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The Cosimo Matassa Story (Proper)

By Andy Gill

Most people know about Sam Phillips and Sun Studios, but the often overlooked Cosimo Matassa played just as important a part in the development of rock'n'roll from its R&B roots.





It was in Matassa's J&M Studios in New Orleans that Dave Bartholomew (right) recorded Fats Domino's string of hits, and Bumps Blackwell captured Little Richard's explosive breakthrough with Tutti Frutti, long before Elvis had even crossed Sun's threshold.

Add to this such landmarks as Bobby Charles' original See You Later, Alligator, Smiley Lewis's I Hear You Knocking and Lloyd Price's Lawdy Miss Clawdy, and you'll get an idea of how crucial Cosimo was to 20th-century music.

Key to the studio's success was band leader Dave Bartholomew, who produced many of the tracks on this four-disc anthology, and revealed his own engaging personality on tracks such as the droll Who Drank My Beer While I Was in the Rear. In later years, Cosimo would shift operations to other locations, with further successes, but it's the 1950-56 period covered here that best testifies to his genius.



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