Rhythm n Blues, it has changed a lot over the years. A lot more than rockabilly. RnB now a day is more like hip hop beats over some girl or guy singing about grinding or something along those lines. Today’s youth has no clue that long ago this genre was put on artists like Elvis Presley, Wynonie Harris, Bull Moose Jackson, Trini Lopez, Little Richard and even Chuck Berry. One of the precursors of Rock N Roll. It’s a hint of swing, with a hint of blues. Just a little more UMPH to it (I’m not sure how that sound effect is supposed to be spelled out). A lot of great and danceable records came out during the 1940s and early 50s (60s as well but I try to avoid that decade here). So back to what I was saying. It has changed. But much like rockabilly artists that have brought back the raw sound of the time and made it their own. There was bands right now as we speak playing authentic 40s and 50s style saxophone (saxamaphone) fueled, upbeat, finger snapping, guitar tickling (no one uses that term but me. that virtually just came to me now and I regret nothing) rhythm rockin blues. I have to emphasize the rockin part cause these bands fit in perfectly at Viva, Rockabilly Rave, etc.
Now, I’m no cool kid. I’ve only been enjoying bands like this for a couple of years. I graduated from rockabilly and expanded my musical knowledge (Thank you Del Villareal). First time this came to my attention was when I noticed a local band had brought in a guy named Nico Duportal to play in my town. I looked him up and realized he was on Rhythm Bomb records. A record label I had become a fan of thanks to their roster featuring top-notch rockabilly acts. I went to see them and was blown away by his guitar playing. Magnificent 40 and 50s style blues guitar. French guy singing like he just jumped out of an old black and white movie based in New Orleans (fun fact he sung a song with Big Sandy that night). A few weeks later a talented lady named Jai Malano came by the same place and did a song with the same band. Same label and Nico and similar style. Even recorded an album with his back up back The Rhythm Dudes (or His Rhythm Dudes….maybe we could consider them Her Rhythm Dudes…I’ll ask later).
I like to take this space to say. Despite popular belief. The french are awesome people to be drunk around.
Ridiculously soulful voice backed by an amazing rocking band backing her up. I definitely encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Rocket Girl on Rhythm Bomb.
Prior to going solo she fronted The Royal Rhythmaires out of Texas.
Those two artists (and DJ Del Villareal for playing some mighty fine tunes on his radio programe) got me on the path to check out more. Next was Cherry Casino and the Gamblers. Even more “saxamaphone” goodness. Their lead vocalist could sing me to sleep (and it wouldn’t be weird at all even though we’re both guys). In fact their album “Hi-No-Love” has been playing the whole time I’ve been writing this. I would keep on going here. But I want you to click the video below and enjoy one of Berlin’s finest.
U.S., France and Germany aren’t the only ones having fun (one of the few times I can say that sentence). Italy’s Backseat Boogie (though more on the rockin side) gives a whole lot of rhythm and a whole lot of boogie! I’m sort of cheating the system here. You could very well call them a rockabilly band with a sax (saxamaphone). Just listen to the following track.
I’ve gone over this album before HERE. But I love the Wild Records release Alex Vargas “Smooth as Ice” from 2012. Just a tremendously awesome batch of great songs. This is a baby makin album. Worthy of having your panties thrown at the speakers. Even if you are a guy. You should go to the store. Buy a pair of panties. And throw them at your speakers. I’d include Gizzelle in this category but I consider her more Soul than the subject of this article. That will be for another day.
A band that really caught my attention recently are the Starjays. These guys have so much hype behind them that I absolutely had to own their debut album “Bang! It’s the Starjays”. That album is packed full of toe tapping goodness. I’ve had this on repeat since I got it. Gotta love the duel singing with Roy Kay (from the Roy Kay Trio) and Angelatini. Their back up band knows what they are doing. Much like the recent Cherry Casino recording, these sound so authentic you could almost convinced me they got a TARDIS to go learn a thing or two (sorry I feel I should put more “nerd” stuff in these posts….also sorry if you had to google TARDIS after reading this).
One act I see a lot of from my friends overseas are the Ray Collins Hot Club. No lying here. I’m fairly unfamiliar with these guys. But for you guys I’ll include them in this article. After a few tracks I think I’m gonna have to invest some more time in checking these guys out!
Now these guys don’t get enough credit….The Kings of Nuthin. I didn’t say these guys got me into more rhythm n blues mostly cause I just loved their music. I didn’t need a label for them. They merely made music that rocked my socks off. I feel some folks try to put them in some kind of punk or psychobilly hybrid category. But I view them completely as RnB act (I’m not going to shorten that ever again. I type RnB and I feel like I should be typing about 90s slow james). Just a really drunk one.Unfortunately they are not around any more but I would like to think they influenced the musical rockin world in some way.
I keep thinking seeing Nico Duportal put me on this path. But really I think I already was. I was into Kings of Nuthin a decade ago. And I snagged that Alex Vargas album when it came out 3 years ago.. Maybe I was already was on a path. It was just a natural progression. If you are in the rockabilly world and you haven’t checked out any of these bands. Let me be the one that exposes you. Go check out every band I’ve mentioned here. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Like this article? Any bands that should have been mentioned? Let me know in the comment section below. Feel free to share this on your social media. While you’re at it go LIKE the official Rockabilly Nerd Facebook page HERE.
Come back next time where I’ll explain that you should stop using Murray’s and you should probably throw away all of your greasy pillows and everything you touch is officially gross.