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Boss Black Rockers: Wow Wow Baby

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Its been a long time coming but volume seven in the Koko Mojo series ‘Boss Black Rockers’ finally lands. Worth the wait? You bet! Giving voice once more to an important and influential corner regarding the foundations of rock ‘n’ roll, there are twenty-eight songs featuring black artists from a “Golden Age” of American music. As with the previous albums in this series, expect plenty of wild rock ‘n’ roll with this latest volume. Beginning with a track that simply cannot be tamed, and gladly so, is the superb ‘How About It Baby’ supplied by Emmet Davis. Following on comes Uncle John with ‘Wild Child Gipson’ containing a powerful saxophone that matches the intensity of the vocals. The Rockers’ ‘What Am I To Do’ is chock full of detail where the lead vocal and backing vocals appear to trip over the connected wires of instrumentation one moment, yet somehow manage to come up breathing for air and salvage what really is quite a staggering composition (You need to hear it to believe it!). More straightforward is Sugar Boy Crawford with ‘Round and Round’ possessing a tight rhythm that bristles with energy, only to be hastily shoved from view by complete opposite due to its ramshackle and rowdy delivery, yet utterly thrilling in equal measure, ‘Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Sox)’ by Mel Smith & The Nightriders. There is an interesting addition to this latest collection given the song’s credentials (i.e. Penned at the hands of Buddy Holly and Norman Petty) yet provided here by The Ravens and their interpretation of ‘That’ll Be The Day’; meaning further kudos to the compiler The Mojo Man (aka Little Victor) for allowing for no discrimination. The inclusion of established names as Otis Redding will attract those looking for familiar artists, but this collection continues its tradition of giving focus to less established names which, of course, will vary from each and every listener depending on the level of knowledge concerning this fascinating history prior to entering the world of ‘Boss Black Rockers’.


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The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment Two

Various Artists

Atomicat

Likely contender for longest album title in the world ever, ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment Two’ by Atomicat arrives swiftly after the positive reception volume one received. With thirty tracks to its name, volume two of this brand-new series is already shaping up to be something of a winner. Included this time around are a few well-known numbers and a few surprises and not so well-known tracks. One track Elvis made famous begins this compilation, but this time it is the turn of Frankie Lymon who offers a rockin’ rendition of ‘Jailhouse Rock’. From such wild beginnings the heat only increases with Jeff Daniels in superb form with energized ‘Switch Blade Sam’, and Blackie Starks’ vocal performance on its own enough to entice any passers-by during the “still running” feel of  ‘Running Wild’. Common sense prevails when it comes to ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment Two’ because you cannot really have an album concerned with law-abiding citizens and those hellbent on breaking any boundaries they may encounter without including The Crickets’ ‘I Fought The Law’ or, from the other side of the fence, ‘Police Department Blues’ by Andy Griffith. In fact, this collection has pretty much got the lot with instrumentals as Duane Eddy and ‘Peter Gunn’; rock ‘n’ roll via excellent ‘Till The Law Says Stop’ and Johnny Faire; female-vocal group The Bobbettes adding that “pop” touch to this rockin’ compilation, before rolling with the rockin’ and hillbilly-inspired ‘Jail Break’. All in all, a thoroughly absorbing set of songs that will provide hours of listening pleasure as ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment Two’ more than matches volume one in this series.


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It’s A Wonderful Family Christmas

Various Artists

Atomicat

It’s that time of year when numerous compilation albums are released with naturally Christmas-themed songs in mind. Joining in with such an idea is Atomicat Records with the collection ‘It’s A Wonderful Family Christmas’. With no less than thirty songs to keep any listener entertained throughout the Christmas period, ‘It’s A Wonderful Family Christmas’ and begins in a lively manner with early British rock ‘n’ roll of Benny Lee and The Ken-Tones ‘Rockin’ Rollin’ Santa Claus’ taking a leaf out of Bill Haley and His Comets’ book of rock ‘n’ roll. If you are looking for a Christmas album with a variety of styles, then you have arrived at the right place because this collection pretty much has everything from country, pop and big band influences to modern rockin’ takes with group 45 R.P.M. and their version of ‘Jingle Jangle’. Tex Ritter makes an appearance and offers a bit of country complete with sleighbells during ‘Old Tex Kringle’, before switching genres via The Four Seasons ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’. Variety is certainly in demand for this Christmas celebration as more country artists bring their interpretations with influences of pop by way of Lefty Frizzell and song ‘Mama!’, Johnny Horton ‘They Shined Up Rudolph’s Nose’ and Johnny Cash ‘The Little Drummer Boy’. There’s humour via Sheb Wooley ‘Santa and The Purple People Eater’ and big band presentations such as Kay Starr ‘(Everybody’s Waiting for) The Man With the Bag’. Clearly an album with more or less everything you could wish for in a Christmas album, It’s A Wonderful Family Christmas’ will suit many music lovers looking for something with variety, style and splashes of humour and plenty of warmth to enjoy this coming holiday season.


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The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment One

Various Artists

Atomicat

Extra long title that is the latest series to be launched by Atomicat Records and goes by the name of ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment One – Defy The Devil’s Music: Dig That Rock ‘N’ Roll’. Naturally, with ten albums scheduled and the tracks selected to feature plenty of searing rock ‘n’ roll, ‘Commandment One’ sets off on such a journey, but with plenty of variety as suggested by the track list. By offering a less obvious choice to begin with as demonstrated by the up-tempo doo-wop ‘Dance Girl Dance’ supplied by Norman Fox and The Rob Roys, and a few rockin’ rhythm and blues numbers such as ‘Rock My Baby’ by Doles Dickens with vocals by Joe Gregory and, likewise, Bill Pinkney and The Turks’ ‘After The Hop’, the entire album makes for engaging listening and right until its finale of German rendition of ‘The End’ (Jeder Tag Geht Zu Ende) from Earl Grant. With such engaging twists in this collection, it only continues along such lines where, despite familiar names, the tracks selected offer more than the standard compilation. So expect to hear Carl Mann and The Kool Kats ‘Gonna Rock And Roll Tonight’, Gene Ray ‘Rock And Roll Fever’, Dick Seaton and The Mad Lads ‘Juke Box Rock’, Jesus Ramirez ‘Rock and Roll’, Willie Egan ‘Rock & Roll Fever’, and Neil Sedaka ‘You Gotta Learn Your Rhythm And Blues’ because the likes of Eddie, Elvis and Johnny are barred from the premises, not that such customary choices would be an unwelcome sight more that ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment One’ sticks to its own path and, therefore, offers a refreshing alternative for doing so.


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Cherries On The Lose

Various Artists

Atomicat

As this compilation states, “Recorded For Your Dancing Pleasure” that is exactly what the listener can expect with the album, ‘Cherries On The Lose’. Crammed packed with artists and featuring a variation of styles and therefore aiming to attract a broad range of people to this dancehall, ‘Cherries On The Lose: 28 First Recordings’ features artists from rhythm and blues, 50s vocal groups, country bop and early rock ‘n’ roll. With much to consider when it comes to the dancefloor therefore, it’s an amalgamation of rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll that sets this album running with Don and Dewey and the song ‘Farmer John’, and then followed by some rhythm and blues and doo-wop with Jewels and ‘Hearts Of Stone’. The wait is not for long if you’re seeking something with a country vibe as Marty Robbins pops up with ‘Singing The Blues’ and later, Gene Autry, and equally considered, yet far slower tempo, ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’. Eclipsing all mentioned is the excellent subdued and hazy blues-ballad ‘Since I Fell For You’ from Buddy Johnson and His orchestra and featuring the vocal talent of Ella Johnson. Moving on from this masterclass in song writing and setting the pace at a livelier tempo is Stuart Hamblen’s hillbilly-hoedown ‘This Ole House’, followed by something from the field of rockabilly via Elroy Dietzel and always reliable ‘Rock-N-Bones’. If a smorgasbord of musicians and styles from a bygone era is what compels you to the dancefloor, then ‘Cherries On The Lose’ is likely to leave a long-lasting feeling of having experienced an exceptionally good night on the dancefloor.


