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NEWSLETTER #141
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
The Clickettes -> Jackie Wilson
 

 

 

NEW BOOK

 
GROUP HARMONY The Black Urban Roots Of Rhythm & Blues by Stuart L. Goosman ● BOOK $34.98
Hardback, 292 pages, counts as five CDs for shipping "Focusing in particular on Baltimore and Washington, and drawing significantly from oral histories, Group Harmony details the emergence of vocal rhythm and Blues groups from black urban neighborhoods." Musicologist Stuart L. Goosman chronicles the history of the Baltimore-based vocal group The Orioles, whose 1948 recording, "It's Too Soon to Know," broke into the pop charts and introduced the country to vocal rhythm & blues/"doo-wop," paving the way for the most successful groups of the `50s. Goosman explores the periphery of this postwar musical period, delving into the history and patterns of the genre with a flair for the minutia. Through interviews with dozens of artists, deejays, and other industry professionals, he examines "the entrepreneurial promise of mid-century popular music and chronicle[s] the convergence of music, place, and business, including the business of records, radio, promotion, and song writing." The book features interviews with singers from the Cardinals, Clovers, Dunbar Four, Four Bars of Rhythm, Five Blue Notes, Hi Fis, Plants, Swallows, as well as Washington vocalist Jimmy McPhail, Orioles' manager and songwriter Deborah Chessler, Atlantic Records' writer Jesse Stone, Washington radio personality Jackson Lowe, and black deejays Al "Big Boy" Jefferson, Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert, and Tex Gathings. (JM)

  

NEW DVD

 
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted all DVDs offered are in NTSC format which means that they will not play on a European DVD players unless you have a multiple format player.
 
DR. JOHN Eagle Eye 39099 Live At Montreux, 1995 ● DVD $13.98
DVD, 16 tracks (13 + 3 bonus), recommended
Taped at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July of 1995, Dr. John fronts a 7-piece band he refers to as the New Orleans Social And Pleasure Club, which includes Robert Broom, Jr. on guitar and the legendary Alvin 'Red' Tyler on tenor sax. Extended jams such as on Iko Iko are quite a bit more interesting to watch than to hear, and in that sense the DVD, unsurprisingly, does a better job of capturing the spirit of the live performance. It's a kick to watch the Dr. step away from the Steinway and pick up a guitar on Come On (Let The Good Times Roll), especially when he takes the lead. As the story goes, his professional career in music began on the guitar before a stray bullet to his hand dead-ended that avenue. This DVD adds 3 tracks not on the CD (all recorded live in 1986 at Montreux): Mac's Boogie, Tipitina, Junko Partner, all solo piano performances. (JC)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Storyville Films 16017 Variety At The Apollo Theatre ● DVD $11.98
More fine performances from footage mostly shot in the early-mid 50s for the "Apollo Variety Review" TV show. As you may gather from the title we get a variety of music here including pop vocals from the Nat "King" Cole Quartet, bluesy vocals from Dinah Washington, R&B from Ruth Brown and The Clovers (particularly fine), quartet harmony from The Delta Rhythm Boys (these are from 1941 Soundies), comedy from Matan Moreland & Nipsey Russell, jazz from Lionel Hampton & His Orch. and Cab Calloway & his Cabaliers (guess what song he sings?), tap dancing from Bill Bailey and Little Buck and singing and tap dancing from Coles & Atkins and The BUsinessmen Of Rhythm. Another priceless slice of musical history.

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
EDDIE COOLEY & THE DIMPLES Collectables 9937 Priscilla ● CD $7.98
10 tracks, recommended
 Short but sweet collection of sides by this vocal group featuring three female singers led by male vocalist and songwriter Cooley (he wrote the Little Willie John/ Peggy Lee classic Fever). The group had a hit in 1956 with the catchy title songs and the rest of the tracks are a mix of mid tempo sides, ballads and a couple of pop oriented numbers. Includes A Spark Met Your Flame/ Harry & Carrie/ Driftwood/ hey You, etc. Typical of Collectables there are no notes. (FS)

 
HAL DAVIS Wizard 1 The West Coast Answer To CLyde McPhatter & Jimmy Jones ● CD $17.98
34 tracks recorded between 1956 and 1964 by Ohio born vocalist Hal Davis who spent most of his own recording career in California. Hal had a high tenor voice - hence the comparison with McPhatter & Jones and the bulk of his recordings are pop flavored R&B though it also includes his two first sides as member of the doo-wop group The Victorials. It also includes duets with female vocalists Ercelle Tisby, Brenda Holloway and Barbara Jackson. Songs include The Prettiest Girl In the World/ Tell Me You Care/ King Of Lovers/ Let's get married/ My Mother's Eyes/ What Do You Mean To Me/ Read The Book Of Love/ The Way You Look Tonight and more. Lack of success as a recording artist led to him winding up as a songwriter and producer for Motown.

