The Everly Brothers: Down in the Bottom – The Country Rock Sessions 1966-68
(Cherry Red)
Rating: 5/5
By the late 60s, The Everly Brothers were coming to the end of their Warner Brothers label contract and were finding commercial success slightly more elusive than it was in their 50s heyday. Their final three albums, plus out-takes and demos, are included in a sumptuous package of three CDs that details their hit-making attempts. But whatever they tried, their harmony vocals are always perfect. The three CDs include country cuts like Hank Snow’s I’m Movin’ On and Don Gibson’s Sea Of Heartbreak, rockers like Oh Boy! and Good Golly Miss Molly, and some pop. They also attempted some more contemporary material like Whiter Shade Of Pale and Trains And Boats And Planes, but it was on their final album, they re-found their true home – what is now known as Americana. The album Roots is recognised as one of the first and finest examples of country rock, and it is here in its entirety. John Howard

Don Lang: Time to Jive: His Rockin’ Best
Rating: 3/5
Saxophone playing sidesman Gordon Langhorn’s musical career stretched from playing on Ken Mackintosh’s dance hit The Creep up to recording at Abbey Road on The Beatles’ ‘White Album’. In between, he had a high-profile TV persona as an early English rock’n’roller covering Chuck Berry, Guy Mitchell and Bobby Darin, among other U.S. hits. This 25-track collection focuses on his time with the groundbreaking Jack Good-produced Six-Five Special TV show on which he was a regular, and his novelty hits like Witch Doctor and Tequila. Probably the best track on this compilation is Red Planet Rock, revived in rock’n’roll clubland in the 70s when it was only available as a 78rpm 10″ disc, and revived again this decade thanks to a version by live favourites Lucas And The Dynamos. His takes on such tracks as Boyd Bennett’s Seventeen, Dale Hawkins’ La-Do-Dada, and Johnny And The Hurricanes’ Reveille Rock pale in comparison with the originals, but Don’s own compositions add interest to the mix. JH


Various Artists: Stroll-a-rama – Jump and Bump

Rating: 4/5
A whopping 30 tracks on a meticulously researched gatefold CD that celebrates a 70s rock’n’roll dance with a 50s name. The 50s stroll was a partner dance with boys and girls lined up opposite one another, and the couples at the end paired up and danced down the middle of the two lines. The 70s version, still strong today, has mainly girls in lock step performing what, to untutored eyes, looks like a line dance. No problems with the music, however, Both are danced to mid-tempo rockers, and there’s plenty on this collection. Artists include Australian Johnny O’Keefe, The Drifters, Trini Lopez and The Everly Brothers, while oddities include a French language version of The Wanderer by Richard Anthony, and the 1954 original of the Bill Allen favourite Please Give Me Something, not to mention an uncredited Little Richard bashing the piano on Lord Have Mercy (I’m So Lonely). Full marks to compiler Dee Jay Mark Armstrong for both his selections and the liner notes. JH