Wednesday, April 27, 2016


What do you do when you become so fascinated with a new genre of music that some of the titles in your collection lose their relevance? You start weeding out the stuff that no longer matters to you. Never was that more true then when punk rock hit. Unsure of what lied ahead, the crap of the pre-punk crop was handily purged. Like music, like collection, stripped down to the essentials. Although few in my immediate group did so with earnest, I dove in. Believe me when I say that there was a lot of overplayed, over produced, narcissistic crap weeded out. There was a point when I was living with a dozen or so of my closest friends from the still infant scene, that I received help, resigning myself to the trashing of what little I had left by visitors and roommates. Records borrowed and never returned, records taken to another room and coming back with wine and cigarette ash in the grooves, records stolen only to pop up in the used bins of the local used record store, those sorts of things. Near the end at that particular house, I remember thinking that as long as I moved out with my Dolls LPs and Eddie Cochran boxed set intact, I'd be okay. I ended up leaving with much more than that, and for every record that was involuntarily purged, there are a bunch of memories, of debating the merit, rationalizing the continued ownership, comparing it to other records, and spilled wine and cigarette ash.

Rebuilding a collection took time, and there were a lot of gambles. But, with a new set of priorities, that being simple, more straight forward no-bullshit music, other genres crept in. Reggae and rockabilly became added obsessions. And at the time, rockabilly was still just getting past the hits in terms of reissues. There were the obvious Sun compilations, notably the Charly Records single artist Sun compilations (I had the Billy Lee Riley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Howlin' Wolf and Rosco Gordon editions). But after that, the crap shoots began. One I remember taking a chance on was a CBS (Columbia) rockabilly set, the take-away on that one being the Collins Kids. The Columbia set was probably bought because I recognized the label. Not so with the King-Federal rockabilly compilation. I remember why I bought that one. It was cheap. Rockabilly from a label you never heard of, by artists you never heard of, for something like five bucks? Why the hell not?

That one compilation netted many favorites, among them those below, (and including the two in the photos, Charlie Feathers up top, and Mac "Whaddya lookin' at?" Curtis, the guy with the flat top.) All of the songs gained instant rotation status, and I'm still digging them today, some [mumble, mumble] years later. Let's put it this way: the compilation came into my possession so long ago, that my second copy, after wearing out the first, was on cassette tape. Yeah, it did it's work, hepping me to the the songs and names on it for the very first time. It didn't take Wikipedia, Mojo, a jackass with a blog, a friend, a book, or even a reference of it anywhere. It was in the record rack, it was cheap, and it said "rockabilly" on it. That was enough. 

Charlie Feathers - Bottle to the Baby mp3 at Madison AMPS (?)
Mac Curtis - Grandaddy's Rockin' mp3
at Rocky 52
Hank Mizell - Jungle Rock mp3
at Beware of the Blog

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