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Atomicat Rockers Issue 01 – Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie

Various Artists

Atomicat

Reviving an association of cars and music of the 50s era is the latest series ‘Atomicat Rockers’. Presented via a trifold digipak, additional notes, and cool artwork depicting various associations between the carefree attitudes of youth of the 50s, emerging rock ‘n’ roll, and the speed and excitement of the fast-developing world of motor vehicles, ‘Atomicat Rockers Issue 01 – Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie’ is a vehicle for great music that just happens to rock in places. Beginning with the always reliable Rick Nelson and ‘Oh Yeah, I’m In Love’ and then shifting gears to the pioneer of soul music, Ray Charles, with ‘Leave My Woman Alone’, the “rockers” inclusion of the album’s title is already justified. Continuing such a star-studded beginning, Elvis provides ‘One-Sided Love Affair’ before departing through the exit door and giving way to Conway Twitty (‘Foggy River’), The Cadillacs (‘Cool It, Fool’), The Drifters (‘I Gotta Get Myself A Woman’) and Narvel Felts (‘Rocket Ride’). This album would not be complete without Atomicat Record’s usual inclusion of artists less seen on similar compilations. Step forward Jeep Smith and track ‘Chemise’, which is a combined effort of blues, jazz, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll with the end result being quite “trippy” for its time.  With the previously mentioned big names early in the race here, the less featured musicians continue apace and give much to think about with The Willows and catchy rhythm and blues/doo wop ‘Church Bells May Ring’, to Little Richard impersonator Rockin’ Bradley and equally lively ‘Lookout’. Once this album reaches the finishing line, you may as well keep the engine running because ‘Atomicat Rockers Issue 01 – Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie’ is packed full of rockin’ goodness where another lap of its track list will be a certainty.


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Atomicat Hootenanny

Various Artists

Atomicat

Gazing down the setlist for the upcoming festivities this album is aimed at, Atomicat Records has done its homework. There is also the added bonus of this album not simply being a one-off party occasion. Despite its clear as day title, the album, ‘Atomicat Hootenanny’ is a means to get that party started at the end of the year with tracks specifically associated with New Year’s partying in mind, there is enough material here where songs lend their qualities to any occasion. From Mark Armstrong at the helm directing this party and Atomicat giving itself top billing for this “Hootenanny”, the splendidly designed tri-digipak design and layout is a thing of beauty with the songs equally living up to the initial impressions of its complete artwork. Whether you’re experiencing heartbreak or joy at this time of year, then there are songs that will hopefully alleviate any sorrow and plenty to further the pleasure already felt by those in an existing upbeat mood. With a full range to choose from whether rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, traditional rhythm and blues, jump blues, strollers, and instrumentals, ‘Atomicat Hootenanny’ has got everything. There is no better place to start than with the alcohol-induced rockabilly number ‘Drinkin’ Wine’ from Gene Simmons, which provides a nice starter before the main proceedings gets underway. Eddie Carroll and song ‘I’ve Got It Made’ certainly lifts the spirits further with characteristic vocals and even more noticeable lead guitar that stings when it wants to! From such a strong position, the party continues to gather apace with excellent ‘Gee Whiz Liz’ from Charles Senns which has a touch of Sonny Burgess about it and pleasingly so due to its supporting brass instrumentation, to impressive cover of Jimmy McCracklin original ‘The Walk’ from Lue Cazz. Of course, no party would be complete without a few wild rockers, and these can be heard via rhythm and blues stomper ‘Give Me One More Drink’ from highly enthusiastic Sammy Cotton, to nearly coming off the highway Johnny Devlin with The Devils’ ‘Big Green Car’, before all things let fly during ‘Bob Cat Stomp’ supplied by King Charles. Phew! ‘Atomicat Hootenanny’ is a party in itself and the perfect record to take with you and hand over to the Deejay responsible for this year’s end of year party if you feel the music is not satisfactory once arriving at your destination. As said earlier, the additional bonus is that ‘Atomicat Hootenanny’ has “…all-year-round playability!” and you cannot disagree with that.