 
JOEY DEES Traction 15 Music Is My Life ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, 45 mins, fair. This is not the Peppermint Twistin' Joey Dee of Starlighters fame, but a new R&B artist who's musical life has been gesticulating since the `60s and is just now coming to fruition. All in all, this is a solid first outing, though not too original, or outstanding. Well suited for weddings, bachlorette parties, etc.; in my opinion, not the next great soul discovery. (JM)

 
BO DIDDLEY Chess (UK) 983 229-6 The Story Of Bo Diddley ● CD $28.98
Wonderful two CD set of 54 tracks by one of the great rock 'n' roll pioneers with his instantly recognizable style that helped jump start the British rock 'n' roll scene of the 60s as well as influencing hundreds of other musicians. It includes all his hits and best known songs as well a tasty selection of obscurities covering his tenure at Chess from 1955 to 1972 including a couple of tracks not originally issued.
BO DIDDLEY: 500% More Man/ Before You Accuse Me/ Bo Diddley/ Bo Diddley Is Loose/ Bo Diddley's A Gun Slinger/ Bo's A Lumberjack/ Bo's Bounce/ Bring It To Jerome/ Cadillac/ Cops And Robbers/ Crackin' Up/ Craw-dad/ Dearest Darling/ Diddley Daddy/ Diddy Wah Diddy/ Don't Let It Go/ Down Home Special/ Elephant Man/ Greatest Lover In The World/ Here Tis/ Hey Bo Diddley/ Hey Good Lookin'/ Hong Kong Mississippi/ Hush Your Mouth/ I Can Tell/ I Know (I'm Alright)/ I'm A Man/ I'm Bad/ I'm Looking For A Woman/ I've Had It Hard/ Mona (I Need You Baby)/ Mr Krushcev/ Mumblin' Guitar/ Oh Yea/ Ooh Baby/ Pills/ Pretty Thing/ Ride On Josephine/ Road Runner/ Run Diddley Daddy/ Say Boss Man/ Say Man/ She's Fine She's Mine/ Shut Up Woman/ Story Of Bo Diddley/ Walkin' And Talkin'/ We're Gonna Get Married/ Who Do You Love/ Who May Your Lover Be/ Willie And Lillie/ You All Green/ You Better Watch Yourself/ You Can't Judge A Book Without Looking At The Cover/ You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care)

 
VARETTA DILLARD Blue City 820 Mercy Mr. Percy ● CD $17.98
29 tracks recorded between 1952 and 1955 by this superb but underrated R&B singer with a style similar to Ruth Brown. Varetta is accompanied by top New York sidemen like Dave McRae, Count Hastings, Mickey Baker, T.J. Fowler, Buddy tate and others. Includes her hits Mercy Mr. Percy/ Johnny Has Gone and Easy Easy Baby plus other fine sides like PRomise Mr. Thomas/ Hurry Up/ Getting Ready For My daddy/ I Love You Just The Same/ My Mind Is Working/ You're The Answer To My Prayer/ I Cried And Cried/ Three Lies/ Love That man, etc. Good sound but no notes.

 
FATS DOMINO Disky 901948 This Is Gold ● CD $13.98
Three CD set with 60 tracks. This is an odd mixture which features 43 of Fats's 48 ABC Paramount recordings, four original classic Imperial sides from the 40s and early 50s, 10 tracks that were self produced by Fats in 1978 and live recordings from an unknown date of Blueberry Hill and I'm Walkin'. Some fine music but why not include all the Abc sides? No notes at all.
FATS DOMINO: (all Of My Life) For You/ (i Met) The Girl I'm Gonna Marry/ After Hours/ I Almost Lost My Mind/ Any Old Time/ Ballin' The Jack/ Blueberry Hill/ Bye Baby, Bye Bye/ Can't Go On Without You/ Every Night About This Time/ Fat Man/ Fat's Shuffle/ Fats Domino Blues/ Fats On Fire/ Forever, Forever/ Girl I Love/ Goin' Home/ Going To The River/ Goodnight Sweetheart/ Gotta Get A Job/ Heartbreak Hill/ I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire/ I'm A Fool To Care/ I'm Livin' Right/ I'm Walkin'/ I've Got A Right To Cry/ If I Get Rich/ If You Don't Know What Love Is/ Just A Lonely Man/ Just Can't New Orleans (off My Mind)/ Kansas City/ Land Of 1000 Dances/ Land Of Make Believe/ Lazy Lady/ Let Me Call You Sweetheart/ Love Me/ Man That's All/ Mary, Oh Mary/ Monkey Business/ Move With The Groove/ My All Time Used To Be/ Nobody Needs You Like Me/ Old Man Trouble/ Packin' Up/ Red Sails In The Sunset/ Reelin' & Rockin'/ Sally Was A Good Old Girl/ Shame On You/ Sleeping On The Job/ Slow Boat To China/ Something About You Baby/ Something You Got Baby/ Song For Rosemary/ Tell Me The Truth, Baby/ That Certain Someone/ There Goes My Heart Again/ When I'm Walking (let Me Walk)/ Who Cares/ Whole Lot Of Trouble/ Why Don't You Do Right/ Wigs

 
DR. JOHN Eagle 20078 Live At Montreux, 1995 ● CD $13.98
11 tracks, 77 min., highly recommended
Backed by some musically versatile sons of New Orleans (including the superb Alvin 'Red' Tyler on tenor sax), the good Doctor runs through an eclectic set of Crescent City evergreens (Iko Iko), rock and roll (Earl King's Come on (Let the Good Times Roll), which finds Mr. Rebennack playing guitar!), pop standards (Irving Berlin's Blue Skies), blues (Charles Brown's Tell Me You'll Wait For Me), his signature song (Right Place, Wrong Time), and more. As usual, Rebennack offers up better than average performances, and the sound quality is remarkably good, but as is often the case of late Dr. John takes no chances. Nothing is being pushed, not the proverbial envelope, not his luck. The result is a solidly enjoyable album that delivers what it promises, and isn't likely to win any new fans or lose any old ones. (JC)

