Various Artists

Desperate Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 4

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One of many fine volumes that contain rare rock & roll, rockabilly, and R&B sides, Desperate Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 4 brims over with 30 raw cuts of marginalia that have, heretofore, only found exposure in collector's circles. Most of the songs come from the early days of rock & roll, showing the influence of Sun Records' raw, rockabilly sound; Frankie Lowery squeezes most of Jerry Lee Lewis' manic desperation into "Kansas City Train," the Recalls hop up early Elvis on "Nobody's Guy," and Clark Richard goes for a mix of Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry on "Hot Rock Beat." Among these early rock pastiches are some intriguing examples of rock & roll pre-history: Joe Allan's turbo-charged, jump blues "Baby Baby Baby," Lightnin' Hopkins' Chicago-blues number "Had a Gal Called Sal," Glen Cooper's honky tonk tune "Sugar Mama," and Hank England's Bob Wills/Western swing "My Little Kangaroo." The rock & roll fringes are further explored on Kanui & Lula's Hawaiian, slack key-guitar contribution "Tomi Tomi," the Black Albinos' surf instrumental "Shish Kebab," and Henry Cording's Cajunbilly dittie "Hiccough Rock." Even with all this variety, the collection consistently rocks in fine, ramshackle form. An excellent title for fans of both early rock & roll and exotica.

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