Before Rudy Ray Moore became famous as Dolomite, he spent years trying to make it as an R&B singer. Hully Gully Fever collects the fruits of his labor. These 28 tracks date from the '50s and '60s and include singles, unreleased masters, radio spots, and live tracks. The earliest tracks are jump blues-influenced, but soon Moore is playing rock & roll. He also tries the blues and a couple of tracks sound like early soul music. Moore is a passable singer, getting by on energy more than skill. The best tracks are the humorous songs like "The Buggy Ride," "Scotch Fever," "Ring A-Ling Dong," "Baby, That's Why I'm Your Fool," and "Step It up and Go," but Moore's rough delivery is also convincing on slow blues numbers like "So Good to Me" and "Hurts Me to My Heart." A couple of tracks are not successful -- like the dopey duet with an unnamed female singer on "Ballad of a Boy and Girl" and the generic "Whatcha Gonna Do," which comes complete with smooth vocal group backing. These missteps are made up for by the raw and ready live version of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" that has Moore delivering some nasty and funny monologues in between verses. Hully Gully Fever is a fascinating look at the early days of a comedy legend. It's worth it just for the liner notes that feature Rudy Ray Moore's story as told by the man himself.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra