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Johnny Burnette And The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio Expanded Edition

Released September 2023 by Jasmine Records Reviewed October 2023 Buy the album here:

This release combines two Johnny Burnette And The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio LPs that were issued on the UK budget label, Ace Of Hearts. The first of the two albums was a straightforward release of the super rare and legendary 10 inch album as released on Coral records in 1956. In addition to those two albums there is a selection of tracks from the Burnette brothers.

The Johnny Burnette And The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio consisted of Johnny on rhythm guitar and vocals, his brother Dorsey on double bass and Paul Burlison on lead guitar. However on some of the most iconic tracks, session guitar man Grady Martin was used to give the trio their most distinctive sound.

The songs are a combination of originals and cover versions.

Review 1 Honey Hush - This cover of the R&B hit by Big Joe Turner features strongly the guitar sound that is now accepted as the first time when distortion was intentionally used to enhance a recording. According to Paul Burlison the sound came about after he dropped his guitar amplifier, but he liked it and stuck with it. However it is now widely accepted that it was Grady Martin playing on this track.

2 Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) – One of the Trio’s best known tracks and one of the few rockabilly tracks to appear on the big screen when it was performed by the band in Alan Freed film “Rock, Rock, Rock”.

3 Sweet Love On My Mind - This was written by Wayne Walker and was only an album track for the Trio but it was released on Decca by Jimmy and Johnny in 1956.

4 Rock Billy Boogie – Possibly the most popular track from the album and definitely an example of rockabilly at its best. This was issued as a single in the USA on Coral, with “If You Want It Enough” on the B side. Sadly this single did not reach the charts.

5 Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – written by the band, this album track went onto be covered by various artists including the Beatles. It has a more of a “pop feel” about it.

6 All By Myself – A fine rockabilly version of an R&B song first recorded by Fats Domino who co-wrote it with Dave Bartholomew.

7 The Train Kept A-Rollin’ – More that “distorted” guitar sound with this cover of another R&B track. It was first recorded in 1951 by Tiny Bradshaw.

8 I Just Found Out – A rather plaintive pop ballad.

9 Your Baby Blue Eyes – A good rockabilly bopper written by the band.

10 Chains Of Love – This ballad was originally a massive R&B for Big Joe Turner in 1951 when he had it released on Atlantic Records in the US.

11 I Love You So – Rather syrupy backing vocals add to the pop feel of this track.

12 Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee – Originally one of the first hits for Atlantic Records when the R&B version was released in 1949 by Sticks McGhee & His Buddies. Here is another example of how well the Trio could adapt R&B tunes to the rockabilly genre, especially with Grady Martin on lead guitar.

13 Tear It Up – Released in 1956 this was the first single of the Trio, although for some reason it did not appear on the Rock And Roll Trio LP. It was recorded during their first session which was held in the Pythian Temple in New York City.

14 You’re Undecided – A bluesy B side to “Tear It Up”.

15 Oh Baby Babe – To my ears this is basically “Baby Let’s Play House”. Whatever the case, it’s classic rockabilly. Some of Paul Burlison’s guitar playing.

16 Eager Beaver Baby – From Johnny’s last session as the Trio but both Paul and Dorsey had left. Grady Martin and Bob Moore played lead guitar and upright bass respectively on this mid paced rocker.

17 Touch Me – Another more pop type song. Also from that last recording session.

18 Midnight Train – Much more country and western than rockabilly. Bit like some of the songs by Marty Robbins, a cowboy gets his punishment for killing the county sheriff.

19 If You Want It Enough – Also from the last recording session, the pop influence is evident. A nice rocker.

20 Blues Stay Away – It’s back to 1956 for this cover of the hit country song originally recorded by the Delmore Brothers in 1949.

21 Shattered Dreams – From the first recording session in May 1956 but with a big band sound on this stroller.

22 My Love, You’re A Stranger a crooner style ballad from the final recording session.

23 Rock Therapy – a rockabilly track with driving drum beat, wild guitar from Grady Martin and occasional screams.

24 Please Don’t Leave Me – Another reworking of an R&B original by Fats Domino into classic rockabilly.

25 Butterfingers – From the final “Trio” recording session but just credited to Johnny. A pop-rocker with a nice guitar break from Grady Martin.

26 Bertha Lou by Dorsey Burnette – Although recorded in the 50s this did not get released as a single until 1966 when it appeared on the Cee-Jam label in the USA. A great rocker.

27 Till The Law Says Stop – The B side of “Bertha Lou” this is also a good rocker with an air of Ricky Nelson’s rockers about it.

28 Warm Love by Burnette Brothers - As The Burnette Brothers, Johnny and Dorsey Burnette were to have one single release on the Imperial label, "Warm Love" c/w "My Honey", which was released in May, 1958. Sounds like Grady Martin on guitar.

29 My Honey – Another “Ricky Nelson Sounding” track, with nice vocal harmonies from Johnny and Dorsey.

30 Boppin’ Rosalie – Recorded for Imperial in 1958, but not released until the late 90s, but a good rocker nonetheless.

31 Do Baby Do – Same story as “Boppin’ Rosalie”. Nice vocal harmonies from the brothers.

32 Kiss Me by Johnny Burnette – From 1958 when it was released on the Californian Freedom label, a worthy inclusion in this compilation.

33 I’m Restless – This was on the other side of “Kiss Me”. There’s a strange effect on the guitar which adds to the charm of this track.

34 Gumbo – Another Freedom 45 for Johnny, a pop song not a really rocker but it does move.

35 Me And The Bear – This was the other side of “Gumbo” and has more of the Rock and Roll Trio feel to it.

Summary and Recommendation Putting aside the highly collectable original ten inch Rock And Roll Trio album (I am not selling my copy) the two Ace of Hearts LPs are collectable items in their own right. Getting all the tracks from those two releases plus ten very listenable “bonus tracks” make this CD a great purchase. Another excellent package from Roger Dopson and Jasmine.

Reviewed by Jailhouse John Alexander.

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