Well I've been on this new musical adventure for about 5 days now, and I'm 4 albums in. In my quest to listen to all 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, there have been very few surprises so far. I already spoke at length about Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours in my last blog, so we will move on from there.
Elvis Presley- Elvis Presley 1956, RCA Records
It is fun to listen to both a legend and a whole new genre of music in their infancy together. I've never been a gigantic Elvis fan. I enjoy his music once in a while, especially the music he recorded pre-1956 for Sam Phillips and Sun Records, but I would consider myself a casual fan at best. Now, that's not to take anything away from the impact Elvis had on popular music. John Lennon said, "Before Elvis, there was nothing.", and I get it. There are some standout performances on this album, and they laid the groundwork for popular music for decades to come. His back up band is simple, straddling that line between country and rhythm and blues. Elvis voice is in fine fashion. My favorite track on the album is his version of "Blue Moon", written twenty years before by the great Richard Rogers. Elvis delivers this better than anyone I have ever heard before. It is haunting and beautiful all at the same time. Sounds like it should be playing on the Juke Box At the RR Diner in Twin Peaks.
The Louvin Brothers- Tragic Songs of Love 1956 Capitol Records
Not sure what to expect when I downloaded this album from Amazon. Winds up it's a nice blend of the Everly Brothers vocal harmonies and songs with lyrics you would expect coming from Hank Williams. It's country music before Achy Breaky Heart ruined the genre forever. The songs tell stories with a read Americana feeling to them. It's like the folklore of our nation put into song. I really enjoyed it, and I will be returning to it again.
Louis Prima- The Wildest 1956 Capitol Records
This was a no brainer for me. I have loved Louis Prima and Keely Smith since I was a teenager. The comedic play between the two, the great swing arrangements, Louis' trumpet, and add in a wild sax by mister Sam Butera, and you've got something baby. Close your eyes and you are back at the Sierra in Las Vegas, 1956. It's fun, irreverent, and boy does it swing. Classic tracks like Just a Gigolo and Jump Jive and Wail are only the beginning of the fun.