 
THE FIVE KEYS Collectables 2875 Dream On ● CD $15.98
28 tracks, 69 mins, highly recommended The Five Keys hailed from Newport News, and first recorded for Aladdin and Capitol before signing with Syd Nathan's King label in 1959. The group at that time were "Dickie" Threat and Maryland Pierce, tenor leads; Ripley Ingram and Dickie Smith, tenor and baritone; plus Bernie West, bass. The Keys are best remembered for their soaring tenor leads and near-perfect harmonies. This set covers all of the group's King output and features the hauntingly beautiful Dream On/ Wrapped Up In A Dream/ I'll Never Stop Loving You. In addition this set includes four solo sides in 1959 by The Keys former lead singer - the great Rudy West. All the tracks are presented in stereo for the first time. Session men include Gene Redd, vibes and guitar; and the great Sonny Thompson, piano. (OLN/ FS)

 
JOHNNY FLAMINGO Flamingo 1001 & Friends ● CD $17.98
31 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
Fine collection of sides recorded between 1956 and 1963 featuring the superb vocals of West Coast vocalist Johnny Flamingo (real name Melvin Moore). 20 of the tracks were issued under his name though many feature vocal group accompaniments (often Richard Berry & The Pharoahs) and are doo-wop of the highest order ranging from the beautiful ballad You're Mine to the gorgeous mid-tempo Just Cry to the novelty Drive Slow. There are six excellent tracks by The Dots - the group Johnny joined in 1956 with his wife to be Jeanette Baker before striking out on his solo career. There are two great duets with Juanita Moore that were issued as by Jack & Jill and three rocking sides by Johnny's wife to be Juanita Baker including her classic duet with Oscar McLollie on Hey Girl. Good sound and brief notes and a handful of photops. (FS)

 
CAROLYN FRANKLIN Kent CDKEND 265 Sister Soul: The Best Of The RCA Years, 1969-197 ● CD $16.98
First ever CD issue of recordings made by Aretha's youngest sister. Unlike her sisters Aretha and Erma, Carolyn did not achieve any commercial success though recording some fine music. This collection of 22 tracks draws on her eight singles and four LPs for RCA.

 
EARL GAINES AIM 1505 Lost Soul Tapes ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 56 min., highly recommended
His obscure LP on Deluxe from 1972 has been reissued, as has his even more obscure LP on HBR (that's Hanna Barbera Records, the cartoon folks), along with extra tracks. And while both are very much worth seeking out in some form or other, his 45 rpms for the Seventy Seven label, cut between 1972-1974, are arguably his best efforts in the soul department. This welcome release collects the complete Seventy Seven sides (both sides of the five 45 rpms and as many songs that were never waxed, many of which appear here apparently for the first time on CD. Gaines (sometimes Gains) even had a hit with his remake of Hymn #5 by The Mighty Hannibal. Other winners include the Bobby Blandish I'll Take Care Of You, his cover of the classic That's How Strong My Love Is, Soul Children, I Can't Face It and most everything else. Why the picture of Gaines on the tacky-looking cover is recent instead of contemporary with the music is anyone's guess. A good starting point for Gaines beginners and required listening for his fans. (JC)

 
THE GENIES Point 16 350 Who's That Knocking? featuring Roy C. Hammond ● CD $17.98
Great 31 track collection featuring 16 tracks by the outstanding and soulful East Coast group The Genies and the remaining tracks are mid 60s/early 70s solo sides by their former lead singer Roy C. including his hits Shotgun Wedding and Got To Get Enough. It also includes the group's minor hit Who's That Knocking. Another group member was Claude Johnson who became the Juan of Don & Juan and this set includes an unissued version of the group doing Chicken Necks later down by Don & Juan. Other tracks include On the Edge Of Town/ Just Like A Bluebird/ Little Young Girl/ Where Did You Go/ S'Cuse Me Lady/ Dance Girl/ Stop What You're Doing/ Train Man/ I'm Falling In Love Again, etc.

 
THE GIFTS/ THE PACESETTERS Gift 1001 The Gifts Meet The Pacesetters ● CD $17.98
Two fine obscure soul groups from the 60s featuring 15 tracks by The Gifts and 13 by The Pacesetters.

 
VIVIANE GREENE Classics 5173 The Chronological Viviane Greene, 1947-1955 ● CD $14.98
24 tracks featuring the complete recordings (except for a 1962 sessions) of osbcure Texas born singer and piano player Greene. A mix of R&B, jazz, pop and even semi-classical. It includes the hot instrumental Unfinished Boogie.

 
SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS Black Tulip 2638697 I Put A Spell On You ● CD $17.98
30-song reissue covering Jay's career from Baptize Me In Wine from his first recording session in 1954 to the unforgettable Constipation Blues from 1969. It includes all his best performances like I Put A Spell On You (two different performances from 1956 and 1966)/ Armpit #6/ I Hear Voices (possibly his most demented performance)/ Hong Kong/ I Is/ There's Something Wrong With You/ Alligator Wine and other maniacal performances along with some fine blues. Bare bones packagaing but some great music.

