Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rock This Town: Rockabilly Hits Vol. 1 [Rhino, 1991]
If like me you resist the rockabilly myth, here finally is something that sounds like a national movement--not just the Sun story plus, but weirdos and up-and-comers talking to each other by phonograph. Some of these artists were one-shots, some geniuses, some pros. Showbiz kids and child country singers and crazy young hillbillies and oilmen's sons and Western swingers who got lucky, they'd turn into freebasers and adult country singers and saner old hillbillies and bizzers who'd hook up with Nancy Sinatra and Gram Parsons and corpses in Dave Alvin songs. With no input from Elvis or Eddie Cochran, seven of the 18 have died--at 17, 30, 36, 45, 52, 55, and 58. So these kids weren't kidding when they tried to capture their youths in nervous-to-frantic guitar and put them on plastic. The knew something was happening, but they didn't know what it was. And you can still kind of hear it. A