Various Artists

Date Bait

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The 30 songs here represent decent, if not exceptional, rockabilly. The one exception is rock & roller turned horror movie writer Ron Haydock, whose "99 Chicks" borrows its guitar break from "Rock Around the Clock" at a tempo about twice as fast. What's surprising is that the producers follow it with Tennessee Thompson's "Slippin' & Slidin'," a forgettable single that is predictable in every nuance (his "Saturday Ball" is raunchier, louder and overall superior). Most of the rest is competent if not exactly inspired. Reggie Perkins' "Four Tired Car" would be a waste of time if not for a screaming guitar break that is a little too short to save the song but does make things interesting for a little while. Thomas Wayne's "You're the One that Done It" grinds along hard and heavy, but the break is a little too dullish to really bring the song to life. If Jimmy Patrick's voice were a little more expressive, his "20 Dollar Bill" might've come off as a piece of classic rockabilly. Paul Perry's "(I've Got a Girl Named) Dee" is, similarly, a little too tame in its tempo to make a first-rate single. Howard Mayberry's "This Just Can't Be Puppy Love" has the pace and the sound right, and is one of the tracks that makes this collection of slightly more than just historical interest. Henry Henry isn't much of a singer, but "Baggie Maggie" is such a ridiculous song that it's worth hearing on that basis, and for the heavy rocking sound of his band. For a change, some of the sources here betray some limitations in Buffalo Bop's production -- Lou Millet's "Slip, Slip, Slippin' In," on Republic Records, almost certainly is taken off of vinyl. Vic Thomas's "Rock and Roll Tonight" is more of a country novelty tune (right down to its fiddle break), exploiting the next music rather than a real rock & roll single. B. Goode's "Hokey Pokey Rock" is the song its title suggests, rocked up with a sax break. Bob Dingus' "Step It Up and Go" is the most backwoods-sounding track on any of the Buffalo Bop collections of this era -- a slow number with a western-style guitar break. And Bobby Smith's "Bevy Mae" and "She's Gone from Me" are sort of a crying shame, because they come close to the kind of smooth, perfectly timed and engagingly sung rockabilly that could've caught on.

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