Artist: The Sprague Brothers
Title: Best Of The EssBess CD's
Style: Rockabilly - Instrumental - Surf
The Sprague Brothers recording carreer didn't stop with the end of their contract with Hightone. They released a bunch of records on their own Essbee label.
This compilation gathers the best of this now hard-to-find albums. As usual with the Spragues, you can expect fine songwriting and beautiful arrangements. Rock'n'roll is a term that everybody seems to use nowadays (no, Bonnie Tyler ain't a rocker?!), but this is the best word to describe their music. A mix of surf (Penetration, Green Arrow), early Beatles ("I'll Be True" and its intro taken from Beatles' Devil In Her Heart" would make Sir Paul jealous), and the usual Everly/Holly/Fuller influenced stuff.
You'll find some rockabilly (Johnny Power's "Rock Rock") too, and "My Tender Heart" sees the bros go bluegrass. Frank and Chris play all the instruments, except on one tune where they are backed by Deke Dickerson and Shorty Poole, and the skills of each of them is simply amazing.
Of course Chris is a good drummer (if you don't believe me listen to "Drum Boogie" a Gene Krupa meets Bill Haley song) but he can play steel, upright bass, sing fine harmonies and on "Just Over A Girl" he gives us a great piece of eefing. Frank Lee Sprague is even more impressive as it seems that no instrument has secret for him : surf guitar, bluegrass mandolin, Jerry Lee Lewis boogie piano... You name it, he plays it. Add extensive liner notes and you'll have another must-have from El Toro, and as the title states Volume 1, we can expect a Volume 2 very soon.
Fred "Virgil" Turgis
Jumpin from 6 to 6