This is where we list some of the best and most popular releases from the past decade which you may have missed them the first time we listed them - or if you’re a new customer you may never have seen them. We hope you will find here some that will become your favorites.





MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT His Life, His Times, His Music by Philip R. Ratcliffe ● BOOK $34.95
Hardbound, 308 pages, counts as six CDs for shipping
When Mississippi John Hurt was "rediscovered" by blues revivalists in 1963, his musicianship and recordings transformed popular notions of prewar country blues. At the age of 71, his intricate and lively style made him the most sought-after musician among the many talents the revival brought to light. In this book, biographer Philip Ratcliffe provides Hurt's life for the first time. Hurt's roots are traced to the moment when his mother and father were freed from slavery, along with anecdotes from his childhood and teenage years including the moment when his mother purchased his first guitar when he was nine years old. Ratcliffe's research includes interviews with neighbors, friends, wives, and his extended family. He has even unearth treasures like Hurt's first marriage record in 1916, images of his first autographed LP, and excerpts from personal letters written in his own hand. From detailing Hurt's musical influences and the origins of his style and repertoire to featuring for the first time some of the last photographs taken, Ratcliffe does an exemplary job of documenting the life and music of a legendary bluesman.

ROCKABILLY The Twang Heard Around The World: An Illustrated History edited by Michael Dregni ● BOOK $29.98
Hardback, 232 pages, counts as 14 CDs for shipping
Gorgeous, copiously illustrated, coffee table book devoted to rockabilly. Starting off with Elvis at Sun it covers many of Sun's great and lesser known names (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Warren Smith, etc.) then spreads out to encompass rockabilly around the country (Buddy Holly, Wanda Jackson, Jimmy Lloyd, Gene Vincent, etc.) then looks at some of the artists who kept the rockabilly spirit alive in the 1960s (Jack Scott, Ronnie Hawkins, etc.) and then on to the rockabilly revivals in Europe and the rest of the world. There are sidebars on session musicians, instruments used and more. Though not a comprehensive history of the genre there's lots of useful information provided by writers like Greil Marcus, Peter Guralnick, Robert Gordon, Deke Dickerson and others plus interviews and reminiscences with Wanda Jackson, Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Tav Falco, Cliff Gallup, Dale Hawkins, etc. and topping it all off are the more than 600 illustrations including photos, concert posters, record labels, memorabilia and collectibles.



JERRY LEE LEWIS Time Life 19406 Greatest Live Performances Of The '50s, '60s and '70s ● DVD $18.98
13 songs, 71 mins, black & white/ color, very highly recommended
A great selection of (mostly) live performances by The Killer drawn from TV shows broadcast in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The opening performance is the highlight of this DVD featuring a wonderfully demented performance of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" from his first TV performance on the Steve Allen Show in July 1957 which is worth the price of admission. This is followed by two (rather badly) lip-synched performances from Dewey Phillips Pop Shop in December of the same year and a fine, if relatively tame performance of "Breathless" from the Dick Clark show in February, 1958. Skip ahead to 1964 and a great 30 minute show from British TV with Jerry Lee in fine form on a collection of six rockers and country songs ending with a storming version of "Whole Lotta Shakin'". Excerpts of this have appeared elsewhere but I believe this is the first time it has been reissued in its entirety. From the 70s with Jerry Lee back on top as country singer we have three performances from Ralph Emery's "Country Goes Pop" TV show ending with Jerry Lee duetting on vocals and pianos with his cousin Mickey Gilley on a medley of pop and R&B songs including a hot version of "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" and a killer rendition of "Lewis Boogie". Bonus features include a fascinating 20 minute interview with Jerry Lee at the original Sun studios where he discusses his early years as well a trailer for the 1958 movie "High School Confidential" where Jerry Lee performed the theme song. (FS)



DAVE BARTHOLOMEW Collectables 2883 The King Sides ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 64 mins, highly recommended
This is a great way to get the complete DeLuxe and King recordings of trumpeter, bandleader, arranger and producer Dave Bartholomew including two previously unissued alternate takes. Bartholomew is best remembered for sides he did with Fats Domino on Imperial, but between 1949 and 1952 he cut for De Luxe and King under his own name. Although little more than an average vocalist, Dave could blow breath-taking solos. Many star instrumentalists passed through Dave's band: Frank Fields (bass), Earl Palmer (drums), Todd Rhodes (piano), Herb Hardesty (tenor), and Ernest McLean (guitar), among many others. Includes "Stardust/ Gumbo Blues/ Country Boy/ In The Alley/ Twins/ I'll Never Be The Same" ad others including the two part "Lawdy Lawdy Lord" with a vocal by Tommy Ridgley and the original recording of "My Ding-A-Ling". Sound quality is fine and their informative notes by Victor Pearlin but no discographical info. (FS)

BOBBY BYRD Alston 4500 Got Soul - The Best Of Bobby Bird ● CD $17.98
22 tracks, 79 min., very highly recommended
It was as one of the Famous Flames that Byrd earned the admiration of hardcore soul fans. As a founding member, he invited James Brown to join, which Brown did and then took over and put the Flames on the back burner. This compilation collects material (released and unreleased) cut between 1964-73, includes backing from James Brown's band (Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Fred Thomas, and others, including, on two tracks, Bootsy Collins) as well as occasional assistance from Mr. Superbad himself--grunts, shouts and a duet on "You've Got To Change Your Mind" (making it to 47 R&B-wise in '68). Sure, you get the feeling that Brown could have outperformed his long-time warm-up act on these tracks, but that's hardly a fair criticism. Byrd, while perhaps not an extraordinary vocalist is dynamic and exciting singer and acquits himself quite well and even shines (almost) as brightly as his boss on "I Know You Got Soul" (reaching #30 hit on the R&B charts). Other standout tracks include "Baby Baby Baby" (a duet with Anna King), the #34 hit "Hot Pants - I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming", the #40 hit "Keep On Doin' What You're Doin'", and lots more. If not a definitive collection, easily the best one so far, collecting the vast majority of his best sides, most of which have been long out of print. No notes with this one but still too good to pass up. (JC)

THE CADILLACS Jasmine 556 Zoom - The Josie Singles, 1954-1959 ● CD $15.98
Two CDs, 43 tracks, highly recommended
Formed in Harlem, NY as the Carnations in the early 50's, this R&B/doo-wop vocal group was first influenced by the Orioles but soon developed their own style managed to make a fine body of work during its original lifespan. This great collection features all their singles issued between 1954 and '59. Their first single "I Wonder Why" b/w "Gloria" and it was a regional hit on the East Coast; both sum up the group's style: "Gloria" with its romantic balladry and "I Wonder Why" with its up-tempo, swing-y love declarations. The group finally hit big in 1955 with "Speedoo" - a memorable paean to romantic prowess in honor of the group's leader Earl "Speedoo" Caroll - and although they couldn't quite repeat the feat, they remained a popular live act with their flamboyant stage antics. Their later recordings have a more novelty feel and shows the influence of The Coasters and while the latter sides are not as consistently fine as the earlier ones there's lot's of great sides including my personal favorite - the great "Peek A Boo". Excellent sound and informative notes by Bob Fisher. (FS)
THE CADILLACS: About That Girl Called Lou/ Ain't You Gonna/ Always My Darling/ Bad Dan McGoon/ Betty My Love/ Broken Heart/ Buzz Buzz Buzz/ Cool It Fool/ Copy Cat 1959/ Down The Road/ Dumbell/ Girl I Love, The/ Gloria/ Holy Smoke Baby/ Hurry Home/ I Want To Know/ I Want To Know About Love/ I Wonder Why/ Jay Walker/ Let Me Explain/ Look A Here/ Lucy/ My Girl Friend/ Naggity Nag/ No Chance/ Oh Oh Lolita/ Peek-A-Boo/ Please Mr. Johnson/ Romeo/ Rudolp The Red Nosed Reindeer/ Shock A Doo/ Speedo/ Speedo Is Back/ Sugar Sugar/ Sympathy/ That's All I Need/ Who Ya Gonna Kiss/ Window Lady/ Wishing Well/ Woe Is Me/ Yea Yea Baby/ You Are/ Zoom

JOHNNY CASH Columbia 60051 Bootleg Vol. 2 - From Memphis To Hollywood ● CD $18.98
2 CDs, 57 tracks, 124 mins, highly recommended
Johnny Cash certainly cast a long shadow in American Music history, so it's no surprise that, years after his passing, there are numerous CDs worth of quality recordings still being released. This collection includes early Memphis area radio appearances, demos, and rare recordings, b-sides and out-takes from about the first 15 years of Johnny Cash's career. Disk one focuses exclusively on the formative years of 1955 - 1958 and has the radio shows, a slew of demos and then some rare Sun records recordings. There are 17 demo recordings throughout the 2 CDs, most of them '58 or before, and they include the first recordings of such major songs as "I Walk The Line/ Country Boy/ Get Rhythm/ Train Of Love/ Come Along And Ride This Train," etc. These fantastic demo versions would be enough for the price of admission for most Cash fans by themselves, but then you have 40 more great tracks besides. The early radio shows include Johnny Cash doing promotional spots for the Home Equipment Company; not the natural pitch-man that someone like Hank Williams was, but that makes these spots that much more endearing. Disk two focuses mostly on Cash's late '50s to '60s material and has such gems as "All Over Again/ The Johnny Yuma Theme/ Five Minutes To Live/ Johnny Reb/ The Frozen Logger/ You Beat All I Ever Saw/ Foolish Questions," and so on. As with the first installment in this series, I consider this an essential for any Johnny Cash fans and at least highly recommended to everyone else (I'll definitely be buying this copy!) (JM)

THE CHECKERS Collectables 2888 White Cliffs Of Dover - Very Best Of The Checkers ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 57 min., essential
The Checkers are surely one of the most underrated of the 50's vocal groups. Formed when the Dominoes underwent their first major personnel shift in early 1952, the Checkers roster included former Dominoes bass Bill Brown and former Dominoes second tenor Charles White. Similarities also prevailed in the shape and form of high tenor lead Little David Baughn, who went on to sing with The Harps and to temporarily replace Clyde McPhatter in the Drifters. Listen to Little David's emotionally touching pipes on the beautiful "House Without Windows" and "I Promise You" - you'd swear you were listening to C. McPhatter. Their ballad and jump performances, recorded between 1952 and 1954, rank among the most pol in the pantheon of rhythm and blues harmony. The program here includes 22 of their classic performances mostly recorded between 1952 and 1954 plus a few later sides by a different line up. Among the earlier gems are "Flame in My Heart", "Night's Curtain", "Ghost of My Baby", "White Cliffs of Dover", the hilarious answer to "Sixty Minute Man", "Don't Stop Dan", "Mama's Daughter", and "Trying to Hold My Gal". Terrific music, impressive sound quality, a cover photo of the group, and short but solid liner notes. Simply not a disc to miss. (DH)
THE CHECKERS: Can't Find My Sadie/ Don't Stop Dan/ Flame In My Heart/ Ghost Of My Baby/ Heaven Only Knows/ House With No Windows/ I Promise You/ I Wanna Know/ I Wasn't Thinkin', I Was Drinkin'/ Let Me Come Back/ Love Wasn't There/ Mama's Daughter/ My Prayer Tonight/ Night's Curtain/ Nine More Miles (the Faster, Faster Song)/ Oh, Oh, Oh Baby/ Over The Rainbow/ Trying To Hold My Gal/ White Cliffs Of Dover/ Without A Song/ You Never Had It So Good/ You've Been Fooling Around

