Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Little Richard - 1966 - Paris

Pure sexual energy and some ferocious rock and roll - from one of the original masters. A revelation.

Willard (one of my favourite music bloggers) posted some studio material from 1957 and 1958 awhile back, subtitling it (wonderfully, and accurately) "So Much Rock, God Was Forced To Step In". The albums are
Little Richard's remarkable debut rock 'n' roll LPs, Here's Little Richard and Little Richard, practically greatest hits albums on their own. Recorded in 1957/58 for Specialty Records, just before Richard Penniman gave up rock 'n' roll to preach and sing the gospel around 1958. This music isn't the stripped down stuff that Elvis was exploring at the same time. Richard's madness was a direct out-growth of late 40s/early 50s group R&B, as evidenced by the full band's horn arrangements. Richard's voice, jamming needles into the red whenever he charges into the choruses, was clearly too much for 50s studio microphones. His screaming flamboyance was too much for TV & Top 40 radio, too. And to think 50s parents were afraid of Elvis. There are some non-essentials here, but Little Richard could turn any nonsense – from "A-Wop-Bop-A-Loo-Bop-A-Lop-Bam-Boom" to the old-timey "Baby Face" - into something unique. It was all so rockin' and so decadent that God himself was forced to step in and handle matters. After a lengthy, soul-searching stint with evangelicalism, Penniman would eventually come back to the dark side in the early 60s... but these albums are where the devil got his due.

1 comment:

allan said...

He is not torching the building in this clip, but here is Jerry Lee Lewis from 1964. (And two TV appearances from 1957.)