This is one of the best CD's to cross my path in a long time, both in terms of enjoyment and in terms of price. And there are several others in the series which most certainly will need to be closely assessed, if they are of the same high standards. What you have here is a whole raft of famous artistes, some of them performing familiar numbers and a lot being represented by lesser known recordings. There are also quite a few obscure performers too, all of which adds to the heady mix of no less than 75 generally high quality tracks. So, Bobby Darin, The Platters, Duane Eddy, Joe Turner, LaVern Baker and even Elvis himself are side by side with such obscurities as The Goofers, June Bateman, Chip Fisher and the wondrously-named Joe Dodo and The Groovers. Quite remarkably, for a compilation of this kind, you even get a brief, but pertinent, historical snapshot of every single track - a massive attraction for people like me who want to know something of the history behind the recordings. A general overview of the history of the label is also included. This should appeal to anyone who has looked at the "been there, got it" selection on many compilations where the most obvious tracks crop up again and again. Lots of rarely heard B sides, album tracks and even alternative versions are on hand here, with precious few duds to have to skip over. It is a compelling and important addition to any collection of late 50's pop and rock, and I recommend this without a second thought.
I dont normally purchase anything with the words "Rock N Roll" in the title, although I dont mind some Rock n Roll music, it is not my music of choice. Having said that the track listings on this CD pushed me into thinking this could be more R&B than R&R, with the likes of Ruth Brown, Titus Turner) and it was enough to make me take a gamble and buy (you have to do things now and again)
I also looked at other reviews on the other compilations in this series,(Heavy Sugar, Sassy Sugar) and decided to buy.
And what an excellent decison it was, It is packed with 3 CDs worth of R&B/R&R tracks. you could argue whether some are actually R&B, rather than R&R but, whatever camp your musical tastes lie in, this CD is brilliant, of course some of the tracks are out and out Rock and Roll(the Bay Bops for instance- with that Doo Wop style of track), but the majority are pure listening pleasure.
The inner booklet you get has details of each of the tracks and the CDs come in a triple gatefold sleeve (my only niggle with these type of cases is when you open it up the spine starts showing creases, but thats just me). I started going throgh the CD in cronological order (1-3), the tracks are primarily from 1958-59 and the sound quality is brilliant.
I definately would recomend this and ignore the Rock N Roll description. Luckily you can check out the tracks on Amazon, (although I didnt) but some stand out tracks for me are - Brook Benton - "Hurtin Inside" (reminds me of Roy Hamilton - You Can Have Her), Bobby Darin - "Bullmoose" , Lincoln Chase - "Miss Urangutang", and Jeff Barry and his "Hip Couple" with references to both him and his girlfriend wearing matching Paisley shirts and Desert Boots.
There are many other tracks that are good on these CDs, even the Elvis track selected is not one of the more likely tracks that could have been chosen (One Sided Love Affair).
This is definately a 5 star CD , and each CD has great tunes within them. Whether you like R&B or R&R, this CD is a value for money purchase.