PEE WEE CRAYTON Ace CDCHD 632 The Modern Legacy ● CD $18.98
23 tracks, 64 min., highly recommended
Sometime blues can sound deceptively simple, especially when they are short & sweet and to the point. Take for example the music of singer/guitarist Connie Curtis (Pee Wee) Crayton. Relocating to California (in 1935), his 1948-1951 Modern Recordings are some of the best instrumental guitar blues recorded - guitar blues played on a Vega guitar, full of simple structures and emotions. His first R&B hit record, "Blues After Hours" ('48, with pianist David Lee Johnson), charted for over 13 weeks, and was the very first guitar instrumental to reach the #1 R&B position. This wonderful track (a clever variation of pianist Avery Parrish's composition "After Hours") is included in this first (of two) volume of his best recordings. Other instrumentals include "Bounce Pee Wee" ('48), "Rock Island Blues" ('48), "Pee Wee's Wild" ('50) and an alternate take of "Texas Hop" ('48 with Buddy Floyd on tenor sax) - his 2nd Top 5 R&B hit. As a bonus, ACE has included two 1949 tracks he recorded with Jay McShann, "Black Gal" (unissued) and the rare instrumental "Boogie Woogie Upstairs" (issued as by Al "Cake" Wichard, McShann's drummer). Collectors should note that the set has the master take of "Central Avenue Blues" ('48) and three titles from the 1950 session with the Harry "Sweets" Edison-Ben Webster group, including "Please Come Back" (with possibly Marshall Royal on alto sax) and a new alternate take of "Louella Brown". (EL)
PEE WEE CRAYTON: After Hours/ Austin Boogie/ Black Gal/ Blues For My Baby/ Boogie Woogie Upstairs/ Bop Hop/ Bounce Pee Wee/ Central Avenue Blues/ Change Your Way Of Lovin'/ From Blues To Boogie/ I'm Still In Love With You/ Louella Brown/ My Everything/ Pee Wee's Boogie/ Pee Wee's Wild/ Please Come Back/ Rock Island Blues/ Rockin' The Blues/ Rosa Lee/ T For Texas (Mistreated Blues)/ Texas Hop/ Tired Of Travelin'/ When Darkness Falls

MAXWELL DAVIS Fantastic Voyage 130 Wailin' Daddy, The Best Of Maxwell Davis, 1945-1959 ● CD $22.98
Three CDS, 89 tracks, essential
A wonderful tribute to one of the unheralded geniuses of blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll - West Coast saxophonist/ writer/ arranger and producer Maxwell Davis whose talents in one or more of those capacities was responsible for many blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll hits. He worked for all the important West Cost record companies (Aladdin, Swing Time, Modern, Specialty, etc.) and was involved with hundreds of different performers. When Jerry Leiber was asked about Phil Spector he responded "Phil made some good records, but I know a lot of people who made better records .... Maxwell Davis must have made a hundred hits, not 12 or 17. And nobody knows who Maxwell Davis is today!" When he was at Specialty, Percy Mayfield refused to record if Maxwell wasn't present. Disc 1 is devoted to Maxwell's own recordings as saxophonist and bandleader and show him to be a superb stylist which neatly straddles the line between jazz and R&B ranging from the mellow sounds of the 40s to the more hard driving sounds of the 50s always surrounded by the top musicians on the West Coast. Maxwell was a consummate musician who didn't need to indulge in over the top histrionics popular with some of his contemporaries. The other two discs features Maxwell's work as sideman, arranger or producer featuring contributions from performers like Jo Evans, Helen Humes, Gene Phillips, Joe Turner & Pete Johnson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lowell Fulson, Mickey Cooper, Percy Mayfield, Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers, Rock Heart Johnson, Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five, The Cocoas, Young Jessie and many more. Although the emphasis is on blues and R&B recordings there are also a few examples of Maxwell's work in the jazz (Charles Mingus Sextet, Red Callnder Sextette, etc) and pop (June Christy, Ray Anthony). A superb collection with excellent sound and informative notes from Dave Penny. The only thing lacking is detailed discographical info. (FS)
JO JO ADAMS: Hard Headed Woman Blues/ PATTI ANNE: Shtiggy Boom/ RAY ANTHONY ORCHESTRA: Blow, Man, Blow!/ CALVIN BOZE: Waiting And Drinking/ GATEMOUTH BROWN: Without Me Baby/ RED CALLENDER SEXTETTE: Chico’s Boogie/ IKE CARPENTER ORCHESTRA: Pachuko Hop/ JUNE CHRISTY: Some Folks Do/ THE COCOAS: Flip Your Daddy/ MICKY COOPER: When I Had Money/ EARL CURRY: I Want Your Loving/ MAXWELL DAVIS: Belmont Special/ Blue Shuffle/ Blue Tango/ Bluesville/ Boogie Cocktails/ Bristol Drive/ Cool Diggin’/ Get Out/ Hey Boy/ Hey, Good Lookin’/ Honey Dripper/ Hot Point/ Hung Out/ I’ll Always Be In Love With You/ I’m Waiting Just For You/ Little White Lies/ Lonesome Road Blues/ Look Sharp - Be Sharp (The Gillette March)/ M T Boogie/ Ooh!/ Popsicle/ Resistor/ September In The Rain/ Side Car/ Strange Sensation/ Tempo Rock/ The Glory Of Love/ The Way You Look Tonight/ Thunderbird/ Th’ Adams Bop Hop/ Welcome Home Baby/ CORDELLA DE MILO: I Ain’t Gonna Hush/ MARY DE PINA: Boogie Woogie Man/ FLOYD DIXON: Real Lovin’ Mama/ JO EVANS: Goody Goody Baby/ LOWELL FULSON: Jimmy’s Blues/ CLARENCE GARLOW: I’m Hurt/ LLOYD GLENN ALL STARS: Jumpin’ With Lloyd/ FELIX GROSS: Peaceful Lovin’/ PEPPERMINT HARRIS: Let The Back Door Hit You/ MEREDITH HOWARD: Goodbye/ HELEN HUMES: He May Be Yours/ It’s Better To Give Than To Receive/ Riffin’ Without Helen/ YOUNG JESSIE: Mary Lou/ EDDIE JOHNSON: Mr Juice Head/ ROCK HEART JOHNSON: Rock Heart’s Blues/ PETE JOHNSON SEXTETTE: Half Tight Boogie/ BETTY HALL JONES: The Same Old Boogie/ LOUIS JORDAN: Hog Wash/ B.B. KING: I’m In Love/ JOE LIGGINS: Going Back To New Orleans/ LITTLE MISS CORNSHUCKS: Cornshucks’ Blues/ LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: Kansas City/ PERCY MAYFIELD: Half Awoke/ Loose Lips/ BIG SPEED MCDANIELS: The Jumping Boogie Blues/ RUSTY MCDONALD: Dirty Pool/ OSCAR MCLOLLIE: Hot Banana/ AMOS MILBURN: Pot Luck Boogie/ CHARLES MINGUS SEXTET: Swingin’ An Echo/ JIMMY NELSON: Cry Hard Luck/ GENE PHILLIPS: Big Legs/ JAKE PORTER: Jump Safari/ Opus Five–Jake’s Jive/ LA MELLE PRINCE: Get High/ MABEL SCOTT: Gee/ Wailin’ Daddy/ EFFIE SMITH: Effie’s Boogie/ GEECHIE SMITH: T-Town Jump/ GEORGE SMITH: Cross-Eyed Suzie Lee/ JOE SWIFT: Alligator Meat/ JOE TURNER: Don’t Talk Me To Death/ T-BONE WALKER: Welcome Blues/ CROWN PRINCE WATERFORD: Love Awhile/ BOB WILLIAMS: Talk To Me/ JIMMY WITHERSPOON: Call My Baby/ LEE YOUNG BAND: Seeing Double

CHAMPION JACK DUPREE Collectables 2874 Walkin' The Blues - Very Best Of Champion Jack Dupree ● CD $15.98
28 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
Most welcome reissue featuring all of Jack's King recordings in chronological order. His first session was in July 1951 and featured Jack with Brownie McGhee, a bass player and drummer and was issued under the name Big Tom Collins. The vocals were split between Jack and Brownie and only the tracks with Jack's vocals are featured here. The remaining tracks were recorded between 1953 and 1955 and issued under his own name. Jack is in fine form accompanied by small R&B combos with varying musicians often featuring the great guitarist Mickey Baker who plays some tasty slide on two 1955 sessions. One 1953 sessions features harmonica from Papa Lightfoot and the last session from November 1955 features dynamite harp by George Smith including the instrumental "Sharp Harp". Some tracks feature sax work from Sidney Grant or Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson. On a few tracks he affects an annoying "tongue tied" vocal approach but there's enough fine singing and playing elsewhere to more than compensate. Sound quality is excellent and the booklet has informative notes by Victor Pearlin. (FS)

BOB DYLAN Columbia 84742 In Concert Brandeis University, 1963 ● CD $10.98
7 tracks, 38 mins, very highly recommended
A real treat for Dylan fans - a previously unknown live recording made at the Brandeis University Folk Festival on May 10th, 1963 - two weeks before the release of his groundbreaking "Freewheelin'" album. Four of the seven song appeared on that album - "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance/ Masters Of War" (a particularly compelling and savage performance)/ "Talking World War III Blues" and his exquisite reworking of the traditional song "Lord Franklin" as "Bob Dylan's Dream". Two of the songs "Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues" and "Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues" were recorded at the the Freewheelin' sessions but never made the final cut. The final song, the chilling "Ballad Of Hollis Brown" had been written in 1962 and appeared on his third album "The Time They Are A-Changin'" in 1964. Bob is in great form, sound quality is superb and there are informative notes by Dylanologist Michael Gray. This won't excite your average listener but will be invaluable for Dylan fans both for the quality of the performance and for it's importance in being the last live performance recorded before he satarted heading for superstardom. (FS)

DUKE ELLINGTON JSP JSPCD 924 Volume 1: 1926-1929 :Mrs Clinkscales To The Cotton Club ● CD $28.98
4 discs 96 tracks essential
This may be one of the best sets to be released in 2005! Ellington collectors find it hard to keep track of the early years, as he extensively recorded for the four major labels Victor, Columbia , Brunswick & Vocalion. The set starts off with some of Duke's rarest, the pre-majors recordings starting with backing Alberta Prime & Florence Bristol in 11/24 for Blu-Disc, as well as their own first coupling "Choo Choo/ Gotta Hurry Home". From there it was The Washingtonians recording for Pathe'& Gennett before starting to record for Vocalion & Brunswick as Duke Ellington & His Kentucky Club Orch, for Victor as Duke Ellington Orch, Columbia as The Washingtonians. And that doesn't include sessions for Pathe as The Whopee Makers, Okeh as The Harlem Footwarmers & The Chicago Footwarmers, even Warren Mills & His Blue Serenaders. There's multiple versions of his signature tunes of the time, some of my faves of all-time, including "Black & Tan Fantasy/ Creole Love Call/ East St. Louis Toodle-Oo/Jubilee Stomp/ Black Beauty/ The Mooche/ Digga Digga Doo" & "Doin' The New Lowdown". There's discographical info that's a bit hard to follow, & unfortunately no credits for the remastering. And by the way, Mrs Clinkscales was the actual name of young Edward Ellington's piano teacher! (GM
DUKE ELLINGTON: Animal Crackers/ Awful Sad/ Bandanna Babies/ Birmingham Breakdown/ Birmingham Breakdown/ Black And Tan Fantasie/ Black And Tan Fantasy/ Black And Tan Fantasy/ Black Beauty/ Black Beauty/ Black Beauty (Firewater)/ Blue Bubbles/ Blues I Love To Sing, The/ Blues With A Feelin', The/ Bugle Call Rag/ Chicago Stomp Down/ Choo Choo (Gotta Hurry Home)/ Creeper, The/ Creeper, The/ Creole Love Call/ Diga Diga Doo/ Diga Diga Doo/ Doin' The Frog/ Doin' The New Low - Down/ Doin' The Voom Voom/ Doin' The Voom Voom/ Down In Our Alley Blues/ East St. Louie Toodle-Oo (East St. Louie Toodle-Oo)/ East St. Louis Toodle-O/ East St. Louis Toodle-O/ East St. Louis Toodle-O (Sic)/ East St. Louis Toodle-Oo/ Flaming Youth/ Georgia Grind/ Goin' To Town/ Got Everything But You/ Harlem River Quiver (Brown Berries)/ Harlem Twist/ High Life/ Hit Me In The Nose Blues/ Hop Head/ Hot And Bothered/ Hot And Bothered (Hot And Bothered)/ Hottentot/ How Come You Do Me Like You Do?/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love/ I Done Caught You Blues/ I Must have That Man/ I'm Gonna Hang Around My Suga/ I'm Gonna Put You Right In Jail/ If You Can't Hold The Man You Love/ Immigration Blues/ It's All Coming Home To You/ It's Gonna Be A Cold, Cold Winter (So Get Another Place To Stay)/ Jubilee Stomp/ Jubilee Stomp/ Jubilee Stomp/ Jubilee Stomp/ Lil'l Farina/ Louisiana/ Lucky Number Blues/ Misty Mornin'/ Misty Mornin'/ Mooche, The/ Move Over/ Move Over/ New Orleans Low-Down/ No, Papa, No/ No, Papa, No/ Parlor Social De Luxe/ Parlor Social Stomp/ Rainy Nights (Rainy Days)/ Red Hot Band (Red Hot Brand)/ Santa Claus Bring My Man Back To Me/ Saturday Night Function/ Soliloquy/ Song Of The Cotton Field/ St. Louis Blues/ Stack O'Lee Blues/ Swampy River/ Sweet Mama (Papa's Gettin' Mad)/ Take It Easy/ Take It Easy/ Take It Easy/ The Mooche/ The Mooche/ The Mooche/ Tiger Rag-Part 1/ Tiger Rag-Part 2/ Tishomingo Blues/ Trombone Blues/ Washington Wabble/ Washington Wobble/ What Can A Poor Fellow Do?/ Yellow Dog Blues/ You've Got Those) Wanna-Go-Back-Again Blues

