Wag On !! - The Wagtails
Jungle Records TCB2020CD

The very first line-up was formed in spring 1997, in the sunniest town of Finland, called Vaasa. It was a trio with no drums. Brian played slap, Kali played lead and Markus Malamo did the rhythm and vocals. The name was "Three Wagtails". Pake joined the band few a weeks later and so the Wagtails was born. Jungle Records released the first Wagtails CD in spring 1999 titled "Keep Your Balance", soon after that the lead singer Markus moved to London to study and left the band, the rest of the guys took a break.

Don Hakki from Jungle Records wanted the band to play at their midsummer Jamboree, so the guys decided to put the band back together. Kali stepped up to be the lead singer while Pake was hitting the skins again. Also from Kali's and Pake's other band "Flamin' 66" came Matti Takala to play acoustic guitar. But after the Jamboree they lost their rehearsal room (which had nothing to do with the gig itself) and they decided to quit again...

The third line-up: Kalle had been a friend and a roadie of the band from the day one. The band had never heard him sing, but when Kalle asked the band to record a demo with him for a singing competition, they saw the light and heard the angels sing. The demo itself was recorded in an hour, and after that it was obvious that Kalle would be their new lead vocalist. With a new singer and the band back in shape, they started to write new songs and moved their instruments to Kalle's garage (that's really why they let him in the band). After a year of not-so-intense rehearsing and song-writing, Don Hakki told that it was time for another album. They found a studio, wrote a few new songs, and in two weekends their new album "Wag On!!" was recorded.

This new CD consists of 16 rocking tracks, about half of 'em are selfpenned originals. The Wagtails play rockabilly music in the authentic 50s style, the way it was meant to be played, with some added country licks and a steel guitar. Starting off with "Pin-Up Queen", you will be presented with some of the hottest original rockabilly from Finland, and a few pretty neat covers of the likes of Alton & Jimmy, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Self penned originals like "Space Girl" and "Middle-Aged Monster Ball" impressed me quite a bit, and their rendition of "What's The Use" is surely the best I ever heard.

[Quote from Jimmy Harrell]
We wrote "What's The Use" after Alton and his girlfriend broke up again. I asked him if he was going to try to make up with her, and he said "Oh, what's theuse, she's through with me Jimmy". I said "wait a minute, that sounds like a good song". Wrote the words in the car heading home. Soon as we got their Alton grabbed the guitar and put the music to it. It was recorded in June 1959 at Sun Studio. Sam Phillips didn't tell us why "What's The Use" wasn't released at the time. The Wagtails are among the best of the rockabilly groups out there today and their version of our "No More Crying The Blues" on the Jungle CD "Keep Your Balance" is simply great. Alton and I really liked it, it was a real blast to hear our song again. The harmony is fantastic and the Wagtails' energy level is over the top.

The Wagtails are:
Kalle Kaaja - Vocals
Timo "Kali" Kalijarvi - Lead & Steel Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Jari "Brian" Salonen - Stand-Up Bass
Jani "Pake" Parkkari - Drums

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Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003
Additional information by The Wagtails