Very Important Recordings
plsilverman | USA | 09/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although it has been said that Richard *Rocked* in Clubs in the early '50s his recordings on RCA and Peacock from that era are more in the melancholy slow blues and swingin' fast blues tradition of the 1940s. It seems that record companies were not yet ready for the pioneering sound of "Long Tall Sally". But just because tracks like "Get Rich Quick", "Ain't Nothin' Happening", "Taxi Blues" have only a hint of what to come, that doesn't mean they do not represent an amazing new talent on the scene, singer-songwriter-showman Little Richard. Despite the obvious echoes of Roy Brown, Billy Wright, etc., you can hear a joyful tenor singing circles around any "influences", and on "Little Richard's Boogie" you can hear a funky piano leaving the other instrumentalists breathless.
A big selling point are the early incarnations of Specialty Classics like "Directly From My Heart You" (released and alternate). This blues-based number was recalled by Mr. Penniman in late '65 for Modern Records, as well. [Look for the 45rpm version].
With the seemingly weekly release of unissued Elvis Presley, plus a decent number of rarities out there by other Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, this highly under-represented artist has (apparently) only his '50s material in "previously unreleased" form. This CD may cry out for '60s and '70s companions but more than stands alone. Well, Allright!"
History In The Making
plsilverman | 08/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia on December 5, 1932 and, years before he bashed down the doors leading to international fame later in 1955, he began to pay his dues performing with a number of itinerant medicine shows and in clubs in the South.
At 19 he wrangled a recording contract with RCA Victor and in 1951-52 he cut a variety of R&B tunes. In 1952 the company released Every Hour b/w Taxi Blues (RCA Victor 47-4392) on which Richard emulates Roy Brown, then one of the biggest names in R&B. It sold quite a few copies but not enough to get him onto the national charts. Nor did the next release, Get Rich Quick b/w Thinkin' 'Bout My Mother (RCA Victor 47-4582).
On the A-side he tried his hand at imitating another R&B giant, the blues shouter Wynonie Harris, but on the flip his stark delivery hinted at what was to come. The follow-up singles - Why Did You Leave Me? b/w Ain't Nothin' Happenin' (RCA Victor 47-4772) and I Brought It All On Myself b/w Please Have Mercy On Me (RCA 47-5025) - also failed to chart. But his own style was emerging.
His next stop was with Don Robey's Peacock label in Houston where he joined up with The Tempo Toppers (Jimmy Swan, Billy Brooks, Raymond Taylor on organ, and Barry Gilmore). The first cuts, released in 1953, were Fool At The Wheel b/w Ain't That Good News (NOT the Sam Cooke hit) on Peacock 1616, and Rice, Red Beans And Turnip Greens b/w Always (NOT the old standard) on Peacock 1628 in 1954.
In 1955 he teamed up with The Johnny Otis Band for Little Richard Boogie b/w Directly From My Heart To You on Peacock 1658 and I Love My Baby b/w Maybe I'm Right on Peacock 1673. Now his sound was developed.
While the charts always evaded him in these early years, this is history in the making and on several of the cuts there is no mistaking the dynamic talent that would soon explode on the Specialty label with Tutti Frutti. Just a great companion CD for The Specialty Sessions box set."