Various Artists

Roots of Rock II

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In the early '50s, R&B, usually performed by African-Americans, gave popular music a shot in the arm, and, in just a few years, led to the creation of rock & roll. Roots of Rock II collects 22 of these early cuts from familiar performers like Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters and Fats Domino as well as less familiar ones like Ruth Brown and the Nutmegs. A number of these songs also call attention to the fact that R&B often utilized lyrics that would've been less than welcome on mainstream radio. Amos Milburn's "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer" offers a remedy for love gone wrong, while the Midnighters' "Sexy Ways" invites a love interest to "Shake baby, shake, shake, shake/'Til your mama and daddy come home." One thing that's rather strange about Roots of Rock II is that even though the songs included may not technically be rock & roll, the music nonetheless rocks much harder than what would pass for rock & roll in the early '60s. The '50s ballad is also represented on this collection with "The Clock" by the late, great Johnny Ace and "The Glory of Love" by the Five Keys. All in all, Roots of Rock II is a fine collection that delivers exactly what it promises.