Essential Records: Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps

Posted by Amoebite, August 8, 2016 03:58pm | Post a Comment

Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps - Amoeba Music

Call it a rough patch, call it a dry spell, call it whatever, but let's just say a while ago the relationship between my guitar and me got a little stale. Now of course I loved that thing dearly but, well, you know how it is: sometimes it just seems like the two of you are stuck in the same old routine. Now the electric guitar is a tricky instrument, there are so many variations, effects, and styles, and it's so overly saturated in the mainstream consciousness that while it can be the most primal and cathartic sounding of instruments, it can also be the most horrendous, self-involved sound known to modern man. At this particular juncture, I just wasn't hearing anything new that was compelling me towards the former sentiment. In an attempt to revive our relationship I pulled out this guitar magazine I had from high school that was all about rockabilly and the late '90s neo-swing revival. In it was a picture I always found striking but was never sure why: five young men all dressed in white, wearing dark, floppy caps. I thought to myself: it's finally time I really dug into Mr. Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and His Blue Caps. I learned a couple of riffs out of the magazine, all attributed to Gene's original guitarist, Cliff Gallup, then I went to the record store and picked up their second album (thinking it was their first), Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.

I put the needle on and right out of the gate the band is swaggering and in full swing. My toe's tappin', my hand's snappin' and my hair's getting greasier by the second. Gene finishes his first verse of "Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail" with the order to his band to "Rock!" and the next thing I know Cliff Gallup's guitar struts onto the scene and picks up the lead while someone lets out a banshee wail in the background. Gene comes back into the second verse, singing like he's crooning and panting at the same time, a cross between Dean Martin and that cartoon wolf from the droopy cartoons whose mouth drops to the floor at the sight of the cute redhead, and before I can finish that thought the second verse is ending and Gene calls out, "Rock again!" and Cliff's back with his plunky, shimmering, echo-y tone.

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Three Nights of Psychobilly Madness at the Klubfoot USA Festival, 3/15 - 3/17

Posted by Amoebite, March 7, 2013 10:33pm | Post a Comment

klubfoot usaWhat are you doing St. Patrick's Day weekend? Cancel it! You can't miss the Klubfoot USA Festival at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, March 15th - 17th.

Six bands a night for three nights of pure Psychobilly madness from around the world!  With Mad Sin, The Klingonz, King Kurt, Frantic Flintstones, The Coffin Nails, Rezurex, Los Difuntos, the new Neo-Rockabilly band The Whammy (Tim Polecat with Slim Jim Phantom and Jonny Bowler), and so many more. 

This is an all-ages show!

Tickets are available at Amoeba Hollywood.

Here's some Coffin Nails to get you in the mood:

out this week 1/25 & 2/1...the party ain't over by wanda jackson!!!

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 4, 2011 02:32pm | Post a Comment
I have been excited about the new Wanda Jackson ever since I heard she was working with Jack White. I already loved her but I knew she could be even better with the help of Jack White! Jack White is, of course, from the White Stripes, who are now officially broken up. Not that Wanda really needed Jack White -- she was putting out some of the best rockabilly and country albums way before he was even born. She is the Queen of Rockabilly, after all! But I knew that he could be bring that greatness out of her once again. It had been a while. Jack White already helped Loretta Lynn make an amazing album a couple of years back, so we knew he could do it. Both Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson are two of my favorites! I obviously don't like anything new that comes out in the world of country but I have always loved the country music of the 50's and 60's. Wanda Jackson got her start back in back in the 50's, back when Rockabilly was very popular but there were not really a whole lot of women putting out rockabilly records. This is why she is known as the first woman of rockabilly. She paved the road for many who followed her. She later moved on to putting out more country albums and eventually gospel albums, but on this new album she is putting out the great rockabilly that made her famous. This is good stuff!

The new album is called The Party Ain't Over and was released last week. The gatefold vinyl version plays music when you open it, like those greeting cards that sing to you when you open them. I think this is amazing! Seriously. It plays music when you open it! I missed her shows she did a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles but wanda jackson party ain't overI did catch her on Conan last week and she is, of course, amazing (see video below). Jack White performed with her on stage and then they both sat down for a quick interview with Conan. I love the interaction between Jack White and Wanda -- sort of like a mother/son-type relationship. He teased her about her relationship with Elvis when Conan asked her about her early tour with Elvis. She dated Elvis Presley in 1955. Anyway, you really need this album in your life! It is one of my favorites of the year so far, and she even does a fantastic cover of "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse. Wanda Jackson was featured briefly in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line but I think she really deserves her own movie. She has had an interesting life for sure and has influenced a ton of country and rockabilly artists over the years. Just check out any of the current rockabilly musicians and you can hear the influence. It is great to have Wanda Jackson back on the music scene. I think she didn't need Jack White and could have made a great album on her own, but he just stepped it up a bit. The two of them together is perfect. The album is perfect.

