Jerry Irby notched two national country hits on the MGM label in the late '40s, but you won't find either of them on this anthology. Better remembered as the composer of Floyd Tillman's "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin," Irby recorded for several major and independent labels, and many of his records are now very rare. This anthology, an entry in Collector Records' Boppin' Hillbilly Series, seems to have been mastered from whatever vinyl was available to the compilers, so it might be forgiven for its scattershot repertoire. There is no annotation to differentiate between commercial recordings, transcriptions, and demos, but some of Irby's MGM, Imperial, Cireco, Daffan, and Globe singles are included, most of which hail from the late '40s and early '50s. Irby sometimes collaborated with Ted Daffan, and several cuts feature either Daffan and his band or songs Daffan composed. Irby covered a variety of styles from boogies and Western swing to Tex Williams-style talking blues, and made a few records of interest to rockabilly collectors, two of which -- "Clickety Clack" and "49 Women" -- are included here. "Clicky Clack" is a quaint attempt to dress up straight country music with lyrics that refer to rock & roll, and "49 Women" appears in an early country version that is very different from his re-recording on the Polly label (not included), which is one of Irby's few actual rockabilly sides. The sound quality varies and the lack of annotation is frustrating, but this is the only place to find a substantial number of Irby's recordings outside of the expensive Daffan Records Story box set.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams