Wednesday, June 08, 2016


Specialty Records — an imprint of the Concord Bicycle Music Group — is pleased to announce the release of Mono Box: The Complete Specialty and Vee-Jay Albums:  a deluxe, 5-LP box set that celebrates one of the most influential entertainers in popular music history, Little Richard. The collection includes the entire output of studio albums that Little Richard had recorded for both the Specialty and Vee-Jay labels, spanning 1957–1965. The albums, each featuring original label and jacket art, have been meticulously remastered from analog tapes and are presented in their original mono mixes. Completing the collection is a 16-page booklet featuring new liner notes by journalist Bill Dahl, plus era-specific photos.

In the early ’50s, Little Richard Penniman combined the spirit of church music, the bawdiness of blues and the swing of New Orleans jazz and turned it into something altogether new — rock ’n’ roll.  When the Macon, Georgia native signed to Art Rupe’s Specialty Records, Little Richard began to develop his signature sound and flamboyant persona. His legendary debut album, Here’s Little Richard (1957), is a bold introduction to the artist, featuring the iconic tracks “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.” His 1958 follow-up, Little Richard, finds the singer on his rise to superstardom, with hits like “Lucille,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and the title track of Jayne Mansfield hit flick The Girl Can't Help It, in which Little Richard appeared. The artist’s third and final album for Specialty, The Fabulous Little Richard (1959), was released soon after Richard had traded in a life of fame to focus on spreading the gospel. The LP featured standout tracks from Richard’s 1955-57 Specialty sessions, including “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” “Lonesome and Blue” and “Kansas City.”

Having taken several years out of the spotlight to focus on religion, Little Richard returned to his rock ’n’ roll roots in the early ’60s. This period kicked off with a successful European tour, followed by a new record contract with Vee-Jay Records. His first release with the label was 1964’s Little Richard Is Back — a triumphant collection of old favorites and new tunes, with a backing band that featured a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Richard’s second and final studio release with Vee-Jay was 1965’s His Greatest Hits. Despite the name, this album is not a compilation, but rather features the singer revisiting his classic hits nearly a decade later, introducing new arrangements and instrumentation. In his liner notes for the Mono Box, musicologist Bill Dahl writes, “As the end of the decade grew near and the first rock and roll revival loomed, Richard emerged at its forefront, his outrageous image earning him overdue network TV exposure.” Indeed, by the end of his tenure on Vee-Jay, Richard had firmly cemented his status as a rock ’n’ roll legend. Dahl continues, “It’s impossible to imagine how the genre would have developed if not for his massive innovations.”

Mono Box: The Complete Specialty and Vee-Jay Albums will be released July 15th on Specialty Records.

Little Richard Mono Box: The Complete Specialty and Vee-Jay Albums 
Track List

Disc 1: Here’s Little Richard
A1. Tutti Frutti
A2. True, Fine Mama
A3. Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave
A4. Ready Teddy
A5. Baby
A6. Slippin’ and Slidin’
B1. Long Tall Sally (The Thing)
B2. Miss Ann
B3. Oh Why?
B4. Rip it Up
B5. Jenny Jenny
B6. She’s Got It

Disc 2: Little Richard
A1. Keep a Knockin’
A2. By the Light of the Silvery Moon
A3. Send Me Some Lovin’
A4. I’ll Never Let You Go (Boo Hoo Hoo Hoo)
A5. Heeby-Jeebies
A6. All Around the World
B1. Good Golly, Miss Molly
B2. Baby Face
B3. Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey
B4. Ooh! My Soul
B5. The Girl Can’t Help It
B6. Lucille

Disc 3: The Fabulous Little Richard
A1. Shake a Hand
A2. Chicken Little Baby
A3. All Night Long
A4. The Most I Can Offer
A5. Lonesome and Blue
A6. Wonderin’
A7. She Knows How to Rock
B1. Kansas City
B2. Directly from My Heart
B3. Maybe I’m Right
B4. Early One Morning
B5. I’m Just a Lonely Guy (All Alone)
B6. Whole Lotta Shakin’

Disc 4: Little Richard Is Back
A1. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
A2. Goin’ Home Tomorrow
A3. Money Honey
A4. Only You
A5. Hound Dog
A6. Goodnight Irene
B1. Lawdy Miss Claudie
B2. Groovy Little Suzy
B3. Short Fat Fanny
B4. Cherry Red
B5. Memories are Made of This
B6. Blueberry Hill

Disc 5: His Greatest Hits
A1. Good Golly Miss Molly
A2. Baby Face
A3. Tutti-Frutti
A4. Send Me Some Loving
A5. The Girl Can’t Help It
A6. Lucille
B1. Slippin’ and Slidin’
B2. Keep a Knockin’
B3. Rip It Up
B4. She’s Got It
B5. Oh My Soul
B6. Long Tall Sally

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