Ray Condo

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Ray Condo
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RAY CONDO (The Hardrock Goners; The Ricochets; Jimmy Roy's Five Star Hillbillies) Hillbilly Bop; Western Swing Hull, Quebec, Canada; 1980s - When Ray Condo belts out "I'm a long gone daddy and a hep cat papa all the way!," he ain't fooling! In fact, Condo (aka Ray Tremblay) is perhaps the wildest, swingingest cat to ever come out of Canada. But, it wasn't always so. Growing up in a working class family in the city of Hull (Quebec province), he listened to the radio, sang country songs with his mom, dabbled on the guitar, and fell under the spell of the British Invasion. However, Condo's main ambition as a young man was not to become a musician but an artist. And so, after high school, he went to art school to study painting. However, he dropped out when he got caught up in punk, and then by gradual steps rockabilly, blues, country, and swing. Ray's final conversion to the latter came when he moved to Montreal in the early 1980s and met Clive Jackson, bass player and American roots music enthusiast. Eventually (c.1983/4), the two formed Ray Condo and the Hard Rock Goners (named for Hardrock Gunter) with Chris Dean and brothers Eric and Peter Sandmark (now leaders of the Crazy Rhythm Daddies). Specializing in rockabilly and swing, they played a few dates around Montreal and in 1986 made their first recording Crazy Date on Pipeline. But soon after making a second album, the label went bankrupt and when it refused to release the recording, the Hard Rock Goners bootlegged a cassette version which was ultimately put out as an LP (Hot 'n' Cold) by Crazy Rekkids in 1988. After several European tours and three excellent albums of rockabilly, hillbilly boogie, and Western swing (Condo Country, Come On, and Hillbilly Holiday), Ray and Jackson quit and headed for Vancouver. There they found a thriving music scene with a number of A-1 rockabilly bands (the Dots, Stinging Hornets, Nervous Fellas) and several exceptionally good hillbilly/honky-tonk/swing outfits such as the Yodells and the Five Star Hillbillies. The latter was led by steel guitar player Jimmy Roy, who began the band in the 1980s as a tribute to country singers Johnny and Jack, but then gradually pushed the group toward a mix of honky- tonk, rockabilly, and swing. Their Everybody's Talking was done in 1991 for East Side Records, and Jimmy Roy and company received nominations for "Midnight Ride" as best original song (1992 Genies) and Country Group of the Year by the West Coast Music Awards. Two songs from Everybody's Talking were included on the British compilation, Lordy Hoody, and in 1993 Fury Records released an expanded version of it as the incredible Five Star Hop. In 1994, Jimmy Roy joined forces with Condo and Jackson, plus former members of the Five Star Hillbillies, Steve Nikleva and Steve Taylor to create Ray Condo and the Ricochets. Their debut, Swing Brother Swing, was released by East Side in 1995 and then picked up by the Joaquin label (named for steel guitar legend Joaquin Murphey of Spade Cooley/Tex Williams fame). Highlighted by Condo's bluesy whoop/growl/scream vocals and cool sax playing, Jimmy Roy's stellar steel, and excellent support from the rest of the Ricochets, Swing offers a potent blend of rockabilly, swing, blues, and jazz that cooks on record and absolutely boils in person. They followed it up with Door to Door Maniac which delves deep into Americana (Dorsey Burnette, Billie Holiday, Tex Williams, Glenn Barber, Lee Bonds, Rocky Bill Ford, Gene Vincent, Frankie Lee Sims) to deliver another superb set of jump blues/swing/rockabilly. Current Lineup of the Ricochets: Ray Condo (guitar, alto sax, vocals); Stephen Nikleva (lead guitar, mandolin); Jimmy Roy (steel guitar, 2nd lead guitar, vocals); Peter Turland (upright bass, vocals); Steve Taylor (drums) --David Goodman, author of Modern Twang: An Alternative Country Music Guide and Directory
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Average Rating : 3.5              Total Reviews: 2

Ray Condo  10/22/2007            
i like you to
Ray Condo  04/24/2004            
Blind Joe Reynolds
This band was very good on their first album but the people at Joaquin ruined them by trying to force them into a swing thing that they were getting into all right. Every album they did except for the first sounds contrived and fake. "I Flipped" is very messy. They would have been better to do their own record and just let Joaquin release it. Sad to say they broke up in 2000 and Ray recently died so there will be no more. Oh well the first album was great.
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