RUBY & THE MYSTERY CATS - RHYTHM & BOOZE
Released – 4th March 2023, Available from https://ditto.fm/rhythm-booze-live... Reviewed 6th March 2023 by Rockin Rebel. Ruby and the mystery cats from the Northeast of England, UK, a rock n roll covers Band who say they are a rip roaring’ resurrection of good-time rock & roll. Mixed and mastered by Chris Ferguson who also designed the cover art.
Band members Caroline Wilkinson - vocals James Withington - guitar Chris Ferguson - double bass Chris Percy-drums
Review After checking in with the band the first thing that comes across (even by text) is the excitement that comes across for this album. The band have been touring together since 2012 and all been in many bands prior to Ruby and the mystery cats, Caroline, and Chris Percy were former members of the Creepers, the double bass player Chris a former member of Slack rats. This album was recorded live at the Shack Shakers rock n roll club in Boldon. Which have hosted some of the top acts at their events https://www.facebook.com/boldonshackshakers. The band have got bookings well into 2023 and really looking forward to appearing alongside some great acts like Phil Haley and his Comets & the Sure Shots in August of 2023 and the Hammers & Pincers rock n roll weekender. They are hoping to try and get an E.P out later in the year if time allows them and maybe even self-penned tracks. so, lets load it up and go,
Track by Track. Tear it up (Burlinson – Dorsey) Another rockin track to keep the crowd entertained. Rubys vocals are still going strong and with the mean vibrato hitting them notes with passion. The tracks start with a member shouting, Come on Guys lets bop. And I’m sure they obliged; guitar struts his stuff during the break with the drummer thrashing away at them drumheads.
Fujiyama Mama (Hammer) Written in 1954 and recorded by Annisteen Allen in 1955 and later in 1957 by rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson. This obviously is the Jackson version, which the band perform well, and the audience can be heard giving their feelings at the end with a great round of applause.
Flying Saucer Rock’n’roll (scott)Great guitar intro and then the gravely low-down vocals accompany the riffs to start what was first a novelty recording when it was recorded in. Ruby’s vocals really stand out on this track and the band does a great job supporting her. Billy Lee Riley recorded the track in 1956 but it wasn’t released until 1976 and has become just as famous as any other Sun recording today.
Forty Cups of Coffee. (Overbea)The first thing that hits you is the vocal of ruby, strong and powerful with a great vibrato. An awesome cover of the track, opening with exchanging the brass section with a guitar gives a unique sound to an old classic. It’s got a real bluesy feel with the vocals, yet the band brings it to a fifties style. First recorded and released by Ella Mae Morse 1953 on capitol records but not released in the UK until 1954. Great opening to the album with a track you don’t hear often.
A Little Mixed up (Johnson – James) Another track that comes right out of the back of a record box. It’s great to hear some of the rarer tracks being revived with a modern touch. Some nice guitar work and vocals again gives a hint of that blues sound with its low-key tone. The track was co-written by the singer Betty James a US singer from Baltimore that also followed this track in 1962 with Promo of “Im Not Mixed Up Anymore”. On chess records.
What You Gonna Do (Willis) A perfect track to have in a live show with, a classic from the king of the Stroll Chuck Willis. Another great cover version of an obscure track with a carbon copy of the original track. I bet the audience were happy to sit down after this track. chuck is more identified with his writing of C C Rider and What Am I Living For.
To Hip’ Gotta Go (Setzer) When doing a Stray Cats cover the guitar as to be on the ball along with slap that bass tagging along. And they both hit right on the head. All three backign musicians hit every note bang on. Backing vocals sound good along with rubies vocal talent. Released in 1983 on the third album Rant and Rave with the Stray Cats.
One More Time (Turner-Bass) I thought I knew most songs in the genre of ours but this one has passed me by. The band did an incredible reproduction of this track. Some bluesy guitar opens the track then sits behind the vocals of ruby. The guitar really does some nice picking on the strings. Then it just ended and deserved a big finish. It was originally recorded by Billy Gayle’s with Ike Turner’s king of rhythm backing him. Released in 1956 on Federal records. In the UK it was the flip side to “Sad as a Man can Be”. Great track guys.
Bloodshot Eyes (Hall-Penny) A tame version of the rockin classic. Presenting your own style on a well-played track can also give it a new lease of life, and the band certainly do that, a slightly slower version with a nice backing music allowing the vocals to come through. it shows its country roots to which this track was originally intended. First released in 1950 by the writer of the track Hank Penny, made more famous with the Wynonie Harris 1951 version.
Rip It Up. (Blackwell – Marascalco) Fast paced rocker from the band that probably got the crowd jiving all over the place. Good cover of the little Richard number. Drums get the mood set on the intro; guitar takes over with the rockin’ vocals. Released in 1956 on Specialty Records. Bill Hayley also released a version in the same year.
Hit Git and Split (Jessie) Talk about singing the rare side of rock n roll, in my opening statement I said they claim to be A rip roaring’ resurrection of good-time rock & roll. Well here they prove just that. A great rendition of the Young Jessie track from 1956. Keeping a good tempo, they really rock this to the crowd out on the floor. A really refreshing change to the track listing.
Tough Lover (James) When coming to the end of the show, the crowd is exhausted and ready to sit down. Then you hit them with this fast pace high octane bopper. Vocals are still strong from ruby even though it’s the thirteenth track of the powerhouse set from the band. Drum and bass go hand in hand on the beat, and the guitar provides the rhythm. Great rendition of the Etta James 1956 hit. Modern day singer Christina Aguilera covered this track for the film Burlesque in 2010.
Brand New Cadillac (Robey-Washington) Starting with a slowed down pace, building to that famous rhythm we all know and love. The band really go for this track rocking the breaks. Rubys gives it a mean sounded vocal and the band play a good rockin backing. again, a tad slower but enjoyable. Vince Taylors version was actually a flip side to "Pledgin' My Love" IN 1959 and now an iconic rock n roll favourite.
This Little Girl's Gone Rockin (Darin-curtis) One you don’t hear a lot of bands/artists choosing in their set list, a good rockin pace to this track from the band that is giving the audience a good mixture of classics and obscure rarities from the rock n roll catalogue. Of course, it was a good hit for Ruth Brown back in 1958 and two unreleased versions by Alma Cogan and Glenda Collins.
Summary: Thoroughly enjoyed every track on the cd. They hit you with tunes from a time even the rockin scene has forgotten. And capture that era in the vocals and instruments of the band. Well done for bringing this forgotten classic back to our ears. Well done.
Recommendation You can’t go wrong, the album is now available on all major streaming sites.