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Diggin' the Boogie 1950-1956

Piano Red

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Album Review

Piano Red had been playing professionally for about a couple of decades before making a proper start to his recording career in 1950, by which time he was almost 40 years old. The six years covered by this 30-track compilation were nevertheless the first six years he was able to make records, landing big R&B hits with "Rockin' with Red," "Red's Boogie," "(Right String Baby But) The Wrong Yo-Yo," "Just Right Bounce," and "Layin' the Boogie." All of them are on this CD, which makes for about as lengthy a survey of his work during this era as is likely to be issued. It's consistently lively, often boogie-based piano jump blues/R&B that occasionally takes steps toward rock & roll, though Piano Red would change his name to Dr. Feelgood by the time he experienced his greatest success with the rock & roll audience. In addition to a couple dozen studio sides, there are also six fine, well-recorded songs from a live 1956 show in Atlanta. This might be too unvarying a dose of piano-based early- to mid-'50s R&B at once for those who don't dig the style intently, but you should certainly check this out if you're a fan of, for instance, Professor Longhair. It's got a similar sense of good-humored bounce, if not as much of an idiosyncratic character.

Biography

Born: 19 October 1911 in Hampton, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Willie Perryman went by two nicknames during his lengthy career, both of them thoroughly apt. He was known as Piano Red because of his albino skin pigmentation for most of his performing life. But they called him Dr. Feelgood during the '60s, and that's precisely what his raucous, barrelhouse-styled vocals and piano were guaranteed to do: cure anyone's ills and make them feel good. Like his older brother, Rufus Perryman, who performed and recorded as Speckled Red, Willie Perryman showed an aptitude...
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Diggin' the Boogie 1950-1956, Piano Red
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