Various Artists

Problem Child

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The folks at the German Buffalo Bop label have been digging up superb rockabilly rarities for so long it's a wonder there are any left to reissue, but thankfully their well hasn't run dry yet, and Problem Child delivers 30 more obscure rockin' sides for fans of first-era rock. While some of Buffalo Bop's compilations are thematic, this one seems to strain to follow the format of kids getting wild (not exactly a rare subject in rockabilly), but given the consistent strength of the music, no one is likely to care. Highlights include Johnny Kay's swinging tale of hard times on "Starvation," Eddie Ferrell's faux-Elvis mover "Teach Me How to Rock," Franky Preston's lascivious "I Want to Do It," a solid hillbilly boogie from Billy Hall called "Move Over Rover," Ronnie Brent's high-energy "My Sweet Verlene," a hilarious tribute to "Green Stamps" from Freddie Flynn & the Flashes, and Marv Blihovde's fiery "Been Away Too Long." Ira Allen's "Nursery Rock" boasts some excellent guitar work even if the lyrics are silly, and fans of rock's outer limits may be intrigued by the presence of two tracks by Ramsey Kearney (including the red hot "The Cat Bug Bit"), who later worked in the song-poem business and became John Trubee's unwitting collaborator on the famous prank tune "A Blind Man's Penis." This is top-notch stuff for fans of classic rockabilly, and as usual, Buffalo Bop's audio transfers and mastering are first-rate, making Problem Child a real value for the money.

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