Lonnie Donegan

More Than "Pye in the Sky"

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AllMusic Review by

Eight CDs, and nearly 10 hours of music may seem like overkill to most onlookers, but this is a boxed set that truly justifies itself, once you've listened to it. What is here is amazing--this set presents Lonnie Donegan as the prodigious musical talent he actually was, a white bluesman extraordinaire and a country, rockabilly, and gospel singer of no small merit as well. No, he didn't have Elvis Presley's voice, or his way with the girls, but Donegan had musical talent by the ton--his blues stylings on songs like the previously unreleased alternate take of Lonnie Johnson's "I've Got Rocks In My Bed" or Leroy Carr's "Hoe Long How Long Blues" will astonish anyone who thinks that British blues began with the Rolling Stones or even with Alexis Korner (who had never been anywhere near a recording studio when Donegan cut some of this stuff); his covers of numbers by Cole Porter (in a blues style, no less) and Bob Dylan (from Donegan's final Pye album) will amaze anyone who never got past "Rock Island Line." And the unedited live set from Conway Hall in 1957 will delight anyone who likes great, exciting concert recordings. And most of the rest is of as high quality as these rarities. The only drawback is the $180 price-tag, but that's the cost of quality. The profusely annotated and illustrated booklet is an added bonus.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:29
2 2:53
3 2:17
4 5:31
5 3:55
6 4:23
7 1:54
8 2:47
9 4:01
10 2:28
11 3:03
12 2:10
13 2:13
14 3:06
15 2:04
16 0:40
17 2:59
18 2:59
19 2:13
20
3:04
21 4:08
22 2:27
23 1:48
24
2:31
25 2:27
26 3:18

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:39
2 3:00
3 2:39
4
2:32
5 2:35
6 2:14
7 3:09
8 2:28
9 3:10
10 2:44
11 2:29
12 3:39
13 2:43
14 4:01
15 2:42
16 4:11
17 1:58
18 2:41
19 2:44
20 3:14
21 2:48
22 4:56
23 2:10
24 2:03
25 2:38
26 3:19

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:43
2 3:57
3 2:34
4 2:22
5
2:50
6 2:37
7
2:42
8 2:17
9 2:07
10 2:25
11 2:28
12
3:17
13
2:37
14 3:00
15 2:27
16 2:20
17 2:30
18 2:41
19 2:20
20 2:45
21 3:31
22 2:53
23 3:05
24 2:36
25 2:09
26 2:32
27 3:03
28 2:31
29
3:34

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:07
2 2:46
3 3:28
4 3:46
5 3:13
6 2:35
7 3:51
8 2:54
9 3:17
10
2:25
11 2:29
12 2:25
13 1:47
14
2:04
15 2:23
16 3:11
17 2:37
18 2:32
19
2:49
20 2:43
21 2:37
22 4:07
23 3:29
24
2:44
25 3:01
26 1:55
27 2:27
28 2:09

Track Listing - Disc 7

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:02
2 2:46
3 2:04
4 2:45
5 2:05
6 2:20
7 2:39
8 2:03
9
2:33
10 2:18
11 2:21
12 2:46
13 2:46
14 1:47
15 1:56
16 2:50
17
3:02
18 3:54
19 3:21
20 3:29
21
2:35
22 3:15
23 3:33
24 2:29
25 1:46
26
2:49
27
3:37
28 3:42
29 2:28
blue highlight denotes track pick