RELEASE
March 23, 2010
LABEL
Bear Family Records
GENRES
Blues, Early R&B, Jump Blues, Rock & Roll, Electric Blues, New Orleans R&B

Album Review

There have been a number of Smiley Lewis compilations over the years, including some fine ones: the signature EMI release of The Best of Smiley Lewis, the Proper Introduction to Smiley Lewis, the two-volume Smiley Lewis Story, and Bear Family's definitive four-disc box set Shame, Shame, Shame, that collected every side he ever cut. That said, other than their original box set, none of them comes close to Bear Family's single-disc Smiley Lewis Rocks comp. Rather than merely present 36 chronologically recorded sides for Colony and Imperial from 1950-1958, it contextualizes them. Though Lewis began recording in 1947, his biggest years were the '50s, those in which he recorded his regionally popular “I Hear You Knocking” and “One Night” (whose later sanitized and vastly inferior versions were recorded by Gale Storm and Elvis Presley, respectively, with greater success -- yes, you read right, Presley's version of “One Night” utterly pales in comparison with the Lewis’ original. Of the rest, “Shame, Shame, Shame” and “Bumpity Bump” are here, as well as versions of “Blue Monday," “Rootin’ and Tootin,” "Lillie Mae," and many other New Orleans standards. Yet, it’s not simply track selection that makes this set so righteous: it’s the sound of Cosimo Matassa's New Orleans studio at work with the musicians that played on these sides that made them so unique: drummer Earl Palmer, saxophonists Lee Allen and Herbert Hardesty, and trumpeter and bandleader Dave Bartholomew -- who wrote or co-wrote the majority of these tunes. The players' spontaneity to capture on tape whatever was happening is apparent on this set. At the heart of it there’s Lewis’ voice, an enormous and expressive instrument capable of transferring so much to the listener: from raucous joy and wildness to tenderness and heartbreak, seemingly without effort. His guitar playing exemplifies the Crescent City sound, full of rhythmic invention and tough, R&B groove. The liner notes by Bill Dahl are peerless for their historical authority. The digitally remastered sound is better than any previous collection on the market; it's full, warm, and immediate. For anyone interested in rock & roll’s real roots, New Orleans music, or jump blues and classic R&B, Smiley Lewis Rocks is indispensable.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Shame, Shame, Shamehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  2. Big Mamouhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  3. Ain't Gonna Do Ithttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  4. Down the Roadhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  5. The Bells Are Ringinghttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  6. Can't Stop Loving Youhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  7. Ooh La Lahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  8. My Baby Was Righthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  9. Blue Mondayhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  10. Dirty Peoplehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  11. Jailbirdhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  12. Where Were Youhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  13. Real Gone Loverhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  14. Bumpity Bumphttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  15. I Hear You Knockinghttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  16. Sad Lifehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  17. Come Onhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  18. Bee's Boogiehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  19. Queen of Heartshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  20. Lillie Maehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  21. One Nighthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  22. Caldonia's Partyhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  23. Nothing But the Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  24. She's Got Me Hook, Line & Sinkerhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  25. Rootin' and Tootin'http://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  26. Please Listen to Mehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  27. Down Yonder We Go Ballin'http://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  28. No Letter Todayhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  29. Mama Don't Likehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  30. Play Girlhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  31. Go on Foolhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  32. Goin' to Jump and Shouthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  33. Bad Luck Blueshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  34. School Days Are Back Againhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  35. Lil Liza Janehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  36. Shame, Shame, Shame!http://itunes.apple.com/album/smiley-lewis-greatest-hits/id299444499?uo=5&at=11l9vR
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