Roy Rock 'Em Young
The Complete Singles Collection 1959-1962
added: 28 May 2012
// release date: 14 May 2012 // label: Angel Air Records
reviewer: Claudia A
Upon first glimpse I thought it is Buddy Holly sans his trademarks specs. Only then I read that the artist is Roy Young
, one of the greatest and most original Boogie Woogie piano players/singers ever to emerge from the UK – and this album of sure lets rip!
Roy Young is a living legend who was invited by the mighty Brian Epstein to join the Beatles, toured with the even mightier Chuck Berry, David Bowie (mightier still), Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, and Gene Vincent.
This comes as no surprise when you rewind to his youth. His mum played the piano and this must have rubbed off on little Roy, for later on he was always in conflict with his teachers for playing boogie woogie instead of classic music. As he explains, “It wasn’t soppy or patter, patter, patter with me. It was boom, boom, boom.”
Back in his day, which were obviously the 1950’s, Roy appeared on various TV shows such as ‘Oh Boy’ (ok, here's the Buddy Holly connection!) and ‘Drumbeat’ and went on to become one of the UK’s greatest exponents of rock n roll. In 1977, David Bowie asked Roy to play keyboards on his album ‘Low’ which they recorded in Paris.
For this release, Roy has been back in the studio to remaster his singles as well as adding three bonus tracks from 1962 recorded at the famous Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.
The Neil Sedaka number ‘I Go Ape’ blasts through in the vein of Jerry Lee Lewis or Bill Haley, this is one bursting with rhythm and invited anyone to rock around the clock! The awesome Little Richard number ‘Slippin’ and Slidin’, with fierce piano play by Roy, manages to top it.
The Brill Building ballad ‘I Hardly Know Me’ is a slow-paced schmaltzer, something to gently glide along on the dancefloor. You can’t help imagining innocent petticoat girls and teddie boys on their best behaviour while listening to those tracks.
Roy Sonny Spencer cover ‘Gilee’ is just as lively in arrangement as the re-worked song ‘You Were Meant For Me’ from the Gene Kelly musical ‘Singing In The Rain’.
‘Hey Little Girl’ demonstrates once again that Roy is a virtuoso when you place the man in front of a piano, while the percussion heavy ‘Taboo’ is a fantastic rock n roll number about teenage rebel yell and breaking taboos. ‘Plenty Of Love’ is another one of Roy’s own compositions and is one that filmmaker John Waters would use in one of his quirky movies. As it turned out, Roy gave the number to Adam Faith when he was filming ‘Never Let Go’ with Peter Sellers. Remaining in the realms of movies, the number ‘Four An’ Twenty Thousand Kisses’ is actually a song recorded by singer/actor Adriano Celentano – often hailed as the Italian Little Richard. Roy confesses that his take on the number sounds too low, as it was written in the wrong key.
Would Jim Wilson’s ‘Big Fat Mama’ stand any chance nowadays to be hit potential in our size zero obsessed culture? `Here is a very fast rock n roll number (once again Roy’s own composition) dedicated to a very special lady in the musician’s life – his mum!
As for the three bonus tracks from Hamburg’s Star Club: we’re talking rock n roll pure here, with ‘Keep A Knocking’, ‘Margie’ and the ultimate ballroom blitzer ‘Rip It Up’.
This is a wonderful trip down memory lane and proof that rock n roll will never die!
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