Thursday, 28 August 2014

"The Original British Hit Singles" by LITTLE RICHARD - A Review Of The 1999 Ace CD Remastersby Mark Barry...



“…A Whole Lot Of What They Call The Most…” 

It's almost absurd in the hindsight and distance of 2015 to think of "Tutti Frutti" as a B-Side - yet that's exactly what it was in the UK on initial release. 

Wow! Speaking of the same... I can assure you that there's very little about this astonishing run of 26 boppin' Rock 'n' Roll sides that would be considered B-Class material. And in a sea of lesser sounding budget compilations - it's nice to know that this mid-price CD nugget still stands tall on the audio front - remastered to blasting glory from original tapes by one of the UK's premier reissue labels.

Released by the mighty Ace Records of the UK on Ace CDCHM 729 in August 1999 (use Barcode 029667172929 in the Amazon search bar to get the right issue) - here are the wild-man piano-pounding details for each of his 13 British 45s (As and Bs)...

1. Rip It Up b/w Ready Teddy (November 1956, London HLO 8336)
2. Long Tall Sally b/w Tutti Frutti (January 1957, London HLO 8366)
3. The Girl Can't Help It b/w She's Got It (March 1957, London HLO 8382)
4. Lucille b/w Send Me Some Lovin' (June 1957, London HLO 8446)
5. Jenny, Jenny b/w Miss Ann (August 1957, London HLO 8470)
6. Keep A Knockin' b/w Can't Believe You Wanna Leave (November 1957, London HLO 8509)
7. Good Golly Miss Molly b/w Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! (Goin' Back To Birmingham) (February 1958, London HLO 8560)
8. Ooh' My Soul b/w True Fine Mama (June 1958, London HLO 8647)
9. Baby Face b/w Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo (I'll Never Let You Go) (December 1958, London HLO 8770)
10. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon b/w Early One Morning (March 1959, London HLO 8831)
11. Kansas City b/w She Knows How To Rock (May 1959, London HOL 8868)
12. Baby b/w I Got It (February 1960, London HLO 9065)
13. Bama Lama Bama Loo b/w Annie Is Back (May 1964, London HLO 9896)

It opens with "Well it's Saturday night and I just got paid...I'm gonna rip it up..." and Richard Penniman of Macon, Georgia does just that. He doesn't actually cool the pace down until the lovely "Send Me Some Lovin'" (Track 8) and slower stuff like "Can't Believe You Wanna Leave" are hidden gems amongst all the mayhem. Even now when "Good Golly Miss Molly" kicks in - you're floored - how earthshattering it must have been as a kid in 1958 to hear this joy come out of a radio.

"Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo..." sounds like great Fats Domino Rhythm `n' Blues. But "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon" it sounds like he's running out of steam. Far better is its forgotten B-side - the Chuck Berry-ish "Early One Morning". Richard gets his mojo back with the rocking duo of "Kansas City" and "She Knows How To Rock" and more undiscovered greatness lies in "Baby" with its superb Sax solo and its raucous "I Got It" flipside (surely one of his most underrated 45s). It ends four years after his initial splurge in 1964 with the retro "Bama Lama Bama Loo" and the excellent "Annie Is Back' - but by this time few were listening.

In 2015 Little Richard is 82 and one of the last surviving original wild men of Rock 'n' Roll. His songs for Specialty Records of the USA (released by London in the UK) are the stuff of legend - full of naughtiness, rebellion and sex. And if you want to know why he's held in such affection - then this is a fabulous place to start...

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