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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rockabilly Genius
All of this series on Sun rockabilly artists are great (Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Feathers, etc.) but Warren Smith is one of the great forgotten masters of the genre. As well as great rockers, there are some beautiful Honky Tonk songs, and a few like Black Jack David or Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache that don't quite fit either the rock or country tags...
Published on 8 July 2008 by D. Watts

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warren Smith
I bought this CD for dancing to: Jive, Swing Lindyhop etc. I took a gamble with this one, and am not entirely happy. He's recorded some good songs - some good for dancing. However, be aware that some of the tracks are studio out-takes: with false starts at the beginning of some tracks, where he stops the band and restarts. Some seem to go wrong part of the way...
Published on 22 Jan. 2011 by Salsaman


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rockabilly Genius, 8 July 2008
By 
D. Watts (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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All of this series on Sun rockabilly artists are great (Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Feathers, etc.) but Warren Smith is one of the great forgotten masters of the genre. As well as great rockers, there are some beautiful Honky Tonk songs, and a few like Black Jack David or Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache that don't quite fit either the rock or country tags. Anybody interested in rockabilly should own this (& also the Sonny Burgess one at least).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, 23 April 2009
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This review is from: Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59 (Audio CD)
This CD is a Revelation with a capital "R". I bought it because I wanted it for the Rock'n Roll Ruby song, but the rest is just unbelievable. I know nothing about Warren Smith, but if this CD is anything to go by, he (or his band or group) beats them all. Best money spent in 30 years. If you like rock'n roll, or music from that era, don't hesitate, buy it! Happy music from happy times, jive away the blues, or rock away the blues. It's so varied that I wonder sometimes if I'm listening to the same band.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well she's my Rock'n'Roll Ruby, 2 Aug. 2011
By 
Dangerous Dave (Berkhamsted, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59 (Audio CD)
Warren Smith was one of the really under-rated performers in Sam Phillips' stable of Sun rockabilly artists. The following mini-essay on the hierarchy of performers at Sun is intended to give some background and context into how his abilities were/are perceived, however I would submit that the range and depth of music contained in this album would justify some readjustment of that ranking.

To say the Sun label attracted and in most cases retained, at least for the key period in the growth of rockabilly, a high level of rock'n'roll talent is an understatement of the highest order. The talent at Sun in its heyday was truly staggering. If I can draw an analogy to the way UK football is organised and put the artists who spent time there into divisions then in the Premier division would be Elvis, Jerry Lee and Johnny Cash. undoubted superstars all. OK, Sam did let Elvis go but he used to argue that this gave him funding to develop other artists. Both Jerry and Johnny produced much of their quality material whilst at Sun - Cash's output for the label is still under appreciated. Moving down to the Championship we would see Carl Perkins, to many people the epitome of rockabilly, Charlie Rich and Roy Orbison. Both of the latter pairing were to go on to much greater fame with subsequent labels and, arguably, should be promoted to superstar rating over their entire careers. However Rich's Sun output shouldn't be ignored. In my view, "Who will the next fool be" and "Lonely Weekends" have had lasting appeal and, to me, match anything he was to go on to record. We then have League Division 1 with the likes of Sonny Burgess, Warren Smith, Carl Mann, Billy Lee Riley and Charlie Feathers (though Charlie scattered his recordings over a host of tiny labels). All these gentlemen produced top quality rockabilly plus country, blues and pop material. But that wasn't the end of it. Below Division 1 were all the rest, guys like Onie Wheeler, Hayden Thompson, Ray Smith, Jack Earls and many, many, more. Obviously the quality at this level was much more varied but there are still plenty of nuggets to be found. You'll probably disagree with my allocation of artists to divisions but I think the analogy is useful in understanding the depth of talent at Sun. This illustrated in the "Sun Rockabilly Meltdown" 3 CD set - please see my review of the same.

