Tuesday, April 28, 2015

R is for Little Richard & Rhiannon Giddens

Little Richard or Richard Wayne Penniman is an American singer and pianist, he was born on December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia. He is one of the many pioneering figures of rok n' roll. He is most known for his flashy and colorful sense of style and personality and for hits like "Tutti-Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally".  Richard had to grow up very quickly; when he was only 13 years old his father kicked him out due to his sexuality of which he was very much against it. This left Richard   homeless; fortunately, soon after Richard was adopted by family who owned a club in Macon Georgia where he began performing in.
    In 1951 Richard performed at an Atlanta radio station which earned him a deal with RCA Records; however because his sound was something that couldn't be defined or placed into a box, he didn't quite make the impact he would later on and as a result he didn't take off with RCA. In 1955 he met Record Producer Art Rupe who lead him to record his first hit "Tutti-Frutti" which became an instant hit, which garnered even more hits. This single moment catapulted Richard into super stardom. Many artist went on to cop his style or in other words cover his songs. Some of those artist were Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Richard went on to obtain parts in rock films and several television shows. He went on to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and he won the Lifetime Achievement Award for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1993, continuing to win awards and recognition for his work throughout much of his career. 
    In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview in 2013  he stated that he was retiring, as a result of having a series of health related issues, he was finally ready to settle down a bit and rest. No matter what though, there is no one that can mention rock n roll and not mention Little Richard; he sat out to make an impact and that he did. All one needs to do is put on one of his records and you'll instantly know that loud, screaming voice filled with rock, blues, funk and bit of jazz and gospel in the mix and you can't help but to get out of your sit and do a two step.


Rhiannon Giddens is an American singer and muscian, formally the frontwoman of Carolina Chocolate Drops made her mark with the group but eventually felt it was time to move on and pursue a solo career. She released her first solo album titled "Tomorrow Is My Turn" earlier this year in February. While  Giddens may not be full on rock n roll, in her solo effort she manages to incorporate a wide range of sounds, such as her signature folk, blues, jazz , gospel and bit of what she considers "proto-rock n roll". I've only learned about Giddens this year when beginning my search for artist to cover but I have become instantly addicted to her voice; which is jazzy and sultry but one that could put you to sleep. She reminds me of a Sade or Amel Larrieux but with a folk twist. For more back story on Giddens refer back to this blog: Carolina Chocolate Drops (Rhiannon Giddens)


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