Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Billy Lee Riley|
Red Hot-Very B.O. Billy Lee Riley
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Sun's Failed Replacement For Elvis
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Billy Lee Riley, a multi-instrumentalist with a raw, rockabilly sound, was to be the Sun label's replacement for Elvis after they sold the latter's contract to RCA. He could certainly belt out a tune with the best of his contemporaries like Charlie Feathers, Johnny Carroll, and Mac Curtis but, also like them, hit single status eluded him. His best, obviously, was the pounding Red Hot but even that, while played extensively throughout the South, could not crack the national charts.
He did finally get a hit of sorts in 1962 when his self-penned instrumental Shimmy, Shimmy Walk Part 1 struggled to # 88 Billboard Pop Hot 100 by the group he then headed called The Megatons [Billy Lee on guitar and harmonica, Jimmy Wilson on piano, and Martin Willis on sax and drums]. This had actually been released in 1961 on the Dodge label, but only became a charter after being picked up and distributed by Checker.
Further such success would elude him until 1972 when, for the Entrance label, I Got A Thing About You Baby just made the Hot 100 at # 93 in November. Riley tried his hand at everything and for a multitude of labels, doing pure Country for Mojo, Pen, Hip, Sun, and Entrance, soul for Fire, Fury, Smash, and Myrl, and backwoods blues for Dodge, R&B and his own Rita label. None made any impact.
In this CD, Collectables has chosen to concentrate on the rockabilly sides, although it would have been nice had they found room for the only two cuts he did that ever made the national charts.
Still, if you're seeking a sampling of the raw acoustic rhythm and heavy backbeat that was the beginning of the genre known briefly as "rockabilly" in the 1950s, this is as good a place as any to start.
RILEY WAS HOT
Joseph Randle | Oxford, MS. | 09/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This fine collection of Billy Lee Riley's greatest Sun sides has many high moments, like the title song, also "Flying Saucers Rock and Roll". Riley tries gospel on "Down by the Riverside" as well. Also delves a little into blues on several tracks. His rockabilly style is the dominant style though, on most of the material. A fine artist. Just too bad he didn't get proper recognition."