Lloyd Price – Lloyd Rocks! (Bear Family BCD 16999)
1. Where You At 2. Country Boy Rock 3. Rock 'n' Roll Dance 4. Walkin' The Track 5. Lawdy Miss Clawdy 6. Why 7. I'm Glad, Glad 8. Baby Please Come Home 9. Tell Me, Pretty Baby 10. Carry Me Home 11. Woe Ho Ho 12. Heavy Dreams 13. The Chicken And The Bop 14. Hello Little Girl 15. Georgianna 16. How Many Times 17. Such A Mess 18. Down By The River 19. Gonna Let You Come Back Home 20. Stagger Lee 21. You Need Love 22. Where Were You On Our Wedding Day 23. Just Because 24. Personality 25. Have You Ever Had The Blues 26. I'm Gonna Get Married 27. Wont'cha Come Home 28. Lady Luck 29. Question 30. Mailman Blues 31. Ain't That Just Like A Woman 32. The Hoochie Coochie Coo 33. Lawdy Miss Clawdy 34. Baby Please Come Home (LP Version)
Bear Family’s Rocks series is an amazing series that until now has focussed on the white end of rock ‘n’ roll. But with this release and one from the Cadillacs and Shirley & Lee, they have started to dip into the black end of the market. I’ve got the two Ace CDs from a decade ago and The Exciting Lloyd Price on MCA, but good as they are, they’re totally blown into the water by Lloyd Rocks. As usual with Bear Family the packaging is awesome (51 page booklet no less!), but it’s the choice of tracks by Bill Millar that really sets this one apart.
The CD spans from 1952 to 1961 and runs through the pick of his up-tempo material for Specialty, KRC, and ABC-Paramount. The Specialty tracks from ’52 show just how ahead of the game New Orleans was when it came to rocking music. Everyone reading this must know what a great number Lawdy Miss Clawdy is, prototype rock ‘n’ roll from the oh-so-wonderfully familiar piano intro to Herb Hardesty almost stealing the show on sax. Other Specialty highlights Country Boy Rock, Rock 'n' Roll Dance, Baby Please Come Home and Walkin' The Track.
Great as the music was, Lloyd was getting left behind when it came to New Orleans acts hitting the charts. In a move that was a massive gamble at the time, Price left Specialty and started his own label, KRC. Just Because is a beauty that was leased to ABC-Paramount and became a hit despite competition from Lloyd’s valet and cousin Larry Williams, who covered it and even claimed writer credit. Another KRC track to really hit the spot is The Chicken And The Bop, Georgianna (a cross between Smiley’s Tee Na Na and his own Lawdy Miss Clawdy) and Such A Mess.
By September ’58 Lloyd was with ABC fulltime and it jump-started his career with a handful of hits like Where Were You On Our Wedding Day and Personality. There’s the magical intro to Stagger Lee “the might was clear and the moon was yellow, and the leaves came tumbling down” – great stuff. Not everyone’s cup-of-tea, the ABC sides may have lost some of the r’n’b drive for a polished line-up including some slightly square backing vocals. I love them though - they’re great songs, with enough of Lloyd’s roots showing through to keep them on the rocking side of pop. Just listen to I’m Gonna Get Married, it might smack of pop music, but there’s also a quality to them that could only come from an artist steeped in the traditions of New Orleans.
This is a must have item that maintains the high quality of the Rocks series and is one of the best CDs you’re likely to buy this year. A brilliant release.