Friday, April 24, 2015
Little Richard – The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years
Little Richard’s flamboyant and incendiary mix of New Orleans boogie-woogie, R&B, and gospel music was revolutionary in the mid-to-late 1950s, and throughout a lengthy career that continues to this day, Little Richard’s most groundbreaking work was created during his tenure with the Specialty Records and Vee-Jay Records labels.
On June 2nd, 2015 Specialty Records, which is now a division of the Concord Music Group, will release Little Richard’s Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years, a three-CD box set featuring 64 songs that document the singer and pianist’s gravy years with the two labels, circa 1956 to 1965. Directly From My Heart includes Little Richard’s classic hits from the era, single B-sides, and several rarities as well as a 30+ page illustrated booklet with seldom-seen photos and brand new liner notes by singer/songwriter and music historian Billy Vera.
Upon returning to secular music in 1964, Little Richard signed with Vee-Jay Records, where he spent a year, recording classic material like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” and “Money Honey,” which were released on the Little Richard Is Back album. The Upsetters, Richard’s touring band at the time, included a young hot-shot guitarist who would later find his own stardom as Jimi Hendrix. But during Richard’s hiatus, pop and rock music had evolved, and British Invasion bands that he’d influenced, as well as the Motown sound, dominated the charts.
Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years includes all of the above-listed songs, and many more, the three discs representing a particularly inspired and prolific period of Little Richard’s career that would lead to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a well-deserved status as a legendary artist.