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Little Richard
"The Fabulous Little Richard"

© Ace

July 24 - 30, 2022

Year of Release: 1959
  • Shake A Hand
  • Chicken Little Baby
  • All Night Long
  • The Most I Can Offer
  • Lonesome And Blue
  • Wonderin'
  • She Knows How To Rock
  • Kansas City
  • Directly From My Heart
  • Maybe I'm Right
  • Early One Morning
  • I'm Just A Lonely Guy
  • Whole Lotta Shaking Going On

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    Little Richard, one of the true founding fathers of Rock & Roll -- he emerged as a energetic performer, and a true "wild child" in his peak years. When Little Richard passed away in 2020, it was quite obvious to look into the recordings throughout his career. Not only was he a pioneer in the early Rock & Roll years, he left the Rock & Roll scene, and began a music career in religion and gospel music. From his peak Rock & Roll era, this week, we look at his original album - The Fabulous Little Richard, released in 1959.

    The Fabulous Little Richard was his third album, and it marked the end of his rock and roll period. He left the Specialty record label (which had his most famous Rock & Roll recordings, that had made him famous). He would pursue in to religion, turning his back on Rock and Roll. The story goes on how we chose religion, was that he received a vision of a plane on fire, and would see this as a sign from God, to leave the Rock & Roll showbusiness. He was still touring, but decided to end the tour. It turned out that the plane they were to attend on, crashed in the Pacific Ocean. The year was 1957. In 1962, he would record religion/gospel albums, for 4 years. However, he would return to the rock and roll revival in the 1970s, and would achieve a huge comeback in the 1980s. He recorded albums throughout the 1970s, and frequently in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The Fabulous Little Richard was made from the first and last sessions. The album included outtakes and other leftover studio tracks. A female backup group was used for overdubbing, by the Stewart Sisters. Sonny Bono provided the overdubbing work. (8 of the 13 tracks containted the female overdubbing.) Many of the tracks were somewhat more of a mellow style, than his famous wild rock and roll recordings. Surely, this album provides Little Richard as a outstanding recording artist. The "mellow" tracks are the standouts. And of course, there's a few rockers that only Little Richard can provide, in the best way he always did. Great R&B in general, of the early years of Rock & Roll.

    The early years of Rock & Roll provided the great styles of doo-wop, Rhythm & Blues (R&B), and even the Blues. The are all here on The Fabulous Little Richard. "Shake The Hand" leads off the album, with its great doo-wop style. Little Richard was a very accomplished piano player, and he shows it on "Chicken Little Baby." The true Little Richard form shines brightly on the next track, "All Night Long." Then it's the start of the mellow (and quite impressive) tracks. "The Most I Can Offer" is definitely slower, and Little Richard provides great vocals for it.

    "Lonesome And Blue" sounds more of a Blues tune, as Richard provides great vocals. "She Knows How To Rock" -- With the word "Rock," you know it's going to be a great Little Richard ROCKER! And, it is, screamin' vocals and all. "Kansas City" (or as most remember The Beatles cover "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey"), Little Richard had the original. You can call it Doo-Wop, you can call is R&B, both "Wonderin'" and "Directly From My Heart" has Little Richard recording great R&B, just as he could rock it out, on his most famous rocking hits. Likewise, "Maybe I'm Right" is also a good R&B'er, as it is a slower (mellow) R&B tune. The great R&B continues with "Early One Morning" and the mellow R&B "I'm Just A Lonely Guy." And ending the album is his cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shaking Going On." Of course, it's a Little Richard ROCKER!

    Little Richard may have been best known for his wild character, and his energetic rocking hit, yet the mellow tracks on The Fabulous Little Richard definitely showcases himself as "Fabulous." He could easily record impressive mellow-type songs, as well as great rockers. Of course, he will always be known for him flamboyant character and attitude. Just check out this great commercial he did in 2007.

    Little Richard was one of the last of the early artists that started Rock & Roll. He passed away on May 9, 2020, from a cause related to bone cancer. He lead a wild life; when he would appear on talk shows, mothers would make sure their children were in bed for the night at that time. With his flamboyant style, he admitted to being gay. He was abused by his father - "He wanted to have seven boys, but I spoiled it for him, for being gay." But he never did get any complaints, from other straights and gays alike. Check out this article, on his "flamboyant character". He was a sight to see. His interviews on talk shows have always been informative and entertaining. Especially on how he was brought up, and how he became the great rock & roll star he was. He was 87 years old when he passed away, and you could honestly say, that he lived quite an enjoyable and interesting life. His "comeback" when he appeared on the Geico commercials, and recorded more music brought him back to the public scene, including recording for Walt Disney Records. There was also a movie made on his life - Little Richard. Leon Robinson portrayed Little Richard in the film.

    Little Richard will always live on with his music, and how his life was. He has been an inspiration to many, and will always continue to do so. Richard Wayne Penniman (aka Little Richard) - a true and great Rock & Roll artist. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. As he should be - he was part of the start of Rock & Roll, and he will still continue being a legend. I'm sure he's rockin up there in Rock & Roll Heaven, and his Heavenly band would consist of a guitar player that played with him when he was on Earth -- Jimi Hendrix. Keep on Rockin'

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