Several years before permanently altering cultural history with an incendiary new kind of dance music issued on 78 rpm platters that bore the black and yellow Specialty logo, Little Richard made his first recordings for the Victor and Peacock labels. In 1989, Bear Family released The Formative Years 1951-53, containing 16 of these historic performances appended with six alternate takes. By dishing out swinging rhythm & blues infused with a New Orleans kick, Little Richard was laying the ground for a much rowdier, edgier manifestation that would eventually envelop him and the entire nation in a defiant and recklessly joyous catharsis called rock & roll. Without these fine R&B records, wouldn't none of that come together the way that it did. If you take this collection, combine it with the Specialty recordings and use selections from the Vee Jay catalog for a chaser, you'll be in a good position to draw your own conclusions regarding what this amazing individual recorded later in life.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf