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Reissues is for recordings made before the first Rockabilly revival wave of the early 70's. It also includes blues, western swing, honky tonk etc.

That’ll Flat Git It

in Reissues

That’ll Flat Git It – Vol. 33 – Rockabilly And Rock’ n’ Roll From The Vaults Of Renown & Hornet Records

That’ll Flat Git It - Vol. 33 - Rockabilly And Rock’ n’ Roll From The Vaults Of Renown & Hornet Records

Bear Family Records – BCD 17589 [2020]
Betcha’ Didn’t Know Wayne Handy – I Want Everything My Baby’s Got Jim Thornton – Buzz Me On The Telephone Irving Fuller & The Chorvettes – That Other Woman Buck Tickle – Somethin’ Special Don Duncan – Stop Walking All Over Me Harold Pope – Bad Boy Steve France with The Hornets – Say Yeah Wayne Handy – Silly Dilly Don Ray with The Hornets – Upturn Eddie Smith with The Hornets – Cold North Wind Lonnie Dee – Who Put The Pep In The Punch Joe Franklin & The Hi-Liters – The Pad Bobby Strigo with The Blue Notes – Do You Ever Think Of Me Clyde Moody – The Day I Die Daryl Petty – I’m Going Home Hughie Owens with The Blue Notes – Problem Child Wayne Handy – Our Southern Way Of Living Jim Thornton – Tears Falling Down, Down, Down Harold Pope – Border Beat Eddie Smith with The Hornets – Dream Boy Steve France with The Hornets – Traveling Blues Dannie Maness – Making Fun Of Me Bobby Rose – True Blue Joe Franklin & The Hi-Liters – I’m Not Ashamed Lonnie Dee – I’ll Never Be The Same Wayne Handy – Baby Let Me Powder Your Nose Jim Thornton – Flaming Love Daryl Petty – Love Is A Flame Ken Willette with The Blue Notes – Hobo Bill Dannie Maness – Seminole Rock’n Roll Wayne Handy & The Melody Masters – Dance Me To Death The Hi-Liters – I Think You Oughta Look Again Wayne Handy – You Turn Me On Steve France & The Varatones – Repeto The Varatones

Launched by Bear Family many moons ago, this series chose the quality over the exhaustivity; thus, each album contains all killers and no fillers. By volume 27, they expanded the “Rockabilly from the vault of” subtitle to “Rockabilly and Rock’n’roll from the vault of.” And here we are, with the 33rd volume, dedicated to Renown and Hornet Records (the latter being a subsidiary label of the former) from North Carolina.
Wayne Hardy is the Renown artist who was the closest to have a hit with “Say Yeah.” Paradoxically, this is not the best of his six songs included here, but the guitar solo is worth the inclusion of the song. More interesting are songs the blues-oriented stuff like “I’ll Never Be the Same” or the Indian-tinged Seminole Rock’n’Roll.
By the time he recorded for Renown, Jim Thornton could be considered as a veteran. Nevertheless, his “I Want Everything My Baby’s Got” is a fantastic Rockabilly stomper, whereas his other two sides are more in a Hillbilly vein, though with some Rock’n’Roll in it for “Our Southern Way Of Living.”
Another veteran is Clyde Moody, who played with Bill Monroe in 1940. He revives the old 1920s standard “Do You Ever Think Of Me,” also covered by Jimmie Davis and turns it into a pop-rocker with sax, prominent bass, and galloping guitar.
Also on the rural side of the label is Dannie Maness. Both songs, a cover of Jimmie Rodgers and an original waltz in the style of the early Ernest Tubb, sound quite anachronistic here. Harold Pope seems slightly more modern. His two songs mix timeless hillbilly with a sixties sounding pedal steel for great effect.
In a more country-pop manner, Lonnie Dee contributes with two superb songs. “Cold North Wind” evokes the great Roy Orbison while “I’m Not Ashamed,” and its Spanish guitar leans more toward Marty Robbins.
Buck Thickle also shows some Orbisonian influences, but more from the Sun period, combined with a hot rocking saxophone. Also worth noting is the sharp guitar solo.
Don Duncan’s “Something Special” is really, well, special. The kind of weird Rockabilly that one can find on “Songs the Cramps Taught Us.”
Darryl Petty’s sixties rocker “The Day I Die” conveys the same kind of strange atmosphere. By comparison, his other tracks, a good, albeit classical, doo-wop, seems a bit tame.
Petty also played piano and occasionally sang with Joe Franklin and the Hi-Liters. “Who Put The Pep” could be just another rocker before a wild and frantic piano erupts and takes the song to a whole new level. The same piano can be found on “Dance Me To Death” that lives to its title.
Steve France is one of the most exciting artists in this collection. His “Dream Boy” has hints of Elvis’ Money Honey but with a severe dose of angst and gloom. “Bad Boy” is a threatening Rock’n’Roll with a mean guitar. He also recorded a single with the Varatones in a Surf vein. The B-side, “Repeto,” also included here, is an instrumental drenched with reverb and screaming saxophone.
That leads us to Eddie Smith, who recorded with the Hornets, one instrumental single. “Upturn” is a fast-paced number that kicks off with a similar intro than “Beat Out My Love” and then evolves into a half surf/half garage terrific tune. The flip, featuring a superb snare part, is a medium-paced instro that shows the influence of Link Wray.
The remaining tracks contain pop-rocker (Don Ray) Rhythm’ n’Blues with juicy sax in the style of Fats Domino (Hughie Owens with The Blue Notes) and, yes, even a song with a Cha-cha beat (Bobby Rose.)
Except if you don’t listen to anything beyond 1958, there’s plenty to discover and enjoy in this compilation.

