Album: Various Artists, Rockin' Memphis (Proper)

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The Independent Culture

Most Memphis heritage compilations focus either on the city’s R&B or rockabilly scenes, but there’s plenty of room on this four-disc, 118-track box set to cover all bases, offering a detailed account of how rock’n’roll, the miscegenate offspring of blues and country, came crawling out of the South in the early Fifties.

Drawing primarily on the varied output of Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service (later Sun Studio) from 1950 onwards, it mingles raw blues from Howlin’ Wolf, BB King and Little Milton, R&B from Little Junior Parker, Johnny Ace and Rosco Gordon, and earthy rockabilly from Charlie Feathers, Johnny Burnette and Billy C Riley, the proceedings studded throughout with such milestones as “Rocket 88”, “Bear Cat”, “Mystery Train”, “Get Rhythm” and “Flyin’ Saucers Rock’n’Roll”.

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