|Joey Welz, Sun Sessions - Rockin' The Country|
Although Joey Welz did not have much to do with Sun Records in the late fifties or the early sixties, he was and still is a big fan of the original Sun sound and all of its great legends like Elvis Presley, Billy Lee Riley, Carl Perkins, Warren Smith, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, to name but a few. This CD is Joey's tribute to the legendary Sun Studios. Six tracks on this CD were recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis Tennessee and with no other that the great Roland Janes, one of the best Sun session men, on lead guitar. This platter is a walk down memory lane, with some cover versions of Joey's all time favourite Sun recordings and many selfpenned rock 'n' roll and country tribute songs about Sun Records and the birth of rock 'n' roll.
There's no need to review Sun covers such as "Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll", "Red Hot" and many others, because you all know these songs by heart. With Roland Janes on guitar, you can rest asure they will sound good as ever. Other original Sun artists who participated on these recordings were; James Lott, Jimmy Van Eaton, Malcom Yelvington and Billy Lee Riley.
"This Must Be The Place" is all about Joey's youth and his favourite studio, 706 Union Avenue. Great lyrics, great guitar and piano. "Red Hot Boogie" is an instrumental that shows that Joey can still hit the keys like a wildman, the guitar intro fits right in. "Rock-A-Billy" tells the story about how the blues evolved to rockabilly and rock 'n' roll, another fine song co-written by Joey. "Country Beatin' Boogie" is actually Bill Haley's "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie" with a few changes in the words. "Rock-A-Billy Sun" is another one of Joey's tribute songs to Sun Records, only this one has a bit too many electronic gadgets in it, I'd prefer it if Joey would stick to his accoustic piano.
"Rock-A-Billy Boogie" is also a reminder that Joey is still a Comet in his heart and in "Rocket To The Moon" Joey's explains that 706 Union is not the only rockin' place in the universe. "Rock Around The Country" is of course an interpretation of "Rock Around The Clock" and it really rocks your socks off. "Livin' Doll From Tennessee" is a country ballad with a beat, to slow down the pace a bit. "Who Do You Want Me To Be" picks up speed again, a real bopper, while "Juke Box Jive" has some more blues influences and is all about reminiscing the fifties.
"Memphis Moon" is the only real ballad, a duet with feline lady, who's name does not show up on the cover. It's a good song, but allas, the strings are not strings, but Joey's magic machine. Some more blues influences on "Boppin' On Beale Street", well of course the blues and Beale Street are one and the same. "Rockin' The Country" is just what the title implies; a country song with heavy rock influences. Is this really Roland Janes? Not my cup of tea, and I don't think many hardcore rockabilly cats will appreciate this. "Sun Country Rock 'n' Roll" is another one of Joey's Sun tributes, again with a bit too much distortion on the guitar, let's keep it country guys.
Tracks 5-6-7-9-10-12-14 were recorded at American Sound Studios Owned by Jimmy Velvet. The equiptment was owned by Chips Morman and was moved to Nashville. It is the same equiptment that Elvis used when he was produced by Chips and recorded in Memphis. Track 21 & 22 Were Recorded in Tyler Texas at the Lonnie Wrights Studios. All the rest were recorded in Pa. at Caprice Studios, featuring the Great Dave Fender on guitar. The Nashville cuts feature The Nashville Now Band. Clair Carrie on drums, Fred Newell on guitar, Larry S(Wimpy)Sassar on steel. Hoot Hester on fiddle and Billy Lenniman on bass. Of Course The Welz played his rockin' piano on all the tracks.
In general, this is a pretty good CD, it brings back a lot of memories about the birth of rockabilly music at Sun, and although it was recorded at Sun Studios, it's not recorded authenticly, like it was done the fifties. There's too many electronic gimmicks for my taste, but you should listen to it yourself and draw your own conclusions. I'm a Sun records fan, I like Joey and I like old time rock 'n' roll, so I think I will spin this platter one more time.
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2000