$15,000 Worth of Rockabilly

Various Artists

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$15,000 Worth of Rockabilly Review

by Cub Koda

If you take 32 ultra-rare rockabilly records -- roughly valued at about $500 bucks a throw in collectors' circles -- and add them up, you end up with what the title of this compilation purports to be. What dictates their collectibility is a) their rarity and b) the sound in the grooves. Rockabilly has its big names just like any other genre, but the plethora of inspired one-shots from unknown artists walking in Elvis' large footsteps is what really tells the tale of the music and ultimately drives the market. Everyone (or so it seems) took a shot at it at one time or another, and that's the wide-ranging snare of this collection. From crude rockin' little teen bands ("Bettyjean Rock" by J. Mikel and the Hepcats, "Be Bop Battlin' Ball" by Eddie Gaines and the Rockin' Five, "You Lied to Me Honey" by Junior Gravely and the Rock-A-Tones, "Something Baby" by the Dazzlers, "I've Got to Find Someone" by Tiny Tim and his Tornadoes, and "I'll Be Leaving You" by Turner and Charley Moore and the Crystals) to proto-feminist female rockers ("Fifteen Seconds" by Roxie Williams and the torrid "Black Cadillac" by Joyce Green) to hopped-up and sometimes clueless hillbilly singers trying the new music on for size ("Gonna Have a Party" by Dickie Damron, "Wiggle Walkin' Boogie" by Art Ontario, "Shaken and Shuddern" by Jim Pike and the Kephart Rockets, "Nightclub Rock and Roll" by Gene Parsons' Band featuring vocal duties by Kimble and Wanda Janes, "I Ain't Gonna Rock Tonight" by Hender Saul and "Go Girl Go" by the Country G-Js) to crazy disc jockeys ("Long John's Flagpole Rock" by Lonesome Long John Roller) and Elvis wannabes of all shapes and sizes ("Everybody's Movin'" by Glen Glenn, "Rock Pretty Mama" by Billy Adams, "All Messed Up" by Jess Hooper, "Cool Cool Baby" by Lafayette Yarborough, "Anyway" by Wesley Hardin and "Jelly Roll Rock" by Walter Brown), this collection brings together some of the very best the genre has to offer. In the sound of these 32 pieces of primitive genius is part of the story of rock & roll's ground-floor days, and it is a wonderful and joyous thing to hear.