 
CHUCK HIGGINS Ace CDHCD 1102 Blows His Wig ● CD $16.98
24 tracks of hot R&B recorded for Combo in the early/ mid 50s featuring the scorching tenor sax work of Chuck Higgins. About two thirds of the tracks are instrumentals allowing Chuck to show his sax wizardry - the rest are vocals from Frank Dunn, Daddy Cleanhead (Chuck's elder brother Fred who is also featured here as Geechie Howard and contributes baritone sax to many of the tracks), Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Ora Mae Garvin. This set includes five previously unissued tunes and three unissi=ued alternate takes.

 
EDDIE HINTON Zane 1023 Beautiful Dream - Sessions, Vol. 3 ● CD $19.98
16 tracks, 51 min., highly recommended
More previously unreleased songwriter demos from Hinton cut between 1966-80. Hinton started working in Muscle Shoals as a hired guitar (one of the best) and ended up as the greatest (if relatively unknown) white soul singer. Period. Some of these tracks were made with the Tuscaloosa All Stars (Nice Girl and Everybody Meets Mr. Blue, Alternative Version); some with a mysterious Hinton group named The Rocking Horses (Got To Be Good); some with The 5 Menits, whose shifting line up included Paul Hornsby on organ. Highlights include Hinton's cover of the soul standard You Left The Water Running, which features David Hood on bass and Roger Hawkins on drums; and the title track, which atypically finds Hinton alone with his acoustic guitar. It's a stunner. Sound is remarkably good, as is the music--volume three and still strong. (JC)

 
JOE HINTON Shout 23 Funny (How Time Slips Away) ● CD $16.98
21 tracks, 54 min., highly recommended
Hinton climbed the gospel ladder from the Blair Gospel Singers to the Chosen Gospel Quartet and finally to The Spirit Of Memphis, surely an upper rung. But then Peacock Records boss Don Robey convinced him to go secular. And Hinton's original Backbeat LP (BLP 60) represents Robey's attempt to market him every which way, but mostly as a pop sensation in the mold of Brook Benton. And like Benton, Hinton had real talent in the form an extremely versatile set of pipes. His trademark is hitting an impossibly high falsetto note at the end of songs. This CD reissues the original LP -- It was always one of those records that never booked for much in the guides but that no one ever had a copy of -- (with the same track order) in its first 12 tracks and then supplements it with 9 more singles from the Backbeat/ Duke/ Peacock/ ABC catalog -- a catalog that has been shamefully ignored by reissuers, especially on the gospel side. The extra tracks come from the Duke-Peacock "Remembers" LP on ABC issued in 1973 after Hinton's passing -- he fell victim to skin cancer in 1968 at the age of 39. Stylistically, songs owe a debt to the aforementioned Benton (Endlessly and Everything), Bobby Blue Bland If It Ain't One Thing It's Another), Sam Cooke (A Thousand Cups Of Happiness), and so on. Out of print forever, this music has been waiting for your ears a long time. And the CD label reproduces the original Backbeat 45 rpm label--a nice touch. (JC)

 
HERMAN HITSON Soul-Tay-Shus 6352 You Are Too Much For The Human Heart ● CD $15.98
21 tracks, 65 min., essential
Deep soul fans rejoice, or at least cheer up a bit. Atlanta-based soul master Hermon (sometimes Herman) Hitson spent his entire career toiling in relative obscurity, releasing the occasional 45 on Royal, Lisa, Minit, Atco, Hitsong, and Sweet Rose. A powerful singer in the James Brown-Wilson Pickett style (with some Percy Sledge and O.V. Wright thrown in) and a fine songwriter and guitarist, Hitson racks his soul on such undeniably intense songs as You Are Too Much For The Human Heart and You Can't Keep A Good Man Down, two of several apparently inspired by Hitson's now ex-wife. (When Hitson sings "How many times must my heart be broken," it isn't just idle speculation.) This CD compiles "rare and unreleased" songs committed to posterity between 1961-76, including both sides of the rare Sweet Rose 25, copies of which currently fetch four figures on the soul vinyl market. And as is infrequently the case, the unreleased sides (seven total) are generally on a par with the released stuff. Sometimes, as in the case of Please, they're better. Sometimes, as in the case of Love Slipped Through My Fingers, the instruments seem out of tune (although the vocal is strong). One of the best soul releases in recent memory. (JC)

 
JAMES "POOKIE" HUDSON & HIS SPANIELS GROUPS Clifton 3044 50 Years of Classic Group Harmony Music ● CD $17.98
24-track retrospective of recordings spanning 1957-2005 - Fairy tales/ Sloppy Drunk/ Don 'Cha Go/ Danny Boy (acapella)/ Meek man/ Come back To THese Arms/ She Sang To Me/ Peace Of Mind (live), etc.

