It’s getting towards the end of the year so we thought we would have a look back over some of the great albums that have come out this year. We have Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country Bop and Hillbilly, 60s Punk and Garage and some pure Rockabilly. Each one of these albums is like a big box of chocolates except you won’t make yourself sick if you binge the lot, so go on, spoil yourself!
Actually, this was last year but hey this is Rock ‘n’ Roll not rocket science… Blakey Records is best known for the super CD series That British Sound but on this amazing album they find the British and US Rock ‘n’ Roll Sound in South Africa. The styles on display here range from Rockabilly (yes really) with The Silhouettes to real tough instros from The Rousers and the Diamonds to super straight Rock ‘n’ Roll. The last track by Abia Themba backed by Mickie Most and The Playboys is a treat for those of us that dig the exotic and unusual. Black and White Twist from 1962 was the first multi-racial Rock ‘n’ Roll recording in South Africa. Like Cyril says there may be nothing else like it.
Yeehhaaa! The latest Corn Fed continues to bring unknown country boppers and hick rockers to the attention of all Rock ‘n’ Roll fans. Although this album has one foot in Country and the other in Rockabilly it has a wide selection of styles. It is not obvious bop or jive tempo Pink Cadillacs and Swinging Baby Doll clichés but tracks like Runnin’ Wild, Gotta Shake A leg and First Time I Met You rock the Country style and really deserve to be heard played loud in big clubs. If you don’t know what this is about do yourself a favour and click through on the link and listen to the Youtube link.
OK, just in case you get the impression we think that a good album has to be made up exclusively of unknown tracks we come to this collection that kicks off with two tracks that have been setting dance floors alight for many years. Some of the other tracks are not so well known but all of them are ragin’ 60s garage, frat, punk killers. This album really is a party pressed onto vinyl (and it comes with a free CD version for car dancing).
Blue Moon is one of those labels where everything we knew on it seemed great but what we knew was just a few 45s. This makes it very exciting to get a Blue Moon and associated labels album, especially from Bear Family, as the quality will be top-notch. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely yes, killer stompers from The Downbeats and Johnnie Amelio, craziness from Gradie Martin, super Rock ‘n’ Roll from The Savoys and Joe Jaros. Well there is no point in us listing each track and trying to think of a synonym for great but after all that, our favourite may well be the not-well-known Linda And The Epics stormer.
Full disclosure: we have a Hayden Thompson tattoo so we’re not an unbiased commentator. That said, this is a long overdue issue. There have been a few Hayden LPs but this one collects together the cream of the crop of his Sun recordings that were unissued at the time. We have Rockabilly of the highest order here like Love My Baby, Oh Mama, You Are My Sunshine and the salacious Fairlane Rock where when he sings about his ‘straight exhaust’ sounding off and you have to think that single entendre would not have got past the radio censors. Real raunchy Rockabilly but it is not all up-tempo; Blues Blues Blues, One Broken Heart and Rock-A-Billy Gal slow down the pace but not the intensity. Of course, Rock-A-Billy Gal is the only use of the word Rock-A-Billy in the Sun annals. The other tracks all match up to the quality of these ones. Man, Hayden should have been a superstar.
Merry Christmas Everyone!