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Fantastic Voyage (FVTD145)

Sleepy La Beef, Sonny Fisher, Rudy Grayzell, Link Davis, Bill Mack, Al Runyon, Jimmy Johnson, Benny Joy, Bill Willis, Lou Walker, Glenn Barber, Tommy Nelson, Lucky Wray, Larry Nolen and plenty more.

Based in Beaumont, Texas and launched in the early ‘50s, the Starday label arrived at pretty much the right time and place to take advantage of the rock and roll craze that was about to hit the western world. From small beginnings it built up a reliable stable of fledgling rockabilly acts, some of whom would later go on to fame and fortune - such as George Jones (who recorded initially at Starday as Thumper Jones), Big Bopper and Link Wray.

Most artists however never achieved more than a regional following, although some who stayed the course did achieve a modicum of international fame in the seventies and eighties as a consequence of the periodic rockabilly revivals that sprung up.

No matter. So what if few of the artists featured here among the mind-boggling 100-plus tracks achieved anything significant beyond the communities that they came from? And what if, beyond a certain point, it is hard to fully distinguish between the myriad of artists and songs on offer? What matters most is the music and this is a seemingly endless library of roller-coaster rockabilly that just never lets up. The overall quality of what hits you is remarkably consistent and the skip button on my  CD player has never been so under-utilised.

Special mention must go (I really do take every opportunity, don't I?) to Sleepy La Beef, who not only contributes three corking tracks but his commanding presence adorns the cover of this CD set - mind you, my presence would be pretty commanding if I was six foot six, I guess.

No point in pointing out the artists and songs that I particularly like, think of this as your own little rockabilly jukebox in a small (and remarkably good value) box set and let it roll. You won't be disappointed.


Review Date: April 2012

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