Saturday, 8 May 2010

Don Woody - You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Don Woody - You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Bear Family BCD-17137

Track listing: You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree; Bird-Dog; Make Like A Rock And Roll; Morse Code; Hula Hula Girl; A Lesson In Love; Red Blooded American; Not I; A Lesson In Love; Bigelow 6-200 (Brenda Lee); The Rope (Billy Eustis)

I gotta be honest here and tell you that I’m reviewing a mate’s copy, as I wasn’t sure that I could justify the fifteen quid for an eleven song CD. I know that with Bear Family you get the whole package but the reality is that there’s only half a dozen songs here I hadn’t got.

Don Woody was one of those figures so revered in the rockabilly world. He had a couple of singles released to no acclaim back in the day, before getting discovered in Europe a couple of decades later. Woody came to our attention when he Decca quartet were highlights of the great 1975 album, “Rare Rockabilly” on MCA. That quartet, You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree, Bird-Dog, Make Like A Rock And Roll and Morse Code were cut on December 21st 1956 in Nashville with Grady Martin almost dominating proceedings. The first two were issued as a Decca single whilst surprisingly, the other two remained in the can until the MCA album. All four are rockabilly in it’s purest form and everyone of them could grace any compilation album. For what it’s worth, my favourite is the hypnotic Morse Code.

The next stage in his career could well have been the end stage but for a revival two decades and four thousand miles away. The Atco single, Not I backed with Red Blooded American was new on me, and probably for most fans. There a definite easy rock feel to Red Blooded and the verses reminded me of the Jimmy Edwards CD I reviewed last week.

From a demo session in early 1958 we get two songs, a charming enough Hula Hula Girl and A Lesson In Love which is no great shakes. The set is rounded off with two songs written by Don Woody. Surely everyone reading this has got Brenda Lee’s great Bigelow 6-200 whilst Billy Eustis’ The Rope is less known. It’s a western style story song that is better than Eustis. He’s okay but if someone like Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins would have cut it, it would have been excellent.

So to nitty gritty. Does it give enough value for money in these hard times. For me, no. The best ones are the four Decca’s and Brenda’s Bigelow. However, if you collect everything on Bear Family and have been living on Mars and haven’t heard Morse Code and co, go for it, it’s great stuff.

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