Various Artists "Dr. Boogie Presents 26 Deranged and Smokin' Cool Cats"
Va-va-va-vrooom! Walter De Paduwa (aka Dr. Boogie) is a Belgian musicologist/DJ who has compiled over two dozen heartracers chronicling “the rocketing rise and fast decline of a music form called rockabilly (1954-59)” for this fourth entry in Sub Rosa’s Fundamental series of rare and lost recordings from the ‘20s to the ‘60s. Sadly, there’s no track annotations (Dr. Boogie confesses, “We were unable to identify most of the performers…. Strangely, rockabilly has been a relatively anonymous movement.”), so we’re on our own as far as who these people were, where they came from, and what labels and years they recorded. Dr. Boogie helpfully does profide a general definition of rockabilly as “a white, typically southern, and rural kind of rock and roll born in Memphis in 1954.” Aside from being a veritable goldmine for the likes of Brian Setzer and Dave Edmunds, these 26 anonymous tracks reveal the true origins of garage rock, be it in the actual garages, basements, or back rooms of local stores where many tracks of this nature were created, pressed in miniscule quantities, and sold at local sock hops. For every Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochrane, Gene Vincent, et. al. there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of Jimmy Edwardses, Eddie Cashes, Al Urbans, Bill Mosses, and Gary Hodgeses hunkering down and sweating out these terrific 2-minute slabs of Saturday Night Sock Hop barnstormers across southern smalltown, USA.
Twanging guitars, wailing saxes, and barrel house piano stomping is the order of the day, with the roots of everything from Duane Eddy and The Ventures to surfin’ instrumentals lurking within. Most of the tracks are free from surface noise, an amazing feat for 50-year old recordings and an amazing tribute to the audio restoration wizards at Le Laboratoire Centraal in Brussels. Personal favorites include Jimmy Edwards’ hiccuping, Buddy Holly-styled “Love Bug Crawl,” Curly Coldiron’s fingerpopping, happy foot dance party, “Rockin’ Spot,” which Sha Na Na or Danny & The Juniors would’ve killed for back in the day, and the snarling Elvis boogie of Eddie Cash’s “Doin’ Allright.” Other highlights include The Cals’ piano-stompin’ “Country Woman,” Al Urban’s swinging “Gonna Be Better Times” (a bastard stepbrother of “Too Much Monkey Business”?), the swifty, nifty guitar pickin’ of Bill Logsdon & The Royal Notes’ perfectly titled instro, “Spitfire,” and John Friis & The Valiants’ kissin’ cousin to “Be Bop A Lula,” “Bop A Lena.” Elsewhere, I’m sure you’ll come back to Jimmy Evans’ “The Joint’s Really Jumpin’,” Harvey Hunt’s fancy-fingered fretwork on “Big Dog, Little Dog,” Bill Moss’ self-explanatory “Rockabilly Hop,” and Gary Hodge’s short and sweet kissoff, “Not For Love or Money.”
An excellent companion to the Las Vegas Grind series, this is a key archival release in the early history of the roots of rock and roll, particularly the influence of country music, and an essential purchase for cool cats, swingin’ hipsters, and fans of early rock and roll. The criminally ignored history to the flip side of the Elvises and Jerry Lees, these anonymous cats were, in some cases, just as talented, they just couldn’t catch a break or get that all important national exposure. Thanks to the good Doctor, now they, and you, can Boogie On into the night! 10/10 -- Jeff Penczak (20 May, 2009)