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It’s Christmas Once Again

Various Artists

Atomicat

It is that time of year once again and that being Christmas. To celebrate this special time of year, Atomicat Records issues its by now regular format of seasonal songs filled with rockin’ tracks and other similar delights via new album ‘It’s Christmas Once Again’.  A menu consisting of thirty songs, the festive album ‘It’s Christmas Once Again’ focuses on all things associated with Christmas whether it is Santa Claus, sleighbells, presents or food, there will be something for everyone who enjoys this holiday season. Getting the festivities underway is Big Bud with ‘Rock Around The Christmas Tree’ and it’s an early rock ‘n’ roll delight with handclaps and lyrics involving a whole family partying and Santa Claus riding a Cadillac and leaving his reindeer behind to continue rockin’ ‘n’ rollin. The party continues with pacy number ‘Wine Dine And Dance’ from singing couple Doug and Josie with Joe Scott Orchestra, before grinding to a much slower tempo via another food-related song from Tennessee Ernie and the main meal of the day ‘Christmas Dinner’. Entering more traditional territory regarding songs at Christmas, The Louvin Brothers offer the country-tinged ‘Joy To The World’ and followed later by Big Maybelle with Ernie Wilkin’s Orchestra and powerful presentation of ‘Silent Night’. It’s true that there are more songs associated with the fun side of Christmas, and why not as it’s nearing the end of another year and truly time to unwind. Therefore, look no further than a selection of tracks with invitations from Larry Amato ‘We’re Gonna Have A Party’, to sophisticated rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ from Chet Atkins and His Guitar, and album standouts featuring rocker ‘Snowball’ by Faron Young and full of imagination of jazz/rhythm and blues ditty ‘Swingin’ Christmas’ from the hands of Earl Grant. It definitely feels like ‘Christmas Once Again’ after hearing this delightful playlist of mainly rockin’ yet also a few variations on the Christmas theme, not forgetting some traditional standards for good measure.


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

Various Artists

Atomicat

It has been something of a journey with ten albums in total beginning with Commandment number One, right through to the final commandment and that being Commandment number Ten. The album series that has been ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ features for the tenth and final time another goodie bag of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues. With track selection left in the expert hands of Dee Jay Mark Armstrong, ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Commandment Ten’ features thirty tracks that fall in line with the latter segment of the album’s heading by failing to agree to “Shun Immoral Behaviour,” and rather that these wild rockers have only one intention and that is, “We’ll Raise A Ruckus Tonight”. Expect, therefore, songs that walk the wilder side of life where parties are in full swing, and people are having an enjoyable time. First indication of such actions comes from the rather rough source of recording, but you get the general idea of Dial Tones and ‘Rock All Night’. A compelling entrance from Dorothea Fleming and The Danny Small Orchestra suggests a song full of drama as its title indicates, and this wonderful song certainly lives up to its early billing via fine rhythm and blues and vocals that truly sell this song. Wonderful! The vocal performance of Paula Watson during rhythm and blues of ‘I Love To Ride’ is something to admire and another example where you may find yourself scratching your head and wondering where has all the imagination and talent gone in the current climate? That said, who cares when you are left with further great examples presented by Jimmy Liggins and His Drops Of Joy with ‘Nite Life Boogie’, a touch of rockabilly from Sparkle Moore and accompanied by Dan Belloc and His Orchestra during excellent ‘Skull & Crossbones’, to late-night country ‘Cigarettes, Whusky, and Wild, Wild Women’; a song filled with joy and then regrets and worth the admission fee alone for its pronunciations of the words of its title. Simply not enough room to write about all the greatness of this tenth and final album because ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Commandment Ten’ saves the best until last and that is high praise indeed.

 

 


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

Various Artists

Atomicat

Ninth album in the collection that is ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’. Commandment Nine often portrays the one-sidedness that can often be present when it comes to relationships. Providing insight of such one-way traffic is the album’s track list consisting of thirty songs and compiled by Dee Jay Mark Armstrong. With the subheading, “Fend off impassiveness, lonesome for a letter” attempting to raise a degree of hope in the love stakes, the inclusion of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues goes some way to achieving such a goal given its action-packed qualities. The songs, and more specifically the lyrics, however, portray either one-half pleading with their partner to stay or at least return at some point as detailed by the excellent rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Please Baby Come Home’ supplied by Jimmy Donley, or elsewhere a couldn’t care less attitude as expressed by Erline Harris with The Johnson Brothers Combo and free-flowing rhythm and blues of ‘I Never Missed My Baby’. Thurston Harris continues such feelings by really driving the message home that one day ‘You’re Gonna’ Need Me’ set to a fiery rhythm and blues and knockout vocals. Add Gerri Granger’s boppin’ rhythm and blues’ classic ‘(Return To Sender) Don’t Want Your Letters’, and also frantic rock ‘n’ roll from The Renowns featuring Marjorie Lake on vocals performing ‘My Mind’s Made Up’, then there is no doubting the message being transmitted here. From such brilliance develops further by way of sublime ‘Shame On You’ from Rosalle and Donell, a less featured but worthy ‘Everly Brothers track ‘Should We Tell Him’, and “Don’t we just know it” true words spoken via rockabilly ‘It Hurts The One Who Loves You’ from Ray Doggett. With this album series nearing its end, ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment Nine’ proves a remarkably interesting addition to the series where the lyrics add just as much impact as the music where love and relationships prove to be a difficult path to follow.


