Billy "Crash" Craddock

Mr. Country Rock

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The term "country-rock" has become associated with the music of the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Eagles -- groups that mixed a little country with their rock -- but Billy "Crash" Craddock's country-rock is something very different. The rock & roll of the '50s became the mainstream country music of the '70s through Craddock, Bob Luman, Elvis Presley, and others, and Mr. Country Rock features what is essentially '50s rock played as country music. The prominent fiddles and Craddock's country vocals make his covers of classic rock & roll songs sound more like country music than you might expect, while retaining the energy and drive of the originals. Craddock covers several old rock & roll favorities, "Honey Love," "Peggy Sue," and "Slippin' and Slidin'," the latter of which made the country Top 15. Lee Dorsey's mid-'60s R&B hit "Holy Cow" proves surprisingly adaptable to the country idiom, and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" is performed as a fake live cut with clapping, whooping, and hollering, presumably by the studio hands. Two new songs, "Sweet Magnolia Blossom" and "'Till the Water Stops Runnin'" (the album's most countrified cut), were the album's big hits. This is the album that popularized Craddock's title as Mr. Country Rock and, despite the rock content, has plenty of steel guitar and sawing fiddles.

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