|Hillbilly Rockin' Man - Billy Lee Riley
Reba Records, RRCD1008
Over his long career, which started with Sun Records in Memphis in the 50's, where he was one of the innovators of the Sun sound. Billy Lee Riley has recorded rock 'n' roll, blues and instrumental albums and has achieved major success with his recordings. During these years he was also writing country songs and filing them away. Following a chance meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, last summer, Reba Records released the country rockabilly song "Fast Livin'" to radio. The song was so well received that it reached #16 on the European Country Music Charts and stayed on the charts for several weeks. Following that success Reba Receords persuaded Billy Lee to record a full 12 song CD of country material. Billy Lee wrote seven of the songs and the other 5 are from the Reba Records catalogue. The sessions were done at Raney Recording in Arkansas with some great musicians from that area. The first single off the CD was be "Hillbilly Rockin' Man" and that was released to radio in August 2003 on Hot Disc, a major compilation label located in Great Britain.
Please do not mistake this album titled "Hillbilly Rockin' Man" for a rockabilly release. It is not. It's straight forward general country music, some uptempo, but still a long way from rock 'n' roll. That doesn't mean that the music isn't any good, on the contrary, it's great music if you dig modernly recorded country, but I'm not the right person to review such a CD. It's great to hear Billy singing these songs though, because he's still got a fabulous voice, but I must be honest to my roots and that means I have to say that I like his Sun recordings and blues efforts (like his "Blue Collar Blues" album) a whole lot better. There's just too many slow songs and too much violins and steel guitar on this album for my taste.
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003