& Heard - CD Review
Taken From Issue 251 - May 2018
Noddles Thrapston, Northants
1. For Someone To Love, 2. Please Mama Please, 3. Something Else, 4. Sixteen
Tons, 5. Trouble, 6. Rebelene, 7. Crying Over You, 8. Think It Over, 9.
Baby Let's Play House, 10. Weep & Cry, 11. Rattled, 12. King Creole, 13.
Till It Hurts.
few weeks ago Maggie kindly sent me via Postman Pat a CD entitled Rhythm
Train on Homerecords. Now I've heard of many trains but not the Rhythm
Train, it certainly doesn't run on Amtrak in the States or Network Rail
in the UK. I'm led to believe it runs on the SBB CFF FFS railways. Further
investigation led to www.hillbilly.ch bingo which gave the game away,
the abbreviation CH is Latin for Confoederatio Helvetica, translates into
English as Switzerland.
are currently three members of Rhythm Train, Gretsch guitar/vocals Urs
Odermatt, drums Philipp Hohl, and double bass, Vik Stadelmann. Their website
infers the guys play, "hot, loud & dirty, Rockabilly, Country & Western
Swing" again from the website, "17 years on the road, and a lot of concerts
in the whole of Europe", also "the fusion of Country, Hillbilly, Rockabilly,
Western Swing & Blues is the label of the band!" My curious nature needed
to be satisfied, I've only been to Switzerland a couple of times to Basle.
I know the Swiss race are extremely clever, very independent, and never
joining the Eurozone.
this relatively small nation the nationals speak one of at least four
languages, Swiss dialect of German, French, Italian and Romansh, and every
so often, English to add to the mix. There are some very talented precision
engineers carried over from the early clock/watchmaking industries. I
thought the daily diet would comprise from muesli, gruyere cheese, fondue,
raclette, polenta and braised beef, two hours watching tennis on the television,
or listening to one of scores of classical composers, but an emphatic
no, these guys have really broken the mould, Rockabilly is on their menu
Odermatt informed me via e-mail that he was smitten by the Rockabilly
virus as a small child, from which he's never recovered and hopefully
he never will. His neighbour always had a house window open, and blasted
the area with Rockabilly music. What a way to start his day, on the way
to school, not many of us could boast that. Urs also stated he got to
know Crazy Cavan before Elvis. Sounded a bit upside down to me, but it
worked for him. I'd certainly prefer 706 Union Avenue, or Gracelands in
Memphis opposed to Tata's Steel works at Llanwern near to Newport Gwent
- Cavan's mecca. His parents wanted him to pursue an education in classical
music, but he soon became very disillusioned. At the ripe age of just
16 he purchased his first guitar and became the lead guitarist for a Hillbilly
band. Then in 2002 he started his own outfit, Rhythm Train. Originally
they had a steel guitarist in the line-up, but no drummer, later replacing
the steel player with a drummer.
current line-up have been together for four years having toured mainland
Europe ever since. UK promoters please be aware these guys are gagging
to get over here. This 13 track CD is an infusion of covers, and some
of their own compositions. Track 1 starts with a good cover of Buddy Holly's
'Lookin' For Some-One To Love'. Track 2 is a splendid version of Go Cat
Go's 'Please Mama Please'. Track 3 is Eddie Cochran's 'Somethin' Else'
and is possibly a little thin as there are only three instruments. Track
4, Tennessee Ernie Ford's 'Sixteen Tons' is a real big number to copy,
but includes some nice twangy sounds of the Gretsch guitar. Track 5 and
no introduction with this one. 'Trouble' is one of the big sounds originally
written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller for Elvis. This version was OK.
Whilst a great song, I consider there have been far too many covers over
the years by different artistes for this version to bowl me over.
6 is 'Rebelene'. I'm uncertain where this track has its origins; the riffs
sound as though it's a modern song, possibly from a Country artiste if
not their own. As I've not heard the track previously it's one of my favourites
on the disc. Track 7, 'Crying Over You' is another track I'm uncertain
about. Again I think a modern number; to me another of the better tracks
as I'm not comparing it with any earlier rendition Track 8, 'Think It
Over' is a vintage Buddy Holly classic and now given an Alpine feel. Track
9 is Arthur Gunter's song, 'Baby Let's Play House' which was recorded
in 1954 a year prior to Elvis putting a Rockabilly beat to it with Scotty
Moore & Bill Black. Rhythm Train have put together a fair version.
10 is 'Weep & Cry', definitely a good Country track, the earliest version
I could find on the web was by Charlie Monroe, although it may be older.
It's a great rendition by the trio possibly showing their true strengths.
Track 11, 'Rattled' starts with a driving drum before the vocals come
on board. Then the Gretsch guitar, before the walking beat of the upright
bass becomes prominent. Certainly an usual balance of instruments, which
makes the song rather quirky. Track 12 is 'King Creole' and no prizes
for this one. A cover of the Elvis film title tune, it contains some very
good guitar work, but is an excessively bold move to cover this track
and make it their own. Track
13, 'Till It Hurts' opens with some great Blues guitar sounds. On the
UK dance floors it would be on the cusp of a slow stroller or smooch.
Not certain where the track has its origins but I consider it one of the
best of the 13 tracks.
a mixture of tracks on here, but if Rhythm Train were considering the
UK for gigs, they'd be better aligning their repertoire to the lesser
known numbers, or their own compositions, as the very big numbers are
a tad thin and the band will need their own identity. Urs mentioned to
me his love of Crazy Cavan's music. In the summer of 1975 the Rockhouse
LP 7510 Crazy Rhythm was recorded with all the band's own compositions,
so it can be done successfully. Some of the tracks I couldn't find elsewhere
on the web, so considered they were their own, readers please, confirm
where you may have heard them. All tracks were mixed and mastered by Felix
Hohl in 2O17 somewhere in the Alps. Unfortunately there is no IBAN number
on the sleeve so my suggestion to get a copy is either via Amazon or contact
Urs via e-mail through the link in the website, www.hillbilly.ch.
ooO - - 00000
- - Ooo