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Red Hot-Very Best Of Billy Lee Riley

Billy Lee RileyAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Price: $14.45 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 22 Songs, 1998 $7.99  
Audio CD, 1999 $14.45  

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Red Hot-Very Best Of Billy Lee Riley + Totally Essential Rockabilly
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 2, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collectables
  • ASIN: B00000HX5K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Red Hot
2. Pearly Lee
3. Flying Saucers And Rock And Roll
4. Baby Please Don't Go
5. Searchin'
6. Betty & Dupree
7. Trouble Bound
8. Wouldn't You Know
9. College Man
10. Got The Water Boiling Baby
11. I Want You Baby
12. Swannee River Rock
13. Rock With Me Baby
14. Open The Door Richard
15. No Name Girl
16. That's Right
17. Down By The Riverside
18. Come Back Baby (One More Time)
19. Lookin' For My Baby
20. Tallahassee
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Billy was one of Sun Records' brightest young rockabilly stars, but timing was not on his side, as Jerry Lee Lewis' arrival in Memphis stole the label's-and the public's-attention. Billy did record lots of awesome Sun sides-and here are 22 of his greatest, including Trouble Bound; Rock with Me, Baby; Flying Saucers Rock 'n' Roll; Baby Please Don't Go; Red Hot , and more.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sun's Failed Replacement For Elvis September 7, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Billy Lee Riley, a multi-instrumentalist with a raw, rockabilly sound, was to be the Sun label's replacement for Elvis after they sold the latter's contract to RCA. He could certainly belt out a tune with the best of his contemporaries like Charlie Feathers, Johnny Carroll, and Mac Curtis but, also like them, hit single status eluded him. His best, obviously, was the pounding Red Hot but even that, while played extensively throughout the South, could not crack the national charts.

He did finally get a hit of sorts in 1962 when his self-penned instrumental Shimmy, Shimmy Walk Part 1 struggled to # 88 Billboard Pop Hot 100 by the group he then headed called The Megatons [Billy Lee on guitar and harmonica, Jimmy Wilson on piano, and Martin Willis on sax and drums]. This had actually been released in 1961 on the Dodge label, but only became a charter after being picked up and distributed by Checker.

Further such success would elude him until 1972 when, for the Entrance label, I Got A Thing About You Baby just made the Hot 100 at # 93 in November. Riley tried his hand at everything and for a multitude of labels, doing pure Country for Mojo, Pen, Hip, Sun, and Entrance, soul for Fire, Fury, Smash, and Myrl, and backwoods blues for Dodge, R&B and his own Rita label. None made any impact.

In this CD, Collectables has chosen to concentrate on the rockabilly sides, although it would have been nice had they found room for the only two cuts he did that ever made the national charts.

Still, if you're seeking a sampling of the raw acoustic rhythm and heavy backbeat that was the beginning of the genre known briefly as "rockabilly" in the 1950s, this is as good a place as any to start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncredited Jerry Lee Lewis song September 7, 2010
Format:MP3 Music
Number eight (8) on this CD, 'Wouldn't You Know' is not Billy Riley. Instead, it is actually Jerry Lee Lewis, piano AND vocal. The first thirty seconds or so, Jerry Lee is disguising his voice, but from about 31 or 32 seconds into the song, and on to the end, it is unmistakably Jerry Lee Lewis. In the sample that Amazon provides here, you can clearly hear that it is Jerry Lee. This is not a 'mistake' of Amazon, or of the CD manufacturer. It seems that SUN Records has always passed this off as 'Billy Riley'. And apparently, Jerry Lee has never claimed this song for whatever reason. There is another cut of this song (sometimes labelled as an 'alternate') that actually is Billy Riley, but this version here is not Riley, it is Jerry Lee Lewis. An actual example of Riley's version of this song can be found on the CD 'The Legendary Sun Classics-Billy Lee Riley' and on the CD 'Red Hot' (release date July 1, 1999). Strangely, on the CD 'Rockin' With Riley CD 1' BOTH versions appear-- Jerry Lee Lewis at song number 15, and Billy Lee Riley at song number 18. (N.B. On my computer, the Amazon page for 'Rockin' With Riley CD 1' has the song samples all messed up as far as name of song and number. If you mosey on over to that Amazon page to check out the samples, click on song number 15 (regardless of what it is labelled as) and you'll hear Jerry Lee. Click on song number 18 (again, regardless of what it is labelled as) and you will hear Billy Lee Riley). Call this a Joe Hepperle discovery. No one else seems to be aware of this 'secret' JLL song so I'm spreading the word as fast as possible!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RILEY WAS HOT September 12, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This fine collection of Billy Lee Riley's greatest Sun sides has many high moments, like the title song, also "Flying Saucers Rock and Roll". Riley tries gospel on "Down by the Riverside" as well. Also delves a little into blues on several tracks. His rockabilly style is the dominant style though, on most of the material. A fine artist. Just too bad he didn't get proper recognition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Red Hot, Then Doodley-Squat April 19, 2014
Format:Audio CD
Billy Riley reached his zenith early. His first three singles on SUN are among the classics of "rockabilly" (though, to be fair, Billy Lee considered himself to be a "rock 'n' roller"). RED HOT is the best of them, with Billy's high-compression vocal (was his throat sore by the time he reached the last note?) and the incredible guitar solos (two of them) by Roland Janes. FLYING SAUCERS ROCK 'N' ROLL is almost as good, and Jerry Lee on piano shows why he became a solo act p.d.q. I also have a fondness for TROUBLE BOUND, more country than other contemporary SUN rockers, but "atmospheric" in the best sense.

Alas, after that trio of masterpieces, Billy Lee went downhill very quickly. The remaining SUN singles are second-rate at best (WOULDN'T YOU KNOW is an uninspired attempt at a "pop" hit, BABY PLEASE DON'T GO is very weak). His recordings for other labels range from okay to pathetic (ROCKIN' ON THE MOON is godawful).

He's a legend of rockabilly, whether he likes the title or not, but a legend that flamed out early.

His well-known resentment of Sam Phillips (who cancelled orders of RED HOT to push GREAT BALLS OF FIRE) is justified, but at the same time you wonder if he had much left after RED HOT, which he admits was suggested to him (and presumably engineered) by Sam. I seriously doubt he would have become a big star: he was another SUN one-record man, like Sonny Burgess (with whom he recorded a few instrumentals, incidentally, playing a very gutless style of harmonica to Sonny's guitar).

His "imitation" of a blues singer, recording as 'Lightning Leon", is pathetic. DARK MUDDY BOTTOM ought to be sent to the bottom of the creek.

I suppose his work as part of Sun's house band was respectable, but the first three singles are the ones to have, the rest is forgettable.
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