Monday, July 19, 2010

The Roots Of Rock 'N' Roll 1946-1954 2004

This three-CD set is yet another classic from Rhino. Now out of print (for how long?), it's bringing a premium price on the used market. It is worth it. More than a history lesson (and it is that), it's huge fun and the sound quality is first rate.

Several, if not all, of the songs labeled as the first Rock 'n' Roll record are here, including Arthur "Big Boy" Cruddup's That's All Right, Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats' (with Ike Turner) Rocket 88, and Big Mama Thornton's Hound Dog. These recordings are not all technically Rock and Roll because, well, they didn't have that yet. Tell that to these guys.

Blues, country, swing, jazz, and early rockabilly are all represented, and the song selection is hard to argue with. T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, The Clovers, Bill Haley & His Comets, Merle Travis, Fats Domino, B.B. King, and a host of bands and artists that you've never heard. And the unheralded artists have every bit as many killer tracks as the stars.

All of the styles of the forties and fifties that were part of the gene pool out of which Rock and Roll was born are here. And for most of us, we've never heard this stuff. Which usually is no big deal. But when the set is put together this well, and the contributions that will become a new sound are documented with such loving glory, it is hard to resist, and hard not to love.

I can't make possibly make you understand how good this collection is. Maybe your library has a copy. They should- it should be in the history section. If you like any of the early Rock and Roll, say pre-1964, and you want to know where the artists that developed the sound got their ideas, here is your best opportunity to do so. It's all here, even if there isn't an actual Rock "n" Roll song in the bunch. Yea, right.

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