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NEWSLETTER #148
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Faye Adams -> The Treniers
 

 

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 

FAYE ADAMS Acrobat ACMCD 4253 Shake A Hand ● CD $15.98
30 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
Great collection of 30 sides by this fine and expressive singer. Her unique high pitched squalls and gospel-like phrasings made her a million selling success in 1953 with racial integration's first major anthem, Shake A Hand which is included here. This disc features most of her Herald sides recorded between 1953 and 1956 - a blend of soulful ballads and driving rockers, most of them with the great Joe Morris Band including her other chart toppers I'll Be True and Hurts Me To My Heart and two previously unissued tracks - an early version of Takin' You Back and the unissued song Welcome Home - both fine performances. The disc opens with three of earlier sides which were issued as by the Joe Morris Orchestra including the amusing duet with Joe on That's What Makes My Baby Fat and it also includes her 1957 hit Keeper Of My Heart recorded in New Orleans with the Dave Bartholomew Band. Excellent sound and detailed notes from Bob Fisher. (FS)
FAYE ADAMS: Ain't Gonna Tell/ Angels Tell Me/ Anything For A Friend/ Anytime Anyplace Anywhere/ Crazy Mixed Up World/ Don't Forget To Smile/ Everyday/ Hammer (Keeps A Knockin')/ Happiness To My Soul/ I Owe My Heart To You/ I'll Be True/ I'm Going To Leave You/ I've Gotta Leave You/ It Hurts Me To My Heart/ Keeper Of My Heart/ My Greatest Desire/ Same Ole Me/ Say A Prayer/ Shake A Hand/ Somebody Somewhere Someday/ Sweet Talk/ Tag Along/ Takin' You Back/ Takin' You Back (early unissued version)/ Teenage Heart/ That's What Makes My Baby Fat/ Welcome Home (unissued)/ Witness To The Crime/ You Ain't Been True To Me/ Your Love (Has My Heart Burnin')

 
THE BELMONTS Implant 102 Cigars Acapella Candy ● CD $17.98
9 tracks, 40 mins, recommended
This is a reissue of the trio's Buddah album put out in 1974. The Belmonts' Carlo Mastrangelo (baritone/ bass), Fred Milano (2nd tenor) and Angelo D'Aleo (first tenor) perform flawless acappella renditions of The Crystals hit Da Doo Ron Ron, a new and improved "wow what's this" version (without Dion) of the standard Where Or When, a tasty cover of Robert & Johnny's We Belong Together, plus a finger-snapping reading of Street Corner Symphony (a melding of various 50's hit tunes); nine songs in all. Recorded and remixed with great skill by Gary Chester and Eddie Smith. This reissue doesn't include notes that were on original release. (OLN/ FS)

 
THE CHARIOTEERS Acrobat ACRCD 285 Ooh Look A There Ain't She Pretty ● CD $10.98
17 tracks, highly recommended
Obscure 40s vocal group who recently became known throughout England when their version of Ooh Look A There Ain't She Pretty from 1947 (included here) was used in a TV commercial for English chain store Marks & Spencer to launch their latest fashion collection. This CD features 16 more fine sides from the 40s - pop, jive and gospel. Includes I Can't Get Started/ Open The Door Richard (a great and very different treatment)/ Sweet Lorraine/ Down, Down Down (What A Song)/ No Soup/ Bagel And Lox/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ Braggin'/ In My Saviour's Care, etc. Excellenet sound and informative notes. Only a couple of duplications with Collector's Choice 377 ($15.98). (FS)

 
CLAUDINE CLARK Ace CDCHD 1189 Ask The Girl Who Knows - The Best Of 1958-1969 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 60 mins, highly recommended
Claudine Clark was a Macon, Georgia-born/Philadelphia raised R&B singer who was a bit of an anomaly of her time in that she wrote most of the songs she recorded, including her big hit the immortal Party Lights. This Ace collection of Clark's singles recorded under her own name and pseudonymous ones, features alternate takes of Party Lights and its B-side Disappointed (really the A-side, since DJ's flipped the single and Party Lights became the hit) and other tracks recorded for Philly label Chancellor, Herald, Jamie, and Fayette. Described as "a solo singer working in the Girl Group style", Clark lends her powerful pipes to tracks like Buttered Popcorn , Come See About Me sound-a-like Goodbye Mama, and the scorching ballad Easy to Love (Too Hard to Forget)

