The Hillbillies: They Tried to Rock, Vol. 1

The Hillbillies: They Tried to Rock, Vol. 1


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At times, the line between country and rock & roll was very thin indeed, but Bear Family's two-volume, 2014 set The Hillbillies: They Tried to Rock presents a familiar story from a different angle: it showcases country singers trying to combat the rising tide of rock & roll. Plenty of the early rock & rollers came up through some manner of country circuit -- the Sun stable in particular was riddled with these types -- but once Elvis Presley started a streak of monster hits in 1956, major country stars and upstart hillbillies alike tried to ride that wave. The Hillbillies: They Tried to Rock does have a few sides that date a bit earlier than 1956 -- there's Bill Haley's 1952 "Rock the Joint," a rough draft of "Rock Around the Clock" where guitarist Danny Cedrone plays the exact same solo he'd lay down on "Clock;" there are the Carlisles gamely attacking the Drifters' "Honey Love" -- but nearly all of this 31-track compilation dates from that initial gold rush when rock & roll seemed to be a fad, not an institution. Nobody -- not the singers, not the producers, not the labels -- had any idea whether rock & roll was here to stay but they knew it was selling, so they tried to cash in on the trend. Naturally, this crass blend of opportunism and confusion wasn't entirely successful, but that's the appeal of this collection and its cousin: the misfires are as fun as the successes. Case in point is the Stanley Brothers' strange rendition of Hank Ballard's "Finger Poppin' Time" -- the cover can be explained away by the fact that they were both on King Records -- which is simultaneously carefree and stilted; it's clear the duo doesn't particularly care for the song, but there's a joy to the recording anyway that comes from both the tune and performance. Usually, the covers feel a bit wobbly (Johnnie & Jack's stab at doo wop on "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" in particular), but they're overshadowed by such rowdy rockabilly boogies as George "Thumper" Jones' "How Come It," Johnny Horton's "I'm Coming Home," and "You're Humbuggin' Me," where Lefty Frizzell proves himself an adept rocker. There are other rough-cut gems tucked away on this compilation and they're worth seeking out, but it's not entirely improbable that a listener will find the duds just as memorable as the corkers.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/07/2014
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 5397102173509
catalogNumber: 17350
Rank: 94085

