The genesis of R’n’R is really well illustrated here with tracks from the post-war popular styles and crossovers and the first attempts at the new form itself – some well known, others less so. We have The Ravens with a rather strange Doo-Wop version of ‘Old Man River’. Then we get Jive King Louis Jordan’s marvellously screechy ‘Caldonia’ which illustrates the Swing era horn sections that remained in much of the early Rock and Roll stylings. Fats Domino’s ‘The Fat Man’ sits squarely on the cusp of a popular music revolution . And then along come Bill Haley and Elvis and all hell is let loose. The rest is history, as they say.
But this record is more than just a dry educational tour of the birth of a culture – it’s entertaining with it. It’s a great party record too. But I think possibly the most startling lesson it teaches is that right from the word go, the words ‘PLAY LOUD’ was written invisibly on every disc and perhaps this has been the defining phrase for anything falling into the category called Rock Music ever since.