LITTLE RICHARD Here’s Little Richard (Doxy)

Another of Doxy’s public domain reissues, they’ve at least done a fine job with the glossy sleeve, so much so that I wonder whether I might derive more musical enjoyment from spinning the cover on my gramophone instead of the record it contains. This has to be one of the worst-sounding records I own. I don’t expect audiophile quality from recordings entering their sixth decade – although the fact that Mobile Fidelity have produced their own, sadly all-too-limited, reissue suggest that something of at least merchantable quality can be wrung from the master tapes – but Doxy’s version sounds like it was mastered from a mobile phone. The music is distant yet distorted, rippling with phasiness, with some songs served up on a bed of electrical hum.

This sonic wretchedness is unfortunate, because even in these reduced circumstances suggestions of the album’s historic importance still filter through. Elvis and The Beatles covered these songs, remember, and a young Bob Dylan wanted to play in his band. Given that this debut contains “Tutti Frutti”, “Ready Teddy”, “Slippin’ And Slidin’”, “Long Tall Sally”, “Rip It Up” and “Jenny Jenny” it could be said to be a soundtrack for the nascent teenage generation. Between this, Elvis’ hip-swivelling and Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his cousin, no wonder rock ‘n’ roll was too much for Middle America to take. An album it’s well worth seeking out a decent issue of; not, unfortunately, this one.