Let's get ready to rock & roll! This CD is a compilation that shouldn't be listened to unless you've got the energy to keep your foot-tapping and your pulse racing all the way through most of its 32 songs. Amid the Elvis Presley tribute records and the reconstituted Presley catalog coming from RCA/BMG, this collection of authentic 1956+ records built on the arrival of the King in popular culture still manages to stand out and then some. Sonny Cole provides the title track, a superb country-cum-rockabilly salute to the Hillbilly Cat's impact that's both good humored and well played. Almost as impressive is Phil Gray's "Bluest Boy in Town," which uses "That's All Right" as the jumping-off point for a fine piece of rockabilly in its own right -- it's unclear if his band called the Go Boys are the same people (Russell Williford, Tommy Junkersfield, et al.) who cut music with Dudley Callicutt for Lillian Claiborne's DC label, but they were good, whoever they were. Johnny Fuller's "First Stage of the Blues" has a guitar solo that's worth the price of the CD, even if his delightfully slurred diction seems a little arch. Jerry Dyke is better at doing the Elvis bit vocally, nailing "Mean Woman Blues" in front of a band that features one hot lead guitar player who needed just a little more wattage. Not everything comes up to that standard -- the Road Runners limit themselves to emulating Elvis' softer rock-ballad style, Buddy Love's frantic-paced version of "Heartbreak Hotel" is an acquired taste at best, and Billy Devroe's "Buttercup" and Joe Hughes' "Make Me Dance Little Ant" seem to be here just to fill some space, the former bearing no resemblance to Elvis' work whatsoever. And Ronnie Speeks bears more resemblance to Jerry Lee Lewis than to Elvis. On the other hand, Tracey Pendarvis' "It Don't Pay," Mackey Hargett's "So Glad You're Mine," Rick Bounty's "It Will Be Me," and Jimmy Reagan's "Lonely, Lonely Heart" are fine tributes to Elvis' style, done in the time when that style was selling millions of records, without being slavish imitations. The only drawback is, of course, that like all Buffalo Bop releases, there is little more than some old publicity photos and pictures of original 1950s 45-rpm record labels -- in a fairer reality, there would be some information about the singers and the musicians involved in these records. But it's still difficult to complain about 75 minutes of music that mostly emulates the best of Elvis Presley's Sun Records singles and his early RCA sides.
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