NEWSLETTER #131
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo Wop
O.B. Bryant -> Charles Walker

O.B. BRYANT
SAM COOKE
THE CORSAIRS
DONNIE ELBERT
AL GREEN
THE HARPTONES
 
JOE MORRIS ORCHESTRA
JOHNNY OTIS
THE RAVENS
IKE TURNER & THE KINGS OF RHYTHM
VARIOUS ARTISTS
CHARLES WALKER
 

SAM COOKE Abkco DVD 1004 Legend ● CD $24.98
DVD 70 mins + 120 mins bonus, color & black & white, highly recommended Excellent biography of one of the great vocalists of the 50s and 60s. Narrated by actor Jeffrey Wright it traces the history of this brilliantly talented performers from his early years as a fledgling gospel singer, his tenure as a lead singer for one of the greatest of all gospel groups The Soul Stirrers and his move into secular music, first for small labels and then to RCA, his work as a songwriter and producer and his tragic and untimely death. It features some great vintage footage of Sam performing on various TV shows along with interviews with his brothers and sister and friends and musical associates like Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Lloyd Price, The Magnificent Montague and others. As bonus the DVD includes an additional two hours of interviews which help fill out the story. The documentary was written by acclaimed author Peter Guralnick who is currently working on a biography of Sam. (FS)

 
THE CORSAIRS Tuff 102 Smokey Places ● CD $18.98
16 tracks by group from North Carolina group featuring brothers Jay, James & Moses Uzzell and George Wooton. They are best known for their 1962 hit the great Smokey Places which is included here along with their minor hit I'll Take You Home and other songs like Thinkin'/ The Change In You/ While/ At The Stroke Of Midnight/ / On The Spanish Side, etc.

 
DONNIE ELBERT Famous Groove 971053 Philadelphia's R&B and Soul Legend ● CD $18.98
28 track collection of sides recorded between 1961 and 1971 by this distinctive falsetto vocalist.
DONNIE ELBERT: A Piece Of Leather/ After All I've Done For You/ Baby Cakes/ Can't Get Over Losing You/ Do What Cha Wanna/ Don't Cry My Love/ Everything To Me/ Help Me/ Hey, Baby/ I Beg Of You/ I Can't Help Myself/ I Got To Get Myself Together/ I've Loved You, Baby/ In Between The Heartaches/ Just A Cotton Pickin' Minute/ Lilly Lou/ Love Stew/ Mommie's Gone/ Never Again/ Nobody Knows/ Sentimental Reasons/ Set My Heart At Ease/ Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)/ Too Far Gone/ Where Did Our Love Go/ Who's Gonna Be/ Will You Ever Be Mine/ Your Red Wagon

 
AL GREEN Hi 190 Precious Lord/ I'll Rise Again ● CD $13.98
Two albums from 1982 and '83 featuring Green doing all gospel songs.

 
THE HARPTONES Raven 8000 Sunset ● CD $18.98
The Harptones were one of the finest vocal groups to emerge in the early 50s featuring the soulful and smooth leads of Willie Winfield. Though their early/ mid 50s sides have been reissued frequently their later recordings from the late 50s and early 60s haven't received as much attention which is a shame since most of those recordings, featured here, are very fine indeed with Winfield's soulful pipes well to the fore. In addition to their issued sides there are three alternate tales and accompaniments to singers Mabel King and Peggy Farmer. Finally, there are two live tracks from the 50s with the group doing their most popular songs Life Is But A Dream and A Sunday Kind Of Love.

 
JOE MORRIS ORCHESTRA Acrobat 4008 Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere ● CD $12.98
26 tracks, highly recommended One of the first stars of Atlantic Records with hot sax instrumentals & having huge hits with his vocalists, including Laurie Tate with the title tune, which was Atlantic's 1st ever #1 R&B hit! Starting as a full fledged Bebop band with the big Texas tenor sax of Johnny Griffin (their 1st session, for Manor in '46, is here), the trumpeter/leader recorded without a contract for Atlantic in '47, with jazz-based tunes as Jump With Me/ Wow/ Weasel Walk/ Boogie Woogie March. With Griffin gone & Little Laurie Tate & Billy Mitchell on vocals the band moved into straight R&B & also to Decca, then back to Atlantic. Includes Can't Stop My Cryin'/ Midnight Grinder, etc. Classics recently issued the first volume of their comprehensive chronological reissue of Morris's recordings (Classics 5057) so there 18 tracks duplicated among the two discs. This one is probably the one to go with if you don't need everything. (GM)
JOE MORRIS & HIS ORCHESTRA: Anytime,anyplace,anywhere/ Bald Headed Woman/ Beans And Cornbread/ Boogie Woogie March/ Bottle Top/ Broken Hearted Blues/ Can't Stop My Crying/ Chuck-a-boogie/ Fly Mister Fly/ Ghost Train/ I Hope Your Satisfied/ Joe's Boogie/ Jump With Me/ Jump,everybody,jump/ Lowdown Baby/ Lowe Groovin/ Mad Moon/ Midnight Grinder/ Out Of The Night/ Pack Up All Your Bags/ Portia's Boogie/ The Applejack/ The Spider/ Weasle Walk/ Wilma's Idea/ Wow

 
JOHNNY OTIS Ace CDCHD 981 The Johnny Otis Show - Vintage 1950s Broadcasts ● CD $16.98
Terrific album featuring four radio broadcasts featuring R&B pioneer Johnny Otis. Two of the shows features excerpts of Johnny playing R&B records of the time complete with patter, commercials and, in one case a bizarre conversation between Johnny, Slim Gaillard and Kingfish from Amos & Andy. There are seven tracks from a live radio broadcast from the 5/4 Ballroom in 1953 by Otis & his band with vocals from Marie Adams and Little Arthur Matthews and seven tracks from a 1958 live show with vocals from Otis, The Penguins and Marie Adams. A real time capsule drawn from Otis's own archives - hopefully there'll be more to come.

 
THE RAVENS Savoy Jazz 17304 Their Complete National Recordings ● CD $28.98
Superb three CD set featuring all the recordings made between 1947 and 1950 for National by this superb, influential and popular vocal group whose music bridged the gap between the earlier smooth Ink Spots stylings and the later, more R&B flavored doo-wop styles. The group the basement bass of the legendary Jimmy Ricks and the much copied silvery tenor of Maithe Marshall. 64 tracks including acapella demos and alternate takes. Newly remastered and including a booklet with notes by compiler Billy Vera.

 
IKE TURNER & THE KINGS OF RHYTHM Funky Delicacies 047 A Black Man's Soul ● CD $16.98
Reissue of 1969 Pompeii album with three bonus cuts. The original 13 track album was all instrumental featuring Ike, Oliver Sain & the Kings Of Rhythm on a selection of original tunes and covers blending R&B, funk and a bit of rock - Thinking Black/ Ghetto Funk/ Black Angel/ Funky Mule/ Scotty Souling/ Nuttin' Up/ Chain Of Fools, etc. The bonus tracks feature Tina on vocals on fine versions of No More Doggin'/ Knock On Wood and a particularly fine Drifting Blues

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bow & Arrow 1001 The Bow & Arrow Records Story ● CD $18.98
Fine collection of 30 doo-wop, R&B and a little blues sides recorded for the New York based Bow and Arrow labels in the mid/ late 50s - The Encores, Rabbit & Gino, Otis Banks & Group, Freddie Scott & The Chimes, Ginny Angels & Group, Bobby Long & Group, Joe Erskine & Group, The Rav-Ons, Johnny Acey and others. Many of the tracks are making their first appearance on CD.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Dialtone 009 Texas Soul Sisters ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 53 min, excellent. Fine collection of blues & 60s-type soul from four little-known Texas singers. A couple have been around for quite awhile. Lavelle White recorded for Duke in the 50s & early 60s, then after 30 years of being out of the public eye, reemerged in '94 on the Antone's label. Gloria Edwards recorded for the legendary Huey Meaux for Crazy Cajun & sang with the likes of Clifton Chenier & Johnny Copland. Glenda Hargis has been singing with her brother, bluesman Matthew Robinson. Then there's the mostly unknown Miss Candy AKA Amanda Kannerson. All are backed with solid lineup of guitar, organ, bass & drums, with Gloria adding a trumpet & Glenda, besides having Robinson on guitar has trumpet & sax. Also interesting is that most of the tunes are originals, including I'm Your Hoochie Mama/ Miss Candy's Groove/ H-Town. and others (GM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS East West 100 The Complete East West Records, Volume 1 ● CD $18.98
First of two volumes featuring all the recordings made for the New York based East West label which was active from 1957 through 1959. Mostly doo-wop plus some solo R&B, teen pop and the intriguing middle-Eastern sounds of Ganim's Asia Minors. Includes Johnny Houston & The Capitols, Jay Holliday, Harmon "Hump" Jones, Charles Brown, Tony Castle, The Ospreys, Freddie Carpenter and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS East West 101 The Complete East West Records, Volume 2 ● CD $18.98
Not a whole lot of R&B or doo-wop. There's some fine rock 'n' roll from Al Henderson, David Gates, Bobby Brant and The Kingsmen (including their classic instrumentals Weekend and Cat Walk. There's R&B from Mad Man Taylor, The Capitols and TNT Tribble and two doo-wop tracks from the Del Larks. The rest is lightweight teen pop with a rock flavor.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Empire 101 The Best Of Empire Records ● CD $18.98
16 tracks, 39 mins, recommended The complete output (16 tracks) of the short lived Empire label which operated out of Hollywood, California from early 1956 to early 1957. Of the labels eight releases, five were by the same group under three different names featuring different lead singers - The Preludes, The Youngsters and The Tempters! Under the name of The Youngsters the group had a big local hit with the soulful Shattered Dreams. The remaining tracks are by obscure group The Jacks & Jills, the fine vocalist Bixie Crawford who had been recording since the late 40s and Richard Berry under the pseudonym of "Ricky." Sound quality is excellent and there are interesting notes on the history of the label and the artists. (FS)
BIXIE CRAWFORD: How Big A Fool Can You Be/ Rock And Roll Wedding/ THE JACKS AND JILLS: I Hear Melody/ Roses Never Fade/ THE PRELUDES: Don't Fall In Love Too Soon/ I Want Your Arms Around Me/ RICKY: Baby Please Come Home/ Tender Love/ THE TEMPTERS: I'm Sorry Now/ Ill See You Nest Fall/ THE YOUNGSTERS: Christmas In Jail/ Counterfit Heart/ Dreamy Eyes/ Rock And Roll Cowboy/ Shatterd Dreams/ You're An Angel

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Famous Groove 971003 Holy Toledo! Ohio Doo Wops, Vol. 1 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 60 mins, highly recommended. Not a new release but we haven't reviewed it before. An excellent collection featuring seven outstanding groups from Ohio and featuring several unissued songs and alternate takes. There are five tracks by The Hornets featuring a pre-Drifters Johnny Moore, the fine and bluesy Supremes, The Hepsters, The Edsels (including a great alternate take of their classic Rama Lama Ding Dong

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Gold Dust 2004 The Note Records Story ● CD $18.98
Fine collection of 31 tracks drawn from the Note label of Indianapolis, Indiana which was active from 1955 through 1959. Although the label itself had no hits, a number of its titles were picked up by bigger independents. There's a varied mixture of material here including doo-wop (The Treasures, Students, Five Dots, The Counts, Teasers), bluesy R&B (Jimmy Brinkley), rockabilly and rock 'n' roll (Ronnie Haig, The Five Stars, Rusty York, The Denhams) and instrumental R&B (Jimmy Brinkley, Jimmy Coe, The Co-Horts, Jon Thomas, The Three Souls). Apart from some wimpy ballads from the Five Shorts it's all quality stuff with decent sound and brief notes.
JIMMY BRINKLEY COMBO: Blue Moon/ Wine, Wine, Wine/ THE CO-HORTS: Country Blues/ Flippin' And Floppin'/ JIMMY COE: Shuffle Stroll/ THE COUNTS: I Guess I Brought It All On Myself/ THE DENHAMS: Cry, Baby, Cry/ THE FIVE DOTS: I Just Love The Things She Do.../ Well, Little Baby/ THE FIVE STARS: Am I Wasting My Time/ Dreaming/ Friction/ My Paradise/ Pickin' On The Wrong Chicken/ Sweet Names/ RONNIE HAIG: Rockin' With Rhythm And Blues/ Don't You Hear Me Calling/ Send For Me/ Traveler Of Love/ JERRY SEIFERT: Never, Baby, Never/ THE STUDENTS: Every Day Of The Week/ I'm So Young/ My Vow To You/ That's How I Fell/ THE TEASERS WITH JIMMY BRINKLEY COMBO: How Could You Hurt Me So/ I Was A Fool To Letyou Go/ JON THOMAS: Hi-fi/ Rib Tips/ THE THREE SOULS: Night Theme/ THE TREASURES WITH JIMMY BRINKLEY COMBO: Why, Oh Why/ RUSTY YORK: Sugaree

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Kent CDKEND 222 Masterpieces Of Modern Soul ● CD $16.98
A collection of 22 tracks of mainly 70s dance tracks that have proven consistently popular in modern soul rooms. Includes Debra Johnson, The Houston Outlaws, Ted Taylor (a previously unissued Ronn recording), The Millionaires, Mary Love Comer, Jaqueline Jones, Vernon Garrett, Ronnie Walker, The Pretenders, Denise LaSalle, Al Christian, etc.
GIL BILLINGSLEY: I'm Me Just Me/ AL CHRISTIAN: I'm A Lonely Man/ THE FOUR TEES: One More Chance/ VERNON GARRETT: To Be A Part Of You/ GARLAND GREEN: Come Through Me/ THE HOUSTON OUTLAWS: Ain't No Telling/ MILLIE JACKSON: Don't Send Nobody Else/ DEBRA JOHNSON: To Get Love You've Got To Give Love/ JACQUELINE JONES: A Frown On My Face/ DENISE LA SALLE: Here I Am Again/ MARY LOVE COMER: Come Out Of The Sandbox/ THE MAYBERRY MOVEMENT: Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right/ THE MILLIONAIRES: I'm The One Who Loves You/ IDRIS MUHAMMAD: I'm A Believer/ SAM NESBIT: Chase Those Clouds Away/ THE PRETENDERS: I Call It Love/ LOU PRIDE: Bringin' Me Back Home/ JEAN SHY: What Can I Do, I'm So In Love With You/ TED TAYLOR: Fair Warning/ TENDER LOVING CARE: Love Me Baby/ LYNN VARNADO: Second Hand Love/ RONNIE WALKER: You've Got To Try Harder (times Are Bad)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Kent CDKEND 226 A Soldier's Sad Story ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, highly recommended. Powerful and moving collection of soul songs recorded between 1966 and 1973 showing the anticipation, action and aftermath of the years of the Vietnam war, as seen through the eyes of Black America. The mood ranges from resignation and patriotism in the earlier sides to anger and opposition as the war raged on and the casualties increased and the realizaton came upon many African-Americans that they were being asked to fight and die for country that had oppressed and abused them for hundreds of years. The recordings are arranged chronologically starting with The Monitors 1966 recording of Greeting (This Is Uncle Sam) and ending with Swamp Dogg's chilling 1973 rendition of John Prine's Sam Stone. Other artists featured include William Bell, Big Amos, Joe Tex, Jimmy Holiday, Zerben R. Hicks & The Dynamics, Tiny Watkins, Gloria Edwards, The O'Jays, Edwin Starr, Carla Whitney, Bill Withers (the powerful I Can't Write Left Handed), Curtis Mayfield and others. The 16 page booklet includes essays by Tony Rounce and James Maycock discussing the music and the situation of African-Americans in the conflict. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Pepto Roma 505 Dazzling Group Sounds, Vol. 5 ● CD $17.98
Another fine collection of 26 vocal group rarities from this fine label - most making their first appearance on CD. Includes tracks by Herb Johnson & Group, Big Dee Irwin & Group, Paul Kirk & The Pageants, The Melvettes, Charles Wright & The Wright Singers, The Dynamos, Carlton Beck & Group, Judy King & Group, The Expressions, The Valdoros, Dorothy Forbes & The Stylers, The Thunderbirds, The James Quintet and others.
TONY ALLEN & THE WONDERS: Be My Love, Be My Love/ CARLTON BECK & GROUP: The Girl I Left Behind/ BUFORD BUSBEE & THE EPITOMES: Nobody But Me/ THE CHARIOTEERS: Thanks For Yesterday/ THE DELONGS: I Want Your Love/ TROY DODDS & GROUP: Count Of Love/ THE DYNAMOS: Darling/ THE EXPRESSIONS: Now That You're Gone/ THE FIVE SATINS: I'll Get Along/ DOROTHY FORBES & THE STYLERS: Where/ RUDY GREEN & THE FOUR BUDDIES: You Mean Everything To Me/ JIM HOLIDAY & FUTURETONES: All I Want Is You/ BIG DEE IRWIN & GROUP: Somdeay You'll Understand Why/ THE JAMES QUINTET: I Could Make You Care/ HERB JOHNSON & GROUP: Help/ JUDY KING & GROUP: Two Shadows/ THE KINGS MEN: Kicking With My Stallion/ PAUL KIRK & THE PAGEANTS: Long Ago/ THE MELVETTES: Take One Step/ THE PHAROAHS: Walking Sad/ FAITH ROBINSON & GROUP: My Birthday Wish/ THE SERENADES: Sinner In Love/ THE THUNDERBIRDS: Pledging My Love/ THE UNIVERSALS: A Love Only You Can Give/ THE VALDOROS: Don't Open The Grave/ CHARLES WRIGHT & THE WRIGHT SINGERS: How Do I Stand With You

