Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bear Family Records - Quality Compilations

I was recently reminded of what fantastic work Bear Family Records does on their compilations when I was lucky enough to borrow a couple from someone at work. My “Music to Buy” list is now growing longer at a very rapid rate. It would be a dream job to get to work for Bear Family doing research for them, or anything else to do with music, but alas I shall remain a member of the 5 o’clock world…

The first comp is Rockin’ and Boppin’ in the Desert, Arizona Rockabilly, Volume I, with tracks by the like of Joe Montgomery, Al Casey, Bobby Boston, Benny Banta, Billy Barnett, Don Cole, Jack Lane, and Jimmy Gray. So many fabulous songs including Rockin’ Down Mexico Way by Loy Clingman as well as Dig That Ford by Doug Harden. Another fun one is The Bug by Gene Maltais. Overall, I do not think there is a song on here I dislike out of all 30 tracks! The packaging is very cool as well, not just the standard plastic case, and includes a great booklet as all the Bear Family stuff usually does. This introduced me to a bunch of artists I was not familiar with.

The second comp is Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight. So much great stuff here including Charline Arthur, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Eddie Arnold and much more. I have absolutely fallen in love with Charline Arthur and want more! In the liner notes I read she was in Paris, Texas, in 1945 and I know my dad lived there at some point either in the late 40s or 50s. I wonder if my grandparents ever listened to her on the local radio station while she was there. This is one of those instances where I cannot believe I have not heard of her sooner when I have listened to so many other great female signers of that era. Better late than never! Again, I like everything on here but to point out a few, The Christmas Boogie by the Davis Sisters since it’s that time of year, another version of Hound Dog done by Jack Turner and his Granger Country Gang, Caffeine & Nicotine by Curtis Gordon,  Blackberry Boogie by Johnnie Lee Wills & His Boys, and if Charline Arthur singing Burn That Candle does not get you moving I don’t know what will!

Charline Arthur!

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