Contains 51 tracks recorded for Ekko, Mercury, Sun and Philips.
Personnel: Eddie Bond; Jimmy Smith , Reggie Young , Johnny Fine, John Huey.
Rockin' Daddy presents two discs of Eddie Bond's complete recordings from 1955 through 1962. The first disc includes Bond's ten classic rockabilly numbers surrounded by his early country sides, and makes a great extended album, capturing both sides of his work in the first flourish of his youth. But it's the second disc, which covers Bond's 1962-vintage recordings released by Sun, that is the surprise. This should be the less interesting and important disc, because he's slowed down as a maturing artist in his late twenties, and is doing an album's worth of gospel numbers -- but the music is as exciting as the earlier stuff, in a different way. His performances of the religious songs ("Just a Closer Walk With Thee," "Will I Be Lost or Will I Be Saved," etc.) are surprisingly straightforward and non-melodramatic, making it all exceptionally appealing when compared with the overwhelming seriousness of most country religious songs of the era. He does the most driving (really hard-rocking) version of "I Saw the Light" that anyone has ever heard, one that gets the listener not only wanting to sing along but tap his foot as well. Equally important, the playing on these numbers is as fresh as his best stuff from the '50s, only a little slower, which is why his remake of "Rockin' Daddy" is pretty cool, if not the groundbreaking effort that the 1956 version was. There are also surprises in the instrumentation throughout -- the late-'50s country stuff on disc one features some of the best, most understated saxophone you'll ever hear on a country session, and organist Jimmy Smith, playing on the religious stuff, manages to be both reverent and lively. Cool all the way through. ~ Bruce Eder