Thursday, November 25, 2010
Album Review: Piano Red, 'The Lost Atlanta Tapes'
Artist: Piano Red
Title: The Lost Atlanta Tapes
Long before Wilko Johnson (John Wilkinson) commandeered the name for his noted English pub rock band, Piano Red was playing barrel house blues and using the moniker ‘Dr. Feelgood.’ Piano Red successfully cut sides for RCA Victor including hits such as ‘Red’s Boogie,’ ‘Just Right Bounce’ and ‘Laying the Boogie.’ His songs have been covered by some of rock n’ rolls greats including; Little Richard, re-titled as ‘She Knows How to Rock’; Carl Perkins, ‘The Wrong Yo-Yo’; and the Beatles, ‘Mister Moonlight.’ While Piano Red (a/k/a Willie Perryman) has earned his place in music history – he is not a household name for most listeners. Perryman died of cancer in 1985.
This album, ‘The Lost Atlanta Tapes’ were recorded in 1984, shortly before Red’s death. With 18 songs in all, this album is a gentile rollick through a collection of standards and originals including; ‘That’s My Desire,’ ‘C.C. Rider,’ ‘Baby Please Don’t Go,’ and ‘Corinna, Corinna.’ This is not a raucous affair as the 73 year old meanders and talks through a set of music to an appreciative audience. The ‘Lost Atlanta Tapes’ is a highly niched release which will evade most blues listeners. Yes, Piano Red deserves our respect for his contribution to the lexicon of modern blues and rock music; however, other than for its historical perspective, this is an album best left to true aficionados and serious collectors. It is not a bad record per se’ – it is simply a peripheral recording few modern blues listeners will fully enjoy.