Blue Suede Shoes: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight

Blue Suede Shoes: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight

by Pee Wee KingPee Wee King


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OK, first thing's first -- this 30-song collection, drawn from Pee Wee King's RCA Victor library, doesn't rock as much as its title would lead one to believe or hope. On the other hand, the mere fact that Bear Family Records could assemble 30 reasonably stomping numbers, gathered from 11 years across King's output, from 1947 through 1958, to deliver a set that would promise anything like it speaks volumes about King and his output, and the flexibility of the Golden West Cowboys. And as a peripheral matter, it also says a lot about just how well rock & roll was accepted in a lot of unexpected quarters in the mid-'50s. To country artists like Pee Wee King (and, for that matter, Ernest Tubb, who was covering Chuck Berry tunes in 1956), it was just another kind of dance music, maybe better liked by his younger listeners, but in the main not too far removed from the Western swing that he'd been doing since the 1940s. So the version of "Blue Suede Shoes" that opens this CD and lends its name to the title may be the tamest rendition most of us have ever heard -- but was pretty hot for 1956, and it leads into rocking numbers like "Bull Fiddle Rag," "Steel Guitar Rag," "Forty-Nine Women," etc., none of which would have been wholly out-of-place in a rock & roll concert of the period; and King's rendition of "Tweedle Dee," like "Blue Suede Shoes," is a number with some definite new sound associations. And from 1953 is a Western swing rendition of the "Dragnet" theme by Miklós Rózsa and Walter Schumann that turns it into a pretty decent showcase for amplified guitar, backed by a beat that just misses anticipating Bo Diddley's sound by a whisker. The fact is that Pee Wee King, born in 1914, cut more than his share of country-boogie numbers, all of which gave him an edge over most of the other country artists of his era in competing for listeners amid the new music environment of the mid-'50s. This CD is a celebration of that side of his output, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable collection, simply on its own terms. What's more, it's all amazingly consistent, given that the material here comes from a dozen years, with bassist Chuck Wiggins being the most common factor (along with King). Oddly enough, the producers of this disc have offered a rare apology for the quality of some of the audio, although it seems unnecessary. The annotation is thorough and almost as much fun as the listening, and that's considerable.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/28/2006
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 4000127161901
catalogNumber: 16190
Rank: 199870

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pee Wee King   Primary Artist
Jethro Burns   Mandolin
Floyd Cramer   Piano
Dick Marx   Piano,Vocals
Harold Bradley   Electric Guitar
Johnny Frigo   Fiddle
Dick Glasser   Vocals
Buddy Harman   Drums
Hoyt Hawkins   Vocals
Gordon Stoker   Vocals
Farris Coursey   Drums
Ray C. Walker   Vocals
Neal Matthews   Vocals
Neal Burris   Guitar
Dolores Dahl   Vocals
Eugene Schuler   Electric Banjo
Charles Adams   Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Johnnie Lee Wills   Composer
Benny Goodman   Composer
Lionel Hampton   Composer
Woody Herman   Composer
Ted Weems   Composer
Lenny Dee   Composer
Leon McAuliffe   Composer
Pee Wee King   Composer
Redd Stewart   Composer
Cliffie Stone   Composer
Georgie Auld   Composer
Nick Boldi   Composer
Billy Briggs   Composer
Felice Bryant   Composer
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Joe Darion   Composer
Dick Glasser   Composer
Charles Randolph Grean   Composer
Linda Peters   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Winfield Scott   Composer
Rich Kienzle   Liner Notes
Larry Coleman   Composer
Jerry Irby   Composer
Joe Bishop   Composer
Jack Rollins   Composer
Walter Schumann   Composer
Marle Travis   Composer
Cy Coben   Composer
Merl Lindsay   Composer

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