Lonnie Donegan

King of Skiffle [Castle 2000]

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A case could be made that Lonnie Donegan had as much to do with the rise of rock & roll as Elvis Presley did, at least in Britain. As early as 1954, Donegan was playing what was essentially folk-rock, American folk tunes played on acoustic instruments, but supported with one hell of a backbeat. Termed "skiffle," Donegan's energetic folk arrangements provided the groundwork for a whole generation of rockers, many of whom, like members of the Beatles, began in skiffle groups. This 19-track collection has Donegan's biggest and first hit, "Rock Island Line," as well as explosive takes on "Jack O'Diamonds" and "Tom Dooley" that hurtle forward with an energetic propulsion that is rock & roll in all but name.

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