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Presse Archiv - Carl Perkins - The Classic Carl Perkins (5-CD) - Philadelphia Inquirer

Reviewed by Ken Tucker

CARL PERKINS The Classic Carl Perkins (Bear Family ****)

A revelation: If all you know about Carl Perkins is "Blue Suede Shoes," "Honey Don't" and maybe the great "Dixie Fried," you may have Perkins pegged as a limited artist, the least interesting of the first generation of Sun Records rockers. That's how I felt until I spent time with this five-compact-disc collection, which demonstrates Perkins' range, inspiration and surprisingly subtle sense of humor.

All the hits are here — in multiple takes. (Only obsessives will want to hear all three ver-sions of "Blue Suede Shoes"; on the other hand, I treasure the two takes of the honky-tonking "Let the Jukebox Keep on Playing.") Perkins recorded some powerful, unheralded country material (including a great version of Jimmie Rodgers' "Sweethearts or Strang-ers"), some dreadful pop ("Pink Pedal Pushers" — ugh) and lots of blues-inflected, idiosyncratic rock. When he tried to push his success into a hipster's formula ("Put Your Cat Clothes On" was the limit for me), he failed artistically, but there are a lot of commercial flops here that sound terrific today. (

 
 

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Carl Perkins: The Classic Carl Perkins (5-CD)

Other companies have Carl Perkins sets, but no one else has all the Sun recordings (complete - with some previously unissued) as well as his Columbia recordings from 1958-1962, and everything he cut for Decca between 1963 and 1965. We start in 1954 with the early rockabilly sound of 'Honky Tonk Gal', then the early country singles, and then 'Blue Suede Shoes' and those classic Sun rockabilly tracks. We have Your True Love at its original...

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