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Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.4

Various Artists

Atomicat

The series that keeps on giving is ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive’ with another mouth-watering twenty-eight tracks to consume from a variety of country and hillbilly artists from a bygone age. With this compilation being the fourth in the series, ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive – Boogie Woogie Cowboy’ is something of a lively collection of western swing, hillbilly, and country tracks by many of its pioneers. So expect to hear the likes of established names such as Chet Atkins and His Colorado Mountain Boys and detailed guitar instrumental ‘Canned Heat’, to Hank Thompson’s sparky tempo of ‘Deep Elm’ where the brass section really dominates along with breaking lead guitar. From the rockin’ foundations of these numbers, the early foundations of rockabilly can be heard in Moon Mullican’s ‘What’s The Matter With The Mill’ and the lesser-known moniker (to these ears) of Eddie Cletro & His Round Up Boys ‘Flying Saucer Boogie’ also dropping hints of what was to come and no doubt a source of inspiration for Billy Lee Riley considering the occasional bouts of wild hollering and talk of the town fascination with outer space. The inclusion of the less obvious artists is just one of the reasons why this compilation series is worth investigating and investing your time because along with the “bigger” names the listener will become accustomed with “Texas” Bill Strength and ‘Paper Boy Boogie’, to longer title and less heard Jay-Bob Howdy with Hoyle Nix & His West Texas Cowboys’ ‘Real Rockin’ Daddy’. Add to that a “How to do it” cover version of ‘Little Susie’ supplied by Joe Melson, and the likes of Tex Williams, Merle Travis, Tibby Edwards and Jim Reeves also making appearances, then ‘Boogie Woogie Cowboy’ not only provides a quality package of music, but one that serves as a tangible link to the rockin’ sounds of what was to become rockabilly.


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Hank Williams Songbook Vol. 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Continuing the songs of Hank Williams, in addition to songs associated with the hillbilly country legend and performed by various artists, is ‘The Hank Williams Songbook Vol. 2’. What the listener can expect, therefore, is a tribute album of sorts but one that provides evidence of songs which inspired Hank Williams as well as the numerous artists covering these songs providing their own interpretations. Beginning in style with ‘Move It On Over’, and always good for anyone’s money, Maddox Brothers & Rose provide their usual blend of charisma and precision. From there other big names duly arrive with George Jones popping by for two visits with the album’s title track and later bestowed the honour of another fine William’s classic with his version of ‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire’. Elsewhere, Porter Waggoner provides ‘Tennessee Border, and Lattie Moore really drives home the melancholy of Williams’ in both sound and song title despite being a third-party composition via ‘Sundown And Sorrow’. On a similar theme, Bill Darnell chips in with ‘Alone And Forsaken’; a Hank Williams’ original and one that leads to further investigation of the cover artist given the compelling rendition of this track. Interestingly, one or two names make appearances that are less familiar such as Gene O’ Quin (‘Blues Come Around’), Fred Thornton And The Sons Of The Golden West (‘There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight’) and Morris Mills with ‘Jumbalia Answer’.  With Ferlin Husky (‘Minni-Ha-Cha’) also included, and always a bonus on this side of the country/hillbilly fence, and Hank The Drifter providing perhaps the biggest tribute here with ‘Hank Your Gone’, ‘The Hank Williams Songbook Vol. 2’ is a must-have album for all Hank Williams’ aficionados.


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Let’s Throw A Pajama Party Vol.2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Fast on the heels of the first volume in this latest series on the Atomicat label is ‘Pajama Party Vol.2’. With the first compilation being well received and shifting faster than hotcakes, the second album looks set to repeat the same success, if not surpass it. Containing enough songs to rival the average family shopping list, ‘Pajama Party Vol.2’ runs from track 01 to 30 and is filled with a variety of artists from the 50s and early 60s.Therefore, expect to have your ears filled with many delights such as classic instrumental by The Ventures ‘Walk, Don’t Run’, to plenty of teenage-light rock ‘n’ roll with examples ranging from Chico Holiday and the song ‘Cuckoo Girl’, to Johnny Tillotson and ‘Cutie Pie’. As with the first volume in this series, the current album mixes the genres and comes up trumps with traditional rhythm and blues and doo wop via The Crows’ ‘Gee’, The Cleftones’ ‘Can’t We Be Sweethearts’ and double offering from The Heartbeats with ‘I Want To Know’ and tearjerker ‘A Thousand Miles Away’. Ral Donner pops up with ‘Girl Of My Best Friend’ and provides not only fantastic vocals but the closest to the King himself Elvis Presley. Fanning the flame for female rockers is Donna Dameron, who returns the call to the Big Bopper himself via ‘Bopper 486609’. It’s a gripping track and provides enough flair and imagination to fill this entire compilation. Great value and, more importantly, great music are what to expect when dropping this soundtrack for the next party.