 
THE CLICK-ETTS Collectables 7885 The Very Best Of The Click-Etts ● CD $13.98
18 tracks, 40 mins, highly recommended
The Click-etts came out of the stable of artists lorded over by producer/ Label head Zell Sanders, along with the Hearts and Jaynetts, both of which also have new CDs out in this series. The original version of the band, called the Bouquets (oh yeah--Click-etts is a much better name.) shopped around a demo of the song But Not For Me, which would not only get them a record deal, but would be released as is for a their first single. That original version is included here as well as both tracks from their next single, with a male singer and under the name the Avalons. Other high-lights include Because Of My Best Friend/ Where Is He, and the novelty track The Lone Lover and others are all here sounding great. Founding member Barbara Jean English would go on to a much revered solo career that produced many great records that Northern Soul fans are still clamoring for today. (JM)

 
BILL DOGGETT Collectables 2876 Honky Tonk ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 75 mins, recommended
Not a new release, but featured here for the first time. Honky Tonk was a massive hit for Bill Doggett, but was far from his only good song; this collection rounds up the best of Doggett's recorded output in the 1950's for the King record label. By the time he formed his own combo in 1951, Doggett had already had a long and fruitful career in Jazz and R&B, playing piano or arranging for Jimmy Mundy, Lucky Millinder, Louis Jordon, The Ink Spots, and Ella Fitzgerald. Taking all that experience and focusing it on a group of his own, it wouldn't be long before he was making hot records of his own. This features such notable tunes as Honky Tonk Pats 1&2/ Squashy/ Slow Walk/ Ram-Bunk-Shus/ Shindig, and many more great organ led instrumentals. For me it is a bit hard to listen to all 75 minutes of this in one sitting, but put it in your player on shuffle with a few other CDs and it works great. (JM)

 
FATS DOMINO Proper BOX 138 The King Of New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll ● CD $26.98
4 CDs, 86 tracks, 197 mins, highly recommended
Fantastic set that covers the Fat Man's first 8 years of recording, from his humble beginnings to one of the biggest selling artists in history. So many great tracks, all the classics that you know like The Fat Man/ Ain't That A Shame/ Goin Home/ Blue Monday/ Bo Weevil/ My Blue Heaven, etc., etc. Plus loads more great tracks from the golden age of Fats. Thick booklet, with intensive liner notes and recording info, fantastic sound. You could put this collection in your CD player and hit random and leave it that way for the rest of the day and probably still want more. (JM)
FATS DOMINO: Ain't It A Shame/ All By Myself/ As Time Goes By/ Baby Please/ Blue Monday/ Blueberry Hill/ Bo Weevil/ Boogie Woogie Baby/ Brand New Baby/ Careless Love/ Cheatin'/ Detroit City Blues/ Domino Stomp/ Don't Blame It On Me/ Don't Leave Me This Way/ Don't You Hear Me Calling You ?/ Don't You Know/ Don't You Lie To Me/ Dreaming/ Every Night About This Time/ Fat's Frenzy/ Goin' Home/ Going To The River/ Goodbye/ Helping Hand/ Hey! Fat Man/ Hey, La Bas Boogie/ Hideaway Blues/ Honey Chile/ How Long/ I Can't Go On/ I Know/ I Lived My Life/ I Love Her/ I Still Love You/ I Want You To Know/ I'll Be Gone/ I'm In Love Again/ I'm In The Mood For Love/ I'm Walkin'/ If You Need Me/ It's You I Love/ Korea Blues/ La-la/ Little Bee/ Little School Girl/ Love Me/ Mardi Gras In New Orleans/ My Blue Heaven/ My Happiness/ No, No Baby/ Nobody Loves Me/ Please Don't Leave Me/ Poor Poor Me/ Poor Poor Me/ Reeling And Rocking/ Right From Wrong/ Rockin' Chair/ Rose Mary/ Second Line Jump/ She's My Baby/ So Long/ Something's Wrong/ Sometimes I Wonder/ Swanee River Hop/ The Big Beat/ The Fat Man/ The Fat Man's Hop/ The Girl I Love/ The Rooster Song/ Thinking Of You/ Tired Of Crying/ Troubles Of My Own/ Trust In Me/ Valley Of Tears/ Wait And See/ What Will I Tell My Heart ?/ What's The Matter Baby ?/ What's The Reason I'm Not Pleasing You?/ When I See You/ When My Dreamboat Comes Home/ Where Did You Stay ?/ You Can Pack Your Suitcase/ You Done Me Wrong/ You Know I Miss You So/ You Said You Love Me

