Thursday, October 20, 2011

First Rock and Roll Record box set released

The First Rock and Roll Record

Various Artists

Released: October 20, 2011

Recorded: 1916-1956

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rock/pop/country/R&B/blues


Artist “Song Title” (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

Disc 1:

  1. Unknown Artist “The Camp Meeting Jubilee” (1916)
  2. Trixie Smith “My Man Rocks Me with One Steady Roll” (1922)
  3. Jim Jackson “Kansas City Blues” (1927)
  4. Charley Patton “Going to Move to Alabama” (1929)
  5. Hank Williams “Move It on Over” (8/9/47, 4 CW)
  6. Tampa Red “It’s Tight Like That” (1927)
  7. Clarence “Pinetop” Smith “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” (2/9/29, 20 US)
  8. Jimmy Blythe “Jimmy Blues” (1925)
  9. Blind Roosevelt Graves “Crazy About My Baby” (1929)
  10. Washboard Rhythm Kings “Tiger Rag” (1932)
  11. Boswell Sisters “Rock and Roll” (11/10/34, 7 US)
  12. Benny Goodman with Helen Ward “Get Rhythm in Your Feet” (1934)
  13. The Harlem Hamfats “Oh Red!” (1934)
  14. Mississippi Jook Band “Skippy Whippy” (1936)
  15. Robert Johnson “Cross Road Blues” (1936)
  16. Benny Goodman with Gene Krupa “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” (4/9/38, 7 US)
  17. Ella Fitzgerald “Rock It for Me” (2/19/38, 19 US)
  18. Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Rock Me” (1938)
  19. Bob Wills “Ida Red” (1938)
  20. Big Joe Turner “Roll ‘Em Pete” (1938)
  21. Buddy Jones “Rockin’ Rollin’ Mama” (1939)
  22. John Lee Williamson “New Early in the Morning” (1940)
  23. Will Bradley “Down the Road a Piece” (1940)
  24. The Andrews Sisters “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (3/1/41, 6 US)
  25. Virginia O’Brien “Lullaby (Rock-a-Bye Baby)” (1941)

Disc 2:

  1. Lionel Hampton &nd His Orchestra “Flying Home” (5/11/40, 23 US, airplay: 1 million)
  2. Illinois Jacquet “Blues, Pt. 2” (1944)
  3. T-Bone Walker “Mean Old World” (1942)
  4. Judy Garland “The Joint Is Really Jumpin’ Down at Carnegie Hall” (1943)
  5. Gertrude Niesen “Rockin’ the Town” (1938)
  6. Nat “King” Cole “Straighten Up and Fly Right” (4/15/44, 9 US, 1 CW, 1 RB)
  7. Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Strange Things Happening Every Day” (1944)
  8. Helen Humes “Be Baba Leba” (12/15/45, 3 RB)
  9. Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers “The Honeydripper” (10/20/45, 13 US, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  10. Arthur Smith & His Cracker Jacks “Guitar Boogie” (7/10/48, 25 US)
  11. Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup “That’s All Right, Mama” (1946)
  12. Louis Jordan “Let the Good Times Roll” (12/21/46, 2 RB)
  13. Freddie Slack with Ella Morse “The House of Blue Lights” (5/18/46, 8 US)
  14. The Delmore Brothers “Hillbilly Boogie” (1946)
  15. Pee Wee King “Ten Gallon Boogie” (1947)
  16. Wynonie Harris “Good Rocking Tonight” (5/1/48, 1 RB)
  17. Wild Bill Moore “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” (1947)
  18. Muddy Waters “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (9/18/48, 11 RB)
  19. Amos Milburn “Chicken Shack Boogie” (1948)
  20. Bill Haley “Rovin’ Eyes” (1948)
  21. The Orioles “It’s Too Soon to Know” (11/6/48, 13 US, 1 RB)
  22. Stick McGhee “Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” (4/2/49, 26 US, 2 RB)
  23. Erline Harris “Rock and Roll Blues” (1949)
  24. Jimmy Preston “Rock the Joint” (1949)
  25. Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five “Saturday Night Fish Fry” (10/8/49, 21 US, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  26. Fats Domino “The Fat Man” (2/18/50, 2 RB, sales: 1 million)
  27. Goree Carter “Rock a While” (1949)

Disc 3:

