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Carl Perkins Carl Perkins
Album: Carl Perkins Quadruple Album
Label: BGO
Tracks: 49

When this CD package plopped on to the mat I was looking forward to listening again to some of the classics like "Whole Lotta Shakin'," Tutti Frutti," et al. What I did not expect was the delight that came with each of the tracks. This package is a two disc offering containing no less than four classic Carl Perkins LP's (as we called them all those decades ago). They have been digitally re-mastered which despite likely protestation of the "Vinyl for ever" brigade, has improved the sound quality by leaps and bounds, which could be expected after sixty years. Carl Perkins was a prodigious writer and performer of Rock 'n Roll and Rockabilly songs. There was not many singers of the genre who had a hit in the 1950's without one of them being a Carl Perkins song. Elvis Presley's Blue Suede Shoes was written by his friend Carl Perkins. But everybody sang each other's songs in those days. It wasn't unusual to have two or maybe even three versions of a single song competing in the same chart. Imagine that today, Adele, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber all putting out the same song, That would be fun wouldn't it?

Listening to the tracks again, which were all recorded in the traditional way of getting the musicians all on one studio and getting a nod from the engineers, I had forgotten how witty some of the lyrics were, some of them made me laugh out loud. Clothing and fashion featured heavily in the charts too. Songs like "Blue Suede Shoes" (of course) were followed by "Pink Pedal Pushers," a "Levi Jacket (and a long tail shirt)," and of course "Pointed Toe Shoes."

The really memorable thing about Rock 'n Roll is the encouragement of dancing. But it wasn't all at one pace, sure it was mostly all in 4/4 time but the tempos differed so much and this is the case with this package. I can well remember Jiving to "True Love" whereas "Restless" was just too fast to sustain for long. Humour played a big part too "Pop, Let Me Have The Car," reminds me, as a teenager trying to procure transport to go to the local dance, all the promises made in the song are familiar to me. Some of the arrangements are witty too. For example "Superfool" Julius Fucik's "Entry of the Gladiators" written in 1897 makes a cameo appearance. It fits perfectly.

Even the most avid Carl Perkins fan may not be acquainted with every track contained in this package after all there are 49 of them. I was not disappointed in any of them the sheer glee with which I greeted them reflects their quality. In common with the demands of the industry at the time some of them are by today's standards, very brief, amounting to around two minutes a track.

There is little point in me describing each track, as my favourites might not be yours, but I can say that if you like music of the 1950's, you will enjoy this CD package. Carl Perkins' influence spread throughout the years, besides, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and many others performed his music. Further he was such an inspiration to four young lads from Liverpool, that Paul McCartney is on record as having said, "If there had not been a Carl Perkins, there wouldn't have been the Beatles." Not a bad legacy to have for any musician.

This is a superb collection of performances from Carl Perkins and would enhance the library of any lover of the music from the 1950's and 1960's. They are great songs too and evoke the joy that he brought to millions before he sadly passed away in 1998 at the early age of sixty five. This really is a "must have" if you like Rock 'n Roll.

Tony Collins