Ugly Dog Reviews


***** (5 star) Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo Do It Again!!, March 10, 2004
Reviewer: jamierobson from Moscow, Russia
Exquisite examples of Norfolk folkies doing Redneck rockabilly don’t come much finer than this. Of particular interest on this album is the ballad about small squirrels hiding in the bushes. It brought a tear to my eye, verily. Buy this album now.

Made-up from the cream of Norfolk’s rockin’ scene (including members of Dawghouse and Shock Therapy), The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo bring Skiffle Music into the 21st Century with their debut album, recorded ‘live in the studio’ at Western Star. Their line-up features washboard, fiddle, slap bass, banjo and all manner of whistles and gadgets, and this 16 track CD is certainly entertaining, in places amusing, but overall it Rocks! Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo are a regularly gigging live band, and have already have Skiffle Revival festivals and live radio appearances under their belt.

In the summertime when the weather is fine, having a drink, having a drive and heading off into rural Norfolk to catch The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo at one of their many outdoor shows must be a very attractive proposition. And if the venue happens to be the Jolly Farmers, Swanton Abbott or any other real ale pub, so much the better.
The nucleus of the Combo was formed by Clive Perchard and Wayne Beauchamp of the rockabilly band Dawghouse, but today the Ugly Dogs are an extended family with any number liable to turn up for a gig with their guitars, banjos, harmonicas, washboards and anything (or anyone) else they pick up along the way. The Ugly Dogs draw their material from the usual folk and country sources with a good deal coming from rockabilly and rock n roll. This band of self-confessed nutters play good time, good fun, outdoor music which is mercifully not bedevilled by the studied amateurism which characterises so much of what we know as skiffle.
Apart from the expected ‘Railroad Bill’, ‘Cumberland Gap’ etc. – highlights from a lively set include a medley of railroad songs recorded at the 2003 Worstead village Festival and rock n roll numbers ‘I’m Ready’ (the Cochran Brothers one), ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ and ‘Say Mama’ – none of which sound out of place.
Finally, in this dose of instant sunshine, Ugly Dog’s fiddle player, Clare, deserves special mention for her delightful light touch version of Bad Company’s ‘Oh, Atlanta’.
Chris Woodford, Now Dig This, April 2004.

Norfolk has always had more than its fair share of Rockabilly outfits, perhaps due to the fact that historically the area has hosted more Rock ‘n’ Roll and Psychobilly weekends than anywhere else. The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo contains the cream of Norfolk’s many rockin’ musicians with members of Dawg House and Shock Therapy to name but a few. With a line-up that includes washboard, fiddle, slap bass, banjo and all manner of whistles and gadgets, this 16 track CD is certainly entertaining, in places amusing, but overall it ROCKS!!!!!!!

The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo plays an average of 30 gigs a year including many skiffle revival festivals and have even been featured live on Radio Norfolk, but the strangest news of all has to be the fact that Neil, the washboard player, has just gotten a washboard sponsorship from the USA!

Recorded ‘live in the studio’ for that ‘real feel’ this album is a cracker!
Western Star Records 2004

This new CD was recorded live at Alan Wilson’s Western Star Studio, and it does indeed combine many styles of music. There are some great covers from the likes of Lonnie Donnegan, Vipers Skiffle Group, Cochran Brothers, Buddy Holly, Nancy Sinatra, Chas McDevitt, and many more. Yes, you’re quite right, this is not exactly a rockabilly album, but nevertheless the album still rocks quite a lot. I enjoyed listening to it tremendously, you could just look upon it as kind of an uplugged rockabilly album. Well, skiffle was of course the cradle of rock ‘n’ roll in the U.K.

One thing’s for sure, this is a very joyful album and the band obviously had a great time recording it. Besides the 14 listed tracks, there are also 2 additonal live recordings on the album. There’s the ever beautiful “Freight Train” (Nancy Whisky with Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group) and a great 5 minute improvised rendition of my all time favourite “Gost Riders in the Sky”. Enjoy!
Black Cat Rockabilly 2004

Banjo laden and pure hillbilly.
Harry Dodds, Now Dig This, June 2004.

People flocked to listen to him and the local artists performing. That was followed on Sunday by a brilliant performance by the Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo. Others performing superbly over the two days were Glinn West, Emma Williamson, Roger Dale, Patrick Macauley, The Cromer Smugglers, The Keel Band, The Castaways, Lee Westell and Liam Dolan.
Sheringham Community Newspaper 17th October 2003

Many people will ask ‘What is Skiffle?’
Well it’s a sound that has travelled through time from the mid 1950’s, and is being kept alive by bands like the Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo.
Back in the 50’s the original skiffle groups instruments were basically an acoustic guitar, tea chest base, banjo, fiddle, washboard and a mouth organ. Having seen the Ugly Dogs perform, I can confirm they keep this tradition alive, along with their own variants. Wait till you see Wayne‘s drum kit!!
A local group (ish), the Ugly Dogs have been playing together for several years, their popularity ever growing. Their selection of music is diverse, ranging from Queen to Lonnie Donegan, Rock, Folk and Pop. When you see the band perform, what strikes you is that their style of playing is so full of energy, enthusiasm and humour.
They have appeared at gigs and shows all over the Country, on radio and television and last year recorded their first CD. I managed to get my hands on a copy a few weeks after the recording session and the energy and fun that is the Ugly Dogs come across loud and clear.
So Wayne, Claire, Jez, John, Neil welcome to the North Norfolk Railway’s Beer Festival, and now……………………….
Lets Party!!!!!!!!
North Norfolk Railway, July 2004

What was I doing here? It was three hours since Cat Deeley had patronisingly patted the head of the first karaoke ‘would-be-alike’ on channel three and now, instead of lolloping in my favourite armchair with a mug of cocoa, my Missus and I were picking our way through flumes of snow on route to the Poachers, Bacton on what was undoubtedly the coldest Saturday night of the winter.

“We won’t be starting till after ten” advised Boris Bones The Carnabies front man, “But you’ll enjoy The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo in the meantime.Too right, as it turned out, and the sight of the 3/4 full car park allayed my suspicions that we’d be the only ones in attendance and bore testimony to the popularity of one or both bands.

Inside, the boys really had the sizeable crowd eating out of their hands.
Bowler-hatted Wayne Beauchamp – lead guitar – and Jez Barr on double bass were pushing out the vocals whilst trilby wearing Neil Thomas rasped out a perfectly tempoed rhythm from his washboard all supported from behind by Mark Beckley on a familiar orange drum kit. This was tonight’s line-up but, bearing in mind they’re all multi-instumentalists, this can change from gig-to-gig.

For a skiffle group their repertoire was enlightening to say the least, ranging from the obvious Rock Island Line and My Old Man’s a Dustman thro’ ‘New Romantic’ Tainted Love to Ace of Spades (Motorhead) and up-to-the-minute Good Riddance (Green Day); almost 50 years of pop music history.

Wayne didn’t let the breaking of the G-string on his trusty Telecaster phase him in the least but made a seamless transition over to Bone’s electro-acoustic, still fingering some mean licks on what must be a pretty tight-actioned, full bodied six string.

The Ugly Dog‘s energy, humour and musicianship would melt the ice on the coldest of nights.

After the swiftest ofchangeovers. The Carnabies took to the ‘stage’ opening with Jumping Jack Flash and I have to say that lead guitarist Chris’s power chords were a bit heavy for the first couple of numbers but soon settled back to an overall perfect sound balance for the rest of the gig doing his competent guitar picking full justice.

Chris(tian Gedges-Lynes) has an incredibly laid back style and eases punchy, stabbing, staccato licks from his ‘Gibbo’ S.G. – so effortless and completely devoid of the posturing that so often accompanies lead guitar playing. I have it from good authority that, apart from the necessary riffs, he never plays the same number quite the same way twice? Refreshing!

