Agony Shorthand

Monday, April 05, 2004

Or so says BILLY LAMONTE on one of the finest early raw R&B comps you’re likely to find in any corner, “WILD AND FRANTIC”. This longtime LP favorite of the Little Richard-worshipping set quietly snuck out on CD a few years ago, and augmented its original 18 late 50s slammers with 17 (!) bonus tracks from the upper echelons of the “oldies” genre. And nothing that was ever a Bandstand-bopping hit, no way, not even regionally – we’re talking the most over-the-top and wild of all post-jump R&B, blazers like BUNKER HILL’s “The Girl Can’t Dance” and the PINETOPPERS’ “Shout Bamalama” (albeit the wimpier of the two versions). The label that originally threw this together, “Mr. Maestro”, had a very well-tuned quality control system that filtered out so much of the dreck the settles onto most of these retro comps, settling in favor of only the most up-tempo and raunchy R&B, with the crème-de-la-crème shouters and wailers – the ones that scared parents silly and forced them to lock up their nubile daughters to keep them away from reefer-addicted rock and rollers. So that means OTIS REDDING and “Fat Gal”, the outstanding “I’m In Love Again” by the UPSETTERS, JIMMY DEE’s “You’re Late Miss Kate” (a new one to me), and “Chicken Little” by none other than PICO PETE. Can one truly sit through 35 tracks of it? Depends upon your pain threshold for screaming Little Richard imitators, squawking saxes and raw, greasy riffs. I think it’s easily one of the most essential compilations of the genre, right up there with “SIN ALLEY”, “SHAKIN' FIT” , “LOOKEY DOOKEY/TALKIN' TRASH" and "NO COUNT DANCE PARTY, VOL. 1". I got my CD from Norton Records and I’ll bet you can too.