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I just wanna hear some of that rock'n'roll music
on 4 November 2011
I've made some general remarks about this series already - please see my review of London American Story 1956. I took a look at the next year and declared "1957, as represented on the One Day set was an absolute stormer combining a great combination of familiar but great, plus less familiar but also great." It looked so good I had to take a longer look which more than confirms initial impressions.
For a start, One Day haven't half book ended it well with fantastic openers and closers for each of the discs. Big Joe Turner gets proceedings underway with one of his best shouted shuffles "Lipstick, Powder and Paint". Then Lloyd Price closes the disc with "Just Because", a great slow blues ballad in what would much later become known as swamp pop style. His erstwhile valet and chauffeur Larry Williams also released a version which was again excellent. Then the Everly's first single "Bye Bye Love" kicks off Disc number two - it may have been their first but it remains their most memorable, talk about a kick start to country rock! And for the final closer we get Chuck "Crazylegs" Berry, duckwalking across the stage and wailing that he wants some rock'n'roll music....
"Any old way you choose it.
It's gotta backbeat, you can't lose it,
any old time you use it.
It's gotta be rock'n'roll music, if you wanna dance with me."
In between we get the manic "Glad all Over" and "Your True Love" from good ole Carl Perkins. Alan Freed used to play the latter a lot on AFN. This was also about the time that there was a ballad single out from a film called "True Love" (Bing Crosby and someone else). A tad confusing. Then a month or so later Freed went on to play "Whole lotta shaking" from some new guy who really murdered the piano keys, what a record! And I think I'd forgotten that "Great Balls of Fire" was the same year. And then there's Little Richard in his pomp, Haley on one of his better cuts, Larry Williams - not his greatest track but anything from him is good, more Berries including that Beethoven one, Eddie Cochran just starting his brief career plus the now rather obscure and I have to say, dated but charmingly so, Charlie Gracie.
But the greatest strength of this set is its doowop. I'm not really the greatest fan but the stuff here is enough to convince anyone. There are classics and near classics all the way through. Let me start with the original cut of "Little Darlin'" from the Gladiola's fronted by Maurice Williams (famed for "Stay"). This one should warm the cockles of anyone's heart. On that marvellous multi-coloured Excello label. And it's one we never get to hear. Instead we get the cynically planned and executed near parody cover by the Diamonds. Then there's the Moonglows with "I knew from the start". Youtube has a great clip of the band from the movie, "Rock, Rock, Rock" introduced by the aforementioned Alan Freed. It's that chord sequence which has been used a million and one times, and those really hammered piano triplets, "... you were the one for me". And there's a Youtube comment "Malcolm X on guitar?". Then there's the Del Vikings with "Come go with me" which opens with so many "dum, dum's" you almost forget that some real words are actually coming. And that screech on the final line! And "go, go's" on the sax break. Can anyone resist this one? And there's the Silhouettes - those guys had ties like my band - but ours were clip on and never stayed on! But there's still more, The Five Satins, the Tune Weavers, the Dubs, the near legendary Billy Ward and his Dominos who had the training ground for lead tenors like Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.
And in between there are still other tracks, often more obscure, but with plenty of interest. The near rockabilly, "Rakin' and Scrapin'" from Dean Beard, Nappy Brown's "Little by Little" which I hadn't heard before, the stone classic extremely early soul of Sam Cooke's "You send me", Dale Hawkins (and James Burton") on "Susie Q", a rare white rock offering from Chess, a great black rockabilly cover of "Party Doll" from Roy Brown. There's some teen idol stuff here from Tab Hunter and Andy Williams (!?!?) several years earlier than the Fabians and Avalons - it`s pleasant period music if hardly classic. And there's some tough R&B from LaVern Baker and there's Fats, I almost forgot him. And there's "I walk the line" from you know who. And there's a strange item from a guy called Ken Copeland - have a look at the comments on Youtube. And there's probably something else I've forgotten.
Value? You bet. Utterly fantastic.
And who was it who rhymed "across the tracks" with "wailin' sax"? First ever poet in rock'n'roll.