Rockabilly didn't spontaneously leap into being in 1954 when Elvis Presley entered Sam Phillips' Sun Studios in Memphis, it only seemed that way to most of the world. A hybrid of blues, country, honky tonk, Western swing, and gospel that became rock & roll when the beat simplified and got heavier, rockabilly emerged from amped-up country hillbilly bands bent on energizing the neighborhood bars and dancehalls on a Saturday night. That said, little on Acrobat Records' Roots of Rockabilly, Vol. 1 sounds much like early rock & roll, although all the combustible ingredients are present, including the attitude (Jimmie Skinner's "You Don't Know My Mind"), the blues base ("Six White Horses" by Clyde Moody), the aggressive guitar ("Bryant's Boogie" by Jimmy Bryant), the love of motion and a certain impatience with staying put ("I'm Movin' On" by Hank Snow), and a wry, goofy wisdom ("Dry Bread" by Merle Travis). More honky tonk than anything, this first installment in a series of releases documenting the year-by-year build to rockabilly from 1950 to 1954 doesn't seem particularly revelatory at first listen, but there's a slow burn going on nonetheless, and when it bursts into full flame, the world would be unable to ignore it.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett