Friday, September 11, 2015

Roy Brown Greatest Hits Rockin' at Midnight

Roy Brown was a fantastic jump blues/r'n'b singer/shouter from the 40's/early 50's with a soulful
tenor and plenty of energy, who influenced everyone from Big Joe Turner to the man, Elvis Presley, who covered Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight". This is a basic 10-song compilation of the original's greatest hits.

Opening with his most famous number (due to Elvis), "Good Rockin' Tonight" here is a horn-driven, r'n'b/jump-blues that swings mightily! A somewhat slower bump'n'grind follows in "'Long About Midnight", a blusy number with sad'n'sultry horns that intertwine with the cool vocal line. But, Roy is back up and bouncin' in "Rockin' At Midnight", an update on "Good Rockin' Tonight" - hey, don't mess with a formula that works! "Hard Luck Blues" is a pretty classic blues and "Cadillac Baby" jumps'n'jives with plenty of danceable energy and fine singing by Brown who stretched out notes, shouts and croons throughout.

There's a fun guitar lick that reminds me of Woody Woodpecker's cackle in the groovin' "Bar Room Blues" and then an early version of sax-fueled rock'n'roll with "Boogie at Midnight" (yes, another variation on the theme) that has hand-claps, call'n'answer, wild blowin', and a swing that doesn't stop! Some cool guitar riffin' interacting with the sax in "Love Don't Love Nobody" while Brown sings'n'shouts before slowing down for the bluesy "Ain't It a Shame" before ending with a short "Letter From Home", which shows off a bit more guitar and less sax.

A great example of what was rock'n'roll before it was called "rock'n'roll". Fine, fine stuff!