‘Lightning Striking’ is the title of a wonderful, new compilation from Ace Records. The 2 CD, 48 tracker has been put together to complement a book of the same title by celebrated man of music LENNY KAYE. The 74 year old New Yorker is a music multi-tasker – guitarist (a mainstay of the Patti Smith Group), musicologist, broadcaster, producer, pundit and a whole lot more! His ‘Lightning Striking’ book is a little like a memoir but it’s a lot more. Subtitled “Ten transformative moments in rock and roll”, the Ace ‘Lightning Striking’ compilation sets out to sonically reflect the themes in the book.
The music on the album covers the period 1934 (!) right though to the 1990s and it’s arranged (like the book) chronologically – save for the opening track – Lou Christie’s’ ‘Lightning Strikes’ which is placed at the beginning for obvious reasons. Kaye explains that hearing a great record for the first time is like being struck by lightning… proper music collectors will understand.
In truth the album is a huge, mutli-genre sweep and consequently there’s not a lot of soul. Indeed no classic soul; rather you can enjoy vintage doo-wop, R&B and R&R from people like Little Richard, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, the Castelles and Howlin’ Wolf.
The bulk of the music is maybe more esoteric – rock, psychedelia, Merseybeat, progressive and a lot more – predictably there’s a couple of tunes from Patti Smith alongside ‘Crazy Like A Fox’ by “Link Cromwell” – a Lenny Kaye alias. But for serious collectors and students of the evolution of pop culture the album is essential (as too is the book).
The music has been selected by Kaye with Ace’s Alec Palao who also provides splendid sleeve notes! The Ace team describe the album as “an energizing, inspiring listen and a reminder once again of the life-affirming power of the music we all know and love. Hail, hail rock’n’roll!” Spot on! Out now!