Little Joe Cook

A Blast from the Past: The Legendary Little Joe Cook & The Thrillers

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The Top 25 song from 1957, "Peanuts," leads off this majestic 32-song compilation released by Little Joe Cook's own Beantown International in 1997. This generous disc is a very easy listen for fans of rock & roll, rhythm and blues, pop, and American music. The falsetto on "Peanuts" inspired Frankie Valli; in fact, the Four Seasons recorded the tune, although it was credited to another songwriter on their disc (and other covers as well, for a very long time). After a lengthy battle, Cook has set the record straight. A true pioneer, the 14-page booklet that comes with the CD is chock full of photos and information. Alternate takes of "Cherry," "This I Know," "Please Don't Go," and "Peanuts" are here, along with the "Peanuts" sequel, "The Echoes Keep Calling Me," Cook's rendition of "For Sentimental Reasons," and his classic version of "Stay." Although Cook did not enjoy the recognition of a record based on his style, "Stay" has been a staple in his live show for four decades. Everything on this collection has vintage sound, and really on-target performances. Cook's voice and songs deserved a wider audience over the years -- his influence on the Sherrys, his student Tammi Montgomery (who became Marvin Gaye's partner, Tammi Terrell), and Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters can be heard throughout these mostly two-minute songs. And that's part of the fun of this disc. "Let's Do the Slop," not the latter-day song by Moogy Klingman, with its jungle beat, and "Public Opinion"'s soulful preaching help make A Blast From the Past a textbook that is as much fun as it is informative. There were 16 titles on the vinyl released 17 years prior to this, all included here, with 16 different titles and alternate takes. Both the vinyl and CD were re-mastered by famous Boston disc jockey Little Walter DeVenne; the vinyl also includes Allen Day liner notes absent from the CD, which is a good reason to seek out both.

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