Order it here.

Billy Fury

in Reissues

Billy Fury – Wondrous Place – The Brits Are Rocking, Vol.2

Billy Fury

Bear Family Records – BCD17583
Gonna Type A Letter – Baby How I Cried – Comin‘ Up In The World – Wondrous Place – Don‘t Leave Me This Way – Colette – Keep Away – Running Around – Bumble Bee – Nothin‘ Shakin‘ (But The Leaves On A Tree) – My Advice – Don‘t Say It‘s Over – Unchain My Heart – Sticks And Stones – Twist Kid – Push Push – Baby Come On – What Did I Do – If I Lose You – One Kiss – Play It Cool – Sweet Little Little Sixteen – Don‘t Knock Upon My Door – That‘s Love – Don‘t Jump – Tell Me How Do You Feel – Talkin‘ In My Sleep – I‘d Never Find Another You – I‘m Moving On – It‘s You I Need – Phone Call – Turn My Back On You – Alright, Goodbye – You‘re Having The Last Dance With Me

After Tommy Steele, the second volume of this series is deservedly dedicated to Ronald Wycherley, better known as Billy Fury. I personally hold “the Sound of Fury” as one of the best pieces of Rockabilly ever recorded. Billy Fury had it all, the look, the voice, and above all, he could write his own songs (and he was good at that!). This 34-song collection focuses on Fury’s most upbeat material and avoids the hits and the well-known songs like “Halfway to Paradise” or “Maybe Tomorrow” (which is a good thing if you ask me.)
To compose a varied compilation, Bear Family chose to present the songs randomly, but for this review, we’ll take them chronologically in the order of the recording sessions.
“Gonna Type Me a Letter” was originally the b-side of Maybe Tomorrow. It’s a solid rocker, though the typewriter gimmick can be slightly annoying.
Asked about his influences, Fury answered, “I was most of all an Eddie Cochran fan. I was an Elvis Presley fan second, and then I liked Dion.” If you can, without a doubt, hear some of the latter two throughout this collection, “Don’t Knock Upon My Door” is pure Cochran.
“Colette” was obviously written with the Everly Brothers in mind. “On Baby How I Cried,” a plaintive ballad, his voice channels the best of Gene Vincent while the Vernon Girls enhance the performance with their backing vocals. “Turn My Back On You,” recorded during the same session, is a pure Rockabilly masterpiece and will appear on “The Sound of Fury.” Eight out of ten songs of that essential album are included here. From the Buddy Holly tinged “My Advice” to the bluesy “Phone Call,” those songs are worth the price of that compilation alone. They also benefit from the superb guitar work of Joe Brown. For the anecdote, Andy White, the session drummer, is best remembered for having replaced Ringo Star during the recording of “Love Me Do” (and he also married Lyn Cornell one of the Vernon Girls.) Also, since the art of the slap bass was yet to be discovered in Albion, two basses were used: one electric bass to play the notes and an acoustic to record the slap.
In June 1960, Billy Fury cut his masterpiece, Wondrous Place, an eerie ballad with sparse backing, sounding like a mix between Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Crawfish.” Even more provocative, listen to that breath just before he drops ‘Wondrous Place.’ Bear Family made an excellent choice by including the first version rather than over-arranged one recorded in 1963.
By comparison, “Push Push” with its semi Calypso beat seems pale while “You’re having the Last Dance With Me” adds nothing to the glory of Fury.
Penned by Gene Pitney, “Talkin’ In My Sleep” brings a little more blues, and “Comin’ Up In The World” offers a superb contrast between the singer’s voice and the screaming sax.
Backed by a Duane Eddy sounding twangy guitar and an ethereal female vocal at the right moment, “Don’t Jump” is a splendid melodramatic tune. “I’d Never Find Another You” is another highlight thanks to Billy, of course, but also to the arranger who kept it simple despite the presence of strings. Just compare to Paul Anka’s version to see how a poor arrangement can waste a good song. From the same session comes “If I Lose You,” a soulful ballad that shows the other side of Fury’s voice, the rough one.
The next pair of songs, both written by Norie Paramor, are far less successful. On “Play It Cool,” the mix between strings and Rock’n’Roll doesn’t work very well, whereas “the Twist Kid” proves that even Fury couldn’t turn lead to gold.
The Presley-esque “Running Around” finds him in better form with a song more suited to his voice. “One Kiss” sees him returning to his idol Eddie Cochran, in a laid back jazzy manner.
“On Keep Away” and “What Did I Do,” the singer is backed by the Tornadoes of “Telstar” fame. The former shows the inspiration of Elvis’ “Stuck On You.”
After a session without the Tornadoes to record Laverne Baker’s “Bumble Bee,” the band returns to record the live-in-the-studio album “We Want Billy.” Five songs are lifted from that album (Sweet Little Sixteen, Baby Come On, Sticks and Stones, Unchain My Heart, and I’m Moving On.) The singer is wild and more rhythm ‘n’ blues than ever, and the Tornadoes are excellent throughout.
“Tell Me How do You Feel,” recorded in 1963, continues with the rhythm ‘n’ blues vein with organ, sax, and a trumpet solo.
The compilation ends with “Nothing Shaking (But The Leaves On The Tree)” on which one can hear some Mersey echoes.
As usual with Bear Family, it comes with a thick 40-page booklet containing photos, informative liner notes, record covers, and detailed sessions. Highly recommended.
The next artist in the series will be King Size Taylor & The Dominoes.

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Tommy Steele

in Reissues

Tommy Steele – Doomsday Rock – The Brits are Rockin’ vol. 1

Tommy Steele

Bear Family BCD17581
Rock Around The Town – Giddy-Up A Ding Dong – Teenage Party (LP version) – The Trial – Tallahassee Lassie – Give! Give! Give! – Build Up – Knee Deep In The Blues – Rock With The Caveman – Take Me Back, Baby – Time To Kill – Hair-Down Hoe-Down – Swaller Tail Coat – Drunken Guitar – Kaw-Liga – Elevator Rock – Grandad’s Rock – Puts The Lightie On – On The Move – Cannibal Pot – Hollerin’ And Screamin’ – (The Girl With The) Long Black Hair – Rebel Rock – Two Eyes – Hey You – Happy Go Lucky Blues – Singing The Blues – Butterfly – Doomsday Rock – Razzle Dazzle – Come On Let’s Go – Honky Tonk Blues – Young Love – You Gotta Go