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ralph Stanley   Banjo,Tenor (Vocal)
Harry Choates   Fiddle
Eddy Arnold   Guitar,Vocals
Chet Atkins   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Roy Clark   Guitar
Floyd Cramer   Piano
Little Jimmy Dickens   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Lefty Frizzell   Guitar,Vocals
Johnny Horton   Guitar,Vocals
George Jones   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Joe Maphis   Guitar
Benny Martin   Fiddle
Skeets McDonald   Leader,Vocals
Buck Owens   Guitar
Marty Robbins   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Carl Smith   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Merle Travis   Guitar
Bill Haley   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Wanda Jackson   Leader,Vocals
Carl Perkins   Guitar,Vocals
Dick Marx   Piano
Onie Wheeler   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Ace Cannon   Saxophone
Bobby Helms   Vocals
Hank Penny   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Marvin Rainwater   Vocals
Billy Strange   Guitar
Speedy West   Guitar
Charline Arthur   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Link Davis   Saxophone,Vocals
Johnnie Wright   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Anita Kerr Singers   Choir, Chorus
Johnny Bernero   Drums
Owen Bradley   Piano
Bobby Bruce   Fiddle
Paul Buskirk   Mandolin
Patsy Cline   Vocals
Vernon Derrick   Fiddle
Ray Edenton   Guitar
Charles Fisher   Drums
Bob Foster   Steel Guitar
Charles Randolph Grean   Bass,Leader
Kirk Hansard   Vocals
Buddy Holobaugh   Guitar
Ira Louvin   Vocals
Charlie Louvin   Guitar,Vocals
Rose Maddox   Leader,Vocals
Mildred Miller   Vocals
Ralph Mooney   Steel Guitar
Ernest Ernie Newton   Bass
Webb Pierce   Vocals
George Shuffler   Bass,Guitar
Carter Stanley   Guitar,Vocals
Lewis Talley   Guitar
James Farmer   Steel Guitar
W.S. Holland   Drums
Jack Anglin   Guitar,Vocals
William Patton Black   Bass
Jerry Byrd   Guitar
Danny Cedrone   Guitar
Farris Coursey   Drums
Johnny Grande   Piano
Jan Ledbetter   Bass
Marshall Lytle   Double Bass
Elsie Joe Miller   Vocals
Billy Williamson   Steel Guitar
Bobby Williamson   Guitar,Vocals
Stan West   Bass
Culley Holt   Bass (Vocal)
Hugh Gordon Stoker   Piano
Paul Blunt   Piano
Carlisles   Vocals
Roy Lanham   Guitar
Louis Innis   Guitar
Marvin H. Hughes   Piano
Bill Badgett   Steel Guitar
Clarence "Bud" Dooley   Bass
William Edward "Billy" Liebert   Piano
Johnny Sibert   Steel Guitar
Velma E. Williams Smith   Rhythm Guitar
Donald Slayman   Fiddle
"Papa" John Gordy   Piano
Marion Z. "Pee Wee" Adams   Drums
Odell Martin   Guitar
Sonny Burnette   Steel Guitar
Milton Curtis "Muddy" Berry   Drums
Walter L. "Hank Sugarfoot" Garland   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Neal Burris   Rhythm Guitar
Carrol Broussard   Steel Guitar
Charles Tichy   Electric Guitar
Richard C. Shanahan   Drums
Herschel Marson   Drums
Robert Lee "Bob" Foster   Steel Guitar
Junior Huskey   Bass
J.R. Jelly Sanders   Fiddle
James Buck Perkins   Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins   Bass
Howard Glover "Johnny" Johnson   Rhythm Guitar
Alfie Joe "Jody" McCauley   Steel Guitar
Joel Tyrus Price   Bass
Aubrey Leon Richardson   Electric Guitar
Betty Lorene Riley   Piano
Edward O. Cletro   Guitar
Joseph A. DeRose   Fiddle
Charles Eugene ONeal   Steel Guitar
Jack Gregory   Saxophone
Samuel K. "Sammy" Pruett   Guitar
Keray Regan   Vocals
Harold F. "Hal" Harris   Guitar
Mimi Roman   Vocals
Charles Adams   Steel Guitar
Thomas Grady Martin   Fiddle,Guitar,Leader
Ivan Leroy 'Little Roy' Wiggins   Steel Guitar
Allan J. Williams   Bass
Charles Anderson Wigington   Guitar
Floyd T. Lightnin' Chance   Bass
Bob L. Moore   Bass
Curley Lambert   Bass,Guitar
Frank "Pee Wee" King   Accordion,Leader
Harold Morgan "Sticks" McDonald   Drums
Harold Ray Bradley   Guitar
Douglas G. Kirkham   Drums
Louie Dunn   Fiddle
Murrey M. "Buddy" Harman   Drums
Harold B. "Shot" Jackson   Dobro
John Frigo   Bass
Jack Brengle   Steel Guitar
Fred Herron   Fiddle
James R. "Jimmy" Kelley   Steel Guitar
James Q. "Spider" Rich   Guitar
James M. "Jimmy" Smith   Guitar
James K. Roy Hall   Piano
George McCormick   Guitar
Freddy Haynes   Piano
Arthur "Art" Diorio   Piano
Walter Hayes   Fiddle,Vocals
William D. Flynn   Bass

Technical Credits

Roy Brown   Composer
Chet Atkins   Producer
Johnny Cash   Composer
Johnny Horton   Composer
George Jones   Composer
Hank Ballard   Composer
Chuck Berry   Composer
Clyde McPhatter   Composer
Carl Perkins   Composer
Onie Wheeler   Composer
Marvin Rainwater   Composer
Roy Forbes   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Owen Bradley   Producer
Don Law   Producer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
Ken Nelson   Producer
Webb Pierce   Composer
Bill Quinn   Engineer
Fred Rose   Composer
Winfield Scott   Composer
Stephen H. Sholes   Producer
Diane Lampert   Composer
Billy Mize   Composer
Sam Phillips   Producer
Tillman Franks   Composer
Richard Weize   Tape Research
W.S. Stevenson   Composer
Thelma Blackmon   Composer
Charles Beam   Composer
Cy Coben   Composer
Charles L. Jiles   Composer
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Keray Regan   Composer
Irving Reid   Composer
Harold W. "Pappy" Daily   Producer
Paul Cohen   Producer
Hank Davis   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Sydney Nathan   Producer
Homer Escamilla   Composer
Dee Kilpatrick   Producer
Willie Perryman   Composer
John Gluck   Composer
Larry Coleman   Composer
Scott Parker   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Bartholomew   Composer
Floyd Wilson   Composer

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