September 2006

Various Artists - Rockin’ Bones: 1950s Punk & Rockabilly
Rhino R2 73346
Format: CD
Released: 2006

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

In celebration of the approximate 50th anniversary of the birth of rockabilly, the Rhino label is breaking out the big guns. Get back you cool cats and take a listen to this first-rate four-disc boxed set comprising 101 songs, a quarter of which were previously unreleased in the US. It is a definitive collection that includes the work of those artists who were at the forefront of inventing the genre, and many lesser-known underground rebels who helped shape the sounds that tore the foundation of music apart.

Not just any compilation could do justice to such an undertaking. This crowd invented "cool." Rhino has taken the task seriously and the result is an exhaustive gem of rockabilly roots. Quintessential cuts from Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Link Ray and the "queen of rockabilly," Wanda Jackson, make up a perfect primer for the rockabilly novice. The true appeal of this collection, however, is in the obscure inclusions of Kip Tyler, Hasil Adkins, and Freddie and the Hitch-Hikers. There is no doubt that Rhino did some digging to find these rare tracks. There are sure to be a few undiscovered gems in the mix, even for you hep cats who think you’ve heard it all. The collection features recordings from 1954 to 1969. The transcendental trinity of sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll was just in its infancy.

Like a window to the past, Rockin’ Bones reveals America in its rebellious teenage youth, though what seemed so raw and raunchy at the time appears tame by today’s standards. Oh, Daddy-o! Have I roused any rebels yet?