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Nate Gibson & Friends

The Starday Sessins – 2013 (Goofin')

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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In addition to being the original recording home of artists like George Jones, Willie Nelson and Roger Miller, Starday Records continued to release traditional country and rockabilly music in the late '50s and '60s when the larger labels were pushing platters with a more polished, pop sound - an unconscionable sellout that came to be known as Countrypolitan. In fact, it would probably not be overstating the case to say that Starday may very well have saved roots and rockabilly from an early grave.

Despite all this, many fans are unaware of Starday and the pioneering work they did, an oversight that Goofin Records in Finland (yes, that Finland) and Nate Gibson (he of the sky-high Mohawk pompadour) are working hard to rectify. In addition to writing a meticulously researched book, Gibson gets together with friends like Jerry Miller, the Hi-Fly Rangers and The Barnshakers to cover a few of Starday's too-good-to-forget tunes on what one hopes is a volume one collection.

Timeless tunes of heartbreak I Don't Want a Sweetheart and suspicion (Shadow My Baby) never sounded so fun. And speaking of fun, one of the more well known tunes, You All Come, has been recorded by (among others) Bill Monroe, Little Jimmie Dickens and Dolly Parton, but nobody brought out the humorous aspects of the song better than Gibson and accomplice Deke Dickerson.

Even though the rockabilly roots are obvious from the first note, this album has a feel of some of the work from early punk rockers like The Ramones (minus the iffy musicianship, Gibson and his mates can play.) It has a real back to basics feel, a no-frills approach (only 1 of the 15 tracks is over 3 minutes long) and a fun, labor-of-love vibe. (Not to mention that Hot Time in Nashville may just be the catchiest song since Sheena is a Punk Rocker .