Biography

Dedicated to the subversive, the world of Jo Carley and the Old Dry Skulls is dark, animated and unusual. Seeking to amuse and draw the audience into an underworld filled with wonder, the macabre and the imagination they combine elements of Vaudeville, Skiffle, early horror films, early ska, calypso, old-timey country, and the Blues. This trio play a unique hybrid of early 20th Century music infused with dark Cabaret.

Voodoo has found its way onto the British shores and Jo Carley is the voodoo queen sent to predict hell in a way to entertain and amaze you. This demonic music-hall mistress tells tales of terror in old-timey fashion. She is backed by her song-writing partner and husband Tim Carley, a man of considerable size who plays “syncopated rhythms to shake your soul” on a beaten up archtop guitar, kick drum and rattlin’ shoe, with friend and fellow fiend James Le Huray providing the final ingredients of the spell, in the shape of double bass and banjo.

‘Voodoo Bones & Vaudeville Blues’ (the bands third album) was recorded during lockdown in the bands tiny shack of a house on the East Coast of England. When the pandemic hit, they threw out the couch and the TV, turning their living room into a recording studio, laying down twelve new songs using only old school techniques and a few good microphones. There they waited out the Lockdown until they could mix and master the recordings to ¼ mono tape with Ed Deegan at Gizzard Recordings in London. This analogue and primitive way of recording totally captures the bands unique sound and the result is the bands most retro and authentic sounding record to date. Rooted firmly in a bygone era when Voodoo and Black Magic were rife, it has all the vibe, sounds and character of the old Blues, Old-timey Country, Skiffle, Calypso and Rock n Roll records that inspired them to make this album.

Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls combine the voodoo rhythms of 1930's ska and the blues with old timey vaudeville cabaret. Music that makes people wanna come down and shake their bones!

VOODOO BONES & VAUDEVILLE BLUES - OUT DECEMBER 2020

Making deals with the devil never bodes well and sometimes voodoo antics backfire. A woman’s innocent trip to the jungle ends with a witchdoctor tricking her into marrying him. In the dead of the night she steals his zombie poison and uses it to set herself free. She now possesses all of his magic and celebrates the end of their tumultuous relationship, but he doesn't go away easy.  Now a relentless zombie comes to bother her every night, creeping around giving her fright. Is she still under his spell? 

 

'Voodoo Bones & Vaudeville Blues' out December 2002 on Old Higue Records / New Retro Sounds. 

Links

Discography

2020 - 'Voodoo Bones & Vaudeville Blues' (ALBUM)

2020 - 'The Zombie / The Jungle' (LOCKDOWN DIGITAL SINGLE)

2019 - 'Shake Them Rattlin' Bones' (ALBUM)

2017 - 'Them Old Bones' (ALBUM)

2014 - 'Rags and Bones' (EP)

Reviews

"Jo Carley & The Old Dry Skulls were a joy to behold.  Rooted firmly in a bygone era when Voodoo and Black Magic were rife, the audience were all spellbound by the performance and its originality" - Adrian Blacklee - Blues Matters Magazine (UK)

"... a wonderfully enchanting show where magical songs were scattered." - thenextgig.nl (Netherlands)

"Tongue firmly-in-cheek they provide a full set of old school entertainment, a sideshow where vaudeville, blues and skiffle conspire to get their audiences to dance their asses off." – Hans Werkman / Here Comes The Flood (NL)

"... they've conjured up some delicious spells in their cauldron of verse, complete with wing of bat and tongue of snake" - Graham Munn / Blues In Britain Magazine

"Don’t fight it, let your soul be taken by the voodoo and soothed by these irresistible bluesy rockabilly rhythms. Turn to the dark-side, even if its just for half an hour or so…" - Neil Hodge / Louderthanwar

 “9/10 …invigorating macabre blues to keep you warm this winter” – Viola Noir (Russia)

 

"With great lyrics and the combination of haunting ragtime blues they create a stupendously enjoyable jaunt into the darker recesses of voodoo, ... It's superb fun and a real pleasure to just indulge in its lyrics and music..." - Lee Powell / Vive Le Rock 2021

"... a creepy-mischievous touch.  Sarcasm is no stranger to her.  It seems as if she predicts hell in such a way that you have to laugh about it" - Cultuurpakt.be (Belgium)

“...a steaming broth of cabaret, blues, ska, Vaudeville, voodoo and skiffle. Horror stories are the main course, with a side orders of sex, trouble, and all-night parties” - Hans Werksman - Here Comes The Flood (Netherlands)

“Folk instruments deployed with maximum attitude” 9/10 – Vive Le Rock Magazine (UK)  

“...riffs and rhythms, stomp and tap, crazy woman on vocals you find yourself waiting for her to cast a spell on you” - Alan Pearce - Blues Matters Magazine (UK)

"...medicine show huckster and old timey roots music. JCODS make deliciously devilish sounds. Something wicked coming this way. Highly recommended" - Folkcast  (UK)

"That nailed it, good stuff. Left of field stomper. A wonderful fusion of trad, old timey, New Orleans Voodoo Queen" - Mike Harding / Mike Harding Folk Show (UK)

 

“…a magic potion made up from early 20th century blues and old-time, post-war skiffle and rock'n'roll, Don't be scared, notwithstanding these weird times it's only
entertainment and we like it!”
- Tom Keller / Folkworld (Germany)

“There are dark warnings, powerful accusations, gritty observations and singular attitude... this is a musical heist that robs you of ordinary and replaces it with exceptional" - Folkwords (UK)
 

“Let's be honest. In this dark age, Jo Carley gives us positive energy with The Old Dry Skulls. Vintage music poured with a modern sauce. Perfect for a good feeling and a must in every club, any festival” – Keys and Chords Magazine (Belgium)
 

“Being scared has never been so much fun. Eyes closed, lights out, music on. Then tremble and shake and then laugh.”  - Cultuurpakt (Belgium)
 

"...you will soon be dancing to the dead beat. An excellent album to keep you awake at night" - Shirl / Blues Matters Magazine

“The rhythms are uplifting, Jo Carley's voice remains mysterious with a mischievous twist. Nice deep bass rhythms, screeching strings and ominous, rattling percussion chase a person through the land of the living dead.” - Cultuurpakt (Belgium)

“On ‘Voodoo Bones & Vaudeville Blues’, Jo Carley and the Old Dry Skulls do what they do very well. They continue to brew their unique concoction of voodoo and vaudeville and skilfully season it with some blues, rock and other fine spices that taste for more after dark…“ - Eric Shuurmans / Rootstime (Belgium)

“They have that gumbo like conglomeration of blues, folk, rockabilly, and voodoo.” – Folkworld.eu (Germany)

“Let's be honest. In this dark age, Jo Carley gives us positive energy with The Old Dry Skulls. Vintage music poured with a modern sauce. Perfect for a good feeling and a must in every club, any festival” – Keys and Chords Magazine (Belgium)
 

“Being scared has never been so much fun. Eyes closed, lights out, music on. Then tremble and shake and then laugh.”  - Cultuurpakt (Belgium)

“… Een heerlijk album …. maar als je wel van een horrorverhaal houdt zou ik zeker naar het oude vaudeville theater gaan om dit verhaal te beluisteren.” – Bluestown Music (Netherlands)

“…a magic potion made up from early 20th century blues and old-time, post-war skiffle and rock’n’roll, Don’t be scared, notwithstanding these weird times it’s only entertainment and we like it!” – Tom Keller / Folkworld (Germany)

“…a macabre fairytale, …Naughty creepy, full of sarcasm, this album predicts a wonderful performance when the band also visits Belgium during their tour in 2021, “So let’s shake those bones together”!” Luminous Dash (Belgium)