H-BOMB FERGUSON Big Bang 103 Rock, H-Bomb, Rock ● CD $18.98
32 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended
If you like your R&B hot and rocking then Cincinnati based Robert "H-Bomb" Ferguson is your man. True to his name he explodes out of your speakers with his tough gravel voice and some wonderfully hard driving bands. This CD is crammed full of mostly up tempo sides recorded between 1950 and 1960 with the occasional slow but searing ballad. On his early sides H-Bomb sounds a lot like Wynonie Harris but his approach is even more uninhibited and apparently his stage act was more uninhibited still! Most of earlier sides were recorded in New York with top New York sidemen like Charlie Singleton, Big John Greer, Lou Donaldson, Jack "The Bear" Parker, Count Hastings, Mickey Baker and others - the later sides were recorded in Cincinnati with unknown but superb musicians and show that H-Bomb was perfectly at home with a more rock 'n' roll flavored material. No notes but sound quality is, with a few exceptions, excellent. (FS)
H-BOMB FERGUSON: Big City Blues/ Bookie's Blues/ Crying Over You/ Feel Like I Do/ Give It Up/ Good Lovin'/ Good Time Gal/ Hard Lovin' Woman/ Hot Kisses/ I Love My Baby/ I Need You Baby/ I'm Crying Boo Boo Hoo/ I'm So Lonely/ Lady Queen/ Life Is Hard/ Little Tiger/ Mary, Little Mary/ Midnight Ramblin' Tonight/ My Brown Frame Baby/ My Love/ New Way Blues/ No-sackie-sack/ On My Way/ Preachin' The Blues/ Rock H-bomb Rock/ Slowly Going Crazy/ Spaghetti And Meat Ball/ Sundown Blues/ The Mess Around/ Tortured Love/ Wine Head/ Work For My Baby

DICK GAUGHAN Topic TSCD 384 Gaughan ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, essential
In the 70s and early 80s nobody on the British Isles folk scene was better than Dick Gaughan with his rich smoky baritone voice and dazzling guitar technique. A change of direction in the 80s resulted in music that was less consistently compelling than his earlier work. This compact disc reissues his 1978 album "Gaughan" with the addition of four instrumental sets from his groundbreaking all instrumental album "Coppers And Brass" and two from his guest appearance on the High Level Ranters mining songs album "Bonnie Pit Laddie. This disc is superb in every respect and shows Dick's willingness to experiment with the recording process - occasionally multi-tracking his guitar and, on the powerful Dominic Behan song "Crooked Jack", playing some spine chilling electric guitar. His version of the long ballad "Willie Of Winsbury" is lovely with some exquisite finger picked guitar and is one of his all time gratest performances. His version of"The Recruited Collier" is very moving as is "The Augengeich Disaster", the latter with lovely concertina by Alistair Anderson. Gaughan may not have been the first to play traditional Scots and Irish tunes on guitar but he was certainly one of the best - the slurs and slides of the tunes are transformed into rolls and triplets which trip off thumb and flatpick in an exhilarating cascade of coruscating notes. The playing never sacrifices technique for feeling. Essential! (FS)

WALTER HURDT B.A.C.M. 232 And The Singing Cowboys ● CD $14.98
29 tracks, very highly recommended
Terrific and varied collection of material, most of it featuring singer/ guitarist Walter Hurdt from Asheville, North Carolina it opens with four cuts from 1937 - superb white blues in the Jimmie Rodgers style - two by Hurdt on his own and two with Claude Boone on guitar and duet vocal. This is followed by 19 tracks from 1938 and 1939 with a small group featuring Lawrence Wiseman on fiddle and Leroy Johnson and Cecil Burleson on guitars and vocals. The material includes blues, western swing, duet harmony singing in the style of The Delmore Brothers, a couple of jazzy guitar duets and the first recorded version of "Orange Blossom Special" which 18 year old fiddler Wiseman learned directly from its composer Ervin Rouse who recorded it a couple of months later. The final six sides finds the group recording without Hurdt as Slim Johnson & The Singing Cowboys and continue in the fine tradition of the earlier sides. Fine sound and informative notes from Kevin Coffey. (FS)
WALTER HURDT: Blue Skies Above/ Carry Me Back To The Blue Ridge/ Cause My Baby's Gone/ Double Trouble Blues/ Down The Arizona Trail/ Fiddle And Guitar Runnin' Wild/ Fisherman's Daughter/ Fox Hunter's Luck/ Guitar Rag/ Hold Him Down Cowboy/ Honeysuckle Blues/ I'm A Straight Shooting Cowboy/ I'm Drinking My Troubles Down/ I'm Ridin' Now/ I'm Through With Women/ I've Always Loved My Old Guitar/ My Brave Buckaroo/ My Skinny Sarah Jane/ Playing Around/ Rhythm In E/ She Won't Pay Me No Mind/ The Hobo Blues/ The Old Gold Coast/ Think Of Me/ To The End Of The Trail/ Train Special (Orange Blossom Special)/ Truck Driver's Blues/ Two Timing Mama Blues/ What If My Dreams Don't Come True

THE JACKS Ace CDCHD 535 Why Don't You Write Me ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, 69 min., essential
The companion disc to The Cadets Meet the Jacks is a winner from start to finish. The Cadets/Jacks were one of the premier groups of the 50's. With a lineup that included Aaron Collins, chief songwriter and brother to the Teen Queens (see below), future soul star Ted Taylor, and bass singer extraordinaire Dub Jones, they certainly had more talent than most of their competition. And the mostly ballad material here attests to that. Highlights include the title cut, plus "Away", "So Wrong", "Let's Make Up", "Why Did I Fall in Love", and "This Empty Heart". Not only do the two discs include all of their 45 rpm and lp cuts recorded under either the Jacks' or the Cadets' name, this one also includes both sides of the very rare MJC 45 on which Jacks lead Willie Davis moonlighted-"My Reckless Heart" and "They Turned the Party Out Down at Bessie's House". A great program put together with Ace's usual good taste, featuring a particularly nice cover design, fine sound quality, and informed liner notes by Jim Dawson. A must buy. (DH)

GEORGE JACKSON Grapevine 3026 What Would Your Mama Say ● CD $19.98
22 tracks, 73 min., essential
Jackson signed with Malaco in 1982 as the house songwriter for Denise LaSalle, Latimore, Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Bland, Tyrone Davis, and others. And as luck would have it, Malaco eventually bought Muscle Shoals Sound, where Jackson used to be the house pen. So when Grapevine licensed the Malaco material they gained access to a wealth of demonstration tapes Jackson had recorded to promote his songs in hopes of their being covered. The earlier CD, George Jackson In Muscle Shoals, featured 20 songs from that cache, and this disc sports another 22 of no less quality than their brethren. Mostly, Jackson is backed by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (Jimmy Johnson on guitar, Barry Beckett on Keys, David Hood on bass, Roger Hawkins on drums), perhaps the best in the business at the time. Jackson's sometimes Sam Cooke-influenced vocals are pleasing enough, to be sure, but the songs themselves are the stars here. Great lost soul rediscovered. (JC)

ETTA JAMES Jasmine 3013/4 Tough Woman - The Early Years, 1955-1960 ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 46 tracks, 125 mins, very highly recommended
A fabulous collection of early sides by R&B and soul legend Etta James. Disc one is devoted to recordings made for Modern/ Kent between 1954 and 1957 featuring most of her singles along with a couple of LP tracks. It starts with her classic "The Wallflower" aka "Roll With Henry", a duet with Richard Berry in answer to The Midnighters "Work With Me Annie" that topped the R&B charts in February 1955. It also includes the answer to the answer "Hey Henry" and her only other hit for the label "Good Rockin' Daddy" later in the same year. Although her other sides didn't make the charts she turned out some fabulous R&B rockers along with blues ballads - initially backed by The Johnny Otis Band and then by the Maxwell Davis Orchestra. It also includes a few tracks from a session held in New Orleans in 1956 with the Dave Bartholomew Band including a great reworking of her debut release as "Dance With Me Henry". Disc 2 starts with her great 1959 Kent duets with Harvey Fuqua as Betty & Dupree. Etta singned with the Chess subsidiary Argo in 1960 that was to begin a steady stream of hits starting with the soulful ballad "All I Could Do Was Cry" and including another couple of fine duets with Fuqua as Etta & Harvey including a fine rendition of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful". In 1960 issued their first Etta James LP "At Last" comprised of tracks originally issued on singles and includes most of her early Argo hits including "My Dearest Darling/ Trust In Me/ All I Could Do Was Cry" and the iconic title song which was first recorded by Glenn MIller in 1941. It also includes he great rendition of the Muddy Waters favorite "I Just Want To Make Love To You" which though not a hit at the time became a top ten hit in the U.K. in 1996 after it was used in a Coca Cola commercial. Truly classic R&B and early soul from one of it's most exciting performers. (FS)
BETTY AND DUPREE: I Hope Your Satisfied/ If It Ain’t One Thing/ ETTA AND HARVEY: My Heart Cries/ Spoonful/ ETTA JAMES: A Sunday Kind Of Love/ All I Could Do Was Cry/ Anything To Say You’re Mine/ At Last/ Baby Baby Everynight/ Be Mine/ By The Light Of The Silvery Moon/ Come What May/ Crazy Feeling/ Dance With Me Henry/ Fools We Mortals Be/ Girl Of My Dreams/ Good Lookin’/ Good Rockin’ Daddy/ Hey Henry/ Hold Me Squeeze Me/ I Just Want To Make Love To You/ If I Cant Have You/ In My Diary/ It’s A Crying Shame/ I’ll Dry My Tears/ I’m A Fool/ Let Me Know/ Market Place/ My Dearest Darling/ My One And Only/ Nobody But You/ Plum Nuts/ Seven Day Fool/ Shortnin’ Bread Rock/ Stormy Weather/ Strange Things Happening/ Tears Of Joy/ That’s All/ The Pick Up/ The Wallflower/ Then I’ll Care/ Tough Lover/ Tough Mary/ Trust In Me/ W-O-M-A-N/ You Can Count On Me

BERT JANSCH Spectrum (UK) 2075 Angie - The Collection ● CD $11.98
24 tracks, 77 mins, essential
Bert Jansch has influenced artists from Paul Simon, Donovan, and Nick Drake, to Neil Young and Led Zeppelin, to Johnny Marr and the Smiths, among countless others, and this collection does a fine job of illustrating why. Bert Jansch revolutionized acoustic guitar playing and his skillful fingers and lyrical sense make for amazing instrumentals as well as beautiful accompaniment to his and others voices. Sampling from Jansch's most prolific years 1965-1972-a seven-year period that saw Jansch perform on five solo albums, two collaboration LPs with John Renbourn, and six as a member of Pentangle-this collection does a fine job showing how much ground he covered in that short span of years. Whether it is his dynamic cover of Davy Graham's brilliant instrumental "Angie," his hugely influential arrangement of the traditional "Blackwaterside," the heartbreaking "Needle Of Death," the Jazzy/ Donovan-esque "A Little Sweet Sunshine," or the dramatic "No Love Is Sorrow," each twist and turn along the road finds Jansch creating something new & special: beautiful music that has lasted decades and should be loved for generations to come. This is a fine introduction to his early career, he released a whole slew of fantastic material over the years, and so if you use this compilation as a jumping off point, you have a lot of great music ahead of you. Unfortunately I am writing this just days after Jansch has died, so listening to his music and writing this review was all the more bittersweet. The world of music has lost a true genius. (JM)

GRANDPA JONES B.A.C.M. 206 You're Never Too Old For Love ● CD $14.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
Fine collection of 29 sides recorded between 1952 and 1955 by this excellent and distinctive performer from Kentucky with a voice that sounded 20 year older than his real age and a frailing banjo style that owed a lot to his influence Uncle Dave Macon. Accompaniments range from old timey to mainstream country with mandolin, steel guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, etc. Includes his cover of LuluBelle & Scotty's topical "I'm No Communist" plus "Retreat Cries My Heart/ TV Blues/ Sassafras/ Dear Old Sunny South By The Sea" (with some fine yodeling)/ "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet/ That New Vitamine/ Some More Mountain Dew/ Standing In The Depot/ Old Dan Tucker/ In The Future", etc. None of these songs were hits but Grandpa had a loyal following and his music is consistently entertaining. (FS)
GRANDPA JONES: Bread And Gravy/ Closer To The Bone/ Dear Old Sunny South By The Sea/ Gooseberry Pie/ Herd Of Turtles/ High Silk Hat And A Gold Top Walking Cane/ I'm No Communist/ In The Future/ Keep On The Sunny Side/ Looking Back To See/ Mountain Laurel/ My Heart Is Like A Train/ Old Blue/ Old Dan Tucker/ Old Rattler's Son/ Pap's Corn Likker Still/ Retreat Cries My Heart/ Sassafras/ Some More Mountain Dew/ Standing In The Depot/ Stop That Ticklin' Me/ TV Blues/ That New Vitamine/ The Champion/ The Trader/ What Has She Got/ Y'All Come/ You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet/ You're Never Too Old For Love

AL KING Forevermore 4601 Blues Master ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 41 mins, highly recommended
Though not a familiar name, Al King (aka Alvin K. Smith) was an excellent West Coast blues singer with a smooth but powerful vocal style. He was an excellent songwriter too, often taking familiar sayings and turning them into blues songs - "Think Twice Before You Speak" (with the classic line "I ain't no dentist/ But I'll get your teeth out free")/ "Everybody Ain't Your Friend/ Don't Put Off For Tomorrow" and others. He also covers a couple of Lowell Fulson songs "Reconsider Baby" and "Blue Shadows" and makes them all his own. These recordings were made between 1964 & '68 for the Shirley, Flag and Sahara labels. He is accompanied by excellent small bands and what elevates his recordings from excellent to outstanding is the incredible guitar playing of Johnny Heartsman - a truly talented and innovative musicians. A few of the tracks are listed as being unissued but they show up in the discography as being issued. Remastering could be a little better but is generally very good and there are informative notes by Chris Biehler. (FS)

JOHN KIRKPATRICK Free Reed 01 Plain Capers ● CD $16.98
16 tracks + bonus video track, very highly recommended
Subtitled "Morris Dance Tunes from the Cotswolds" this was originally released in 1976 on Free Reed and reissued on CD by Topic in 1993. This new reissue has been newly remastered and includes a bonus video track about the making of the album with interviews with John Kirpatrick and Neil Wayne. Kirkpatrick is a wonderfully appealing performer on all his various squeeze boxes and probably knows enough about Morris Dancing to earn a PhD or two. This is a fun CD for lovers of English music, even if you don't dance a step. If you do dance, not only can you crank this CD up and go wild, but the booklet contains an astonishing amount of information on Morris dancing and the Longborough style in particular. Martin Carthy, Sue Harris, Martin Brinsford, and Fi Fraser round out the band and play it all with necessary and consummate gusto. (DC/ FS)

MANCE LIPSCOMB Arhoolie 398 You Got To Reap What You Sow - Texas Songster Vol. 2 ● CD $12.98
24 tracks, 78 mins, essential
Mance Lipscomb was one of the greatest musical discoveries of the 60s - a wonderful singer and guitarist with an extensive repertoire that encompassed not only blues but rags, dance tunes, pop songs, spirituals, children's songs and more. This wonderful collection of 24 songs was all recorded in one afternoon in May 1964 - most in one take! The material is varied including old blues favorites ("Come Back Baby/ Bumble Bee"), regionally popular blues ("Charlie James/ Hattie Green", the powerful "Tom Moore Blues" about a Washington county land owner and the exquisite "Willie Poor Boy"), popular and jazz songs ("Long Way To Tipperary / You Rascal You") which become completely new songs in Mance's hands, instrumental pieces ("Spanish Flang Dang/ Boogie In "A"") and more. A couple of tracks feature some lovely slide guitar including a version of the topical ballad "The Titanic" and "Joe Turner Killed A Man". He also sings a surprising unaccompanied version of the Anglo-American traditional ballad "Lord Thomas". There are a lot more musical treasures featured here. Sound quality is superb and there are fine notes by Chris Strachwitz who discovered Mance and recorded the selection here. (FS)
MANCE LIPSCOMB: Boogie In A/ Bumble Bee/ Charlie James/ Cocaine Done Killed My Baby/ Come Back Baby/ Hattie Green/ I Looked Down The Road And I Wondered/ If I Miss The Train/ Joe Turner Killed A Man/ Long Way To Tipperary/ Lord Thomas/ Mama, Don't Dog Me/ Missouri Waltz/ Police Station Blues/ Sentimental Blues/ Silver City/ So Different Blues/ Spanish Flang Dang/ Tall Angel At The Bar/ The Titanic/ Tom Moore Blues/ Willie Poor Boy/ You Got To Reap What You Sow/ You Rascal You

LITTLE MILTON Shout 41 If Walls Could Talk ● CD $18.98
17 tracks, essential
Reissue of Chess 3012 from 1969 with six bonus tracks. Gene Barge puts together a blazing horn led band with Donny Hathaway on piano on several cuts to back Milton on a superb collection of soul and blues including the big hit title song along with other hits like "Let's Get Together/ Poor Man's Song" and "Baby I Love You" and some great covers like "Things I Used To Do/ Kansas City" and "Blues Get Off My Shoulder". Bonus cuts includes his hit and one of his trademark songs "Grits Ain't Groceries", stunning covers of "The Dark End Of The Street" and "I (Who Have Nothing)" and more. This is Milton at the peak of his powers with great songs, magnificent singing, a killer band and a few flashes of Milton's dynamite guitar work. Includes 12 page booklet with extensive notes, label shots and photos. Soul-blues doesn't get much better than this. (FS)

ROSE MADDOX & THE MADDOX BROTHERS B.A.C.M. 189 When The Sun Goes Down ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 63 mins, highly recommended
24 tracks from "the most colorful hillbilly band in America." 17 are from their classic recordings made for Four Star from the late 40s and early 50s. As far as I can tell these have not been not on CD before and there are some great performances including some great gospel performances which show, that, in spite of their general zaniness they could perform songs like "Flowers From A Master's Bouquet/ Gonna lay My Burden Down/ Unclouded Day" and others. There is also a stunning version of "Tramp On Your Street" plus other great performances like "Sweet Little You/ I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand/ Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die" and a riotous rendition of "Bring It Down To My House Honey" with great rockin' mandolin. The remaining seven tracks are from the groups early/ mid 50s Columbia recordings which are available in their entirety on Bear Family (BCD 15850 - The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band - 4 CDS - $84.98) and are enjoyable but pretty tame compared to the Four Star sides. The rest of the groups Four Star sides are available on Arhoolie 391 and Arhoolie 437 ($12.98 each) and are also indispensible releases. (FS)
ROSE MADDOX & THE MADDOX BROTHERS: Baby You Should Live So Long/ Bring It On Down To My House Honey/ Cowboy Bugle Boy/ Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die/ Flowers From The Master's Bouquet/ Gonna Lay My Burden Down/ Hasty Baby/ Hummingbird/ I'd Rather Die Young/ I'd Rather Have Jesus/ I'll Be No Stranger There/ I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand/ In A Land Where We Never Grow Old/ Just When I Needed You/ Old Pal Of Yesterdays/ Rosalie By The Rio/ Sweet Little You/ The Nightingale Song/ There's No Right Way To Do Me Wrong/ Tramp On The Street/ Unclouded Day/ Waltz Of The Pines/ Wedding Blues/ When The Sun Goes Down

ROBERT MCCOY Delmark 759 Bye Bye Baby ● CD $14.98
21 tracks, 69 mins, essential
Fabulous collection of barrelhouse piano blues from Birmingham, Alabama singer & piano player Robert McCoy. McCoy started his musical career in the mid 20s inspired by the playing of his older brothers as well such artists as Clarence "Pinetop" Smith, "Cow Cow" Davenport, Jabo Williams and Leroy Carr. He performed regularly and although he never recorded under his own name he played on recordings by the likes of "Jaybird" Coleman, "Peanut The Kidnapper" and Guitar Slim. Like many others, economic conditions put an end to his musical careerin the 30s. He was discovered by 14 years old blues enthusiast Pat Cather in 1961 who recorded him on a number of occasions over the next few years and issued two now extremely rare albums on his own Vulcan label. The first 14 cuts here are beautifully recorded studio sides, five of them previously unissued, and the remaining seven tracks (6 of them previously unissued) were recorded "on location" and have inferior sound though featuring fine performances. On the basis of these recordings McCoy was a major talent - a wonderful and expressive singer and a sensational piano player with a rolling style that is both energetic and sensitive - you can hear the influences of some of the people he associated with but he is very much an original. His material is a fine mix of traditional based originals and original takes of songs from the repertoire of St. Louis Jimmy, Leroy Carr, Pinetop Smith and others. The opening cut "Bye Bye Baby" is a real stunner as is his take on Luke Jordan's "Church Bell Blues" and Leroy Carr's "Gone Mother Blues". That McCoy didn't become a regular on the blues circuit is a real shame. A second CD of McCoy's recordings for Cather is in the works for which I can only say "hallelujah"! (FS)

THE MEMPHIS JUG BAND Frog 15 Volume 1 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, essential
Ever wondered what the 78s on your reissue CDs really sounded like? With remastering by John R T Davies, who worked on this three volume set (two of which were originally issued by JSP), you get as close as possible to finding out. Davies isn't concerned with removing all traces of surface noise but with preserving the information on the original discs; and in doing so he really brings this great music to life. Volume one covers the band's first twenty sides (from February 1927 to February 1928) and includes a further four tracks of solo performances by Will Weldon and Vol Stevens. (These solo tracks are otherwise found on Wolf WBCD 004.) Excellent notes by Neil Slaven sketch the social context in which the band operated as well as providing a critical commentary on each recording session. Not that this is music to be listened to in a high state of critical awareness - so what if the band occasionally sounds like it's falling apart, that's part of the fun. Sit back and enjoy Charlie Polk's 'richly flatulent emissions' and the rest of the gang as you've never heard them before. A full discography completes the picture. (DPR)
THE MEMPHIS JUG BAND: Beale Street Mess Around/ Bob Lee Junior Blues/ Coal Oil Blues/ Evergreen Money Blues/ I'll See You In The Spring When The Birds Begin To Sing/ I'm Looking For The Bully Of Thetown/ Kansas City Blues/ Memphis Boy Blues/ Memphis Jug Blues/ Newport News Blues/ Packed My Suitcase Started To The Train/ Papa Long Blues/ Peaches In The Springtime/ She Stays Out All Night Long/ Snitchin' Gambler Blues/ Sometimes I Think I Love You/ State Of Tennessee Blues/ Stingy Woman Blues/ Sun Brimmers Blues/ Sunshine Blues/ VOL STEVENS: Baby Got The Rickets Mama's Got The Mobile Blues/ Vol Stevens Blues/ WILL WELDON (CASEY BILL): Hitch Me To Your Buggy And Drive Me Like A Mule/ Turpentine Blues

THE MEMPHIS JUG BAND Frog 16 Volume 2 ● CD $18.98
23 tracks, essential
Volume two of the chronological reissue covers MJB's recordings between September 1928 and October 1929. The band are now hitting their stride, and this disc contains some of their most memorable performances, including "Lindberg Hop", "Stealin' Stealin'" and the beautiful "K. C. Moan". As in volume one there is great variety in both material and mood - from the wildly exuberant to the sombre and downbeat. We even get two waltzes! This volume also includes two solo titles apiece by Will Shade and Hattie Hart otherwise found on Wolf WBCD 004. Detailed notes on the performances by Neil Slaven. The full discography is particularly valuable with an ever changing group like this, and sound quality is again exemplary. (DPR)
HATTIE HART: Won't You Be Kind To Me?/ You Wouldn't, Would You, Papa?/ THE MEMPHIS JUG BAND: A Black Woman Is Like A Black Snake/ Feed Your Friend With A Long Handled Spoon/ I Can Beat You Plenty (that Hand You Tried To Deal Me Will)/ Jug Band Waltz/ K.c. Moan/ Lindberg Hop/ Memphis Yo Yo Blues/ Mississippi River Waltz/ On The Road Again/ Stealin' , Stealin'/ Sugar Pudding/ Taking Your Place/ Tired Of You Driving Me/ Whipped My Woman With A Single-tree/ Whitewash Station Blues/ WILL SHADE: Better Leave That Stuff Alone/ I Can't Stand It/ She Stabbed Me With An Ice-pick/ What's The Matter?/ MINNIE WALLACE: Dirty Butter/ The Old Folks Started It

CHARLIE POOLE JSP JSPCD 7734 With The North Carolina Ramblers And The Highlanders ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 96 tracks, essential
Although there are some flaws in this collection it is still an absolutely indispensible set featuring recordings by one of the finest and most popular string bands of the late 20s led by singer and banjo player Charlie Poole. Poole had a distinctive vocal style and played banjo in a precise three finger style that owed more to minstrel shows and ragtime than to the more raucous style of other old time banjo players and was to prove an influence on later generations of banjo player and was a forerunner of Scruggs style bluegrass banjo. The group usually worked as a trio and Poole was joined by fine fiddlers Poser Rorer, Lonnie Austin or Odell Smith and except for the groups first session in July 25th which featured guitarist Norman Woodlieff their regular guitarist was Roy Harvey and the group adopted the name the North Carolina Ramblers. The sound of the group was a joy - more melodic and nuanced than many of their contemporaries and their material included traditional ballads (some with their origins in English and Irish songs), minstrel songs, old popular songs, sentimental songs and more. Their first session yielded their wonderful "Don't Led You Deal Go Down" which sold over 100,000 copies and put their name on the map. Roy Harvey also recorded as leader of the North Carolina Ramblers sometimes with Poole on banjo and at other times with Bob Hoke on banjo-mandolin and many of these tracks are featured here though one six track session from February 1928 is misidentified as by Poole and The North Carolina Ramblers when he isn't present at all. Many of the groups songs became old time and later bluegrass standards and includes such gems as "The Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee/ White House Blues/ Sweet Sunny South/ He Rambled/ Coon From Tennessee/ If I Lose, I Don't Care/ Take A Drink On Me/ Baltimore Fire/ If The River Was Whiskey" (a great variation on "Hesitatin' Blues")/ "Hungry Hash House" and many more. It also includes the delightful four part musical/ comedy skit "A Trip To New York" issued as by The Alleghany Highlanders and a couple of banjo solos by Poole accompanied by Roy Harvey's sister Lucy Terry. Sound quality is generally excellent though a few tracks are from worn 78s. The only real drawback is that it doesn't quite include everything Poole recorded as a couple of 78s are not included though they are in the hands of collectors and could have been used if a little more effort had been taken by JSP. It's also puzzling that they didn't include a couple of unissued tracks that have been reissued on LP and CD. Still apart from those minor omissions this is a truly stellar and inspiring collection of old time country music. (FS)
CHARLIE POOLE: A Home Without Babies/ A Letter To My Mother/ A Letter To My Mother/ A Trip To New York Part 1/ A Trip To New York Part 2/ A Trip To New York Part 3/ A Trip To New York Part 4/ A Young Boy Left His Home One Day/ As We Parted At The Gate/ Baltimore Fire/ Bill Mason/ Bill Mason/ Blue Eyes/ Budded Rose/ Budded Roses/ Can I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister/ Don't Let Your Deal Go Down/ Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues/ Falling By The Wayside/ Flop Eared Mule/ Flyin' Clouds/ Forks Of Sandy/ From Tennessee/ George Collins/ Give My Love To Nell/ Goodbye Booze/ Goodbye Mary Dear/ Goodbye Sweet Liza Jane/ He Rambled/ Home Without Love/ Honeysuckle/ Hungry Hash House/ Husband And Wife Were Angry One Night/ I Cannot Call Her Mother/ I Once Loved A Sailor/ I'll Be There Mary Dear/ I'm Glad I'm Married/ If I Lose, I Don't Care/ If The River Was Whiskey/ It's Movin' Day/ Jealous Mary/ Just Keep Waiting Till The Good Time Comes/ Kitty Blye/ Leaving Dear Old Ireland/ Leaving Home/ Look Before You Leap/ Lynchburg Town/ May I Sleep In Your Barn/ Milwaukee Blues/ Monkey On A String/ Mountain Reel/ My Gypsy Girl/ My Mother And My Sweetheart/ My Wife Went Away And Left Me/ Old And Only In The Way/ On The Streets Of Glory/ Pearl Bryant/ Please Papa Come Home/ Poor Little Joe/ Ragtime Annie/ Ramblin' Blues/ Richmond Square/ San Antonio/ She Is Only A Bird In A Gilded Cage/ Shootin' Creek/ Southern Medley/ Sunset March/ Sweet Sefrain/ Sweet Sixteen/ Sweet Sunny South/ Sweet Sunny South/ Take A Drink On Me/ Take Back The Ring/ Take Me Back To Home And Mother/ Tennessee Blues/ The Bluefield Murder/ The Brave Engineer/ The Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee/ The Highwayman/ The Letter That Never Came/ The Man That Rode The Mule Around The World/ The Old Clay Pipe/ The Only Girl I Ever Loved/ There'll Come A Time/ There'll Come A Time/ There's A Mother Old And Gray Who Needs Me Now/ Too Young To Marry/ Took My Gal A Walkin'/ Under The Double Eagle/ We Will Outshine The Sun/ What Is Home Without Babies/ White House Blues/ Wild Horse/ Wreck Of The Virginian No.3/ You Ain't Talkin' To Me

DJANGO REINHARDT JSP 901 The Classic Early Recordings In Chronological Order ● CD $28.98
5 CD box set, 124 tracks, essential
Django & The Quintett Of The Hot Club of France cut a myriad of pre-war sides that have been haphazardly re-issued for decades. This 5 CD set (originally issued as five separate CDs) is not exactly chronological, but each takes on a different facet of Django's early career with the Hot Club (usual line up with Django on lead guitar), Stephane Grappelly (later spelled Grappelli) on violin, Joseph Reinhardt & Pierre Ferret or Roger Chaput on guitars & Louis Vola on string bass). The CD starts with their original recordings under the name "Delauney's Jazz" from '34, then the Hot Club recordings of '35, including the Hot Club members backing Big Boy Goude & Alix Combelle. Vol 2 skips over to '38-39 to cover all the London Decca sides including the Reinhardt/Grappelly duets, some with Stephane on piano, as well as Django's solo sides. Vol 3 has the '38-39 Paris Decca sides. Vol 4 actually follows vol 1 & goes back to '35, starting with Grappelly (on piano) & Reinhardt with Coleman Hawkins, in his band &, on "Stardust", an incredible trio!, then back to the est of the '35 & '36 sides, including some with vocalist Freddy Taylor. The final volume has the '37 Quintet sides (going up to the material on vol 2), ending with the '34 sides with Django playing with Garnet Clark & His Hot Club 4, featuring Bill Coleman on trumpet & vocals. Each CD has 24-26 sides, & all but Vol 4 have rare alternate takes. All tracks have been remastered from best available 78s and pitch corrected where necessary by mastering engineer Ted Kendall - a protégé of John R.T. Davies (GM)
DJANGO REINHARDT: After You've Gone/ Ain't Misbehavin'/ Alabamy Bound/ Appel Direct/ Are You in the Mood?/ Avalon/ Avalon/ Believe It, Beloved/ Billets Doux/ Blue Drag/ Blue Moon/ Body and Soul/ Charleston/ Chasing Shadows/ Chicago/ China Boy/ Clouds/ Continental/ Crazy Rhythm/ Daphné/Black and White/ Dinah/ Djangology/ Don't Worry 'Bout Me/ Exactly Like You/ Flat Foot Floogie/ Georgia on My Mind/ H.C.Q. Strut/ Honeysuckle Rose/ Hot Lips/ Hungaria/ Hungaria/ Hungaria (alt)/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love/ I Got Rhythm/ I Saw Stars/ I Saw Stars/ I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight/ I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight/ I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight (alt)/ I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)/ I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)/ I'se A-Muggin'/ I've Found a New Baby/ I've Found a New Baby/ I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm/ I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm/ I've Had My Moments/ If I Had You/ Improvisation/ Improvisation No. 2/ Improvisation No. 2/ In a Sentimental Mood/ In the Still of the Night/ It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)/ It Had to Be You/ It Was So Beautiful/ Japanese Sandman/ Japanese Sandman/ Jeepers Creepers/ Jeepers Creepers (alt)/ Lambeth Walk/ Liebestraum No. 3/ Lily Belle May June/ Limehouse Blues/ Limehouse Blues/ Little Love, a Little Kiss/ Louise/ Man I Love/ Miss Annabelle Lee/ Moonglow/ My Melancholy Baby/ My Melancholy Baby/ My Sweet/ My Sweet/ Mystery Pacific/ Nagasaki/ Night and Day/ Nocturne/ Object of My Affection/ Oh, Lady Be Good/ Oriental Shuffle/ Parfum/ Please Be Kind/ Rose Room/ Rosetta/ Runnin' Wild/ Sheik of Araby/ Sheik of Araby/ Shine/ Smoke Rings/ Solitude/ Some of These Days/ Souvenirs/ St. Louis Blues/ St. Louis Blues/ Stardust/ Stardust/ Stompin' at Decca/ Sunshine of Your Smile-Ultrafox/ Swanee River/ Sweet Chorus/ Sweet Georgia Brown/ Sweet Sue, Just You/ Swing '39/ Swing Guitars/ Swing de Paris/ Tea for Two/ Tea for Two/ Tea for Two (alt)/ Tears/ Them There Eyes/ Three Little Words/ Tiger Rag/ Time on My Hands/ Tornerai (J'Attendrai)/ Twelfth Year/ Twelfth Year (alt)/ Undecided/ What a Diff'rence a Day Made/ When Day Is Done/ Why Shouldn't I?/ You're Driving Me Crazy

