Various Artists

Only Memories: Spotlight on New World Records

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New World Records in the 1950s was a schizophrenic label. On the one hand, was straight-up country, on the other, low-down and gritty blues. Of the 15 tracks, six are blues and blues-based. The artists are obscure but energetic: Tammy James lets rip with the barnburning "That's Fat Jack"; Neal Ford & the Ramadas lay down some sweetly harmonized vocals on the mildly bluesy "Life is So Tough; Loudmouth Johnson (what a great name!) moans out the wrenching "Lien on Your Body (Mortgage on Your Soul)." The rest of the tracks are country as country gets. There are no names most fans would recognize but there are some fine tracks: Bill Morgan's lonesome "I Loved and I Lost" is a highlight, as is Gene Watson's rollicking version of "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." The obscurity of the artists and the divided nature of the sounds found within make this a record for collectors of both genres only

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