Billy and guitar by
Biller. Listening to this CD brought back great memories of their Green Bay set, and I
hope I get to see them play live again!
Speaking of Green Bay, when I returned home from "Green Bay I" in 2002, I favorably
reviewed the Bob Timmers CD, "Pickin' With My Friends." Well, it looks like Bob Timmers
has another winner! At "Green Bay II," Bob Timmers debuted the Rockabilly Hall of Fame CD
entitled "Pickin' With My Friends #2," which features Bob with Roman Self (Ronnie Self's
son), Larry Merritt, Mike Vincent, Elvis drummer D. J. Fontana, France's Ollie Rock, Kenny
King, Carl Perkins' oldest issue Stan Perkins, legendary bass player Bob Moore, Denny
Noie, Tony Baustian of Bobby Lowell's Band AND ... Bob Timmers doing his "pickin and playin",
which includes an instrumental entitled "Burning Ring" on which Bob plays all the
instruments. On a good cover of "Heartbreak Hotel," Kenny King does the vocals and once
again, Bob Timmers plays all instruments.
If you have not seen Bob Timmers perform at such festivals as the Oneida Casino's Rockin'
Fifties Fest, Rockabilly Rebel Weekend in Indianapolis or the recent Gene Vincent Tribute
Concert in Los Angeles, Bob is an extremely accomplished guitarist who seems to be more
animated each time I see him perform. Speaking of Gene Vincent, Larry Merritt does a nice
job with Bob Timmers playing on Gene Vincent's classic "She She Little Sheila."
For the blues lovers, Denny Noie's performance on "Blues Train" is an excellent blues
This 13-song CD is very worthwhile, and please don't mind a member of the Rockabilly Hall
of Fame hawking a product by our leader, Bob Timmers: to hear how good "Heartbreak Hotel"
sounds with Bob on all instruments is worth the price of the CD alone. Actually this CD
has many highlights, including Stan Perkins doing the lead vocals on his father Carl's
"Boppin' the Blues," which in addition to Bob Timmers' guitar, features legendary bass man
Bob Moore on bass. Roman Self always gives us a superb effort, and to have performances
by the likes of Stan Perkins, DJ Fontana, Bob Moore, Larry Merritt, and Mike Vincent makes
this a collectors item.
"Hello Baby." No, it's not the beginning of the Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace." This is
the newest CD from The Donettes. The Donettes started in late 1999 as an all female
rockabilly band. They have since "evolved" into a two female/two male rockabilly quartet.
Although they are basically based in the Seattle, Washington area, lead singer Rebecca
Kemberling has been living in Austin, Texas for the last two years.
Not that that slows them down: after a debut 45 release in 2001, the Donettes have just
presented their third CD, "Hello Baby," which follows "Pitchin' Woo" and "Kick Off the
Covers." Incidentally, "Pitchin' Woo", their first full-length CD, was engineered by none
other than Billy Horton. Although the Donettes are essentially a rockabilly band, they
dig deep into their roots repertoire and offer a considerable infusion of blues and
country. The Donettes consist of Rebecca Kemberling on vocals, Kirsten Ballweg on upright
bass, Jonathan Stuart on guitar and Tom Forster on drums.
The Donettes' feisty set at the Green Bay Rockin' Fifties Fest this past April has given
further impetus to their reputation and career. The Horton Brothers actually perform on
this CD, joining the Donettes in "The Walk of Shame" that was written by Rebecca. Other
catchy tunes include their rendition of "Boogie Woogie Country Girl," "Mercy," the Collins
Kids' song, Faron Young's "Going Steady," and the country Classic, "The Right String, But
The Wrong Yo-Yo." Another composition by Rebecca, "Baby Baby (don't be mean)" joins the
"all killer and no filler" content of this 11-song CD.
Their blues influences are evident in two classics, "Got My Mojo Working," which was a
signature song of Muddy Waters as well as a hit on The Paul Butterfield Blues Band's first
Elektra album, in which the lead vocals on that record was performed by drummer Sam Lay,
who was once with Muddy Waters' band. "Got My Mojo Working" does get some reworked lyrics
by Rebecca and the gang in their unique arrangement. Another classic that I sometimes
hear on the "Harlem" show on XM Radio's 50's channel is Detroiter Todd Rhodes' song
"Rocket Sixty-Nine," (1951) which benefits from the Donettes' touch.
Rounding out the CD is a Leiber and Stoller tune, "Whipper Snapper," the title song "Hello
Baby," and another song by Rebecca entitled "Sweet Boy."
I see that the Donettes show much poise, promise and propitious prominence on this CD!
ROCKABILLY SHOWDOWN VOLUME I
Rockabilly Monthly magazine, in association with Golly Gee Records and Hum Tone Records,
have released a 27-track CD from "some of today's hottest talent," and it would be
difficult for anyone to refute this statement. I have reviewed other CD's from the Golly
Gee Records label, including releases from some of the groups or individuals on this CD,
but this CD also encompasses groups that are not purely California or necessarily from the
Golly Gee record label stable.
What we have here are 27 songs performed by about 16 groups or individuals, and they
include Rip Carson, rockabilly prodigy Eddie Clendenning, Rockin' Ryan and the Real
Goners, Hot Rod Lincoln, The Rumblejetts, Jerry King and the Rivertown Ramblers, The
Spinouts, Chad Thomas and the Crazy Kings, Billy and the Bullets, Peter and the Wolves,
and several others.
I do not know how much exactly this CD sells for, but I'm willing to bet that it's a
pretty good "bang for the buck," considering the 27 songs and many groups that are
represented here, and it is quite a good collection of up-tempo contemporary rockabilly.
Orlando Rios, who I believe is the person behind Rockabilly Monthly, and Mel
Spinella of Golly Gee Records, are the co-producers of this CD. For information on
ordering this, I would suggest you send an email to email@example.com or go to the
website at www.GollyGeeRecords.com.
The new Helldivers CD is called "Starlight Rock n' Bop". I reviewed their last CD, "The
A vast majority of the up-tempo songs are written by Ace Brown, Johnny Bones, or a joint
effort by Ace and Johnny.
My favorite songs on this CD are "Feel So Bad," "Hot Rod Boogie," "Rhythm Gonna Rock You,"
"Street Angel, House Devil," and "Water Boilin'." As is the case with all of the CD's
reviewed here, the good dancers will love most of the songs on this disk, and I would even
rate this new release even better than their prior CD.
Pat Cupp, the rockabilly legend, who has also released a CD on the Wild Hare Records
label, writes a nice review of "Starlight Rock n' Bop" on the back of the CD cover, and
says it "showcases a new sound that really gets to the heart of true rockabilly as it was
played in 1954."
What else can I say!
Editor's Note: Barry Klein writes for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and his
book, "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll", was published in 1997. To
contact Barry, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
ŠRockabilly Hall of FameŽ