Gene O'Quin

Boogie Woogie Fever

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Gene O'Quin never cut any rockabilly, but he's garnered a following among rockabilly collectors for his up-tempo boogies and hillbilly bop. His high, nasal voice is wonderfully twangy, on par with Wayne Raney or Little Jimmy Dickens, and his good-natured novelties and boogies are consistently engrossing. Boogie Woogie Fever collects 30 sides O'Quin cut for Capitol and Intro from 1950-1955, including a number of previously unreleased tracks -- not his complete recordings, but a lot of them. Hotshot players from the Capitol stable are all over the place here: Merle Travis, Jimmy Bryant, Speedy West and Billy Strange, to name a few. O'Quin's jumping tempos have placed songs like "Boogie Woogie Fever" and "Too Hot to Handle" on rockabilly compilations, but the boogie beats and sock rhythms keep them firmly grounded in country music. O'Quin comes across as such a happy-go-lucky fellow, it tends to undermine the sincerity of his weepers and ballads. Thankfully, the slow songs are in the minority, so listeners can concentrate on the hopped-up hillbilly music O'Quin did best.

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