Sunday, 12 July 2009

Various: Good Rockin' Tonight - Red Hot Rockabilly
Fantastic Voyage - B002BANBV2

I’ve just been sent a review copy of the latest in a long line of rockabilly box sets and have to say it one of the finest compilations you could dream up. Compiled by renowned rockabilly Lucky Parker, 'Good Rockin Tonight-Red Hot Rockabilly' is a 3CD 75 track set including much sought after tracks from the likes of Sun, Decca, Capitol, Columbia, Mercury, RCA and Brunswick labels.

Fantastic Voyage was launched this February, a subsidiary of Future Noise Music which itself only came into being in January. The labels will feature releases of r&b, soul, blues, jazz and rock 'n' roll to punk, electronica and rock. A new imprint, Year Zero will be launched in September, dealing with the punk era onwards.
As I said, there’s been no end of rockabilly compilations taking advantage of the 50 year copyright ruling, but Good Rockin' Tonight - Red Hot Rockabilly, is one of the best. We get the full variety of the genre from the uptempo hillbilly side to the flat-out high-octane rockabilly blasters. They all come from the prime-time period of rockabilly, 1954 to 1958.

From the country side of things we get such classics as Ferlin Huskey’s Slow Down Brother, Webb Pierce’s Teenage Boogie, the Farmers Boys’ Cool Down Mame and Brenda Lee’s Little Jonah. From the dance-floor stomping market we get such shot-in-the-arm rockers as Ray Harris’ Come On Little Mama and Jack Earls’ Slow Down. There’s a whole slew of tracks that have gone on to become classics in the last few decades – Cast Iron Arm, Sixteen Chicks, Bop-A-Lena, and one of my all-time favourites, Love Bug Crawl b Jimmy Edwards (uuumm, what a thrill).

Sun records always looms large on compilations like this and here we get to bop to Warren Smith’s Miss Froggie, Sonny Burgess’ We Wanna Boogie and Hayden Thompson’s Love My Baby and a dozen or so other essentials.

Towards the end of the second CD you get two examples of backing vocals – they’re fine on the late-great Janis Martin’s Alright Baby but spoil Bob Luman’s Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache (the undubbed version would have fit the bill much better).

My two heroes, Jerry Lee and Elvis are well represented with not a dud between them. In actual fact there’s only one dud here, Billy Lee Riley’s over-rated Baby Please Don’t Go. I adore Billy and am saddened to here of his continued illness, but this song isn’t in the same league as the likes of Trouble Bound, Pearly Lee and countless others.

This is a must have item for new fans and for established rockers it’s a great collection to leave in the car to brighten up any journey. 74 classics out of 75 is a five star release in anyone’s book. Released this week, file under Essential.

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