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Best of Rick Nelson
This collection is unavailable from iTunes and Amazon.com, but other collections exist. To search for Rick Nelson at Amazon.com, click here: Rick Nelson

EMI America
CDP 7 46588 2 – DDX 1213

1. Stood Up

2. Waitin’ In School

3. Be-Bop Baby

4. Never Be Anyone Else But You

5. Lonesome Town

6. Poor Little Fool

7. It’s Late

8. Hello Mary Lou

9. Young World

10. Believe What You Say

11. Just A Little Too Much

12. It’s Up To You

13. Teenage Idol

14. Young Emotions

15. Travelin’ Man

Coordination: John Guarnieri
Special thanks to: Bill Inglot, Tina Hopkinson & Richard Stevens

Eric Hilliard (Rick) Nelson was born rich and famous in Teaneck, New Jersey in 1940, the second son of well-known show business personalities Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. When Ricky decided, one day in 1957, that he wanted to make a rock and roll record, Ozzie made a couple of phone calls and the record was soon made. Ricky lip-synched to the record on the Nelson family's weekly TV show and a few days later his name was in the Top Five for the first of many times.

Ricky's first record, a cover of Fats Domino's ''I'm Walkin'" sounds quite a bit like what Pat Boone was doing to Little Richard's material at around the same time.  Fortunately for you the consumer, this recording is not included on this CD. (As a more or less lifelong Ricky Nelson fan, I say this with all due respect).

Ricky's first LP (entitled "Ricky"), released later in 1957, features a lot of great guitar from the ever fabulous Joe Maphis (on the Mosrite doubleneck) but otherwise, what with the weird tempos, goofy background vocals, and Ricky's own strange crooning and warbling, this record sounds completely unconvincing today. (I'm playing it right now so I can say this with total authority ... ).

However, Ricky Nelson loved rock and roll, had a lot of talent, and must have decided around this time that singing was his true calling because by his second LP (entitled "Ricky Nelson") he had begun to transform himself into a fine rock and roller. Ricky wasn't born to rock like Gene Vincent or Jerry Lee Lewis but by 1958 he had begun to acquire confidence and an understanding of his craft. Another thing he had acquired was the amazing James Burton on lead guitar.

Almost any discussion of Ricky Nelson must at some point become a discussion of James Burton because these two guys fit together and complemented one another brilliantly. For anyone who grew up seeing Ricky sing on TV, it's difficult to picture one of these guys without the other. As you can hear in the grooves, they were a great team and together they made many great rock and roll records; records that sound great today, tomorrow, and last Thursday.

Between 1957 and 1963 Ricky Nelson sold millions and millions of 45's and albums. Many of these 45's were two-sided hits and with 1961's "Travelin Man"/"Hello Mary Lou" we find Ricky and James at the peak of their artistic form and popularity. "Hello Mary Lou" one of the greatest car radio tracks ever, features a mind-blowing solo from James Burton. This record, with both songs taking a turn as the A-side, spent many weeks at Number One. It was a triumph for them then and remains a classic.

Ricky Nelson's best records were Hollywood-style Rockabilly at its finest. He was smart enough to avail himself of great material by talented writers like Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, Baker Knight, and Gene Pitney, and to work closely with people like (engineer extraordinaire) Bunny Robyn in addition to employing the full time services of great bands made up of real rock and rollers like Burton, Joe Osborn, Rickie Frost, and others. Also, maybe most importantly, he was lucky (and smart) enough to have the full time counsel of his father Ozzie who knew show-biz inside out, backwards and forwards. I believe that in the end it was Ricky who put all the elements in place and caused them to coalesce, but you've also got to give tremendous credit to Ozzie Nelson. Ricky was probably the only 1950's rocker who never had his career sidelined by the finaglings of some fool for a manager.

I think Ricky's only peer in the Hollywood Rockabilly scene of the late 1950's was Eddie Cochran. They both made records that were very studiously assembled in Hollywood studios, and they were both very influential with guitar players (to put it mildly) Also, they both approached Rockabilly not as hungry Southern boys but as ambitious young guys, both with at least a fair amount of experience in the music business. In my mind they both seem to come from the same place and time in many ways. The big difference between them now is that over the years Eddie Cochran has received lots of critical acknowledgement as a rocker and an influence on others that followed, while Ricky has received hardly any. The other difference is that Eddie Cochran had two or three hit records and Ricky Nelson had about fifteen or twenty. But the last word on these guys right now is that they both left behind rock and roll records that were definitive and important in their time and are still very much admired in ours.

Loved by millions and presented here in amazing digital sound, here are some of the greatest recordings of Ricky Nelson.

 – Marshal Crenshaw, November, 1986


© (P) 1987 EMI America Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
Manufactured in the U.S.A. by Capitol Records, Inc., a subsidiary of Capitol Industries – EMI, Inc.
1750 North Vine Street, Hollywood, California 90028
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable law.
Printed in Canada.

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