|The Starliters, Pickin' Up Speed
The Starliters are a hillbilly bop, rockabilly, western swing outfit from Milano, Italy. Five guys with lots of experience in former noticeable acts like The Tennessee Four and The Tribal Bops (who had three records released of which "Get To The Bop" on 'Fun In Acapulco Records' is worth mentioning). Also they featured with the Texan band The Horton Brothers and the two californian piano players Mitch Woods and Steve Lucky. They have performed as Howlin' Lou and the Starliters at many European rock 'n' roll meetings, including The Silvester Shodown in Gunzburg (Germany), Jitterbug Records Festival in Hannover (Germany) and rockabilly meetings in Barcelona (Spain) and Bourges (France). They issued their first 10 inch for Tail Records in october 1996.
In the summer of '98, they changed their name to simply "The Starliters", with the original guitar player switched to lead vocals and the joining of Frankie Lee on lead guitar. As The Starliters they recorded their first 4 track EP for Favourite Records which was issued in 1999. Also in 1999 they issued their second 10" on Tail Records, this time under the new shortened name.
"Dig Boy Dig" (Tail Records 1996, 10" LP)
Tail keeps 'em coming. This one's a split 10 inch featuring on one side Portugal's "Tennessee Boys" and on the other Italy's "Howlin' Lou and the Starliters." Both bands were recorded by Tail, which these days guarantees a fantastic vintage sound. The Tennessee Boys, who used to live in Denver, sound better on this platter than they ever did before. The quartet's trademark is their unique lead vocals (kind of sqeaky, but nice) and a light sounding, fast, jazzed-up guitar. The two self-penned songs are pretty good, but the covers are even better.
Howlin' Lou and The Starliters, a five piece rockabilly band featuring a steel guitar, makes a very impressive debut on the flip side. Only one original tune "Real Cool Cat", but it's a Sender with a capital "S"; pure 50s sounding rockabilly with an obsessive bop beat and a whole lotta reverb. DJs take note; this is one surefire dancefloor filler. The five covers are excellent, including a great version of Glen Barber's primitive bopper "Ice Cold Water", different enough form the original to deserve club play. Another excellent Tail release, well worth spending a few of your hard earned bucks on.
"Feelin' Like A Star" (Favourite Records 1999, 7" EP)
This four-track EP was recorded in January 1999 in The Pop Life Studios in Milano, Italy. The first track "Feelin' Like A Star" is a Starliters' original and it's a floorfiller once again. The driving rockabilly rhtyhtm gets to you right from the start. Kenny Owens "I Got The Bug" sounds as if it was recorded is '56. Well the original was, but this cover sure sounds great too. Site two starts off with one of my all-time favorites, Ben Hewitt's "My Search". Very well covered, but the song doesn't ad to the original. The last track of this superb EP is Malcolm Yelvington's SUN classic "Trumpet". Although not originally issued on SUN, this song has stolen the heart of many rockabilly fans when it was finally issued in the 70s.
"Pickin' Up Speed" (Tail Records 1999, 10" LP)
Gonna Move In / Tom The Boogie Woogie Tom Cat / I've Spent All My Time / Doggone It / Driving In The Middle / Super Trucker / Catfish Boogie / Something I said / Tula Lou / Rockin' & Knockin' / Get That Quarter.
Eleven tracks total, five of which are Starliters originals, recorded in the Tail Records Studios, April 1999. The opener, Max Ammons' self penned "Gonna Move In," reminds me of Jack Baymoore's "AV-8 Boogie". That good, huh? Yep, that good! "I've Spent All My Time" (Serge Peacock / Max Ammons) is at much slower pace. Not a ballad mind you, but a more of a slow rocker with some nice guitar and steel work. Another one from Max's hand is "Driving In The Middle," another up-tempo song with some country influences, due to Serge's steel guitar. "Super-Trucker" (Max Ammons) on side B is a speed-up trucker song, kinda like Dave Dudley, at a much faster pace. Nice. The closing song "Get That Quarter" (credited to "The Starliters") is a mid-paced western rockabilly track with some real cool distorted steel and good guitar solos. To my humble opinion, The Starliters should play even more of their own material, although the covers on this album are well picked and equally well played too. Especially Lew Williams' "Something I Said" stands out, great slappin' rockabilly!
The Starliters are:
Via Anacreonte 1
20132 Milano - Italy
Phone/fax: +39 2 26110782
553 13 Jonkoping - Sweden
Phone: +46 (0)36 12 13 96
Fax: +46 (0)36 15 01 71