Launching a brand-new series on the Atomicat label that goes by the name ‘Hillbilly And Rustic Rockabilly Bop Volume 1’ offers a hefty number of tracks by artists who were in the process of bridging the gap between western swing, hillbilly bop and the first tentative steps of what became known as rockabilly. Life before Elvis certainly existed, albeit it at a slightly slower and harmonious tempo, but clearly there where signs of developing sounds that really started to rock the Honky Tonk joints they were made for. Beginning with an obvious starting point where the primitive sounds and blues held by its lyrics of Shorty Holloway and His Prairie Ramblers’ ‘Telephone Blues’, only for the rhythms to show signs of developing more details and the pace gathering at some speed. Examples of this can be identified from the Starday label with Lattie Moore ‘Why Did You Lie To Me’, and then upping the tempo considerably by lively and pickin’ rhythm of compelling country boogie that is ‘Too Hot To Handle’ from Gene O’Quin. Certainly, the words littered throughout these songs portray tales of relationship woes, but these were often (cleverly) disguised by lively rhythms gracing these songs. Jim Reeves ‘Oklahoma Hills’ is a fully developed affair where all the parts have come together and would be termed “professional” and “commercial” if released in the present, but not to be read as a negative by any means because it’s an excellent addition. Likewise, but for different reasons, the wild and untamed approach of Maddox Bros and Rose during the track ‘South’ revealing the rawer and developing sounds of the time. Special mentions go to Ken Marvin for his engaging vocals that really wrap the listener around the words that provide humour and reveal much confidence, and for the “bop” merging into “cat music” via Roy Moss and wonderful hiccupping vocals throughout ‘You’re My Big Baby Now’. Certainly, a rustic ride featuring western swing, country bop and early stages of rockabilly, Atomicat has just released what appears from volume one a fascinating new series where much anticipation now waits for volume two.