2019 saw Bear Family launching a new series called The Brits are Rockin’ dedicated to the British pioneers of the ’50s.
They couldn’t choose a better artist than Tommy Steele (real name Tommy Hicks) to begin this series with. If he wasn’t the best nor the most rocking, Steele was one of the first – if not the first – and he had a strong British identity to boot. Above all, unlike Tony Crombie, who was already 30 when he jumped on the Rock’n’roll bandwagon, Steele was a teenager singing for the teenagers.
Steele began his musical career by singing Hank Williams tunes and playing guitar various bands. George Martin signed him. He later recalled: “We sat with our coffee and watched this genial young man bounce on to the stage with his guitar over his pelvis, and my immediate impression was that he was a blond cardboard imitation of Elvis Presley. Tommy had a lot of energy, but he didn’t sound too great.
Fortunately for the young lad, people at Decca saw some potential in Tommy and, following his test audition, they almost immediately signed him. Two days later, Steele was in the recording studio to cut his debut single “Rockin’ with the Caveman / Rock Around the Town.”
This 34-song/71 minute compilation album spans the years 1956 to 1960. It shows how versatile Steele was, playing styles as various as pop-tinged stuff, country and western, novelty songs, and more. But, of course, the most exciting songs, were his Rock’n’roll sides. Steele was a credible rocker, and tunes like Teenage Party, Rock With the Caveman, Doomsday Rock, Two Eyes are small classics. This album also proposes good live versions of Freddie Bell’s Giddy Up Ding Dong and Haley’s Razzle Dazzle and the weird and Link Wray sounding semi-instrumental Drunken Guitar.
At first, I was surprised that the songs were not in chronological order, but it happened to be a good idea. It avoids the problem of too many compilations, especially when they are copious like this one, to have ten solid rockin’ tracks at the beginning and, as the years pass, you find mellower material. This is not the case with this compilation, which alternates styles and paces as well as studio and live recordings.
As usual with Bear Family, it comes with a 40-page booklet richly illustrated, though, for some reason, there’s no sessionography.
This album definitely proves that the Brits, and Tommy Steele, could easily rock like their American counterparts.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long series.

Available on Bear Family’s website

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Link Wray

in Reissues

Link Wray – Rocks

Link Wray rocks

Bear Family – BCD17600
Raw-Hide – Batman Theme – Tijuana – Slinky – Right Turn – I’m Countin’ On You* – I’m Branded – Hand Clapper – The Swag – Comanche – Deuces Wild – El Toro – Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby – Studio Blues – Hang On – Jack The Ripper – Turnpike USA – The Black Widow – Big City After Dark* – Danger One Way Love* – Dance Contest – Run Chicken, Run – Pancho Villa – Radar – Mary Ann – The Outlaw – Hold It* – Dinosaur – Big City Stomp – The Shadow Knows – Dixie Doodle – Ace Of Spades – Mr. Guitar – Rumble
*Ray Vernon

While the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame continues to ignore Link Wray, the Shawnee guitar player receives the Bear Family treatment with a 35 tracks compilation album in the “Rock” series. All things considered, he’s in a better company on the German label than with the likes of Madonna, Pink Floyd, Donna Summer, and al.
I hope Link Wray needs no introduction. His simple, straight-in-your-face and powerful guitar style influenced countless guitar players, from The Who’s Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page to Eddie Angel, Billy Childish, and Poison Ivy.
There have been quite a few Wray’s compilation albums on the market, but none as good nor as this one. And the fact that Bear managed to license sides from more labels than its competitors makes it one of the most complete too. Between Rawhide, the opening track, and Rumble the last one, and next to hits like Run Chicken Run and Jack The Ripper, you’ll find a whole panorama of Wray’s recordings between 1958 and 1965, including some lesser-known tune but by no means, songs one could consider as fillers. Among the rare tracks are songs recorded by Link’s brother under his name (Ray Vernon) and two numbers sung by Link Wray’s himself (Mary Ann and Ain’t That Loving You Baby.)
As usual with Bear Family, it comes with a thick booklet, including a story by Bill Dahl, rare photographies, and a discography.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Little Jimmy Dickens

in Reissues

little-jimmy-dickens-gonna-shake-this-shackLittle Jimmy Dickens – I’m Little But I’m Loud!

Bear Family BCD 16198
Buddy’s Boogie – Salty Boogie – You All Come – Stinky Passed The Hat Around – I’m Gettin’ Nowhere Fast – A Hole In My Pocket – Love Must Be Catching – Country Boy Bounce – Happy Heartaches – Wabash Cannon Ball – Blackeyed Joe’s – Slow Suicide – I Never Had The Blues – Raisin’ The Dickens – Big Sandy – Country Ways And City Ideas – You Don’t Have Love At All – Hannah – Me And My Big Loud Mouth – Hey Worm! – Hey Ma! – Walk Chicken Walk – Out Behind The Barn – Red Wing – I’m Coming Over Tonight – Rockin’ With Red – Hillbilly Fever – I Feel For You – I Wish You Didn’t Love Me So Much – Jambalaya – Goodbye.

Like the other releases of this serie, this collection of 31 tracks focuses on Little Jimmy Dickens uptempo numbers he recorded in the 50’s.
You have to search to find a weak track in Dickens’ career, and for this collection Bear has choosen the best sides, which means they didn’t include the good ones but only the excellent!
It’s full of hillbilly, some with a western swing flavor (Hey Worm, Me and My Big Mouth), country boogie (Salty Boogie), proto rockabilly (Blackeyed Joe’s) and frantic rockabilly (Hole In My Pocket). On all this recordings, Dickens leaves plenty of room for his musicians to shine, most notably a young Buddy Emmons on steel and the incredible pair of Howard Rhoton and James Wilson both on electric lead guitar. They are also featured on four amazing instrumentals. This great pieces of cowboy jazz equal the recordings made by Speedy West and Jimmie Bryant and are worth the price of this cd alone.
It comes with a 32 page booklet with an interesting song by song analysis.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Jimmie Lee Maslon

in Reissues

Jimmie Lee Maslon - My Wildcat Ways
Jimmie Lee Maslon – My Wildcat Ways

Jimmie Lee Maslon – My Wildcat Ways

PART-CD 6109.001 [2014]
Your Wildcat Ways – Hard Hard Man – The Haunt You Baby Rock  – Salacious Rockabilly Cat – All These Things – Please Mr. Dee Jay – The Girl I Left Behind – Please Give Me Something – Rockhouse Dreams – Turn Me Around – Sugar Coated Baby – I’m Gonna Love You Tonight – Hello My Darlin’ – I’m A One-Woman Man – Be Careful – Be Bop Boogie Boy  – Dance To The Bop – I Need Love – Love Me  – Yeh! I’m Movin’ – Long Gone Daddy – The Drag – Bip Bop Boom – A Rockin’ Good Way – Your Wildcat Ways – Please Give Me Something

May the Gods of Rock’n’roll, whoever they are, bless Andy Widder and his label Part-Records for their unflagging work. After Ravenna & the Magnetics, Mac Curtis and Ray Campi, he continues to explore Rollin’ Rock back catalog and reissues the one and only Jimmy Lee Maslon.
Maslon is a one of a kind Rockabilly singer, like a volcano always menacing to erupt, something like Charlie Feathers, Lux Interior and Gene Vincent all rolled into one. Feathers for he shares the same Rockabilly integrity and no nonsense approach, Lux for the weird aspect he sometimes has and Vincent for the torrid side he can reveal (when he’s not weird). And don’t forget to add some Clarence Frogman Henry for good measure.
Those twenty-six rockabilly jewels recorded in the early 70’s influenced countless of bands all around the world and you won’t find absolutely no fillers here, how many can claim that?
And this beautiful music comes with a rich booklet with liner notes written by Ronnie Weiser, Poison Ivy, Ray Campi, Johnny Legend, Wild Bob Burgos, Rip Masters and Jimmie Lee himself.
Essential to any Rockabilly collection.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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