Concord Music Group has reissued Little Richard’s debut album, Here’s Little Richard, with remastered sound and bonus tracks. Despite the album being 55 years old, it still remains a blast of pure rock ‘n’ roll energy. This practically plays as a greatest hits album as it contains several of Little Richard’s trademark cuts. The album opens with “Tutti Frutti,” making it indispensable right from the get-go. But its dozen tracks also include the classics “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Ready Teddy,” “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” and “Jenny Jenny.”
Though the album clocks in at a brisk 28 minutes (this expanded reissue runs 45 minutes, more on that later), there isn’t a wasted moment. Richard’s raw, bluesy vocals are still among the most distinctive in all of rock ‘n’ roll. His pounding piano graces all but two tracks, “Oh Why?” and “Baby.” The growling saxes of Lee Allen and Alvin “Red” Tyler (on tenor and baritone, respectively) contribute immeasurably to the excitement as well. The lesser-known tracks are no less vital, including a powerful cover of Lloyd Price’s “Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave.” This music is as essential as anything of its era.
Here’s Little Richard has been expanded to include three bonus audio tracks and two videos. The first two bonus tracks are demos for “Baby” and the non-album track “All Night Long.” These tracks were an audition tape for Specialty Records, which initially failed to make a great impression on the label founder Art Rupe. They are pretty tame by Little Richard’s standards, which only makes them more interesting to hear. The third bonus track is a nine minute interview with Rupe. The videos were screen tests for the film The Girl Can’t Help It and feature Little Richard lip-syncing to “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.” New liner notes by Lee Hildebrand complete this excellent reissue.