Various Artists

Rompin' Stompin'

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This collection is slightly more uneven than a lot of the rest of this series, with less of a country and rockabilly influence, and more mainstream, commercial rock & roll as its focus, and an early-'60s orientation. "Rompin' Stompin'" by Grady Lewis, "Wayne's Boogie" by Wayne Rogers (presumably not the future actor), and "Crossed Eyed Susie Wake Up" and "Boogie Woogie Sally" by the Four Rebels all rock hard enough, but there's less of a cutting-edge feeling to numbers like that than there is to the best part of Buffalo Bop's rock & roll compilations. Alvis Edwards probably wasn't born with that first name, but he had the ambition to justify a run at stardom, "Real Gone Baby" on the Enall label being a pretty hard-driving piece of rock & roll, if a little too slick. And "The Catalina Push" by the Catalinas is a little too close to what became established as surf music by 1961/'62, and belongs on another collection. "Twisting Sadie" by Jimmy & the Gems redeems things, and George Darro's "The Southern Twist" and Doug Clayton's "Saturday Night Twist" both clearly place this collection in terms of dates and periods. Billy Barnett's "Romp and Stomp" and Beecher Hickman's "Hey Blues," by contrast, are more countrified numbers, the latter featuring some lightning-fingered guitar playing. The Marcus Brothers were obviously trying for an Everly Bros.-type success, but "Sugar Booger" was the song to take them to the upper reaches of the charts. Gene Taft's "Make These Blues Go Away," issued on Topic, lacks just a little of the punch that it needed to get a place on the charts, but why Bobby Crown's driving "One Way Ticket" never made it is anyone's guess, sounding more like Jerry Lee Lewis than the Ferriday Fireball did. Bobby Brant's "Piano Nellie," Johnny Barnette's "Shadow My Baby," the Chavis Brothers' "So Tired," and the Savoys' R&B-flavored death song "Domino" (great line: "Go for love or don't go at all"), also probably deserved better fates than music history decreed, but they're the jewels of this collection.

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