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Various Artists

This is Ecco-Fonic!: The Ecco-Fonic Records Story – 2000 (Ecco-Fonic)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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Although never a full-time enterprise in the same sense as other modern-day rockabilly labels like Goofin' and Rollin' Rock, Deke Dickerson's Ecco-Fonic label has served an important purpose since its first release in 1994, with its emphasis on reproducing '50's-era recording and manufacturing processes to the greatest degree possible.

Ecco-Fonic's first-ever C.D. (previous releases have been vinyl-only) tells the story of Ecco-Fonic's first six years over its 31 tracks, 9 of which are either previously unreleased numbers or alternate takes.

No fewer than 14 songs belong to Dickerson himself, which might strike some as hubris, though to others it'll be a simple reflection of his ownership of the label. In any event, Dickerson stretches out a bit more on guitar here than on his recordings with the Dave and Deke Combo, Untamed Youth or his two solo albums, channeling at various times Joe Maphis, Les Paul and Link Wray, among others. Fans of hot guitar playing should also take note of solo numbers from several Dickerson associates, including Finnish guitarist Lester Peabody, High Noon's Sean Mencher and two non-LP Biller and Wakefield numbers from an as-yet-unreleased EP. Also included are several rare vintage numbers from Jimmy Bryant, "Mad" Maynard Horlick, Sammy Masters and Missouri rockers the Krazy Kats, as well as more recent recordings from the Country Cabin Boys (a Big Sandy spin-off group), the Horton Brothers, Ramblin' James and others.

All in all, no clunkers; in fact, "This is Ecco-Fonic!" is one of the more satisfying collections of (mostly) modern rockabilly/hillbilly in recent memory. (Ecco-Fonic, Box 304, Hollywood, CA 90078 or E-Mail: eccofonic@earthlink.net)