Various Artists

That'll Flat Git It, Vol. 27: From the Vault of Sage and Sand Records

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The Bear Family label continues to document the lesser-known avenues of rockabilly, rock & roll, and Western bop on their That'll Flat Git It! series, and the 27th (!) disc in the series collects 34 vintage sides from the California-based Sage & Sand Records imprint (as well as its imaginatively named affiliated labels, Sage Records and Sand Records). Like more than a few of the labels Bear Family has documented in this series, Sage & Sand's focus seemed to be first in country and later in rock & roll, and most of the rockin' sides here have a clear country bent (fiddles and steel guitars are prominent on many cuts), but most everything here makes with the boogie in grand style, and there's plenty here for fans of vintage swingin' sounds. The rockabilly acts on the label seem to have been a little short on rebellious instincts (Whitey Pullen's "Let's All Go Wild Tonight" makes the poor guy sound like his idea of a big night is drinking a third can of 3.2 beer), but the session men who made their way into Sage & Sand's studio delivered the goods, and most all of these tunes boast sharp guitar work with concise and inspired soloing (Evelyn Harlene's "I Wanta Be Free" shamelessly rips off the intro to Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't," but the picker is good enough to make the lift work), as well as some fierce slapping bass and occasional snappy drumming (the lack of percussion beyond a snare to keep time attests to the label's country leanings). The songwriting isn't always inspired on this collection, but it's consistent and good-natured, and if Sage & Sand leaned to the more wholesome end of rockabilly and early rock, they still put some talented acts on wax, and this is a genuinely enjoyable collection of well-crafted rock and twang. Colin Escott's liner notes are typically excellent, making the most of what little is known about many of the acts featured here and spinning the tale well when there's a real story to be told (Lonnie Barron's music hardly makes him sound like a guy who would be involved in a love triangle that ended in murder, proving once again you can't always tell about those nice guys).

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:09
2 1:58
3 2:09
4 2:20
5 2:05
6 2:23
7 1:59
8 1:56
9 2:15
10 1:55
11 2:07
12 1:48
13
2:16
14
1:38
15 2:09
16 2:18
17 2:38
18 1:52
19
2:22
20 2:23
21 3:13
22
1:41
23 2:37
24 2:01
25 1:53
26
2:06
27 1:57
28 1:34
29 2:13
30 2:16
31 2:44
32
2:07
33 2:03
34
2:19
blue highlight denotes track pick