Album review: Restless! Reckless! And Reviled! - Various Artists
PUBLISHED: 12:45 19 November 2014
Plenty of lesser-known nuggets and curios from the birth of rock’n’roll, scattered among the big hitters in a great-value set.
This box set heads to the ‘50s for a good ol’ root around, resulting in a 93-track précis of the dawn of youth culture as we know it.
Yes, a vague whiff of rebellion was in the air, but being 20 years before punk broke means brash bravado and tales of one-upmanship were still tempered by the times.
You could also argue that, with just 10 artists accounting for more than half of the songs here, it’s hardly a comprehensive overview of the crucible of rebellious youth.
Don’t let this put you off, though, as there’s plenty of quality groovers sprinkled among these country and blues-rooted classics.
The big hitters – Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, Larry Williams, Elvis – mean the urge to jive like a fool is never far away (Rock Around The Clock, Hippy Hippy Shake, Tutti Frutti, Hound Dog, etc).
But it’s the less familiar nuggets that really stand out.
Try keeping a straight face (or limb) listening to Johnny Kidd And The Pirates’ over-excitable protagonist in Please Don’t Touch, or Eddie Fontaine’s frustrated adolescent letting loose to rollicking country in Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees) that follows it.
There’s yet more hormonal hilarity in Jerry Byrne’s cheeky Lights Out, all taut guitar and hammered piano, while Billy Lee Riley hollers like a kind of drooling ‘50s Kanye in Red Hot.
And stuff like Peanuts Wilson’s Cast Iron Arm, in which he uses the prosthetic to threaten guys trying it on with his girl at the bowling alley, is worth the admission price alone. A little gold mine of retro-cool.