» Album Review: Various Artists – It’s Saturday Night!
Album Review: Various Artists – It’s Saturday Night!
Leave it once again to the people at UK-based Fantastic Voyage to put together an interesting compilation of in-danger-of-being-lost American music. Their latest entry is a 3CD set called It’s Saturday Night! Starday-Dixie Rockabilly 1955-1961. Stuffed to the limit, this set includes 103 tracks that originally appeared on Texas-based Starday (a label founded by Lefty Frizzell‘s manager Jack Starns and “Pappy” Daily) and the Dixie imprint.
If names like Sonny Fisher, Rocky Bill Ford, Rudy Grayzell and Benny Barnes didn’t become household names, it may have had as much to do with the limits of record distribution in the 50s, plus a surfeit of talented performers. It’s Saturday Night! is full of gems; it’s the kind of collection that feels at times as though it’s full of hits. In truth, few of these tunes went anywhere commercially. Many of the artists featured had some or other connection to the big time: maybe they wrote songs for an artist who made it big; maybe they played on somebody else’s hit record. Or, more often, maybe neither.
Astoundingly, the sound quality on these sides is quite impressive. Once again I’m left to wonder just how Fantastic Voyage gains access to masters and sorts out knotty licensing issues for the ancient tracks. But fans of early rockabilly and rock’n’roll should be glad the English label keeps at it; It’s Saturday Night is well worth grabbing.
Follow “the_musoscribe” on Twitter and get notified
when new features, reviews and essays are published.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.