Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly

Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly

Though rockabilly may be a mongrel music that barely even had a commercial heyday -- only Carl Perkins's "Blue Suede Shoes" ranked as a national hit until the Stray Cats emerged in the early '80s -- few musical styles, in fact, have been more attuned to the zeitgeist of their day. Born of hillbilly boogie, country & western, and rhythm and blues, rockabilly surfaced


Though rockabilly may be a mongrel music that barely even had a commercial heyday -- only Carl Perkins's "Blue Suede Shoes" ranked as a national hit until the Stray Cats emerged in the early '80s -- few musical styles, in fact, have been more attuned to the zeitgeist of their day. Born of hillbilly boogie, country & western, and rhythm and blues, rockabilly surfaced with Bill Haley in 1953, broke out on Sun Records via Elvis in 1954, and by 1958 had settled into a permanent place in the American music underground, where it remains today. The bulk of the 101 tracks on these four discs hail from that fertile timespan, with a sampling of other efforts dating from the late '50s to the early '60s. Even with the popularity of reissues in the CD era, most of these sides have been unavailable domestically -- some almost from the day of their original release, cut as they were by obscure artists recording for fly-by-night labels. Together, they prove that rockabilly cedes nothing to any genre in terms of originality, inventiveness, energy, or even cultural resonance.

Although it seems a simple music, played originally by trios sans drums, its rhythms and dynamics have a logic all their own. No wonder that pickers on the order of Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Paul Burlison, James Burton, Cliff Gallup (of Gene Vincent's Blue Caps), and Eddie Cochran remain reference points for aspiring rock 'n' roll guitarists. In this collection, the rockabilly gods -- Elvis, Perkins, Johnny Cash, Ricky Nelson, Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly -- are duly acknowledged with familiar monuments (Elvis's "Baby, Let's Play House" is a nice touch, as the King's hiccupping, stuttering vocal provided a vocal model for all succeeding rockabilly), but the day belongs to the inspired, wild-eyed rarities. For those of a lascivious bent, check out John & Jackie's 1958 soft-porn window steamer, "Little Girl," notable for Jackie's orgasmic moans; for pure American primitivism, there's Link Wray's epochal home-recorded instrumental, "Rumble," and Hasil Adkins's stark, scorched-earth howl, "Chicken Walk." Culturally revealing ditties abound, from Joe Clay's spitfire "Duck Tail" to Dwight Pullen's stomping "Sunglasses After Dark" to, of course, Perkins's "Blue Suede Shoes." UFOs show up all over the place, as do juvenile delinquents and wild, wild women -- and speaking of women, this set performs a valuable service in including the seldom-heard work of rockabilly queens including Barbara Pittman (Sun's lone female artist), Wanda Jackson (with her sassy "Fujiyama Mama"), Janis "The Female Elvis" Martin, and even Jackie DeShannon in her earliest incarnation, covering Elvis's "Trouble." With bright, crisp remastering and entertaining, authoritative annotation, Rockin' Bones brilliantly captures rock 'n' roll in its larval stage and honors the inspired supernovas who, in their fleeting moments of glory, created a new world that still sounds like the best place to be.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's easy to look at Rhino's four-disc 2006 box Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly and confuse it with the label's 1999 four-disc box Loud, Fast & Out of Control: The Wild Sounds of '50s Rock. It has the same garish neo-pulp artwork, covers the same era, and even has several of the same songs, usually big hits like Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" or Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," or Ricky Nelson's "Believe What You Say," but it also has cult classics like Joe Clay's "Duck Tail" or the Phantom's "Love Me," or Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac" -- plus, this builds on the speeches and dialogue that were interspersed throughout Loud, Fast & Out of Control by adding the audio from '50s and '60s exploitation movie trailers; a cool idea on mixtapes that is unbearable in the digital age because for some reason, Rhino did not index the trailers as individual tracks, so whenever you try to make your own mix or listen to it on your iPod it's a mess. So, Rockin' Bones is very similar in many respects to Loud, Fast & Out of Control except in one important way: this contains only rockabilly tunes, cutting out any of the R&B, jump blues, and straight-up rock & roll that made the 1999 box an excellent, essential portrait of the rock & roll revolution. In other words, with the exception of Big Al Downing, there are no black artists here -- no Chuck Berry, no Little Richard, no Bo Diddley, three artists who were as crucial to '50s rock & roll (not to mention greasers) as Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly. While the argument could be made that Berry, Little Richard and Diddley weren't rockabilly, their absence nevertheless casts a shadow over the set, as if the compilers were trying to rewrite history so they could shoehorn the beginning of rock & roll into the nebulous "1950s Punk" of the set's subtitle, since punk in its 2006 incarnation is pretty much devoid of black musicians (but, let's face it, a generation raised on Hot Topic punk-pop and emo is unlikely to buy 50-year-old recordings no matter if they're labeled punk or not). It's a decision that can be defended, but it still leaves a bad aftertaste. It's not the only flaw on Rockin' Bones, either. The set is pitched halfway between a basic introduction to rockabilly and a collection of wild-cat rarities for collectors, with the big, big hits alternating with oddball selections, including several songs that have never been on a U.S. CD before this box. This gives the set a bit of an unbalanced feel, particularly for listeners who have "Baby Let's Play House," "Rumble," "Get Rhythm," and "Who Do You Love" on countless comps, but it also doesn't function as a good introduction for the curious since it provides little context for either the hits or rarities; it just plays like a very good rockabilly station on shuffle. Of course, there are some benefits to this -- it makes for good, consistent listening -- but it doesn't make this a definitive portrait of a style, the way that Rhino's first Nuggets set did, nor does this work as a worthy rarities roundup for the hardcore collector, the way that their girl group box One Kiss Can Lead to Another did. Instead, Rockin' Bones occupies a netherworld where it has too much familiar stuff for the hardcore fans and too many samey novelties for the less dedicated listener who would be better off getting Loud, Fast & Out of Control. But for those listeners who fall somewhere between those two extremes -- those who really like rockabilly, have a bunch in their collection, but want some good rarities and novelties -- this is worthwhile, since there are some great sides scattered throughout these 101 songs, including the tribal thump of Tommy Blake's "Lordy Hoody" or John & Jackie's "Little Girl," a truly bizarre single where the duo's perky vocals are overshadowed by a female backing vocalist who sounds as if she's writhing in orgasm for the song's entire two-minute running time. These, along with such other highlights as rockabilly singles by George Jones and Buck Owens (released under pseudonyms: Thumper Jones and Corky Jones, respectively), are the reason for serious rock & roll fans to get this set: cuts like these, and there a lot of them here, are enough to forgive the severe flaws on Rockin' Bones as a historical set and just enjoy it as 101 tracks of pure raw rock & roll.

Product Details

Release Date:


Disc 1

  1. Rockin' Bones
  2. Let's Go Baby
  3. Baby Let's Play House
  4. Little Girl
  5. Cat Man
  6. Lobo Jones
  7. Juvenile Delinquent
  8. Froggy Went a Courting
  9. Rattlesnake Daddy
  10. Down on the Farm
  11. Rockin' in the Graveyard
  12. Dancing Doll
  13. Long Blond Hair, Red Rose Lips
  14. Action Packed
  15. Boppin' High School Baby
  16. Believe What You Say
  17. Sunglasses After Dark
  18. Rumble
  19. Down the Line
  20. Pink Cadillac
  21. Black Cadillac
  22. Who's Been Here
  23. I Need a Man
  24. Please Give Me Somthing
  25. Sinners

Disc 2

  1. Rock Around with Ollie Vee
  2. Lou Lou
  3. Rock Crazy Baby
  4. Love Bug Crawl
  5. Fool I Am
  6. Red Hot
  7. Love Me
  8. She's My Witch
  9. Lordy Hoody
  10. Bloodshot
  11. Trouble
  12. Hot Shot
  13. Long Gone Daddy
  14. Curfew
  15. Put Your Cat Clothes On
  16. Pink and Black
  17. Domino
  18. Jungle Rock
  19. Ubangi Stomp
  20. Chicken Walk
  21. Chicken Rock
  22. Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe
  23. Shirley Lee
  24. Woman Love
  25. One Night of Sin

Disc 3

  1. Blue Suede Shoes
  2. Duck Tail
  3. Stack-A-Records
  4. Daddy-O-Rock
  5. Move
  6. Brand New Cadillac
  7. Rumble Rock
  8. Hep Cat
  9. Cast Iron Arm
  10. Switch Blade Sam
  11. Ballin' Keen
  12. Sweet Rockin' Baby
  13. Get Rhythm
  14. Rock Billy Boogie
  15. Crazy Baby
  16. Susie-Q
  17. Worried 'Bout You Baby
  18. I Love My Baby
  19. Come on Little Mama
  20. Whistle Bait
  21. Spin the Bottle
  22. Bertha Lou
  23. Real Gone Daddy
  24. My Pink Cadillac
  25. Draggin'

Disc 4

  1. Action Packed
  2. Shakin' All Over
  3. Who Do You Love
  4. Summertime Blues
  5. The Way I Walk
  6. Wild Wild Women
  7. Oooh-Eeee
  8. Get Hot or Go Home
  9. Swamp Gal
  10. Miss Pearl
  11. Mercy
  12. Rock Boppin' Baby
  13. Rockin' Daddy
  14. Rock It
  15. Rhythm and Booze
  16. Flyin' Saucers Rock 'N' Roll
  17. Shake Um Up Rock
  18. Red Hot Rockin Blues
  19. Bang Bang
  20. One Hand Loose
  21. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
  22. Fujiyama Mama
  23. I Got a Rocket in My Pocket
  24. Oh Love
  25. School of Rock 'N Roll
  26. Rock-N-Bones

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Howie Stange   Vocals

Technical Credits

George Jones   Composer
Buck Owens   Composer
Jerry Reed   Composer
Hasil Adkins   Composer
Dave Alvin   Liner Notes
Eddie Cochran   Composer
Charlie Feathers   Composer
Buddy Holly   Composer
Johnny Kidd   Composer
Roy Orbison   Composer
Gene Vincent   Composer
Link Wray   Composer
Dave Bartholomew   Composer
James Burton   Liner Notes
Johnny Carroll   Composer
Larry Collins   Composer
Sonny Curtis   Composer
Sonny Fisher   Composer
Arthur Neal Gunter   Composer
Dale Hawkins   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Hank Mizell   Composer
Bobby Lee Trammell   Composer
Norman Petty   Composer
Rudy Grayzell   Composer
Dorsey Burnette   Composer
Johnny Powers   Composer
T. Texas Tyler   Composer
Henry Jerome   Composer
James Austin   Producer,Liner Notes
Bill Bartlett   Composer
Hugh Brown   Art Direction
Johnny Burnette   Composer
Jerry Capehart   Composer
Don Carter   Composer
Wayne Cogswell   Composer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
Pat Cupp   Composer
Sunny David   Composer
Colin Escott   Liner Notes
Billy Gibbons   Liner Notes
Ray Harris   Composer
Reverend Horton Heat   Liner Notes
Stan Lewis   Composer
Ellas McDaniel   Composer
Cheryl Pawelski   Producer
Slim Jim Phantom   Liner Notes
Mark Pickerel   Liner Notes
Lee Rocker   Liner Notes
Jim Scott   Composer
Shelby Singleton   Composer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Marvin Taylor   Composer
Charles Underwood   Composer
Ronnie Dawson   Composer
Bill Foshee   Composer
Carl Adams   Composer
Marvin Montgomery   Composer
Dave Williams   Composer
Deke Dickerson   Liner Notes
Tommy Bell   Composer
Lorrie Collins   Composer
Downing   Composer
William Robert Emerson   Composer
Mike Ness   Liner Notes
Tom Tall   Composer
Kip Tyler   Composer
Ron Wernsman   Composer
Slim Willet   Composer
Hal Willis   Composer
Tommy Blake   Composer
Steve Vance   Art Direction,Illustrations,Cover Art
Curtis Gordon   Composer
Jimmy Wages   Composer
Ronnie Allen   Composer
Pearl King   Composer
John Marascalco   Composer
Gene Maltais   Composer
Vic McAlpin   Composer
James McClung   Composer
Luke McDaniel   Composer
Jack Rhodes   Composer
Ralph Simonton   Composer
Anita Steinman   Composer
Ginger Willis   Composer
James Bullington   Composer
Earl Burrows   Composer
Lee Denson   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Fred Aldrich   Composer
Larry Terry   Composer
Vince Taylor   Composer
David Demaría   Composer
Jerry Huffman   Composer
Art Adams   Composer
Paul Kruesi Westbrook   Composer
Bryan George   Licensing
Ron Volz   Composer
Joyce Green   Composer
Bobby Caraway   Composer
Don Willis   Composer
Larry Dowd   Composer
Pat Ferguson   Composer
John Kerby   Composer
Samson Pollen   Illustrations
Howie Stange   Composer
Terry Caraway   Composer
Edwin Bruce   Composer
Ray Burden   Composer
Eleanor Broadwater   Composer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >