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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I'm Goin' Home...Never More To Roam..." - Rocks by SMILEY LEWIS (Bear Family Remasters), 16 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Smiley Rocks (Audio CD)
Released February 2010 on Bear Family BCD 16676 AR (Barcode 4000127166760) - "Rocks" offers up 36 slices of primo Smiley Lewis New Orleans style Rhythm 'n' Blues on the Colony and Imperial labels from 1950 through to 1958. And at an envelope-pushing 85:36-minutes total playing time - doesn't scrimp it on content or value for money either. Here are "I Hear You Knocking" details...

1. Shame, Shame, Shame
2. Big Mamou
3. Ain't Gonna Do It
4. Down The Road
5. The Bells Are Loving
6. Can't Stop Loving You
7. Ooh La La
8. My Baby War Right
9. Blue Monday
10. Dirty People
11. Jailbird
12. Where Were You
13. Real Gone Lover
14. Bumpity Bump
15. I Hear You Knocking
16. Sad Life
17. Come On
18. Bee's Boogie
19. Queen Of Hearts
20. Lillie Mae
21. One Night
22. Caldonia's Party
23. Nothing But The Blues
24. She's Got Me Hook, Line & Sinker
25. Rootin' Tootin'
26. Please Listen To Me
27. Down Yonder We Go Ballin'
28. No Letter Today
29. Mama Don't Like
30. Play Girl
31. Go On Fool
32. Goin' To Jump And Shout
33. Bad Luck Blues
34. School Days Are Back Again
35. Lil Liza Jane
36. Shame, Shame, Shame! (Original Epic Version)

Like all the titles in this extensive series - "Rocks" comes in a 3-way foldout card digipak with a large detachable booklet in the centre (40-pages for this one). The CD label itself repros the 1953 7"single of "Blue Monday" complete with its Imperial Records record bag - and that's again repro'd in full on the flap beneath the see-through tray (a nice touch). The substantial booklet features extensive liner notes from Page 2 to 28 by BILL DAHL who did such stunning work on Bear's "Sweet Soul Music" Series from 1961 to 1971 (see separate reviews for all 10 compilations). There's even a Discography for all 36 tracks from Page 29 to 39 by WOOTER KEESING and Bear Family's own RICHARD WEIZE which pictures each 78" and 45" at the base of every page (very tasty to look at). Knowledgeable people like DAVE "DADDY COOL" BOOTH and others contributed information and illustrations too.

The remastered sound is by one of their best tape engineers - JURGEN CRASSER (Crasser handling the "Sweet Soul Music" series I raved about). One or two tracks are rough ("Dirty People" is one) because they're dubbed off discs, but the sound on the others is fabulous - far better than previous CDs I've had of the same material.

Musically Smiley Lewis was like Amos Milburn, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima - an irrepressible force of rockin' joy. His big pipes had the room-filling fun of Big Joe Turner at his Atlantic Records best while his rolling piano fills made every track a Fats Domino blast. You can just 'feel' the good vibes of a hot gig on a Saturday Night at the local bar coming off these songs (his mischievous lyrics to "Ain't Gonna Do It" title this review).
The mid-tempo "Big Mamou" and "One Night" have saucy lyrics while the bopping dancer "Can't Stop Loving You" pleads "Daddy hold me...please don't move... everything's fine because you're dead in the groove..." Lewis acknowledges Fat Domino with "Blue Monday" and his "I Hear You Knocking" was a Number 1 in the UK for Dave Edmunds on Mam Records when he rocked up that New Orleans rumble to great effect in 1970. More fun on "Queen Of Hearts" where he goes Clarence "Frogman" Henry on the "ooh ooh wee!" vocals while that Big Joe Turner rocking band vibe returns with "Mama Don't Like" where Mom and Pops of a long list of what the young don't like.

Given the vintage of the material, this CD is expensive for sure (as most of Bear Family's product is), but it's the best representation of Lewis' material I've ever heard or seen. If you want to go deeper, there's the "Shame, Shame, Shame" 4CD Box Set they issued in 1993. But if you want to get a taster of the songs and sound quality for a reasonable cost - try the 36-track "All We Wanna Do Is ROCK" sampler for this series - it has the 1953 Imperial single of "Big Mamou" (see separate review).

Great stuff and such fun - and in the parlance - recommended the most daddy-o...

PS: The "Rocks" Series by Bear Family features the following artists:

1. Chuck Berry [see REVIEW}
2. Pat Boone
3. Johnny Burnette [see REVIEW]
4. The Cadillacs [see REVIEW]
5. Eddie Cochran
6. Bobby Darin
7. Fats Domino
8. Connie Francis
9. Don Gibson
10. Glen Glenn
11. Bill Haley
12. Roy Hall
13. Slim Harpo [see REVIEW]
14. Dale Hawkins
15. Ronnie Hawkins
16. Screamin' Jay Hawkins [see REVIEW]
17. Wanda Jackson [see REVIEW]
18. Sonny James
19. Buddy Knox & Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids
20. Sleepy LaBeef
21. Brenda Lee
22. Jerry Lee Lewis [see REVIEW]
23. Smiley Lewis [see REVIEW]
24. Little Richard
25. Bob Luman
26. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
27. Carl Mann
28. Amos Milburn [see REVIEW]
29. Ella Mae Morse [see REVIEW]
30. Ricky Nelson
31. Carl Perkins
32. Roy Orbison
33. Lloyd Price
34. Piano Red (aka Dr. Feelgood) [see REVIEW]
35. Charlie Rich [see REVIEW]
36. Jack Scott
37. Shirley & Lee
38. The Treniers
39. Big Joe Turner [see REVIEW]
40. Conway Twitty
41. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
42. Rusty York [see REVIEW]

The Bear Family "Rockin' Rollin'" Series features:

1. Johnny Horton
2. Marvin Rainwater
3. Marty Robbins Vol.1
4. Marty Robbins Vol.2
5. Marty Robbins Vol.3
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Review Details



Mark Barry

Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 15