An admirable stocking filler
Various Artist - The First Rock And Roll Record

Historians and enthusiasts will debate endlessly about the roots of contemporary music, with rock and roll cited by many as being the linchpin for the kaleidoscopic array of genres and sub-genres we now propagate.

This superb collection not only sets out to capture those rock and roll roots but fuels the debate by throwing up potential influences from the very roots of modern music. An eighty-two-track collection spanning three CDs and four decades from 1922 through to 1956; incorporating a mass of material previously unavailable in current formats. From the country music of Hank Williams, the blues of Robert Johnson and the boogie-woogie of Big Joe Turner, it succinctly plots the course of music, with a grandeous collection of choice cuts.

This is the first release from Famous Flames and, whilst an ambitious project, is meticulously researched and packaged to provide an encyclopaedic scan of music through troubled times. During the war years, output from Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker, via the post-war period of reestablishment with Fats Domino and Jimmy Preston into the Fifties when a certain Mr. Presley became the first true rock icon.

Whilst it would be easy to fill an iPod with a crop of 78s from the period, this collection doesn’t have too many gaps. There are questionable inclusions for sure (Judy Garland), but the set openly prompts that debate. Whether you’re one of those historians or just intrigued, this is an admirable stocking filler to furnish your education.


Words by TC

Follow Clash: