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C. C. Rider

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Album Review

Chuck Willis was a solid singer and songwriter before he got to Atlantic Records in 1956, having recorded several sides of early R&B for OKeh Records. It was at Atlantic, though, that he really hit his stride (helped, no doubt, by the emergence of rock & roll), and the 25 tracks Willis cut for Atlantic before his death in 1958 form an impressive legacy. This brief set (it struggles to get past 23-minutes in length) has the essentials from his Atlantic stay, including his rocked-up versions of "C.C. Rider" and "Betty & Dupree," plus original Willis compositions like "It's Too Late," the briskly bouncing "Sugar Sugar," the prescient "What Am I Living For?," and his swan song, the unintentionally ironic "Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes." Again, the absolute essentials are here, but Razor & Tie's Stroll On has everything Willis did for Atlantic, and it's worth it to spend a few bucks more and have the complete sessions.


Born: 31 January 1928 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s

There were two distinct sides to Chuck Willis. In addition to being a convincing blues shouter, the Atlanta-born Willis harbored a vulnerable blues balladeer side. In addition, he was a masterful songwriter who penned some of the most distinctive R&B numbers of the 1950s. He can't be granted principal credit for his 1957 smash adaptation of "C.C. Rider," an irresistible update of a classic folk-blues, but Willis did write such gems as "I Feel So Bad" (later covered by Elvis Presley, Little Milton,...
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C. C. Rider, Chuck Willis
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