Charlie Feathers

Get With It: Essential Recordings (1954-69) – 1998 (Revenant)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

CDs by Charlie Feathers

The timing of this exciting new 2-disc, 42-song collection of rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers, is absolutely chilling, given Feathers' death in late August at 66; about a month after its release.

The first disc collects all of his sides cut for Flip, Sun, Meteor, King, Kay, Wal-May and Holiday Inn between 1955 and 1962, including his classic rockabilly numbers "One Hand Loose," "Bottle to the Baby" and "Tongue Tied Jill" plus early hillbilly numbers like "Peepin' Eyes" and "Defrost Your Heart. They show Feathers to have been one of the most promising country singers of his generation, possessing a fine tenor that sounded like a cross between Bill Monroe and Lefty Frizzell. It's easy to fault Sam Phillips for pushing Feathers as a country singer, but the fact is Feathers was every bit as good at country as he was at rockabilly.

The second disc dips into the archives, unearthing demos recorded at Sun in the mid '50's and two 1969 numbers recorded with blues guitarist Junior Kimbrough. One of the more interesting Sun numbers is "We're Getting Closer to Being Apart," which more than one source has said would have ended up being Elvis Presley's sixth Sun single had he not signed with RCA in 1956.

The collection comes with a beautiful 48-page booklet, featuring liner notes by noted music critics Colin Escott, Peter Guralnick and Nick Tosches. After years of being ripped off by European and American labels, there's finally a Charlie Feathers collection worthy of the man's talent.