CHARLIE RICH Ace CDCHD 1298 It Ain't GOnna Be That Way - The Complete Smash Session ● CD $18.98
29 tracks, 69 mins, very highly recommended
Before his 70's renaissance at the hands of Nashville producer Billy Sherrill, Charlie Rich's most noteworthy period was the 18 months he spent Mercury Records' Smash subsidiary. Starting in 1965 and on into 1966, Rich produced some of his most adventurous music; mixing R&B, Jazz, and Country and performing songs mostly written by himself or his wife, he created a sound uniquely his own and these tracks are considered to be as close as we would ever get to the "real" Charlie Rich. Of these songs, the only one that was hit was "Mohair Sam" - written by Dallas Frazier- but there's many fine compositions that deserved to hear by the masses: ballads like "It Ain't Gonna Be That Way/ I Can't Go On" or "A Field of Yellow Daisies" (which, in fact, was a minor hit for Smash, cashing in on Rich's newfound success in the 70's); and up tempo jivers like "Everything I Do is Wrong" and "Just a Little Bit of Time". For those keeping score, these tracks were originally released as the Smash LPs "The Many New Sides of Charlie Rich" (1965) and "The Best Years" (1966); in 1992, Mercury issued three additional tracks from these sessions that had never been released before. But for the first time it's all here in one place: the glorious gospel inflected "You Can Have Her" and "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water", the Ray Charles-style of "Down and Out", the rock and roll of "When My Baby Comes Home", and the update of his Sun classic "Lonely Weekends". If you're a fan of Charlie's, this CD is mandatory. (GMC)

OTIS RUSH Hightone HCD 8007 Right Place, Wrong Time ● CD $13.98
10 tracks, essential
Back in print. Arguably the best recordings of this great Chicago singer/ guitarist with the possible exception of his recordings for Cobra in the 50s. Originally recorded for Capitol in 1971 it was not released by them and was subsequently bought by Bullfrog in 1976 and then in 1986 the rights were acquired by Hightone who issued it on compact disc. Accompanied by a superb band of San Francisco based musicians Otis turns in superb versions of original songs like the title song, "Take A look Behind" and the superb instrumental "Easy Go". he also turns in outstanding versions of ike Turner's "Tore Up", Albert King's "Natural Ball", Little Milton's "Lonely Man" and a remarkably sensitive version of "Rainy Night In Georgia". Otis singing throughout is outstanding - passionate and intense but not out of control as is sometimes the case on his 70s & 80s recordings. He is also one of the world's greatest blues guitarists and there is a lot of opportunity for his playing to shine here. (FS)

THE SAVOY-SMITH CAJUN BAND Arhoolie CD 457 Now And Then ● CD $12.98
15 tracks, 66 minutes, very highly recommended
This one's going on my 10 best of 1996 list without a doubt. It is simply the most exciting and rewarding acoustic album I have hear in a long time. Marc and Ann Savoy are long time musical collaborators with Michael Doucet, but here they team up with Louisiana state fiddle champion Ken Smith, with amazing results. There is a relaxed and intimate feel to the music, like old friends sitting around the parlor after the dinner dishes have been cleared away. The emphasis is on the interaction between fiddle and accordion. Ken Smith and Marc Savoy both take extended instrumental breaks even on the vocal numbers, passing the lead back and forth in an effortless manner, never missing a beat. The singing and musicianship is uniformly excellent but special note must be taken of Smith's fiddle work. He plays in a manner that is both complex and emotional, sliding and bending notes like a blues guitarist! The repertoire includes a few standards but mostly consists of less familiar material, including a charming version of the Tin Pan Alley classic "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" sung in French. All in all a wonderful piece of work - don't miss it! (DP)

JEAN SHEPARD Jasmine 3593 Beautiful Lies - The Early Years ● CD $11.98
32 tracks, 80 min., very highly recommended
Discovered by Hank Thompson and credited with releasing the first concept album in country music -- "Songs Of A Love Affair" in 1956 -- Shepard spent the 1950s releasing impressive single after impressive single for Capital Records. The hits (e.g., "A Satisfied Mind" and "Beautiful Lies") eventually stopped coming but not the fine honky-tonked songs of broken hearts and homes. This fine release collects the songs from the "Love Affair" LP and adds 20, for a generous total of 32. Most have been out of print for a while, so it's nice to have such indispensable country music available again. Too bad the booklet doesn't offer any session information, dates, labels, or anything other than a brief biographical sketch of Shepard. Absolute first rate music, though. (JC)
JEAN SHEPARD: A Passing Love Affair/ A Satisfied Mind/ A Thief In The Night/ Act Like A Married Man/ Beautiful Lies/ Crying Steel Guitar/ Did I Turn Down A Better Deal/ Girls In Disgrace/ Hello Old Broken Heart/ I Learned It All From You/ I Love You Because/ I Married You For Love/ I'd Rather Die Young/ I'll Thank You All My Life/ It's Hard To Tell The Married From The Free/ Memory/ My Wedding Ring/ Over And Over/ Sad Singin' And Slow Ridin'/ Shadows On The Wall/ Sweet Temptation/ Tell Me What I Want To Hear/ The Mysteries Of Life/ The Other Woman/ The Weak And The Strong/ Two Whoops And A Holler/ Under Suspicion/ Why Did You Wait?/ You Can't Break The Chains Of Love/ You Win Again/ You'd Better Go/ You're Calling Me Sweetheart Again

THE SHOWMEN Black Tulip 00240 It Will Stand ● CD $17.98
26 tracks, 64 mins, highly recommended
The Showmen are best known for their classic rock 'n' roll anthem "It Will Stand", their only hit. Listening to this collection of recordings made between 1961 and '67 it comes as a surprise that they didn't have greater success as they were exceptional. Their music has the feel of The Drifters of the period but without the overly lush arrangements. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia the group featured the distinctive and incredibly soulful lead vocals of Norman Johnson (who later went on to front Chairmen Of the Board) and great harmonies from the rest of the group. Most of their earlier sides were recorded in New Orleans so they had backing from some of the best R&B musicians in the business. Soul harmony at its finest on songs like the title song "39-21-40 Shape/ This Misery/ Country Fool/ For You, My Darling/ I Love You, Can't You See?/ I'm Coming Home/ The Wrong Girl" and others. Good sound but, unfortunately, no notes. (FS)
THE SHOWMEN: 39-21-40 Shape/ Country Girl/ Fate Planned It This Way/ For You, My Darling/ For You, My Darling (demo)/ I Love You, Can't You See/ I'll Go On Loving You/ I'm Coming Home/ In Paradise/ It Will Stand/ It Will Stand (outtake)/ Let Her Fell It In Your Kiss/ Our Love Will Grow/ Please Try And Understand/ Skinny Mcginny/ Strange Girl/ Swiss Fish/ Take It, Baby/ The Honey House/ The Owl Sees You/ The Owl Sees You (demo)/ The Wrong Girl/ This Misery/ True Fine Mama/ Valley Of Love/ You're My Everything

THE STANLEY BROTHERS Bear Family BCD 15681 1953-59 ● CD $39.98
2 CDs, 49 tracks; 2 hrs, 1 min; essential
After years of spotty availability of the most important recordings of this legendary band, we have recently been deluged with great Stanley Brothers reissues. This latest, featuring all their recordings from Mercury, is particularly welcome because it features a large percentage of their classic numbers, including Carter Stanley-composed songs such as "This Weary Heart You Stole Away, Our Last Goodbye, Poison Lies, I Long To See The Old Folks, Nobody's Love Is Like Mine," and "A Lonesome Night", all now staples of the bluegrass repertoire. The bands here are more in the traditional vein, featuring less guitar than on the later King recordings; among the musicians featured here are fiddlers Art Stamper, Joe Meadows, Ralph Mayo, and Chubby Anthony. Mandolinists include Peewee Lambert, Bill Napier, and Jim Williams. This collection also features classic recordings of the gospel number "Cry From The Cross", which has become a staple of Ralph Stanley's bands, and a haunting version of the traditional "Angel Band", along with a significant number of Bill Monroe compositions, including "A Voice From On High, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, I Hear My Savior Calling," and "Close By." Also included are two numbers recorded for the Blue Ridge label in 1959, among the Brothers' rarest recordings, the traditional songs "Meet Me Tonight" and "Nobody's Business." Great notes and discography by Gary Reid, good sound. As always, the mournful and intense lead vocals of Carter Stanley, the chilling tenor voice of Ralph, and his ringing banjo stamp these recordings with The Stanley Brothers' inimitable sound. (RP)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 588 Dootone Doo Wop, Vol. 2 ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 74 min., essential
The second volume of Ace's look at the Dootone label of Los Angeles is every bit as solid as volume one. Cover art features a stellar shot of the Calvanes making a local TV appearance. The notes by Jim Dawson are intelligent and informative. And the music, in Dawson's words, is "sometimes crude, occasionally dissonant, but always interesting." Right on. Featured numbers include "I Still Remember" by the Romancers (led by Bobby Freeman), "Honey Gee" by the Saigons, "Ay Si Si (Mambo)" by the Dootones, "I Ain't Gonna Cry No More" by the Penguins, "Did I Do Wrong" by the Cuff Links, the very nice ballad "Sailor Boy" by the Dootones #2, "You're An Angel" by the Pipes, "That'll Make It Nice" by Eli and the Manhattans, "I'll Never Love Again" by Johnny Twovoice & the Medallions, and "So Long Daddy" by the Souvenirs. The West Coast vocal group sound at its best. (DH)
THE CALVANES: Baby Come On Come/ Crazy Over You/ One More Kiss/ LEE COLLINS & THE ORBITS: Tell Me Baby/ Two Crazy Scientists/ THE CUFF LINKS: My Heart/ THE DEBONAIRES: May We Be On Better Terms/ THE DOOTONES: Ay Si Si (mambo)/ If You Were My Darling/ Sailor Boy/ CLEVE DUNCAN & THE RADIANTS: I'm Betting My Heart (on You)/ ELI & THE MANHATTANS: That'll Make It Nice/ THE FASCINATORS: I Wonder Why/ HENRY HOUSTON & CUFFLINX: Lawful Wedding/ DON JULIAN & THE MEADOWLARKS: Heaven & Paradise/ THE CUFF LINKS: Did I Do Wrong/ ARTHUR LEE MAYE & THE DREAMERS: Ding A Ling/ THE MEDALLIONS: Speedin'/ THE PENGUINS: I Ain't Gonna Cry No More/ THE PIPES: You're An Angel/ THE ROMANCERS: House Cat/ I Still Remember/ Jump And Hop/ This Is Goodbye/ THE SAIGONS: Honey Gee/ You're Heavenly/ THE SOUVENIRS: So Long Daddy/ JOHNNY TWOVOICE & THE MEDALLIONS: I'll Never Love Again

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 801 The Spark Records Story ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, highly recommended
Great collection of rockin' blues and R&B sides recorded in Los Angeles in 1954 and 1955 for Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller's Spark label. Although only in their early 20s they had had a string of their songs recorded by some of the top R&B artists of the day including the million selling "Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton. They formed Spark after they had gotten a raw deal from Don Robey at Duke over that song. Over a period of about 18 months they recorded a wide variety of black talent - mostly from the Los Angeles area - the incredibly talented duo wrote many of the songs and produced most of the sessions. One notable exception are the fine sides by Eugene "Sly" Fox recorded in Clarksdale, Mississippi by Ike Turner who together with members of The Kings Of Rhythm backed Fox. The label's most succesful act were The Robins who were picked up by Atlantic and became The Coasters and Leiber & Stoller moved to New York to write for them and produce them. Other fine acts here include the duo Willy & Ruth who do the original version of "Love Me" - later recorded by Elvis, tough sax man Gil Bernal who has a couple of instrumental sides and backs many of the other artists, prolific L.A. bluesman Ray Agee, Big Boy Groves with the great "I Gotta New Car", poerful bluesman Mister Ruffin and others. Sound, of course, is superb, and the 12 page illustrated booklet tells the Spark Record story. (FS)
RAY AGEE: Another Fool (sings The Blues)/ Wobble Lou/ ERNIE ANDREWS: In The Still Of The Night/ Soft Winds/ GIL BERNAL: Easyville/ King Solomon's Blues/ GARLAND THE GREAT: Strike A Match/ Tree Stump Jump/ GENE & BILLY: It's Hot/ Zerlene/ BIG BOY GROVES & BAND: I Gotta New Car/ Midnight Special/ THE HONEY BEARS: I Shall Not Fail/ One Bad Stud/ FRANKIE MARSHALL: Just Say The Word/ No One Else Will Ever Know/ THE ROBINS: I Must Be Dreamin'/ Loop De Loop Mambo/ Riot In Cell Block #9/ Smokey Joe's Cafe/ The Hatchet Man/ Whadaya Want/ MISTER RUFFIN: A Touch Of Heaven (just Around The Corner)/ Bring It On Back/ THE SLY FOX: Alley Music/ Hoo-doo Say/ I'm Tired Of Beggin'/ My Four Women/ WILLY & RUTH: Farewell/ Love Me

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 876 The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions, Vol. 1 ● CD $18.98
Long awaited first volume in a series documenting recordings made in the Southern states in the early 50s by the Modern Record Company. This first volume features recordings made by partner Joe Bihari with the assistance of Ike Turner in Arkansas & Mississippi in 1951 and 1952. The most well known artist recorded was the great Elmore James but we also hear from Drifting Slim, Houston Boines, Charlie Booker, Red Boyd & His Orchestra, Ernest lane, Sunny Blair & Junior Brooks. Downhome blues at its finest with extensive notes from Jim O'Neal and three previously unissued tracks.
SUNNY BLAIR: 5 Foot 3 Blues/ Glad To Be Back Home/ HOUSTON BOINES: Going Home/ Relation Blues/ CHARLIE BOOKER: Moonrise Blues/ No Ridin' Blues/ Rabbit Blues/ RED BOYD ORCHESTRA: Red' Ride/ JUNIOR BROOKS: Lone Town Blues/ She's The Little Girl For Me/ DRIFTING SLIM: Down South Blues/ My Little Machine/ BOYD GILMORE: I Believe I'll Settle Down/ I Love My Little Woman/ If That's Your Girl/ If That's Your Girl/ Just An Army Boy/ Ramblin' On My Mind/ Ramblin' On My Mind/ Ramblin' On My Mind/ ELMORE JAMES: Hand In Hand/ Please Find My Baby/ ERNEST LANE: Little Girl Little Girl/ What's Wrong Baby

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCH2 885 The Complete Meteor Rockabilly & Hillbilly Recordings ● CD $24.98
Two CDs, 42 tracks, highly recommended
Some years Ace rushed out a budget compilation of rockabilly from Lester Bihari's Memphis based Meteor label to compete with a bootleg reissue going the rounds. Now they have upgraded the project with a double CD featuring every hillbilly and rockabilly track recorded for the label between 1954 and 1957 including four not originally issued. The Meteor label was part of the original Memphis constellation. Started in 1952 by the Bihari brothers to record blues, they soon branched out into C&W and rockabilly and although the label was short lived (gone in 1957) they made their mark. The recordings are presented in chronological order and most of the first disc is devoted to fine hillbilly by Bud Deckleman (his classic and much covered "Daydreamin'"), "Red" Hadley's Wranglers, Haward Swords with The Blue Light Boys, Mac & Jake with The Esquire Trio, Barney Burcam, Buddy Bain, Lendon Smith and Mason Dixon. In the midst of the country there is one fine stab at rockabilly with two bluesy cuts from Jess Hooper and the disc ends with the two sided rockabilly classic bu Junior Thompson - "Mama's Little Baby/ Raw Deal". The second disc opens up with Meteor's most famous rockabilly tune - Charlie Feathers' masterpiece "get With It/ Tongue Tied Jill" and it's mostly rockabilly all the way there on with tracks from Bill Bowen, Brad Suggs, Brad Suggs, Wayne McGinnis, Mary Edwards, Jimmy Haggett, The Velvatones, Jimmy Lamerth, and Steve Carl (including four tracks by Carl originally unreleased). All tracks have been newly remastered and set comes with a 40 page booklet with extensive notes by Memphis researcher Martin Hawkins and lots of photos and label shots. (FS)
BUDDY BAIN, KAY WAYNE, MERLE "RED" TAYLOR WITH: Can We Live It Down?/ Daydreams, Come True/ BILL BOWEN WITH THE ROCKETS: Don't Shoot Me Baby (i'm Not Ready To Die)/ Have Myself A Ball/ BARNEY BURCHAM WITH THE DAYDREAMERS: Can't Steal My Way Around/ Much Too Young For Love/ STEVE CARL WITH THE JAGS: 18 Year Old Blues/ Blacksmith Blues/ Curfew/ Lonely Road/ Stone Cold Mama/ You're For Me/ BUD DECKELMAN WITH THE DAYDREAMERS: Daydreamin'/ Let's Not Pretend/ MASON DIXON WITH THE REDSKINS: Don't Worry ’bout Nuthin'/ I'll Never Fall Out Of Love With You/ MARY EDWARDS WITH THE SAXONS: Chilly Willy/ Oh! Oh! Mama/ CHARLIE FEATHERS WITH JODY & JERRY: Get With It/ Tongue Tied Jill/ 'RED' HADLEY'S WRANGLERS: Brother, That's All/ Ring Out Those Bells/ JIMMY HAGGETT WITH THE DAYDREAMERS: Gonna Shut You Off Baby/ Tell Her True/ JESS HOOPER WITH THE DAYDREAMERS: All Messed Up/ Sleepy Time Blues/ JIMMY LAMBERTH WITH THE SAXONS: I'll Pretend/ Latch On To Your Baby/ MAC & JAKE WITH THE ESQUIRE TRIO: Yakety Yak/ MAC SALES WITH THE ESQUIRE TRIO: A Gal Named Joe/ WAYNE MCGINNIS WITH THE SWINGSTERS: Lonesome Rhythm Blues/ Rock, Roll And Rhythm/ LENDON SMITH WITH THE JESTERS: Lost Love/ Women/ BRAD SUGGS WITH THE SWINGSTERS: Bop, Baby, Bop/ Charcoal Suit/ HAWARD SWORDS WITH THE BLUE LIGHT BOYS: I'm As Lonely As I Can Be/ You Will Have To Pay/ JUNIOR THOMPSON WITH THE METEORS: Mama's Little Baby/ Raw Deal/ THE VELVATONES WITH MEMPHIS RHYTHM BOYS: Feeling Kinda Lonely/ Real Gone Baby

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 982 The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions, Vol. 2 ● CD $18.98
26 tracks, 66 mins, essential
The second volume of recordings from the field trips to the South made by Joe Bihari and Ike Turner features 26 tracks recorded in Arkansas and Mississippi in the spring of 1952 including many of the same artists as on the first volume. The first 12 tracks were from Missippi including two tracks by the excellent Boyd Gilmore including the Elmore James flavored "All In My Dreams" to which the Biharis dubbed in the intro and guitar solo from Elmore's "Please Find My Baby" to accnetuate the connection. He also does a terrific version of "Take A Little Walk With Me" with some splendid guitar work from Boyd himself. There are two tracks by the man Elmore himself and the rest of the Mississippi recordings features Greenville based trio of musicians - singer/guitarist Charley Booker, singer/ harmonica player Houston Boines and singer/ drummer Cleanhead Love. They all take turns at the vocal mike and all are fine - Boines's songs feature some memorable lyrics - his "Superintendant Blues" is actually about a school superintendent! The last 14 sides feature another all star Arkansas group led by singer/ harmonica player Drifting Slim (aka Model T Slim aka Elmon Mickle), a fine singer and harmonica player influenced by John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. This group also featured the superb guitarist and vocalist Baby face Turner and singer/ harmonica player Sunny Blair - all of them fine. This superb disc features several previously unissued songs or alternate takes. Sound quality is sensational and the 12 page booklet has extensive notes by Jim O'Neal - much of it based on hs own research. (FS)
SUNNY BLAIR: My Baby's Gone/ Send My Baby/ Step Back Baby/ Step Back Baby (please Send My Baby Back)/ HOUSTON BOINES: G Man/ Monkey Motion/ Operator Blues (take 1 False Start)/ Operator Blues (take 2)/ Operator Blues (take 3)/ Superintendent Blues/ CHARLEY BOOKER: Charley's Boogie Woogie/ DRIFTING SLIM: Good Morning Baby/ I Feel So Good/ My Sweet Woman/ Shout Sister Shout/ You're An Old Lady/ BOYD GILMORE: All In My Dreams/ Take A Little Walk With Me/ ELMORE JAMES: Long Tall Woman/ Please Find My Baby/ CLEANHEAD LOVE: Why Don't My Baby Write To Me/ BABY FACE TURNER: Best Days/ Blue Serenade/ Blue Serenade (take 1)/ Blue Serenade (take3)/ Gonna Let You Go

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 1018 Gene Vincent Cut Our Songs ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Fine collection of mostly unissued primitive Texas rockabilly and honky tonk from the vaults of Texas bandleader, songwriter and entrepreneur Jack Rhodes. The reason for the album name is that several of the songs that Rhodes and his cohorts wrote were pitched to and recorded by Gene Vincent and this set features the original recordings or demos of "Woman Love/ Red Blue Jeans And A Pony Tail/ Bi-BickeyBi, Bo-Bo-Boo" and a wonderful version of "Git It", one of my favorite Vincent songs, performed by an unknown black vocal group. Quite a few of the other songs are in the Vincent style and so were probably pitched to him but rejected. Among the artists featured here are Elroy Dietzel & The Rhythm Bandits, Derrell Felts, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Dollar, Johnny Fallin and others. Many of the tracks here are demos recorded in Rhodes' home studio and some are pretty rough but there's a lot of worthwhile stuff here. Usual impeccable Ace sound and set includes 20 page illustarted booklet with extensive notes by Rob Finnis. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Archeophone 9004 The Phonographic Yearbook - The 1890s, Vol. 1 ● CD $14.98
30 tracks, 65 min, highly recommended
Because of the source material, this set is noisy & a little hard to listen to, but the rewards are great. These are taken from very rare sources, mainly Berliner 7" discs & brown wax Columbia & Edison cylinders, It includes brass band music, popular songs, sentimental songs, novelty songs, "coon" songs, coemdy skits and banjo solos. It's interesting to hear early recordings of songs that became country standards like "Turkey In The Straw" and "The Girl I LOved In Sunny Tennessee". There are a few cult classics like "The Laughing Song" & "The New Bully" (the latter covered a few times by The Holy Modal Rounders & others as "Bully Of The Town"). The 1st prolific recording groups were the military bands, & John Philip Sousa is well represented with 2 of his most famous marches, "El Capitan" & "The Washington Post" as by Sousa's Band. Other artists include Vess Ossman, Ada Jones & Cal "Uncle Josh" Stewart. Includes 32 page illustrated booklet with information on the music and the times and profiles of the performers. (GM)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Arhoolie 343 Tejano Roots: The Women ● CD $12.98
22 tracks, very highly recommended
Marvelous collection of 22 heavenly female duets & trios recorded in south Texas by Armando Marroquin for the Ideal label. Starting with Marroquin's wife & her sister, Carmen y Laura in 1945, Ideal recorded many duetas, realizing how popular the sound of 2 women wailing of the joys & sorrows of love were, especially in the jukeboxes of the cantinas. While going against the traditional role assigned Hispanic women, glorious and gritty singers like the Hermanas Guerrero, Rosita y Laura, Hnas. Segovia, Las Abajenas, Chelo Silva, and, of course, Lydia Mendoza & her sisters, overcame this with heartfelt emotions & angelic harmonies. Backed not only by conjunto accordion greats like Narciso Martinez, Paulino Bernal, & Tony De La Rosa, but by mariachis, the excellent Beto Villa orchestra, and innovative combinations of all these styles, Ideal maximized its appeal to all classes of Tejano society. With a 28 page booklet chock full of photos, artist profiles & lyrics in Spanish & English, this a welcome survey of this lovely music. (JM)

