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Rob Greaves

Cream of The Crate - Record #19

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That Rockabilly sound wasn't as simple as I thought it was! (Carl Perkins)

This is number nineteen 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.

Album #19 somewhat follows on from the previous album reviewed, in that it is also a compilation, and what a compilation! Featuring fourteen excellent Rockabilly tracks, by seven artists, the title is "King-Federal Rockabillys". Released in 1978 by Gusto Records, it celebrates the fantastic and amazing Rockabilly tracks originally put out on the fantastic Federal King Label.

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The full history of this great label can be found on the King /Federal/Delux Story web site, however, in summary Syd Nathan founded the King Label during the second world war. He saw a niche that the major labels were not meeting, particularly the music coming from the Appalachian Mountains. 

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Syd Nathan

Not familiar with that music?

“Appalachian music was unmistakably influenced by African American culture, as white and black musicians within Appalachian communities long shared their knowledge of songs, tunes, and musical instruments. Several well-known songs from the region, such as the blues ballad “John Henry,” and one instrument widely associated with the region (the banjo) were of African American origin. The blues had a considerable impact on both country and bluegrass music, a fact evident, for in- stance, in Jimmie Rodgers’s “blue yodel” singing style and Merle Travis’s and Bill Monroe’s instrumental styles.” This is a quote from an article on this music, and more info can be gained from clicking on this link. Appalachian Mountain Story.

Recognising that there was also a large section of ‘Black Music’ not being catered for, he started the ‘Queen Label’ not long after establishing the ‘King Label’, and it featured artists like Bullmoose Jackson.

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Early King/Queen Studio

In the late 1950’s he founded the 'Federal Label’ and signed Bill Ward & The Dominoes and James Brown, among many artists. Then spurred on by the roaring success of Elvis, King/Federal records made the decision to move into the ‘Country/Rockabilly’ genre.

What is interesting now in retrospect, was that although the $’s were obviously in the eyes of Syd Nathan, he signed many totally unknown artists such as Hank Mizell and Bill Peach (to name but two) and in fact, the greater majority of his recordings failed to become anything like hits.

Yet because of him, we have today music that is real collectors items because the artists captured the style and feel of the music perfectly, even though for whatever reason, at the time the public failed to respond.

Artists such as Mac Curtis and Charlie Feathers in particular did gain some notoriety and in fact made some damn excellent recordings. Mac in particular cultivated a fantastic Presley type sneer and had a ‘cow lick’ that even Bill Halley would have been envious of. He is still performing, has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and was in a movie called “Don’t Let Go” made in 2000.

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The music on this album is fan-bloody-tastic! Now there are many, many Rockabilly Compilations and I’m not in the position to declare that this is the best! But is a beauty! There is not a dud or dull track on it.

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My three favourite tracks (and this wasn’t easy) are Mac Curtis and Grandaddy’s Rocking, Charlie Feathers with One Hand Loose and Hank Mizell with Jungle Rock. Honestly, I could have written my list of fav three, probably three different combinations without repeating a track.

So who are the artists on this record? Well, there are seven artists, some get one track, several get multiple tracks, and the artists and tracks are:

A1. Mac Curtis - Grandaddy's Rocking:
King 4949

A2. Charlie Feathers - One Hand Loose: King 4997

A3. Joe Penny - Bip A Little, Lot:
Federal 1232

A4. Ronnie Molleen - Rockin' Up:
King 5365

A5. Mac Curtis - Little Miss Linda:
King 4927

A6. Charlie Feathers - Bottle To The Baby:
King 4997

A7. Mac Curtis - Goose Bumps:

B1. Mac Curtis - If I Had A Woman:
King 4927

B2. Charlie Feathers - Everybody's Lovin' My Baby:
King 4971

B3. Hank Mizell - Jungle Rock:
King 5236

B4. Bill Peach - Peg Pants:
King 4940

B5. Mac Curtis - Say So:
King 5059

B6. Charlie Feathers - Nobody's Woman:
King 5022

B7. Bob and Lucille - Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: King 5631

The music rocks, bops, rolls and tumbles in a most entertaining way. If you are looking to add some Rockabilly to your collection you would not make a mistake buying this album, and, it is available on Ebay and in a few overseas shops for not much more than about $20.00. Yet again, a classic album still under recognized even today.


Yet again I faced the problem of no available film/video clips of these artists at the time of the recordings. So the following are the best of the available.

Grandaddy’s Rocking

Bob and Lucille

Charlie Feathers

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 – Crosby, Stills Nash & Young: Déjà Vu

#9 – Moon Mullican: Rock it to the Moon

#10 – Billy Thorpe: Time Traveller

#11 – Bobby and Laurie: Cum Sum Ambulant (Hitch Hiker)

#12 – Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

#13 – The Beatles: The Beatles Collection

#14 – Johnny O’Keefe: 20th Anniversary Album

#15 – Jimmy Cliff (and others): The harder They Come (The Soundtrack from the movie by the same name)

#16 – Frank Zappa: Roxy and Elsewhere

#17 – Junior Walker & The All Stars: Roadrunner

#18 - The Moonglows, Flamingos & The Orioles: Jump

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Updated 8th April 2013 at 09:20 PM by Mick Pacholli

Rob Greaves , The Cream of The Crate