Rhino's Hard Rock Cafe series essentially just offers basic primers of classic rock genres, from surf rock to New Wave. That means they're not of particular interest to collectors, but they are ideal for casual fans, since they contain a good sampling of a particular genre -- in the case of Hard Rock Cafe: Great Balls of Fire, it's early rock & roll. For a full-priced release, Great Balls of Fire is fairly brief, clocking in at just 13 tracks, but every one of those tracks is excellent. Sure, some listeners could quibble about what's missing, but what's here -- "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock," "Lucille," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Johnny B. Goode," "That'll Be the Day," "Splish Splash," "Be-Bop-A-Lula," "Ooby Dooby" and, of course, "Great Balls of Fire," among others -- is terrific, resulting in a fun listen.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine