CD Review of Hightone Records Anthology: Rockin’ from the Roots by Various Artists

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Hightone Records Anthology: Rockin’ from the Roots
starstarstarstarno star Label: Time/Life
Released: 2007
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It’s late at night and you’ve turned on your TV because you can’t sleep. What’s on? Some lousy reruns, old movies from decades ago you couldn’t care less about, Japanese cartoons you can’t even begin to understand, some Jesus freak nonsense, and, ah yes, the glorious infomercials. What will it be tonight? The amazing Magic Bullet that can make a groovy chicken salad in three seconds? Some crazy plastic microwave thing that can bake cakes just as well as in your regular oven? Penis enhancement pills? No…you want some music.

But what to buy? Why, there’s Barry Williams and some chick hawking a bunch of ‘70s crap that anyone and their brother can easily download for free instead of wasting money on. There’s Malt Shop Memories featuring Bobby Rydell and a woman decades younger than him sitting in a geriatric malt shop reminiscing about music the woman probably doesn’t even personally remember. There’s the Midnight Special DVDs featuring glorious ‘70s artists doing it live in their heyday and showing Dick Clark and “American Bandstand” a thing or three. But wait…there’s also Hightone Records’ Rockin’ from the Roots!

Now just sit back and get ready to waste 30 minutes of your time encapsulated in a few hundred more words while I personally shill for this collection. This is a fabulous TWO-DISC set, featuring 30 tracks of some of the best roots rock ever collected in, ah, one collection! All the hits you probably won’t recall are here, including such chestnuts as (cue the token clips of performers playing this songs with accompanying video while I read these off, please) “Phone Booth” by The Robert Cray Band, “Rum & Rodeo” by Heather Myles, “When Sinatra Played Juarez” by Tom Russell, “Marie Marie” by The Blasters, and many more!

If you order now, you’ll also receive a FREE cardboard slipcover that perfectly replicates the front and back cover of the CD artwork! Don’t ask why we put the case in this thing, we figure it just looks like you’re getting something deluxe! And you know how much you love anything that’s deluxe! But hey, there’s still a ton of semi-familiar songs on here we sure you’d love to enjoy, like “Have Love, Will Travel” by Big Sandy with The Calvanes, “Soul of the Woman” by P.F. Sloan, Dick Dale rocking out “Ghostriders in the Sky,” Bill Kirchen doing a live take of “Hot Rod Lincoln” that was better known as having been done by Commander Cody, and how about “The Eyes of Roberto Duran” by Chris Gaffney? Yep, it’s here too!

You might be asking yourself, “How much would I pay if I bought all these songs and artists separately?” Trust us, you don’t even want to go there! And good luck finding the original albums for most of these cuts, anyway! We here at Time/Life have made it our mission to bring out the dead and rock your asses with this collection of niche tunes that will make you want to buy more crap the next time you can’t go to sleep and decide to turn on your TV! At any rate, this is a low $19.99, and remember you’ll also get that cardboard slipcover ABSOLUTELY FREE! If you don’t act now, you’ll never get to thrill to the likes of “You Took Advantage of Me” by Hot Club of Cowtown or “Honkiest Tonkiest Beer Joint” by Dale Watson! And Grateful Dead fans, this collection also includes “Friend of the Devil” by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott with Bob Weir! You know you want that one!

All right, turn it off already. Give it up to Time/Life for compiling a bunch of tunes here that are indeed a good time and worth whatever you can find them for. To those who might shy away from the “roots rock” label, don’t be afraid. This is good music that deserves to be heard and there are plenty of moments here that don’t go “twang.” Still, there’s nothing wrong with that. So maybe you should just open up you minds and enjoy something a little different…that’s right, Rockin’ from the Roots for only $19.99 plus a free cardboard slipcover! Order now!

~Jason Thompson