A whole bunch of British 'cat' bands from the late Seventies. These are the first ever recordings by The Meteors (in fact the original tapes have the name 'Raw Deal' on them, which is crossed out and changed to 'The Meteors'!). Here is everything released on the rare British 'Alligator' label. Some of this stuff is amazingly authentic. Track 8 is a brilliant fast jiver, and is probably my favourite track on the CD. The Flying Saucers were actually 'The Kool Kats', and members of the band were actively involved with the Alligator label. Johnny Key (see also https://www.myspace.com/johnjohnnykey) had been a one-time member of the band, who were also the backup band on the Gentleman Jim Mealey tracks. The Rhythm Cats contained members who would later appear in The Stargazers (Anders Janes, Pete Davenport) and The Polecats (Neil Rooney). Many of these tracks were issued on 45s, and are now VERY collectable.... When this album was first released in 1980, the media REALLY slated it, saying that the Rhythm Cats failed in their attempt to sound authentic, and that The Meteors tracks had been 'watered down'. What did they know anyway?
This compilation first issued on Alligator records in 1980 captures the British rockabilly scene at a key moment of its evolution. It was produced by Terry Earl, Pete Pritchard and Niggsy Owens, respectively drummer, bassist and guitarist of Flying Saucers. They were also the "house band" of the label appearing under the moniker of The Kool Kats on some sides.
The Meteors tracks are three Fenech originals that he sings too. It's first class Rockabilly with a touch of skiffle on "My Baby Loves Me (Yes She Does)". We're far from the sound that'd be latter found on "In Heaven". Actually these three songs were recorded during the transition between Raw Deal (who featured Terry Earl and Pat Panioty who later formed the Deltas) and the Meteors. By the time this compilation was released their sound had changed.
Another band who had a lasting influence on the Rockabilly scene was the Polecats. They only recorded one song for this album as they wanted to keep their material for a major record deal.
Before joining the Polecats, Neil Rooney played with the Rhythm Cats along with Peter Davenport and Anders Janes who later formed the Stargazers another rockin' band to get a deal with a major. The recorded four songs of rural hillbilly bop mixed with rockabilly and early Bill Haley. "Move Over baby" was later reworked by the Stargazers and was available on "Rock that Boogie" on Vinyl Japan. Gentleman Jim (Mealey) played solid rockabilly in the Sun/Meteor style while Johnny Key leaned more toward the hillbilly side of things with mandolin, banjo, fiddle and dobro.
The cd and mp3 version contain the other singles released by the label. Gina and the Strollers released two hot rockabilly numbers. "I'd Find You" is a solid western swing with sax and fiddle by Gentleman Jim while Johnny Key produced "Make You Realise" in the style of Johnny Cash and "Hillbilly Music" covered by Kitty Daisy and Lewis nearly 30 years later on their debut album.
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
|1. Crazy love - The Meteors (Fenech) BTW Music|
|2. London is my hillbilly home - Johnny Key And The Kool Kats (Key) BTW Music|
|3. Rockin' this joint tonite - The Rhythm Cats (Rooney) BTW Music|
|4. Hi ho fiddle dee dee - Gentleman Jim Mealey (Mealey) BTW Music|
|5. I'm on my way - The Rhythm Cats (Janes) BTW Music|
|6. Tears fallin' down like rain - Johnny Key And The Kool Cats (Key) BTW Music|
|7. Go away - The Meteors (Fenech) BTW Music|
|8. Move over baby - The Rhythm Cats (Davenport) BTW Music|
|9. Rockin' all nite - The Polecats (Bloomberg) BTW Music|
|10. Little confused - Gentleman Jim Mealey (Mealey) BTW Music|
|11. My baby loves me - The Meteors (Fenech) BTW Music|
|12. My baby's gone - The Rhythm Cats (Rooney) BTW Music|
|13. Second hand information - Gentleman Jim Mealey (Mealey) BTW Music|
|14. Fallin' for you - Johnny Key And The Kool Kats (Mealey) BTW Music|
|15. I'd find you - Gentleman Jim Mealey (Mealey) BTW Music|
|16. Keep my big wheels turnin' - Johnny Key And The Kool Kats (Earl) BTW Music|
|17. Make you realise - Johnny Key And The Kool Kats (Pritchard) BTW Music|
|18. Rockin' on down the line - Gina And The Rockin' Rebels (Sloane/Lewis) BTW Music|
|19. Thinkin' on you - Gina And The Rockin' Rebels (McGrath) BTW Music|
|20. Hillbilly music - Johnny Key And The Kool Kats (Key) BTW Music|