Various Artists

Rockabilly Essentials

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This 18-track collection brings together some of the most highly prized and influential rockabilly recordings from the ground floor days of rock & roll's history. You can't really fault the song selection here, starting with Jerry Lee Lewis ("Great Balls of Fire") and finishing up with Johnny Burnette and the Rock'n'Roll Trio's "Train Kept A-Rollin'." In between, this compilation is packed tight with classics from Gene Vincent ("Be Bop A-Lula"), Dale Hawkins ("Susie-Q"), Carl Perkins ("Blue Suede Shoes"), Eddie Cochran ("Summertime Blues"), Buddy Holly and the Crickets ("I'm Lookin' for Someone to Love") and Brenda Lee (Bigelow 6-200"). Even better is the inclusion of cult favorites like Warren Smith's "Rock'n'Roll Ruby," Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones' "Black Slacks," the Collins Kids' "Hoy Hoy," Rusty York's "Sugaree," Billy Lee Riley's "Red Hot" and the Phantom's 1:31 nutzo and chaotic "Love Me." Selections from Jack Scott, Wanda Jackson, Sanford Clark and Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings complete this fine package. An excellent first purchase and a wonderful introduction to this genre. For once, a collection that truly lives up to its title.

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