You can't mention rockabilly without mentioning Johnny Burnette, or more precisely, the Johnny Burnette Trio, since credit must go to the overall sound rather than just Johnny's vocals. The Trio brought a level of aggression to rockabilly that wasn't there to anything like the same degree in numbers from Presley and Perkins. This is particularly noticeable on tracks like "The Train kept a rollin'" and "Honey Hush" where the rhythm pattern provided by Paul Burlison's guitar perfectly complements Burnette's vocal delivery, full of hiccuppy effects and with added shouts (presumably by Dorsey or Paul). The original of Honey Hush from the great blues shouter Big Joe Turner was a fine performance in its own right but the Johnny and the Trio manage to cap it for excitement.
The boys had to go to US Coral in New York to get a recording contract since Sam Philips at Sun turned them down reportedly because Johnny sounded too much like a certain other singer he had! However the Trio's rockabilly tracks for Coral, and they're all here, are rightly regarded as classics. And that's the aforementioned pair plus "Tear it up", "Lonesome Train", "Eager Beaver baby" and more. In between we get country tracks sometimes, like "Sweet love on my mind", sprinkled with some rockabilly dust. On others there are some slight hints of the later brief pop career that Johnny (and Dorsey) would enjoy. But that was for the future. This was now and this was Johnny Burnette in his pomp and was how he would be recalled in the annals of rock history.
Thank you Richard Hawley for opening the rockabilly door for me. What a find. Its a bit like finding the missing link between Rock and Roll and Country with a bit of R&B thrown in. Some melting pot!!. Its punk music from the 50s. And this cd says it all from start to finish powering through some awesome tracks. OK there may be some weaker moments but they are not that weak and anyway are few and far between but once that fuzzed up Fender kicks as it does on many tracks all is given. And at a giveaway price what's not to like. Its a must have
Johnny Burnette is best remembered for the teen idol hits of the late 50's but in 1955/6 he cut most of these tracks with his Rock & Roll trio. After they dropped an amp unloading it at a gig, they found it gave a certain amount of distortion and decided they liked it and made it a feature of their sound. This album includes all of the tracks featured on their legendary 1956 debut album plus a few others that may not quite match their quality. 'Honey Hush', 'Train kept a rolling' and others still sound absolutely crazy with an energy that even the punks couldn't quite match. At times Johnny's singing is almost insane but this was, after all, crazy music that middle America believed haralded with the end of Civilization as they knew it. To me it simply sounds like some crazy young bucks having a whale of time and you just know it'll sound great in another 50 years from now. This is the essence of Rock & Roll.
What I know of the J Burnette Trio's music is only this cd, so I can't say if this is the ultimate compilation of the band's output or whether crucial recordings are omitted. What I can say is that there are several superb tracks on this - frenzied, dirty, intense rockabilly - and so basically you can't go wrong. The sleeve notes are also helpful, and above par for a cheapo compilation.