His first album remastered from the original mono tapes.
One of the great R&B long-players of the '50s, Here's Larry Williams collects nearly all of the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter's key work ("Bad Boy" and 1967's "Mercy Mercy Mercy" are the only truly essential tracks missing), and a bunch of smokin' obscurities besides. Listening to these tracks, it's clear why John Lennon was such a huge Larry Williams fan; his rough-and-ready no-bull voice is elastic enough to move from a Little Richard trill to a Ray Charles growl, and songs like "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Short Fat Fannie" are raucous enough to be punk rock nearly a full two decades before the concept was even in existence. Of the lesser-known tracks, the giddy Buddy Holly-meets-Richard Berry "You Bug Me, Baby" and the salacious "Little School Girl," featuring a good and greasy sax solo, are the highlights; on the downside, "Ting A Ling" is as slight and tossed-off as its title, and the intrusive female chorus that sounds like it made the wrong turn from the Rosemary Clooney session down the hall is just plain awful. ~ Stewart Mason