Eight Balls O' Fire, Rockin' 8-Balls
Goofin' Records, GRCD 6108

Four Finnish blokes with heads like billiard balls, who are these guys? A visit to the 8-Balls' website provided the following biography: "Once upon a time there were two handsome guys and they wanted to play some great rockabilly. They didn't have singer and guitarist, so... they got them, and finally, Rockin' 8-Balls was born in 1998. That's all folks."

So, now we know: the Rockin' 8-Balls play rockabilly music and they have a CD out on Goofin' Records. Well, maybe that's all we need to know, as long as they make good music. Let's find out...

Of course I have played this CD a few times before I sat down behind my pc to write this review, and I must say first impressions are pretty good. The platter consists of 13 (?) songs, all covers of well known and lesser known rockabilly classics. Some have been covered recently before, others have been in the closet for quite some time. All in all it's a good collection of fifties rockabilly. Every rockabilly band, in some way, identifies itself with the Johnny Burnette Trio. No wonder that a Burnette Brothers song can be found on just about every cover album and the Rockin' 8-Balls debut album is no exception: the first track is "Midnight Train". Well chosen to be the opener I guess, not too fast and not too slow, and pretty well played too.

Now that we're in the mood, we can rock a bit faster with Junior Thompson's "Who's Knocking?". Vocalist Kekka can keep tone when he's screaming, not all (neo)rockabilly singers have that ability. Lefty Frizzell's uptempo country classic "Always Late" gives you some time to catch your breath before boppin' along to Bobby Lee Trammell's "Shirley Lee", which will surely rock your socks off with it's raving slapp bass and driving lead guitar. It seems that every fast song is varied with a slower paced song, because next is Ronnie Self's "Big Fool". Here we go again, screaming along with Johnny Faire's popular classic "Bertha Lou", followed by Billy Fury's "It's You I Need".

The old country-boogie classic "Freight Train Boogie" (Delmore Bros, Maddox Bros, Louvin Bros) is played at a very boppable tempo, keep your feet moving cats! Another Bobby Lee Trammell original "I Sure Do Love You Baby" is next and Sleepy LaBeef's fabulous "All The Time" picks up speed again. Although this song is covered by just about avery rockabilly band I know, it's still a fabulous rockabilly song and the 8-Balls play it with great verve. More uptempo rockabilly with Al Ferrier's "Love Me Baby" before slowing down again with Carl Perkins' "Forever Yours", which is the only real ballad in this album.

The last track rocks you real hard again, it's the fantastic Don Willis & The Orbits' song "Boppin' Highschool Baby". This song, as well as "Who's Knocking?" can both be found on the great rockabilly revival album from the 80s "Blowing Up A Storm" by Whirlwind. Somehow I feel that this is no coincidence, most likely, this album is on top on the 8-Balls' favourite list too. The Rockin' 8-Balls did a great job, this is a real cool CD and both the fast and slower paced songs sound equally good, although I prefer the fast boppers myself. And if you didn't take the CD out of your CD-player right after the last track, you will find that there is a bonus track on it (after a pause of about 2 minutes!), which is not mentioned on the inlay. It's another bopper, Joe Clay's "You Look That Good To Me". Rock it guys!

The Rockin' 8-Balls are:
Kekka - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Mancu - Upright Bass
Jamppa - Guitars
Janne - Drums


Album available from:
Goofin' Records & Music
Hämeentie 46
00500 Helsinki
Phone: +358 9 773 3113

Promoters attention: If you pay enough to these guy, they'll shave their heads again - anything for the showbiz...

Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001