  1. Hardrock Gunter “Gonna Dance All Night” (1950)
  2. Arkie Shibley & His Mountain Dew Boys “Hot Rod Race” (1950)
  3. The Dominoes “Sixty Minute Man” (8/25/51, 17 US, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  4. Les Paul & Mary Ford “How High the Moon” (3/31/51, 1 US, 3 HP, 1 CB, sales: 1 million)
  5. Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats “Rocket 88” (5/12/51, 1 RB)
  6. Charli Gracie “Boogie Woogie Blues” (1951)
  7. Big Mama Thornton “Hound Dog” (3/28/53, 1 RB)
  8. Charli Gracie “Rockin' an’ Rollin’” (1952)
  9. Lloyd Price “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (5/17/52, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  10. The Dominoes “Have Mercy Baby” (5/24/52, 1 RB)
  11. The Clovers “One Mint Julep” (4/19/52, 2 RB)
  12. The Crows “Gee” (3/6/54, 14 US, 2 RB)
  13. Bill Haley & His Comets “Crazy Man Crazy” (5/23/53, 12 US)
  14. Ray Charles “Mess Around” (6/19/53, 3 RB)
  15. Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters “Money Honey” (10/31/53, 1 RB)
  16. The Johnny Burnette Trio “Honey Hush” (1953)
  17. Big Joe Turner “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (5/8/54, 22 US, 1 RB)
  18. The Chords “Sh-Boom” (7/3/54, 5 US, 3 HP, 1 CB, 2 RB)
  19. Sunny Dae & the Knights “Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
  20. Ray Charles “I Gotta Woman” (1/22/55, 79 US, 78 HR, 1 RB)
  21. Hank Ballard & the Midnighters “Work with Me, Annie” (6/5/54, 22 US, 1 RB)
  22. The Robins “Riot in Cell Block #9” (1954)
  23. LaVern Baker “Tweedle Dee” (1/15/55, 14 US, 3 CB, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  24. Bo Diddley “Bo Diddley” (5/7/55, 6 US, 29 HR, 1 RB)
  25. Chuck Berry “Maybellene” (8/6/55, 5 US, 5 CB, 4 HR, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  26. Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” (11/26/55, 17 US, 10 CB, 2 RB, 29 UK)
  27. Carl Perkins “Blue Suede Shoes” (3/3/56, 2 US, 2 CB, 1 HR, 1 CW, 2 RB, 10 UK, sales: 1 million, airplay: 2 million)
  28. Elvis Presley “That’s Alright, Mama” (7/17/04, 3 UK, sales: ½ million)
  29. Bill Haley & His Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (5/10/54, 1 US, 1 HP, 1 CB, 1 HR, 3 RB, 1 UK, 26 CN, 1 AU, sales: 25 million)
  30. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (3/3/56, 1 US, 1 HP, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 CW, 3 RB, 2 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, sales: 5 million, airplay: 2 million)

Total Running Time: 3:46:28


4.685 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Rock & roll as an American musical form is very much like a delta, collecting elements from jazz, blues, country, gospel, R&B, show tunes, and whatever else was floating around into a high-charged, rambunctious music that defined and drove pop culture…So where is the start of all this?” AMG “It’s an unanswerable question, but the search for rock’s origins digs up many a treat” AP via this three-disc collection. “It delves back to the middle of the first world war, raking through blues, country, gospel, R&B, jazz and showtunes in search of clues.” AP

“You could say that The First Rock and Roll Record is exhaustive to a fault.” AP “The first CD seems less interested in music than in semantics” AP as it “explores songs from the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s that feature rocking and/or rolling in the lyrics.” AMG “You start to wonder if the compilers think that there was any music released in America in the ‘30s and ‘40s that didn’t have an influence on the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, up to and including Judy Garland’s The Joint Is Really Jumpin’ Down at Carnegie Hall and the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” AP

It always seems to have referred to transcendence of one kind or another… For those attending 1916’s Camp Meeting Jubilee, it was all about fervent prayer. For Trixie Smith – a more forthright lady than you might expect to meet in 1922 – it involved the more straightforward matter of availing yourself of a man in possession of an enormous penis and limitless stamina: by the end of My Man Rocks Me, she’s apparently been having it off non-stop for a hugely impressive nine hours.” AP “Fans of Marc Bolan might find their jaws dropping at Georgia bluesman Tampa Red’s frantic 1927 debut single It’s Tight Like That.” AP

“Midway through the second CD, however, things become noticeably more linear.” AP It is packed with songs that “if they weren’t actually rock ‘n’ roll, sounded so much like it as to make the argument academic: Amos Milburn’s Chicken Shack Boogie, Stick McGhee’s Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Fats Domino’s The Fat Man, the latter a fabulous, million-selling testament to the New Orleans’ singer’s qualities that suggests he might have got on a treat with Trixie Smith.” AP There’s also “Les Paul and Mary Ford’s timelessly amazing How High the Moon, the first single in the modern world to suggest the recording studio itself was a player in all this.” AMG

You also get a clear sense of how everything new owes a debt to the past. “Everyone who has read a little about rock’s origins knows Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock bore a suspicious resemblance to Hank Williams’ blackly comic 1947 tale of marital discord Move It on Over, or about the line that connects Robert Johnson’s handful of 1930s recordings to the musical explosion of the ‘60s.” AP

It wraps up appropriately with Elvis Presley and the first song he recorded after jumping from Sun Records to RCA for a then “unprecedented sum of $40,000.” BR As the King of Rock and Roll’s first ascension to the throne, Heartbreak Hotel is “as close to a template for the perfect rock & roll single as one is likely to find.” AMG The liner notes refer to it as “everything a rock and roll record should be.”

The compilers admit that they haven’t reached a definitive answer as to what the first rock and roll record is, but cheekily suggest that “whatever it is, it’s probably here.” In the end, though, this collection “is proof that sometimes, the evidence is more interesting than the verdict.” AP

Notes: The liner notes reference the Jim Dawson and Steve Propes’ book What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record?, noting that 37 of the 50 songs referenced in that book are included in this collection. A now dead link offers one the chance to download the other 13 songs, which are Jack McVea’s “Open the Door, Richard” (1946), Lonnie Johnson’s “Tomorrow Night” (1948), John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillen” (1948), Professor Longhair’s “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” (1949), Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” (1950), Hardrock Gunter’s “Birmingham Bounce” (1950), Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On” (1950), Ruth Brown’s “Teardrops from My Eyes” (1950), Johnnie Ray with the Four Lads’ “Cry” (1961), Billy Haley & the Saddlemen’s “Rock the Joint” (1952), Hank Williams’ “Kaw-Liga” (1953), the Penguins’ “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (1954), and Johnny Ace’s “Pledging My Love” (1954).

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First posted 11/17/2020; last updated 2/5/2022.

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