Various Artists

Imperial Rockabillies, Vol. 3

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The third and final volume in this set exploring the rockabilly from the vaults of Imperial Records extends its view to include late rockers from 1960 with a backward glance to hillbilly boogie items going back to 1950 from the label's 8000 country music series of singles. Country boogie artist Billy Briggs appears here twice, with two different takes of his signature tune from that series, "Chew Tobacco Rag" from 1950. The four holdover artists from the previous two volumes are well represented here as well. Dorsey Burnette's demo version for Ricky Nelson of "It's Late" and the previously unreleased "I Only Came Here to Dance," Laura Lee Perkins' version of Hank Williams' "I Just Don't Like This Kind of Living," Lew Williams' "Gone Ape Man" and "Something I Said," Bob Luman's "Make Up Your Mind Baby" (featuring James Burton on guitar) and the Strikes' previously unissued "My Poor Heart" all add much-welcomed weight to their slender discographies. The Buddy Holly side of rockabilly's equation rears its head on this compilation with the inclusion of Clovis, New Mexico upstarts Jimmy Craig ("Oh Little Girl") and Ronny Smith ("Long Time No Love") as well as a tribute record of sorts ("Buddy") by a 14-year-old Jackie Dee, later to go onto songwriting fame as Jackie DeShannon. This compilation is also full of wonderful one-shots by totally obscure artists. There might not be much in the way of information on the likes of Jay Banks (the crudely played and sung "Get Off My Back"), Slick Slavin ("Speed Crazy," a sort of rockabilly Nervous Norvus), Bobby Lonero (the New Orleans rocker "Little Bit") or Jackie Walker ("Only Teenagers Allowed"), but all left great material behind as their calling cards. Another stunning Joe Maphis guitar solo surfaces on Nick Venet's (later producer of the Beach Boys) "Love In Be-Bop Time" and Andy Starr's crude but extremely effective break on the Strikes' "My Poor Heart" is another must hear. With no bottom-of-the-barrel scrapings here, this final volume is a worthy entry to the series.