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King of Skiffle

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Album Review

A case could be made that Lonnie Donegan had as much to do with the rise of rock & roll as Elvis Presley did, at least in Britain. As early as 1954, Donegan was playing what was essentially folk-rock, American folk tunes played on acoustic instruments, but supported with one hell of a backbeat. Termed "skiffle," Donegan's energetic folk arrangements provided the groundwork for a whole generation of rockers, many of whom, like members of the Beatles, began in skiffle groups. This 19-track collection has Donegan's biggest and first hit, "Rock Island Line," as well as explosive takes on "Jack O'Diamonds" and "Tom Dooley" that hurtle forward with an energetic propulsion that is rock & roll in all but name.

Biography

Born: 29 April 1931 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Pop

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

To look at Lonnie Donegan today, in pictures taken 40 years ago when he was topping the British charts and hitting the Top Ten in America, dressed in a suit, his hair cut short and strumming an acoustic guitar, he looks like a musical non-entity. But in 1954, before anyone (especially anybody in England) knew what rock & roll was, Donegan was cool, and his music was hot. He's relatively little remembered outside of England, but Donegan shares an important professional attribute with Elvis Presley,...
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King of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan
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