Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
V/A : “DRINK UP AND GO HOME! – SUN COUNTRY VOL. 2” CD….A few years back I discovered that SUN RECORDS held an embarrassment of country music riches that I’d barely known existed. All the early rock and roll cats that recorded here had dabbled in the genre before their greater glory – in fact, Elvis’ “That’s All Right / Blue Moon Of Kentucky” was marketed and found its success throughout the South on traditional fiddle-dominated country radio. This 1996 AVI Records, Sun-licensed compilation followed 1995’s Volume One, “Defrost Your Heart”, and is a nice elaboration on the drinkin’/cheatin’/lyin’/heartbreakin’ concept initially fleshed out on the first. The ringers on this one belong to Mr. CARL PERKINS and his devastating title track – a demo recorded at home with his children frolicking in the background (!) – and the fantastically boozy “No More, No More” & “They Call Our Love a Sin” from JIMMY HAGGETT. The great CHARLIE FEATHERS clocks in with two numbers, one of which is such a dead-on, unabashed ripoff of HANK WILLIAMS you have to clink a frosty, tear-filled glass his way. There’s also MAGGIE SUE WIMBERLY, whose voice is so 16-year-old raw and nubile that her two tracks sound like nervous auditions for the local community talent show/barbeque/bake sale.

This compilation, like its predecessor, appears to drive for completeness, so you get A-sides, B-sides, demos and toss-offs alike. There are certainly some clinkers in there, particularly the cornpone abomination that are the “Rhythm Rockers”. While I recommend striving for completeness in the case of Sun Country – these guys were absolute recording masters and their crack house band was just the best in the business – the better bet for the neophyte is a subsequent 2000 compilation called simply “The Best of Sun Country” on the Italian Saar Records. Here you get all the heavy hitters representing – Perkins, Feathers, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis and even those harmonizing Miller Sisters. It’s a whopping 60 minutes of tearjerking that’ll lay even the raging optimist flat out & down low