Back on Top

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Back on Top might be a slight overstatement in regards to Carl Perkins' late-'60s return to Columbia. He did not quite tear up the charts but he did have a considerable comeback, especially in terms of quality, creating music that arguably surpassed his Sun recordings in depth and range, even if it didn't produce any songs as iconic as "Blue Suede Shoes" or "Matchbox." This resurgence -- partially fueled by having been Johnny Cash's wingman -- on Columbia and his subsequent short stint at Mercury is documented on Bear Family's four-disc box set Back on Top, its title a play on the name of his 1969 album On Top, which peaked at 42. All his master recordings from ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Back on Top might be a slight overstatement in regards to Carl Perkins' late-'60s return to Columbia. He did not quite tear up the charts but he did have a considerable comeback, especially in terms of quality, creating music that arguably surpassed his Sun recordings in depth and range, even if it didn't produce any songs as iconic as "Blue Suede Shoes" or "Matchbox." This resurgence -- partially fueled by having been Johnny Cash's wingman -- on Columbia and his subsequent short stint at Mercury is documented on Bear Family's four-disc box set Back on Top, its title a play on the name of his 1969 album On Top, which peaked at 42. All his master recordings from On Top until 1973's excellent My Kind of Country are here -- including his NRBQ-supported 1970 set Boppin' the Blues -- along with a disc that's billed as demos, but these aren't stripped-down guitar-and-voice things from Carl; they're full-fledged band records, raw and vigorous, not so much an addendum to the rest of this box but a complete unreleased album that helps illustrate how Perkins was flourishing during this time. Perkins music during these five years built upon his Sun rockabilly, taking him further into country -- both honky tonk and melodic pop -- touching on folk and blues, plus a little bit of gospel and lots of lean rock & roll. Not surprisingly given his affiliation with the Man in Black, it's not far removed from Cash's records from this time, but Perkins' music is looser and not as hokey as some of Johnny's LPs from this period -- there aren't any kitschy Americana albums or songs for children -- and there's something charming about Perkins' casual, almost off-hand delivery. The wiry rockabilly cat is long gone, he's easing into his middle age, his voice getting a little rounder and warmer, which suits the rich tapestry of American music he plays here. He continually revisited his Sun songs, which may have been part of a contractual obligation, but these versions weren't tossed-off rip-offs of the originals, or self-conscious reworkings: they were full-blooded revisions representing where Perkins was at then, whether it's how "Dixie Fried" turned into a rowdy honky tonk shuffle or how he turned "All Mama's Children" turned into something a little funky with the assistance of NRBQ. These new versions -- fuller than the bare-bones Sun classics -- give a good indication of how rich this period was for Perkins, and they fit nicely between his own versions of his originals like "Daddy Sang Bass," covers of country hits like "Honky Tonky Song," and plenty of other country, folk, and rock & roll gems, plus a lot of terrific finger-picking from this peerless guitarist. All in all, it's as convincing an argument for Carl Perkins' greatness as any of his other sets, possibly more so as it captures him at the peak of his artistic maturity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/12/2000
  • Label: Imports
  • EAN: 4000127164223
  • Catalog Number: 16422
  • Sales rank: 202,271

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Constantly (2:40)
  2. 2 Restless (2:45)
  3. 3 1143 (2:27)
  4. 4 Little Cowboy Suit (2:51)
  5. 5 Blue Suede Shoes (2:21)
  6. 6 Matchbox (2:25)
  7. 7 Honey Don't (2:51)
  8. 8 Turn Around (2:52)
  9. 9 Daddy Sang Bass (2:14)
  10. 10 That's Right (2:48)
