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Released 7 February


Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol. 1

Various Artists


Mapped out as a series of four CDs covering female artists from the 50s and early 60s, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Kittens Vol. 1 – Friction Heat’ focuses on traditional rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. With twenty-five tracks featuring the likes of Etta James, Ella Mae Morse, Janis Martin, Patti Page et al, the first volume in this new series gets off to a flyer with Big Maybelle providing the hairdryer treatment via ‘Rock House’. There’s further quality in store with already mentioned Ella Mae Morse who provides an utterly convincing performance with the anxious emotions of excellent ’40 Cups Of Coffee’ complete with big band accompaniment. More greatness follows with rock ‘n’ roll offering ‘Let’s Elope Baby’ from Janis Martin, and rhythm and blues of Annisteen Allen’s ‘Lies, Lies, Lies’. The Ray Charles classic ‘I Got A Woman’ is given a slightly different spin by Jo Stafford by renaming it to ‘I Got A Sweetie’ that runs like a well-oiled machine, which is hardly surprising given the singer’s background as a trained opera singer. Normal rockin’ service resumes with the rickety blues of ‘Shot Gun Boogie’ that’s a real delight, especially the rawness of Rosemary Clooney’s voice. In fact, there’s only a few occasions where the compilation falls short and namely the saccharine-sweet vocals of Rosie & Retta during ‘The Hoot-Owl Melody’ and then irksome duo ‘It’s Been Said’ (Nellie Lutcher) and ‘Dance Everybody, Dance’ by Betty Madigan. Otherwise, all is well when it comes to a female front of rock ‘n’ roll and ‘Friction Heat’.

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