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out this week 6/29 & 7/6...thieves like us...scissor sisters...delphic...trash humpers...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 9, 2010 11:55am | Post a Comment
It has been almost a year and a half since the release of the debut album by Thieves Like Us. I'm still in love with that first album, Play Music. It just doesn't get much better than that. Records tend to get overplayed and then you sort of move on and get over them. It might happen for some fans with just certain songs... you sort of wear them out and there is always a new song around the corner to catch your ear. But some songs never get old and you never tire of listening to them. There have been certain albums that I have liked so much but ended up taking an intentional break from -- I had to sort of cut them off because I knew I would wear them out! Itthieves like us play music is like too much of a good thing. Sometimes you have to take a break from your favorite things just to keep them your favorite things. Music is often like this for me. I really almost wore out the album by The Teenagers a couple of years ago. And I almost wore out my Thieves Like Us album. Luckily there have been some great albums this year to keep me busy! I am still not nearly done with the Wild Nothing album but I now listen to it about once a week instead of every day. I was so in love with Thieves Like Us last year that it ended up at the top of my favorite albums of 2009, so I was obviously excited about this new album that just came out this week. It did surprise me a bit a couple of weeks ago when I first heard that they had a new album coming out already -- I didn't know if I was ready yet. I really was not quite done with the first album -- but I quickly got myself ready. This involved listening to the first album one more time and then doing some cleansing. I had heard the new record was going to be a different type of album for them, which was good news. I didn't want the first album replicated or replaced. I was ready for a brand new album from one of my new favorite bands.

Much of my youth was spent exploring older albums by my favorites. I didn't start listening to The Smiths until after I had bought my first solo Morrissey album. It is always fun to go back and explore the older albums of your new favorite bands or artists because they usually get better when you go backwards in a discography. My first cassette by The Smiths was Louder Than Bombs. I then picked up a copy of Strangeways Here We Come. Then it was Queen Is Dead followed by Meat Is Murder and the self titled debut. I bought Rank on cassette I think next because I found it a a record store and realized it was the only album I didn't own by them. I think The cassettesSmiths were the first band that I owned the full catalog of on cassette -- at least everything that I could find at the record store. I of course later updated to CDs and LPs. The same thing happened with most of my other favorite bands. I think Blue Bell Knoll was my first Cocteau Twins album and Into the Labyrinth was my first Dead Can Dance album. Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me was my first album by The Cure. It just all depends how old you were when these albums first came out, how cool your older brothers or sisters or cousins were, what albums your best friends listened to, or even when your radio station decided to start playing certain bands. At this point in my life I have pretty much explored all the albums of the bands that I already like or am ever gonna like, but luckily I still do love new music, so it is exciting to find a new band that you can follow from the beginning. Sometimes though I wonder if it is better to go backwards. It does always seem like the albums get better when you go backwards. Early New Order is obviously better as ythieves like us posterou go backwards.

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Jody Reynolds 1932 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 15, 2008 12:45pm | Post a Comment

Rockabilly Hall of Fame
member Jody Reynolds died this past week of liver cancer in Palm Desert, California. He was 75. His most famous record, and sole Top 10 hit, "Endless Sleep," not only added a strange evocative sound to the typical Rockabilly rave-up of the day -- Reynolds differentiated himself from many of the era’s rockabilly artists with his disquieting, haunting melodies -- but was a forerunner in the long line of melodramatic teen hit records and a genre sometimes known as “teardrop rock."

Born in Denver on Dec. 3, 1932 as Ralph Joseph Reynolds, his family soon moved to Oklahoma, where he grew up listening to country music and Western swing acts such as Eddy Arnold and Bob Wills, eventually picking up the guitar as a teenager. In 1956 while performing in Yuma, Arizona, Reynolds wrote the song “Endless Sleep” after listening to Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" five times in a row on a jukebox. Two years later Reynolds met a music publisher named Herb Montei who forwarded the demo version to the Los Angeles based label Demon Records. Demon liked the demo but executives insisted on Reynolds tacking on a more uplifting end to the song; the revised finale has the suicidal girl saved from drowning by her guilt ridden beau. Another peculiar bit of history about “Endless Sleep” -- writing credits for the song went to Jody Reynolds and Dolores Nance, but according to Reynolds, Nance was a fictitious person created by the Demon Records to make it appear that there was songwriting team.

By the summer of 1958 “Endless Sleep” became a huge national and international hit, peaking at No. 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, no doubt opening the door for several other doomed tales of love-death tinged million selling pop hits including Mark Dinning's "Teen Angel," Ray Peterson's "Tell Laura I Love Her," Dickey Lee's "Patches" and the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack," to name but a few. Reynolds' next single was not as successful. “Fire of Love” peaked at number 66 on the Billboard charts. It would be his last charting single. Still, he continued to record and tour into the 1970’s for several labels including Smash, Brent and Pulsar Records. His typically anomalous 1963 recording, and excellent single, on Titan Records, "Stranger in the Mirror" / "Requiem for Love" featured a very young Bobbie Gentry (“Ode to Billie Joe”) in her debut. Eventually Reynolds opened a music store in Palm Springs and worked as a real estate agent. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1999.

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