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Famous Flames (FLAMECD01)

Jim Dawson and Steve Propes wrote a book "What Was The First Rock'n'Roll Record?" for which they selected 50 songs they considered fit for the title. It was this book that inspired CD compiler Dave Henderson to take thirty seven of Dawson/Propes' selections and round up his own ideas of suitable candidates to make a total of eighty two titles that include a few left field choices from  The Washboard Rhythm Kings, Boswell Sisters, Jimmy Blythe and big band vocalist Virginia O'Brien.

You'd expect Jackie Brenston's Rocket 88, Wynonie Harris's Good Rocking Tonight and Arthur Crudup's That's All Right Mama to be included but I had more fun discovering the obscure stuff like Gertrude Niesen's theatrically posh Rockin' The Town, Sunny Dae & The Knights crash-bang-walloping Rock Around The Clock, Charlie Gracie's close harmony weirdo Rockin' And Rollin' and the frantic accordion jive of Pee Wee King's Ten Gallon Boogie.

There's a stack of contenders from the mid to late 40s like House Of Blue Lights blasted out by Ella Mae Morse with pianist Freddie Slack, the cool groove of Straighten Up And Fly Right by the wonderful Nat King Cole and the hot jazz item Blues Part Two by Illinois Jacquet. I've put in quite a few hours playing this game and I believe that the honours could be divided between Sister Rosetta Tharpe's Strange Things Happening Every Day, Arkie Shibley And His Mountain Dew Boys' rollicking Hot Rod Race and The Dominoes Have Mercy Baby which rocks like nobody's business even though it was made at least half a decade before it should have been.

Will you agree? Give this superb compilation a shot and  make your own choices for The First Rock and Roll Record!


Review Date: January 2012

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