Unlike more obviously frantic r'n'r performers like Jerry Lee (or Jack Earls) you always got the impression that not a hair would be out of place in Warren Smith's magnificent pompadoured hair style during the performance of the rockers most closely associated with the man, "Rock `n' Roll Ruby", his first release and local hit, and "Ubangi Stomp". There are slight references to Jerry Lee in his vocal style but there's no question of a copycat approach - he performs with full confidence in his abilities. Both songs have similarities and are now rightly considered as rockabilly classics even if "Ubangi Stomp" would have a job being released today because of its non-PC lyrics. It has to be said that the songwriter, Charles Underwood, was only getting his own back at many of the comments aimed at rock'n'roll artists, particularly Presley, in the early years.

Although not a prolific songwriter himself, Smith was adept in his choice of songs to record. Whether this was due to himself or Phillips is not made clear in the otherwise excellent notes. The third song (and classic) to be associated with Warren was the medium pace, "Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache" which has been applauded by no less than Bob Dylan. Warren's Mr Cool approach fits the song to a tee. I'm not sure whether you`d classify it as rockabilly or not but it was damn good anyway. Amazingly this record was unissued at the time. Another great (and unusual) choice was "Got love if you want it" originally from the black R&B artist Slim Harpo, on Excello and recorded in Crowley, Louisiana. It was one of Harpo's best, an insidious rocker with very unusual rhythm. Warren and band, including Jerry Lee's regular guitarist, Roland Janes, deliver a great version that's the equal of the original. Warren gets quite animated on this one - it`s a pity it didn`t get any chart success.

Other good rockers from Warren included the shuffling "So long, I'm gone" and "Uranium Rock", the latter with a strong Diddley beat and excellent guitar from either Al Hopson or Roland Janes - suspect the latter but they`re both present.

There's an argument that Warren was more comfortable with country material but you wouldn't have thought so from the evidence commented on in the paras above. However his country efforts are better than anyone at Sun outside the superstar division - Elvis, Jerry and Johnny. The songs range from the very traditional sounding "I'd rather be safe than sorry", the shuffling "Black Jack David", the hillbilly "Tonight will be the last night" (love this one), "I fell in love" with choral backing - was Sam trying to get an Elvis style slow hit?, the country pop "Sweet Sweet Girl" (another goodie), to the Cash like "My Hanging Day".

There are a few cuts which don't fit either the rockabilly or country templates: the novelty number "Dear John" complete with Coasters sax, "Do I love you" which is heavily based on Elvis' "Too much", the Jerry Lee inspired "I like your kind of love" (reminiscent of Jerry's more poppie numbers), the walking boogie "Who took my baby", with Warren alternating between falsetto and bass and Sam drenching with echo.

As the album progresses we get a few entertaining false starts and some alternates which do pad it all out a bit but there`s still plenty of great stuff here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Have, 3 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59 (Audio CD)
There is a stand out track on this cd, Red Cadillac and Black Moustache, where Warren creates a sound that if he had been able to replicate it many times over would have put him alongside the greats of his era. That did not happen but I still enjoyed the album which is a slightly quirky mix of rock n roll and country, probably a reflection of how rockabilly artists influenced the morphing of the two genres. A must have cd if you have an interest in the pioneers of rock n roll.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rockabilly Voice with a Red Cadillac and Black Mustache, 11 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59 (Audio CD)
One of the best voices on Sun records. All of his great recordings are here.

Buy it if you want to know what Rockabilly is about!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good songs by a good singer, 29 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59 (Audio CD)
very pleased. only had heard a couple of tracks, the other tracks were brilliant a very underated performer.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warren Smith, 22 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59 (Audio CD)
I bought this CD for dancing to: Jive, Swing Lindyhop etc. I took a gamble with this one, and am not entirely happy. He's recorded some good songs - some good for dancing. However, be aware that some of the tracks are studio out-takes: with false starts at the beginning of some tracks, where he stops the band and restarts. Some seem to go wrong part of the way through.
He's good, but not great in my opinion. But at such a cheap price for the CD, it was worth the money.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 14 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Rockabilly Legend (Audio CD)
Pleased
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Rockabilly Legend - The Classic Recordings 1956-59
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