Ira Robbins
August 16, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Rock This Town: Rockabilly Hits, Vol. 1

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Various Artists
genre
Reissues

We gave it an A-

Like black leather jackets and motorcycles, the Southern offspring of R&B and country known as rockabilly is inextricably identified with the wild youth of the 1950s. The slap bass, flashy guitar runs, canyonlike echo, and frantic or tremulous singing — punctuated by whoops and hiccups — of great rockabilly records can deliver as many delinquent thrills as a lurid biker movie. Rock This Town covers many of rockabilly’s high points, from Carl Perkins’ archetypal ”Blue Suede Shoes” and Gene Vincent’s ”Lotta Lovin”’ (on Vol. 1, which focuses on 1956-58) through the revivalist Stray Cats’ ”Rock This Town” on the slightly less exemplary Vol. 2 (1957-82). Besides the obvious hits and important stylistic landmarks, both volumes boast spectacular obscurities like Ronnie Dee’s aptly named ”Action Packed” on Vol. 2 and a 12-year-old Brenda Lee’s ”Bigelow 6-200” on Vol. 1, which alone are worth the price of each CD. A-

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