Cream of The Crate - Record #43: Rockabilly Stars Vol. 3
"This is an invaluable collection for both the curious and experienced rockabilly fan."(Allmusic Review)
This is number forty three in the series of albums I'm featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection. The series is called, "Cream of The Crate", and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.
It's easy to see compilation LP's as a way for record companies to make easy money, loading an album with a good tracks and to pay the artist little. This is an example of a compilation album that is very, very welcome. "Rockabilly Stars Volume 3" provides us with 28 outstanding tracks, many very rare and in fact eight tracks were previously unreleased.
Released on the Epic Label (E 37895) in 1982 it contains both recognised and unrecognised talent and when you are presented with previously unreleased tracks fantastic artists such as, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins and cult favourites such as Little Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy Horton, Rose Maddox, Werly Fairburn the Collins Kids and Onie Wheeler just to name some, then you know you are in for great listening.
Inner Cover, Left and Right hand side
* Previously unreleased track
Little Jimmy Dickens Hillbilly Fever A2 The Everly Brothers* That's The Life I Have To Live A3 The Everly Brothers* If Her Love Isn't True A4 The Collins Kids Walking The Floor Over You A5 Joe Maphis & Larry Collins Hurricane A6 Ronnie Self Rocky Road Blues A7 John D. Loudermilk Tobacco Road B1 Johnny Cash * Walking The Blues B2 Jimmy Murphy * Put Some Meat On The Bones B3 Jimmy Murphy Granpaw's A Cat B4 Cliff Johnson Go 'Way Hound Dog B5 Jimmy Murphy Sixteen Tons Rock And Roll B6 Johnny Horton Ole Slew Foot B7 Onie Wheeler Going Back To The City C1 Johnny Horton I'm Coming Home C2 Rose Maddox Hey Little Dreamboat C3 Jaycee Hill* A Love So Fine C4 Carl Perkins That's All Right C5 Carl Perkins * Because You're Mine C6 Sid King & The Five Strings Let 'Er Roll C7 Werly Fairburn Everybody's Rockin' D1 Bob Lord Everybody's Rockin' But Me D2 Johnny Horton Lover's Rock D3
Lorrie Collins * Soda Poppin' Around D4 The Collins Kids * Hot Rod D5 Leon Smith Little Forty Ford D6 Carl Perkins Pop, Let Me Have The Car D7 Carl Perkins * Rockin' Record Hop
So when you have an album with some twenty different artists and twenty eight tracks, how do you go about writing a review, where to comment on all artists would blow the size of the review right out of the water. yet many of them deserve some mention.
So I have decided to look at a selection of tracks that really appeal to me. I have chosen six tracks and certainly it doesn't mean these are the only great tracks on this album. The fact that there are 9 previously unreleased tracks makes this album a must for serious collectors. Four of those unreleased tracks are among the six that I will review.
The first track is possibly the best known artist on this album, or should I say, artists. The Everly Brothers should need no real introductions, even if you are not a rockabilly fan. In fact, most of their fantastic music doesn't even fall into the rockabilly category although there is an argument that classic hits such as, "Wake Up little Susie", "e e Love" and "Bird Dog", all originally released on Cadence Records, are in fact Rockabilly.
Don (born 1937) and Phil (born 1939) must be considered as among the most successful of the pioneers of rock and roll/rockabilly music, certainly they had hit after hit. In fact there are two previously unreleased tracks on this album and it was a toss of the coin which one to feature.
It's not everyday we get to listen to an artist that is much admired and hear a track not previously released them. I don't need to 'sell' the Everly Brothers, they have already done that. In all honesty, this track is actually a 'cross-over' between Country & Western, Hillbilly and Rockabilly, but for Everly fans, it's a must!
If Her Love Isn't True
Jimmy Murphy is a largely unknown artist, in fact in many ways he's an enigma! In the 1950's he did a few recording sessions for RCA and two for Columbia. The first Columbia session was in 1955 and it yielded the track, "Put Some Meat On Them Bones". For some strange reasons the track was never released until this compilation album was put together. It is an absolutely rocking' and rollicking good track.
We could spend many lines of tracks setting up propositions for why the track was never released, but let's leave it as yet another of the many rock and roll mysteries.
It wasn't the only good release Jimmy Murphy, who also recorded "Grandpaw's A Cat" (on this album), and it is a fantastic rockabilly piece. His track "Electricity" formed the basis for his 1978 'Sugar Hill' album 'Electricity'. The album has been called his 'comeback' album, but it puzzles me, because as great a singer as he is I can't understand how you can have a comeback album when you were never all that popular previously.
Sadly he died not long after the "Electricity" album was released.
Put Some Meat On Them Bones
Next is The Collins Kids, consisting of brother and sister act, Larry (born 1944) and Lorrie (born 1942). They signed with Columbia in 1955 and became their principle sibling duo. If I was to categorise their style it would have to be, 'joyous rockabilly'! be it design or accident, their music is full of fun and damn good.
