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Leiber And Stoller: The Rockers – That Is Rock And Roll

Various Artists

Atomicat

Not to be confused with labelmates Koko Mojo’s album release focusing on the song writing duo Leiber and Stoller, Atomicat Records issues its own collection that focuses on the same songwriters yet, specifically, the partnership’s rock and roll songs. Issued under the watchful eye of DeeJay Mark Armstrong, Atomicat’s Songwriter Series looks at two of the biggest names in song writing history with Leiber and Stoller. With this album representing the duo’s work during the 50s and early 60s, the artists featured are those who established major names for themselves, but also a few obscurer titles that were known to only a minority. That said, the songs presented covers Leiber and Stoller’s work after their own label Spark Records with those rock and roll records arriving thick and fast. Beginning with Coasters lively ‘That Is Rock And Roll’, and ending with ubiquitous ‘Stand By Me’ from this time, Ricky Pearson, the songs contain much quality and with plenty of interesting turns from artists less featured when it comes to some well-known songs. Such examples can be heard from Bobby Davis with ‘Troubles’; a song originally recorded By Elvis, who makes himself known here with ‘Hot Dog’. Elsewhere, there’s another song Elvis is known for, and originally Big Mama Thornton, and that’s ‘Hound Dog’, which is covered here by Cyclones and certainly a different interpretation. Little Richard arrives via ‘Kansas City’, and LaVern Baker gives an always reliable performance and this time with the song ‘Whipper Snapper’. The more the album spins, the more the realisation dawns that there are plenty of well-known songs, but with the added interest of being performed by different artists than many of these songs are known for. Therefore, full credit to compiler Mark Armstrong for producing the goods once more and delivering another set of Leiber and Stoller’s works for all to experience and enjoy.


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R&B Goes R&R 4: Smack Dab In The Middle

Various Artists

Atomicat

Music from the past and with a remastered sound comes from the ever-reliable Atomicat and their latest album ‘R&B Goes R&R 4: Smack Dab In The Middle’. Compiling a list of artists from not only the US but also Australia, New Zealand, and interestingly this time around Argentina, the current album in this series continues its exploration of white artists performing traditional rhythm and blues songs from the years 1955 through to 1963. With the songs chosen being covers, it is not always a direct copy as there are noticeable interpretations that bring something else to the table or, in this instance, dancefloor because there’s plenty of material here to keep any DeeJay operating within these genres busy! To the tracks, and what a selection! Mixing the established with the less established names is part of the appeal with Atomicat’s compilations. “Smack Dab In The Middle” you will experience the likes of Ronnie Hawkins (‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’), Boyd Bennett (‘Poison Ivy’), Tommy Sands (‘Hey Miss Fannie’), and cover star Ricky Nelson with ‘I’m In Love Again’. Those artists less frequented when it comes to compiling such collections can be experienced by the following Ray Davis (‘Money Honey’), Los Pick Ups and something different for this album with South American version ‘Josefina’, to The Spades and song ‘Jim Dandy’, and bookending this album two songs from The Keil Isles and, first, ‘Country Boy’, to later ‘Don’t Come Knockin’’. With much on offer and including convincing, not to mention brave choices from the country boy himself Marty Robbins with Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybelline’, and different interpretation of ‘Bo Diddley’ from Jimmy Elledge. ‘R&B Goes R&R 4: Smack Dab In The Middle’ certainly maintains the high-quality set by its predecessors.


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More Boss Black Rockers Vol. 1: Guitar Pickin’ Fool’

