The Farmer Boys

Flash, Crash and Thunder

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The Farmer Boys' complete 16 sides for Capitol, cut between January of 1955 and February of 1957, represent about as varied a body of music as one could squeeze into just four sessions in three years. The order isn't chronological, as the producers have put the rockabilly numbers up first, even though they came later, while their first, traditional-sounding records (complete with fiddle and mandolin, the latter played by Bill Woods) come last. Taken in totality, one gets several beautiful harmony-based ballads ("No One"), Lonzo & Oscar-type novelty tunes ("Flip Flop," "Onions, Onions"), and high-energy near-rockers ("My Baby Done Left Me," "Cool Down Mame," "Flash, Crash and Thunder"). These 16 songs make a fair album, with no one side of the duo's sound dominating; apart from the vocals, which are equally effective on ballads or silly singalongs ("You're a Humdinger"), the music is worth owning for Roy Nichols' playing. It's hard to say where the duo would have gone had it recorded any further, but the material the Farmer Boys left behind is exceptionally appealing musically, as well as great fun.

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