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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The 69 Cats

Transylvanian Tapes

Review by Gary Hill

There is a cool type of music that has a dark, spooky take on rockabilly at its heart. The 69 Cats are a group plying that particular genre. They are also something of a supergroup. The band includes singer Jyrki69 (The 69 Eyes), guitarist Danny B. Harvey (Headcat) and bassist Chopper Franklin (The Cramps). Flexing their rockabilly roots, they even have a guest appearance by Wanda Jackson. This album has a lot of covers and some original instrumentals. It’s a cool disc and great for Halloween parties in addition to every day listening.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
People Are Strange

While I love the acoustic guitar solo treatment at the start, this really turns powerful when they launch into the full band treatment. Yes, it is The Doors tune. It gets a great hard rocking sound that has plenty of rockabilly in the mix. This is just so cool.

Sunglasses after Dark
Now, this is more pure rockabilly. Elvis is a definite reference. It’s a smoking hot tune.
She’s Not You with Wanda Jackson
This duet is a great combination of country music and graveyard rock. It’s rockabilly heaven.
Runaway

This old cover works pretty well with the rockabilly edge.

Sweet Transvestite with The Devil s Daughters
I’m not a fan of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but this take on a song from that movie is cool. It’s got a great graveyard rockabilly sound.
Edge of Reality
I like this a lot. It’s got the most modern rock sound here. It still has the rockabilly elements at play, though. Somehow, this makes me think of The Doors a bit, too. It’s good stuff.
Necromance for Guitar
This instrumental is melodic. It has plenty of the rockabilly turned Goth sound we’ve heard throughout. It’s also got more of a modern rock sound. It’s a tasty excursion.
You’re My Baby
A smoking hot rockabilly sound drives this tune. It’s got some inspired instrumental action, too.
Werewolves of London
This Warren Zevon cover is a lot of fun. It’s not a real surprise, the sound sort of a combination of Zevon with the basic idea that runs through the whole set. Still, it’s great stuff.
Black Cadillac
A dark rockabilly number, this is good stuff, too.
Girls on Film
Here they cover Duran Duran and it’s a definite twist on the piece. It’s both familiar and strange, given the 69 Cats treatment.
69 Guitars
Surf meets ghoul rock on this killer tune. This retro textured jam might be my favorite thing here. It has some non-lyrical vocals, more like screams, but it otherwise an instrumental. It leads straight into the next tune.
Bela Lugosi s Dead
And, here they cover Bauhaus. Their sound seems perfect for this. While it’s a huge change from the original, it is just such a perfect fit. It’s a great way to end this in style. Of course, that’s one thing this set has from start to finish – style.
 
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