Personnel: Sonny James (vocals, guitar); Neal Jones, Ray C. Walker, Rick Cartey (vocals); Chet Atkins, Velma E. Williams Smith, Robert F. Bain, Herman Wade, Grady Martin, Hank Garland, Howard Leslie Heitmeyer (guitar); Harold Bradley (tenor banjo); Paul Buskirk (electric mandolin); Lillian Hunt, Howard Carpenter, Solie Fott, Brenton Banks (violin); Buddy Brady (fiddle); Danny Gould, Floyd Cramer, William Simmons, Ray Sherman, Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano); Marion Z. "Pee Wee" Adams, Irving Kluger, Raymond D. Martinez, William F. Pecchi, Morris Palmer, Roy Harte (drums); Frank Joseph Flynn (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Dave Samuelson.
Recording information: Atlanta, GA (05/19/1955-??/??/1962); Bradley Film & Recording Studio, Nashville, TN (05/19/1955-??/??/1962); Capitol Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA (05/19/1955-??/??/1962); Jim Beck Studio, Dallas, TX (05/19/1955-??/??/1962); Los Angeles, CA (05/19/1955-??/??/1962); Nashville, TN (05/19/1955-??/??/1962); RCA Victor Studio, Nashville, TN (05/19/1955-??/??/1962).
Illustrators: Les Leverett; R.A. Andreas.
Photographers: Les Leverett; R.A. Andreas.
Arranger: Robert F. Bain.
Sonny Rocks, a 34-cut Sonny James compilation, is yet another volume in the small but growing Bear Family Rocks series. The label takes established country performers -- legends, in fact -- and goes back to their earliest material since so many, from Wanda Jackson and Conway Twitty to Marty Robbins and Connie Frances, got their start singing rockabilly and other teen hits from the primeval rock & roll days. James is no different, though he did tend to stay closer to his traditional country boogie roots. He was, in fact, a country crooner who happened upon the rawer beat of rock and combined the two. He was also a terrific songwriter with cuts like "The Cat Came Home," "Heart for Rent," "Innocent Angel," and "Love Me Like I Am." This one is solid from top to bottom. ~ Thom Jurek