Liner Note Author: Rob Finnis.
Recording information: 1982.
Rockstar continues to mine the deepest depths of Eddie Cochran's recorded legacy with Cruisin' the Drive In, a various-artists collection with only a handful of sides that credit Cochran by name. The other tracks are taken from sessions at which Cochran played guitar or sang backup vocals. (In Gary Williams' case, he makes the cut merely because he knew Cochran). Some critics have disparaged Rockstar's reissue series for scraping the bottom of the barrel for Cochran rarities, but most of the tracks on Cruisin' the Drive In are not demos. They are commercial recordings from the late '50s: Jerry Capehart's "I Hates Rabbits," a monotonous Elmer Fudd-inspired novelty, saw vinyl release on Dot Records under the name "Jerry Neal." Ray Stanley's four sides, taken from two 1957 Zephyr singles, are among the more notable cuts on the compilation since Etta James covered "Market Place," and the instrumental "Pushin'" showcases Cochran's guitar playing. The compilation also has both sides of singles Bob Denton, Lynn Marshall, and Jack Lewis each cut for Crest Records, and three Jewel & Eddie recordings (featuring a young Jewel Akens, along with Eddie Daniels) first released on the Silver label in 1960. Among the ultra-rarities: "Guitar Picker," featuring an unknown vocalist, is of surprisingly high quality, and a previously unreleased Cochran vocal song, "Cruisin' the Drive-In," is a worthwhile discovery. The Gary Williams songs at the end, including some home recordings of Williams and Cochran plinking around on their guitars, are obsessive inclusions best appreciated by those writing a dissertation or biography on Cochran. Discounting the last nine tracks on the CD for being extremely marginal, you're still left with a full-length program of rockabilly and rock & roll rarities on which Cochran played guitar or sang backup vocals, which will please collectors with an interest in hearing more of his session work. ~ Greg Adams