Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers – A Hundred Miles an Hour 1978-1989

January 01, 1970



Although barnstorming rocker Roy Loney is, like a lot of us,
settling into extended middle age, as he’s still pulling frontman time in a
high-nrg combo (the Longshots, who’ve issued several smokin’ platters via the
good folks at Career Records), it’s unlikely he’ll be going quietly into
seniordom anytime soon. Hell, he may even be due for a latterday revival among
the younger hipster set soon. No less a Loney fan than Jack White recorded a
version of his “Heading For the Texas Border” not long ago with the Raconteurs,
while another tune Loney also originally cut decades ago with his early band
the Flamin’ Groovies, “Teenage Head,” remains a perennial favorite among
budding garage rockers and even the stray metal or hard rock outfit.


A Hundred Miles an
Hour 1978-1989
picks up the Loney story after his departure from the
Groovies in 1971; he’d clashed with co-founder Cyril Jordan over the group’s
musical direction but still took awhile to get his solo career in gear. When he
did, with 1978’s Artistic As Hell EP,
the timing couldn’t have been better, as the punk and new wave crowd instinctively
embraced his lo-fi, recorded-on-a-shoestring brand of roots-powered twang. In
fact, the EP’s title track, with its vocal sneer from Loney, pounding piano
riff and manic closing-moments guitar raveup, could’ve been lifted from the
Groovies’ classic ’71 LP Teenage Head,
which by the end of the seventies was already considered as much a punk
precursor as the Stooges’ Fun House or MC5’s Kick Out the Jams.


From that point Loney kicked into high gear with a string of
albums cut either under his own name or billed to Roy Loney & the Phantom
Movers (tellingly, the Movers included various Groovies alumni coming and going
in the lineup). As outlined in archivist David Laing’s detailed liner notes for
the 28-song Australian anthology at hand, Loney’s fortunes would ebb and flow,
but his output was rarely less than satisfying to fans.


This CD touches on nearly every Loney record issued in the
‘70s and ‘80s, starting with three tracks from the aforementioned EP and
concluding with three from 1989’s The
Scientific Bombs Away!!!
(only 1981’s Contents
Under Pressure
isn’t represented, with Laing describing it as “a misguided
attempt” to have a commercial hit by going overtly new wave). Even if you have
the original vinyl, the collection is a great way to revisit your memories, not
to mention the fact that much if not most of this isn’t otherwise available on
CD. Among the obvious highlights: from 1979’s Out After Dark,  a
calypso-flavored cover of “Return to Sender” that helped make Elvis seem cool
during the reactionary punk era, and the snarling “Used Hoodoo” which is not
only pure Groovies but helped make slide guitar cool to punks still clinging to
their buzzsaw riffs; from 1982’s Rock and
Roll Dance Party With…
, “Double Dare,” a visceral marriage of Muddy Waters’
“I’m A Man” and the classic Bo Diddley beat as envisioned by the Stones or
Yardbirds, right down to Loney’s animalistic whoops and grunts; and from the
1989 album, “Chicken Run Around,” featuring more of that B.D. jungle thump,
twinned slide and chicken-picking guitar licks, and a lascivious double
entendre-laden Loney vocal.


For longtime Loney watchers, it almost goes without saying
that many of us found ourselves rediscovering vintage strains of Americana –
rockabilly, in particular – thanks to Loney’s efforts. In that regard he’s somewhat
comparable to the Cramps, who also championed semi-forgotten musical eras and
icons. He never came close to selling records in the same quantity as the
Cramps, but it’s worth noting that Lux and Ivy themselves were known to be big
Loney fans. And he’s also still recording and touring, so for the uninitiated, A Hundred Miles An Hour is a perfect way
to get introduced to the man as you make plans to investigate further.


Standout Tracks: “Used
Hoodoo,” “Double Dare,” “Driving Wheel” FRED MILLS



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