|The Wild Angels Ride Again, The Wild Angels
Foot Tapping FT141
The Wild Angels have changed line-up many many times, but they're still playing, or should I say, they're riding again. Many well known and lesser known musicians joined and left the band in a timespan that ranged from 1967 up till today. Here's a list of people that were with the band at one point or another, but I have no way of knowing that this list is complete...
Mal Gray (vocals), Mitch Mitchell (bass), John Hawkins (lead guitar), Bob O'Connor (drums) John Huggett (keyboards), Pete Addison (rhythm guitar), Dave Jacobs (rhythm guitar, piano), Wild Bill Kingston (piano), Freddie 'Fingers' Lee (piano), Elkie Brooks (backing vocals), Rod Cotter (bass), Keith Reed (bass, rhythm & lead guitar), Geoff Britton(drums), Wild Bob Burgos (drums, vocals), Brian Francis (bass, vocals), Ray Firth (guitar, vocals), Rusty Lupton (piano).
From the original line-up in 1967, only Mitch Mitchell is in today's Wild Angels. Keith Read and Bob Burgos both played with the Angels before, quite a while ago. Newcomer is Rusty Lupton on piano, but Rusty is off course a well know player on the rock 'n' roll scene (Matchbox, Alleycats, Kingcats). The fact that the Wild Angels just keep coming back must mean that they have a great formula, and I think they do.
So, how are the New Wild Angels doing on this new CD release? Well, I would call it "typical" Britisch rock 'n' roll, comparable with bands like Matchbox, Flying Saucers, Shotgun, and the likes. And I've always been a fan of all of these! I just love Britisch Teddy Boy music, and we visit one or two Britisch festivals or weekenders most every year. The band members are all seasoned musicians who have been on the scene for a long time, and they perform pretty good on this new studio release, which rocks from beginning to end.
The platter starts off with "I Fough The Law", written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets and popularized by the Bobby Fuller Four. The song was a big hit for the Wild Angels in Sweden in earlier days. Wild Bob is hitting his skins as usual (meaning something has to break LOL). Yes, it's still a great song. Keith Read is doing the vocals perfectly as he does on his self penned "Crazy Rock 'N' Roll Days". Great guitar breaks too.
Wild Bob takes on the vocals on the Matchbox song "Everybody Talkin' 'Bout Gene" in his own raw way of singing. Rusty is obviously familiar with this song and the plays the 88 keys like a wild man, Jerry Lee Lewis eat your heart out :)
When you're talking about Bristich rock history, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates' song "Shakin' All Over" can't be left out of course. A classic and an all time favorite of yours truly. The stomping rhythm of "Blackwoods Boogie" (written by Mitch Mitchell) is sure to get everybody in the dancehall on their feet, and Jerry Lee's "Lovin' Up A Storm" is another great outlet for Rusty.
One of my old time favorite blues songs must be Little Walter's "My Babe" (written by the great Willie Dixon), and I love this version with Mitch doing the vocals. Mitch also signs for "Rock 'N' Roll You Done Me Wrong" (as writer & singer).
A couple of greatest hits from the likes of Larry Williams (Slow Down), Chuck Berry (Little Queenie), Eddie Cochran (Nervous Breakdown) and Freddy Cannon (Tallahassee Lassie) fill in the gap to Keith Read's song "We're Goin' To The Ace" in the classic Bo Diddley style.
The closer of the album is the instrumental title song penned by Wild Bob Burgos "The Wild Angels Ride Again", complete with Bob's familiar rock 'n' roll screams. You just gotta love this band's enthusiasm, the rock, the beat and the great music. I sure hope these guys will do live appearances as well, 'cause I for one would really like to hear and see them tear up a house full of Teds. Rock on Wild Angels!
By Marijn "The Blackcat" Raaijmakers, December 2013
Also read: The Wild Angels History by Mitch Mitchell
Liner notes by Pam Russell:
The history of this legendary Rock 'n' Roll band goes back to the summer of 1967 to an old roadside cafe in Biggin Hill Kent on the outskirts of South London that became one of the most famous haunts for Rockers & Teddy Boys... The one and only Nightingale Cafe.
It was here that they all first met up and played their very first gig as the Wild Angels, a name that founder member Mitch Mitchell came up with when the film 'Wild Angels' was released that was banned by sensors in the UK. The band had begun to attract an incredibly large following of hard core Rock 'n' Roll fans on the strength of all their performances, and were soon being booked around the South London area where they all lived.
It was now 1968, and it wasn't long before agencies and promoters started to contact the band because of their popularity, and being one of the very few Rock 'n' Roll bands playing in Britain at that time, were soon booked to work with the legendary Bill Haley & The Comets, and in 1969 were selected to be Gene Vincent's backing band on a British tour. By now the Wild Angels were keeping to a hectic schedule of live gigs both in Britain and Europe with many records being released, and in 1973 succeeded in reaching the No.1 spot in the Swedish charts with a single entitled 'I Fought The Law' with Keith Read at the helm. The band's material and stage act was and always has been based on the golden era of Rock 'n' Roll from the late fifties, and the Wild Angels namely Mitch Mitchell, Keith Read, Wild Bob Burgos (who was also in the early line-up) and newest member Rusty Lupton have proved that the appeal of music by artists like... Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and Little Richard still lives on, not only with those who witnessed the meteoric rise of Rock 'n' Roll, but also with a new generation who want to see and hear this music in it's more realistic aspect.
It was back in the early 70's when I first started the Wild Angels fan club... We had members from all over the world, even reaching as far as South America. We sent out regular news letters, tour dates, arranged record sales, gathered lists of Rockin' venues, as well as news, interests and info of all the individual band members etc, etc... It was great fun, and today they are still recognised as one of Europe's top Rock 'n' Roll outfits... Entertainment, Nostalgia and Excitement... As it was, and as it should be... The Wild Angels Ride Again!!
Pam Russell (May, 2013)
Today's Wild Angels are:
Foot Tapping Records
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2013