Billy Lee Riley

Twist and Shout!

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Recorded live at an Atlanta club on December 28, 1966 (although it wasn't released until 1968), this shows Riley trying to adapt to the trends of the day with a set comprised mostly of '60s rock and soul covers: "Twist and Shout," "In the Midnight Hour," "Poor Side of Town," "Nowhere Man," and "Barefootin'." It's more vital than you might suppose, because Riley is in fine, committed voice, with a decent band. It's kind of reminiscent of those Johnny Rivers live Whiskey-a-Go-Go albums, except Riley is a considerably better singer and performer, with a fiery spirit not unlike Bobby Fuller (whose own live-in-L.A. album, incidentally, is not as good as this one is). Only a couple of Riley originals in the program (the "Secret Agent Man"-type "Speed Lovers" is cool), but this is a pretty enjoyable release, though not a very important one. It was, incidentally, first put out on the Mojo label in 1968, but the 1981 Cowboy Carl reissue is easier to find.