Review Summary: While Here's Little Richard was groundbreaking, this is a more consistent release and a more enjoyable listen overall.
A raspy voice singing “a whop bop-a-lu a whop bam boom” and the rest is history. Much like the opening riff of “Black Sabbath” was vital to the creation of heavy metal, “Tutti Frutti” was unlike anything in music at the time of its release. And much like after Black Sabbath nothing was the same again, Little Richard’s influence in shaping rock n roll is undeniable. Apart from his over the top (for the time) appearance and ambiguous sexuality, Little Richard brought to R&B an energy and swagger that legends like Fats Domino, Ray Charles, et al. hadn’t at the time.
Apart from the image factor, what Little Richard (or Chuck Berry) did was take the blues speed ‘em up and add soloing whether this was a guitar, piano or saxophone solo. Little Richard’s debut Here's Little Richard
, did exactly that. Including the game changing “Tutti Frutti” and tracks like “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up”, it laid the foundation for Little Richard’s success and is probably his most well known release.
continues where Here's Little Richard
left of by building on an established formula while being slightly more consistent than its predecessor. Still boasting prominent songs like “Lucille” and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" it’s a solid stab of rock n roll and R&B. The focus is of course on Little Richard’s energetic vocals with his trademark wails and “oooohh”s such as in the preposterous "Ooh! My Soul". That being said, the instrumentation is top notch with playful piano melodies, prominent wind sections and noticeable percussion. I called the percussion “noticeable” because up until then very few songs had audible and meaningful drumming. Just listen to the beginning of "Keep a Knockin'" which is practically the same with Led Zeppelin’s "Rock and Roll" to the point where you expect to hear Jimmy Page’s guitar or the bass drum on "All Around the World".
To make a long story short, if you’re interested in listening to a piece of music history and a big reason that your favorite bands/artists do what they do today, feel free to check this album. His debut might have a more energetic opener but is less consistent and varied, making Little Richard
an overall more enjoyable listen. For fans of rock n roll this is a classic and a must hear while for all others certainly a very fun album.