 
THE INK SPOTS Collector's Choice 481 Time Waits For No One ● CD $15.98
19 tracks, 57 mins, recommended. Nineteen silky smooth tracks including a 1953 version of "If I Didn't Care" with "special lyrics" that look back on the groups career. The other eighteen tracks come from radio broadcasts between July of 1939 to May of 1944, complete with DJ announcements between tracks. This release witnesses the development of the group from the tale end of their hot jazz days towards their balladeering commercial heyday. I really loved this CD, but I know the Ink Spots aren't everybody's cup of tea. The packaging on this is minimal; the limited liner notes are interesting, though. (JM)

 
THE INK SPOTS Flyright 67 Rare Air 1937-1944 ● CD $16.98
25 breezy tracks soaring in at 71 minutes, recommended An eclectic batch of rarities, some super rare like Lamplighter Serenade taken off of a Federal Perma Disk of a recording that was never commercially released, the sound quality of which is rough, but worth it for its rarity. Lots of other great radio obscurities with the likes of Bing Crosby, Louis Jordon, Chick Webb and others pop in here and there. Hearty booklet with detailed recording info. (JM

 
THE INK SPOTS Jasmine 6-4 The Golden Age Of The Ink Spots ● CD $31.98
Four CD, 101 tracks, essential
The most comprehensive reissue of this immensely popular and influential vocal group featuring recordings made between 1935 and 1950. Initially featuring the lead of Jerry Daniels he was replaced in 1936 by high tenor Bill Kenny who was to be the distinctive lead voice of the group through to 1952. Kenny was joined by bass singer Orville "Hoppy" Jones plus Charlie Fuqua and Ivory "Deek" Watson. Their style was to provide the template for the doo-wop groups that started emerging in the 40s and early 50s. This set includes all their most popular ballads and jump songs as well as all seven duets they did with Ella Fitzgerald. Their earlier sides were a mix of ballads and jazzy jump tunes and achieved only modest popularity but when they recorded the ballad If I Didn't Care they hit it big and future recordings were to be dominated by ballads, often with the immediately recognizable guitar intro by Fuqua and the bass vocal bridge of "Hoppy" Jones. From here This set includes most their most popular sides (several of them topping the charts) including If I Didn't Care/ Address Unknown/ My Prayer (the Platters' 1956 hit version of the song is closely patterned on the Ink Spots version)/ Maybe/ We Three/ Do I Worry/ I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire/ Don't Get Around Much Anymore/ Cow Cow Boogie (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall/ The Gypsy/ To each His Own and many more. Excellent sound and 12 page booklet with notes by Geoff Milne. (FS)
THE INK SPOTS: 'tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do/ A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening/ Address Unknown/ Alabama Barbecue/ Always/ As You Desire Me/ Bewildered/ Bless You/ Brown Gal/ Christopher Columbus/ Coquette/ Cow-cow Boogie (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ Do I Worry?/ Don' Get Around Much Any More/ Don't Ever Break A Promise/ Don't Let Old Age Creep Upon You/ Driftwood/ Ev'ry Night About This Time/ Foo-gee/ Give Her My Love/ Hey Doc!/ Home Is Where The Heart Is/ I Cover The Waterfront/ I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire/ I Get The Blues When It Rains/ I Still Feel The Same About You (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ I Wish You The Best Of Everything/ I'd Climb The Highest Mountain/ I'll Get By/ I'll Make Up For Everything/ I'll Never Smile Again Until I Smile At You/ I'm Beginning To See The Light (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ I'm Gonna Turn Off The Teardrops/ I'm Making Believe (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ I'm Still Without A Sweetheart ('cause I'm Still In Love With You)/ I'm Through/ I've Got A Bone To Pick With You/ If I Didn't Care/ Information Please/ Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ It's A Sin To Tell A Lie/ It's All Over But The Crying/ It's Funny To Everyone But Me/ Java Jive/ Just For Me/ Keep Away From My Doorstep/ Keep Cool, Fool/ Knock-kneed Sal (on The Mourner's Bench)/ Let's Call The Whole Thing Off/ Little Small Town Girl (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ Maybe/ Memories Of You/ Mine, All Mine My, My/ My Greatest Mistake/ My Prayer/ No Orchids For My Lady/ Nothing'/ Oh! Red/ Old Joe's Hittin' The Jug/ Please Take A Letter, Miss Brown/ Pork Chops And Gravy/ Prisoner Of Love/ Puttin' And Takin'/ Ring, Telephone, Ring/ Shout, Brother, Shout/ Sincerely Yours/ Slap That Bass/ So Sorry/ Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat/ Stompin' At The Savoy/ Stop Pretending/ Street Of Dreams/ Swing High, Swing Low/ That Cat Is High/ That's The Way It Is (with Ella Fitzgerald)/ That's When Your Heartaches Begin/ That's Where I Came In/ The Best Things In Life Are Free/ The Gipsy/ The Sweetest Dream/ This Is Worth Fighting For/ Thoughtless/ To Each His Own/ To Remind Me Of You/ Until The Real Thing Comes Along/ We Three (my Echo, My Shadow And Me)/ What Can I Do?/ What Good Would It Do?/ When The Sun Goes Down/ When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano/ Whispering Grass (don't Tell The Trees)/ Who Wouldn't Love You?/ Whoa, Babe!/ With Plenty Of Money And You/ Yes, Suh!/ Can You Look Me In The Eyes?/ You Breaking My Heart All Over Again/ You Bring Me Down/ You Were Only Fooling (while I Was Falling In Love)/ You're Breaking My Heart/ Your Feet's Too Big

 
LINDA JONES Empire Musicwerks 450 681-2 The Greatest Hits ● CD $12.98
21 tracks, 61 minutes, essential
Available again with a new number. It's no secret that I think Linda was one of THE best female soul singers ever. The so-called Divas of today couldn't hold a candle to this gospel-influenced powerhouse with one of the best & least-self-conscious melismas. This set ranks as one of her best (& one of the only one put out in the US) as it covers her whole career on multiple labels from wonderful stuff that didn't hit on Atco '65 (Take The Boy Out Of The Country) & Lieber & Stoller's Blue Cat '66 (Hit Me Like TNT), the groundbreaking Loma sides from '67 (the spine-tingling Hypnotized), Gamble & Huff's Neptune '70 (incredible cover of The O'Jay's I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow) & her final sides for Silvia Robinson's Turbo '71 (her version of For Your Precious Love is required listening for all!) up to her death at age 28 from complications from diabetes, collapsing backstage after tearing down the house at The Apollo. Includes a great interview with her friend, manager & producer George Kerr. (GM)
LINDA JONES: Fugitive From Love/ Give My Love A Try/ Hypnotized/ I Can't Stand It/ I Can't Stop Lovin My Baby/ I Who Have Nothing/ I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow/ I'll Take Back My Love/ If Only We Had Met Sooner/ Last Minute Miracle/ Make Me Surrender/ Not On The Outside/ Ooh Baby, You Move Me/ Seeing Is Believing/ Stay With Me Forever/ Take The Boy Out Of The Country/ Things I've Been Through/ What Have I Done/ You Can't Take It/ You Hit Me Like That/ Your Precious Love

 
ANNA KING Shout 24 Back To Soul ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 31 mins, highly recommended Reissue of 1964 Smash album by superb soul singer who was a member of the James Brown Revue at the time. The material is a mix of new songs (mostly by Brown) and covers and includes her minor hits, the intense ballad If Somebody Told You and Baby Baby Baby - the latter a jaunty duet with fellow Flame Bobby Byrd. The sessions were produced Brown and the first one featuring the great ballad Make Up You Mind and her cover of the Martha & Vandellas hit Come And Get These Memories features the Flames as backup musicians. Includes eight page booklet with detailed notes by Clive Richardson. (FS)

 
KID KYLE & HIS KOOL KATS Clifon 3048 Kid Kyle & His Kool Kats ● CD $17.98
New recordings - ten-year-old Kid Kyle is a fine singer and is backed by a vocal group in the tradition of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. 16 cuts - several acapella - Row Your Boat/ I'm So Young/ Yours To Command/ Gloria/ You Told Another Lie/ Teenage Love/ Let It Please Be You/ I said A Prayer, etc.

 
BETTY LAVETTE/ CAROL FRAN Stateside 860 967-2 Bluesoul Belles ● CD $11.98
Previously available as Westside 549 this features two fine oul singer recorded in the mid 60s. There are eight sides recorded by Lavette for Calla in 1965/66 including two not originally issued and 16 by Fran for Port & Roulette in 1965-67 including six not originally issued.

 
BUDDY LUCAS' ALL-STARS Today's Records 3002 Shake Rock Rattle And Roll ● CD $17.98
18 tracks, highly recommended
There is no information on this CD and I can't find any reference to these recordings so all I can tell you is that this is a fine rocking collection of sax led R&B instrumentals from the 50s featuring the great New York session man Lucas. Lucas's playing is exciting without indulging in any of the pyrotechnics of some of his contemporaries. He is mostly accompanied by a rhythm section with superb guitar and piano and solid bass and drums and, occasionally, a second horn. Tunes include Stand Up/ Let's Go/ Jump the Gun/ Stampede/ Starfire/ Low man, etc. (FS)
BUDDY LUCAS' ALL-STARS: All Gone/ Blazing Home/ Jump The Gun/ Let's Go/ Low Man/ Mambo Blues/ Move Over/ Round Robin/ Shufflin Along/ Sky Rocket/ Sound Off/ Stampede/ Stand Up/ Starfire/ Take It Easy/ Time Out/ Wailin' Away/ Wow!

 
CONNIE MCGILL & THE VISIONS Night Train 7133 He Created You For Me ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 44 mins, good
Connie McGill and the Visions were a fairly obscure, but somewhat prolific New York outfit. The cuts on this, compiled mostly from rare singles and unreleased tracks, range from Doo Wop, a little Gospel and a lot good old Northern Soul. Solid liner notes detail the story of a band that had some successes, but never quite enough to quit their day jobs. Mostly for soul completists, but there are a few gems on this. (JM)

 
JIMMY MCGRIFF Stateside 37513-2 Blues For Mr. Jimmy ● CD $11.98
Reissue of Jimmy's second Sue LP from 1963. Nine instrumentals - most of them originals - featuring Jimmy's soulful Hammond organ work accompanied by bluesy guitar plus bass & drums. Includes Discotheque U.S.A./ Blues For Joe/ The Dog (You Dog)/ The Party's Over/ Sho' Nuff and more.

 
TOMMY RIDGLEY Classics 5161 The Chronological Tommy Ridgley, 1949-1954 ● CD $14.98
22 tracks from this fine and underrated New Orleans singer. Most tracks were produced by Dave Bartholomew with all the usual, and great, suspects - Joe Harris, Clarence Hall, Alvin Tyler, Salvador Doucette, Ernest MCcalin, etc. It also includes a couple of sessions with different personnel including one session with ray Charles on piano.

 
THE STAPLE SINGERS Charly SNAP 245 Let's Do It Again ● CD $13.98
8 dyn-o-mite tracks groovin' in around 41 minutes, recommended
The high watermarks in soul music that The Staple Singers and Curtis Mayfield separately set back in the `60s and `70s have rarely been reached since. Although radically different from each other (Mayfield with a big city, downtown vibe and the Staples who had both feet firmly in the church), they all reached out to sing to the world, so matching them up ultimately makes perfect sense. The Staple Singers do all of the singing, while Curtis Mayfield does the production and most of the songwriting. Although this record isn't the best of either's body of work, it is still fantastic stuff and should be in any quality soul collection. Charley does a great packaging job with thorough liner notes and all of the artwork from the original soundtrack to the Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Walker film. (JM)

 
CANDI STATON Astralwerks 49832 His Hands ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, highly recommended
In 2003, when English label Honest Jons (Astralwerks in the USA) released the first retrospective of deep soul singer Candi Staton's classic FAME sides from the sixties and seventies, no one knew if an audience existed outside of deep soul fanatics. In three years it ended up selling around 70,000 copies, seven or eight times more than most soul reissues sell. Honest Jons then persuaded Candi to record her first secular album in twenty-five years and "His Hands" is far better than we fans have any right to expect. Her voice-unsurprisingly-has lost some of its suppleness, but she more than makes up for that with the emotional power of her singing. The CD is worth it for the first two tracks alone: Merle Haggard's You Don't Have Far to Go is country soul at its finest and Tommy Tate's When Hearts Grow Cold takes us back to the best of sixties/seventies southern soul. There are other treats, such as Candi's gut-wrenching take on Charlie Rich's You Never Really Wanted Me, a great shuffling version of Bert Berns' Cry to Me, and Bill Owens' driving You're Running Out of Love (I'm Running out of Patience). Throw in the fact that the recording uses real instruments (no synthesizers anywhere), among which is the Hammond B3 played by soul hero Barry Beckett, and you have a CD that for a soul fan is essential. But anyone who likes good songs and great singing will respond to this disk. Thank you Honest Jons. (Joe Sperry)

 
SUNNY & THE SUNGLOWS Sunglow 118 Talk To Me ● CD $17.98
25 tracks from this Tejano R&B band from San Antonio, Texas who were active in the early/ mid 60s. Led by vocalist Sunny Ozuna they had a big hit in 1963 with their cover of Little Willie John's Talk To Me and ended up becoming the first Tejano act to appear on American Bandstand. That hit is here along with rags To Riches/ You Gave Me A true Love/ Please Mr. Sandman/ Cheating Traces/ Trick Bag/ Something's Got A Hold Of Me, etc.

 
SWEET BETTY Music Maker 59 Live & Let Live ● CD $15.98
Soul, blues and gospel singer from Atlanta with a collection of mostly recent songs - Everybody Needs Love/ Live And Let Live/ Touched By You/ Damn Your Eyes/ Pass It On Down/ Walk Around Heaven, etc.

 
HOWARD TATE Shout Factory 10045 Live ● CD $13.98
The recently rediscovered soul legend recorded live doing some opf his best loved songs. Includes Stop/ Look At Granny Run Run/ Eight Days On The Road/ Every Day I have The Blues/ Sorry Wrong Number/ get It While You Can/ I Learned It All The Hard Way and more.

 
JOHNNIE TAYLOR Malaco 7515 There's No Good In Goodbye ● CD $16.98
19 tracks, 75 min, very good. This is a bittersweet release as it rounds up odds and ends from this recently departed blues giant. Fifteen of these are previously unreleased tracks including five from the sessions of his 1999 album "Gotta Get The Groove Back." On top of that you get the bare bones mix (sans strings) of If You Take Your Love Away. All the tracks were recorded at either the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio or Malaco's own studio. There's bound to be more posthumous releases, but I am willing to bet money that this will probably be the best we'll see of them. (JM)

 
IRMA THOMAS Kent CDKEND 260 A Woman's Viewpoint - The Essential 1970s Recordings ● CD $16.98
19 tracks including Irma's Swamp Dogg-penned and produced 1973 Fungus album "In Between Tear" plus selected sides from Canyon, RCS and Scepter/ Wand including one previously unissued.

 
RUFUS THOMAS Stax 8611 The Godfather Of Memphis Funk ● CD $12.98
18 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Rufus Thomas was one of the funkiest men to ever live. He was "hard as lard and twice as greasy!" By the time the psychedelic `60s were in full stride, Thomas--already a legend for his pioneering D.J. work, Sun records singles and early Stax records--was in his fifties, but he had no problem outfunking contemporaries half his age. If he only did the tracks from this period - `67-'75, he would still be a stone soul legend. Tracks like Funky Hot Grits/ Funky Mississippi/ Do The Double Bump/Do The Funky Penguin (pt.1) ,, the title track and more make this essential listening. (JM)

 
THE TOKENS Evergreen Records 2691760 The Lion Sleeps Tonight ● CD $17.98
32 recordings including the big hit title song from 1961 plus Tonight I Fell In Love/ I Hear Trumpets Blow/ La Bamba/ Please Write/ Hear The Bells/ Cry Your Eyes/ Swing/ It's A Happening World/ Tonight I met An Angel, etc.

 
BABY WASHINGTON & THE HEARTS Ace CDCHD 1089 The J&S Years ● CD $16.98
25 tracks, 60 min., very highly recommended
The Hearts line up was so subject to personnel change that this collection is really a various artists compilation. The Hearts name was applied to whatever girls producer/label owner Zell Sanders could find at the moment she need them for a tour or studio date. (Sanders regularly fired entire Hearts line ups on the spot for breaking one of her many rules of conduct.) The same ladies (some of them) recorded as The Click-etts and The Jaynetts. That said, The Hearts most famous ex-member was Justine "Baby" Washington, who sings lead on You Needn't Tell Me, I Know, Congratulations Honey, Ah Ha, There Must Be A Reason, and I Hate To See You Go. This wonderful collection samples the J&S, Zells, and Tuff labels between 1957-70 (although 16 tracks are from the 1950s and only two are later than 1965), and varying styles from R&B, doo wop, soul, and girl-group sound. Quality is the common denominator. The sound (master tapes were used when available) is excellent, especially considering the less than state of the art facilities available to small labels at the time. Fans may also applaud the upcoming Ace release of the heretofore mysterious Jaynetts. Informative liner notes. (JC)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Shout Factory 97651 Bow Wow ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 59 min., recommended
For his last studio album, Watson channels Prince, back when he was still king, and it seems only proper since the royal one borrowed generously from the JGW book of tricks. Originally issued after a dry spell, Bow Wow was worth the wait and still stands its ground fairly well--ground that Watson staked out on his DMW LPs--funky, jazzy, and bluesy with humor and stinging guitar. Bow Wow and Hook Me Up were the next best things to hits here, but the easy going grooves of Never Too Late and It Takes 2 sound better now. Originally released as Bellmark LP 51007 (a label named for former Stax big shot Al Bell) in 1994, this reissue includes two bonus tracks, Ain't Making No Cents and Statue Of Liberty. Who but JGW would write a song about the Statue of Liberty as if she were his girlfriend? (JC)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Shout Factory 97652 Giant ● CD $13.98
9 tracks, 44 min., good
Following hard on the platformed heels of the disco craze, Watson's Giant LP was seemingly a conscious effort to cash in. But because he's JGW, the songs here are not all mind-numbingly repetitive dance beats mixed with insipid lyrical content. Although, Miss Frisco (Queen Of The Disco) and Guitar Disco have little to distinguish them beyond some guitar work that raises the musical stakes but still isn't enough to make it worth while to stay in the hand. He reworks his own hit, Gangster Of Love, but neither it nor the two bonus tracks (Base Station One and Do Me Bad So Good) are enough to save the day. (JC)

 
SPENCER WIGGINS Kent CDKEND 262 The Goldwax Years ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, essential
Another gift to the fan of classic deep soul. Here is the first totally legal issue of Wiggins' Goldwax sides, which is great news but which means the CD is shorter than it should be (at least according to this fan). The great news: Wiggins' blues growling and effortless falsetto grace this cd throughout. Wonderfully remastered by Kent, Wiggins' deep ballads - Once in a While (now extended)/ Old Friend/ Lonely Man/ Take Me Just As I Am/ I Never Loved a Woman (with Duane "Skydog" Allman's slide guitar) and the Power Of A Woman - are available again after two decades. There is even a version of Sweet Sixteen in which Wiggins seems to channel the young B.B. King. The sidemen are the best Memphis had to offer: Reggie Young, Wayne Jackson, Bobby Emmons, Floyd Newman and others. The not-so-great news: There are seven Wiggins' sides that Japanese Vivid released in the seventies and eighties that are not here because Goldwax originally sold them to Rick Hall's FAME records. Kent was unable to license or buy the tracks from FAME (which supposedly has been planning its own reissue program for the last twenty-five years) so the CD is unusually short for Kent - 22 tracks including two alternate versions. This is a great CD that, with FAME's help, could have been even greater. Now if FAME would only release a Wiggins CD that contained the seven sides, the dozen or so unreleased Wiggins in their archives, and (I'll dream big here) maybe his other recordings (on Sounds of Memphis and XL), Wiggins' picture would be complete. But I'm not holding my breath. (Joe Sperry)

 
JACKIE WILSON Brunswick 33015 The Ultimate Jackie Wilson ● CD $23.98
2 CDs, 44 tracks, 2 hours+, highly recommended
Not long after leaving the Dominoes (he replaced Clyde McPhatter, if such a thing is possible) Jackie Wilson signed with Brunswick and never left, until disabled by a stroke (some say heart attack) in 1975. His work from 1958-75 yielded 47 R&B charted singles, including six number 1 hits. But rather than merely reproduce all his hits in chronological order--which ain't a bad idea, by the way--this collection, while wisely offering a majority of the hits, attempts to represent Wilson's diverse catalogue by including non-charters of high quality, thus displaying his incredible range. So, Wilson's version of Over The Rainbow and Georgia On My Mind never charted but offer testimony to support the claim that Wilson could sing all styles with equal artistic success. But then his cover of The Doors classic Light My Fire comes along to refute that testimony. And Elenor Rigby is a mistake from every angle. But his cover of the Sinatra-owned My Way is a real treat, as are most of the tracks. A fine collection, if not deserving of the adjective "ultimate." (JC)

 

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