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Whip Masters Instrumentals Volume 3

Various Artists

Atomicat

What was initially thought a two-album series, Volume 3 of ‘Whip Masters Instrumentals’ arrives in a very stylish colour scheme consisting of blue, black and white of its cover design. Given the slight delay since the second volume in the series, ‘Whip Masters Instrumentals Volume 3’ is most welcome given its emphasis on “instrumentals” only, albeit with occasional use of vocals, and therefore providing a different focus in relation to the rest of what’s on offer to review this month. Focusing on the tracks featured, Volume 3 begins with an absolute belter in the form of surf rocker ‘Moon Dawg!’ by Gamblers riding a wave of electric guitars, thumping piano and (whisper it) fleeting harmonised backing vocals. Jumping from this wave and onto the next one is the band with a moniker which sounds befitting of a rap artist rather than an instrumental band and that is Li’l Dynamite and The Explosions with ‘Dancin’ Little Thing’, which is a moody guitar piece and rather ace! The next stop is an altogether different composition supplied by The Aristocrats with ‘F.S.T’ and is a cultured combination of blues and jazz. Living up to its earlier volumes, the latest album continues its exploration of instrumental tracks with a difference as indicated by the straight outta Poison Ivy and Lux Interior’s box of record goodies, no doubt, with The Creeps’ ‘The Whip’; an imaginative track with twisted humour and fit for any Halloween compilation. The record goodness continues apace with The Surfaris’ surf jam ‘Jack The Ripper’ complete with compelling sections of misshapen guitar sounds for your listening pleasure, before increasing the tension further with something of a “horror” theme connection linking The Gravestone Four’s ‘Rigor Mortis’ and followed with The Crystals’ ‘Vampire’. If you are looking for a mean and moody soundtrack, then you have arrived at the right place with ‘Whip Masters Instrumentals Volume 3’, which just happens to be the best in its class so far.


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Hallowscream!

Various Artists

Atomicat

It’s that time of year again when things that go bump in the night stage their own party. Commemorating the annual event that is Halloween is the album ‘Hallowscream!’. At the helm is DeeJay Mark Armstrong who, along with illustrator Henrique San, have conjured up an album package containing plenty of rockin’ tunes housed inside very appealing artwork. With all things relating to Halloween, it remains a most promising night for the likes of witches, spooks, and ghouls, and for serious acts involving murder and mayhem to take place. Expect, therefore, much weirdness, (dark) humour and scintillating red-hot rock ‘n’ roll. Getting the darkest of festivities underway is ‘Mad Witch’ supplied by Dave Gardener who rolls out the words in a spoken fashion and backed by a rhythm that is from the stable of Country & Western. Backing this up in equally compelling style is rockabilly rattler ‘It’s Witchcraft’ from The Blue Echoes. With not a Bo Didley or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or Purple People Eater in sight, let alone earshot, the album ‘Hallowscream!’ is a welcome addition given the refreshing choices of its track list to what is a hefty pile of Halloween compilations already in circulation. That is down to the album’s curator where time is given, but also a pre-existing knowledge of a wide music base. Inducing a smile is the intro and, in fact, rest of the contents of imaginative ‘Wolf Man’ performed by Laurie Allen. There’s some early 60s splashes of music from three-quarters instrumental ‘Hocus Pocus’ with vocals added, but more in a background kind of way, from The Shouters in support of main performer Buddy Lucas. A more serious note swings by via rock ‘n’ roll instro that is mean and moody and targeted for a film noir soundtrack from the Chess label with The Nite Caps’ ‘Haunted Sax’, which really sums up the diversity on offer. Further explanations of this wonderful compilation would end up running into the wee small hours because there is so much to consume from its thirty-song track list and those hours, really, are reserved for the various nefarious characters celebrating their favourite date on the annual calendar. Expectations are therefore extremely high when any suggestion of a second volume in this series being a “No brainer” when that time arrives next year. Happy Halloween everyone!

