Various Artists

Rockabilly Bash, Vol. 1

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Rockabilly, the ground-floor music of White rock & roll, is a genre with a multiplicity of styles jammed within its narrow borders. This particular compilation features 14 tracks that cover the bases from the earliest uptempo honky tonk hillbilly boogie to flat out classic rockabilly to burgeoning teenage rock & roll. While everything here is taped off of scratchy 78s and 45s and the legality of this compilation is somewhat in doubt, this and its companion second volume nonetheless deliver some of the best of the obscure delights that permeate this genre. The hands-down big-ticket item on here is the compilation's closing selection, "She Said," from West Virginia one-man-band lunatic Hasil Adkins. If you've never experienced Hasil's music and had to sweat it down to one selection to experience your ordeal by fire by, this would probably be the one. Full of shrieks and whoops, a confused story line and a rubber band guitar hoedown beat, the end result is nothing short of the audio equivalent of Grandpa Jones on acid. The other selections in this collection will sound somewhat tame to this number, but almost anything would in comparison, such is the originality in Adkins' crude music. Norman Witcher's "Somebody's Been Rockin' My Boat" and its flip side, "Wake Me" both feature spitfire guitar pitted against alto sax solos, an unusual instrument and sound in rockabilly. Another two-sided entry comes from Art Adams and the Rhythm Knights. The top deck, "Dancing Doll," is a standard rockabilly celebration taken at a breakneck tempo that's ironically unsuitable for dancing. The flip, "She Don't Live Here No More," is a pounding bluesy shuffle with a recurring drum lick that drives the song's narrative along. For a classic example of high-octane hillbilly boogie, look no further than "Wore To A Frazzel" by Tony and Jackie Lamie. Over a pumped-up beat, the song is merely a jump blues played by a hillbilly string band, but what a band! Earmarked with worked-out descending riffs, a vocal from Tony that constantly crosses bar lines in mid-verse, and wild steel guitar breaks and fills, this ultra-rare single is the sound of a band throwing down big time circa 1956. Duane Eddy's musical cohort Al Casey (the composer of "Ramrod") is aboard with a vocal effort, "Got the Teenage Blues," while the truly teenaged end of things is also admirably represented by the Kingbeats' prepubescent-sounding "I'll Tell My Mama On You." Honky tonk singing is well anthologized here as well, with Luke McDaniel doing business as Jeff Daniels on "Switchblade Sam," Cliff Davis and the Kentucky Playboys' "Hard Hearted Girl," Eddie and Chuck's "Boogie the Blues" and the positively geriatric-sounding Tim Dinkins and his Texas Cutups' "Cattin' Tonight" all documenting older country singers at odds with the new sound that was slowly moving them into obsolescence. Fans of the genre will want this one for the Adkins cut alone, but everything on here is grade-A material and well worth seeking out.