The Collins Kids
In addition to this previously unreleased track, "Hot Rod", the album has a solo track Lorrie, a little more down tempo, but non-the less highly enjoyable called, "Soda Poppin' Around".
Vocals were their forte, with Lorrie taking the lead and Larry providing high harmony, but also playing some very tasty guitar licks. Top guitarist Joe Maphis taught Larry, and in fact he and Larry team up for a track on this album titled, "Hurricane". However, for this review I have chosen the track,
Track number four in this review and it's the last of the previously unreleased tracks featured on the album, is a ripper! Carl Perkins, Mr 'Blue Suede Shoes'. In my mind he may not be the best Rockabilly artist ever, but he sure as hell knew how to sing Rockabilly and he made some money from it, along with his bag of Rock and Roll tracks he was a premier entertainer before his tragic death.
The track "Rockin' Record Hop" was from his initial Columbia session in February 1958. It has everything in it that made him so popular. There is a 'swing' in the delivery, the backing is oh so tight, and he just simply sounds like the star he was destined to become! Yet again, we will never know why it wasn't released because to me, it had hit written all over it.
Rockin' Record Hop
So, to the final two tracks, both of which had been released prior to this albums production. The first is Cliff Johnson with "Go Away Hound Dog". Unlike many of his contemporaries, Cliff "Sleepy" Johnson was no youngster when he cut this track. In fact Johnson had been around for many years, starting out as a banjo player with the famous 'Light Crust Doughboys' as well as Bob Wills' 'Texas Playboys' - both bands being definitely part of the earlier hybrid, Western Swing.
So, he was hardly a youngster when he entered the Columbia Studios in January 1957, to record the humorous, but swinging, "Go 'Way Hound Dog".
Go 'Way Hound Dog
And so, I come to the final track, and I do feel guilty that I have left some fantastic tracks out of the review, but then again it gives you, the chance to do some discovering yourself.
I have chosen a little known artist, Leon Smith. the admission of the cover notes, not a lot is known about him. The track "Little Forty Ford" was recorded in July 1959. The "Rockabilly Hall of Fame had this to say about him.
"His career began at the age of 5 and he has never been far from a guitar! His service in the Air Force and other career endeavors lead him away from music for a number of years. He started his music career again in 1997 and has been enthusiastically entertaining crowds ever since."
Little Forty Ford
All in all this is a highly recommended album for collectors of, rare albums, early Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly and cross-over music. The great thing is the vinyl album is still available at a real bargain price of around $20.00, which is around 70cents a track! It is NOT available on CD!
VIDEOS - Not unexpectedly, there are very few live performances s on this album, so I have added a couple of tracks that at least have interesting graphics. The two live trackse the artists on this album doing other tracks, and the final two are tracks on this album, to graphics.
Collins Kids - Wild Cat
She Knows How To Rock Me
Sid King & The Five Strings - Let 'Er roll
Johnny Horton - Lovers Rock
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums
#1 Howling Wolf: Real Folk Blues
#2 Otis Redding: Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Sings Soul
#3 Dr John The Night Tripper: Gris Gris
#4 Spectrum: ROYGBIV
#5 Son House: The Real Delta Blues
#6 Cruisin 61
#7 Live At The Station Hotel
#8 Cros, Stills Nash & Young: Déjà Vu
#9 Moon Mullican: Rock it to the Moon
#10 Billy Thorpe: Time Traveller
#11 Bob and Laurie: Cum Sum Ambulant (Hitch Hiker)
#12 Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland
#13 The Beatles: The Beatles Collection
#14 Johnny OKeefe: 20th Anniversary Album
#15 Jimmy Cliff (and others): The harder They Come (The Soundtrack from the movie the same name)
#16 Frank Zappa: Roxy and Elsewhere
#17 Junior Walker & The All Stars: Roadrunner
#18 - The Moonglows, Flamingos & The Orioles: Jump
#19 - King Federal - Rockabillys: Various Artists
#20 - Max Merritt and The Meteors: Max Merritt & The Meteors
#21 - Planet Gong: Camembert Electrique
# 22 - Earth, Wind & Fire: Head To The Sky
#23 - Ellen McIlwaine: We The People
#24 - The Easybeats: Absolute Anthology
#25 - Rainbow Generator: Dance Of The Spheres
#26 - Martha and the Vandellas: Greatest Hits
#27 - Buddy Holly: A Rock and Roll Collection
#28 - The Who: Quadrophenia
#29 - Elvis: The legend (1954 - 1961)
#30 - Col Joye: Let's Rock With
#31 - The Yardbirds: For Your Love
#32 - Eddy Cochran: The Singles Album
#33 - Krozier & The Generator: Tranceformer
#34 - Pink Floyd: Boxed set of LP's
#35 - Jackie Wilson: Jackie Sings the Blues
#36 - Cream: Wheels of Fire: In The Studio
#37 - Masters Apprentices: Masterpiece
#38 - The Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
#39 - Billie Holiday: The Original Recordings
#40 - MPD LTD: The Wild Side of Life
#41 - Solomon Burke: Greatest Hits
#42 - Nina Hagen: Unbehagen