 


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Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers Vol. 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Part two of what is all ready shaping up to be an extremely fascinating series is the “new one” on Atomicat Records, ‘Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers’. By focusing on musical talent outside of Europe and specifically turning its attention to the countries of America and Australia with a little bit of New Zealand filtered in, the compilation ‘Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers Vol.2’ does exactly what is says on the tin and provides a plethora of tracks that made the grade back in the day and, since that initial breakthrough, a succession of artists tried their hands at covering these original hit songs. Expect plenty of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and some rhythm and blues from the USA and land of OZ. With rockers as Delbert Barker opening this album’s account with an excellent version of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’; a song made famous by Elvis and written and first recorded by rockabilly maestro Carl Perkins, Barker’s version has more in tune with the song’s originator and it is an impressive cover. Another rockin’ number arrives in the shape of ‘Life Begins At 4’O Clock’ covered by Ronnie Diamond, and later similar feats are recreated by Jim Lowe with really fine ‘Rock-A-Chicka’. Impressing elsewhere are the likes of Rusty Draper with a slightly cleaner version of Sammy Masters rockabilly classic ‘Pink Cadillac’, to originally performed by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra ‘Minnie The Moocher’ given over to Barry Martin on this occasion who is equal to the task by offering the correct definition of a true cover song. With much on offer, namely rhythm and blues meeting of rock ‘n’ roll that is The Mike Pedicin Quintet performing ‘Shake A Hand!’, one of SUN Record’s recording artists Ray Smith chipping in with ‘Little Miss Blue’, and a cover of Little Richard classic ‘Tutti Frutti’ from The Jesters who bring their own qualities. Every bit as good as the first album, and with plenty to enthuse over is the album ‘Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers Vol.2’ that hollers, “Go grab yourself a copy now!”.


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Teen Lover

Various Artists

Pan American

It’s been a while since the Pan American imprint released anything new, but as soon as one new album arrives (‘Little Bitty Girl’), then another long player from the record label arrives almost immediately. Setting out the stall for latest album ‘Teen Lover’ with another twenty-six tracks consisting of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll artists, there is plenty for those seeking to plug the gaps of their record collections with those hard-to-find tracks, but also much for those new to these genres looking for something beyond the usual suspects when considering such collections. Ray Melton offers the perfect start with rockabilly ‘Boppin’ Guitar’ which contains some rockin’ piano playing, and then Bobby Lawson retains the heat with the impressive ‘If You Want My Love’. Eddy Reynolds is bestowed the honour of title track with ‘Teen Lover’; a rock ‘n’ roll track with much value given its apparent limited pressing first time around. Darrel Rhodes And The Falcons are given a runout, and great to hear another of this man’s genius after often used ‘Lou Lou’ when this time it’s ‘Runnin’ And Chasin’ added to the track list. For the record, it’s another superb track of rock ‘n’ roll and worth the price of this album alone. From such excellence there arrives a slice of brilliance in the form of Tex Neighbours and ‘Rock And Roll Dot’, which is wild as it is curiously strange where the song’s rhythm (or lack of it) is at odds with the main vocals and apparently out of sync with the entire song. Truly wonderful yet utterly bizarre at the same time! That’s it. Well, not quite because the album ‘Teen Lover’ is awash with much talent that warrants further investigation if you love your rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll that is. Good to have you back Pan American!


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Bop-A-Rama Vol.2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Last in the pecking order, but by no means less inferior to its two predecessors, the current trilogy of albums with nothing but dancing on their minds features final volume (for now) ‘Bop-A-Rama’. Wrapped inside a trifold digipak are the contents containing tracks to please any boppers out there whether it’s rockabilly, rhythm and blues or rock ‘n’ roll, there’s plenty here to maintain any rhythm. Mark Armstrong has provided an admiral job in stitching the tracks together and making a coherent whole, and with superb design coming from the creative hands of Henrique San, this album, like its partners, are true works of joy! Unravelling those contents, the first “fire in the hole” comes from Dale Hawkins and, appropriately, ‘Tornado’. From this gust of wind comes another in ‘Rhythm In My Bones’ by Danny Diamonds and The Rubies, who quite frankly sounds like a man living on the edge given the jittery nature of his vocals. Tommy Cassel maintains the driving rhythm and sounds like a true cool kat during rockabilly number ‘Go Ahead On’, and then followed with Al Reed and The Blue Notes picking up the baton and sustaining the energy with a blast of rock ‘n’ roll ‘I Love Her So’. The tempo takes a different turn with examples of country bop from Ben Hall and The Circle 4 Ramblers ‘Blue Days – Black Nights’, and some bluegrass from Flatt & Scruggs with ‘Six White Horses’. The inclusion of some not so familiar in these parts as the curious name badge that is Lucky Plank with primitive rockabilly ‘Hey Hey Baby’, and a true ramshackle delight in ‘Rock The Blues Away’ by Jack and The Knights. Add to the list of bands two more recent faces in much missed Carolina and Her Rhythm Rockets and, providing the last track of the album, Frantic Rockers, then you have another consistently good album of boppers that will keep the feet moving until the next volume.


