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Various Artists

Alan Freed - A Hundred Years Of Rock 'n' Roll

Review by Gary Hill

You might wonder about the title of this release. You are probably thinking, "Ummm....rock and roll isn't 100 years old." You would absolutely be right. It's not. However, this was released to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of early rock and roll's biggest supporters, Alan Freed.

This set includes a nice mix of spoken radio bits from the time and musical performances. It really gives you the feeling of listening to 1950s radio in a lot of ways. Plus, there is some great music here. This is Bear Family so you know the packaging is nice, and that's shown via the extensive and informative booklet included in the digipack.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Intro / Ronnie Aldrich & The Squadronaires - Rock 'n' Roll Boogie
There is some driving, jazzy rock and roll at the start of this. Little spoken clips are heard in the mix as it continues. Then it shifts out into the actual tune, a classy rock and roller that's catchy and fun. The horns on this number deliver some real style, particularly on the solo.
Freed's Apology-The Moondog House Radio Show-WJW Cleveland
This is, as you might expect, a spoken piece.        
Freddie Mitchell Orchestra - Moon Dog Boogie
Here we get a swinging number that has some great horn playing.
Radio Intro-WJW Cleveland
And, now, it's time for another spoken piece. There is a musical section in this. It's a bluesy kind of jazzy romp, that is slow and so tasty. Eventually the announcer returns to continue.
Gil Bernal - The Whip
This is a powerhouse jazz jam. It's packed full of energy and classy groove. That bass is seriously jamming.
Beer Commercial-WJW Cleveland
Who doesn't love a beer commercial? Well, I know Homer Simpson and I both love them. As Mr. Simpson would say, "mmmm, beer."
lan Freed & His Rock 'N Roll Band featuring The Modernaires - Only You
This classic doo wop tune gets a cool telling here. This is fun stuff.           
Station I.D. & Commercials-WJW Cleveland
Here we get just what is advertised.
Ernie Andrews - Make Me A Present Of You

Here we get a jazzy love ballad. This is effective, but not so much my kind of thing.

Moondoggers' Bones-WJW Cleveland

There is a lot of percussion behind this spoken piece.

Sam 'The Man' Taylor & His Orchestra - The Big Beat
I dig the groove of this cut. The horn section is classy, and the whole tune just swings with style. The only vocals on this are a few iterations of the title.
Alan Freed – Talks about 'The Blackboard Jungle'-WINS New York
Here we get another spoken piece, but I bet you figured that out.
Alan Freed & His Rock 'N Roll Band, vocal by 'Hal & Al' - (We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock
This is a fun performance of the early rock and roll classic.
Eddie Fontaine - Rock Love
The pattern of one spoken piece followed by a song, and then another spoken clip is broken here as we get a song following another tune. This doo wop styled number that works pretty well. I dig the saxophone work on the cut a lot along with the sax and horn duo.
Outro Eddie Fontaine & Intro Rusty Bryant-Rock'N'Roll Party Radio Show-WINS New York
Here we get a fairly brief spoken piece.
Rusty Bryant & The Carolyn Club Band - Back Street
The honking horns on this get a little annoying, but this rocker still works pretty well. I love the bass work.
Station I.D. & Talks About A Model Agency-WINS New York
The model agency talk is basically a commercial. This is, of course, another spoken part.
Alan Freed & His Rock 'N Roll Band - Teener's Canteen
Bouncing and driving jazzy rock and roll is on the menu here. This is a lot of fun. In fact, I'd consider one of my favorite songs here.
Commercials & Marie Adams Intro-WINS New York
After this commercial, I want to buy some of the car wax he's advertising.
Johnny Otis Orchestra, Marie Adams & Junior Ryder vocal - Boom Diddy Wa Wa
A bouncy jazzy number, this is a fun romp.
Movie Trailer 'The Man Without A Star' & Otis Blackwell Intro-WINS New York
It's hard to imagine a movie trailer without video, but here we have it. It does include a short music performance as part of that trailer.
Otis Blackwell - You Move Me, Baby
I dig the up-tempo energy and groove on this one. It's a fun little number.
Television Commercial & The Charms Intro-WINS New York
This commercial for a Zenith TV is pretty interesting in retrospect.
The Charms - Two Hearts
A rock and roller with some style and charm, this is fun.
Mercury Commercial & High School Radio Station -WINS New York
And, now I want to buy a '55 Mercury.
Alan Freed & His Rock 'N Roll Band - Easy Rock
This jazzy romp is so much fun. It is a classy instrumental.
Furniture Commercial-WINS New York
The musical concept on the commercial is interesting. It seems longer than most jingles today.    
Alan Freed – Talks About Rock And Roll Artists-WINS New York
The format is broken again with two spoken parts in a row.            
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley (with Alan Freed Intro)
I am a big fan of Bo Diddley, so I like this one a lot. It's a good time.
Alan Freed & His Rock 'N Roll Band, vocal by 'Hal & Al' - See You Later Alligator
The whole alternating pattern is completely gone by this point. This is a bouncing rocking groove that works well.
Alan Freed, Steve Allen, Al 'Jazzbo' Collins & The Modernaires - The Space Man
This piece is sort of a theatrical skit with bursts of musical bits. This is a bit cheesy, but also a lot of fun.
Alan Freed – Announcement Rock'N'Roll Dance Party No.1
Here we get another spoken announcement piece.
Little Richard - Lucille (live)
You just have to love Little Richard, right? Come on, he was even Lemmy's favorite singer. This live recording suffers a bit in terms of sound quality, but it certainly has all the energy and fun you expect. This is a bonus track, and I'm really glad it's included.
Jimmy Cavallo & The House Rockers - Rock, Rock, Rock (live)
This is another bonus track, and it's so much fun. The sound quality is better than that on the last tune.
The Johnny Burnette Trio - Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) (with Alan Freed Intro)

This is more of a rockabilly number. It's fun stuff and a nice change.

Chuck Berry - Oh, Baby Doll (with Alan Freed Intro)
What can you say about Chuck Berry that hasn't been said? I think along with Little Richard and Bo Diddley, you have the real fathers of rock and roll. So cool that all three are included here. This rocker is fun stuff.     
The King's Henchmen - Gosah
With a nice combination of jazz and rock and roll, this bouncy little number certainly entertaining and classy.
Jesse Belvin - Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams) (with Alan Freed Intro)

This has a crooner meets rock and roll feeling to it. I'm not crazy about the backing vocals or the string arrangement, but the lead vocals are so smooth and silky.

Alan Freed – Farewell To His Fans-'Big Beat' Rock'N*Roll Dance Party-WNEW-TV Show
This short spoken piece is exactly what it says it is.
 
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