|The Best Of Mark Kelf & The Valley Boys
SCNBT Records #1001
Reflections by Mark Kelf:
Before Mark Kelf & The Valley Boys, Fireball XLS was the only other band that I had played in that had experienced any success (1981-1985). There were several other forgettable bands between 1985 and 1989 and it was in one of those groups that I first played along side Richard Howard. Richard and I first met at a local rock 'n' roll club in 1976 and we've moved in the same rockabilly circles ever since. In 1987 we recruited Richard as a rhythm guitarist for our hillbilly trio named "Pandora's Cowboys". After about a year our lead guitarist Martyn Poppey decided to move away from Norwich to study music and it was time to start again. In 1989 Mark Kelf & The Valley Boys lined up as myself on vocals, Richard (lead guitar), Simon 'Dick' Davies (double bass), and Nick Alexander (drums).
I'd been writing lots of songs and Richard was always buying some new gadgets to use in our home recordings. The band practiced during the week and on the weekends Richard and I got together to record my songs. One of our first recordings was "Have Myself A Ball" which became the title track to our first CD on the Vampirella label (2001). It was also released on the Pink & Black label as part of their "Cat'n Around" Series. It seems funny to think back and realize how we recorded that song in Richard's shed. The original band split in 1990. We had intended on starting a new band, but sadly Dick passed away and ended those plans. The years rolled by and my song book got thicker and our recordings got better thanks to Richards ever expanding equipment and hot guitar licks. Occasionally one of our rockabilly buddies would sit in on a session. Dick, Nick, Thorny, Tim and Andy have all played a part. In 2002 our second CD on the Vampirella label was
released entitled "Hot Rod Honey".
More recently I have been writing songs for John Newbraugh of NBT Records in West Virginia (USA). We have had 9 songs released on NBT compilations. One of them was written by a great Texan songwriter Sonny May and is titled "Hobo Blues". Another Sonny May composition appears on this album entitled "Shut Up Bottle". Thanks to John Newbraugh of NBT Records and Sonny May of Smokehouse Classic Records for making this CD possible. Thanks also to David Moore of Wild Hare Records. Also thanks goes to my wife and kids for their support plus Richard's Mum & Dad for all of those years that they put up with the noisy band practices. Lastly I would like to dedicate this CD to the memory of the late Steve Prentice. Steve would often lend me his double bass for recordings. He will be sadly missed by all.
The music on this CD is really amazing. I've enjoyed listening to it many times already, it's all true rockabilly music, the way it was meant to be. Vintage authentic 50's style rock 'n' roll that would have made Johnny Burnette, Buddy Holly & Elvis Presley mighty proud. A simple but accurate sound with great vocals and magnificent guitar licks. I'm sorry to say that I do not own the band's earlier Vampirella CDs, I just had a few tracks on various comps, so this "Best Of" album was more than welcome, and what a bargain it is: 25 rockin' tracks, many of them previously unreleased, that will surely rock your socks off. Enjoy!
Red Bomb / Cut Her Down / Run Like The Devil / Big Big Town / Shut Up Bottle / That Rod's A Rocket / Don't Think About You / Boxcar Blues / Hot Rod Daddy / Money To Burn / Loose Woman / Storm Ahead / Cat Daddy / Buzz Boom / She's Mine / Chain Reaction / Fat Cat Lee / Don't You Ride That Trai / Haunted Hot Rod / Sleep Mama Sleep / Hobo Blues / Never No More / G-1 Johnny / The Crossing / The Hanging Tree
All tracks written by Mark Kelf & Richrad Howard, except "Shut Up The Bottle" and ""Hobo Blues" written by A.V. "Sonny" May.
The Valley Boys (CD Front Cover L2R):
Wayne Harrison - Upright Bass
Mark Kelf - Guitar, Vocals
Richard Howard - Lead Guitar
8 Ashby Street
Phone: +44 1603 660327
|Smokehouse Classic Records
1602 W. 10th Ave.
P.O. Box 9
Berkeley Springs, WV
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2005