Mojo (Publisher) - p.953 stars out of 5
-- "[With] arias of sex, sorrow and celebration with snorting sax solos, plus Ace's impeccable sound, notes and packaging."
Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
Covering Brown's most fertile period of 1947-1954, Good Rocking Tonight is the second of three Route 66 volumes covering rare sides by the jump blues star. Same as the first collection, Laughing But Crying, this disc nicely fills in gaps left by high-profile titles from Rhino and King. The focus is on a mix of rough-and-ready R&B and after-hours blues, with alternate takes of hits like "Good Rocking Tonight" and "Mighty, Mighty Man" giving collectors something to relish. Most impressive, though, are breakneck-tempo cuts like "Whose Hat Is That" and the infamous "Butcher Pete, Pt. 2" (the blues lyrical taste for sexual double entendre reaching over-the-top levels on the latter). Besides matching the speed of bebop, the frantic energy of these and many other sides Brown cut during the late '40s and early '50s shores up the singer's place as a rock & roll pioneer. On the other hand, Brown also influenced the gospel-based world of soul with pathos-ridden and urbane blues like "Brown Angel." And putting further pay to the singer's impressive flexibility -- not to mention his admitted admiration for crooner Bing Crosby -- he delivers a velvety cool vocal performance on "Teenage Jamboree." In light of all the musical wealth herein, then, it's definitely a shame this and the other Brown titles on Route 66 are only to be found in the used bins; interested listeners are advised to first run out and get Rhino's retrospective, the namesake collection Good Rocking Tonight, before putting in time scouring the local record emporium. ~ Stephen Cook