Johnny Carroll's 1956 recording of "Wild Wild Women," with its lean rockabilly arrangement and exciting vocal performance that owes little debt to Elvis Presley, is one of the greatest early rock & roll singles. Unfortunately, the record wasn't a hit and Carroll bounced from label to label without much success, making a little rockabilly and several Gene Vincent-style rockers along the way. Rock Baby Rock It: 1955-1960 is a complete summary of Carroll's early career, beginning with a generous helping of hot but rough demos made in 1955 and continuing through his complete recordings for Decca, Warner Bros., and Sun Records. The collection wraps up with a novelty single recorded by his backing band, the Spinners; a pair of indie label waxings; and the four songs Carroll performed in the 1957 film Rock, Baby, Rock It. The half-dozen Decca recordings, including "Wild Wild Women," are the essential cuts and have been anthologized elsewhere, but exemplary rockers are scattered throughout the track list. It is a shame that Decca didn't record Carroll more, but the work he did in those two days has given him a reputation among rockabilly aficionados that has only grown.
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