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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jerry Lee Lewis..........Sun Essentials

Jerry Lee Lewis, the Killer, is the rock n' roll singer-songwriter and pianist, whose enduring image will be him standing at the piano, limbs flailing, quiff flying, while he belts out "Great Balls of Fire" - his signature tune.

Lewis developed his style early, mixing boogie-woogie, rock, gospel and rhythm and blues. As a youth he was expelled from university for playing 'worldly' music. He moved to Nashville in 1955 - only to be told his music was not country enough. He wound up at Sun Records, where he worked as a session man for, among others, Carl Perkins. It was during a recording session with Perkins, that they were joined in the studio for an impromptu jam by Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. The resulting tapes - made by the engineer as a 'souvenir'- were released as the Million Dollar Quartet.

In 1957 he shook the world with "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire" and looked set to have a stellar career, however his private life became public and everything changed. While touring in Europe, news circulated of Lewis' marriage to his thirteen year old cousin (once removed), the resulting backlash caused the cancellation of the tour and an almost complete halt to Lewis career in the States. He was reduced to playing small clubs for small money, while his records struggled to get airplay. Even the subterfuge of an instrumental record, released under the name The Hawk, was rumbled, and in 1963 his contract with Sun ended. New releases for another label barely troubled the charts. Forced to look further afield, Lewis returned to Europe, where he recorded Live at the Star Club, Hamburg, the album is regarded amongst the best live rock n' roll recordings made, and stands as a testimony to his performing verve.

Despite the problems surrounding his private life, complicated by drink and drugs, Lewis carved a successful career in country music, with a steady stream of top thirty country albums. However, he probably never got the opportunity to fulfill his potential and achieve the status of his peers, such as Elvis. Lewis' contribution to music was recognized in 1986, when he was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and in the top thirty of Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Artist of All Time list. A biopic of Lewis' life was released in 1989.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Johnny Cash.......The Sun Years

Many will be most familiar with Johnny Cash through the recent biopic of his life, Walk the Line. But for a life as well lived as Cash's, the film is only the tip of the iceberg. Johnny Cash was one of the real characters of twentieth century American music. His personality and talent helped him find fans across musical genres, inspiring artists in country, blues, alt country, indie rock, alt rock and even hip-hop. He worked with many well known artists covering an array of genres, including artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson as one fourth of The Highwaymen, and others such as Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and U2.

His long career spanned more than 50 years and encompassed many different artistic mediums including writing, acting, and a prolific recording career. In his lifetime Johnny Cash released well over 70 albums, including more than 50 studio albums.....(text from Amazon)

This 3CD collection contains 82 tracks of the classic Sun sessions recordings including alternate and demo tracks


Available from Amazon

Very Best of the Sun Years

His Sun Years

Sun Years (Mcup)


Wanda Jackson.....Queen of Rockabilly


Wanda Jackson has said that she was never as consciously committed to rockabilly or rock & roll as her career direction would seem to indicate; she spent years walking a tightrope between traditional country and rock & roll, just trying to carve out a niche for herself and earn a living, and rock & roll was as new to her as it was to most country music fans in 1954-1955. In keeping with the sensibilities of the era, as the daughter of white working-class Texas-born transplants to Oklahoma (and then to California -- around Bakersfield, natch -- and back to Oklahoma), blues and R&B, as something that she would do herself or allow herself to be influenced by, were mostly alien to her when she began exploring the music (with help and encouragement from Elvis Presley) in 1955.

Luckily, the King of Rock & Roll was correct in his assessment of Jackson as a natural, and she became the Queen of Rockabilly at a time when Janis Martin was "the Female Elvis" and Brenda Lee was some child mutant doing rock & roll with some success. Jackson even recorded with a mixed-race band, the Poe Cats (including Big Al Downing), beginning in early 1958, and the records were amazing, although they didn't start selling seriously until 1960, when a DJ started playing "Let's Have a Party," a three-year-old track off of her 1957 debut LP, and Capitol got it out as a single. She was suddenly on the pop charts, as a unique voice and personality by then, and her career, which had started to coast, was suddenly thrown into high gear.



Available from Amazon

Queen of Rockabilly
Rockin With Wanda
Vintage Collections



Guitar Success System - The Only Guitar Course You'll Ever Need!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chuck Berry......The Chess Box



We may not know who wrote the book of love, but the author of the rock and roll dictionary was Charles Edward "Chuck" Berry. His vast contribution to the music world is reflected in the plaudits he has won from many of the most well known artists who followed him. As a songwriter, guitarist and performer, he shaped rock and roll and has influenced many other artists in their careers. He was playing the blues before the likes of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly were just starting out, but once "Maybelline" hit the airwaves, the history of rock'n'roll took a huge turn. There are many compilations available, but this one is a good starting point, with all his major hits plus several blues numbers.

You've got a signature guitar riff that other giants (think Rolling Stones) have based entire careers on. Songs such as "School Days" told teen tales as though they were novels. "Too Much Monkey Business" is where Bob Dylan discovered poetry and rap music found a contemporary starting point. "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Back in the USA"--the titles alone evoke unparalleled rock atmosphere. If this three-CD set contains less unreleased ephemera than the usual box, it's because there are so many essentials to squeeze in. This one's got 'em all, A to Z. --Ben Edmonds  (Amazon review)



available from Amazon
Anthology
The Chess Box :Chuck Berry
Blues
Johnny B. Goode: His Complete '50s Chess Recordings



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Buddy Holly...From the Original Masters Tapes


Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations inspired and influenced contemporary and later musicians, notably The Beatles, Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones, Don McLean, Bob Dylan, Steve Winwood, and Eric Clapton, and exerted a profound influence on popular music. Holly was one of the inaugural inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Holly No. 13 among "The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time".

There have been many titles bestowed upon the bespectacled Buddy Holly..genius, legend, and master producer to name just a few..and they are all fitting. For a man who hasn't been with us since 1959, his music lives on, and on, and on...Countless bands and musicians have covered his songs; numerous tribute albums released; several documentaries made; a feature movie and a stage musical of his life story...the list goes on. His music is rediscovered by a new generation and will "Not Fade Away". There have been many albums of his material released over the years. This collection brings together his biggest and most popular tracks. A definite must for your collection.



available from Amazon

From the Original Master Tapes