People are always asking me, "Buffalo, who were the original Southern Rockers?" Well, I always say The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The truth, however, is that Southern Rock and Roll was born as far back as 1955, when Tennessee’s Elvis Presley and Macon, Georgia’s Little Richard burst onto the scene. No, it wasn’t the three guitar attack of a Skynyrd, nor was it a blues-rock-jazz fusion like The Brothers. What it was though, was the sheer roots of that music, and nobody did it better than Little Richard Penniman. And the great thing is, he is still doing it.
When Richard sat down at the piano in Cosimo’s Studio in New Orleans back in 1955 and started playing a risque song about “good booty” he had written called “Tutti Frutti,” the game was afoot. It was the beginning of a whole new style of music.
Collected here for the first time are all of Little Richard’s essential Specialty Records sides, from the aforementioned rouser “Tutti Frutti” to “Long Tall Sally,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Rip it Up,” “Miss Ann” - twenty five tracks in all.
Also included is a great pre-rock and roll demo called “Baby,” and an intense live medley recorded in Paris in 1964 that includes “Ain’t That a Shame/I Got a Woman/Tutti Frutti.” It’s Little Richard at his best.
The cherry on top is the liner notes booklet, penned by legendary musician Billy Vera, and packed with great trivia and factoids, not to mention some beautiful pictures of Little Richard.
These are the songs of a living legend. A man quoted many times as saying, “The blues had a baby and they called it rock and roll.” To which I add, “Rock and roll, blues and country had a baby, and they called it Southern Rock.”
The very best of Little Richard is an essential disc for anyone who loves rock and roll music. It’s the true roots of rock. Ba-wop-bopa-lu-bop-ba-lop-bam-boom!
-Michael Buffalo Smith