 
DORIS DUKE Shout 41 Woman ● CD $18.98
9 tracks, 42 mins, recommended
The guys at U.K. label Shout (not to be confused with Sony affiliate Shout! Factory) have long done a great job of re-issuing the cream of American R&B, Blues, and Gospel for current and (hopefully) future generations of listening pleasure. And they've done it again by bringing to CD the long out-of-print 1974 album by soulstress Doris Duke. Originally recorded for Contempo Records in England, the album was masterminded by label boss John Abbey and he picked some excellent material for Doris to sing, including a sultry cover of Love Is Here and Now You're Gone, Carla Thomas' Pick Up the Pieces, Marlena Shaw's epic Woman of the Ghetto, and Irma Thomas' Full Time Woman. All benefit from Doris' crystal clear, evocative vocals and unpretentious singing style. This is a typical mid-70's R&B album: lots of strings and tasteful arrangements, but none of the Disco beats that would soon come to dominate the U.S. R&B scene. A worthy companion to the Swamp Dogg-produced Doris Duke re-issues on Kent and S.D.E.G. (GMC)

 
WILLY FEASTER & THE MIGHTY MAGNIFICENTS Funky Delicacies 075 On The Dirt Road - Rare & Unreleased NY Funk & Soul ● CD $17.98
19 tracks, 62 mins, recommended
Willie Feaster & the Mighty Magnificents (also known as Willie and the Magnificent Six) were the house band at Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum Records (the precursor to pioneering Hip Hop label Sugarhill) that made singles and albums that stand on their own merits. His music long prized by collectors, this compilation brings together both tracks cut by Willie's gang as backing musicians (for the Esquires and Johnny Acey) and at their own sessions; and just for the heck of it, some unreleased sides are also included to make things interesting. The Magnificents were adept at many styles of music: everything from doo wop to Memphis Soul to Kool & the Gang-style Funk. Highlights include: Funky jams Whatcha Want Us to Do and It's No Big Deal (with Ernie Isley-inspired guitar solo!), and Feaster's band version of vocal group ballad Forevermore (also featured with Acey on vocals). The liner notes tell the band's story well, but the sound quality does vary from track to track, so sensitive listeners should beware. Otherwise this is a solid look at a forgotten bunch of stellar musicians. (GMC)

 
THE FIVE SATINS Acrobat 9001 Chronicles ● CD $28.98
Three CD set with 65 tracks devoted to one of the finest doo-wop groups of the 50s starting in 1954 with the first group featuring the vocals of Fred Parris, The Scarlets and including most of their recordings up to 1961 including sides for Standard and Ember and featuring many titles not originally issued as well as a number of alternate takes.

 
THE FOUR MINTS Asterisk 2 Gently Down Your Stream ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 42 mins, highly recommended
This is a great looking collection with a hard cover packaging to the dimensions of a gatefold LP. It is also pretty great sounding as well. This is a re-issue of The Four Mints one and only album, released in 1973 on Capsoul records, the fabulous obscure Ohio label that you might know from The Numero Group released CD, "Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label" (which is now also available on LP), which featured three of the tracks from this record. "Gently Down Your Stream" is not so much an album proper, but a collection of singles and one out-take, which supposedly was the Four Mints entire recorded output up to that moment even though they had been together in some form or another since the 1950's. Despite its nature, this is truly an LP full of the kind of rare and exquisite Soul that collectors usually drool over the possibility of owning someday. Wait no longer, the roughly named Asterisk label (a subsidiary of the Numero Group) has done a fantastic job on this with excellent sound, presentation and detailed liner notes. This is full of Sweet Soul music that is here just waiting to be discovered. (JM)

 
ROY HAMILTON Shout 44 Tore Up - The RCA And AGP Singles ● CD $18.98
Shout pays homage to Soul singer Roy Hamilton their usual classy style on this 22 track compilation of his 60's singles recorded for the RCA and AGP labels. Included are Northern Soul anthems like Crackin' Up Over You/ Ain't It the Truth, and Tore Up Over You.

