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The Very Best of Rosco Gordon

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Album Review

Calling this compilation The Very Best of Rosco Gordon is a bit of a misnomer, since it only features material Gordon recorded for the Vee Jay label, ignoring his frantic early sides for Sun and other classic material released on RPM. But if you're looking for a one-disc overview of Gordon's fine Vee Jay recordings, you came to the right place; these 15 tunes (lucky consumers get two, yes two takes of "New Orleans, LA") all feature Gordon's trademark loping rhythms, walking basslines, percussive guitar lines, and vocals, which sound comfortably laid-back even at their most emphatic. While Gordon spent most of his career in Memphis, he certainly learned the lessons of the classic New Orleans R&B masters, and these tunes capture his own distinctive and flavorful variation on the Crescent City sound, a bit bent but still recognizable, and a significant inspiration on the nascent Jamaican music scene, who would further rework these proto-Louisiana sounds into what would become ska. Fascinating as history and a lot of fun as music, though the final and definitive Rosco Gordon collection still remains to be compiled.


Born: 10 April 1928 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Rosco Gordon was best known for being one of the progenitors of a slightly shambolic, loping style of piano shuffle called "Rosco's Rhythm." The basic elements of this sound were further developed after Jamaican musicians got a hold of 45s Gordon recorded in the early '50s -- which were not available to Jamaicans until 1959 -- and created ska, which took its name for the sound of this particular shuffle as it sounded being played on an electric guitar (ska-ska-ska). No less an authority than Chris...
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The Very Best of Rosco Gordon, Rosco Gordon
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