Holy Mackerel Pretenders To Little Richard's Thr

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aec.aci1211.2 2/10/09 New
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Review

Review Text Like any star who has a lot of big hits, Little Richard spawned his share of imitators in the late 1950s and early '60s, or at least records on which a singer tried to sound like him. It's probably not realized even by most Little Richard fans in particular and rock & roll collectors in general, however, just how often other artists tried to hitch a ride on his bandwagon. Holy Mackerel! Pretenders to Little Richard's Throne compiles no less than 25 such examples (albeit one track, the World Famous Upsetters' 1962 cover of "I'm in Love Again," on which Little Richard himself sings without getting billing). The assembled perpetuators include some stars who tried their hand at Richard-esque songs, whoops, and hollers, if only briefly, like James Brown, Joe Tex (under the pseudonym of Little Booker), Lowell Fulson, and Dee Clark. They even include some women who aren't exactly no-names, like Etta James, gospel singer Marie Knight, and (with husband Ike Turner) Tina Turner. Is it entertaining? Well, sure -- if you get this many examples of competent (and in some cases way more than competent) rock & rollers trying to replicate Little Richard to some degree, there's no way there can't be some good if somewhat exploitative fun. But here's the thing -- even a Little Richard greatest-hits collection doesn't exactly have as much variety as many best-ofs by early rock & roll greats. You'll have to have a big appetite for Richard's mannerisms to get a kick out of this nonstop, since none of the songs are on the level of Little Richard's actual big hits, even as they borrow heavily from various elements of his style, like his pounding piano and gospel-ish trills. There's only one track, Bunker Hill's truly demented "The Girl Can't Dance," that's highly memorable under its own steam, with a searing in-the-red vocal and clamorous backup (by Link Wray & the Raymen) that's astonishingly raw for a 1963 release. It's also odd to hear some talented singers for whom Little Richard imitation clearly isn't a forte, like Dee Clark, who seems a little out of his comfort zone on "24 Boyfriends." There's still reasonable fun involved, of course, in hearing such a concentrated dose of Little Richard as an influence, including songs here and there that stand by themselves, like Big Al Downing's "Miss Lucy." ~ Richie Unterberger

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Rock'n'roll Deacon - 2:13
  2. 2. Sapphire - 2:18
  3. 3. Chonnie-On-Chon - 2:11
  4. 4. Tough Lover - 2:26
  5. 5. Miss Lucy - 2:21
  6. 6. Hey Hey Baby - 3:44
  7. 7. Hey Baba Leba aka Be-Baba-Leba - 2:24
  8. 8. I Thought I Told You Not to Tell Them - 2:11
  9. 9. Don't 'Cha Know - 2:03
  10. 10. This Man's Crazy - 2:47
  11. 11. Girl Can't Dance - 2:54
  12. 12. Holy Mack'rel - 2:20
  13. 13. She Can Rock - 2:49
  14. 14. Fat Mama - 2:18
  15. 15. Open the Door - 2:42
  16. 16. (Why Won't You) Leave It Alone - 2:15
  17. 17. Yama Yama Pretty Mama - 2:12
  18. 18. Baby You Been to School - 2:08
  19. 19. 24 Boyfriends - 2:07
  20. 20. Hey-Bop-A-Ree-Bop - 3:31
  21. 21. Have Mercy Miss Percy - 3:32
  22. 22. Switchin' in the Kitchen - 2:29
  23. 23. Papa Lou and Gran - 3:30
  24. 24. Rock This Morning - 2:45
  25. 25. I'm in Love Again - 2:01

Product Details

Release Date
2/10/09 

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