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Sittin' In The Balcony

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Album Review

23-song collection of his earliest material from 1957-60. Includes both sides of all five singles he recorded for Colonial (when he was known as Johnny Dee), and early Columbia singles, as well as three previously unreleased songs from the early Columbia era. "Sittin' in the Balcony" and the original, stark version of "Tobacco Road" are the clear highlights here. Most of the rest is timid rockabilly/pop, with songwriting that's riddled with goody-goody teen cliches; the novelty "Asiatic Flu" and "The Happy Wanderer (Val-De-Ri Val-De-Ra)" are downright unbearable. Still, it's probably Loudermilk's best work, considering that from 1960 on he principally worked as a songwriter, recording his own work only as a sideline. The previously unissued "The Angel of Flight 509" stirs mild interest, as it's a prototype of sorts for "Ebony Eyes," minus the tragic elements.


Born: 31 March 1934 in Durham, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Although his music isn't exactly weird, John D. Loudermilk is one of the weirdest figures of early rock & roll. Much more famous as a songwriter than a performer (although he made plenty of records), his material was incredibly erratic. He could range from the most mindless, sappy pop to a hard-bitten, bluesy tune that rang with as much authentic grit as a Mississippi Delta blues classic. That tune...
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Sittin' In The Balcony, John D. Loudermilk
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