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Hillbilly And Rustic Bop Volume 2 Looking For The Green

Various Artists

Atomicat

Second in the relatively new series ‘Hillbilly And Rustic Bop’ featuring another twenty-eight tracks to whet any listener’s appetite for such western rhythms and early connections to what became known as rockabilly. Volume 2, with its subheading ‘Looking For The Green’, begins via classy offering from Eddy Arnold ‘Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young’ that possesses a fingerpickin’ and foot-tapping rhythm and clear, crisp vocals making it the perfect start. Rightly so, the album doesn’t forget to live up to the “Rustic Bop” of its title as exemplified by the likes of ‘My Baby Done Gone Away’ with genuine raw vocals of Al Ferrier and His Boppin’ Billies, and clearly from the countryside (and new to these ears) Tommy Elliot and The Line Riders’ ‘Sold Out Doc’. With so many great tales, not to mention engaging tunes, the second volume in this series equals the first with its familiar names, and less familiar additions, where examples can be gleaned from Johnny Cash cover song ‘There You Go’ admirably conducted by Foreman Slim; weepie ‘Lonesome Long Gone Railroad Blues’ from Harrison Crump, to a determined Don Gibson and tight rhythm that blends a touch of sweetness as its wraps itself around the forceful words of its song. More greatness comes by way of Ken Marvin and ‘Ah Huh Honey’ where the music almost speaks for this song given its detail, and where you can hear the early steps towards rockabilly with its phrasing. The list rolls on when trying to explain just how good this compilation is because it’s a winning formula with its attention to detail and slight variations in styles without tripping over the boundary of its genre and making ‘Hillbilly And Rustic Bop Volume 2 Looking For The Green’ a sure-fire hit.


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Grady Martin Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves and Hot Guitar

Grady Martin

Atomicat

Guitar maestro Grady Martin is given centre stage when it comes to new release ‘Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves and Hot Guitar’ on Atomicat Records. Featuring thirty tracks, this compilation album serves as a vehicle to highlight not only the inventiveness of guitar player Grady Martin, but also to demonstrate his influence over the genres of hillbilly, country, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll. With ‘Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves and Hot Guitar’, the first ten tracks feature Grady Martin in numerous roles whether performing with The Slew Foot Five and/or guest vocalists or going it alone. It’s during these opening songs that the listener gains an understanding of those early recordings and influences of country and hillbilly, for example, as demonstrated by Mervin Shiner with Grady Martin and His Slew Foot Five and song ‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire’, made famous by Hank Williams of course. There is a real panache to ‘Long John Boogie’ mainly as a result of Grady Martin’s guitar ironing out some of the creases of its inspiration ‘Oakie Boogie’ and with Don Cherry providing the vocals on this occasion. The remainder of this album is Grady Martin in the role of session musician, and one very much in demand when perusing the track list where a slew of country artists turned some of their output to the emerging sounds of rockabilly with the likes of Lefty Frizzell and Shirley Caddell teaming up for excellent ‘No One To Talk To (But The Blues)’. The album is complete with a string of hepcats/kittens from Elvis, Johnny Carroll, Carl Perkins, Janice Martin, Brenda Lee and Ronnie Self to name but a few, and therefore revealing the respect Grady Martin was duly given by many of those emerging rockabillies and established country artists who no doubt welcomed his presence in the recording studio.


