Rockabilly was not created in a vacuum. Despite Sam Phillips' alleged assertion that if he could find a white man who could sing like a black man he'd make a million dollars, many country artists were experimenting with raw, pre-rock & roll arrangements and driving, R&B-inspired rhythms well before Elvis came around -- the simple truth is that no one else synthesized the core elements quite so brilliantly as the kid from Tupelo. Assembled by broadcaster Mark LaMarr, RPM's Double Up & Catch Up: Hillbilly Bop 'n' Boogie 1950-1958 compiles 25 rare Capitol label singles that together document the evolution from honky tonk to rockabilly in the pre-Elvis era, capturing the stunning breadth of what constituted country music in the postwar era. From the backwater bop of Faron Young's opening "I'm Gonna Live Some" to the juke-joint swing of Hank Thompson's "How Cold Hearted Can You Get" to Jimmy Bryant's hillbilly jazzbo instrumental "Bryant's Boogie," the material explores every byway along Music Row to dazzling effect. Exemplary mastering and informative liner notes complete a superior package.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny