Thursday, 14 October 2010

"Rocks" by PIANO RED aka Dr. FEELGOOD. A Review Of The 2009 Bear Family CD Compilation.

"…Do You Want To Rock Baby? Yes! Yes!”

Released April 2009 on Bear Family BCD 16639 AR, "Rocks" offers up 33 slices of Piano Red’s pumping Rhythm 'n' Blues piano style – and it’s a peach. “Rocks” covers 1950 to 1966 on the Groove, Jax, Okeh and RCA Victor labels - and at a generous 78:04 minutes - doesn't scrimp it on content or value for money.

Like all the titles in this extensive series, "Rocks" comes in a 3-way foldout card digipak with a large detachable booklet in the centre (48-pages for this one). The CD label itself repros the 1956 7" single of “Woo-Ee” complete with its Groove Records label bag - and that's again repro’d in full on the flap beneath the see-through tray (a nice touch).

The substantial booklet features extensive liner notes from Page 2 to 26 by BILL DAHL who did such stunning work on Bear's "Sweet Soul Music" Series from 1961 to 1971 (see separate reviews for all 10 compilations). There's even a Discography for all 33 tracks from Page 34 to 45 by Bear Family’s own RICHARD WEIZE - which in itself pictures 45"s and album sleeves in full colour (very tasty to look at). Especially worth noting is a series of black and white photos of Piano Red and his band in concert in March 1956 at the Magnolia Ballroom in Atlanta, Georgia – they’re peppered throughout the text pages and are very intimate shots of the band and the audience enjoying themselves. Great stuff…

The remastered sound is by one of their best tape engineers JURGEN CRASSER – he handling the “Blowing The Fuse” series from 1945 to 1960 (I’ve reviewed all 16 volumes). Alive, clean and far better than previous CDs I've had of the same material, the sound is wonderful.

Musically William Perryman (his real name) was like Amos Milburn, Louis Jordan, Smiley Lewis and Louis Prima - an irrepressible force of rockin' joy. His warmth and witty words filled every song and when he was pumping out those party tunes with a big brassy band behind him, it must have been nigh on impossible to resist dancing your nuts off. Highlights include the 1957 instrumental “Wild Fire” with the whole band cooking like eggs on the bonnet of a car, the “I’ve had lots of big women…I’m having a ball…” song of “What Up Doc?” while in “Rock, Baby” he tells his girl to “Get out your silk and satin, because that old gal dress just won’t do…” because they’re going out to party (lyrics above). But the biggest surprise is kept until last.

Not found when the 4CD box set “The Doctor Is In!” was being formed in 1993, five previously unreleased studio cuts have surfaced from Columbia’s vaults – “Jumping The Boogie”, “The Double Twist” and “Rock Me” were recorded in December 1962 – while “I Need You” and “Can’t Wait No Longer” were recorded in March 1966. Being fully-formed and expertly recorded Columbia studio cuts, the Stereo sound is fabulous – and the quality of the songs themselves shockingly good. There's even a slightly Mod feel to “I Need You” from 1966 where it sounds like he's being backed up by Booker T And The MG’s. It’s the kind of song that a DJ would discover on the B-side of some single somewhere and play it in a UK Northern Soul club!

But if you want to get a taster of the songs and sound quality for a reasonable cost - try the 36-track "All We Wanna Do Is ROCK" sampler for this series - it has the 1954 Groove single of "Big Rock Joe From Kokomo” - typical of his style (see separate review).

Great stuff and such fun. In the vernacular - recommended the most...

PS: The "Rocks" Series by Bear Family features the following artists:

1. Pat Boone
2. Johnny Burnette
3. The Cadillacs
4. Eddie Cochran
5. Bobby Darin
6. Fats Domino
7. Connie Francis
8. Don Gibson
9. Glen Glenn
10. Bill Haley
11. Roy Hall
12. Dale Hawkins
13. Ronnie Hawkins
14. Screamin' Jay Hawkins
15. Wanda Jackson
16. Sonny James
17. Buddy Knox & Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids
18. Sleepy LaBeef
19. Jerry Lee Lewis
20. Smiley Lewis
21. Bob Luman
22. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
23. Carl Mann
24. Amos Milburn
25. Ella Mae Morse
26. Ricky Nelson
27. Carl Perkins
28. Roy Orbison
29. Lloyd Price
30. Piano Red
31. Charlie Rich
32. Jack Scott
33. Shirley & Lee
34. The Treniers
35. Conway Twitty
36. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
37. Rusty York

The Bear Family "Rockin' Rollin'" Series features:

1. Johnny Horton
2. Marvin Rainwater
3. Marty Robbins Vol.1
4. Marty Robbins Vol.2
5. Marty Robbins Vol.3

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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