Various Artists

Campus Cutie

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More rockabilly gems from those relentless archivists at the mysterious Hamburg-based Buffalo Bop. Dwain Louis ("and Classmates" on the original 45 label) opens with a moody rendition of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right," and it gets better from there, through the raucous "Queen Bee" by the Orbits and "Suzanne" by Ken Reed -- he wasn't much of a singer, but the band is good, and the cardboard-box texture on the drumming is evocative of a lost, freewheeling era in rock & roll. Butch St. Clair's "Get-A-Little" is about as suggestive a piece of white rock & roll as anyone was going to get away with ("Gonna get a little get a little get a little tonight"). Skip Goodspeed embodies more of a countrified sound on "Only Two Me and You," which is still played hot, but then things kick into high gear on Harold Lee's "Blond Headed Woman," a rough-and-ready rock & roll side with a kick-ass rhythm section, a hot piano player, and lead axeman joining forces with a tough, raspy, but expressive vocal performance by Lee, who looks like a younger, more threatening Gene Vincent. "Umm" by Ken & Roy keeps the mood of teenage lust and abandon rolling -- not a really decent harmony between them, but what a roadhouse-band sound! -- and then the Fretts' "Rock 'n Baby'" rolls over everything with its mix of a hot beat, raunchy sax, and raw singing. The Sparkles won't make anyone forget the Sparkletones, but their dance number, "The U.T.," is a more than decent piece of period teen-dance rock, with some cool jangly guitars on the break and some nicely ecstatic girls' voices on the fade. Johnny Shea ("That's My Baby"), the Del-Tones ("Rockin' Blues"), Ronnie Dove ("Lover Boy"), and Rudy Preston ("Don't You Go Chicken") highlight the rest of the extraordinary 30-song plunge into the obscure depths of rockabilly, which has one new wrinkle -- Chuck Hunt's breezy, raunchy "Barnyard Rock," originally on "no label," a first in this series, and it's a crying shame it never got issued back when. Oh, and then just when it seems like things couldn't get any better, Billy Perkins' "Campus Cutie" opens up yet more libidinal possibilities. As usual, there are no notes, just some great pictures, but the music stands by itself.

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