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Gravy Train
Hillbilly Meets R&B Before Elvis
Various Artists

© El Toro Records

When Elvis Presley mixed black blues and R&B with white country in the mid-'50s, essentially bringing a new genre called rock & roll to the attention of the whole world in what was the pop equivalent of the Big Bang, few realized how long this little musical chemistry experiment had been fermenting. Presley had the looks, skill and charisma to make the kinetic hybrid of rock & roll reverberate in the public consciousness, but countless artists had been working this same territory since at least a decade earlier, as this extremely interesting collection makes clear. Songs like Billy Starr's startling and ramshackle version of "Hound Dog" falls wonderfully between Big Mama Thornton's original and Presley's sleek hit like the proverbial missing link, and there are countless other gems here, as well, like Hardrock Gunter and Roberta Lee's take on the Dominoes' "Sixty Minute Man," Zeb Turner's treatment of Peppermint Harris' "I Got Loaded," and Link Davis mowing through Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight" as "Have You Heard the News?" The joy and energy of new ground is obvious in every track, making Gravy Train more than a history lesson, and much more than a simple grafting together of stylistic genres. These hybrids rock, they swing, and they point the way to rock & roll in a manner that should have been as obvious as a train pulling into a station. A mystery train? Not if you had your ear to the ground. ~ Steve Leggett, All Music Guide



1 Gravy Train
2 Catch 'Em Young, Treat 'Em Rough, Tell 'Em Nothin'
3 Rocket 88
4 Grandpa Stole My Baby
5 Have You Heard the News?
6 Sixty Minute Man
7 Chicken Blues
8 Nosey Joe
9 Well Oh Well
10 I Feel That Old Age Creepin' On
11 Tremblin'
12 Choo Choo Ch'Boogie
13 Corrine Corrina
14 Red Light
15 I Got Loaded
16 Oh Babe!
17 Boogie Woogie on a Saturday Night
18 I Don't Know
19 Hound Dog
20 Teardrops from My Eyes
21 Who Drank My Beer (While I Was in the Rear)?
22 For You My Love
23 How Long (Must I Wait for You)?
24 Outskirts of Town
25 Fan It
26 Adam
27 Rock the Joint

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