  11. 11 Boppin' the Blues (2:25)
  12. 12 Your True Love (1:58)
  13. 13 Folsom Prison Blues (2:32)
  14. 14 Mean Woman Blues (2:10)
  15. 15 Take It or Leave It (2:12)
  16. 16 Walk with Your Neighbor (2:52)
  17. 17 For Your Love (3:00)
  18. 18 Four Letter Word (2:30)
  19. 19 Soul Beat (2:13)
  20. 20 Baby, What You Want Me to Do (2:40)
  21. 21 Superfool (1:57)
  22. 22 Champaign, Illinois (3:03)
  23. 23 Riverboat Annie (2:56)
  24. 24 A Lion in the Jungle (2:26)
  25. 25 Power of My Soul (3:02)
  26. 26 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (2:47)
  27. 27 C.C. Rider (You're So Bad) (3:03)
  28. 28 I'm Gonna Set My Foot Down (2:00)
  29. 29 Boppin' the Blues (2:45)
  30. 30 Sorry Charlie (4:00)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Allergic to Love (2:49)
  2. 2 Turn Around (3:04)
  3. 3 All Mama's Children (1:59)
  4. 4 Step Aside (1:16)
  5. 5 Just Coastin' (1:29)
  6. 6 My Son, My Su (3:32)
  7. 7 State of Confusion (2:51)
  8. 8 The Big City Sleeps (3:08)
  9. 9 True Love Is Greater Then Friendship (2:34)
  10. 10 What Every Little Boy Ought to Know (3:22)
  11. 11 Just as Long (2:27)
  12. 12 I'll Fly Away (2:46)
  13. 13 Me Without You (3:56)
  14. 14 Always Be Mine (2:45)
  15. 15 Red Headed Woman (2:36)
  16. 16 Take Me Back to Memphis (3:24)
  17. 17 About All I Can Give Is My Love (2:37)
  18. 18 You Won't Have to Say You Love Me (2:19)
  19. 19 Cotton Top (2:26)
  20. 20 High on Love (2:31)
  21. 21 Always Be Mine (3:05)
  22. 22 Let Me Be the One You Love (3:07)
  23. 23 Baby's Gone (2:37)
  24. 24 So Warm (2:56)
  25. 25 The Trip (4:08)
  26. 26 I Still Miss Someone (3:09)
  27. 27 The Last Letter (3:35)
  28. 28 Someday (2:56)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Help Me Dream (2:54)
  2. 2 Bless the Children (2:23)
  3. 3 You Tore My Heaven All to Hell (2:33)
  4. 4 One More Loser Going Home (2:38)
  5. 5 Going to Memphis (2:58)
  6. 6 Lord, I Sinned Again Last Night (2:47)
  7. 7 Just as Long (2:21)
  8. 8 Dixie Fried (2:58)
  9. 9 Honky Tonk Song (2:15)
  10. 10 Love Sweet Love (2:35)
  11. 11 Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town (2:43)
  12. 12 Never Look Back (2:52)
  13. 13 Sunday Dinner (3:01)
  14. 14 Sing My Song (2:28)
  15. 15 I Want to Be Your Man (2:28)
  16. 16 You'll Always Be a Lady to Me (2:52)
  17. 17 Rise and Shine (2:28)
  18. 18 Mean, Mean Martha (2:27)
  19. 19 Low Class (2:43)
  20. 20 I Ain' Mad (2:37)
  21. 21 The E.P. Express (2:30)
  22. 22 Big Bad Blues (2:47)
  23. 23 Restless (2:51)
  24. 24 Honey Don't (2:51)
  25. 25 Turn Around (2:53)
  26. 26 That's Right (2:48)
  27. 27 Walk with Your Neighbor (2:52)
  28. 28 For Your Love (2:53)
  29. 29 Four Letter Word (2:23)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Cotton Top (2:55)
  2. 2 Good Times Are Just Around the Corner (2:22)
  3. 3 Born Equal (3:14)
  4. 4 Step It up and Go (1:51)
  5. 5 The Big City Sleeps (3:39)
  6. 6 Bottoms Up (2:22)
  7. 7 Poor Boy Blues (2:34)
  8. 8 When You're a Man on Your Own (2:08)
  9. 9 Take a Good Look at Me (3:05)
  10. 10 Restless (2:33)
  11. 11 The Bottom of the Bottle (2:51)
  12. 12 Sorry Charlie (2:17)
  13. 13 Wild Card (2:20)
  14. 14 So Wrong (2:24)
  15. 15 So Wrong (3:09)
  16. 16 The Lord's Fishing Hole (4:03)
  17. 17 Going to Memphis (2:58)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Carl Perkins Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Jimmy Reed Composer
Johnny Cash Composer
Mel Tillis Composer
Sonny Burgess Composer
John Lennon Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Carl Perkins Composer
Alan Lomax Composer
Larry Butler Producer
Jerry Kennedy Producer
Albert E. Brumley Composer
Michael Ochs Illustrations
Vic Anesini Track Mix
R.A. Andreas Illustrations
Richard Weize Reissue Producer
Jurgen Crasser Mastering
Colin Excott Liner Notes
Holger Von Bargen Art Direction
Claude Demetrius Composer
Roy Cash Composer
Bill Denny Producer
Wolfgang Taubenauer Artwork
Asja Esha Artwork
Hollie Dew Composer
Buck Peddy Composer
Howard Griffin Composer
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