JOHNNY BURNETTE Johnny Rocks Bear Family BCD 16992
The Train Kept A' Rollin' / Tear It Up / Oh Baby Babe / All By Myself / Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-0- Dee / Honey Hush / Lonesome Tears In My Eyes / Please Don't Leave Me / Rock Therapy / Rockbilly Boogie / Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) / Sweet Love On My Mind / Your Baby Blue Eyes / If You Want It Enough / Butterfingers / Eager Beaver Baby / Warm Love / Come On Baby / Boppin' Rosalie / My Little Baby Came Rockin' / Do Baby Do / Lizzy Dee / My Honey / Rock Away Baby / Sweet Baby Doll / Boppin' Rock / Kiss Me / We're Gonna Rock It / Me And The Bear / Little Girl (aka Kiss Me Sweet) / Crazy Legs / Mule Boy / Bertha Lou / You Gotta Get Ready / Wampus Cat / Cincinnati Fireball (Playing time: 76:03)
You might have thought that Bear Family's `Rockbilly Boogie' CD. which contains all of the Rock n Roll Trio recordings. would have been the ultimate Johnny Burnette collection. Nothing more required. But now Johnny's uptempo material joins that of the growing list of artists to be included in the popular and successful 'Rocks' series, and quite rightly too. Once again, though, we have to face the dilemma of buying material that most of us already have, for the umpteenth time. and it only seems a short time ago that I found myself reviewing a different compilation of the Rock n Roll Trio tracks in their entirety, whereas here we get only sixteen. Always glad of the chance to listen to these classic examples of blistering, yelping rockabilly, I sat and listened to these tracks with the same silly smile on my face that I've had since buying the two Coral 78s in 1956. And when they'd finished I could have quite happily listened to them all over again, so there you go - no problem there!
The story behind 1957's 'Bertha Lou' is indeed a confusing one but brother Dorsey Burnette's version (featured here as a sort of bonus) is the original and the best of the bunch. 'Warm Love', 'Boppin' Rosalie', 'Do Baby Do' and 'My Honey. are the now familiar uptempo duets with Dorsey that first charmed most of us courtesy of LPs on United Artists and Skyline in the late '70s / early '80s, and feature plenty of great Joe Maphis guitar work. Johnny's three Freedom releases. 'Kiss Me', 'Sweet Baby Doll' and `Me And The Bear', are fine commercial rockers. although with a line-up that included Eddie Cochran, Joe Maphis, `Guybo' Smith, Earl Palmer and Plas Johnson, the latter track was perhaps a tad disappointing. 'Cincinnati Fireball is the fabulous flipside to Dreamin" and was by far the more popular side on every juke box that I got close to in 1960.
Along with all these 'regular' items there are eleven of Johnny and Dorsey's vocal / guitar demos which are quite interesting and its nice to try imagining how they might have sounded had someone like Ricky Nelson picked up on them. Personally. I'd have preferred to have had finished masters like love Kept A' Rollin" and 'That's All I Care' included here, but if you really enjoy these demos you'd best start saving for the 9xCD 'Memphis To Hollywood' box-set (BCD 16438) which contains a further couple of CDs' worth! In the meantime. this fine addition to the highly collectable 'Rocks series will do nicely.