was a solid singer and songwriter before he got to Atlantic Records in 1956, having recorded several sides of early R&B for OKeh Records. It was at Atlantic, though, that he really hit his stride (helped, no doubt, by the emergence of rock & roll), and the 25 tracks Willis
cut for Atlantic before his death in 1958 form an impressive legacy. This brief set (it struggles to get past 23-minutes in length) has the essentials from his Atlantic stay, including his rocked-up versions of "C.C. Rider" and "Betty & Dupree," plus original Willis
compositions like "It's Too Late," the briskly bouncing "Sugar Sugar," the prescient "What Am I Living For?," and his swan song, the unintentionally ironic "Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes." Again, the absolute essentials are here, but Razor & Tie's Stroll On
has everything Willis
did for Atlantic, and it's worth it to spend a few bucks more and have the complete sessions.