Various Artists

Crescent City Soul: The Sound of New Orleans

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AllMusic Review by

The new king of the hill as far as retrospectives of early New Orleans R&B/rock go. This four-CD, 119-song box has hits by all of the major artists and hits and misses by most of the important minor ones as well. The standards for inclusion are flexible and reasonable: Although New Orleans residents usually carry the day, important records that were recorded in New Orleans by non-natives are also featured. Fats Domino, Little Richard, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Smiley Lewis, Chris Kenner, Barbara George, Ernie K-Doe, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Lloyd Price, Aaron Neville, Professor Longhair, Shirley & Lee, and Dr. John are all here, as are one-shots and regional figures like the Showmen, Earl King, Benny Spellman, Dave Bartholomew, and the Spiders. There are plenty of hits, but also plenty of fine songs that most listeners won't be aware of: the original versions of "My Ding-A-Ling" (two of them!), "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday," and "One Night," for instance, which were covered for huge smashes by Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley. It's not perfect: the absence of Frankie Ford's "Sea Cruise" is absolutely inexcusable, and the omission of hits like "Blueberry Hill," "Ya Ya," and "Rocking Pneumonia" only slightly less mystifying. It's still the best chunk of New Orleans rock/R&B in one place, with more than enough variety to make the lengthy set a pleasure all the way through.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:50
2 2:36
3 2:33
4 2:27
5 2:59
6 2:43
7 2:24
8 2:43
9 2:22
10 2:25
11 2:22
12 2:19
13 2:01
14 2:26
15 2:29
16 2:18
17 1:55
18 2:33
19
2:20
20 2:19
21 1:56
22 2:22
23 2:06
24 2:50
25 2:39
26 3:01
27 2:51
28 3:18

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:37
2 2:27
3 2:33
4 2:30
5 2:12
6 2:28
7 1:55
8 2:21
9 2:33
10 2:06
11 2:23
12 2:44
13 2:18
14 2:19
15 2:24
16 2:48
17 2:09
18 2:12
19 2:29
20 1:58
21 2:54
22 2:51
23 2:29
24 2:04
25 2:41
26 1:59
27 2:21
28 2:28
29 2:10
30 2:21

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:29
2 2:13
3 2:26
4 2:20
5 2:47
6 2:26
7 2:13
8 2:34
9 1:54
10 2:25
11 2:13
12 2:17
13 2:19
14 2:47
15 2:29
16 2:52
17 1:55
18 2:30
19 2:34
20 2:21
21 2:01
22 2:22
23 2:24
24 2:20
25 2:16
26 2:25
27 2:16
28 2:18
29 2:54
30 1:53
31 2:43

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:38
2 2:31
3 2:29
4 1:49
5 2:00
6 2:32
7 1:56
8 2:44
9 2:23
10 2:10
11 1:46
12 2:36
13 2:51
14 2:45
15 2:43
16 2:34
17 2:15
18 2:12
19 2:34
20 2:38
21 2:29
22 2:11
23 2:21
24 2:39
25 2:19
26 2:21
27 2:23
28 2:36
29 2:59
30 2:54
blue highlight denotes track pick