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Showing posts with label Little Richard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Little Richard. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Specialty Records artist: Little Richard - Directly From My Heart: The Best Of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years from Little Richard and it's a blast! This 3CD set features 64 tracks spanning the mid fifties through the mid 60's and a super 36 page book with a ton of great photos and notes by Billy Vera. Most people only think of Tutti Frutti or Long Tall Sally when they think of Little Richard but this deluxe release shows so much more. These three CD's are packed with soul, blues, R&B and rock and roll tracks that will open your eyes. With great backing vocals and some hot sax work as well this is a super release. Of course he does Tutti Frutti, Kansas City, Slippin and Slidin, Long Tall Sally, I Got It, Ready Teddy, Rip It Up, Lucille, Jenny Jenny, Good Golly Miss Molly, The Girl Can't Help It, Keep A Knockin, Whole Lotta Shakin and Lawdy Miss Clawdy but a number of lesser known tracks like Goin Home Tomorrow, a hot remake of Blueberry Hill, a seductive Cherry Red and super bluesy I Don't Know What You've Got But It's Got Me featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar (to name a few). This is a really strong R&B/soul set with a broad sprinkle of early rock and roll. I really like it and think many of you will be surprised at how strong it really is.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Little Richard definitive 3-CD box set coming from Specialty/Concord

Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years
features 64 classics and rarities spanning the mid-’50s through the mid-’60s. Set features 36-page booklet with notes by Billy Vera.

Photos courtesy of the Specialty Archives
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In the early ’50s, Little Richard Penniman combined the spirit of church music, the barroom-hewn raunch of blues and the swing of New Orleans jazz and turned it into something altogether new — rock ’n’ roll.  When the Macon, Ga. native signed to Art Rupe’s Specialty Records in Los Angeles, he was in turn dispatched to New Orleans to record at Cosimo’s legendary studio. Over the course of several sessions, the Little Richard sound began to develop around hits like “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Lucille,” to name a few. 
On June 2, 2015, Specialty Records — a unit of Concord Music Group — will release Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years, an all-new three-CD box set containing 64 songs that chronicle Richard’s Specialty and Vee-Jay years — 1956 to 1965. The collection contains Richard’s classics as well as B-sides and rarities. Also included is a 30-plus page illustrated booklet featuring a handful of rare photos plus new liner notes by singer/songwriter/music historian Billy Vera.
Many artists begin their career on small labels and work their way up to the majors. Conversely, Richard began his recording career at RCA Victor, brought to the label’s attention by an Atlanta DJ. There he released four singles, no hits among them. Next he signed to Don Robey’s Houston-based Duke/Peacock Records, initially as part of the Tempo Toppers band and later as a solo. The solo sides remained unreleased until Richard struck gold at his next destination, Specialty Records.  
It was at New Orleans’ legendary J&M Music Shop that Richard chanced upon Specialty’s New Orleans A&R rep, Bumps Blackwell, who brought him to the attention of Rupe in Los Angeles. On September 14, 1955, Richard, Blackwell, and New Orleans’ R&B “A team” of session players (Lee Allen and Red Tyler, saxophones; Huey Smith, piano; Justin Adams, guitar; Frank Fields, bass and Earl Palmer, drums) went into Cosimo Matassa’s studio on Rampart Street. Sadly, despite the roomful of talent, the session was, as Vera describes “an exercise in commonplace.”

An unexpected bout of magic would shortly ensue. As Vera writes, “During a lunch break at the Dew Drop Inn, Richard hopped up on the piano and began shouting out a ribald tune he always performed, usually in drag, for those college boys, ‘Tutti Frutti, Good Bootie.’ Blackwell’s eyes lit up, for the first time hearing something special in the entertainer. Spotting local songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie across the room at another table, he asked if she could clean up the naughty lyric for public consumption. She did so back at Cosimo’s and, ‘Wop bop-a-loom-bop alop bam boom,’ a hit and a career were born.”
Over the next two years, Little Richard went on to place fourteen songs in the Rhythm & Blues top ten.  These include his iconic performances of “Lucille,” “Jenny Jenny,” “Keep a Knockin’” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”  The astonishing fact is, all these classics were recorded within a mere 18-month period. 
Richard continued with Specialty until 1964, when he was brought to the attention of Chicagoans Vivian Carter and Jim Bracken — whose first initials formed the name of Vee-Jay Records. Having freshly lost both The Beatles and The Four Seasons, and having lost control of the company in a move to the West Coast, the label was on its final legs. It didn’t help that in the studio Richard used his road band, the Upsetters, who were not quite studio quality at a time the Wrecking Crew was setting the standard. On top of that, the Beatles had broken big, and a fellow flamboyant Georgia native named James Brown had broken onto the R&B scene with a brand new bag. With a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Richard recorded a Don Covay tune (Covay had once been employed by Richard as his chauffer and opening act), “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me,” which reached #12 on the R&B chart. The song was done in James Brown’s style and briefly brought Richard back. However, music had changed, and the R&B sounds of the day were now emanating from Stax and Motown.

Little Richard continued to make records for South Los Angeles’ Modern RecordsCBS R&B subsidiary OKeh, Brunswick, and briefly, Specialty again (in 1971), before signing to Reprise, where his “Freedom Blues” cracked the Top 50 pop and Top 30 R&B. His peak recording years behind him, Richard remained on the scene into the ’80s and early ’90s as a colorful personality.
Vera elaborates: “Changing his look, wearing an outlandish wig, outrageous outfits and letting his large personality come out, he became a sought after guest on talk shows, like Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett and Mike Douglas, taking over every conversation and talking over even the hosts. Couch potato America loved it and high paying concerts followed.”
In recent years, the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Hollywood Walk of Fame star recipient has stayed closer to the homefront. But the three-CD set Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years is a reminder of the time, place and circumstance that helped define rock ’n’ roll.

   1.   Lonesome and Blue (2:15)
   2.   Wonderin’ (2:50)
   3.   All Night Long (2:13)
   4.   Maybe I’m Right (2:13)           
   5.   Directly From My Heart (2:19)           
   6.   Baby (2:05)
   7.   I’m Just a Lonely Guy (All Alone) (2:36)       
   8.   Tutti Frutti (2:23)
   9.   Chicken Little Baby (1:42)
10.   True, Fine Mama (2:40)          
11.   Kansas City (2:37)
12.   Wonderin’ (2:59)
13.   Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’) (2:41)
14.   Long Tall Sally (The Thing) (2:08)
15.   Miss Ann (2:15)
16.   The Most I Can Offer (Just My Heart) (2:24)
17.   Oh Why? (2:07)
18.   Heeby-Jeebies Love (2:09)
19.   I Got It (2:19)
20.   Ready Teddy (2:06)
21.   Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey (2:06)
22.   Rip It Up (2:20)      
   1.   Lucille (2:24)
   2.   Heeby-Jeebies (2:10)
   3.   All Around the World (2:24)
   4.   Shake a Hand (2:51)
   5.   Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave (2:26)
   6.   She’s Got It (2:24)
   7.   Jenny, Jenny (2:01)     
   8.   Good Golly, Miss Molly (2:08)
   9.   Baby Face (2:14)         
10.   The Girl Can’t Help It (2:30)
11.   By the Light of the Silvery Moon (2:04)         
12.   Send Me Some Lovin’ (2:17)
13.   Keep a Knockin’ (2:11)
14.   Ooh! My Soul (2:10)
15.   I'll Never Let You Go (Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo) (2:19)
16.   Early One Morning (2:12)
17.   She Knows How to Rock (1:59)          
18.   Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (1:52)
19.   Bama Lama Bama Loo (2:13)
20.   Poor Boy Paul (2:03)
21.   Annie Is Back (1:57)

