Various Artists

Teenage Doll

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Patsy Cline turns up here with "Gotta Lot of Rhythm," and one of her Four-Star sides, but other then that I defy anyone other than the most knowledgeable rock & roll scholar to know anything about anyone represented here; its a shame, because there's not a weak track among these 29 (yep, they had trouble filling that 30th spot; a Janis Martin song would've fit in nicely). Judy Layne ("Hard Headed Woman"), Sandy Lee ("Ballin' Keen"), Betty Nickell ("Hot Dog"), Jan Moore ("Play It Cool") et al were mostly serious rockabilly and bluesy rock singers, with an attitude and a way with a song, and all featuring good backing bands. These women were awesome, every one of them, but they were also monsters by the standards of the 1950s. Except for a few more mainstream country-sounding figures like Cline and Joannie King, and the slightly more R&B-oriented Kelly Hart ("Boy Crazy"), each one of these women would've scared the crap out of most guys, forget their parents, so it's no wonder that none of them ever made it in a serious way. Worse yet, none of them were 12 years old like Brenda Lee, whose youth and country orientation mitigated the hot sound she put out and made her a novelty act. Bolean Barry could've fostered a whole tonsorial trend faster than any styles Elvis was wearing if anyone had gotten to hear her "Long Sideburns." Ivey Burnett looks like she was about 35 when she cut "It's All Your Love or Nothing," and her band sounds harder than most of the guy songs that were making the charts in 1956/'57. What made it worse was that girls like Peggy Upton ("Sweet Sugar Bugger"), Freeda Boxx ("Havin' a Ball"), Sheree Scott ("Easy Payment"), and Jane Bowman ("Mad Mama") wrote their own stuff, which probably made it even tougher to foster a career -- if they couldn't even get a piece of their songwriting action, what male producer or manager would want to take them on? Buy this collection, you won't be sorry. Kay Cee Jones even turns "Shortnin' Bread" into a proposition; and if anyone out there knows what happened to Alvadean Coker ("We're Gonna Bop"), let her know this writer would still want to bop with her 40-some years later. Same goes for Nancy, of Nancy and the Millionaires ("Atooka, Okla").

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