TRUTH BE told, the "Big D.C. Jamboree" isn't really all that big. While it rounds up seven area rockabilly cum honky-tonk bands, past and present, the CD clocks in at less than 30 minutes, making it a mini-jamboree at best.
It's a modest production in other respects too. For one thing, most of the performances are refreshingly straightforward cover versions of familiar and obscure tunes. Stylistic excesses may be indigenous to this music, but what mostly comes across here is affection for the original recording artists and not the retro- rock/country affectations they often inspired, (though the Atomics do come perilously to mimicking the Stray Cats when reviving Eddie Cochran's "Pink Peg Slacks").
More typical are the solid, streamlined tracks by Goin' Goin' Gone, featuring some terrific guitar work by Bill Kirchen, and the Wanktones's lively remake of Duane Eddy's "Forty Miles of Bad Road." Unforced and sometimes surprisingly subdued vocals, combined with a lot of evocative instrumental support, also help distinguish the tunes by the Thangs ("Heartaches and Hangovers"), the Redeemers ("Lost Highway"), the Capitol Hillbillies ("Go Down Swingin' ") and Dennis Jay and the Confidentials ("Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go").
VARIOUS ARTISTS -- "The Big D.C. Jamboree" (Run Wild). The Capitol Hillbillies appear Friday at d.c. space. Bill Kirchen appears Saturday at Broad St. Seafood. The Redeemers appear Saturday at the Luna Park Grille. Goin' Goin' Gone appears Saturday at Whitey's.