Richard Penniman, one of the true subversive heroes of the Twentieth Century, and the writer and performer of some of the most far-out songs ever to enter the mainstream.
By the time the sixties came around, Little Richard had tasted success, controversy and a return to the church.
Like so many American artists who emerged from the 1950s, Little Richard seemed to be troubled by a morality problem associated with performing rock n roll music.
The propaganda was strong; rock n roll was the devil's music, and those who championed it were demons, diabolists: sinners!
After a brief absence, and a chance for Penniman to redeem his soul, the original Upsetter returned to the road; he couldn't stay away, and by the mid-sixties he was back, embracing the rock n roll lifestyle in a gloriously big way, apparently deciding, in a truly Satanic manner: if you can't be good then you may as well be wicked.
He also added blues, soul and funk to his ever increasingly flamboyant and outrageous stage shows.
This album comes out of that period, and features a very eclectic Little Richard: soulful and deep; wild and frantic.
It also includes a Penniman composition that has always been one of my favourite Mothers of Invention tracks, and what has to be one of the greatest covers of all time: 'Directly From My Heart', from Weasels Ripped My Flesh, deliciously belted out by Don 'Sugarcane' Harris, supported by his own tasty violin licks and Zappa's thuggish guitar accompaniment.
Just goes to prove that nothing comes from nothing: everything comes from something.
The Wild and Frantic Little Richard (1966)
Baby What Do You Want Me To Do?
Do the Jerk
Directly From My Heart
Good Golly Miss Molly
Send Me Some Lovin'
Groovy Little Suzy
Baby Don't You Want a Man Like Me?
Do You Feel It
Slippin' and Slidin'
Vinyl rip @320kbs
Some crackles and pops, mainly on outs
Get Wild and Frantic here
I'm sure this must have been a popular play in the Zappa household; not only does it feature the original of 'Directly' but it also includes Little Richard's cover of B.B. King's 'Baby Don't You Want a Man Like Me?' A track that must surely have been the inspiration for Zappa's mid-seventies composition 'Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me?'
In case you want to hear the Mothers' even-better than the original version of Little Richard's blues classic; I've put the two versions back to back for your pleasure and comparison here