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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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Rock And Roll Floozy 4

Various Artists

Atomicat

An album series residing on the wrong side of the tracks, but such an existence is to its advantage because such conditions help fuel the raw edges of much of the music selected for this latest collection of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly. Given the title ‘Rock And Roll Floozy – Dangerous Redhead’, the fourth album is rich in tracks consisting of wild and edgy moments, but it also remains balanced with other songs eager to please those more content with something a little less energetic given that the intentions of the album series are set to appeal to several different dance styles. That said, there is much energy to wring from this musical tank and comes by way of Drifting Charles’ ‘Evil Hearted Woman’, which earns extra points for some terrific razor-sharp guitar, then proceeding with equally efficient guitar and additional handclaps from Al Jones’ ‘Loretta’. A version of ‘Ubangi Stomp’ makes an appearance and this time it’s The Velaires who give their interpretation, which is reminiscent of The Everly Brothers to be honest. It certainly rocks, but not on a par with Warren Smith for example. Still, interesting to opt for the less obvious inclusion given the several different versions of said song available. Other places at the rockin’ joint known as ‘Rock And Roll Floozy’ you will hear changes in tempos as demonstrated by Lee Emerson enthusing over ‘What A Night’, and Otto Bash offering a calmer tune in ‘My Babe’. The title track is given to Jerry Raines who has a touch of “attitude” in his vocals, and by no means contrived, and the music pulls you towards its centre via its shuffling, rockin’ rhythm and additional brass, which leads one to holler, “ACE!”. Given that we haven’t touched on the jittery and raw rockabilly of Jet Powers, the more restrained yet highly effective Dick Penner (‘Cindy Lou’), not forgetting the feel-good rockin’ sounds of George Fleming with ‘The Shake’, there’s so much to consume that you’ll need to conserve your energy in order to meet the finishing line. That will be difficult, given this collection lives up to its motto, “All Hit, no filler”.


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Rock And Roll Floozy 3

Various Artists

Atomicat

Cutting something of a mysterious figure from his base in El Paso, Texas, is the man responsible for the music making up the third album in the series ‘Rock And Roll Floozy’. With no real details to go from, the compiler known as Marcus Juárez quietly goes about his business with some added assistance from DeeJay Mark Armstrong (Atomicat) to help bring these albums to life. Packed full of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll delights, and likely to be heard blaring from the local bar from a seedier end of town, these rock ‘n’ rollers feature many names and tracks less heard of when it comes to other albums of a similar build. Yes, much to enthuse over therefore, and boy do these tracks rock in the styles of jive, bop and stroll. For immediate satisfaction, then Billy Barnette and The Searchers with ‘Stomp, Shake And Twist’ is the kind of track to not only get this party started, but also provide the very definition of the wild rockin’ sounds that captures all three categories of bop, jive and stroll in one single track. It’s an electrifying start and one that continues to roll along similar lines with Jerry Fuller ‘I’ve Found A New Love’, The Coachmen ‘Merrianne’, and John & Jackie with ‘Raging Sea’. Other notable tracks include Link Wray and The Wraymen with additional vocals during ‘Mary Ann’, to a terrific performance from Jackie Cannon during ‘Proof Of Your Love’ for simply sounding nonchalant throughout. Further rockin’ nuggets chosen for their curious values as well come from Ronnie Summers ‘Lonesome Road’ with traces of Roy Orbison in his voice, to Chuck Howard sounding like a man devoid of any luck as ‘Out Of Gas’ suggests. With Bob Miller providing an excellent impression of Jerry Lee Lewis with ‘Great Balls Of Fire’, then really, what more could you demand of such a collection as ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 3’ because it delivers one great GREASY racket of rockin’ goodness (i.e. badness).


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Little Bitty Girl

Various Artists

Pan American

Landing in the mail and emitting a golden ray of light from the envelope, is the latest album from Pan American featuring an assortment of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly tracks by artists who rarely got a look in first time around. Boasting twenty-six songs, ‘Little Bitty Girl’ is a rollercoaster ride of emotions where love seems to be more on the downside rather than shooting for the stars. The music is certainly red hot and of a curious nature with plenty of echo effect via the likes of John Worthan ‘Too, Too Many’; Paul Wheatley ‘I’m Not Movin’’, and instantly likeable due to its strong introduction via the vocals, ‘Please Have Mercy’ by Jimmy Dane And His Great Danes. There’s rockabilly gold from Al Ferrier With The Boppin’ Billies and song ‘No No Baby’. More superb, archived material comes from Rick Rickels And His Wild Guitar and ‘You Gonna Go Away’, which sounds like it was recorded in his front living room given the sound quality.  From two such highlights, ‘Little Bitty Girl’ never ceases to impress as other highlights include the wild rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Yea! Yea! Come Another Day’ from Tony Casanova, then slightly tamer, yet rockin’ nonetheless with plenty of detail it has to be said of ‘Let’s Do It’ by Lawrence Flippo. Another highly commendable album from the Pan American stable with enough rockin’ delights from a whole list of less familiar names to please those listeners seeking an album with something else.


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The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment 8

Various Artists

Atomicat

Time flies so quickly, especially when you’re having fun. Such a thought applies to the series ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ because it seems only a few weeks ago that the first “commandment” was released by Atomicat when, in reality, it was much longer. That is the beauty of such album series, especially when the compiler (Mark Armstrong in this instance) gets it right because the music to date has been exhilarating and, on multiple occasions, informative given the lesser-known artists featuring. So, with time flying fast therefore, and considering the current destination finds the listener at “Commandment 8”, the theme given to this latest album is not such an enjoyable subject if you happen to be the victim of such a dastardly act. Yes, folks the notion or actual act of cheating or, to be more precise, “adultery” is at the centre of current album ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’. Fear not because as with previous volumes, the blend of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and traditional rhythm and blues pep up the spirits no matter how dour those words become concerning any love that has turned sour. Step forward then Charles Glass with Orchestra and dramatically titled ‘Screamin’ And Dyin’ (And Rollin’ On The Floor)’; a song packed with a passionate punch lyrically whereby it takes no prisoners, and musically given its equally punchy rhythm. That said, there’s the briefest suggestion that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously with the vocals nearly breaking into a full-blown cackle on one occasion, and later still the realisation that the protagonist’s whiskey reserved for that nightcap has nearly gone! Sweet revenge no doubt executed with Charles Glass and Company packing up their rhythm and blues and exiting out the door to seek happier times. Oh, and the rest of the contents of this album? Well, after the essay that could have been written on ‘Screamin’ And Dyin’…’, suffice to say that rest of the contents live up to this sublime opener and therefore maintaining the grade A status of this series. Enough said.


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The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment 7

Various Artists

Atomicat

Another album series from the stable of Atomicat which has been consistently good, great, MAGNIFICENT (Take your pick!), is ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’. With ten albums scheduled, we find ourselves at album number seven or more specifically, ‘Commandment 7’. Filled with a blend of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues, these songs aim to provide the feelings associated with every album title. This time around, ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Commandment 7’ is all about understanding, or a lack of it, as it reads “Be Empathic She’s A Flirt”. Tongue planted firmly in cheek of course, this latest album provides more lows as far as success in relationships go, but no matter as the tracks selected are red-hot! The task of compiling these albums goes to DeeJay Mark Armstrong who does his homework with no stone left unturned by bringing for your listening pleasure an assortment of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, doo wop and rhythm and blues delights. There is the most direct connection to the album title from Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps and ‘You Told A Fib’, and Jerry Lee Lewis adds more weight to the accusation with his usual charismatic and wild nature of communicating a song via ‘Mean Woman Blues’. That said, Wanda Jackson throws one back for the female contingent and equal match in the charisma stakes with rockin’ tough, ‘Mean, Mean Man’. It’s not all about the usual suspects with these collections as Jim Wilson with The Flares comes alive with fine rockabilly number ‘Have A Tear On Me’, and fresh to these ears Steve Schickel with rock ‘n’ roll ‘Don’t Lie’. There’s rhythm and blues with Roy Brown and His Mighty Men ‘I’ve Got The Last Laugh Now’, The Checkers ‘You Never Had It So Good’, and The Ravens featuring Jimmy Ricks and song ‘Bye Bye Baby Blues’. With an even balance when it comes to men and women in terms of relationship blues and plenty of rockin’ tracks to whet your appetite, “Commandment 7” is one of this series best yet.


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Jive-A-Rama Volume 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Launching a second volume or wave if you prefer in the ‘Jive-A-Rama’, ‘Bop-A-Rama’ and ‘Stroll-A-Rama’ series on Atomicat Records mixes many well-known musicians with a few less familiar. The choice of tracks stacking up for the first in the second series of ‘Jive -A- Rama Volume 2’ features such artists, but it also contains songs less compiled for similar types of “themed” compilations. Therefore, when it comes to Gene Vincent, selected here for example, do not expect a ‘Bluejean Bop’ rather a ‘Flea Brain’ which fits the bill perfectly for its associations with swing and rock ‘n’ roll and teeing it up nicely for that soon-to-be jive at the nearest dancehall. Thrown into the album pot fit for jiving is a blend of rhythm and blues, harmonious vocal groups and rock ‘n’ roll, and when combined the result is Brook Benton and ‘I Wanna Do Everything For You’, which just happens to be the opening track of ‘Jive-A-Rama Volume 2’. However, such genres are stretched a bit to include other competitors with the inclusion (and excellent choice) of rockabilly track ‘Quick Sand Love’ from Macy (Skip) Skipper with a definite whiff of Jerry Lee Lewis attached. The latter artist also appears with equally enthralling ‘Lewis Boogie’. Fine rhythm and blues can be heard via Chuck Willis and ‘Take It Like A Man’ and ditto Patti Jerome complete with gifted voice during ‘No Mama – No Papa’. The Jewels bring the vocal harmonies, not to mention lively rhythm to ‘Pearlie Mae’, which sounds like classic 50s movie soundtrack material and one of the definite highlights of many. With much to choose from, and enough material to keep the dancefloor occupied, ‘Jive-A-Rama Volume 2’ is a worthy addition to its predecessor, but also as an album in its own right, such is the strength of material selected.


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The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Commandment 6

Various Artists

Atomicat

It’s all about honesty when it comes to album number six in ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ with a call to “Be Faithful” and “Let’s Jump The Broomstick”. If you’re looking for songs full of love, then you have arrived at the right location with this brand-new compilation. Confessing one’s true feelings is never an easy task, yet the songs listed for your listening consumption will hopefully enable a level of confidence and steady one’s nerve to declare your true feelings whether at the beginning or amid a relationship and then that all-important question. Many of the song titles allude to such sentiments with The Minorbops getting in early in terms of the running order of this track list and declaring ‘Want You For My Own’, which happens to be a very fine slice of rockin’ rhythm and blues. A similar feel and feeling stems from Cupids’ catchy ‘Little Girl Of Mine’ that draws on both camps of rhythm and blues and doo wop. The Daywins ‘Heartbeat’ is an exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll instro and nothing whatsoever to do with Buddy Holly’s track of the same name. Brenda Lee is given the honour of the title track and completely dominates throughout with her trademark powerhouse vocals. Gene Ross provides one for the strollin’ community as ‘The Only One’ is a terrific combination of vocals and instruments drawing much attention such are their strengths. Speaking of vocals, Brook Benton and backing singers completely dominate and sell the track ‘You’re For Me’ which, in all honesty, ‘The Ten Commandments Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Commandment 6’ the same applies to yet another fantastic volume in this series as this latest collection will appeal to many music lovers.


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Rock And Roll Floozy 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

After the positive response to the first album ‘Rock And Roll Floozy’, there was only ever one decision to make, and that was to issue another album full of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll goodness. From his base in El Paso, Texas, Marcus Juarez is the man responsible for compiling this latest album. Adhering to Atomicat’s “all killer, no filler” or, in this instance, “all hit, no filler”, the album ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 2’ follows in its predecessor’s footsteps by including lesser-known names with celebrated artists. The rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll featured is best suited to the styles of jive, stroll, and bop, and all tracks are equally comfortable whether blaring from the speakers at the local dancehall or from any listener’s music system at home. Heading back to a 50s heyday, ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 2’ certainly features more of the lesser known in comparison with other compilations of a similar ilk. For example, it’s not often you see a track list with Jerry Jaye, Mark Anthony, The Brothers, Buddy Shaw, The Sportsmen and with Roy Orbison being the only inclusion of an established name considering his success on an international scale. Even the track selected featuring Roy Orbison (‘Chicken Hearted’) is less obvious and rather unique in its approach for the time in which it was recorded because it’s almost an instrumental with plenty of saxophone and, when introduced, the lyrics are simple yet highly effective. From this position, expect plenty of rockin’ strollin’, boppin’ delights with intriguing rockabilly by way of Phoenix, Arizona, and Mark Anthony with ‘Wolf Call’, to also fascinating in song and title ‘Pididdle (The Car With One Light)’ performed by Buzz Clifford, not forgetting the inclusion of oddball ditty ‘The Day I Died’ from Scott Garrett.  Link Davis with ‘Sixteen Chicks’ preceding Joe Clay’s version is every bit as good and more to the point both versions differ, which is always more interesting. The Carlos Brothers ‘Come On, Let’s Dance’ is a harmonious delight and perfect for strollin’.  Oh, what an album! For those looking for rockabilly/rock ‘n’ roll without the usual assortment of names, then buy, borrow or beg a copy of ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 2’ because you will not be disappointed.


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Summertime Scorchers Vol 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

After the first album in this seasonal two-part series, ‘Summertime Scorchers Vol 2’ from Atomicat arrives with another 30 tracks to keep the festivities rolling. Once more Mark and Henrique are the two compilers putting together the parts to complete this latest album with, again, specific focus on rock ‘n’ roll’s history dating between the years 1956 to 1963. Labelling these years “the golden years”, the two men responsible for this compilation have chosen these “songs of distinction” in the hope of providing an atmosphere where the partygoer will “rock ‘till you drop”. Such an objective is easily achieved given the quality of songs selected and beginning with The Marvels irresistible melding of rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll that is ‘Jump Rock And Roll’ and concluding this summer party in style via wonderful vocal harmonies of The Cleftones and appropriately titled ‘See You Next Year’. The sandwich filling between these two bookends is just as captivating with the likes of The Hollywood Flames cookin’ up a storm with ‘Strollin’ On The Beach’, The Delroys confident parade along the beach of ‘Bermuda Shorts’ complete with some stinging guitar and lively saxophone, to equally lively and fine rock ‘n’ roll from Kip Tyler and His Flips’ ‘Ooh Yeah Baby’. You will find the biggest names here as well with none other than Elvis Presley and song ‘Rock-A-Hula Baby’, to Dale Hawkins providing the security that every beach party needs via ‘Lifeguard Man’ and Del Shannon ‘You Never Talked About Me’. Another fine album of summer scorchers and the perfect accompaniment to Volume One that will maintain both dancing and listening pleasures for the duration of this summer season.



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