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

After such a successful run that was the first album series of ‘Boss Black Rockers’, Koko Mojo with the guiding hand of The Mojo Man (aka Little Victor Mac) sets up another series under the heading ‘More Boss Black Rockers: Guitar Pickin’ Fool’. Providing much information via tracks and liner notes presented in a trifold digipak bearing in mind current environmental concerns, ‘More Boss Black Rockers: Guitar Pickin’ Fool’ basically continues where series one left off. In other words, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it because more often than not the twenty-eight-track list offered a delightful and seriously high-octane rush of rock ‘n’ roll from the original rock ‘n’ rollers (i.e., The Black artists either overlooked or simply given less coverage). Therefore, inside information gets Volume One off to a flyer via Tony Harris and song ‘Chicken, Baby, Chicken’ with powerhouse vocals and a punchy rhythm section. The wildness continues with Bobby Brookes resembling a not-too-distant relation of Jackie Wilson during the mighty fine ‘Looka, Looka, Looka’, to next in line Otis Riley including a touch of the personal to ‘Rock And Roll Riley’. If series one of ‘Boss Black Rockers’ proved not only an irresistible pull due to high level of rock ‘n’ roll on display, then ‘More Boss Black Rockers Vol. 1’ will not disappoint for the same reasons, but also for the inclusion of many lesser known or less-featured artists or songs that are a touch harder to find when it comes to other similar compilations. For instant memories, then press play to tracks by H-Bomb Ferguson ‘Mary Little Mary’ where his vocals alone is enough to convince of the greatness here, to fast and frantic tempo of ‘Goin’ Goin’ Gone’ from vocal group The Jewels, before landing at the doorstep of wheeling rhythm and blues/rock ‘n’ roll of terrific ‘No Haps’ by Roy Wright. Ooh! We are in the land of rock ‘n’ roll goodness when it comes to the second instalment of album series of ‘More Boss Black Rockers Vol. 1: Guitar Pickin’ Fool’, and that is fact!


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Hillbilly: Devils & Demons

Various Artists

Atomicat

Fresh out on Atomicat Records is latest collection ‘Hillbilly: Devils & Demons’. In order to bring this new album of songs to life, DeeJay Mark Armstrong raided the vinyl wax vaults to source a respectable number of “rural ditties” from 1949 and ending here in 1963. What the listener can expect therefore, are plenty of songs featuring failures in life because of love turned sour and the next manoeuvre turning to the bad influences for comfort of alcohol and/or drugs. With the “demons” being the metaphors for these additional supports, then do not expect too many cheerful numbers here, but it is often in these melancholic moments, greatness can be heard. That is not to say this latest album does not come without humour because it most certainly does where examples can be detected in song titles or through the very words mentioned in songs. Given this album is coming from the rural hills, there are familiar artists presenting their goods from Red Foley, Sonny Burns, Wade Ray, The Louvin’ Brothers, Roy Acuff, and Pee Wee King. As with the majority of Atomicat releases, there are also plenty of lesser-known names and tracks, and can be heard from go-to-name Buckaroo Billy and ‘Shake Hands With The Devil’, the indie-sounding moniker Ben Colder with excellent ‘Shudders And Screams’, to packing the essentials for a week’s holiday away ‘Satan’s Suitcase’ performed by Robert Zehm. There is just so much irresistible charm to the songs making up this collection and heard by the likes of Red Foley and country gold that is ‘Tennessee Hill-Billy Ghost’, country swing of Cecil Campbell’s ‘Spookie Boogie’, bouts of red-hot harmonica ride of ‘The Devil’s Train’ by Roy Acuff, to guitar twang and galloping rhythm of ‘Satan’s Chauffeur’ from Jimmy Minor, who bears a close resemblance to Johnny Cash. With sleeve notes provided and presented in a threefold digipak for further information, and artwork designed by Alf Button’s Revenge, latest ‘Hillbilly: Devil’s & Demons’ makes for a must-have collection of songs housed in an album package that is equally deserving of praise.


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Hallowscream! 2: Horrors Of The Black Museum

Various Artists

Atomicat

It is that time of year once more when things go bump in the night and the floorboards tend to creak more than usual. However, to aid a far smoother transition through the spookiest night of the year, Atomicat issues its seasonal album ‘Hallowscream! 2: Horrors Of The Black Museum’. With Mark Armstrong at the helm and assisted by Doctor Frankenbop and his sidekick Psychoshake in selecting another twenty-eight choice cuts, then this Halloween fest is set for one of the best! Volume 2 features tracks ranging from 1954 to 1963, and includes varying styles of rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and rockin’ instrumentals. Beginning with a bout of rhythm and blues fermenting with rock ‘n’ roll and coming up trumps with ‘Hokus Pokus’ is Ronny Goode. From such wild beginnings, the Halloween celebrations continue in similar fashion with blasts of saxophone and joint vocals from Nightmares and song providing this compilation with its added title, ‘(Oooh I’m Scared) Of The Horrors Of The Black Museum’. Given it’s Halloween, then there’s often quirks hidden between the tracks where numerous oddities come to the surface and can be heard during the excellent guitar work out from The Gigolos’ ‘Night Creature’, touch of twang to the rock ‘n’ roll and charismatically told tale of ‘Devil’s Den’ from Duane Turley, to rockin’ rhythm and dual vocals of Jack and Jim during ‘Midnight Monsters Hop’. Award for most eccentric and thoroughly convincing, not to mention creative performance is bestowed to Chuck-A-Lucks’ ‘The Devil’s Train’. Add to the spooky festivities two more recent bands in the form of Marc and The Wild Ones and their darkened rock ‘n’ roll ‘Voodoo Woman’, to setting the screamfest on fire is The Rip Em Ups with ‘Killswitch!’. With so much glorious music to cram into the spookiest night of the year, ‘Hallowscream! 2: Horrors Of The Black Museum’ certainly achieves this with a wealth of material crammed into a playlist of twenty-eight tracks that are good enough to grace any Halloween fest no matter the musical preferences of those present.


