The neo-rockabillies, one of the fads that left the straight and not so narrow teddy-boy/rockabilly path, were an offshoot of the hepcat tendency in the late 1970s, albeit with a modern rather than a recreationist outlook. One of the giveaways of the neo-rockabillies was their bouffant lacquered hairstyle and their use of eyeliner which tended to make them new romantic lookalikes.
The Straycats, The Polecats, Breathless, The Blue Cats, (Levi and the Rockats 1979 had bouffant hairstyles) “The style was to mix any popular music to a Rockabilly set up, Drums, Slap bass and guitar.”
YT comments on Straycats (something to be said for both views)
Stephen Stone 2018 : The Stray Cats took rockabilly music to a whole new level in the early 80’s. They were different and had their own unique sound staying true to their musical influences without sounding like tribute artists. Stray cats were iconic and raised the bar for other acts to follow.
Gary Woolard : Actually they took down level for plastics only and everyone turned to physcobilly
interview with Dave Phillips on the start of neo-rockabilly in 1981 with his Hot Rod Gang,
The Blue Cats, pioneers of the revival of authentic 50s style rock’n’roll split in late 1980 into two groups who went in a neorockabilly direction : Dave Phillips, the singer formed the Hot Rod Gang whilst Clint Bradley, singer of ‘Tony’ and the Tennessee Rebels joined the remaining Blue Cats who held to the name (the distinction between the ‘Blue Cat Trio’ and the ‘Blue Cats’ is a retrospective one between the earlier Dave Phillips Blue Cats and the later Clint Bradley Blue Cats).
Both Dave Phillips and the Hot Rod Gang as well as Clint Bradley’s Blue Cats continued on the Rockhouse label. The label’s owner, Bert Rockhuizen, wasn’t too keen about the more modern stuff which Clint Bradley wanted to record and wanted the band to stick to a more traditional sound. He showed a like reaction to Dave Phillips’s wish to record ‘tainted love’ : “Initially Bert choked on his coffee at the morning meeting when I told him I wanted to do Tainted Love. He hated the idea, but I stood strong and told him you trusted me enough to sign me as a solo artist, now trust me and let me do this track. He complained all the way through the recording session saying “why can’t you just do the good old rockin’ stuff that everyone loves?”
After the success of the album ‘Wild Youth’ and the single ‘Tainted Love’ on the scene in 1982.
But for the follow-up you didn’t try to recreate a second Wild Youth. Was it important for you not to repeat yourself.
“Now that was where Bert had finally given over lock stock and barrel to the philosophy that I’d introduced with ‘tainted love’ at the previous recording session. This time he really wanted me to lay down as much of that modern crossover shit as I possibly could and he lapped it up. Personally and in hindsight, I think I tried a bit too hard. Bert liked it though, obviously he’d seen the dollars roll in plentifully from the exploit of ‘Wild Youth’ and just wanted to see more of the same. At the release party for the new album ‘Understatements’ (1987 Kix 4 U label) we took a lot of very hard criticism from our audience, in the form of bottles, glasses and whatever else they could find to throw at us! They hated it and we felt we’d got it all wrong. Go ask the band, it was truly mental!”
single ‘wild night’ (1981) and album ‘Fight Back’ (1982) Clint Bradley’s Blue Cats
The French Teen Kats established as a proper rock’n’roll group in 1981 changed their name to Casanova in 1983 ; again the tendency towards new romantic was obvious and not only in the name.