Bear Family's 2012 set White Lightin' is part of their Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight line, a series that concentrates on the rocking & rolling and boogie-woogie sides of country and rockabilly singers. Wooley is rarely seen as a rockabilly cat and there's a reason for that. He was a cowboy, and a Hollywood one at that, so he never really tore loose the way a rowdy redneck would, but the 30 cuts on White Lightnin' -- the earliest dating from 1945, the latest from 1961, but most coming from the '50s -- have a serious swing to them, showcasing that Wooley could get wild and woolly when the occasion called for it. This disc contains almost all of those occasions, most leaning toward a hard-swinging country boogie that Wooley performed ably and amiably. He was capable of doing more -- something Todd Everett makes clear in his fine liner notes, and his sentiment is borne out by other Bear Family sets -- but it's easy to overlook how rowdy he could be, and White Lightnin' showcases this wild streak to an entertaining effect.
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