Various Artists

Absolutely Rock 'n' Roll

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With 63 vintage tracks spread over three discs, this set captures rock & roll’s early commercial peak at the end of the 1950s and into the early '60s, a time when rock & roll had yet to take on the full weight of being a cultural force in the world and was still a fresh-as-a-daisy dance music with a whole lot of freedom and motion on its mind. The concise breadth and variety of this collection is impressive, and it includes absolutely classic and historic sides like Little Richard's “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally,” the Everly Brothers' “Wake Up Little Suzie,” Dale Hawkins' “Suzie-Q,” Buddy Holly's “Peggy Sue” and “Not Fade Away,” Fats Domino's “I’m Walkin’” and “Blueberry Hill,” Bill Haley's “Rock Around the Clock,” Elvis Presley's “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” Chuck Berry's “Maybelline,” and Carl Perkins' “Blue Suede Shoes,” among dozens of others. It’s nostalgic, yes, but there’s a whole lot of fun here, and it perfectly captures a time when teenagers all over the world began to employ their collective financial clout and demanded to rock the night away, a pop tidal wave into the future that has yet to subside.

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