That'll Flat Git It!, Vol. 20

Various Artists

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That'll Flat Git It!, Vol. 20 Review

by Mark Deming

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.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Curtis Johnson 01:56 Amazon
2 Rickey Coyne 01:44 Amazon
3 Scotty McKay 02:01 Amazon
4 Curtis Johnson 01:58 Amazon
Javalans 01:43 Amazon
James "Slim" Martin 02:30 Amazon
7 Curtis Johnson 02:09 Amazon
Herbie Lee, III 02:33 Amazon
9 Johnny Houston 02:08 Amazon
10 Curtis Johnson 02:27 Amazon
11 Dick Curless 02:34 Amazon
12 Danny Harrison 02:02 Amazon
13 Curtis Johnson 02:04 Amazon
14 The Four Dappers 01:57 Amazon
Javalans 01:44 Amazon
16 Curtis Johnson 02:01 Amazon
17 Johnny Houston 02:22 Amazon
The Dreamers 02:33 Amazon
19 Curtis Johnson 01:30 Amazon
Curtis Johnson 01:59 Amazon
Scotty McKay 01:48 Amazon
22 Curtis Johnson 00:58 Amazon
23 Javalans 02:01 Amazon
24 Bill Braddy & The Western Starlighters 02:17 Amazon
25 Curtis Johnson 02:25 Amazon
26 Joe Taylor 02:21 Amazon
Jimmy Copeland 02:24 Amazon
28 Curtis Johnson 02:22 Amazon
29 Bill Braddy & The Western Starlighters 02:15 Amazon
30 Johnny Houston 01:33 Amazon
31 Curtis Johnson 01:39 Amazon
The Four Dappers 02:00 Amazon
33 Roy Aldrige 02:07 Amazon
Curtis Johnson 01:51 Amazon
35 Johnny Houston 02:26 Amazon
The Dreamers 02:09 Amazon
37 Curtis Johnson 02:15 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick