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NEWSLETTER #133
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Richard Berry ->
Al Wilson
 

 

 
BURN, BABY, BURN! THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MAGNIFICENT MONTAGUE University Of Illinois Press by Magnificent Montague with Bob Baker ● CD $24.95
Hardbound, 194 pages, counts as three CDs for shipping purposes Autobiography Nathanial Montague - aka Magnificent Montague who was one of the most charismatic of the R&B DJs of the 50s. Montague was also the first African American to build his own radio station and since the 50s had been amassing one of the largest private collections of books, paintings and other artifacts by or about African Americans. This autobiography touches on all aspects of his rich and varied life.

 
JAMES CARR Kent CDKEND 231 My Soul Is Satisfied - The Rest Of James Carr ● CD $18.98
Kent's final volume of James Carr spans nearly 25 years of sessions and compiles all his remaining studio recordings. The 24 track CD includes never before reissued (and issued!) sides from James' original mid-'60s Goldwax sessions plus both sides of his lone Atlantic and River City 45s from the 1970s (and an unissued "bonus demo" from the River City sessions). It also features all the tracks from James' "comeback" years with Soultrax Records that have never been on an Ace or Kent CD before (again including a previously unheard demo, "Woman's Got The Power," from James' final recording session) and the three gospel tracks he cut in 1994 as featured guest vocalist with the Jubilee Hummingbirds. Previous volumes by Carr are Kent 202 ("The Goldwax Singles"), 211 ("You Got My Mind Messed Up") and 215 ("A man Needs A Woman").

 
THE CHI-LITES Kent CDKEND 911 The Best Of The Chi-Lites ● CD $18.98
Back in print after a long hiatus. The most extensive Chi-Lites collection ever. 19 tunes from 1969's Give It Away to 1976's You Don't Have To Go , running over 74 minutes long. Most tunes co-written by Eugene Record and Barbara Acklin (they'd started out by writing Love Makes A Woman ). All the biggies are here and sound great, including Have You Seen Her?/ (For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People/ Homely Girl/ Let Me Be The Man My Daddy Was/ A Letter To Myself/ Stoned Out Of My Mind, etc. (GM)

 
THE FIVE ROYALES Collectables 2885 The Very Best Of The Five Royales ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 66 min, highly recommended The best of the King recordings ('54-60) by this, one of my all-time fave groups, featuring the guitar, bass voice & writing of the great Lowman Pauling & the lead vocals for Johnny Tanner. Most of the tunes are Pauling originals, the remaining few from the King stable of writers. Of course this includes their two tunes best known for being cover hits for others, & both written by Pauling, Think, a huge early hit for label-mate James Brown, & Dedicated To The One I Love, which cuts the other versions to shame! Also includes Monkey Hips & Rice/ I'm Gonna Run It Down/ The Slummer The Slum, etc. Brief but good liner notes by Victor Pearlin with recording info. (GM)

 
THE FOUR KNIGHTS Acrobat 4030 Best Of, Volume 1 - Oh Baby! ● CD $12.98
22 tracks, 61 min, highly recommended According to the liner notes, this is the 1st ever "legit" released by this pre-doo wop harmony group, best known for providing backing vocals for Nat King Cole. There are few early recordings as the group was extremely popular on radio, most known for having a weekly residency on "Avalon Time" (usually listed as The Red Skelton Show - they were also on the Red Skelton Show on early TV). Their initial recordings were for Decca, but they hit their stride on Capitol - this set covers the 1st half of their stay there. With guitar strum backing & an easy Mills Bros/Ink Spots lope, the group had hits such as Sentimental Fool/ Walkin' In The Sunshine & I Get So Lonely (When I Dream About You), along with fine versions of Glory Of Love/ Charmaine/ Oh Happy Day (not the Edwin Hawkins tune), Anniversary Song and others. (GM)

 
ACE HARRIS Classics 5087 1937-1952 ● CD $14.98
The first four tracks here by singer/pianist Ace Harris are from a 1937 jazz session with his Sunset Royal Orchestra. He then spent several years as pianist with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra until stepping out on his own again in 1945 with own smll group. The remaining 21 tracks cover the period 1945 through 1952 and show a bit of an R&B influence though strongly jazz flavored. About two thirds of the tracks are instrumentals with the rest featuring vocals by Harris or, occasionally, Manhattan Paul. Most of the performances are pretty tame and will be of only marginal interest to diehard blues or R&B fans.

 
JOE HOUSTON Ace CDCHD 994 Rockin' At The Drive In ● CD $18.98
Hot unrelenting r&b saxophone from one of the legends, born in Texas but based in L.A. since the early 50s. This collection features 24 tracks and reissues the long out of print Ace LP with a couple of the tracks replaced by alternate takes and 11 bpnus cuts. In addition to all the hot honkin' the set features one vocal each by Joe, Boogie Daniels and Sherman Booker.

 
BUDDY JOHNSON Acrobat 4028 Featuring Ella Johnson - Jukebox Hits, 1940-1951 ● CD $12.98
21 tracks, 56 min, recommended 20 tunes that graced the 40s R&B charts (1 tune is 2 tracks - Because Pts 1 & 2) by this wonderful boogie pianist/orch leader, done for Decca & many featuring the fine vocals of his kid sister Ella Johnson. Many of the songs here will be familiar from later cover versions, but these are the 1st versions of such classics as Since I Fell For You/ Please Mr. Johnson/ Fine Brown Frame/ Baby Don't You Cry, all done for Decca, as was That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch/ When My Man Comes Home & Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball which crossed into the pop charts. Booklet contains full liner notes, info on each song & even a few label pics. (GM)
BUDDY JOHNSON: Baby Don't You Cry/ Because - Part 1/ Because - Part 2/ Boogie Woogie's Mother-in-law/ Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?/ Far Cry/ Fine Brown Frame/ I Ain't Mad With You/ I Don't Care Who Knows/ I Still Love You/ I Wonder Who's Boogieing My Woogie Now/ I'm Gonna Jump In The River/ Let's Beat Out Some Love/ Please Mr Johnson/ Since I Fell For You/ That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch/ They All Say I'm The Biggest Fool/ Walk 'em/ When My Man Comes Home/ You Won't Let Me Go/ You'll Get Them Blues

 
NELLIE LUTCHER Stateside 537 694-2 Real Gone Gal! ● CD $11.98
Reissue of 1985 LP featuring 15 sides recorded for Capitol between 1947 and 1950. She does a mixture of blues, boogie, jazz and pop numbers - sometimes livening things up with some scat singing. Her singing and piano playing are usually accompanied by a rhythm section though on her duet with Nat "King" Cole on For You My Love they are accompanied by a big band. Includes He's A Real Gone Guy/ My New Papa's Got To have Everything/ There's Another Mule In You Stall/ Pa's Not Home, Ma's Upstairs/ That'll Just About Knock Me Out/ Fine And Mellow/ Come On And Get It Honey/ So Nice To See You Baby, etc.

 
THE MANHATTANS Kent CDKEND 229 There's No Me Without You/ That's How Much I Love You ● CD $18.98
This New Jersey soul group's first two Columbia albums from 1973 and '74.

 
JIMMY MCCRACKLIN Stateside 579 986-2 I Had To Get With It ● CD $11.98
24 tracks, 67 mins, highly recommended A most welcome reissue featuring 24 fine songs by this talented and versatile singer, songwriter and piano player. Most of the tracks were recorded between 1965 and 1969 for Imperial and Minit along with a couple of tracks recorded for Bob Geddins's Irma & Art-Tone labels in 1956 and 1961 including his biggest R&B hit - the great Just Got To Know. It also includes some of his Imperial hits - Think/ My Answer and Every Night, Every Day. The material is a mixture of blues, R&B with a touch of soul and the occasional novelty song. Almost all the songs are McCracklin originals and includes a remake of his Checker hit The Walk plus That's The Way It Goes/ I Did Wrong/Get Back/ I Don't Care/ Pretty Little Sweet Thing/ Stinger/ Arkansas, Parts 1 & 2/ Get Together/ Let The Door Hit You and others. Some of the novelty numbers are pretty forgettable but most of it is very worthwhile. (FS)

 
THE METERS Sundazed 6211 Zony Mash ● CD $11.98
13 tracks, 37 min, recommended This is The Meters from the beginning, long before they became The Funky Meters & loved by jamband fans. This is the original group with Art Neville, George Porter Jr, Ziggy Modeliste & Leo Nocentelli, the latter two not with the "funky" version of the band. These are non-LP singles & some vault stuff that turned up on the Sundazed CD reissues, featuring hits A Message From The Meters and the wonderfully titled (The World Is A Bit Under The Weather) Doodle-Oop along with Good Old Funky Music/ Sassy Lady, the title tune, even a version of The Look Of Love. (GM)

 
BOBBY MOORE & THE RHYTHM ACES RPM 275 Go Ahead And Burn ● CD $16.98
24 track collection of soul and R&B by band from Georgia best known for their beautiful Southern soul hit ballad Searching For My Love recorded for Checker in the FAME studios in 1966. Moore was the band's leader and tenor saxist but the imploring vocals were by guitarist Chico Jenkins. Although there is nothing else as strong as that hit this is a fine collection of soul ballads and up tempo dance songs. This reissues the group Checker LP, their non LP singles and tracks not originally issued that first appeared on a P-Vine LP.

 
DEWEY PHILLIPS Memphis Archives 7016 Red Hot & Blue - Live Radio Broadcasts From 1952-1964 ● CD $12.98
59 mins, highly recommended Available again. Reissue of Zu Zazz 2012 with additional material. Absolutely hilarious madness from the Memphis DJ who, according to Sun's Sam Phillips "... was responsible for Elvis.". His "red Hot & Blue" show on WHBQ was the happening thing in 50s Memphis blending R&B, blues, country, gospel and pop music into a mixture seldom heard before or since. What really makes this a treat are the many, many advertisements, station IDs, plugs and general nonsense interspersed throughout the programs, all delivered in Dewey's unique downhome, breathless, manic style. he talks a mile a minute, all the while doing his homespun character impersonations when he's not making mincemeat out of his sponsors commercials when he tries to read a page in 2 seconds! (AE)

 
THE RAVENS Savoy Jazz 17355 The Very Best Of The Ravens ● CD $11.98
14 tracks, highly recommended Led by the lead bass voice of Jimmy Ricks and featuring the silvery tenor of Maithe Marshall, The Ravens were one of the earliest & most influential of the doo-wop groups, the link between the Ink Spots & modern doo-wop. Some time ago Savoy Jazz issued a three CD set (Savoy 17304 - 64 tracks - $28.98) featuring all their recordings made for National between 1947 and 1950. This budget priced collection features the cream of those recordings including most of their hits and includes such fine performances as Ol' Man River/ Once In A While/ Send For Me If You Need Me/ It's Too Soon To Know/ Rickey's Blues/ Marie/ I Don't Have To Ride No More and others. Excellent sound and informative notes by Billy Vera. (FS)

 
THE ROBINS Savoy Jazz 17357 Johnny Otis Presents The Robins ● CD $11.98
12 tracks drawn from various 1949 and 1950 sessions by Johnny Otis and his ensemble that feature the vocals of the fine West Coast group The Robins. It includes the number 1 hit Double Crossing Blues featuring a duet between Bobby Nunn of The Robins and Little Esther. It also includes If It's So Baby/ If I Didn't Love You So/ The Turkey Hop, Parts 1 & 2/ I'm Through/ There Ain't No Use Beggin'. If you already have the great three CD box set "Johnny Otis's Blues Caravan" (Savoy 17059 - $39.98) then you already have evrything here but if you're just interested in the Robins then this is an inexpensive way to get those tracks.

 
THE TRENIERS Collectables 7553 They Rock! They Roll! They Swing! ● CD $13.98
29 tracks, 78 mins, highly recommended Reissue of Epic 66800 with nine additional tracks. If your taste in music runs to raucous singing, frantic tempos, and jazzy honkin' accompaniments, then the brothers Trenier may be your cup of tea. Coming into their own after the end of World War II, the Treniers switched from Mercury to the newly reformed Okeh label in 1951. While there, they scored a minor hit in 1951 with Go! Go! Go!, and put out many more high energy numbers which attempted to capture the manic nature of their night club act. The tracks recorded here were cut between 1951 and 1955 and while the original CD issue (the first 20 tracks here), the bonus tracks includes a couple of ballads and a slow blues. Tracks include This Is It/ Poon-Tang/ Rock-A-Beatin' (their 1953 recording of the Bill Haley composition that Haley didn't record for two more years)/ I Said No/ Everything's Wild In Wildwood/ Peace Bond Blues/ The Moondog/ Devil's Mambo/ Out Of The Bushes and more. Sound quality is excellent but it's a real shame there are no notes. (FS)

 
THE VIBRATIONS RPM 278 Out Of Sight ● CD $16.98
Two CD set with 36 tracks of rockin' R&B and ballads recorded from Checker in the early 60s. The songs feature the powerful pipes of Jimmy Johnson who is equally at home with a soulful ballad or rasping his way through a rocking dance number. Includes their hits The Watusi and Peanut Butter - the latter when they moonlighted for Argo as The Marathons. Includes three previously unissued tracks.

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Collectables 7619 The Best Of The Okeh Years ● CD $13.98
20 sides recorded for Okeh in 1966 and 1967. The first 12 tracks are from sessions with his good friend Larry Williams who plays piano and joins Johnny on several duets including the hits Mercy, Mercy, Mercy and Nobody. The next six tracks are from the 1967 album "The Fantastic Piano And Guitar Of Johnny Watson - BAD" featuring Johnny and a small band tackling instrumental versions of R&B favorites like Fever/ Unchain My Heart/ Comin' Home Baby and others. The last two tracks feature Johnny on piano and vocals accompanied by bass and drums doing rather tame performances of Makin' Whoopee and Ain't Misbehavin' from Johnny's album "In A Fats Bag" - his tribute to the great Fats Waller.

 
AL WILSON Acrobat 700 The Best Of ● CD $12.98
20 tracks, 67 min, recommended First things first - this is Al's 68-79 Rocky Road recordings, so his hit The Snake, which was done for Soul City, is NOT here. What you do get is Al's wonderful #1 pop hit Show & Tell, as well as later hits like LaLa Peace Song/ Touch & Go plus I Won't Last A Day Without You/Let Me Be The One and others. A lot of the tracks here remind me of what Boz Scaggs would be doing later on in the mid-70s. (GM)

 

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