This comp from Holland's Collector label doesn't offer much in the way of recognizable rock & roll names. The absence of, say, a Jerry Lee Lewis might turn off the casual listener. But volume five of Rock 'N Roll With Piano probably isn't concerned with star power. Instead, guys like Russ Brian, Jerry Ross, and Bennie Hess populate this 30-track collection. These are vintage recordings -- no latter-day reworkings here. The sound is similar to Lewis, or Big Al Downing -- songs that combine brash vocals with boogie-woogie piano, rockabilly, and the excitement of early rock & roll. Brian's "Hillbilly Rock" pretty much sums itself up -- it sounds like it was recorded at a barn dance. Mike Cushman's "Playtoy" is a warbling, bombastic version of Lewis' famous sound, while Jack Stone channels Hank Williams' phrasing over the good-natured piano and pickin' of "Love, Love, Love." Some of these tracks feature a fuller sound than you might expect from an album called Rock 'N Roll With Piano -- the "with" becomes key. That makes instrumentals like the atmospheric thump of the Mell-O-Deers' "Mell-O-Deers Rock" or Jerry Jones' more rocking "Ice Cube" the standouts here.
Rock 'N Roll with Piano, Vol. 5 Review
by Johnny Loftus