Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Carl Perkins

  • Original Golden Hits [Sun, 1969]
  • Ol' Blue Suede's Back [Jet, 1978] C+
  • Original Sun Greatest Hits [Rhino, 1986]
  • The Very Best of Carl Perkins: Blue Suede Shoes [Collectables, 1998] A

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Original Golden Hits [Sun, 1969]
[CG70s: A Basic Record Library]

Ol' Blue Suede's Back [Jet, 1978]
Perkins was never an Elvis or a Jerry Lee or even a Gene Vincent, and Ricky Nelson, for instance, put more good rock and roll on record. Young Blue Suede's Original Golden Hits is still in catalogue on Sun, and (for completeness freaks) his entire Sun output is available on three Charly imports. Excepting "That's Alright Mama," nothing on this Nashville we-can-too-rock-'n'-roll session conveys the verve and discovery of even his optional '50s stuff. C+

Original Sun Greatest Hits [Rhino, 1986]
[CG80: Rock Library: Before 1980]

The Very Best of Carl Perkins: Blue Suede Shoes [Collectables, 1998]
Subtly bopping the essence of blues growl and juke-joint thrust, he was more adult, more regional, and more threatening than the Everlys or Buddy Holly. That's one reason he so quickly became a specialty taste artistically and a Nashville born-againer commercially, beloved by guitar adepts and romanticizers of Dixie-fried fundamentalism but legendary for one definitive song only. The guitar people have a point--while no James Burton, he had more jam than Scotty Moore and would have gotten where he got without Moore or his big boss man. But if that's all there was to him, he'd deserve to be a specialty taste. It's the songwriting that has reach. "Blue Suede Shoes" aside, these ditties seem to be trifles. Say you will when you won't. Put your cat clothes on. Or your pink pedal pushers. So now you try to do it--in 2:46, 2:48, and 2:25 respectively. Fine is the line between a spontaneous throwaway and a miraculous miniature. A

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]