Various Artists

Shreveport High Steppers: Ram Rockabilly & Hillbilly

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The Shreveport, LA-based Ram label put out a cartload of rock, blues, and country records in the 1950s without ever establishing itself as a major indie. This 26-track compilation of, as the title promises, rockabilly and hillbilly sides from the decade is definitely for the "let's clean out the vault 'cause it's there'" kind of enthusiasts. That's not to say that it's terrible, just that it's a pretty unremarkable collection of minor leaguers, the biggest name -- and she's hardly a big one -- being Margaret Lewis. A couple of guys not primarily known for work under their own name make early appearances. Joe Osborne, one of the top Los Angeles rock session bassists of the 1960s, is represented by the previously unreleased instrumental "Rovin'," one of the better cuts with its tough blues-rock swagger. James Burton, meanwhile, contributes guitar to Leon Post's unreleased instrumental "Dollie in the Dirt Boogie." For the most part, the CD has run-of-the-mill rockabilly that's a little more subdued than the manic performances that tend to fill compilations such as these, sometimes with a pronounced country flavor. The Lonesome Drifter (who has nine songs), for instance, sounds a little like a rockabillied Hank Williams, sometimes smothered in a ridiculous amount of echo. Most of these acts would have been fine as warmups for Shreveport's famous Louisiana Hayride radio show, but it can't be said that their Ram sides (seven of which are previously unreleased) on this disc are worth much attention.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:11
2 1:44
3 2:28
4
2:21
5
2:13
6
2:07
7 2:28
8 2:15
9 2:17
10
2:30
11 3:20
12 2:30
13 1:03
14 1:54
15 1:49
16
1:59
17 1:31
18 2:09
19 2:08
20
2:25
21
2:34
22 2:07
23 2:26
24
2:34
25
2:18
26 2:31
27
2:09
blue highlight denotes track pick