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CD Review: Little Richard

The Very Best of Little Richard

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The Deal: Blasting the past wide open: Little Richard invents rock 'n' roll.

The Good: Bo Diddley claimed to be the originator, but Little Richard is the architect of rock 'n' roll. He's the original wild child, the man who brought attitude and flamboyance to rock. Add glam to the list as well. His shows scared the hell out of that era's equivalent of the moral majority. His records were considered so raunchy that many radio stations refused to play them. Elvis covered four of his songs in '56. Pat Boone got a lot of airplay with lame versions of "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally," but it was Richard's originals that teens took home and danced to. Richard was rock 'n' roll's carpenter, nailing the show and the beat together; building a house that shook till you thought it would fall down. His piano pounding opened up R&B to the wilder side of rock and his antics on and off stage set the tone for generations of wild-ass rockers. Little Richard did it faster, harder and raunchier than anybody else. All his hits are here, "Slippin' and Slidin'," "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Ready Teddy," "Lucille" as well as "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally."

The Bad: Apparently, nobody has ever recorded a decent live show of Richard's to show just how fast and over the top it was. Just imagine everything about twice as speedy as the records with a diminutive demon pounding the piano into submission and howling like a banshee and you get a taste of what it was like to be face-to-face with the rock 'n' roll architect.

The Verdict: You can never go wrong with Little Richard. Keep it handy and feed your bad boy habit frequently.

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