Secret, The Jailbirds
Cherokee Records, CHER-CD 207110

The Jailbirds were formed as a trio in 1992. At that time, Martin Manneck played the rhythm guitar and sang the lead vocals, Peter Geisthoff played the lead guitar, and Stefan Konitzer pounded the double-bass. Half a year later, ex-"Somethin' Else"-drummer Lutz Berkenfeld joined the band, and the first gigs were planned soon. There were several changes in the line-up through the years. Through the Internet, the album "Don't You Cry" (Tombstone Records, 1997) made its way to the Swiss radio station Kanal K. Somebody who worked at the radio station had read a review of "Don't You Cry" on a Seattle-based web site, and got into touch with the Jailbirds. The Jailbirds manager Maik Wydra sent him a copy of "Don't You Cry" which then was presented during a Kanal K radio show. And promptly the album was elected as CD of the week.

After very successful appearances at the festivals in Munich and Brandenburg (two of the biggest German Rockabilly festivals) in July and August 1998, the CD "Don't you cry" was repressed, but was sold out again in December. Because of this great success, the Jailbirds went to the recording studio again. The recordings for long player No. 2 were completed in January 1999, and was released under the title "Viva Las Vegas" in April of that same year. In the meantime, a number of Jailbirds songs had been released on various compilations, and the Jailbirds won the favour with an ever increasing number of fans during many live gigs in Germany and abroad; they were, for example, the only German band at the 50th Rockhouse Meeting in Eindhoven, Holland.

At the beginning of 2001 the Jailbirds were faced with a big problem, when their founding member and bass player, Stefan, left the band. Many gigs that had been planned for the spring and summer 2001 had to be cancelled. After a compulsory break of about 2 months, the Jailbirds finally found a new bass player. Marcel Strohm, an old friend of the Jailbirds. In the course of this change in the line-up, the Jailbirds started creating a completely new program for their stage shows and in summer 2002 they were back "on the road" and started a tour all over Germany.

In March and April they had been to the studio to record the tracks for their 3rd album entitled "Secret", which was released in July 2002 on Cherokee Records. Over 10 years of experience on the rockabilly scene should stand for something, and it sure does, because the album hits off hard with a rockabilly cover of the 60s classic "Secret Agent Man" with real gone James Bond instros. The self-penned "One Desire" is original fifties style rockabilly with a fast slapping bass and clean cut lead guitar. Next is a superb rendition of "Three Cool Cats", a Leiber/Stoller tune, orginally by The Coasters, one that even The Beatles played in their early days.

"It's All Over Now", made famous by The Rolling Stones in 1964, sounds better than ever with a jazzy rockabilly rhythm. Another Jailbirds original "Give Me Your Love", with guest saxophone player Lars Wockenfuss, is a cool love song with a bite and the Beatles' classic "Help", with deep dark vocals, is rearranged with a rockabilly beat, which is done pretty nice I must say. It seems if the jailbirds have a "secret" love for the Beatles, because "One After 909" is also a Lennon/McCartney song, but believe me, the Jailbirds play it all with solid rockabilly pounding. In between Beatles remakes and Jailbirds originals are some good covers, among which a cool version of Johnny Horton's "All Grown Up". The album is packed with 17 tracks and I counted 4 Jailbirds orginals, from which "Dangerous" is definitly my favorite with its spooky sound. Great album, different, but great. Bet you'll like it!

The Jailbirds are:
Martin Manneck - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Lutz Berkenfeld - Drums, Vocals
Marcel Strohm - Double Bass, Vocals
Maico Masjosthusmann - Lead Guitar, Vocals

Information & bookings:
Maik Wydra
Bolandshof 3
D-46539 Dinslaken
Tel: +49-2082-3555
Fax: +49-2088-52010

Biographical information by:

Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2002