Rockabilly is alive and well…Daddio
Jungle Records release this cool rockin’ disc on 13 May 2016. Gary Cordwell crowbars himself into a pair of drainpipes and howls like a stray cat.
As an ex habitue of Hammersmiths notorious and sadly long defunct Klub Foot, it’s nice to see the rockabilly flag still being proudly flown, albeit now in a much classier, more sophisticated incarnation. The Hillbilly Moon Explosion are a truly international affair – formed in Switzerland in 1998 by two ex-pats and featuring an Italian chanteuse on vocals, their 8 albums have grown in confidence and eclecticism, building up to the frankly wonderful ‘With Monsters And Gods’.
Sure, there is straight ahead rockabilly, and it’s effortlessly brilliant. There must have been a great deal of standing atop drum kits and double basses as they tore these songs up. The guitar sound, in particular, is big, gutsy and full – Scotty Moore on steroids – sleazy, quirky and beautifully weird.
But they can do that with their eyes closed…the juice is in the songs where they go off-message. ‘Temptation’ has sparring Dick Dale surf guitar and mariachi horns. ‘Down On Your Knees’ has a Ramones chantalong section and a nasty, spirit of ’77 punk powerchord charge.
What else do we have? Well how about eccentric jazz horns and clanking percussion – the carnival’s in town! Oh yeah, and blues – John Lee Hooker blues dragged down an alley and fucked up by Jon Spencer blues…Billy Gibbons would be proud of this glorious noise. And fuzzed up guitar with a filthy Link Wray bassline – amped up Creedence Clearwater Revival with Screaming Jay Hawkins and Johnny Cash on backing vocals. Again, Duncan James guitar work is just outstanding.
And don’t forget the ballads – humid, moody, late night twangers that would sit perfectly on a David Lynch soundtrack. Is that a hint of ‘Atomic’ that can be detected in the melody of ‘Midnight Blues’? It would appear so because we later get a rock ‘n roll dust up of Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ (see above) that works perfectly. We also get the Ska shuffle and vocal duet of ‘Jackson’ featuring Demented Are Go’s very own Sparky – his LSD and whiskey fucked vocals are gently caressed by Emmanuela Hutter to stunning effect – we need a whole album of this, please and thank you!
So, rockabilly is alive and well…Daddio. Slick back your quiff (or buy a wig if you are of a certain follicular persuasion), dust off your brothel creepers, grab a milkshake and go check out these rockin’ tunes. On second thoughs, pack a switchblade, some of the alleyways these cats will take you down are on the wrong side of town…
8 out of 10
- In Space
- Down On Your Knees
- Midnight Blues
- With Monsters And Gods
- Love You Better
- Black Ghost
- Heartbreak Boogie
- Call Me
- You Miss Something
- Rose Outside