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The Female Elvis - Complete Recordings 1956-60

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Album Review

Thirty songs, and not a loser in the bunch. This little lady rocks — hard — and she doesn't start to slow down until 21 songs in. The best is sort of like Elvis' early RCA sides, only better, mixed with some wildness that makes one wonder if Sun Records wouldn't have been a better home for her. As it happens, Martin is a good enough singer that even the slow ballads like "Cry Guitar" and "One More Year to Go" come off well — she had a rich, strong, slightly throaty voice that would have allowed her to make it in country music, or even pop (check out the Duke Ellington-authored "Squeeze Me") as easily as rock & roll, if that was what she wanted. What's more, she could write songs as well, and that was pretty rare for female performers of the time; her originals here compare pretty favorably with standards like "Ooby Dooby." "Blues Keep Calling" is a hot number in any discography.

Biography

Born: 23 March 1940 in Sutherlin, VA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Janis Martin was a unique figure in the history of rockabilly — there were other women working in that male-dominated field (Lorrie Collins for one), but Martin was the one dubbed "the Female Elvis Presley" by RCA, reportedly with the approval of Colonel Tom Parker. This was probably the kiss of death, evoking images so contradictory that no one could really hold it properly in their mind. The fact that she was signed to RCA probably didn't hurt, but as a hot-rocking female in a field where...
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The Female Elvis - Complete Recordings 1956-60, Janis Martin
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