 
LINDA HOPKINS Shout 45 Rock And Roll Blues - The Early Years Of "The Kid" ● CD $18.98
Linda Hopkins long career has found her singing and touring for over 50 years, enjoying chart success as a duet partner with Jackie Wilson in the 60's, and scoring awards for performances in Broadway musicals during the 70's. Hopkins' blues shouting roots (1951-1957) are covered on this compilation: including recordings with Johnny Otis for Savoy, songs written and produced by Leiber and Stoller, and blues from Kansas City and New York cut for the Federal, Forecast, and Chrystalette labels - 20 tracks in all.

 
THE ISLEY BROTHERS Collectables 2928 The Best Of The Isley Brothers ● CD $15.98
19 tracks, 50 mins, essential
Definitely essential material from the Wand Recordings, starting off with Twist and Shout, a perfect song if I ever heard one, and then treating us to 18 tracks from their early 1960's prime (one of many "prime" times for the band.) About half of this is an outstanding dance collection, on top of the aforementioned epic dance tune you get Nobody But Me/ The Snake/ I Say Love/ Rubberleg Twist/ Twistin' With Linda and The Wah Watusi,--if you can't get your tailfeather shakin' on those, you might want to get your tailfeather checked. Rounding out all the hot hoofin' hits, the Isleys lay down some beautiful soul balladry like only they can, like Right Now/ Make It Easy On Yourself, and I'm Laughing To Keep From Crying. This is pretty much a perfect CD. (JM)

 
RUBY JOHNSON/ PEARL REAVES Titanic 44220 Ruby Johnson Meets Pearl Reaves ● CD $17.98
27 tracks, 71 min., highly recommended
Anyone who thrilled to the Stax CD that gathered Johnson's 3 released singles and 16 superb unreleased tracks, will want to hear these rare pre-Stax recordings. Included is Johnson's first release (done for V-Tone in 1960), Pleadin' Heart b/w Calling All Boys, as well as Stop Wasting Your Tears cut for Pledge, and her singles on the Washington D.C. Nebs label, including the fine I've Been Hurt, Worried Mind, Let Me Apologize, I Want A Real Man, Here I Go Again, and others. The remainder of the songs belong to the obscure Pearl Reaves (sometimes spelled Reeves) who, backed by the Concords vocal group, recorded I'm Not Ashamed and You Cant Stay Here (called Step It Up & Go on this compilation) for the Harlem label in 1955--a rare piece of vinyl, to be sure. The rest of her sides, including Cool With A Groove and Same Old Love, seem to come from her own Pearlsfor label, and probably date from the early to mid 1960s. Essential for soul fans even though there are no booklet notes. (Note: The cover art is very similar to the Stax CD, but the two albums have no tracks in common.) (JC)

 
JOE JONES Gold Dust 672 You Talk Too Much ● CD $17.98
26 tracks, 60 mins, recommended
New Orleans singer Jones is best remembered for his lone 1960 hit, You Talk Too Much (which is included here), but this collection contains some fine examples of Crescent City R&B. Jones might not have been as expressive as Fats Domino, or as raw as Little Richard, but there are some engaging performances here for any fan of the genre, such as Every Night About Eight, Here's What You Gotta Do, To Prove My Love to You and Big Mule. The CD is filled out with the usual previously unreleased tracks and alternate takes, which measure up for the most part, including the original, speeded up version of You Talk Too Much (although he does real close to Domino-imitator territory on a couple). With so-so art work and decent sound quality, this is a perfectly reasonable look at a man who became better known for his production and music publishing work later on. (GMC)

 
THE KAC-TIES Collectables 7886 The Very Best Of The Kac-Ties ● CD $13.98
18 Tracks, 43 mins, recommended
Here we have a "best of" collection for the painfully-named vocal group the Kac-Ties, who did most of their best work in the early '60s. This CD has 2 less tracks, but is much more affordable and well put together than the compilation on Kape that came out a few years ago. Walkin' In The Rain (not the Prisonaires song) was their biggest song and has been covered a bit over the years, as have Let Your Love Light Shine and Mr. Werewolf, but those aren't the only good tracks on here. CD ends with fantastic acappella versions of Walkin' and three other songs. Unfortunately on my copy the liner notes end mid-sentence and mid career; looks like they are missing at least a page, so most of this pressing will probably have the same problem. (JM)