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Stroll-A-Rama Vol.2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Adding to the already issued ‘Jive-A-Rama’ is the second volume in this second phase of CDs featuring tracks with specific dances in mind, and namely jive, stroll and bop. This latest album focuses on the stroll and therefore appropriately titled ‘Stroll-A-Rama’. A DeeJay’s delight (Mark Armstrong in this case) is the likely conclusion once eyes have been cast over the album’s track list because it contains some big hitters and, as per norm with these albums, plenty of the less familiar names. Starting with the rock ‘n’ roll of Bob Vidone and The Rhythm Rockers’ ‘Going My Way’ and continuing with some rhythm and blues with The Velvetones’ ‘Penalty Of Love’, the tracks soon make their mark on the senses and immediately suggest this is an album not simply confined to the dancehalls because it’s easily at home with those content on listening only. Again, top marks go to compiler Mark Armstrong for the selection of songs because there is variety and much to choose from. Believe it or not, there’s an early Scott Walker composition, but written under real name Scott Engel and fronted by The Playboys with instrumental surf and early garage rock, ‘Jungle Fever’. Excellent choices continue in the guise of Jack Scott and song ‘One Of These Days’, to Vince Taylor and proof there was life outside of ‘Brand New Cadillac’ with track chosen ‘What ‘Cha Gonna Do’. There’s room for some female rockers as well with obvious candidate Wanda Jackson (‘Cool Love’) and less obvious Judy Harriet with Hall Daniel’s Orchestra (‘Goliath’). The Crickets version of ‘Ting-A-Ling’ possesses a raw edge and is rhythmically tight and therefore portraying the emotions of the song perfectly. Closing the album are two (whisper it) modern revival bands, and two favourites here with The Round Up Boys and Vince and The Sun Boppers stepping back in time and certainly at home in that 50s era. ‘Stroll-A-Rama Vol.2’ is quite simply perfect!


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Rock And Roll Floozy 5

Various Artists

Atomicat

Final addition to what has been a highly riveting series of albums loaded with many rough ‘n’ ready tunes, as well as more of a steadier tempo from the (so-called) wrong end of town. Five albums in total then, and with the previous volume being absolutely worth its weight in gold, the anticipation has been high in the FLW office. Getting off to a more than satisfactory start, the new album kickstarts the engine and allows for all hell to break loose via three scorchers and beginning with Carl Phillips’ ‘Wigwam Willie’, The Rock-A-Teens ‘Doggone It Baby’, and a little less known ditty here via Morty Marker and The Impalas ‘Tear Down The House’. Keen therefore to investigate further, the rest of the contents of ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 5′ does not disappoint, with the environment remaining familiar and represented in equally raucous fashion. What remains highly appealing are the number of musicians featured who rarely turn up on other similar compilation albums and again, it’s not simply aiming for the obscure artist and track here for the sake of it because the quality is extremely high. Look no further than excellent rockin’ tracks from Kenny Owen and appropriately fitting song title for this album series ‘I Got The Bug’, to Jack Bailey & The Naturals ‘Oh What Love Is’, The White Caps ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Saddles’, Wally Lewis ‘Lover Boy’, and Joey Du’ Ambra and His Mellow D’s ‘Come Back A-Little Baby’. It’s nearly endless and a collector’s treasure trove so to speak. Add to the album’s track list alternate versions of ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ from Gary Criss, and The Chavis Brothers ‘Slippin’ An Slidin”, and you are left with an outstanding collection of rockin’ songs.  Of course, tempos vary and bearing in mind these albums have the bop, jive and stroll crowds in mind, so there’s something for everyone. If these sounds are a true representation of the wrong end of town, then all hail a taxi right now and ask to be taken to destination ‘Rock And Roll Floozy’ because there’s no other place to be, given that the music is this good!



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