Various Artists

I Want Rock

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This compilation brings together 14 tracks from unbelievably obscure labels showcasing '50s and early-'60s rockabilly artists who are every bit as obscure as the labels they recorded for. But with hardcore rockabilly, the sound and feel is the thing, and the lack of hit record (in some cases, even cult record) status doesn't diminish the high rocking quotient in these performances. There's a wide variety of styles aboard, from the "Sugaree"-derived "Ella Rea" from Leon and James with the Continentals to the more rock & roll-styled efforts of Rick Tucker and the Turks with the Starlets' "I'll Be There," and covers of Ron Holden's "My Babe" and Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire" from Roger Stafford with the Royal Monarchs, and Les Paxton and the Raiders Rhythm's bluesy "Tall Texas Woman." The hillbilly boogie end of things (that curious gray area of proto-rockabilly) brings Lucky White and the Playboys' "Ponderosa Rock," Charles Jones and the Stardusters' "Whoo-oee (And Oh So Fine)," and the unbelievably crude "Alabama Boogie" by the rhythmically challenged Hank Mathews to the mix. The big ticket item for collectors is the inclusion of Wesley Reynolds' "Trip to the Moon," a fast-paced rocker with the prerequisite speeded-up voices and outer space echo that sometimes spelled novelty hit back in the late 1950s. Reynolds never got to that status, obviously, although the record was re-pressed four times with four different labels and the liner notes depict an ad for a "Trip to the Moon" contest that was run by the record company offering $1,000 to the lucky person who could name the exact date that the record would sell a million copies. Obviously, the contest is still ongoing, even if the record company isn't.