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Boss Black Rockers Vol.2 – Bip Bop Bip

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Already shaping up to be an exciting new series is ‘Boss Black Rockers Vol.2 – Bip Bop Bip’. With this being only the second album to date, and ten scheduled overall, it’s going to be a difficult job to contain the excitement judging by the quality of songs offered, but also interesting to see how this quality varies over the duration of these album releases. With the “Mojo Man” aka Little Victor at the helm once more compiling the tracks for ‘Boss Black Rockers Vol.2 – Bip Bop Bip’, there’s much to consume with twenty-eight songs selected. Kicking off with The Supremes (No, not that one!) ‘Don’t Leave Me Here To Cry’ that’s upbeat despite its title and followed by the easy to remember moniker and rock ‘n’ roll stomp of Big Bob and ‘Your Line Was Busy’. In fact, the rock ‘n’ roll never lets go as the quality maintains a gold standard from Bobby Marchan’s ‘Rockin’ Behind The Iron Curtain’, Lowell Fulson’s Little Richard inspired ‘Rock This Morning’, to The Cadets fabulous vocals and fusing of rhythm and blues with rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Do You Wanna Rock’. There are familiar tracks such as the reply to Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybellene’ with John Greer’s ‘Come Back Maybellene’, in addition to the original recording of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ from Barrett Strong. Bringing to the attention via ‘Boss Black Rockers Vol.2 – Bip Bop Bip’ of artists who were performing rock ‘n’ roll songs either before or at the same time as their white counterparts is significant for providing an accurate document on the real history of the period, but also for bringing to light so many exciting and rockin’ tracks that deserve to be heard. This series is going to be very special indeed.


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Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.3

Various Artists

Atomicat

Keeping the momentum going is the third volume in the series offering various strands of country music by way of ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.3’. Traditional country in its various forms can be heard throughout with many established artists such as Red Foley, Chet Atkins, Ella Mae Morse to Bill Haley & His Comets mingling with names less familiar and that’s just one of the great intrigues with this series. Therefore, the track lists selected so far have been inspiring, and Volume. 3 shows no signs of altering this trend. First-hand evidence of this can be experienced during the opening western swing instrumental from Spade Cooley & His Orchestra with ‘Oklahoma Stomp’. Despite this collection serving early country music, there are some artists operating within the genre of rockabilly. Therefore, there’s no better place to begin with than Earl Epps excellent ‘Be-Bop Blues’. The previously mentioned Bill Haley & His Comets also reveal an early foray on rockabilly with their ‘Green Tree Boogie’, and ditto Bill Phillips’ ‘There’s A Change In Me’ with its title alone suggesting the changing times. Returning to the main theme of this album, Dave Isbell’s ‘Satisfied Or Sorry’ is beautiful as it is heart-breaking, whereas Ramblin’ Jimmie Dolan offers a compelling chattering vocal style complete with rollicking piano and steel guitar during the hillbilly boogie that is ‘Juke Box Boogie’. Such tracks representing ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.3’ reveal a wild side that was in evidence before rock ‘n’ roll had chance to fully claim this title. This comes as no surprise when songs were given titles such as ‘My Mail Order Mama’ during this era of country music, showing that there really was a lot more going on than simply great music coming out of those distant country hills.

 


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It’s A Long Rocky Road – A Tribute To Johnny Horton

Various Artists

Atomicat

Offering a different slant on the “tribute” album is latest release from Atomicat Records and ‘It’s A Long Rocky Road – A Tribute To Johnny Horton’. Not only a compelling artist in his own right, and showing the reasons why with the first ten tracks of this compilation album performed by Johnny Horton himself, the rest of this album is given over to numerous artists paying their respects to Johnny Horton with their interpretations of songs performed by the artist or connections built through song writing credits or songs performed by Johnny Horton but written by other music performers. It all makes for an interesting listen and one spiced up further nearing its end with contemporary band The Ballroom Rockets providing their takes on ‘Broken Hearted Gypsy’ and ‘The Train With The Rumba Beat’. Due to Johnny Horton’s early demise, there’s several track titles making the connection with such candidates as ‘Doorway To Heaven’ (Billy Barton) and ‘Springtime In Heaven’ (Nick Williams with The Treece-Reece Trio). Other areas, you will find familiar names Johnny Cash chipping in with ‘I’d Still Be There’, Rose Maddox ‘Ole Slew Foot’ and Horton’s second wife, Billie Jean Horton, adding ‘Here Comes Trouble’. A worthy tribute to former musician Johnny Horton that provides a similar route when compiling his music to other compilations, yet one that also adds something different via numerous connections and ideas when deciding on an overall track list. Highly recommended.


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Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol.4

Various Artists

Atomicat

Final word on the series ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol.4’ arrives and is packed once more with twenty-five tracks featuring a female voice on the rockin’ front. With familiar names lining up with less familiar names, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol.4’ offers much scope when it came to those women striving to make a name for themselves in a very male-dominated industry during this particular period in history. Such mettle reveals itself early on with Betty Johnson providing a perfect blend of two genres joined at the hip of ‘Honky Tonk Rock’ and giving a powerful intro to this compilation with strong vocals and solid rhythm section. Linda Hayes adds to this determined start with equally strong vocals and the rhythm and blues track ‘Name Ain’t Fannie’, followed by Janice Martin’s version of ‘Ooby Dooby’, which by no means lets the side down because it certainly rocks. Keeping the momentum going is excellent rollin’ and country-rockin’ rhythm of ‘Sweet Talk’ supplied by Bunny Paul and followed by always reliable Patsy Cline with ‘Stop Look And Listen’. Other choice delights can be heard via breath-taking ‘Learning To Love’ (Martha Lynn) and powerhouse vocals, twice over, from Marie Knight and ‘I Thought I Told You Not To Tell Them’ and by Annisteen Allen ‘I’ve Got Troubles’. Certainly ending this series on a high note judging by yet more rockin’ tracks from Jo Ann Campbell (‘Tall Boy’), Betty James (‘I’m A Little Mixed Up’) and wildness that is ‘The Big Bounce’ (Shirley Caddell) and sublime Little Esther with ‘If It’s News To You’, there’s no doubt these women could rock with their male counterparts as ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol.4’ clearly displays.


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Indian Bred Vol.4 – Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle

Various Artists

Atomicat

With much anticipation surrounding latest compilation ‘Indian Bred Vol.4 – Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle’ after previous volume ‘War Chant Boogie’ delighted from start to finish with its many tales of conflict matched with outstanding cuts of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues. Volume. 4 ‘Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle’ immediately suggests a sense of longing for past times, with the tracks included offering a sense of determined celebration concerning heritage and pride. There’s searing rock ‘n’ roll from Premieres and ‘Firewater’, and likewise Ernest Tucker and his charismatic vocals that steers ‘Cowboy Hop’, or equally charismatic turn from the voice of Bob Landers with Willie Joe & His Unitar that offers a unique take on all things rock ‘n’ roll with fragments of Howlin’ Wolf, Hasil Adkins and Marvin Rainwater. Elsewhere, there’s western swing and early flirtation with rockabilly from Bobby Tidwell & Kiamichi Mountain Boys’ ‘Cherokee Stomp’, to more western swing and country via Sheb Wooley and His Calumet Indians with ‘Indian Maiden’, and the upbeat ‘Snake Dance Boogie’ from Roy Hogshed. As with previous compilations in this series, there’s something for everyone with the cowboy yarn of ‘Cowboy Boots’ (Dean Armstrong And The Arizona Dance Hands), rockin’ instrumental via Wes Dakus And The Club 93 Rebels and ‘El Ringo’, to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with the album’s title track and, not forgetting tracks with a difference, Mark Devon with his interpretation of classic ‘Running Bear’ to Carolyn Gabbard and ‘Indian Rock’, which sounds ahead of its time. Another fantastic collection of songs, ‘Indian Bred Vol.4 – Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle’ makes for essential listening.


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Indian Bred Vol.3 – War Chant Boogie

Various Artists

Atomicat

Shaping up to be a class series, with a brief history lesson thrown in, is Indian Bred. Third instalment, ‘War Chant Boogie’, gives an idea of what to expect when it comes to the slices of rockin’ tunes found under its cover, and the automobile was set to leave the horse as means of transport well and truly behind. If you want tracks that represent a sense of “Feuding, Fussing and Fighting”, then you’ve come to the right place.  Beginning with a song about notorious outlaw ‘Billy The Kid’, The Raves open in style with rhythm and blues and doo-wop backing vocals. From there the history lesson gathers pace with everything from ‘Custer’s Last Stand’, compellingly told by Rose Maddox and respectful backing from the band, to songs celebrating moments of downtime via Whitey Pullen’s ‘Moonshine Liquor’, and then inspiration from piano rocker ‘Firewater’ from Rusty Isabell. It’s incredible to think that an entire compilation could be built from songs about conflicts concerning Native Americans and European Settlers, in addition to tales of outlaws who were up to no good. But that’s what occurs throughout this latest volume of ‘Indian Bred – War Chant Boogie’, which also provides an indication of the topics songwriters of the 50s were inspired by, in addition to bringing a whole host of rockin’ goodness to the table as well.


