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Warner Mack

The Early Years: The Southern Rockabilly 1957-1962 – 1999 (Lost Gold)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Warner Mack

Though Warner Mack had a long and successful career on the country charts between 1957 and 1971, his late s50's efforts were aimed more at the pop charts than a country audience. "Roc-a-Chica" was a minor pop hit in 1958; partly due to fact that a DJ heard what sounded like a swear word on the record. Five other numbers from Mack's singles of the period are also included.

Most of the rest is made up of demos Mack recorded. It'd be generous in the extreme to call anything here "rockabilly," though that's not to say that it doesn't have merit. On the contrary, much of the material compares favorably to Charlie Rich's recordings for Phillips and Smash around the same period, particularly the R&B style of "Just Living My Life." And the classic shuffles of "Crying In Your Sleep" and "I'm Just Older and Wiser" sound tailor-made for the likes of Ray Price or Challenge-era Wynn Stewart. Unusually for Lost Gold, though, the liner notes could be better, giving only the sparsest of details. No substitute for a collection of Mack's Decca hits, but interesting enough, nonetheless.