“Vintage Rock” April 2023
They often say that the mark of a great song is if it can work in multiple musical styles. That concept is thoroughly explored here by Norfolk trio Those Deadbeat Cats who take a baker’s dozen of mostly 80s pop and rock hits and give them a rockabilly makeover. In the hands of lesser musicians this might be considered little more than a gimmick, but the quality of these 13 performances means that the Cats pull this off in considerable style.
Guitarist Ron Sayer transplants chunky riffage and a fleet-fingered solo into the pop funk of Cameo’s Word Up while Daryl Blyth’s galloping drums provide it with a new sense of urgency. TdintedLove, made famous by a Soft Cell reboot but originally a Gloria Jones Northern Soul floorfiller, gets a punky refit here with the intensity of its wronged-lover lyrics dialled up for added impact. A cheeky medley of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’Mine works rather well with Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love while a similar mash-up of Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf with Seven Nation Army and the twangy Munsters Theme finds the Cats at their most irreverent.
Elsewhere, Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) is recast as a bouncy ska anthem,
with The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me and Creep by Radiohead both approached in a similar fashion. Depeche Mode’s poppiest moment, Just Can’t Get Enough, is transformed into a chiming rockabilly bop, and equally upbeat is Madonna’s Material Girl. An unexpected highlight is Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel, which feels perfectly at home in its new setting. Meanwhile, rockabilly fan Lemmy would no doubt have been mightily impressed by the version of Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades which features here, too.
This may not be one for the traditionalists, perhaps, but it’s certainly a whole heap of fun for those with open minds. (SH)
“Slap that Bass” May 2023
This Ain’t Rockabilly, This Is… Those Deadbeat Cats
Released 20th January 2023 on Western Star Records
Reviewed by Kate, 8th May 2023
Buy the album here: https://www.western-star.co.uk/…/this-aint-rockabilly…
Those Deadbeat Cats are:
Ron Sayer Jnr – Guitar & Vocals
Daryl Blyth – Drums & Vocals
Wayne Beauchamp – Slap Bass & Vocals
Sometimes it’s easy to predict which bands will go down well at festivals in advance, and sometimes it’s tough. However, it’s ridiculously easy to guess that Those Deadbeat Cats, covers band extraordinaire and eighties aficionados will be absolutely heroic at this year’s Psychobilly Meeting in Pineda del Mar with their brand of Me First And The Gimme Gimmes-style irreverent covers. They’re finally branching out from their their stomping ground of Norfolk and they’re ready to take the world by storm…just don’t call them a wedding band….
Word Up – Previously covered to dramatic effect by German country legends The Bosshoss, expect a sarcastic, spiky update with buckets of rock guitar solo.
Tainted Love – a bold choice of cover as it’s been done by everyone from Red Hot Riot and the Go Getters to his majesty King Salami, this version brings a measure of moodiness to proceedings and what can only be described as a jazz interlude.
Sweet Child O’ Mine – oh, now we’re going country and it’s a good call to not try and tackle an Axl Rose screech. This is the point at which it’s helpful to mention that quite a few of the covers are meta-meddlers which dissolve into other songs like memories of a drunken hour, and this one degenerates into ‘Addicted to Love’ before hopping and skipping back to the Sweet Child.
You Spin Me Round – ah, this takes me back to the glorious days of my youth pranking unsuspecting fellow undergraduates with Meat Spin. It’s a ska moment with underground backing vocals and don’t pretend you won’t be dancing to this cover this summer.
Just Can’t Get Enough – Not a million miles from local legends Codename Colin’s cover, this one comes with a side order of country wistfulness garnished with violin. The light picking on the guitar will win over the hardest of hearts.
The Way You Make Me Feel – Back into the world of rock n roll for this Michael Jackson cover. Sharing vocal duties means that we never get bored and the moody slap bass from Wayne is excellent.
Karma Chameleon – Cute and bass driven, it’s an adorably romantic update with a pronouncement midway that ‘it’s a solo,’ before the guitar drops.
Hungry Like The Wolf – A frantic Duran Duran update with constant guitar and bass clicks to rev up your engine before it morphs into Seven Nation Army, the Munsters theme and an unhinged drum solo before jumping back into a hunt because they’re after you.
I Think We’re Alone Now – Ska on the organ and a softness on the vocals until there’s a drift into Livin On A Prayer, and I’m starting to suspect that Those Deadbeat Cats were raised on a healthy diet of ska punk in the 90s and 00s. Replace the Bon Jovi shouting with a gentle longing and accents that drop in and out and you’ve got the jolly mental picture.
Material Girl – Back to rockabilly with a jumping bass rhythm and a satisfying replication of the deeper backing vocals from the original.
Don’t You Want Me Baby – AKA the song my parents do for karaoke, this is a ska-punk-rockabilly hybrid that owes a lot to Reel Big Fish and a down-to-earth punchy energy.
Ace Of Spades – Can this compete with the majestic Batmobile cover? No, but they’re entering different competitions…and this will win a gold medal in the ‘country silliness’ category. Turn the bass up high to enjoy the madness.
Creep – A sweet, tropical burst of Radiohead to finish that needs more ukulele at the start before it speeds up into a rockabilly riot. For all the creeps, weirdos and folks who are wondering what they’re doing here, we get a Thom Yorke-esque squeal before dropping down to a dub section that drifts away.
This is an album that does exactly what it sets out to do incredibly well: it’s fun, it’s very well made and it’s the kind of tomfoolery that works perfectly in the summer sunshine. Yes, it won’t be an intellectual stretcher but that isn’t what Those Deadbeat Cats are aiming for, and they do dancey, enjoyable eighties covers tremendously well.
On the radio
“This is really selling, this album, really selling. It’s a collection of 80s and 90s tunes that have the bejesus rock n rolled out of them.”
Bernie Keith, BBC Radio Northampton – 18th Feb 2023
Real Punk Radio, Brooklyn USA – 23rd Feb 2023
“A great new album”
Wendy Wolf/Richard Green, BBC Radio Devon – 05-03-2023
DJ Bacpac, Rockabilly Radio – 11-04-2023
“A hundred times better than the original Michael Jackson version!”
Tony Martin, Rockin 50s radio – 17-03-2023