Various Artists

Jiving Jamboree, Vol. 2

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Some would argue that this is a slapdash collection of jump blues, R&B, and early rock from the late '40s through the late '50s, not held together by any style or even label, save having a good jump or swing beat for dancing. They'd be right, but on the other hand it's refreshing to come across compilations like these that are obviously geared toward collectors, and are unafraid to bend genre lines in the service of creating an enjoyable (as opposed to completist or scholarly) program. Indeed, some of these aren't rock or R&B at all, but rather swing music with a jumpy edge (Louis Prima's "Be Mine"), or somewhat square-sounding pop or jazz acts desperately trying to sound in line with the rock craze (the Deep River Boys' cover of Bill Haley's "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie"). So you get hot sax-driven jump blues (Jack McVea's "Wine-O"); really strange R&B-verging-on-rock novelties (Rene Hall's "Twitchy," Vernon Green's "Buick '59"); little-known cuts by well-known New Orleans R&B figures Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, and Dave Bartholomew; prime R&B boogie from the Treniers ("Go! Go! Go!"); bona fide early rock & roll from Larry Williams ("Slow Down," the only famous cut on the collection); rock-tinged swing jazz by Anita Tucker ("Hop, Skip and Jump"); and even danceable near a cappella vocal group jive from the Prisonaires. If nothing else, it's a good sample of how many rock & roll roots lay in obscure swing, blues, R&B, and even pop songs that were on the verge of a genuine rock & roll sound, but stopped just short of the line.

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