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Farewell Britain: A Rockin’ Farewell To Britain

Various Artists

Rhythm Bomb

As a final parting of the ways is imminent between Britain and the EU, Rhythm Bomb Records issues a brand-new compilation featuring a selection of its bands and tracks where associations with this upheaval have no direct correlations to anything political and therefore selected on a criteria of emotions only. Expect to find, therefore, songs involving anger and frustration, given the tussle between Brussels and the UK, and expressed appropriately in name and title only via such tracks from Swedish rocker Fireball Steven as ‘Thunder And Lightning’ taken from his recent and critically lauded LP. With plenty of references to decision making, the always reliable Twisted Rod spin a “had enough” yarn of a life going nowhere set to a gritty rockabilly rhythm. Furthering the tension is A. J. & the Rockin’ Trio’s equally rockin’ ‘Done Me Wrong’, and The Hoodoo Tones emotionally raw ‘Who Thinks About Me’, which happens to be the closing number on recent and magnificent album ‘Still On The Run’. ‘Farewell Britain: A Rockin’ Farewell To Britain’ is not confined to rockabilly because the listener will experience a blend of old-time blues, expertly delivered by Black Patti (‘Nagging Blues’), and then given further variations involving traditional blues and rhythm and blues with hints of fresh additions by way of Bonita & The Blues Shacks’ ‘Hottest Wings In Town’; The Jelly Roll Men (‘Come Back Home To Me’) and Cat Lee King & His Cocks’ ‘You’re The Greatest’. Deep in reflection is Little Victor where lies of a relationship plummet ‘So Blue’ to the darkest depths yet remains one of the most compelling tracks available on this album. Ending on a positive note and sounding far from twee because this is a slice of hot rockin’ blues is Sara Lee and ‘Love Is Good’. It might be farewell, but the music and its strong ties between Britain and Europe will certainly live on as demonstrated by this collection of songs.


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Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

With number one in this series already available, ‘Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 2’ follows quickly on its heels with another thirty-two tracks of German rock ‘n’ roll goodness. If you’re looking for something a tad different when it comes to rockin’ music, then you’ve arrived at the right destination as a whole host of German rock ‘n’ roll artists apply their skills to said genre of the 50s and 60s. As with volume one, numerous artists feature once more with Billy Sanders, Ted Herold, Peter Kraus, Ralf Bendix, in addition to some new faces such as Frank Olsen with jazz and big band influences adding to very light rock ‘n roll that is ‘Bist Du Noch Mein Baby’, or elsewhere IIIo Schieder leaning towards a pop sound with ‘Dolly Dick’ and, even more appealing, Conny Froboess providing a rather excellent version of Paul Anka’s ‘Diana’. Adding to the female ranks of strong performances during this second volume is Dany Mann and ‘Sexy Hexy’, which turns out to be a cover of ‘Stupid Cupid’. As with the first volume, there are plenty of up-tempo numbers with strong examples served by Billy Sanders’ ‘Rocky Rocky Baby’, Peter Kraus ‘Teddybär’ made famous by a certain Elvis Presley and ditto ‘Jailhouse Rock’ with Peter Kraus applying his skills to the German version ‘Hafenrock’. Like its predecessor, ‘Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 2’ will likely appeal to serious record collectors and those with a penchant for something “different” when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll.

 


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Rockin’ Schlager Party Nr. 1

Various Artists

Atomicat

A compilation with a difference from Atomicat Records featuring German artists performing rock ‘n’ roll songs from the 1950s and early 1960s in their native language. With thirty-two tracks making up the first volume of this series, there’s plenty to digest with Ted Herold starting the album with a determined rendition of ‘Little Linda’ and Ralf Bendix closing the album with a lively big band version of ‘Sputnick Rock’. There’s an interesting touch given to this album with rebranding of some song titles such as ‘Holiday City’ being a cover of Jan and Dean hit single ‘Surf City’ and, for the purpose of this album, served up by equally interesting moniker Club Gerry Friedrich. Speaking of thought-provoking names, Cat’s Bimbo Box raises an eyebrow, yet the sound is rockin’ with excellent piano during ‘Baby Bitte Bleih Bei Mir’. Add to the mix some novelty via Hans Blum and ‘Charly Brown’ with, again, nifty piano work, before turning up the heat a notch with Billy Sanders’ ‘Du Hast Zuviel Sex-Appeal’ and Peter Kraus with ‘Tiger’. On the evidence of volume one, the series ‘Rockin’ Schlager Party’ is likely to achieve cult-status amongst record collectors given the different approach of this brand-new series from Atomicat.


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Hoodlum’s Wildest Wingding!

Various Artists

Atomicat

Fresh out of the stable is a brand-new album compiling some of the finest rockabilly tracks the genre had to offer. The entire album will delight those new to the world of rockabilly, but also appease those with similar content already in their record collections as this album makes for compelling listening from start to finish. Beginning with excellent fodder as Hank Mizell’s ‘Jungle Rock’, cool-as Eddie Fontaine and ‘Nothin’ Shakin’, and even more stylish Glen Glenn’s ‘Everybody’s Movin’. From there, the quality never dips and the “All killer, no filler” phrase often applied to such compilations certainly lives up to such billing with none other than wild, wild offerings from Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock ‘Ah Poor Little Baby’, Wynn Stewart ‘Come On’, Joe Poovey And The Royal Dukes ‘Move Around’, Gene Wyatt ‘Lover Boy’, Johnny Strickland ‘She’s Mine’, and Ric Carty ‘Scratching On My Screen’. What is also appealing here is the inclusion of artists who are not always the first to be drafted when compiling such rockabilly collections and, therefore, even more comforting when the quality remains high from the likes of Magic Sam ’21 Days’ and David Ray with ‘Lonesome Baby Blues’; the latter track holding an ear to Carl Perkins’ ‘Matchbox’ and perfectly acceptable considering the interpretation and song in its own right from David Ray. Moving on, Don Head offers a combined intoxicating brew of vocals and rhythm with excellent ‘Goin’ Strong’, and then further jet-propelled rockers by way of Roddy Jackson and ‘Hiccups’ and, for its intriguing title, not to mention very convincing turn from its performer Bobby Milano, ‘Life Begins At Four O’Clock’. The album ‘Hoodlum’s Wildest Wingding!’ is a thrilling ride of rockabilly and, therefore, an essential purchase for fans of rockabilly and music in general.


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Still On The Run

The Hoodoo Tones

Rhythm Bomb

Firmly back on the saddle is Rhythm Bomb Records with latest album release by French rockabilly outfit The Hoodoo Tones. Firing up the old classic of its front cover, The Hoodoo Tones embark on a third trip packed with twelve new songs. The latest long player sees the band ‘Still On The Run’ and blending traditional rockabilly with the modern trimmings found on the rockin’ scene. Examples of such influences can be heard via ‘Train Yard Boogie’ that hints at Johnny Cash but never quite ventures on the former legend’s territory, yet you can almost hear that “train a comin’…” via The Hoodoo Tones’ bristling rhythm and chiming guitar sound. Where the Hoodoo Tones also excel is their ability to inject something a little different as heard by the verses of ‘Young Guns’, sounding thoroughly modern yet held together and making perfect sense by the glue of its choruses due to its close affiliations with rockabilly. It all makes for a compelling track, and one fearful of its aging status due to the talented young bucks waiting closely in the wings to become the next big thing on the rockin’ scene. Doing things differently appears to be The Hoodoo Tones philosophy as ‘Still On The Run’ throws up a few additional surprises such as introducing female voice of Crystal Dawn who provides a really strong presence during the chuggin’ country-light and rockabilly-heavy rhythm of ‘The Crystal’s Kick’, hotly followed by the near-country and western feel yet overwhelmingly rockabilly of ‘Another Toy’, with lyrics deploring the unfair status of one half of a seemingly doomed relationship. In fact, there isn’t much this talented three-piece cannot do as they turn their attention to rhythm and blues during ‘The Taste Of Love’, with saxophone supplied by Alex Bertein, to offering other avenues containing a bluesy rhythm topped off nicely with nasally vocal of ‘Coming Home’ to full of attitude and probably one of the coolest tracks you’re likely to hear all year ‘The Rooster Song’. What more do you want? It’s no wonder The Hoodoo Tones is on the run because they’ve clearly bagged all of the available talent and made a dash for it because all the evidence resides under the bonnet of ‘Still On The Run’ as it’s C’est magnifique!



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