THE BACKBEAT OF ROCK AND ROLL (3CD)
Famous Flames (FLAMECD02)
Link Wray, The Champs, The Ventures, The Fabulous Wailers, Freddie King, Ray Bryant Combo, James Booker, Paul Gayten, Sandy Nelson, Bill Haley, Little Walter, Dick Dale, Lee Allen and more.
There are a bewildering number of compilations being issued these days focused on instrumentals that have variously influenced the development of early rock and roll. Most have their merits but this is on balance my favourite, providing as it does an impressive 94 track portable library of all the late 50s and early 60s instrumental sounds you will need.
As with all the best of compilations, this includes a satisfying mix of era-defining numbers and rarer tracks and artists. Thankfully, it also spreads its net sufficiently wide across rock ‘n roll, R&B, jazz and undefinable oddities so that each track offer a departure from the last and your interest never wavers from the start to the end.
Of the more familiar numbers you'd expect to be included, it was great to hear again the splendid guitar work-out of Walk, Don't Run by The Ventures, Johnny And The Hurricanes' propulsive Red River Rock and I, for one, never tire of hearing Tequila by The Champs. And familiar though it is, it was good to have Dave Brubeck's Take Five included given the news of his recent passing.
There are so many tracks here that it is unlikely that you won't find plenty to enjoy and thrill whether you have heard them before or not. And, if you bought the label's previous release (The First Rock And Roll Record - FLAMECD001), you will also know that the presentation is excellent, with a nice 24 page booklet with notes by Dave Henderson of Mojo magazine.
Review Date: January 2013