Rockabilly Acetates

Rockabilly Acetates


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Rockabilly Acetates is one of the hotter CDs ever issued by the ubiquitous German label Buffalo Bop, despite some uneven moments -- opening with "Guitar Rock" by Joe Snyder and Curtis Wren, working as the Moonlighters, the 31-song CD starts out in overdrive, slowing down only for "Never, Never, Never," the duo's sub-Everly Brothers attempt at a harmony ballad. The Detonators sound more "black" than any rock & roll act that this reviewer has heard in over three dozen Buffalo Bop releases, their rendition of "Honey Hush" calling to mind any number of early-'50s jump blues numbers pushing their way toward rock & roll, and their version of "Slow Down" seems equally far across the color line. Danny Dell's swamp rock-flavored "Pogo Walk" sounds as though it was maybe one take away from a commercial release, while Jim Aguire's "Wildcat Daddy" seems finished, a perfect, twangy country number with a crazy tempo and a twisting guitar solo that made this reviewer feel cross-eyed following it. Bud Brees also sounds the complete professional -- his tight, jangly "The Big Hit" never did live up to what its title promised, however. Tracks eight, 10, 11, 20, and 23, incidentally, achieve new levels of obscurity and archeology even for the folks at Buffalo Bop, tracks 8, 20, and 23 being credited to "Unknown" while the other two are designated "Rock & Roll Improvisation" -- and someone named Max Lipscomb turns in two different renditions of his own song, "Don't Wait," in two different arrangements and keys. Track eight, "Let's Hit the Road," is a Jerry Lee Lewis-type number with a nice, loud guitar break over the anonymous artist's whooping and hollering vocal. Some of what's here, such was "Hippity Hop" by Benn Zeppa, is dangerously close to novelty tunes in nature, and keeps its rock & roll credentials by virtue of its makers' performing styles. "Wobble Wiggle," by the Rhythm Tones, is little more than a piece of manic laughter over a slow guitar blues riff, and Ronnie Ashton was definitely not ready for prime time, with his shouted, tuneless, chaotic "Holdin' Back." Charles Looper and Jimmy Grubbs sound like Sun Records alumni on "She's My Baby Now" and the suggestive "I Got a Rocket." Frankie & Margie sound like the Collins Kids, and are impressive enough that one wished their "Crazy Legs" was more than an acetate -- they had possibilities. If Arlin Neville was the guitarist on his "Rockin' Star," then this reviewer sincerely hopes he found a vehicle for his dexterity; he wasn't much of a singer, but whoever was playing was doing 16th notes. Chester Brand also should have been a star for at least 15 minutes or so in 1956 or 1957, somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line, for "Honey Bee" -- a good singer and at least two first-rate players on acoustic and electric guitar. Ray Pate was another excellent rockabilly shouter with a great band to back him, and "I've Got That Feeling" is one of those records that could've been a hit anyplace it got heard. Art Adams finishes the CD on a high-energy note with "Dancing Doll" and "Rock Crazy Baby," a pair of demos of the same song rewritten. The sound quality is surprisingly good considering that none of the material here was intended for commercial release in this form -- as usual with Buffalo Bop's work, there is no annotation to speak of, apart from songwriting credits; those are all there, incidentally, even when the artist isn't known, because many of these acetates were intended to showcase the songs rather than the singers. There are some cool photos of a handful of the performers represented.

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