Rarely Heard Classics Illuminate ‘The Roots of Rock and Roll’

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ImageThe Roots of Rock ‘n Roll is on the Savoy label, for which only a small percentage of rock’s progenitors recorded. Nevertheless, the set is a must. Sides two, three, and four, which respectively feature male, female, and group vocalists, include fascinating obscurities by seminal artists like Johnny Otis, Esther Phillips, and the Ravens. Devoted to instrumentals from an era when sax, not guitar, reigned supreme, the remaining side comes closer than anything else I’ve heard in years to earning this album’s monicker. Sam Price’s “Rib Joint” offers an incredible King Curtis tenor solo and—like all but one other track here—is not readily available elsewhere.

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