Some titles herein suggest another blast from the past, but by early '66, apparently The Quasar was ready to forge ahead. He experimented with some jazz-inflected pop and even scored two minor single hits and an album which had a nice showing on the Billboard Black Albums Charts. (Though there is nothing from that chaotic but exciting venture, at the Club Okeh). We have a reissue of the Sony Entertainment "Get Down With It" from early 2004, same line-up; different artwork and liners. More detail is provided on the numbes, but if you want to know who played bass on "Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)", you'll have to go elsewhere. Richard's Producer was Larry Williams (yes, of Specialty Records!), who, of course, was very successful doing the Penniman thing, vocally and on keyboards. So, it's a little difficult to say where the piano sound originates: possibly on a few of the ballads, on "Land Of A Thousand Dances", "Function At The Junction", though it's way back in the mix. Regarding the mix and oversall sound, the reprocess works wonders. It's also important to note, for those unaware of the first edition, that we get longer versions of some tunes; originally added voices are removed here, so we get more *presence* of the King. Always great to hear the second Okeh single, the medium-tempo "(You're My Girl) I Don't Want To Discuss It", a "coulda-shoulda" for the timecapsule, backed with an amazing take of the movie theme ballad, "Hurry Sundown". One of Richard's few straight-ahead ballads and he delivers a Grammy-worthy performance. Richard goes "all '50s" in a December, 1966 Abbey Road Studio session, including two Fats Domino numbers, and a fabulous "Get Down With It", yes, the song "covered" by Wayne Cochran and Slade. Although it's been called a Bobby Marchan song, there's no real resemblance past the first seven words. A very nice counterpart to the still prevalent Vee Jay and K-Tel LR recut packages.
Not too much is known of the tracks Little Richard cut after his classic hits of the late 50s, but this explosive - that title ain`t no lie - collection of 17 songs from the enterprising Edsel label ought to remedy that. If you love the man as I do, then you must, no you really must, have this. Not every track is up there with the Quasar of Rock`n`Roll`s very best, but so much here shows the Georgia Peach in his inimitably rambunctious, combustible extravagance that the occasional filler or two is painless, and when you`ve got his James Brown-like The Commandments Of Love (actually, Richard`s voice is more fluid than Brown`s when all`s said & done) or the glorious ballads Never Gonna Let You Go and the incredible Don`t Deceive Me, on both of which he bears comparison with Otis at his most soulful, or his take on Get Down With It - terrific by Slade, too - then this becomes essential stuff. Function At The Junction (what a great title) is magnificent, and the whole CD smacks of class from one of the indisputable architects & ambassadors of the wilder shores of rock`n`roll. One of the Great Voices of the 20th century, no less, perhaps the most purely soulful of all the fifties rockers. With exhaustive sleevenotes, the whole package is a joy to own. As Mr Penniman declares at the start of Get Down With It:
WELL AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWRIIIIIIIIGHT EVERYBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADAAAAAAAY...!