Bear Family's ongoing series of rockabilly and early rock & roll compilations continues with this 37-track overview of the archives of Event Records, a label based out of Portland, ME, that documented the rockin' action in New England in the 1950s. If you weren't aware that the Land of the Lobster was a haven for rockabilly, you're surely not alone, but Event's bosses had the good sense to import a few acts from south of the Mason-Dixon line as well as searching out worthy local talent, and if this isn't near the top of the heap in the That'll Flat Git It! series, it offers up plenty of solid (and hard to find) twang-infused rock. Highlighting the proceedings are a dozen tracks from Curtis Johnson, a strong rockabilly belter whose Elvis covers suggest he'd spent plenty of time studying the King's early Sun sides, and whose other tunes find him in even more impressive form. (Jazz fans take note: guitarist Lenny Breau backs up Johnson on several cuts, recorded when the picker was still in his teens.) Other noteworthy performances include a pair of revved-up sides from Scotty McKay, engaging cuts from the harmony-fueled Javalins and the well-mannered Ricky Coyne, and some hot-wired country from the Western Starlighters and Jimmy Copeland. (You might want to skip over Slim Martin's contribution, though; the title "Bunny Hop Rock" is an oxymoron if there ever was such a thing.) As always, Bear Family's packaging and remastering are sharp, and Colin Escott's liner notes tell listeners as much as is known about the artists on board. Cool stuff, and a solid look at a little-known scene.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming