Various Artists

Roots of Rockabilly, Vol. 1: 1950

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Roots of Rockabilly, Vol. 1: 1950 Review

by Steve Leggett

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.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Delmore Brothers 02:51 Amazon
2 Leon Payne 02:26 Amazon
3 T. Texas Tyler 03:03 Amazon
4 Jimmie Skinner 02:45 Amazon
5 Clyde Moody 03:05 Amazon
6 Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys 02:50 Amazon
7 The Maddox Brothers & Rose 02:08 Amazon
8 Eddy Arnold 02:24 Amazon
9 Hank Snow & His Rainbow Ranch Boys 02:51 Amazon
Cowboy Copas / Grandpa Jones 03:10 Amazon
11 Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys 02:42 Amazon
12 Hank Garland 02:45 Amazon
13 Red Foley 03:03 Amazon
14 Hardrock Gunter 02:38 Amazon
15 Moon Mullican 02:44 Amazon
16 Merle Travis 02:38 Amazon
17 Tennessee Ernie Ford / Kay Starr 02:42 Amazon
18 Jimmy Bryant / Speedy West 02:36 Amazon
Skeets McDonald / Benny Walker 03:08 Amazon
The York Brothers 02:54 Amazon
Red Kirk 02:50 Amazon
Webb Pierce 02:53 Amazon
23 Arkie Shibley 02:32 Amazon
24 Tommy Duncan 02:15 Amazon
25 Little Jimmy Dickens 02:57 Amazon
26 Lefty Frizzell 02:55 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick