Gene Autry's Challenge label didn't have a lot of big hits, but it sure released a hell of a lot of rock & roll records of all kinds in the late '50s and early '60s. Twenty-eight of them are here, including rockabilly, instrumentals, vocal groups, and a little more. None of them were significant hits, and they didn't necessarily deserve to be. It's average early rock, appealing more to the collector who wants to hear almost everything than to the learned student looking for genuinely overlooked important music. There are some interesting odds and ends sprinkled amidst the Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent imitations. Big Al Downing pounds some mighty fierce piano on "Down on the Farm," Patsy Cline (the only well-known singer on the disc) checks in with one of her infrequent rockabilly attempts ("Gotta Lotta Rhythm in My Soul"), and the Rip Tides' "Machine Gun" is a tough Bo Diddleyish instrumental. Kip Tyler's "Jungle Hop" has early appearances by saxophonist Steve Douglas and pianist Larry Knechtel, both of whom would be among the most celebrated L.A. session musicians of the 1960s. Weirdest of all is a rock & roll novelty by actor Scatman Crothers, "Rock Roma Rock It."
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