Radium Cats – Unearthed from the Crypt
Released July 2023 on the label Just Another Normal Guy Records Reviewed August 17th 2023 by Rockin Rebel Buy the album here: https://jangr.bandcamp.com/.../radium-cats-unearthed-from...
Psychobilly band that come from Scotland and first formed in 1988. They perform a style by blending lyrics from sci-fi and b-movie lyrics with a hammering rockabilly sound. A style that brought them fame within the psychobilly scene. What we have on this album is fourteen rare and unreleased tracks stemming from 1982 to 1988. These tracks were recorded at the Chamber studios and the Washhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Members Lee Paterson – vocals and bass Johnny Maben - drums and vocal Paul Paterson – vocals and guitar
Review Formed by the brothers Paul and Lee and later by Johnny to become a highly rated psychobilly band that came with a different sound. Writing and recording demos with plans to record an album in mind, they hit the road building a fantastic fan base and highly recommended by all that have seen them. Supporting quiffs that would make anybody jealous they finally made it to the recording studio. In 1988 they released their first album “Munster Madness” on Mental records with a follow up album in some four years later Nervous records titled “Other Worlds” this recording featured a different drummer. Recognized as one of the best live acts going. By 1994 the trio split and went a variety of ways from teaching dance lessons and other groups like the “Hi Voltage” These releases, Limited to 5 test pressings (not numbered) and come in different coloured vinyl. produced and compiled by the label with full permission to release. And the great thing about it is, at least more volumes are to follow in the near future. So Let’s crank the stereo up and go track by track.
I Married A Monster From Outer Space Starting with the intro from the twilight zone and heart beating drumming, written by Lee this recording was a demo from the washout session in 1988. Really is a great track, nice vocals and backing from the trio. Some eerie screams give it that wonderful edge to it. Concludes like it starts with a thundering end.
Plan 9 From Outer Space Drums taking the lead with a fast hard hitting drum roll creating the intro to this fast-paced track. The bass keeps time with the drums and guitar plays along. Some more screeching screams keep the hair standing up on the hedge. Written by both the brothers for the album Munster Madness but reminiscent of a demo until now.
Strange, Baby, Strange Also recorded for the Munster Madness album and written by Paul on this occasion. Starts with a doo wop type intro before the mid paced demo enters a low key vocal. Shame because it would have made a great album track.
Six Foot Down The munster album must have had some great tracks to leave out some awesome self-penned tracks. Back to the writing skills of lee. Starting with a false sense of a slow guitar riff until the drums crack into action turning it into a fast-paced corker. a
Well, I Knocked, Bim Bam. A track that sounds like it's right from the Stray Cats’ early career recordings. The vocals also follow the early neo side of rockabilly. Written by Carole Smith from Greenville, South Carolina who went under the alias Bobbie Carrol. Carrol wrote some tracks for the late great Gene Vincent, tracks like “I Flipped” and the wonderful The Jordanaires “Rock 'N Roll Religion”. A great cover version recorded at the washhouse during the 88 sessions.
The Freak Brilliant intro with the bass slapping away with an eerie sound, guitar joins in and then a low keyed vocal. Again the Neo sound is heavily influenced within its style, kind of the Polecats meets Alice Cooper.
Domino Love this version, totally brand-new sound to the great classic written by Orbison and Petty. The drums and bass are so cool and the electrifying guitar just brings this new rendition to a new level. Even Roy himself would be happy with this sound. Great track to end the A-side. Recorded the demo in 1988 and I don’t see why this would not have made the final cut on any album.
Dead On My Feet Great intro mixing in turn of the slap bass and electric guitar and joined by the drums. The slap bass really takes control on the track with a finger slapping instrumental. Once again, a great track written by Paul which became a demo in 1988. So glad these are finally being given the chance to be heard. Great rockabilly tracks
Just So You Call Me Early rockabilly track recorded by the legendary Mac Curtis in 1956 as the flip side to “if I had me a woman” on the king label. Written by Jim Shell and Joe Price. Dreamy vocals to a twanging guitar. This version is slower than the original Curtis rendition but comes with a lot more feeling to it. Even before their recording came along, they already knew how they wanted to sound different from the original, great track.
Haunted By Your Love Another track written by lee, similar intro to the stray cat’s strut with some ear pleasing slap bass. Drums build tension to the vocal whilst the bass slaps you silly. Drums sit nicely in the background then thunder forward to remind us they are there.
Let It Rot Very similar intro to the previous track, obviously playing around with the Neo sound that was coming through around this time with the polecats and stray cats. So glad this track is not being left to rot. Written by Paul during the 1988 demo session.
Do Bears Shit In The Woods The first track on the album that combines both the trios instrument and writing techniques with this Rockin instrumental. A very soft vocal repeats the title throughout the track, so an explicit warning would have to go alongside the track. but don’t shy away from the actual track, fantastic drums kicking the track off with equal talents from both the bass and guitar.
Flying Saucer Rock’n’roll The trio give us their rendition of the Billy Riley classic recorded in 1956 on the Sam Phillips label which you may have heard of, and if you haven’t it was the awesome sun label.
Brand New Cadillac What a way to complete a great album with probably the most covered classic. The lads start it with a higher key on the electric guitar. Great cover.
Summary: All I want to say is wow, I never really knew too much about this trio but this 14-track demo release is simply rockabilly being re-written with a new flavour, so understandable why this band was the talk of the town and most requested at live events. Such a shame they are no longer but I’m happy that further releases are planned by the label.
Recommendation: Oh yes, most enjoyable to the ear. For those that had previous knowledge of the trio, you will be just as happy with this album as you were with them back in their hey-day.