Various Artists

White Bucks to Stetson Hats: Bandera Rockabilly

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The small Chicago-based Bandera label is more known for its blues and gospel music than for its rockabilly and country. (In fact its blues and gospel can be sampled on another Ace compilation CD, the bulkily titled Blues and Gospel from the Bandera, Laredo and Jerico Road Labels of Chicago.) While the 24 tracks from the late '50s and early '60s on this CD are nothing to bury Carl Perkins and Everly Brothers records behind, they are pretty respectable as far as unknown rockabilly and country from the era goes. And we're talking very unknown. A third of it was previously unissued, and you'd be seriously challenged to gather a dozen people in the same room who've heard of all seven performers (Benny Ingram, James Mask & His Impalas, Rick Emerson & the Sidewinders, Chuck Akin, Bob Perry, Merle Ray & the Southern Rockets, B.J. & the Boys). James Mask has a high, crooning style that might have been more suited to straight country than the average rockabilly he essays on his seven cuts; Benny Ingram does good journeyman raucous rockabilly on "Jello Sal"; Rick Emerson is the rawest performer, getting some grungy guitar growl on the instrumentals "Side Winder" and "Gully Washer"; and Bob Perry is more properly classified as a rockabilly-tinged country artist, some of his tracks boasting steel guitar and fiddle. Actually B.J. & the Boys' rollicking country trucking ode "Roll That Rig (Again)," from 1964, is the most interesting item here, although the sound transfer on this one track is surprisingly dodgy.

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