The Drugstore's Rockin', Vol. 4

Various Artists

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The Drugstore's Rockin', Vol. 4 Review

by Mark Deming

After years of putting out exemplary reissues of classic country, rockabilly, and roots rock material, Germany's Bear Family has tiptoed into the uncharted waters of teen-centric pop/rock of the 1950s and '60s with the The Drugstore's Rockin' series, and Vol. 4 proves that the label is treating these rare sides with the care and enthusiasm that is Bear Family's hallmark. These cuts cover all the bases: rockabilly-lite (Janis Martin's swingin' "Drugstore Rock 'n' Roll"), stepped-up country ("Don't Pretend" by Bobby Edwards and Earl Sinks' "Shake 'Em Up and Let 'Em Roll"), romantic melodrama ("Love at First Sight" by Bobby Louis and "Penny Moved Away" by Barry de Vorzon), moody narratives ("April Avenue" by the post-Buddy Holly Crickets and "Johnny Vagabond" by the memorably named Bonnie Guitar), jazzy dance tunes (Sam Butera's "Bim Bam"), and lots, lots more. While some of these cuts have a high treacle quotient, there's a lot of fine picking to be heard (often featuring some high-powered behind-the-scenes session men), and even the weakest artists on board (bottom of the class would probably be a pre-Dobie Gillis Dwayne Hickman) are miles ahead of the Fabian/Frankie Avalon axis of prefab teen idols. Colin Escott's heroically researched liner notes offer up all the information you could hope for on these artists, and the tunes show that even the square kids knew how to have a pretty good time before drugs, fuzz boxes, and the Beatles turned everything upside down. Big fun, both ironic and otherwise.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Janis Martin 02:06 Amazon
2 Barry De Vorzon 01:58 Amazon
Bobby Edwards 02:09 Amazon
Bobby Louis 02:14 Amazon
5 Johnny Rose 02:44 Amazon
6 Earl Sinks 02:04 Amazon
7 Leroy Van Dyke 02:19 Amazon
8 Nick Greene 02:45 Amazon
9 Bonnie Guitar 02:03 Amazon
10 The Crickets 02:17 Amazon
11 Sam Butera 02:03 Amazon
Dwayne Hickman 02:51 Amazon
13 Kenny Loran 01:55 Amazon
14 Ned Miller 02:14 Amazon
15 Bill Hayes 02:35 Amazon
16 Earl Sinks 02:04 Amazon
Bill Torrie 02:40 Amazon
18 Ned Miller 02:37 Amazon
19 Marv & Patty 02:14 Amazon
20 Kenny Loran 02:17 Amazon
21 The Crickets 02:08 Amazon
Bobby Edwards 02:09 Amazon
23 Johnny Rose 02:05 Amazon
24 Johnny Fallin 01:55 Amazon
25 Bonnie Guitar / Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra 02:05 Amazon
26 Barry De Vorzon 02:12 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick