Back again, for as long as it lasts, is my first 29-song compilation of songs penned or co-penned by the legendary OTIS BLACKWELL. In light of Ace Records' typically lack-luster compilation of Blackwell material, this remains the best single collection on the songwriter you could want.
Blackwell is perhaps best known for the songs he wrote for Elvis Presley-- "Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," "Return To Sender," et al-- and for two Jerry Lee Lewis hits, "Breathless" and "Great Balls of Fire." Without a doubt, his best-known song, written under a pen-name, is "Fever," the moody ballad first recorded by R&B singer Little Willie John, but made most popular via Peggy Lee's later version (which includes added-after-the-fact lyrics).
This collection of mine blends various rockabilly, pop and rhythm and blues renditions of Blackwell's infectious, jaunty songs. From toe-tapping fluffy pop to soul-searing R&B ballads, Blackwell's work covers quite a broad expanse of emotional territory.
Some of the ballads were collaborations. On his own, Blackwell tended to write bouncy, saucy, seemingly simple ditties that are (a) ear-worms magnifique and (b) contain more impact than might appear on first listening.
Here are the hastily-designed "covers" for this compilation. These images are included in the zip file too.
This is stitched together from several CDs and mp3 files. There's a lotta Varetta Dillard, the cult R&B singer who recorded at least six Blackwell songs in the 1950s and '60s. By far, my favorite is her "Whole Lot Of Lip," a classic Blackwell confection that shoulda been a hit.
Other faves on this set include "Let's Talk About Us," performed with threatening intensity by Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty's "Comfy 'n' Cozy," Fats Domino's moody "Heartbreak Hil," the superb "No Regrets" by Little Willie John, and the lovely beat-ballad "You're Just The One To Do It," recorded by the UK superstars, Cliff Richard and the Shadows.
But, heck, every single song has something to recommend it.
HERE is the link to the music 'n' pix. Enjoy! And brace yourself for the new year to come...