This 30-song selection of tracks on which Palmer played in the late 1950s cannot, and does not purport to, tell the whole story of his career. After all, there's only one track apiece from his work with Little Richard and Fats Domino. What this various-artists compilation (only four tracks were actually released under Earl Palmer's name) does, however, is give a pretty good idea of Palmer's early rock & roll contributions via a few well-known hits, a lot of rarities, and a bunch of styles. While Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'," Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin," Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba," Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty Pretty One," and Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else" are here, most of this is pretty obscure R&B, catching that music's transition to rock. In addition to fairly little-heard sides by Lloyd Price, Richard Berry, and Shirley & Lee, there's hard R&B from Smiley Lewis ("Shame, Shame, Shame"), Amos Milburn, and Charles Brown; gravelly jump 'n' jive from Roy Montrell; Etta James' rock & roll remake of "Dance with Me Henry" (not the same as her first and more famous version, "The Wallflower"); instrumental sax rock by Lee Allen; Big T. Tyler's insane "King Kong"; Don & Dewey's great harmony romp "Koko"; the rockin' Top Five hit version of "In the Mood" by Ernie Fields; and minor-league rockabilly by Jesse James. The instrumentals cut under his Palmer's own name are pretty generic stuff ("Johnny's House Party" is a "Honky Tonk" rip), but you'd be checking this out for the cuts graced by Palmer's session drums rather than his own sides anyway.
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