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Bad Loving (Single)

John Lindberg Trio

Booze Music / Enviken

A band that is deserving of wider acceptance on a global scale is Swedish rockers John Lindberg Trio (JLT). Despite a lack of widespread acknowledgement of their work, it is pleasing to see and hear in the instance of current single ‘Bad Loving’ that the trio has lost none of their appetite for creating original rockin’ tunes. Continuing the good fight for rock ‘n’ roll music in 2022, and setting a precedent of things to come, is the aforementioned ‘Bad Loving’, which also includes additional song writing by fellow Swede and songwriter Teddie Ericsson. The single itself is best described as a “bopper” for modern times with its tight sharp rhythm that is instantaneous in its liking and initially provides a smokescreen for the lyrics, which are the polar opposite to the loveable feel of this rockin’ tune. In fact, ‘Bad Loving’ is almost a trip down memory lane as it is close to 80’s chart action from the likes of The Jets and Shakin’ Stevens, and that’s no bad thing. Therefore, if sadness sounds this good, then heap more misery on the recording pile of JLT because any desires of reaching a broader audience could be around the next corner if they can maintain the “radio quality goodness” of new single ‘Bad Loving’.


Released 17 June

 

R&B Goes R&R 3: Dance Girl Dance

Various Artists

Atomicat

Taking a jaunt for the third time is the album series ‘R&B Goes R&R’. With its by now customary twenty-eight tracks of its playlist completing Volume 3, DeeJay Mark Armstrong is once more responsible for sourcing the material. The songs unearthed contains much familiarity but there’s also unfamiliar choices and one or two unusual additions, which is often the strength of this album series. One item which has not been mentioned yet is the quality of the artwork, which is an impressive sight and makes for an attractive addition to the quality of the music set. Moving through the years from 1955 to 1963, ‘R&B Goes R&R 3: Dance Girl Dance’ offers cover versions of rhythm and blues’ rockers performed by American and Australian artists who aimed to emulate the original performers but, in doing so, also provided further exposure of the “original” rock ‘n’ roll sound. The decision to start with Eddie Dugosh and song ‘Strange Kinda Feeling’ is prime example of the quality of the music chosen, but also for not opting for the most obvious considering there’s Gene Vincent (‘Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back’), Jerry Lee Lewis (‘Save The Last Dance For Me’) and The Everly Brothers (‘Hey Doll Baby’) all present yet not in pole position. The vintage rockabilly of ‘Strange Kinda Feeling’ is as impressive as anything the bigger “names” conjure up here and, if anything, Volume 3 certainly provides room for the lesser known/less featured artists to perform. Step forward Lawrence Shaul and primitive yet engaging rendition of ‘Tutti Frutti’, Frances Faye ‘It’s You I Love’, which is certainly more sophisticated and is music set for films of its era as well. Paul Peek maintains the less featured rhythm via his version of Ray Charles classic ‘The Rock-A-Round’ and it’s an absolute belter! Add to an ongoing list Ernie Sigley (‘The Big Beat’), Cody Brennan (‘Ruby Baby’), and Bunny Paul once again (See Volume 2) and track ‘Honey Love’, and ‘R&B Goes R&R 3: Dance Girl Dance’ is equal to its previous albums, but also adds a considerable bit more with a longer line of obscurer cover songs. Top quality from start to finish and worth far more in monetary value than its given price tag, ‘R&B Goes R&R 3: Dance Girl’ is essential!


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R&B Goes R&R 2: Rock & Roll Music

Various Artists

Atomicat

Second album in the new series from Atomicat is – ‘R&B Goes R&R 2: Rock & Roll Music’. As with its predecessor, album number two turns rhythm and blues songs into rock ‘n’ roll songs and featuring several musicians from the States and Australia. The combined efforts once more make for a fascinating listen and just as Volume 1 impressed, Volume 2 proves equally compelling. Supporting this claim is the twenty-eight-track list featuring artists from Buddy Holly and Wanda Jackson to Hayden Thompson, Rusty York, Charlie Gore, Ella Mae Morse, and Marty Robbins. Again, as with the first album, there are plenty of names that feature with their versions of rhythm and blues tracks that are scarce to find on similar types of compilations. Despite being a name, Bunny Paul’s rendition of ‘Such A Night’ is one such example that doesn’t pop up when scouring the back catalogues of collected works of similar albums. Ditto Johnny Chester and more associated with Elvis ‘Milk Cow Blues’, not to mention names as The Toppers and song ‘Mr. Lee’, and The Goofers ‘Hearts Of Stone’. Beginning with such examples is a great way to approach this album when listening because there are more familiar artists as Buddy Holly, Wanda Jackson, and Warren Smith who will be known to many, but despite the familiarity, the tracks chosen are excellent additions given the rawness of Holly’s ‘Ting-A-Ling’, engaging vocals of Jackson’s during ‘Slippin’ And Slidin’, and Hayden Thompson’s rockabilly ‘Love My Baby’. Add to that group Ronnie Hawkins compelling reading of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’ complete with captivating guitar, and Volume Two of ‘R&B Goes R&R’ lives up to its additional heading “Rock & Roll Music” by providing plenty of fine examples of this.


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R&B Goes R&R 1: My Baby Left Me

Various Artists

Atomicat

New arrival ‘R&B Goes R&R 1 My Baby Left Me’ via Atomicat sees twenty-eight tracks of rhythm and blues given the cover version treatment! Featuring artists from both America and Australia, the songs chosen are either directly represented or reinterpreted for your listening pleasure. It makes for an interesting combination where a big band interpretation begins proceedings via Loren Becker and truly upbeat rendition of ‘My Baby Left Me’, before knocking on the neighbouring door and enquiring if Johnny Rebb would like to come out and play, with the answer being a resounding “Yes!” and then proceeding to apply a touch of grease to Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybellene’. Rock ‘n’ roll (albeit a rather clean application) applies to Boyd Bennett and his version of ‘Mumbles Blues’. Bennett’s version makes for a tight, snappy rhythm and it lingers in the mind for some time after. From there the music continues to intrigue with a stunning interpretation of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ from Helene Dixon who compels via a throaty vocal and the guitar almost too hot to handle! The company surrounding this track is equally impressive with heavyweight names adding their worth from Jerry Lee Lewis and ‘Hit The Road Jack’, Elvis Presley and great choice with Ray Charles’ ‘I Got A Woman’, Ronnie Hawkins adding ‘My Girl Is Red Hot’, and not Jerry Lee this time but Paul Wyatt offering an impressive take on ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’. With talk of a five-album collection featuring rhythm and blues tracks being given the rock ‘n’ roll treatment, Volume 1 “My Baby Left Me” in this new series certainly gets off to a flyer especially when there’s terrific rockabilly via Lou Millet (‘Shorty The Barber’), a classic from The Johnny Burnette Trio (‘Train Kept A Rollin’), and Vince Everett (Baby Let’s Play House’) and plenty of interesting versions of rock ‘n’ roll featuring David Houston (‘Sugar Sweet’) and Pete Peters (‘Fanny Brown’) for example.


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120 Years Of The Cadillac Car

