Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Translating music from one generation to another can be as difficult as translating an obscure foreign language into your native tongue. But when you start with material as universal as songs from the legendary Sun Records archive -- tunes that form the bedrock of rock 'n' roll as we know it -- the task gets considerably easier. This set of covers, which pairs nuggets from the Sun catalogue with rockers both young and not-so-young, arrives on the coattails of the feature-length film Good Rockin' Tonight, aired as part of PBS's acclaimed American Masters series. Some of these songs were hits, like Elvis's "That's All Right Mama," rendered here by Paul McCartney, who ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Translating music from one generation to another can be as difficult as translating an obscure foreign language into your native tongue. But when you start with material as universal as songs from the legendary Sun Records archive -- tunes that form the bedrock of rock 'n' roll as we know it -- the task gets considerably easier. This set of covers, which pairs nuggets from the Sun catalogue with rockers both young and not-so-young, arrives on the coattails of the feature-length film Good Rockin' Tonight, aired as part of PBS's acclaimed American Masters series. Some of these songs were hits, like Elvis's "That's All Right Mama," rendered here by Paul McCartney, who sounds for all the world as if the performance blasted him back to his days as a starry-eyed Presley worshipper. Others tracks are slightly more obscure, from traditionals borrowed by the original rockabilly cats -- like "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It," done here by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant -- to off-kilter period pieces, such as "Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache," which is treated to a loose, loving reading by Bob Dylan. Elton John can't quite muster up the sexual menace that Jerry Lee Lewis injected into the original "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" -- which isn't altogether surprising, since he's three decades older than the Killer was when his was waxed -- and Live's flaccid "I Walk the Line" doesn't approach Johnny Cash's steely resolve. But for the most part, the 16-song collection matches songs to artists with an affinity for what's going on in the grooves. From the party-'til-you-drop vibe of "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee," captured perfectly by Kid Rock and the Howlin' Diablos, to the lovelorn languor of "Don't Be Cruel," cunningly crooned by Bryan Ferry, the set pays tribute to these Sun sensations in the most basic and vital way: by swinging and rocking.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
If you know anything about rock & roll, you know that Sun Records looms large over the history and mythos of the music -- enough so that it does deserve its own full-fledged tribute what else could suit the home of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, and the Killer, as well as cult icons like Warren Smith, Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley, and the Collins Kids. Still, given the history of tribute records, it's easy to be suspicious about the star-studded 2001 affair Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records, since this equation often equals less than the sum of the parts. However, there is a crucial difference with Sun Records -- if you're truly in love with the label, it's hard not to try to explain your love, which is a decidedly different thing than paying respect. After all, respect implies a certain sense of reserve, and while that's true with some of the cuts here Chris Isaak's "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You," for instance, most of this record is joyous, loose, and fun. It is possible to tell the difference between artists who were kids when they fell in love with Sun, since they're looser with the material, capturing the very feel of the records, where the newer artists -- the Howlin' Diablos and Kid Rock's "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" should by all rights should have been a barnstormer, but the hip-hop affectations lead to a slower tempo and lazy production compared to any of Jerry Lee's breakneck, relentless versions -- seem obsessed with making these songs fit their sound. With the veterans, there is a bit of a tendency to be overly faithful, but it doesn't sink the tribute because the songs are tremendous and most of the artists have giddy love for this stuff. And this really does separate the boys from the men girls from the women, too, since the real artists can hold their own even when they're caged by fan worship -- look at how Tom Petty apes Elvis on "Blue Moon of Kentucky," yet still winds up with a lively, vigorous performance. Some of the featured artists don't really make sense -- no disrespect meant, but who ever thought Matchbox Twenty could do Charlie Rich, especially how they slow "Lonely Weekends" down and turn it all hambone serious although it does take a certain talent to prove that even Charlie Rich can sound post-grunge in the right hands or that Live works for Johnny Cash -- but most of Good Rockin' Tonight is nothing but fine, fine, fine. Tribute albums usually are too slavish to their source or blatantly flaunting how they're deviating from tradition, but this is one of the rare cases where the tribute usually captures the spirit of its subject, and it's a whole lotta fun because of it.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/30/2001
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 643443116527
  • Catalog Number: 31165

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 That's All Right Mama @@Paul McCartney
  2. 2 Mystery Train @@Jeff Beck & Chrissie Hynde
  3. 3 My Bucket's Got a Hole in It @@Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
  4. 4 Blue Suede Shoes @@Johnny Hallyday
  5. 5 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On @@Elton John
  6. 6 Blue Moon of Kentucky @@Tom Petty
  7. 7 Sitting on Top of the World @@Van Morrison & Carl Perkins
  8. 8 Don't Be Cruel @@Brian Ferry
  9. 9 Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache @@Bob Dylan
  10. 10 Walkin' in the Rain @@Eric Clapton
  11. 11 Lonely Weekend @@Matchbox 20
  12. 12 Who Will the Next Fool Be? @@Sheryl Crow
  13. 13 It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You @@Chris Isaak
  14. 14 I Walk the Line @@Live
  15. 15 Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee @@The Howling Diablos & Kid Rock
  16. 16 You Win Again @@Mandy Barnett with the Jordanaires
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Eric Clapton Track Performer
Sheryl Crow Track Performer
Bob Dylan Track Performer
Brian Ferry Track Performer
Chrissie Hynde Track Performer
Elton John Track Performer
Matchbox Twenty Track Performer
Paul McCartney Track Performer
Van Morrison Track Performer
Carl Perkins Track Performer
Tom Petty Track Performer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What A Legacy!

    After watching the PBS special, this is a must own. Especially interesting to see how moved the artists were as they put this collection of songs together. Sad to recall too how many of the Sun pioneers have passed on but all the more reason to cherish this tribute to a great American r 'n r icon. The Jimmy Page/Robert Plant material is classic for Zep fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Good Rockin' To'Vegas!

    Last week I was in Las Vegas, on the way there was a choice of music channels to listen to. One of them was playing this album, and I have to say... WOW! Being a huge Elvis fan this was just the thing to get me in the holiday spirit. All the tracks on this album 100% rock and I am out to buy it as soon as I have made up my Vegas losses!

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