This London quartet (named after a Charlie Rich Sun recording) was one of the first English rockabilly bands to emerge at a time when the music press was looking for the “next big thing” after punk. On its debut, Blowin’ Up a Storm, Whirlwind — whether by design or simply limited competence — offers up a bare-bones style, with little or no concession to the advancement in recording quality since the originals. The instrumentation is semi-traditional (one lead guitar, one muted-bass-strings rhythm guitar, electric bass and snare drum) and was recorded with no overdubbing, resulting in a sound that can charitably be called thin. While painstakingly trying to recapture the simplicity of early rockabilly recordings, Whirlwind never manages to re-create the frenzied, fiery abandon that is really what it was all about.
Midnight Blue, recorded over two years later, shows the group past its hang-ups about purity: the sound is filled-out, the drummer plays an entire kit (albeit with amazing clumsiness at times) and pedal-steel guitar even finds its way onto one track. While an improvement over the first LP, Midnight Blue still fails to present any clear reason why anybody would want to listen to it, when both the originals and far more imaginative updates like the Stray Cats are available.
A decade later, singer Nigel Dixon popped up as the vocalist for Paul Simonon’s post-Clash band, Havana 3 A.M.