Various Artists

King Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 2

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Founded in Cincinnati in 1943 by one Syd Nathan, King Records originated as a vehicle for country music, but in the years following World War II the label moved into R&B and rock & roll. Classic hits like Wynonie Harris' "Good Rockin' Tonight," Billy Ward & the Dominoes' "Sixty-Minute Man," and Little Willie John's "Fever" not only established King among the dominant R&B labels in the nation, but also made it pivotal in the evolution of rock & roll. When James Brown signed to the Federal subsidiary in 1956, the company's towering position in American pop music history was assured, but the hits and the Hall-of-Famers tell only part of the King story. During the late '50s and early '60s, the label was a hotbed of raw, piledriving rock & roll, and although none of the singles on King Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 2 enjoyed a commercial impact comparable to King's most legendary releases, their consistency and quality are typically top-notch. This second volume in Ace's superb King series compiles still more of these singles, many of them making their CD debut and at least one cut -- Little Willie John's "Leave My Kitten Alone" -- ranking among the certified classics of its time. Additional highlights include Bill Doggett's original "Honky Tonk," Donnie Elbert's "Let's Do the Stroll," and Hank Ballard's "Sugaree."

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