Various Artists

Atomicat

An album to celebrate that great invention known as the automobile but an LP with one American classic in mind and that being the Cadillac. To honour this historic motor, Atomicat Records has created a full album dedicated to the Cadillac car. Given the title ‘120 Years Of The Cadillac Car’, DeeJay Mark Armstrong handpicks thirty songs to represent the classic Cadillac with a mixture of rhythm and blues, rockers and hillbillies, and songs named directly after the car or lyrics referencing it. Beginning with a series of rhythm and blues tracks and featuring Jimmy Liggins with ‘Cadillac Boogie’, Roy Brown and ‘Cadillac Baby’ to, in demand right now, Bo Diddley with ‘Cadillac’, and Willie Brown ‘Cadillac Boogie’. The album continues its interesting and lively analysis of the Cadillac with superb rockabilly from Hal Willis and ‘My Pink Cadillac’ (They really don’t make them like they used to!), Sonny Wallace and alternative colour ‘Black Cadillac’ that really is a terrific raw and rickety rockabilly track, before adding equally compelling Joyce Green with same song title yet different song’ Black Cadillac’. The “hillbillies” featuring equally good turns by Don Churchill ‘Cadillac Blues’ and western swing Bob Wills chipping in with ‘Cadillac In Model A’, and the listener already has an album’s worth of top-quality tunes. But that’s not all folks because the musical goodness continues with the previously mentioned recognition of the classic Cadillac in song title or lyrics with pick from a very fine crop including Wanda Jackson and snappy rhythm ‘Baby Loves Him’, Young Jessie ‘Mary Lou’, The Cadillacs ‘Speedo’, and El Dorados with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Is For Me’. An excellent collection of songs, not to mention ideas knitted together to form a complete whole that makes more than perfect sense in celebration of the American Cadillac and can be heard via ‘120 Years Of The Cadillac Car’.


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Dance Craze-A-Rama Volume 1

Various Artists

Atomicat

There is a profound sense of FUN, and much to be had, when listening to the latest addition from Atomicat. With a similar album series also featuring songs associated with the dance style of “The Twist”, this time around the newest album is less specific yet broader in terms of its approach by offering a sense of the “carefree” and dance to your own rhythm. What this means is an album packed full of songs featuring a particular “dance” in mind or the mood of the song is full of celebration leaving you to decide whether you want to dance alone or with a partner. Leading the charge here is Dion with The Isley Brothers’ ‘Shout’, containing a charismatic punch from its opening discussion before launching headfirst into this number. Great start, and more to come via the tight rhythmic ‘The Wobble’ supplied by Jimmy McCracklin, to immediate appeal of rhythm and blues/rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Diddle Dee Dee’ from Bobby Dunn. Noticeably different about this companion piece to Volume 1 in the “Twist” series is that there are far more obscurer titles and artists that will be known to serious collectors, but to a lesser extent casual listeners. But it is also the eccentricity of some of the tracks with excellent and engaging piece from The Champs and ‘The Shoddy Shoddy’ with lyrics that deserve your attention, to unique titles as ‘The Whiz Wash’ (Baby Wayne), ‘The Kangaroo’ (Clifford Scott), ‘Pony Time’ (Don Covay), and The Mandels with ‘The Scotch’. Overall, a more unique take on the dance craze and expertly lived up to by the tracks chosen for this compilation because not only is it a suitable companion for the dancefloor, but it also makes for an entertaining listen in the comfort of your own home.


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Twist-A-Rama Volume 1

Various Artists

Atomicat

Ushering in a new album series is Atomicat with ‘Twist-A-Rama’. The first volume focuses specifically on, you guessed it, “The Twist” which was the dance of the 1960s. Therefore, in line with the fashionable dance of the time, and naturally still popular throughout dance halls today, ‘Twist-A-Rama Volume 1’ features various artists from the periods 1959 through to 1963 with songs often upbeat in style and plenty of “twists” in their titles! So, expect to hear songs relaying the glories of this popular dance, to memories of this time in history combined with themes of love and romance. It’s a glorious album from start to finish and one that is packed with much energy and enthusiasm. It’s the kind of album that immediately puts a smile on your face with opening song ‘Kissin’ Twist’ by Jack Hammer proving this with its infectious rhythm and charismatic vocals. From there, the mood continues to be infectious with tracks by Herbert Hunter and ‘Twist It Up’, to an instrumental from The Champs (‘Tequila Twist’), and teen-pop by Jo Ann Campbell and ‘Let Me Do My Twist’. Packed with lively numbers by the likes of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters and specifically for the dance in question ‘The Twist’, which made a name for Chubby Checker who, on this occasion, pops up with ‘My Baby Cares For Me’ and shares vocals with Bobby Rydell. Once again, Atomicat does its research and plunges for the less obvious choices when selecting its track list and opts for interesting turns from Chuck Berry and ‘I’m Talking About You’, Kay Armen ‘I Wanna Twist’, Brice Coefield ‘Cha Cha Twist’, and U.S. Bonds (Interesting moniker!) ‘New Orleans’. If you want to move to songs predominately featuring “The Twist”, then you have come to the right place because ‘Twist-A-Rama Volume 1’ is an irresistible force that will have you dancing the night away at your local dance hall.



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