Chris Kenner

Chris Kenner

Chris Kenner

Land of 1000 Dances

Collector’s Choice Music

The two basic pop sounds associated with the ’60s are Motown and Phil Spector. Both took the black musical traditions of gospel and Delta blues, polished them to a high sheen, then decorated then with dollops of production whipped cream. Like a lot of musicians, Chris Kenner never made it big, never got rich, but he wrote the songs Spector, Berry Gordy, and others honed to make us dance all through high school. Kenner wrote more than a few successful songs in the late ’50s, and eventually Atlantic records pulled them together in this 1961 collection of hits. We’re fortunate to have this reissue by Collector’s Choice, complete with Rich Unterberg’s liner notes.

The disc has a definite Low-fi sound that recalls small town recording studios that might not even have had stereo capability. Everything was played at once and mixed down on the spot. You may have trouble recognizing a few of them, they’ve been covered and re-recorded so often we’ve forgotten the original sound, and ask the typical oldies DJ “Who is Chris Kenner?” and you’ll get a blank stare. Even the original cover art neglects Kenner’s image, replacing him with an abstract swirl of go-go dancing teens. Kenner’s “Land of 1000 Dances” and “I Like It Like That” are bar band standards, easy to play and easy to dance to no matter how high your blood alcohol content. This music is so robust even I could get it right.

Collector’s Choice:

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