Deja Music. OK – that is bad but it fits. The sounds on the disc are raw but very familiar. After all, most of us have heard Chuck Berry and company. Which bring us to the (lame) term, Deja Music. That is, the roots of early rhythm and blues were (mostly) homogenous and as such, there was a similarity among the songs. Flash forward to today and this genre is immediately recognizable.
Which begs the question, do we really need another comp of an entrenched genre? This music is one of the corner stones in the creation of rock, soul and funk. Without rhythm and blues there would be no Beatles, no Patti Smith and no Insane Clown Posse (two out of three isn’t bad). This release gives us a chance to listen to the bands who were on the smaller labels and on the periphery. Their music circulated below the popular radar due to poor distribution, promotion or lack of money. This genre is more than just comps with Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley.
Musically speaking, I am not a fan of this era but the rawness of this disc has gotten me to take a second look. I can almost see the dance floor and its revelers. The groove is infectious and was at the time something primal. Which has served as a reminder that this music was once something new and that it shook up the social/political spectrum in the USA. Initially this was race music and operated strictly along color lines. Due to the overwhelming popularity these distinctions would cease to exist and the term would disappear. Which is one factor in the lead up to even more changes. It is an oversimplification but the social norm was definitely altered and it would help (no matter how small) lead to an even bigger upheaval. It is easy to see how the establishment saw this rather innocent music (to us) as subversive.
I know I have not really described the music but as I stated if you know Chuck Berry (or any Rhythm and Blues) then you know this. If you don’t then you really need to get this – as you are missing out on an essential genre.
Definitely worth your money – both as a historical document and as a great listen.