The latest addition to the expansive That’ll Flat Git It! Series from Bear Family Records, Volume 35 offers a selection of tracks ‘from the vaults of Mercury & Limelight Records‘. Featuring 35 Rockabilly and Rock ‘n’ Roll tracks from a variety of known and obscure artists; Is this latest installment worth picking up?
One of the more widely known labels covered in this series, this latest visit to their vaults, unearths a delightful mixture of tracks. The album starts with a young Conway Twitty belting out the infectious high tempo number ‘Shake It Up’, setting the tone for what is coming up next. What follows is a selection of tracks full of catchy guitar and piano riffs, harmonies, and lots of era-specific recording production techniques. Familiar names, such as Twitty, Narvel Felts, and Eddie Bond sound great, but it is the lesser-known recordings that shine here.
This varied selection comes with a few earworms that may be in your head for a while. Highlights include The Counts ‘Shake This Town’, George Young’s chaotic ‘Can’t Stop Me’, Jimmy Edwards’ ‘My Honey’, James O’Gwynn’s ‘Easy Money’, Orville Couch’s catchy ‘Downtown’, and the Country tinged ‘Crazy Blues’ by Jape Richardson (AKA The Big Bopper). Curtis Gordon also turns out three solid performances on this album, including a version of Draggin’ without the infamous reverb! Representation for Mercury’s subsidiary, Limelight Records, comes via sides from Freddy Robinson and Jackie Cray; A small contribution, but they fit right in.
The nature of this material means the quality is not always pristine, but this collection is an impressive achievement given what is available. I have heard many of these tracks on various compilations, but few can claim to have the punchy sound present here. Hisses, pops, crackles, and other artifacts remain on many tracks, but this gives them an authentic edge that takes things back to the jukebox joints of the 1950s.
A Little Something Extra…
The CD comes in a digipak, using high-quality artwork that looks crisp and clean. The set includes a nicely designed attached booklet featuring artist biographies and further information written by Bill Dahl; Along with some rare photographs and illustrations.
Bear Family Records has continued the series with another comprehensive collection of well-known and rare tracks. Those who have collected previous editions will know what to expect here and understand the value of a compilation like this. As usual, the label has gone above and beyond to deliver the best sounding transfers for some rarer tracks. A definite pick for collectors.
- Conway Twitty – Shake It Up
- George Young – Can’t Stop Me
- Eddie Bond & The Stompers – Baby, Baby, Baby (What Am I Gonna Do)
- Johnny Jay – I’m Gonna Keep It
- Ben Hewitt – My Search
- James O’Gwynn – Easy Money
- Curtis Gordon – Rock, Roll, Jump And Jive
- The LaDell Sisters – Rockin’ Robert
- Jape Richardson & The Japetts – Crazy Blues
- Royce Porter With The Kounts – Good Time
- The Voxpoppers – Ping Pong Baby
- Gary Shelton – Maybe Later, Baby
- Conway Twitty – I Need Your Lovin’
- The Playboys – Don’t Do Me Wrong
- Roy Perkins – Drop Top
- Dave ‘Diddle’ Day – Blue Moon Baby
- Eddie Bond & The Stompers – I Got A Woman
- Curtis Gordon – Sittin’ On Top
- Tommy Mitchell – Juke Box, Help Me, Find My Baby
- Jimmy Edwards – My Honey
- Charlie Walker With The Four Pals – I’ll Never Let It Show
- Narvel Felts – Cry, Baby, Cry
- Jackie Cray – I Want You Baby
- The Counts – Shake This Town
- Curtis Gordon – Draggin’ (Without Echo)
- Jerry Raines – Dangerous Redhead
- Rod Bernard – Let’s Get Together Tonight
- Ray Ethier – Slave Girl
- Orville Couch – Downtown
- Conway Twitty – Maybe Baby
- Freddy Robinson – Five Feet Of Lovin’
- Eddy Bell & The Bel-Aires – The Masked Man (Hi Yo Silver)
- The Half Brothers – My Foolish Fling
- Frank Dalton & The Dalton Gang – Cruised
- The Voxpoppers – The Last Drag