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The Wheelgrinders -MY LITTLE SISTER’S GOTTA MOTORBIKE (E.P.12”)

Release Date: January 22nd 2024

Reviewed on 12th December 2023 by Dave Diamond

Promoter of The Boomerang Club-London.

The Band

Singer Greg Tiernan

Guitar Greg Tiernan

Bass Caroline Helmeczi

Drums Stuart Quayle

Backing Vocals Caroline Helmeczi/Stuart Quayle

Guest musicians: the legendary Jimmy Roy on Steel Guitar on “What A Lonesome Life It’s Been”

Produced and Mixed by Produced by The Wheelgrinders.

Engineered and Mixed by Eric Mosher at The Warehouse Studio, Vancouver BC.

Mastered by Eric Mosher

Front cover artwork by: Greg Tiernan

The five tracks on this EP are covers.

In your own words –about you and your influences and favourite bands?

All three of us have somewhat varying influences, sometimes overlapping and sometimes completely different, but which all come together to give a cohesive and eclectic edge to the rockabilly that we play. Or at least we hope so! Crazy Cavan for sure! There’s a reason we recorded “My Little Sister’s Gotta Motorbike”, right?!! We’ve always loved Cavan’s balls to the wall (so to speak) approach to Rock ‘n’ Roll. When we started out we wanted, in our own way, to bring a similar energy to our rockabilly shows as Cavan did for the Teds, for rockabilly and for Rock ‘n’ Roll.Greg is 100% straight-up 1950s rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll. Always was and always will be. Eddie Cochran, Charlie Feathers, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Johnny Cash….pretty much anyone who ever recorded in the 1950s, and of course the neo-rockabilly of the ‘80s. This crosses into Stuart’s influences…neo-rockabilly, punk and new wave. The Shakin’ Pyramids, The Polecats, Robert Gordon, Ray Condo, The Meteors, The Buzzcocks, The Damned, Nick Cave. And along comes Caroline…also a huge Nick Cave fan, a love of psychobilly and probably the most eclectic of all three of us. Kaizers Orchestra, The Adverts, Demented Are Go, Tom Waits, Eastern European and Middle Eastern folk music, Sacred Harp singing….and a bit of George Jones!

Let’s have a listen to the tracks:

My Little Sister’s Gotta Motorbike-Written by the late great Cavan Grogan in 1977, here The Wheelgrinders take on this phenomenal track… this is an up-tempo take on the original resulting in a 15 second quicker version…it kicks off with the motorbike throttle and then boom we are in with Greg’s guitar and then in comes Stuart on drums and Caroline slapping the Bass…and Greg’s growling vocals. This really is a fab version and moves along at a fab tempo, it has a great live feel to it… very good indeed!

I’ve Changed My Wild Mind-originally released on the Mercury label back in 1956 and sung by Johnny “T” Talley.. Great guitar picking from Greg to start off this rocked up number… the mixing is just perfect on the bands version and it has a great feel to it. They really have made it their own with lots of variations to the original and have really brought it right up to date… Gotta see this one played live!

I’m Ready-this time The Wheelgrinders take on The Cochran Brothers original track recorded in early ’56, before Eddie went solo. The original is pretty short at just 1 minute 33 and the bands take is 2 minutes 16! So here goes, been really looking forward to this version… and I can tell you…wow! Well worth waiting for… it’s a great powerful version with 2 fabulous instrumental sections that really does make it stand out… fantastic!

Break Up- written by Charlie Rich, but first recorded by Ray Smith on the 10th January 1958… loving the guitar riff throughout, with the drums pounding to keep the beat and the bass slapping to make the rhythm section top notch indeed! … another very strong vocal performance from Greg and the guitar solo is just spot on. Nice touch with the bass run downs on the stop sections, great idea indeed. Another very well recorded song from this fab trio that really has captured that bouncy style!

What A Lonesome Life It’s Been-the final track on this E.P. and finishing off with a cover of the honky tonk country classic sung by Skeets McDonald and their version is 40 seconds longer. Straight off the steel guitar played by the great Jimmy Roy is cutting through on this up-tempo melodic version and once again the drums and bass are spot on and just perfect. Add in the raw vocals and the guitar and here we have a fabulous version that has given the tune a more anthem vibe to it! Nice one!

Although we didn’t include any of our own material on this EP we included a lot of our own songs on our first two albums, and on 45rpm vinyl, and we’ll be releasing two brand new songs on an upcoming “Best of” CD. We like to have fun with our original songs…with titles like “Bucktooth Baby”, “Space Rabbits, Go!” and “Industrial Accidents and Quick Getaways”…not to mention one of our new numbers “Betty’s In My Cornflakes”, it’s apparent, we hope, that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our tune “Hangry Baby” was inspired by our bassist, Caroline, and was written on the road during a particularly long stretch between meals! Rockabilly to us is synonymous with having a good time. We love leaning into a rockin’ tune, be it live or in the studio, and if we can get everyone bopping and smiling then it’s job done!

Any gigs lined up for 2024? Our next tour is June and July 2024 with a swing through France, Belgium Holland and the UK. We’re really looking forward to coming back to the UK after 6 years, and we’ll be playing at a lot of familiar venues in France. The tour details are on our website and social media. Gonna be a fun tour…and of course we’ll have plenty of copies of the new EP!

CLOSING COMMENTS ABOUT THE ALBUM

Wow! I have really enjoyed listening to these 5 covers by the band and they have really chosen some great tunes and turned them around in tempo and structure to make them different.

With the added slap bass throughout and also steel guitar on the final track, these songs have just got to be heard!

A bit of background info on the EP from the band… we originally planned for our next record to be all originals but we get asked a lot at our shows for our first two albums, both of which are totally sold out twice over, so we decided to release another CD…sort of a ‘Best of’ but only originals. All of our own numbers from our first albums plus two new songs never released. We’ll have that ready in time for the tour. So we changed course a bit for the new EP and decided to record sort of a tribute to some of our favourite artists with some of the favourite songs from our live sets. And that’s what we did with the EP. We’ve never wanted to be known as ‘just another cover band’, but when there are so many killer rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll songs that people go nuts for at live shows then for us it just makes sense to record our fair share of covers as well as our own stuff.

HOT PRESS! The band tell me they have another CD coming out next month…a ‘Best of’ album featuring nothing but original material. Most of which were on our first two albums, but those two albums are out of print now. There are a couple of new, unreleased tracks on it too. We’ll have that, plus the EP, at our live shows!

They are touring on 2024 so make sure you check them out live!

MUSIC PROMO CLIPS:

Reviewed by Dave Diamond



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