SLEEPY LA BEEF
A ROCKIN' DECADE
If you want a taste of some of the finest American roots music ever issued, try the wonderful Charly collection: Complete Rock'n'Roll - recently re-packaged and currently available at a tasty new low price. This series presents a whole range of rock'n'roll and blues with emphasis on the Sun recordings of Billy Lee Riley, Barbara Pittman, Sonny Burgess and more - although they do have excellent collections of music on other labels by Big Joe Turner, The Collins Kids, Janis Martin, Jack Scott and Ruth Brown.
The one I can't stop playing is Sleepy LaBeef's: A Rockin' Decade (Charly SROLL818). These are his Sun recordings from the 70's, and although he wasn't at Sun at the same time as Billy Lee or Carl Perkins you'll find that he rocks just as hard. His soaring, stomping Too Much Monkey Business gives Chuck's more famous version a run for its money with great rollicking piano, searing guitar licks and the trademark deep brown LaBeef vocals.
He whips the daylights out of stuff like Boogie Woogie Country Girl and Rock'n'Roll Ruby and he even out-does Elvis on Baby Let's Play House. I particularly love his rampant guitar work on Tore Up, the way he tears up the joint on a manic version of Billy Lee Riley's Red Hot and then turns Jimmy Reed's Shame Shame Shame into pure rockabilly when he cranks up the electric guitar and lets it wail. Put this one on, turn up the volume and you (and your neighbours) will find out just how exciting rock'n'roll can be!
Review Date: November 2009