|Red T-Bird / This Is The Night, Rebel Rockers
Golly Gee Records GGR 1006
Actually, Red T-Bird was recorded 1996 and released on Ralph Rebel's own label Rebel Records (original cover top right). I guess not too many people have a copy of it, and that's really too bad, because I can assure you this album can be labeled "an unknown classic". It resides in my 200 CD jukebox ever since I got my hands on a copy a few years ago. In 1997 the Rebel Rockers recorded a second album titled "This Is The Night", which was never released... until now!
Since then, Ralph has made quite a name for himself with his superb sound and nowadays he's a part of the Golly Gee stable. No wonder Mel Spinella (owner of Golly Gee) and Ralph had the idea to release both albums on one super rockabilly CD. And here it is, for everyone who missed the first release of Red T-Bird, and all of you that love Ralph's rockabilly style, and were desperately waiting for the release of "This Is The Night".
The Tex-Mex roadhouse atmosphere at The Branding Iron in Wantagh perfectly complimented the red hot rockabilly being scorchingly played by Long Island's own Rebel Rockers. The stage; framed by a string of electric red chili peppers, could barely contain these guys; they put out that much energy. In a tradition that leads back to original rockin' rebels like Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran in the 50's to the Stray Cats in the 80's...
The album contains a handfull of originals and some of the best covers you ever heard, totalling up to 21 rocking tracks. From the opener "Rock and Roll Zombie", you know just what to expect from this collection: superb rockabilly, Ralph Rebel style! Tony Palumbo is slapping the bass with a vengeance, like he also did on the "Rockabilly Vampire" album, and Big Ed is rocking away "Eddie Angel Style" on an awesome rendition of Link Wray's "Run Chicken Run". Man like wow!
The second part "This Is The Night", unknown to me as to anyone else up till now, starts with a fast version of Gene Vincent's "Double Talking Baby" (the slap will kill you) followed by an earlier version of Ralph's own "Rockabilly Vampire". One of my all time favorites is Larry Hart's "I'm Just A mender", titled just "The Mender" on this release, and this Rebel Rockers version is faster (lots) without losing the sad feeling of the song. Very well done.
Now try "Pipeline" with a rockabilly beat with Gary Setzer hitting the drums as if his life depended on it and Big Ed scorching the guitar like Dick Dale. That'll knock you off your feet. Then there's Eddie's "Twenty Flight Rock" and Duane's "Rebel Rouser". The Polecats' original "Rockabilly Guy" has been revived Rebel Rockers style, and, last but not least, there's just one little ballad here to close the album, Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe" (short title "Make Believe"). Right on guys! Five stars, well deserved!
The Rebel Rockers are:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003