No, the '50s rhythm blues performer Al Collins is certainly not a household name. In fact, he would be lucky simply to be picked out of a lineup with other performers of the same name, let alone the famous blues guitarist Albert Collins. But this Al Collins actually has more songwriting credits on records than all of the other Al Collins in the record business combined. This Al Collins has had material covered by some of the most famous and important performers in rock history, including

the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and the Everly Brothers. It would not be overly far-fetched to suggest that for at least several decades, every single rock performer who shook his hips would learn at least one number co-written by Collins, maybe more. All of this adds up to an important difference between this man and many other obscure performers from his generation: He got some credit.

The most important moment in Al Collins' history was the very first record released by the legendary Ace label: Collins' Shuckin' and I Got the Blues for You made only a small splash compared to many of the label's other releases, but aspects of these records -- such as riffs and rhythmic motifs -- would turn up later on several of Little Richard's all-time greatest hits, Slippin' and Slidin' and Lucille. The charismatic Little Richard also was directly influenced by similar performer Eddie Bocage, also known as Eddie Bo, who likewise cut early Ace sides. While a more typical scenario in the music business would have been for these contributions to go uncredited, in the case of the Little Richard sides, the relationship was apparently so obvious that both Collins and Bocage wound up with songwriting credits, at least some of the time. There are probably as many different variations on these credits as there are lines of mascara on a typical Little Richard makeup job; sometimes neither Collins and Bocage are credited, sometimes not even Little Richard gets the nod from recording artists who seemed confident they could simply sign on as the composer of these songs. Who can blame them, when Slippin' and Slidin' sounds like 500 other blues songs and nobody can even understand the lyrics to Lucille? ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi

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