When compiling our reissue review on Rolling Stone‘s greatest albums of all time last year, it was a bit of a surprise at Second Disc HQ to learn, for all the reissues of Little Richard’s classic Here’s Little Richard on the market, that few of them were particularly archival-oriented. That’s about to change this year, though, with an expanded reissue of the iconic album by Concord Music Group in April.
Richard Penniman was no stranger to performing and recording when he released his first single for Specialty toward the end of 1955; he had cut tracks for RCA and Peacock in the years before. But his first 45 for Art Rupe’s label, a full-tilt boogie-blues jam called “Tutti Frutti,” was not the work of a merely contented jobber. In three takes over 15 minutes, Richard created what is now seen as perhaps the first quintessential rock and roll song, with the iconic, nonsense-syllable intro; the high, keening vocal take and a down ‘n’ dirty fistful of piano keys. “Tutti Frutti” peaked at No. 2 on the R&B singles chart and was a No. 17 crossover pop hit; follow-up “Long Tall Sally” did even better, reaching No. 6 pop and No. 1 R&B. (“Slippin’ and Slidin'” and the powerhouse single “Rip It Up”/”Ready Teddy” were additional Top 10 singles on the R&B charts.)
While Richard would record one more album for Specialty with its own share of hits (“Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Keep A-Knockin'”) before walking away from rock for gospel music (and spending a career careening between both genres). But he really didn’t need to say much more about secular music: Here’s Little Richard made him an unquestionable legend.
This new release of Here’s Little Richard is augmented with a nice smattering of bonus content, some familiar (demos of “Baby” and “All Night Long,” first heard on the great Specialty Sessions box set released by Ace Records in 1989) and some brand-new (a never-before-heard interview with Specialty founder Rupe and two “screen test” clips of “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally”). The disc is augmented with new liner notes by R&B musicologist Lee Hildebrand and the original LP’s liner notes.
Here’s Little Richard bops back into your life on April 17. Hit the jump for the full specs and keep an eye on this post when a pre-order page is ready!
Here’s Little Richard: Expanded Edition (originally released as Specialty Records SP-100, 1957 – reissued Specialty/Concord, 2012)
- Tutti Frutti
- True Fine Mama
- Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave
- Ready Teddy
- Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’)
- Long Tall Sally
- Miss Ann
- Oh Why?
- Rip It Up
- Jenny, Jenny
- She’s Got It
- Baby (Demo)
- All Night Long (Demo)
- Interview with Art Rupe (founder of Specialty Records)
- Tutti Frutti (screen test video)
- Long Tall Sally (screen test video)
Tracks 13-14 recorded at WBML-AM, Macon, Georgia – 2/9/1955. Previously released on The Specialty Sessions box set (Ace ABOXCD1 (U.K.), 1989) Tracks 15-17 previously unreleased.