This sits with two other CD anthologies reviewed in FAME (here and here) as well as among a projected series of others, helping to firm up an already VERY solid foundation of really great choices in killer jukin' musics, some culled from already released performances, others rescued from an old set of Berkeley College tapes, but every single one of 'em absolutely wallowing in smoky, rich, thick, greasy, nightshaded tones and hues. From the smoothly down-lo emphatic My Mississippi Queen of Barry Darnell to the classic Red Rooster of Howlin' Wolf, you get a choice 16 cuts of prime baying at the moon buh-loooz.
The liner lacks full attributions, so I can't tell you who backs up the lead men, but an ultra-righteous slide steel guitar in Darnell's cut is classic, pure lament with a back-toned vivacity grabbing ya by the frontal lobes. Then you run across John Lee Hooker's edgily insistent chords in Sally Mae and jump out of your chair. Johnny begins encanting in that trademark rough velvet voice of his, and the mind flies back to elder days and their prowling ways. Ah, but catch James Cotton's wailin' harp in Don't Start Me Talkin' and it's all over, my friend. Damn but that cat could burn up the pavement! He then dips into folk rhythms in Polly, Put the Kettle On, and we can just see Taj Mahal listening to it, leaning back into a summer's day hammock in Georgia, grinning like the cat that got the cream.
Not a moment of this potboiling gatherum is wasted, every damn second rockin', bluesin', shufflin', and shoutin'. I'd never heard the version of Little Richard's Whole Lotta Shakin' featured here, but it's a rave-up, seemingly taken from a TV performance, with the holy Mr. Penniman in top form. Along with Bo, Chuck, Carl, Jerry Lee, and a host of others, he was one of foremost foundation developers of rock and roll, and the step over from blues to the more insistent energy of rock is clearly seen, no two ways about it. Thus, as with the CDs noted earlier, if you want schooling in just what was quakin' back in the misty dawn of what now has become the foremost musical style of modern times, good ol' rock 'n roll, then grab hold of any disc in this series and listen; you'll see what put the backbone in the mode.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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