New band member Sean Ie Bass, tho’ keeping his act low key, is a brilliant technician laying a driving, firm foundation from his shovel-like instrument via a Trace-Elliot stack.

As much as the low ceiling would permit, singer and occasional strummer, Boris ‘Bones’ Cocker gave his now expected mic-swinging, animated performance; a performance that could so easily assign the seemingly stayed swaggering antics of, one, Michael Jagger to the realms of Stephen Hawkins. Great vocals, too. Bones.

The ‘Man of the Match’ award, however has to be handed to the quiet, unassuming, six- stone-wet-through Daryl “Dazzer” Blyth, knocking seven shades ofwhatsit out of his drum set, especially in Sunshine of Your Love. This is the same orange-coloured Mapex series M, fairly minimalistic, two torn kit mentionecTearlier. I can only liken Daryl to Keith Moon on speed – he is a veritable powerhouse – no wonder there’s nothing to him – the calories must just fall off; beats Weightwatchers any day! Any time you see a kick drum with a ‘Zippy’ motif on the front, be prepared for action!

If I could have picked my own playlist then this was it – Stones, Booties, Credence, Hendrix, Cream, Kinks, Specials, Who, Police, Jam and, my fave of the moment The Undertones with Teenage Kicks.They were all there.

Read more about The Ugly Dogs on Meanwhile, The Carnabies will be head-lining at the Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat open air film show on 20th August at Trimingham. M. R.

Mikki Rokk – April 2005, Cromer Crab Line

The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo: “The Great Skifflebilly Train Wreck”

Vampirette Records

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Skiffle er navnet på en type musikk som var populær i Storbritannia på 50- og tidlig 60-tall. Skiffle kan beskrives som en slags folk-musikk inspirert av jazz og blues. Ofte ble det brukt hjemmelagde instrumenter som vaskebrett, cigar-box fele og kam og papir i tillegg til akustisk gitar og banjo. Skiffle og jug band er nært knyttet til hverandre. Lonnie Donegan regnes som “the father of British skiffle”.
Dette ifølge nettleksikonet Wikipedia (kortversjon).

The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo lister da også opp Lonnie Donegan som en av hovedinfluensene ved siden av Woodie Guthrie og The Beatles. Gruppa består av en eksentrisk gjeng musikere fra Norfolk i England som ifølge dem selv spiller alt fra de siste 100 årene som på en blanding av hjemmelagde og kjøpte instrumenter låter bra.

Medlemmene i gruppa har svært forskjellig utgangspunkt og det dras inn låter fra så forskjellige folk som George Gershwin og Cole Porter, Woodie Guthrie og Leadbelly, Hank Williams og Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley og Chuck Berry, The Beatles og The Rolling Stones, T-Rex og Queen, i tillegg til gamle folk-låter laget under den amerikanske borgerkrigen.

Gruppa har holdt på i fire-fem år og har utviklet en stil midt i mellom tradisjonell skiffle, bluegrass og rock’n’roll. Låtvalgene på “The Great Skifflebilly Train Wreck” tyder på at de har hatt samme idé som Southern Culture On The Skids, men The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo er ikke like bra musikere. Bandet spiller litt slurvete innimellom og det folkelige skiffeluttrykket blir enda mer folkelig, men også litt søplete. At denne anmelderen syns bazooka er et litt teit instrument får stå for min regning (jeg har aldri hatt helt sansen for Knudsen og Ludvigsen). Men slurvet gjør også at plata får et litt punkete preg, litt på samme måte som The Pogues, uten sammenligning forøvrig.

Hovedinntrykket er svært folkinspirert med bluegrass og skiffle i skjønn forening. Her er “Bad Moon Rising” (Creedence), “I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), new wave-låta “Teenage Kicks” (Undertones), en av tidenes singler, og den beste ifølge John Peel, “Hey Joe” (mest kjent med Jimi Hendrix), “Warning” (Green Day) og “Midnight Shift” (Buddy Holly), og ingen av dem gjør seg bort i stilen til The Ugly Dog Skiffle Combo.

Dag Bøgeberg (January 2008)