Of the two dozen Texas-based artists represented on this collection -- drawn from the vaults of Charlie Fitch's Sarg Records label, based in Luling, TX -- only Cecil Moore's instrumental "Diamond Back," picked up by the Atco label, ever seriously threatened to break out to a larger national public. But that is no reflection on the music itself, or the artists, who almost all rated more success than they found with the songs presented here -- oh, a couple of them, like Al Urban, move a little bit too close to mainstream country (especially Urban's "Won't Tell You Her Name"), to be proper rockabilly singles; but for every track like that, there are numbers such as "I Got a Ticket" by Dick Fagan & the Scores (a demo, yet, and by a guy who was nearly 30 at the time), "Strange Kinda Feeling" by Eddie Dugosh & the Ah-Ha Playboys, or "No Love in You" by Harmon Boazeman & the Circle-C Band, that are worth the price of this collection by themselves, oozing style and a beat well worth a repeat or two (or three). Even some of the paired releases are surprising, Cecil Moore straddling both sides of the line between country and rockabilly on "(I Lost My) Little Baby" and "Walkin' Fever," respectively. Glenn Bland walks a similar fine line on his two numbers, and the content of this CD bears out the fact that the ranks of genuine rockabilly artists -- even in the heart of Texas with lots of relatively young, hungry musicians around eager for a break with this new rock & roll sound -- were very thin in 1956 and 1957. It's all great listening, but the extent to which even the most hardcore sound here falls in with country music will surprise some purist listeners. And some of the country players do superb jobs -- Wilbur "Pee Wee" Maples on "How You Gonna Act," and Cecil Moore on "Moonshine" slot in perfectly around the younger, hotter outfits such as the Moods and the Downbeats, rock & roll shouters all (and this reviewer would happily buy a CD of the Moods' work). The sound is excellent and the annotation is very thorough and perhaps even -- for once -- a bit too convoluted in its narrative for the subject at hand.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder