This CD, released in 2001, is part of a comprehensive study of the early influences of rock & roll. The blues and rhythm & blues sound created by African American artists, as well as a few crossover Anglo musicians, in the late '30s, '40s, and the '50s, laid the foundation for what was to become rock & roll. It was a sound characterized by a throbbing drumbeat and sensual notes on piano and horns, often with lyrics to match its earthy quality. Volume six collects some notable recordings of the year 1950, just before the big rock & roll explosion caused by artists such as Bill Haley & His Comets and Elvis Presley. The compilation makes clear the great musical debt these artists, who became rich and famous, owed to earlier artists, many of whom remained poor and obscure. Nonetheless, the music is great as both an educational and listening experience. Among the cast of artists are some who are still well known, including Ruth Brown, Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino, Hank Snow, Red Foley, LaVern Baker, Wynonie Harris, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. But the recordings dig deeper in the archives for gems by little-known greats such as Ben Webster, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Annie Laurie, Cotton Roberts, and Lefty Frizzell. The listener can be edified by such tunes as "You're Fine but Not My Kind," "Shine, Shave, & Shower," and "I'll Be Jumped up and Down." When the album is over, there will be a greater appreciation for the many artists who contributed to making rock & roll the phenomenon that shaped a generation and still influences music.
AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2