Various Artists

Rockabilly Wildfire

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This collection from the German archivists at the Buffalo Bop label takes a slight detour from their usual rockabilly fiestas, despite the title. Rockabilly Wildfire concentrates on rockin' county sides rather than full-on rockabilly, though the dividing line between the two styles is admittedly a bit narrow, and on tracks like "Little Froggie Went a Courtin'" by Lloyd Howell, and "Mama Don't Allow No Boppin'" by Vern Pullens, it's all but crushed into dust. For the most part, the selections on Rockabilly Wildfire are by country acts who either knew how to let loose with the boogie or were picking up the influence of the rock & roll sounds that were roaring through the South in the '50s. For instance, "Ramblin'" Red Bailey's vocals on "Take off Like a Bird" are pure hillbilly drawl, but the tempo is hot and the guitar work suggests someone on this session had been listening to Scotty Moore, and "Wildfire" by Jack King starts out like a fairly standard country tune until the frantic fast-picking guitar part kicks in. On the other side of the coin, Eddie Jackson's "Rock and Roll Baby" is more Nashville than Memphis, though it swings pretty hard, and while Paul Wheatley's band pulls out the stops on "Teenage Jive," Wheatley himself sounds about ten years too old to really bring the song across. Still, if this set is more country than rock, it's country that moves with plenty of swagger and swing, and like nearly everything Buffalo Bop puts out, it's packed with great tunes and the sound quality is excellent considering thirty songs were all mastered from old vinyl singles; this is a must for the last set of the night at your next barn dance.

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