Westchester County, New York State resident Lloyd Price vaulted to the top of the charts in 1952 with his initial release, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” followed by subsequent big hits singles, “Stagger Lee,” and “Personality,” that were covered by diverse artists such as the Beatles, James Brown, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, even Frank Sinatra, among countless popular, mainstream artists. Today the Kenner, Louisiana-born and raised Price is eighty-four, and after an amazing run of non-music related, yet very successful business ventures. Among which are boxing promotion, sports equipment, middle income Bronx housing construction, nightclub owner, and a lucrative cookie manufacturing operation that sells its sweets to Walmart, and so much more. Lloyd Price, the 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee tirelessly returns to recording music again. Which brings us to Price’s 2017 recording “This Is Rock and Roll,” an album that features ten tunes; five of which were co-authored by Price, two that were solely written by Price, and three cover tunes.
The leadoff track is authored by co-producers Lloyd Price, and Randy Choice “I’m Getting Over You.” Instead of going for an anticipated retro sound, it is immediately apparent that they are going for a mid-1980’s mix. Like it or not, give the Price team props for not sitting on their laurels as they (unexpectedly) rock-out with vigor a la Don Henley’s “All She Wants to do is Dance.” Price’s “Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore” brings the horn-fueled rhythmic funk, not Big Easy funk, good urban funk with an effective kick. The Karl Harris/Price “The Smoke” is old-school soul with synch keyboards and a throbbing bassline that veers off to “You’re the Smoke – I’m the Fire” that sounds a bit Malaco Records dated, though the keyboard work by anyone of five listed keyboard players is ear-catching. Price’s “Our World” has a cool seventies Curtis Mayfield/Super-Fly like soul groove that’s righteous and mostly to the point. Checkout the updated swinging vamp on Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill”. Yeah, it’s a bit campy, but it’s cool, especially when they bring in the tasty horn-section. How about the Jimmy Reed/Lloyd Price album title track, “This is Rock and Roll” which sounds as if it was recorded at a juke-joint, marred by a short, but over the top guitar solo, by one of the three listed guitarists, but culminates like a weird train-wreck. Price and Chance take songwriting credits on the brief “I Can’t Help Myself Interlude,” that fortunately segues to The Four Top’s cover of the Holland/Dozier/Holland, “I Can’t Help Myself,” where I could have done without the addition of the oddly chanted “Oowa Chukka’s” vocal repetitions. The King/Goffin “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” focuses on Price’s current day voice that for a man in his mid-eighties works surprisingly well, but the song is an odd inclusion, although pretty and tasteful, it really doesn’t belong in this collection. One more Fats Domino cover, “I’m Walkin’,” like the earlier Fats cover of “Blueberry Hill,” also swings mightily with a solid bassline and a killer horn-section. The album closes with the mostly instrumental Price/Choice authored, “Belly Movement,” also an odd choice that has me wondering; what were these co-producers thinking?
I suppose Price’s previous musical performances from nearly twenty years ago explains why he returned to touring during the nineties as part of the “Four Kings Of Rhythm And Blues” package on which he was joined by co-era greats; Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler and Ben E. King. Though I’m not certain this 2017 Lloyd Price edition, while interesting, will serve him as well when he was one of the “Four Kings of Rhythm and Blues,” or likely and needless to say, as when he ran a string of forever memorable hits from the fifties. But given Mr. Price’s long list of accomplishments; never count Lloyd Price out. He’s amazingly resourceful and successful. So much so, checkout, “This Is Rock and Roll” at your favorite music outlet(s,) or at his website; www.LloydPriceMusic.com
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