Various Artists

MGM Rockabillies, Vol. 1

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This is an absolutely amazing collection of material that, in the eyes of most casual onlookers, would seem to represent a distinct "second team" in rock & roll. Apart from Conway Twitty, the only names here likely to elicit much recognition from anyone but hardcore rockabilly fans is Marvin Rainwater, and he was better known for his country recordings. But as it turns out, almost everything here is first-rate rockabilly, with some of the best work ever done by Andy Starr -- who should have been a true rock & roll star -- up alongside quirkier figures such as actor-turned-rock & roller Ron Hargrave (whose salacious "Drive In Movie" is a highlight of this CD), Bob Gallion, 65-year-old Carson Robison, and Cecil Campbell. There's no licensing information on the disc, which leads one to suspect that this isn't an authorized release, but one would never know it from the quality of the mastering on all of the material represented. And a lot of what's here will already be represented on volumes of Bear Family's authorized (and annotated) That'll Flat Git It series -- but it's still great listening anyway you want to look at it.

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