That’ll Flat Git It! is a long-running series of Rockabilly compilations from Bear Family Records. This latest edition, volume 33, comprises recordings from North Carolina’s Renown Records and its subsidiary Hornet Records. Running from 1957 to 1969, Renown and its various subsidiaries’ output was a mix of Rock ’n’ Roll, Rockabilly and Country music. To the concept of this series, Bear Family claims the “rockin’est” tracks were selected for this release; Is it worth picking up?
I will be the first to admit that most of the material on this disc was new to me, as were the artists. From a musical perspective, the focus is on the more upbeat side of their catalogue, but it mixes up the styles occasionally. The album starts with Renown’s star Wayne Handy’s Betcha Didn’t Know, a Rock ‘n Roll belter that should be considered a standard. What follows is a mixture of rare and previously unreleased tracks, including many artists that make their compilation debut including Lonnie Dee, Joe Franklin & The Hi-Liters, Daryl Petty and Bobby Strigo with The Blue Notes among others. Highlights of the compilation include tracks by Handy, Harold Pope’s Country soaked Tears Falling Down, Down, Down, The Hornet’s rockin’ backing for several artists and the raw instrumentals.
Given the obscurity of this material, they sourced a majority of the tracks from the original 45 singles. This is identifiable on several tracks, where some light noise can be heard, and the top end is prominent. Bear Family’s ability to unearth this stuff should never be understated, nor their effort to restore them to the best they can be. While the quality varies between track to track, it never feels like a lazy needle drop release. Considering the variety of places and conditions they made these recordings, they have probably never sounded better.
The album finishes with five (so-called) bonus tracks, mainly from artists that were featured previously. The audio quality on these tracks are not bad, but not the best featured on the disc. Their inclusion, despite the flaws, is most welcome.
Inside a digipak is an attached 29-page booklet, featuring the story of Renown Records, information on the artists and rare photographs and artwork.
Bear Family Records has continued this compilation series with style. Aimed at collectors, this collection fills a gap, and shines a light on an underappreciated label and their artists. The sound quality occasionally suffers, but it is to be expected for material of this age. Featuring a huge amount of hard to find recordings that have remained unheard for decades, this is a great addition to any collector’s collection.
- Wayne Handy – Betcha’ Didn’t Know
- Jim Thornton – I Want Everything My Baby’s Got
- Irving Fuller & The Chorvettes – Buzz Me On The Telephone
- Buck Tickle – That Other Woman
- Don Duncan – Somethin’ Special
- Harold Pope – Stop Walking All Over Me
- Steve France With The Hornets – Bad Boy
- Wayne Handy – Say Yeah
- Don Ray With The Hornets – Silly Dilly
- Eddie Smith With The Hornets – Upturn
- Lonnie Dee – Cold North Wind
- Joe Franklin & The Hi-Liters – Who Put The Pep In The Punch
- Bobby Strigo With The Blue Notes – The Pad
- Clyde Moody – Do You Ever Think Of Me
- Daryl Petty – The Day I Die
- Hughie Owens With The Blue Notes – I’m Going Home
- Wayne Handy – Problem Child
- Jim Thornton – Our Southern Way Of Living
- Harold Pope – Tears Falling Down, Down, Down
- Eddie Smith With The Hornets – Border Beat
- Steve France With The Hornets – Dream Boy
- Dannie Maness – Travelling Blues
- Bobby Rose – Making Fun Of Me
- Joe Franklin & The Hi-Liters – True Blue
- Lonnie Dee – I’m Not Ashamed
- Wayne Handy – I’ll Never Be The Same
- Jim Thornton – Baby Let Me Powder Your Nose
- Daryl Petty – Flaming Love
- Ken Willette With The Blue Notes – Love Is A Flame
- Dannie Maness – Hobo Bill
- Wayne Handy & The Melody Masters – Seminole Rock’n Roll
- The Hi-Liters – Dance Me To Death
- Wayne Handy – I Think You Oughta Look Again
- Steve France & The Varatones – You Turn Me On
- The Varatones – Repeto