 
JEAN KNIGHT AIM 5005 The Very Best Of Me ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 39 min., recommended
Best known for her killer single Mr. Big Stuff, Knight had two other chart monsters during her career: You've Got The Papers (I've Got The Man, an answer to Betty Wright's I've Got Papers On The Man; and a cover of Rockin' Sydney's My Toot Toot. And the good news is that all three songs are on this release, but the catch is that most of the tracks on this AIM CD were cut in 1994, presumably in New Orleans. That said, The version of My Toot Toot here is the original. The remainder of the album features soul chestnuts made famous by others and performed frequently by Knight in live shows. Tracks include Cleanup Woman/ Precious Precious/ I'd Rather Go Blind/ Rocking Chair, and others. The other good news is that these post-heyday recordings prove that, in 1994 at least, Knight's voice didn't lack power or soulfulness. Pleasing enough if a bit brief, and not likely to remain in print forever. (JC)

 
TONY MIDDLETON Cat King Cole 1009 Memories Are Made Of This ● CD $17.98
28 tracks, 77 mins, recommended
Tony Middleton was the lead singer of 50's Doo Wop group the Willows (1956's Church Bells May Ring), who went solo sometime in the early 60s. He recorded for many labels over the next 20 years, and although he never had another hit, his singles cut between 1965 and 1967 for MGM, ABC and Mala became collector's items on the Northern Soul circuit. Cat King Cole has brought us a selection of Middleton's solo sides, ranging from the pop of I Just Couldn't Help Myself and Send Me Away to the Phil Spector-lite of To the Ends of the Earth". Middleton had a pretty good voice tone and power to back it up, perfect for handling sophisticated material like Burt Bacharach/ Hal David's My Little Red Book and a cover of Dean Martin's Memories Are Made of This. Someone needs to do a more thorough job of compiling this stuff, but until then this CD of Middleton's work will do nicely. (GMC)

 
BUDDY MORROW Collectables 2804 Night Train/ Big Band Guitar ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, recommended
Not a new release, but not listed before. Trombonist Buddy Morrow was a veteran of the big band era who started his career working with Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and others before forming his own band in 1945 and signing with RCA. This release reissues two LPs from 1957 and '59. The first, drawn from recordings made between 1951 and 1954 finds Morrow doing fine big band interpretations of mostly R&B and blues tunes like Night Train (which became a big hit)/ Corrine Corrine/ One Mint Julep/ All Night Long and others - even a very effective rendition of Little Walter's Quarter To Twelve. "Big Band Guitar" consists of mostly standards given a swinging R&B flavor and prominently featuring the band's fine unidentified guitarist. Along with standards like I Cried For You/ I'll get By/ Deep Purple and The Very Thought Of You they also do a couple of more recent compositions - Bill Justis's Raunchy and The Champs' Tequila. Very nice. (FS)

 
THE OVATIONS Kent CDKEND 294 One In A Million - The XL And Sounds Of Memphis Recordi ngs ● CD $18.98
1972-1978 recordings by this fine group including two US R&B hits - Touching Me and Having A Party. There are also cuts from both of the Ovations rare Sounds Of Memphis albums and singles produced by Mike Curb, Clayton Ivy, Dan Greer and George Jackson and others. There are also some amazing previously unreleased tracks of exceptional quality. These include a session of demos that were intended as a follow up to the group's Chess release that were lost for over 30 years.

 
PHIL PHILLIPS Bear Family BCD 16981 Sea Of Love ● CD $24.98
26 tracks, 45 mins, recommended
The first legitimate reissue of this fine and distinctive Louisiana singer who had only one hit - the glorious Sea Of Love. Simple lyrics, sparse instrumentation and sounding like it was recorded inside a cardboard box it has an irresistible and hypnotic charm to this day. Though composed by Phil and frequently covered by other artists, Phil gained very little financial reward thanks to those typical publishing shenanigans in the 50s. This CD features all his Mercury recordings cut in 1959 and 1960 including six previously unissued. There are several other songs here that have a similar feel to the hit and these are the highlights here including the flipside Juella, two takes of the standard Stormy Weather, a previously unissued recording of the wonderful Unchained Melody, the ballad Take This Heart, the interesting Verdie Mae which has the feel of a traditional ballads and others. Other tracks are more mainstream pop R&B, often with strings, but quite appealing thanks to Phil's convincing delivery. Usual quality Bear Family production with superb sound, digipack packaging with extensive notes by Sturat Coleman, lots of vintage photos as well as some more recent photos. Too bad they didn't include Phil's amazing Evil Dope! (FS)

 
THE PLATTERS Collectables 2925 The Best Of The Platters - The Musicor Recordings ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 65 min., recommended
The Platters' Federal/King and Mercury sides are not only required listening for vocal group fans and 1950s aficionados, but for anyone wishing to understand to development of rock and roll too. But this compilation focuses on The Platters' oft neglected and slightly regarded recordings made for Musicor beginning in 1966. The basic line-up by then included Sonny Turner, David Lynch, Herb Reed, Nate Nelson (ex-Flamingos) and Sandra Dawn. Perhaps surprisingly, the group reinvented itself and spun out some mighty fine upbeat soul sides at Musicor. They don't leave the 1950s entirely behind, remaking some of their earlier hits (e.g., Only You & Smoke Gets In Your Eyes), and tossing in several ballads (Lovely/ If I Had A Love) that must have sounded pretty dated during the summer of love. But when they stick to up-tempo soul--which is much of the time--it all works. They had 4 Top 40 hits during this period, including the Top Ten I Love You 1000 Times and the classic With This Ring. They might have had even more success if they had changed their name when they switched labels and people, because whatever financial appeal signing a famous group such as The Platters must have had, it surely must have alienated the younger audience that Musicor courted and that Motown dominated. This album includes, among another tracks, the entire "Going Back To Detroit" LP, which is a lot better than its obscurity suggests. (JC)

 
THE PLATTERS Mercury 01755-02 All Time Greatest Hits ● CD $13.98
18 tracks, 49 mins, essential
I am of the opinion that no proper music collection should be without a collection of The Platters' classic songs. This collection is fantastic and definitely the one I recommend. All of the great hits are here: Only You (and You Alone)/ The Great Pretender/ (You've Got) The Magic Touch/ My Prayer/ One In A Million/ Twilight Time/ Smoke Gets In Your Eyes/ Harbor Lights/ Enchanted, and so on. Every song on here was at least top 40 Pop or R&B, most top ten and a bunch that were #1s. You even get the "Dish" of the Platters, the fabulous Zola Taylor, taking lead vocal on He's Mine. Mercury has provided an informative booklet, attractive package and stellar sound to bump this one up to Essential status in my book. (JM)
THE PLATTERS: (You've Got) The Magic Touch/ Enchanted/ Great Pretender/ Harbor Lights/ He's Mine/ Heaven on Earth/ I Love You 1,000 Times/ I'm Sorry/ It Isn't Right/ My Dream/ My Prayer/ On My Word of Honor/ One in a Million/ Only You (And You Alone)/ Smoke Gets in Your Eyes/ Twilight Time/ With This Ring/ You'll Never, Never Know

 
OTIS REDDING Rhino 422140 Otis Blue - Otis Redding Sings Soul ● CD $24.98
2 CDs, 40 tracks, essential
The undisputed King of Stax Soul struts his stuff in a big way on his third album. Brimming with confidence, Otis takes on a wide variety of styles, from the pop of Sam Cooke's Wonderful World, to the deep blues of B.B. King`s Rock Me Baby, to a ballad (the all time classic I've Been Loving You Too Long), There's even a Motown cover (My Girl). This Collector's Edition includes the complete album in mono and stereo formats, alternate versions and B-Sides, informative liner notes, but the real magic is found on the live tracks, eleven total - six from a 1966 performance at L.A.'s famed Whisky a go-go club, five from Europe, recorded in 1967. A stellar album from Mr. Redding, backed by the legendary Stax house band, "Otis Blue" contains such chestnuts as Respect (later a huge hit for Aretha Franklin), the electrifying Shake, and a superb take on the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction. A must-have set from a Soul/ R&B Master. (BC)

 
VERDELLE SMITH Royale 103 The Complete Recordings ● CD $17.98
23 tracks, 62 min., recommended
Aside from her minor 1966 hit Tar And Cement, Verdelle Smith never left the shadows of obscurity for very long. Her one hit led to a series of singles and even an LP on Capital, none of which did much to separate the record-buying public from their money. Stylistically, Smith committed a sin that record companies find unforgivable (unless it sells): she resisted easy categorization. She sang pop songs, jazz standards, a little folk, girl group-esque material, and thus never found an audience. Even today, she is barely mentioned in reference books and encyclopedic web sites. All of which is a shame, since Smith knows her way around a lyric and possesses a pleasing and emotive voice. This album, which bears all the signs of something destined to go out of print soon and forever, apparently collects Smith's sides and tosses in a promo radio edit of Juanito, and a "new mix" of In My Room and Tar And Cement (along with the regular versions). Other tracks include Life Goes On, Over The Rainbow, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Autumn Leaves, and many more. Fans of Dionne Warwick should find much to like here. (JC)

 
THE SPIDERS Gold Dust 973 I Didn't Want To Do It - The Best Of The Spiders ● CD $17.98
32 tracks, 76 mins, recommended
New Orleans vocal group the Spiders is well served by this generous collection of their Imperial singles, mostly written and produced by Dave Bartholomew. Unlike an earlier two-disc compilation on Bear Family (BCD 15673 - $41.98), this CD covers just the group's main period (1953 to 1956) thus omitting their gospel, solo (from group leaders the Carbo brothers), and 60's reunion sides. But it doesn't matter because what's contained here is the cream of the crop: 32 glorious examples of prime Crescent City R&B, epitomized by the hits I Didn't Want to Do it/ You're the One/ Witchcraft/ 21/ Tears Began to Flow, and I'm Slippin' in. Modestly packaged, with a full discography, "Best Of. " is a fine (and cheaper) alternative to the Bear Family collection. (GMC)

 
TOMMY TATE Kent CDKEND 289 I'm So Satisfied - The Complete Ko Ko Recordings & More ● CD $18.98
Superior Muscle Shoals-recorded Southern (and Northern) soul from a hero of fans of both genres, finally receiving its first ever reissue outside of Japan. Tommy Tate has never been prolific in his recorded output, but almost everything he's ever recorded is highly rated in Soul circles. This CD brings together everything that Tate recorded for Ko Ko records between 1971 and 1977, and adds three tracks that he cut for Stax just prior to the earliest of his Ko Ko sessions, as lead singer of the Nightingales.

 
THE TRENIERS Rev-Ola CRREV 248 In The 50s - This Is It! ● CD $15.98
Another one of those 50's groups that remain unsung today, the Treniers were led by twin brothers Cliff and Claude Trenier and had been active since the 1940's playing music that was a cross between swing and early rock 'n' roll, and contained a thumping backbeat. Known for the humorous content in their songs and on stage acrobatics, they were very much perceived as precursors to the later rock and roll groups and were a big influence on Bill Haley and His Comets. The guys at Rev-Ola have kindly given us 30 of the group's finest rockin' moments, including their cover of Haley's Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie plus Everybody Get Together/ It Rocks! It Rolls! It Swings/ Rockin' Is OUr Bizness/ Bug Dance/ Rock 'n' Roll Call/ Everything's Wild In Wildwood/ Sorrento/ (We Want A) Rock And Roll President (amen to that!)/ Madune/ Holy Mackerel, Andy, etc.
THE TRENIERS: Bug Dance/ Cool It Baby/ Drink Wine Spo Dee O Dee/ Everybody Get Together/ Everything's Wild In Wildwood/ Go Go Go/ Go Go Go/ Good Rockin' Tonight/ Goodnight Irene/ Hey Jacobia/ Hi Ho Silver/ Holy Mackerel Andy/ It Rocks It Rolls It Swings/ Longest Walk/ Lover Come Back To Me/ Madune/ Oo La La/ Out Of The Bushes/ Rock A Beatin' Boogie/ Rock A Way/ Rock And Roll Call/ Rock Calypso Joe/ Rockin' Is Our Bizness/ Rockin' On Sunday Night/ Sorrento/ This Is It/ Trapped In The Web Of Love/ We Want A Rock 'n' Roll President/ Why Do You Get So High Shorty/ You Know Yeah Tiger

 

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