|Billy Ruffians b/w Gotta Go 7", The Blue Cats
Blue Light Records BLR 45102 7
OK, I know I'm gonna catch Hell for this, but when my buddy Mika at Blue Light Records sent me this single about 6 weeks ago, I had no clue who the heck The Blue Cats were. Needless to say, after my 1st listen to "Billy Ruffians", I was hooked!
Sure, I could go into the whole Blue Cats Trio/Beltaine Fire/G-Men history...but why? From everything I've read up on these cats, most of you already know who they are...and are probably already lining up for the new CD!
Best I can do is give you MY thoughts on the subject. When I first listened to this single, to say that I was KNOCKED OUT would be an understatement. Mika also informed me that there was a video to go with "Billy Ruffians", so straight to YouTube I went and the video knocked me in the head as much as the song.
Here before my eyes were a bunch of guys probably a couple of years older than me (aka "men of a certain age")...and these cats were making a sound like nothing I'd ever heard. Sure sure sure...I've listened to more "rockabilly" than most...the old stuff, the new stuff, the "neo" stuff, the "psycho" stuff. I love all of it. So then, how did these guys slip past me? Hell, they were playing at CBGB's at the same time I was living in NYC!
In short, "Billy Ruffians" is a rockabilly song (of sorts) about...The Battle of Trifalgar! Starting off with the sounds of winds on the sea, flowing into one of the more interesting guitar riffs I've heard in a while, the upright bass and drums come in letting the listener know they're about to hear something unique. Then Clint Bradley yells "TRIFAAAAAAALGAARRR!" and I'll be honest, while excited I was also confused. I know a bit of history (surprising for a Yank) and was just gobsmacked that I was listening to a "rockabilly" song about British history!
Don't let that scare you off. "Billy Ruffians" is one of the best songs I've heard this century! It's amazingly well-written. While it definitely has it's roots in good ol' rockabilly, it takes it further down the road than it's gone in quite a while! After hearing this and becoming an instant fan (just add beer!) I researched and listened to as much of The Blue Cats' stuff that I could find. It seems to me that Clint Bradley & Co. are no strangers at taking their beloved rockabilly and taking it, once again, to new and uncharted waters. If that ain't enough to win ya over, take this bit of advice: SONGS WITH CANNONS IN THEM ARE ALWAYS COOL!
The flip side is a remastered recording off of their 1982 G-Men EP, called "Gotta Go". Once again, these cats knocked me straight outta my socks! This song just rocks...but without sounding like they're trying to sound like anyone else. Again, this is a well-crafted song, heavy on the rockabilly roots (gotta love that upright bass!) but taking in lots of other influences. If they had recorded this with synthesizers (I know...ACK!!!!!) in 1982, these cats would've been household names! (OK...I guess they kinda were in the UK and Europe but honestly, as great as their stuff is, we got ripped off here in the US! I'll take these guys over The Stray Cats anyday!)
The Blue Cats, Clint Bradley (vocals & guitar), Carlo Edwards (lead guitar), Stef Edwards (drums) & Steve Whitehouse (my new fave upright bass player) are most definitely BACK! They have a new CD coming out this month on Blue Light Records and I don't think I have to suggest you go buy it...chances are, you're already planning to. If not, I suggest you get this single (pressed, as usual, on excellent quality vinyl. Blue Light doesn't play around! They're all about quality!).
On that note, allow me to say, in the strongest terms possible, you "GOTTA GO" and get this new single, "BILLY RUFFIANS" by The Blue Cats. If you're one of the few unfamilar with this band, you're in for a pleasant surprise. If you're already a fan, you're gonna love it too. Lastly, how could y'all have a band THIS GOOD over there and not tell me about them sooner??? I had to find out about them from Finland!
Billy Ruffians video: http://youtu.be/K3HX-geuja0
More about The Blue Cats: CLICK HERE
Reviewed by Memphis Mike, 2012