This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.
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, by loading an album with a good tracks and to pay the artist little. However 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 by 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.
||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||Bobby Lord||Everybody’s Rockin’ But Me|
|D2||Johnny Horton||Lover’s Rock|
||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|
* Previously unreleased track
So when you have an album with some twenty different artists and twenty eight tracks, how do you go about writing a review?
I mean to say 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, after all I’m the reviewer and that empowers me to make these decisions.
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. However, four of those unreleased tracks are among the six that I will review.
The first track is by 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“, “Bye Bye Love” and “Bird Dog“, all originally released on Cadence Records, are in fact Rockabilly.
Don Everly (born 1937) and Phil Everly (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 by them 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 by them.
Hell, I don’t need to ‘sell’ the Everly Brothers, they have already done that. In all honesty, the track I have chosen 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 discussion 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 by Jimmy Murphy, who also recorded “Grandpaw’s A Cat” (on this album). This is a fantastic rockabilly piece.
His track “Electricity” [not on this album] 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 by 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 by Lorrie, a little more down tempo, but non-the less highly enjoyable called, “Soda Poppin’ Around“.
Vocals were their forte. Lorrie took the lead and Larry providing high harmony, along with 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, “Hot Rod“.
Track number four in this review and it’s the last of the previously unreleased tracks featured on the album, is a ripper!
It’s by 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.
By 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.
It was a time when life was simpler, if not slower, less violent and in so many ways this music fully reflects that time. The lyrics tell not just the story of the song but in many ways the story of the people and the life of the times.
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!
Not unexpectedly, there are very few live performances by artists on this album, so I have done the best i can to find some clips of live performances that exist.
Collins Kids – Wildcat
Syd King – Let ‘Er Roll
Little Jimmy Dickens – May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
The Everly Brothers – Walk Right Back
Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:
Click to open: