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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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Hank Williams Songbook Vol.1

Various Artists

Atomicat

Ushering in another new series is Atomicat Records with their ‘Hank Williams Songbook Vol.1’. The new set of volumes looks to the songs of Hank Williams with a few additional tracks that also inspired the singer-songwriter. The rest is left to various selected artists to provide their interpretations of Hank Williams songs. Therefore, Volume. 1, ‘Rockin’ Chair Money’, focuses on numerous songs where country, bluegrass, gospel and honky tonk play their parts, for example, and often where the tempo is upbeat and lively. Step forward various artists with sizeable reputations to spread the gospel that was Hank Williams when it came to traditional country music, presented here by the likes of Moon Mullican (‘Jambalaya’), Marvin rainwater (‘Moanin’ The Blues’), Johnny Horton (‘Cherokee Boogie’), Don Gibson (‘Why Don’t You Love Me’) and The Maddox Brothers & Rose with ‘Honky Tonkin’. Much respect is given by Porter Wagoner’s version of classic ‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire’, to nothing to be ashamed of cover of ‘I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You’ by Delbert Barker. Equally competent and offering slightly different versions of Williams’ songs are Smilin’ Eddie Hill with ‘Mind Your Own Business’ and bluegrass legend Bill Monroe with ‘I Saw The Light’. With a hefty twenty-eight tracks to work through with this new release, there’s much to ponder and rejoice in when it came to the music of Hank Williams.


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Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Second volume of brand-new compilation series from the Atomicat label ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive’ features another twenty-eight tracks from well-established artists to a few names less so when it comes to country music. Ranging from hillbilly to western swing and honky tonk,  ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.2’ offers yet more great quality as far as the music goes, but the bonus with the second edition is the inclusion of artists who are less prominent when it comes to similar compilation albums. Therefore, step forward the likes of Curley Williams & His Georgia Peach Pickers and track ‘Texas Swing’, to other candidates Village Boys ‘Boogie Woogie In The Village’, Billy Hughes ‘Cocaine Blues’, Bill Mounce and Sons of the South ‘Kickin’ It Off’, and Big Jeff & The Radio Playboys’ ‘Juke Box Boogie’. To have a song named ‘Cocaine Blues’ was rock ‘n’ roll in itself before the genre had been invented and, without doubt, there must have been plenty of wild shenanigans predating rock ‘n’ roll judging from the lively rhythms of many of these songs. The inclusion of Grayson And Whitter’s ‘Train Forty-Five’ is a special touch with its fiddle generating the rhythm and thus providing the imaginary momentum of the train in motion, to gorgeous guitar pickin’ and storytelling via Bob Newman and pressure that’s on during ‘Haulin’ Freight’. If you’re looking for something a little different when it comes to country compilations, then ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.2’ could just be the ticket.

 


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Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.1

Various Artists

Atomicat

Turning its attention to music from the American wilderness is Atomicat who introduce a fresh series focusing on ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive’. The first volume features country music from America’s Pine State and features various artists predating what was to later become rock ‘n’ roll. With the genres of hillbilly, western swing and honky tonk featured throughout this first compilation, there’s certainly something for all those country music aficionados out there. Housed in an ultra-slim digipack and remastering having taken place at Black Shack Recordings and Mark Armstrong responsible for compiling all tracks, ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.1’ provides a great introduction to those less familiar with the aforementioned genres. There are many established names represented here from the likes of Bill Haley & His Comets, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Wade Ray, Merle Travis, Hank Penny, Patsy Cline, Hank Thompson, Don Gibson, Tex Williams et al. With such an established line-up there’s much quality on offer, not to mention compelling narration via excellent ‘Hadacillin Boogie’ from the quick tongue of Hank Penny, to Johnny Bond with ‘Sick, Sober And Sorry’. The country music is often lively and upbeat but with lyrics that often reflect opposite emotions such as The Singing Rangers & His Rainbow Ranch Boys ‘Can’t Have You Blues’ or Gene O’Quin with ‘I Get The Blues’. Standout track goes to Wade Ray and ‘Idaho Red’ complete with backing singers and handclaps that are simply irresistible! Overall, this is a GREAT entry point for those looking for some genuine foundations of the artists who represented the developing country sounds.


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.6

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Another volume in the Southern Bred series arrives and this time focus is given to the region of Texas and those “R&B Rockers” who plied their trade there. With the by now obligatory twenty-eight tracks featuring established artists in addition to those lesser known, the quality has been consistently high throughout this series to date. The sixth volume shows no signs of faltering regarding such standards with Little Esther offering her interpretation of classic ‘Hound Dog’ that gets this album off to a flyer. From then on, the quality of rhythm and blues continues to ascend skywards with Joe Tex (‘She’s Mine’), Little Willie Littlefield (‘Rockin’ Chair Mama’) and his rockin’ piano that most likely sparked Jerry Lee Lewis’s interest in the instrument judging by the similarities, and the smooth ride, complemented with additional handclaps, of The Medallions’ ‘Buick ‘59’. There is a real sense of optimism to the majority of tracks presented here, where rhythms are often lively as portrayed by the saxophone of King Curtis and ‘Rockabye Baby’, to the bigger sounding ‘Shake, Pretty Baby, Shake’ of Eddie ‘Tex’ Curtis & His Orchestra, and hotly pursued by piano-pumpin’ ‘Amos’ Boogie’ (Amos Milburn) and too hot to handle ‘That’s What You Think’ by Freddy King. It’s The Medallions, once more, who provide much to smile about when it comes to this latest compilation with their inventive presentation of ‘Speedin’, in addition to superb vocals from Fluffy Hunter during ‘The Walkin’ Blues (Walk Right In, Walk Right Out)’ with musical accompaniment supplied via Jesse Powell Orchestra which, along with the rest of the artists representing this latest volume, leaves a huge task to fill when the next album in this series arrives in terms of matching the astounding selection of ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.6’.



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