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LITTLE RICHARD

Four Classic Albums

AVID AMSC1286 [47:46 + 57:02]

CD1
1-12: ‘Here’s Little Richard’
1. Tutti Frutti
2. True Fine Mama
3. Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave
4. Ready Teddy
5. Baby
6. Slippin’ And Slidin’
7. Long Tall Sally
8. Miss Ann
9. Oh Why?
10. Rip It Up
11. Jenny Jenny
12. She’s Got It
13-20: ‘Little Richard’
13. Ain’t Nothin’ Happenin’
14. Why Did You Leave Me
15. Every Hour
16. I Brought It All On Myself
17. Taxi Blues
18. Get Rich Quick
19. Please Have Mercy On Me
20. Thinkin’ ‘Bout My Mother

CD2
1-12: ‘Little Richard’
1. Keep A Knockin’
2. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
3. Send Me Some Lovin’
4. Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo
5. Heeby-Jeebies
6. All Around The World
7. Good Golly Miss Molly
8. Baby Face
9. Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey
10. Ooh! My Soul
11. The Girl Can’t Help It
12. Lucille
13-25: ‘The Fabulous Little Richard’
13. Shake A Hand
14. Chicken Little Baby
15. All Night Long
16. The Most I Can Offer
17. Lonesome And Blue
18. Wonderin’
19. She Knows How To Rock
20. Kansas City
21. Directly From My Heart
22. Maybe I’m Right
23. Early One Morning
24. I’m Just A Lonely Guy
25. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

For some it’s Elvis, or Buddy, for others it’s Chuck but for many Rock ‘n’ Roll started (and to diehards ended) with Little Richard. Avid’s R’n’R sideline – they’re best known for Jazz reissues – has dug out four albums to sit alongside their Elvis, Buddy, Jerry Lee and Chuck confreres in a boutique collection of Rock classics.

The albums date from the years 1952-1959. Here’s Little Richard opens the twofer but it’s certainly not the earliest recorded. It does however contain some of the fruitiest and best songs of the era - Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, She’s Got It, and a host more. One can’t and shouldn’t overlook the booting R’n’B tenor sax that reveals the origin of much of Little Richard’s pulsing and rhythmically energized singing. But he invariably had fine session players to support him every step of the way. If you can’t see the sweat a-flying onReady Teddy – well, you’re probably dead and if the raucous She’s Got It leaves you unmoved, even with its unusual fade, then maybe Schoenberg is more your line.

Little Richard is the title of his 1952 album, as is the later 1956-57 disc, things being notoriously unimaginative in the world of Rock album titles at the time. Richard’s voice is far more girlish in 1952 and the band swings more and harder; this is transitional Richard, a Swing-Jump ethos soon to be steamrollered by more immediate pleasures. One finds Blues-Caribbean grooves here, R’n’B flavours and shuffle rhythms. True, there’s raunch inGet Rich Quick and modishly out-of-tune piano on Thinkin’ ‘bout my Mother with an unusually thoughtful tenor sax solo from Fred Jackson (clearly underrated, on this evidence).

The later Little Richard consists of twelve tracks;Good Golly Miss Molly is here, Lucille and The Girl Can’t Help It, yackety yak tenor, insatiable rhythms, a parade of superb, time-defying classics. The Fabulous Little Richard is marred by overdubs and a vast array of recording dates and musicians. This was recorded bit-by-bit with differing personnel. It also shows Richard embracing his Gospel heritage which rather concerned the writer of the LP liner notes – all the notes are reprinted as is usual with Avid. But there is Boogie too, Kansas City shuffle, and some rockin’ and rollin’ along the way – She Knows How to Rock, for example - and one can hear some special, brief guitar solos from Justin Adams along the way.

If you don’t have any Little Richard on your shelves, shame on you; here’s a warts and all twofer to keep you company.

Jonathan Woolf