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Popcorn Blues Party Vol.3

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Adding to the “Popcorn” series on Koko Mojo is latest album ‘Popcorn Blues Party Vol.3’. With all tracks compiled by the Mojo Man himself (aka Little Victor) and all being remastered, there’s much for the listener to take in as with the previous two volumes with a genre of music that first originated in Belgium. For those less acquainted, the Popcorn genre blends traditional rhythm and blues with pop songs of the 50s and 60s and performed in a slow to midtempo and often in a minor key. With such details in mind, Volume.3 begins with a fine, midtempo instrumental via Mighty Joe Young and track, ‘Voo Doo Dust’, and then working its way to other choice cuts such as the passionate ‘Homework’, given its expression via great vocals (Otis Rush) and combination of roaring  brass and splashes of Hammond organ, before succumbing to the realisation of ‘One Way Love Affair’ expertly told by prominent instrumentation throughout and the vocals of  Z. Z. Hill; the latter deliberately giving the impression of being secondary in this particular tale. The inclusion of Muddy Waters’ ‘I Won’t Go On’, Howlin’ Wolf ‘Who’s Been Talking’ and others such as Guitar Slim and thoroughly engaging ‘Well I Done Got Over It’ reveal a strong blues slant to this album release. More common with the “popcorn” genre is the midtempo blues and soul combined of ‘Screaming Please’ complete with smooth vocal from Buddy Ace. What stands out most is the attention to detail of the majority of these tracks, where the music speaks just as loudly as the lyrics when it comes to informing the listener of the downtrodden tales of love often found on ‘Popcorn Blues Party Vol.3’.


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Let’s Throw A Pajama Party Vol.1

Various Artists

Atomicat

Bringing more new titles to their record label is Atomicat and it’s time for a party, but with a difference! The official title for this release, ‘Let’s Throw A Pajama Party Vol.1’ offers an abundance of tracks that begins with an instrumental by way of The Champs and ‘Midnighter’, and concludes, appropriately, via the upbeat rhythm and strong vocals of Freddie North with ‘Ok, So What’. The track list naturally supports the title of this latest compilation with examples including Ernie Fields Orchestra ‘In The Mood’ supplying the big band treatment that will keep any party going, to fuelling the rhythms further with rock ‘n’ roll ‘I Go Ape’ (Frankie Tyler), ‘Under The Moon Of Love’ (Curtis Lee), and Priscilla Bowman’s ‘A Rockin’ Good Way’ where edges blur between rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. That remains one of the key highlights of this new compilation because residing under the banner ‘Let’s Throw A Pajama Party Vol.1’ the listener will discover plenty of teenage-light rock ‘n’ roll with tougher rockers such as the excellent Bob Corso’s ‘Bad, Bad Woman’ mingling with other genres of rhythm and blues and doo wop. It’s left, however, to The Flamingos ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ to present the diamond in the pack here (other opinions welcome of course). Another series, and another success, ‘Let’s Throw A Pajama Party Vol.1’ is a party that will not disappoint due to its sheer variety and seriously engaging track selection that lives up to the concept chosen for this brand-new series.


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.7

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

With expectations high and much to live up to after Volume.6 offered so many great highlights of blues, and rhythm and blues all the way from a 50’s period Texas, the latest volume of this magnificent series to date is clearly under pressure! However, early signs appear promising once the inventive and full of momentum and threadbare at best beginning of Amos Milburn and His Aladdin Chickenshackers with track ‘Greyhound’ gets underway. Moving on, the songs arrive thick and fast where rhythms are often energetic and there exists a sense of optimism to some of the song’s narratives. Such examples can be discovered by Joe Tex and clearly hungry ‘Yum, Yum, Yum’, to celebratory feel of ‘I’m From Texas’ from Lee Graves (with Henry Hayes and His Rhythm Kings). Of course, this wouldn’t be a “blues” album without a little doubt creeping in, not to mention love existing in the gutter, and ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.7’ provides plenty of examples. Clear from its title alone, ‘Dirty Mistreater’, engagingly relayed via equally capturing namesake “Smokey” Hogg, is one such track. Ditto, ‘Getting Drunk’, convincingly told by the guitar and vocals of Young John Watson. In fact, there’s so much goodness here, musically and lyrically, and with twenty-eight tracks to experience the many and varied delights of this compilation album which, by the way, even reveals a caring side (i.e. Roy “Mr. Guitar” Gaines ‘Worried ‘Bout You Baby’), you simply cannot fail to fall in love with the sounds of ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.7’ because it certainly lives up to its previous volume and therefore maintains the excellent high quality.



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