Tuesday

Little Richard

Southern Child - 1972 (unreleased)
Though looked upon fondly under 30 years of hindsight, Little Richard's string of albums for the Reprise label in the early 70s sold so poorly that his fourth and final album, 1972's Southern Child, never saw the light of day. And what a shame, since this final LP was the most diverse and arguably the finest of the lot he recorded for the label. Paired with a campy, albeit very fitting cover photo of Richard milking a cow in the backyard of his own home, Southern Child was a collection that successfully fused the gospel rock of his early days with the gentle country ballads and spacious funk he'd been experimenting with throughout his Reprise series. The result is a triumph - a stylistic breakthrough that had been hinted at across a string of three LPs, and finally rises to the top here. The songs, all originals, are performed elegantly throughout, and find Richard at last freeing his voice from the constraints of self parody to deliver some of the most gentle and emotive performances of his long career. So different is his delivery, that throughout much of the album his vocals are hardly recognizable as his own. All of the tracks here are tremendous and the continuity of Southern Child is supreme, but its brilliance is illustrated most effectively by the second track "If You Pick Her Too Hard (She Comes Out of Tune)". If this LP had seen a proper release it would be the one Little Richard album in everyone's collection, but even with Rhino having included it as part of its King of Rock n' Roll: The Complete Reprise Recordings, the set's limited run of 2500 ensures this LP will stay off the radar for the foreseeable future. If you dug The Rill Thing, this one might just blow your mind.

12 comments:

Abe Something said...

This is a phenomenal record ...I hope people take your word (and now mine) on this. The cover may inspire doubt in those who haven't heard this yet but well all know the old adage about books and covers. Truly an exceptionally emotive album from a man so many have written off as the "Tutti-Frutti" guy. A lot of fun, too!

Scott said...

Thanks. This looks amazing.

seaweed said...

nice blog! do you know how people who are semi new to this wonderful world can get invited to sites like.. oh i dont know psychedelic mushrooms (found it on your links)
i cant wait to listen to this i love early little richard! thanks! ! !

JR HeatWarp said...

Very pleased to hear this one is going over so well. I stand firmly behind its awesomeness.

Seaweed - sorry, but I wasn't aware that Psychedelic Mushrooms had gone private. I think they may have actually shuttered up fairly recently and just password protected their old site to keep it from being overrun by pirates.

infinitefool said...

I just watched Smoeky and the bandit the other day. Hadn't seen it in years. Damn, you were a good looking devil back then!

Thanks for this. Can't wait to hear it.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! It's kind of like Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett meeting up with Jerry Reed. Makes a nice 2-fer with "The Rill Thing" (any chance of a re-rip w/ out the skips in the future?). I didn't know LR could get so funky.

JR HeatWarp said...

Hell yeah InfiniteFool, I was on my game back in the day. That is, until all that smuggled Coors got the best of me.

Anon- glad you enjoyed this one and the Rill Thing! I was planning on re-upping an improved version of the Rill Thing very soon - so that should take care of all those tics, pops and miscellaneous vinyl noises. Stop back for it!

whiteray said...

Thanks for this -- sweet stuff indeed!

Pat Carty said...

Another winner JR, keep up the good work

j-slo said...

This album blew me away. Thanks for another lost gem Mr. Warps. Burning up with love seems very familiar, was it covered successfully by someone else?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the tunes! This is a gem.

La Caverna's Blog said...

Great addition! thanks for this wonderful record, here it goes Little Richad King of Rock and Roll LP3 from the 1973 Mexican Gamma (Reprise) Label

http://www.4shared.com/file/88839807/f77ca48b/KRR.html

I hope you like it!