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Rainbow 7001 The "Over The Rainbow" Doo-Wop CD ● CD $18.98
Now here's a doo-wop CD to separate the men from the boys! Harold Arlen and Yip Hurburg composed the song "Over The Rainbow" for Judy Garland to sing in the 1939 movie "The Wizard Of Oz." It has since become one of the most popular and most recorded songs of all time. It has been a great favorite with vocal groups and this collection features no less than 30 different doo-wop version of this immortal classic, most slow but some mid-tempo or fast, some versions are acapella but most are with instrumental accompaniment. Groups featured include The Demensions, Castelles, Marcels, Hi-Liters, Little Sammy Rozzi & The Guys, The Domnoes, Little Butchie & The Vels, The Chanters, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, The Vibrations, Uniques, Remainders, New Concepts, The Youngtones, Little Anthony & The Imperials and many others seeking "that land that I heard of/ once in a lullaby".

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS RRDP 01 Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party, Vol. 1 ● CD $16.98
Fine collection of up-tempo music taking in rhythm & blues, doo-wop and rockabilly. About half the tracks have been out before but this is an entertaining collection featuring songs from The Four Tunes, Carl Mann, The Videos, The Franklin Brothrs, The Fairlanes, Jimmy Witherspoon, Nappy Brown, Guitar Slim, The Ivies, Norman Fox & The Rob-Roys, Herbie Smith, Gene Ross, The Velvets and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Savoy Jazz 17198 Savoy Chart Busters ● CD $12.98
18 tracks, 56 min, essential A wonderful combination of blues, R&B & jazz, the hit singles from National/Savoy. 16 of these tracks charted 1945-57, 15 in the Top 10 with Paul Williams' The Hucklebuck & Cupid Boogie by Little Esther, Mel Walker & The Johnny Otis Orch hitting #1. Hits range from a couple Ravens classics - Write Me A Letter/ Ol' Man River, Billy Eckstine's Lonesome Lover Blues, Warren Evans' #6 cover of Cecil Gant's I Wonder, Joe Turner & Pete Johnson (with Don Byas in the band)'s #3 cover of Saunders King's SK Blues, the almost surrealistic Bad Boy by The Jive Bombers. Then there's the complete Open The Door Richard (Pts 1&2) by Dusty Fletcher, who originated the vaudeville routine that was turned into a song by his saxist Jack McVea - this version more closely replicates the original routine! Liner notes by Billy Vera. (GM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Spectrum 113 085-2 Chess Divas ● CD $11.98
20 track collection of blues, R&B and soul recorded for Chess and Checker in the mid 60s by women singers. Lots of classic performances here from Etta James, Irma Thomas, Mitty Collier, Laura Lee, Big Maybee, Tammy Montgomery, Koko Taylor, Sugar Pie Desanto, Fontella Bass and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Stateside 537 518-2 Liberty Belles ● CD $11.98
16 tracks, 44 mins, highly recommended. Reissue of 1985 LP. Excellent collection by five soulstresses from the Liberty/ Imperial/ Minit labels originally recorded in the 60s. There are three tracks by Clydie King - one a duet with Jimmy Holiday and four by Tina Turner including the wonderful It Ain't Right and a hot cover of Ooh Poo Pa Do with what sounds like James Booker on piano. There are three by Baby Washington, three by the superb white soul singer Timi Yuro including a radical two part reworking of Hank Snow's I'm Movin' On and three by the Queen of New Orleans soul Irma Thomas. Except for the Clydie King cuts all the tracks are in stereo. Includes booklet with original notes by Roger St. Pierre. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Titanic 44202 Deep Soul Discoveries, Vol. 2 ● CD $18.98
Complementing Titanic 44201 this is another collection of fine and obscure deep soul featuring 25 tracks from the likes of Third Guitar (Eddie Holloway), Sarah Simpson (a wonderfully intense version of the pop song All Of A Sudden (My Heart Sings)), Fred Towles, James Crawford, Magnificent Montague (almost pure gospel), The Flamingos (the topical Straighten It Up (Get It Together)), The Masters Of Soul, Joe Wade (a gorgeous cover of That's How Strong My Love Is), Betty Renay, Melvin Davis, Vernon Herrell, Joe Frazier and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Varese 66334 The American Roots Of The British Invasion ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 47 min, highly recommended. Yeah, we all know that the Brit bands just regurgitated what we Yanks had been ignoring & scoring huge hits. Here's the originals, many of which we re-discovered after hearing the Beatles' versions, so we're familiar with The Isley Brothers Twist & Shout (though they use that version & not the original by The Top Notes), Larry Williams' Slow Down, Buck Owens' Honey Don't, but there's also some less familiar such as Mr. Moonlight by Dr. Feelgood & The Interns & The Donay's - Devil In His Heart. Also originals of tunes covered by The Swingin' Blue Jeans (Hippy Hippy Shake - Chan Romero), The Dave Clark 5 (Bobby Day - Over & Over, Maurice Willimas & The Zodiacs - Stay), & The Moody Blues (Bessie Banks' glorious original Go Now). However there's some I'm hearing for the 1st time here - Gene Pitney's Pretty Flamingo, covered by Manfred Mann, & the totally obscure original of Millie Small's My Boy Lollipop, done in '57 by Barbie Gaye, worth the price of admission in itself! (GM)

 
CHARLES WALKER Zane 1019 Number By Heart ● CD $17.98
13 tracks, 59 mins, highly recommended
Superb new album of deep soul from veteran Nashville vocalist who has been plying his craft since the late 50s. There are ten new songs from various writers along with three carefully chosen covers. Walker's vocals are powerful and expressive and production by the talented Fred James is outstanding with horn driven instrumental work and soulful vocal backup. Among the highlights are the wrenching title song co-written by Walker, the hard driving One Man's Poison and a beautiful cover of Percy Sledge's It Tears Me Up written by Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham but it's all truly fine - not a dud in sight. (FS)

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