Here are a couple of fistfuls of tracks from the wild side of rockabilly. Over the years many 50s cuts have been issued under the rockabilly banner that would have been better described as country or hillbilly. These, however, are the real deal: hopped-up, whiskey-fuelled songs of teenage rebellion, sung by untamed rockers who probably never expected their careers to last the week.
Alongside acknowledged classics of the genre such as `Put Your Cat Clothes On’ by Carl Perkins, there are rare rockin’ one-offs such as the frantic bass-slapping `Don’t Be Gone Long’ by Bob Doss or the remarkable `Wash Machine Boogie’ by the Echo Valley Boys – the world’s finest rockin’ hymn to the romantic joys of household appliances.
Tied-in with this release is the publication of a 300-page book, also called A Rocket In My Pocket – the Hipster’s Guide To Rockabilly by Max Décharné (Serpent’s Tail), the first comprehensive history of the entire rockabilly genre to appear for twenty years. Max has compiled the Ace CD to complement the book, and has also written the sleevenotes.
This is the first time on CD for some of these tracks, many of them favourites at rockin’ clubs in the UK and around the world. The CD’s title comes from Jimmy Lloyd’s 1958 classic `I Got A Rocket In My Pocket’, included here alongside frantic movers such as `The Raging Sea’ by Gene Maltais or the gutbucket hill-country sounds Rocky Bill Ford’s `Mad Dog In Town’. There’s also a track from the cat who started it all, Elvis Presley – whose `Mystery Train’ inspired a whole regiment of young musicians to find a cheap studio and get down and wail. He’s on the cover of both the CD and the book, too.
An ideal introduction for anyone new to genre, but with enough rare tracks to please the long-term, hardcore rockabilly fan.