Little Richard / Roy Orbison

Little Richard & Roy Orbison

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A compilation of rare and early works by Roy Orbison and Little Richard that makes odd bedfellows of two extremely dissimilar performers. The first eight tracks belong to Little Richard, who earned a recording contract with RCA after winning a talent show in Atlanta. These sides, cut in 1951 and 1952, show barely a hint of his later wildness, owing far more to the jump blues-R&B of Roy Brown and others. Orbison's seven songs were cut in the late '50s, between his rockabilly days at Sun and his ascent to stardom on Monument. You can hear tentative explorations of the soaring romanticism that he'd find his niche with in 1960, but the material here is basic, weak, typical late-'50s teen fodder, courtesy of Orbison himself and noted songwriters John Loudermilk, Boudleaux Bryant, and Felice Bryant. The yearning "Seems to Me" (written by Bryant, who would write many fine hits for Orbison and the Everly Brothers) is the only track here which begins to even approximate his future glory. This cheese'n'chalk compilation is only recommended for those wishing to glean historical insight into these giants' beginnings, though it may well be that the Little Richard fanatic isn't necessarily a Roy Orbison devotee, and-vice versa.

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