Various Artists

Rock 'N' Roll Party, Vol. 1: The Early 50s

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Billy Vera compiled this collection of classic R&B from the vaults of RCA Records from 1947 to 1956. The songs are in a variety of tempos and sequenced for maximum listening enjoyment. Well-known performers like Count Basie, the Five Keys, and Piano Red are featured among cult artists like the Jackson Brothers and Milt Trenier. There are also obscure sides by performers who would go on to greater fame later such as Little Miss Sharecropper aka LaVern Baker and the Robins, soon to become The Coasters. The nearly complete musician credits feature some heavyweights among the players: Shelly Manne, Bill Doggett, Bud Shank, and Paul Gonsalves to name a few. These tracks were recorded before rock & roll became teenybopper music. Lyrics on this disc concern good times, bad times, love gained and lost, drinking, partying, and sex. There is no filler in this compilation, just lots of great vocal groups, raunchy saxes, ripping guitars, and excellent ensembles. The sound quality is good, and all tracks are in mono.