1. Goin’ Home Tomorrow (3:09)      
2. Goodnight Irene (2:37)                
3. Money Honey (2:18)                                                                    
4. Lawdy Miss Clawdy (2:17)                                                                      
5. Blueberry Hill (1:48)
6. Cherry Red (2:33)
7. Only You (2:24)
8. Memories Are Made of This (2:12)
9. Groovy Little Suzy (2:14)
10.  Short Fat Fanny (2:10)
11.  Cross Over (2:40)
12. My Wheels They Are Slippin' All the Way (2:24)                                                                     
13. It Ain’t Whatcha Do (It's the Way How You Do It) (2:20)
14. Something Moves in My Heart (2:12)                                                              
15. Without Love (3:16)
16. Dance What You Wanna (2:16)
17. Talkin’ ’Bout Soul (2:08)                                                                    
18.  Dancing All Around the World (2:56)                                                            
19. You Better Stop (3:05)                                                              
20. I Don’t Know What You’ve Got but It’s Got Me (4:05)
21.  Why Don’t You Love Me (Like You Used to Do) (3:06)   
# # #

Monday, April 23, 2012

Concord/Specialty Records release: Here's Little Richard - New Release Review

This is the reissue of Little Richards debut album, Here's Little Richard. It includes the original 12 tracks ( Tutti Frutti; True, Fine Mama; Can't Believe You Wanna Leave; Ready Teddy; Baby; Slippin' and Slidin'; Long Tall Sally; Miss Ann; Oh Why?; Rip It Up; Jenny Jenny and She's Got It. In addition this new release includes a demo for Baby, All Night Long, an interview with Specialty Records Founder Art Rupe and two bonus videos. The videos are screen tests for Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally. I'm sure if you're a Little Richard fan you already know that this is a terrific package but if that isn't enough, along with this comes a 22 page hard paper booklet in an envelope cover marked 1st audition tape To: Specialty Records etc with an original post mark of Feb 16, 1955. It's packed full of info including everything from the original liner notes to 14 vintage photographs, master recording notes, and a great historical documentation of the events of the time. Also included is a cool poster of Little Richard. This is a must for anyone who loves the drive of Little Richard. It's a blast!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Lucille - Little Richard

Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist, and actor, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the 1950s. He was also the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and contributed significantly to the development of soul music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website entry on Penniman states that:

He claims to be "the architect of rock and roll", and history would seem to bear out Little Richard’s boast. More than any other performer – save, perhaps, Elvis Presley, Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll.

Penniman began performing on stage and on the road in 1945, when he was in his early teens. He began his recording career on October 16, 1951 by imitating the gospel-influenced style of late-1940s jump blues artist Billy Wright, who was a friend of his that set him up with the opportunity to record. His early fifties recordings, however, did not achieve remarkable commercial success. However, in 1955, under the guidance of Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Penniman began recording in a style he had been performing onstage for years,[8] featuring varied rhythm (derived from everything from drum beats he would hear in his voice to the sounds of trains he would hear thundering by him as a child), a heavy backbeat, funky saxophone grooves, over-the-top gospel-style singing, moans, screams, and other emotive inflections, accompanied by a combination of boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues music. This new music, which included an original injection of funk into the rock and roll beat, inspired many of the greatest recording artists of the twentieth century, including James Brown, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, and generations of other rhythm & blues, rock, and soul music artists.

On October 12, 1957, while at the height of stardom, Penniman abruptly quit rock and roll music and became a born-again Christian. He had charted seventeen original hits in less than three years. In January 1958, he enrolled in and attended Bible college to become a preacher and evangelist and began recording and performing only gospel music for a number of years. He then moved back and forth from rock and roll to the ministry, until he was able to reconcile the two roles in later life.

Penniman was among the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and one of only four of those artists (along with Ray Charles, James Brown, and Fats Domino) to also receive the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2003, Penniman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2007, his 1955 original hit "Tutti Frutti" was voted Number 1 by an eclectic panel of renowned recording artists on Mojo's The Top 100 Records That Changed The World, hailing the recording as "the sound of the birth of rock and roll." In 2010, The United States of America's Library of Congress National Recording Registry added the groundbreaking recording to its registry, claiming that the hit, with its original “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom!” a cappella introduction, heralded a new era in music.
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