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Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones

Cotton Pickin' Rockers

Review by Gary Hill

Hailing from South Carolina, this band at the time was made up of teenagers. Their style of old-school rock and roll and rockabilly is considered by some to be one of the earliest examples of Southern rock. This is an entertaining set. It features their biggest hit, “Black Slacks,” which is one of the highlights of the disc.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Side One
                    
Rocket

Rockabilly with a driving energy and groove is on the menu here. This is a fun old school jam with a space age groove.

Black Slacks
I really love the bass on this. The number is jumping tune that really grooves. The guitar solo is so classy, too.
Bayou Rock
The retro rocking sound here is so tasty. I love the guitar textures and fast-paced jamming. This is a lot of fun.
Let's Go Rock & Roll
Another with some great energy, this also has some killer guitar sounds and jamming. I’d say that this one almost cuts into jazz zones with some of that guitar work.
What The Heck
There is a bit of a novelty song vibe to this piece. It’s still a lot of fun.
I Dig You Baby
A vocal heavy tune, this is one part rockabilly and one part crooner music. There are elements of doo-wop here, too.
Maybe Baby
This is a swinging little rock and roller that is so much fun.
Side Two
                    
Cotton Pickin' Rocker

With some killer bass work, this has some energetic and entertaining rockabilly in the mix. This is such a classy and classic sounding tune.

Little Turtle
High energy and playful, this is another fun rocker. It has some scorching hot (for the time) guitar work.
Well Dressed Man
More of a pop music (of the era) song, this still has some rock and roll and some definite rockabilly in the mix. This works reasonably well, and the unusual changes are a nice touch, but overall this doesn’t stand as tall as some of the rest for me.
Penny Loafers And Bobby Sox
There is some scorching hot 50s guitar work on this thing. It’s a bopping number that really is one of the strongest things here.
Number One On My Love List
With some classic guitar jamming, this is another fun old-school rock and roller.
Boppin' Rock Boogie
I’m not overly crazy about the doo wop angles of this, but the cut has some good hooks and energy.
Late Again (alternate version)
I dig the horns on this cut. The tun has a definite jazz edge that works well for it. This is another highlight of the disc, in part because of the variety it imparts.
 
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