Classic

Early Rock n’ Roll

Please Please Me by The Beatles

While far from their greatest album, The Beatles’ first release Please Please Me perfectly captures the group as they transition from the roots rock group they were into the worldwide phenomenon they would become.

Review of Please Please Me

Chuck Berry

During the decade of the 1950s, Chuck Berry went from a part-time musician playing local gigs to supplement his income to one of the most successful and influential artists of the era.

Chuck Berry in the 1950s

Elvis Christmas Album by Elvis Presley

Released during the height of his initial popularity, Elvis Presley recorded a 20th century classic in just a few days in 1957. Elvis’ Christmas Album, in its many versions and incarnations, has gone on to sell over 13 million copies through the decades.

Review of Elvis’ Christmas Album

 


Motown / Soul

Live at the Apollo by James Brown

In 1962, James Brown entered the mecca of R&B theaters and tore the roof off, resulting in the incredible 1963 album, Live at the Apollo. The album was independently produced and financed by Brown and acted as the catalyst which launched phenomenal success for years to come.

Review of Live at the Apollo

 

Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin

The January 1968 release Lady Soul, Aretha Franklin‘s 14th overall studio album, captures the artist’s momentum as she evolved from Gospel singer to pop and soul superstar with a fine mix of pop singles, interpretive covers and thoughtful, original compositions.

Review of Lady Soul

 


R&B / Gospel

Bo Diddley

Although Bo Diddley only had charting hits from the mid 1950s into the early 1960s, his incredible influence, musical longevity and developer of one of rock n’ roll’s most signature beats, have combined to make him a true legend.

More on Bo Diddley

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

A huge pioneer in the popularization of Gospel music and the development of rhythm and blues, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was also an influence on rock and roll during its first few decades of existence.

More on Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Dr John's Gumbo

A bit of a turn away from his early psychedelic-influenced work. Dr. John’s Gumbo is a finely performed and produced tribute to the distinct, traditional music of Dr. John‘s hometown of New Orleans.

Review of Dr. John’s Gumbo

 


Jazz

Milestones by Miles DavisThe 1958 Miles Davis album Milestones met a juncture of classic jazz and blues with a fused intro of modalism and free form soloing. The album is also notable as the first and only recording with Davis’ original sextet.

Review of Milestones

 


Classic Americana

Tracy Chapman 1988 debut

Although it arrived with little fanfare, Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album quickly grew to became a landmark revival album for the singer/songwriter tradition.

More on Tracy Chapman

 


The Blues

Delta Blues image

Through the summer of 2016, we will be focusing on the great American genre of The Blues.

History of the Blues, Part 1
History of the Blues, Part 2


Other Traditional Genres

In the near future, Roots Rock Review will cover the rich potpourri of (mainly) American genres from the beginnings of recorded music in the early 20th century through 1964 (our sister publication Classic Rock Review covers form 1965 forward). Some of theses early genres we will cover include:

  • Classic Country
  • Bluegrass
  • Pop / Big Band
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