VARIOUS ARTISTS B.A.C.M. 057 The Columbia Label - Classic Old Time Music ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
Wonderful collection of old time country music recorded for the Columbia label between 1924 and 1931 - many cuts making their first appearance on CD. It opens with the remarkable novelty song "My Little A-1 Brownie", the only recording of the mysterious Charles B. Smith whose accompanying musicicians include King Benny Nawahii on steel guitar and Benny Goodman on clarinet! Other artists include Riley Puckett, Dock Walsh, Charlie Parker & Mack Woolbright (two delightful performances including the great "The Man Who Wrote Home Sweet Home"). The Pelican Wildcats, Dan Hornsby (two fascinating topical songs with accompaniments by Claton McMichen & Riley Puckett), The Skillet Lickers, Obed Pickard (vocals and Jews harp!), Gid Tanner & Fate Norris, Smith's Sacred Singers(beautiful old time gospel), Gid Tanner & His Georgia Boys, Miner Hawkins, Vernon Dalhart, Arthur Tanner's Corn Shuckers, McMichen's Melody Men, Chubby Parker, The Deal Family and The Grady Family. Sound quality is fine and their are brief notes by Brian Golbey. (FS)
AL CRAVER (VERNON DALHART): Kinnie Wagner/ VERNON DALHART: Frank Dupree/ THE DEAL FAMILY: Be A Daniel/ THE GRADY FAMILY: Carolina‘s Best/ MINER HAWKINS: Song Of The Sea/ DAN HORNSBY: The Shelby Disaster/ The Story Of C. S. Corres/ MCMICHEN’S MELODY MEN: House Of David Blues/ CHUBBY PARKER: Down On The Farm/ CHARLIE PARKER & MACK WOOLBRIGHT: The Man That Wrote Home Sweet Home/ Ticklish Reubin/ THE PELICAN WILDCATS: Walking Georgia Rose/ OBED PICKARD: The Old Grey Mare/ RILEY PUCKETT: Old Joe Clark/ THE SKILLET LICKERS: Cotton Baggin‘/ New Arkansas Traveller/ CHARLES B. SMITH: My Little A-1 Brownie/ SMITH’S SACRED SINGERS: Where We‘ll Never Grow Old/ GID TANNER & FATE NORRIS: Goodbye Old Booze/ Where Did You Get That Hat/ GID TANNER & HIS GEORGIA BOYS: Just Gimme The Leavings/ GID TANNER & RILEY PUCKETT: Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane/ ARTHUR TANNER’S CORN SHUCKERS: Dr. Ginger Blue/ DOCK WALSH: Bulldog Down In Sunny Tennessee/ Educated Man

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bayou 1008 The Bayou Records Story ● CD $17.98
32 tracks, 78mins, highly recommended
Great collection of blues and R&B issued on the Imperial subsidiary Bayou in 1952 and 1953. This is almost the entire output of this label. In addition to tracks only issued on Bayou the label also featured titles previously issued on Imperial as well as sides licensed from the Freedom label of Houston from around 1949/50 including fine Texas blues from L.C. Williams, Clarence Samuels and Goree Carter (the superb "Drunk & Sober" is listed as by Samuels but is actually by Carter). There's fine New Orleans R&B from Dave Bartholomew, Fats Matthews, the brilliant Jesse Allen and Roy Brown clone Jimmy Gil. From the West Coast we have honking R&B from Red Callender, Joe Houston and Big Jay McNeely. There's also two cuts by the always fine Big Joe Turner (recorded in New Orleans with local musicians) and four tracks by the wonderful and original Mercy Dee. There are no notes but sound is fine and the music is great. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16123 That'll Flat Git It! Vol. 10 - Chess Records ● CD $21.98
31 tracks,73 mins, highly recommended
Though there wasn't a lot of rockabilly issued by Chicago's premier blues label Chess (and its subsidiaries Checker & Argo) what there was very good indeed and most of it is featured on this collection. Unlike most of it's blues & R&B artists which were Chicago based most of the rockabilly recordings were licensed from various producers throughout the country including several from Stan Lewis in Shreveport whose best known discovery is Dale Hawkins who is represented here by "La Do Dada". Other Shreveport based recordings includes Jimmy Lee & Wayne Walker's classic "Love Me" and two takes of Maylon Humpries' "Worried About You Baby" with James Burton on lead guitar. Chess leased Rusty York's great "Sugaree" which was originally issued on Rusty & Jackie De Shannon's PJ label out of Cincinatti. There are two hot piano based rockers recorded in Nashville by Mel Robbins who later became one of Nashville's most prolific sidemn as Hargus "Pig" Robbins. There are two cuts from Eddie Fontaine including "Nothin' Shakin'" originally issued on New York's Sunbeam label and features great jazz guitarist George Barnes playing hot rock'n roll licks. Lots more goodies from G.L. Crockett, Bobby Sisco, Lou Josie, Russel Bridgers (later known as Leon Russell), bluesman Johnny Fuller, Billy Barrix, Brothers, Dick Glasser, Joey Long, and more. Great sound and 52 page booklet crammed full of information, photos and discographical details. (FS)
JERRY ADAMS: Old Black Joe/ BILLY BARRIX: Almost/ Cool Off Baby/ RUSSELL BRIDGES: All Right/ BROTHERS: Lazy Susan/ JACKIE CANNON: Chill Bump/ G.L. CROCKETT: Look Out MabeL/ BOBBY DEAN: Just Go Wild Over Rock 'n' Roll/ LARRY DIAMOND: True Love Come My Way/ THE FAIRLANES: Little Girl, Little Girl/ EDDIE FONTAINE: Don't Ya Know/ Nothin' Shakin'/ JOHNNY FULLER: All Night Long/ DICK GLASSER: Crazy Love/ DALE HAWKINS: La-Do-Dada/ MAYLON HUMPHREYS: Worried About You Baby/ Worried About You, Baby (alt)/ THE JET-TONES: Jet-Tone BoogiE/ LOU JOSIE: Breezin' Out/ Vacation's Over/ Why Did You Leave Me/ JIMMY LEE & WAYNE WALKER: Love Me/ JOEY LONG: Leall/ MEL ROBBINS: Are You With Me/ Save It/ DEL SAINT & THE DEVILS: Rock Yeah/ THE SILVA-TONES: Roses Are Blooming/ BOBBY SISCO: Go Go Go/ Tall, Dark And Handsome Man/ RUSTY YORK: SugareE/ Sweet Talk

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 17206 Acadian All Star Special - Cajun Recordings of J.D. Miller ● CD $97.98
Incredible three CD set with 78 tracks and 80 page hard cover book featuring recordings of Cajun music made between 1946 and 1959 for legendary Crowley, Louisiana record producer J.D. Miller and issued on his Fais-Do-Do and Feature. Miller is best known for his classic blues recordings released on Excello (Slim Harpo, Lightnin' Slim, Lazy Lester, etc). Information on these Cajun recordings has been very sketchy and many of the recordings are exceedingly rare and most are making their first appearance on LP or CD! The material ranges from the simple fiddle and guitar records of "Doc" Guidry and "Happy" Fats to the raucous sides of Robert Bertrand and the Lake Charles Playboys. Included here are the first recordings of Jimmy Newman, Terry Clement's original recording of "Diggy Diggy Lo" and Papa Cairo's "Big Texas" - the song that was adapted by Hank Williams as "Jamabalaya". Other artists include Jimmy Choates & The Melody Boys, Austin Pete (Pitrie) & His Evangeline Playboys, Amidie Breaux & The Acadaian Aces, Lionel Cormier & His Sundown Playboys, Abe Manual & His Louisiana Hillbillies and others. Cajun music expert Lyle Ferbach, who wrote the book, tracked down as many survivors and relatives to interview. The book is crammed with rare photos, label shots and includes full discographical information.
ROBERT BERTRAND & THE LAKE CHARLES PLAYBOYS: Drunkard's Two Step/ Lost Love Waltz/ AMIDIE BREAUX & HIS BAND: Hard Luck Waltz/ Hey, Mom!/ AMIDIE BREAUX & THE ACADIAN ACES: Acadian Two Step/ Criminal Waltz/ Jole Blonde/ Poor Hobo/ PEE WEE BROUSSARD & HIS MELODY BOYS: Chere Tu Tu/ Creole Stomp/ Le Valse De Bayou Blanc/ M&S Special/ The Pee Wee Special/ The Waltz That Carried Me To The Grave/ JIMMY CHOATES & HIS MELODY BOYS: Chere Meon/ Petite Negress/ TERRY CLEMENT & HIS RHYTHMIC FIVE: Diggy Liggy Lo/ Le Valse De Te Maurice/ LIONEL CORMIER & HIS SUNDOWN PLAYBOYS: Sundown Playboys Special/ Welcome Club Waltz/ JIMMY DURBIN & THE COUNTRY BOYS: Drunkard Waltz/ Fais Do Do Two Step/ CHUCK GUILLORY & HIS BOYS: Oakdale Waltz/ Walfus Two Step/ CHUCK GUILLORY & HIS RHYTHM BOYS: Chuck's Waltz/ Teiyut Two Step/ HAPPY & DOCTOR AND THE HADACOL BOYS: Crowley Two Step/ La Valse De Hadacol/ HAPPY, DOC & THE BOYS: Allons Dance Colinda/ Bayou La-Fourche/ Chere Cherie/ Dans La Platin/ Don't Hang Around/ Fais Do Do Breakdown/ Gabriel Waltz/ Is It Too Late To Cry/ La Cravat/ My Sweetheart's My Buddy's Wife/ New Jolie Blond/ Setre Chandelle/ Somehow You Don't Care/ Sothe Fermon/ LEBLANC & ADAMS AND THE VERMILLION PLAY: Chere Petite Brun/ Vermillion Two Step/ ABE MANUEL & HIS LOUISIANA HILLBILLIES: Country Gentleman (French)/ Country Girl/ Hippy-Ti-Yo/ I've Got Your Heart Locked Up (French)/ CLEVELAND MIRE & THE JOLLY BOYS: Hudson Breakdown/ Prison Waltz/ JIMMY NEWMAN & THE RHYTHM BOYS: (I Know Now That) I've Made A Big Mistake/ I Don't Know What I'm Going To Do/ PAPA CAIRO & HIS BOYS: Big Texas (English)/ Big Texas (French)/ AUSTIN PETE & HIS EVANGELINE PLAYBOYS: Chatatinia Waltz/ Evangeline Playboys Special/ High Point Two Step/ Redell Waltz/ AUSTIN PETE & THE LOUISIANA RHYTHMAIRES: Janot Special/ La Valse De Chagrin/ Prison Two Step/ ALDUS ROGER & LAFAYETTE PLAYBOYS: Hix Wagon Wheel Special/ Love Sick Waltz/ Mardi Gras Dance/ The Lafayette Playboys Waltz/ LEE SONNIER & HIS ACADIAN ALL STARS: Acadian All Star Special/ Along The River/ Cankton Two Step/ Chere Catan/ Chere Eci Et Cher Laba/ Dans Les Grand Meche/ La Blues De Cajin/ War Widow Waltz/ LOUIS SPELL & HIS FRENCH SERENADERS: Lover's Waltz/ The Fifty Cent Song/ THE VETERAN PLAYBOYS: Chinaball Special/ Eunice Waltz

VARIOUS ARTISTS El Toro 1010 Real Cool Cats - Texas Rockabilly, 1955 ● CD $17.98
35 tracks (!), 77 min., highly recommended
Because rock and roll was still in its swaddling clothes in 1955 (and suddenly profitable, thanks to Elvis and a few others), just about every song here repeats the word "rock" as often as is humanly possible. Which is fine, charming even. And while normally a scope as narrow as Texas rockabilly during one particular year would be so limiting as to be problematic, Texas is so damn big and 1955 was such a productive year, everything works out all right. So what we have here is rockabilly in varying degrees of wildness and sophistication recorded by labels with varying financial resources and artistic integrity. It's rockabilly (or "cat music" as it was apparently known in Eastern Texas), but in this nascent form it's possible to hear the various influences (swing, country, r&b, blues, even doo wop). A lot of these guys must have had a big stack of Joe Turner 78s at home. Most heavily repesented are Johnny Carroll and Sonny Fisher with seven cuts apiece, and not far behind is Bob Luman with five. Other treats include a pair from Sid King & The Five Strings ("Sag, Drag & Fall", "Purr, Kitty, Purr"), two by the shaky-voiced Jimmy Heap ("Sebbin' Come Elebbin'", "Go Ahead On"), "What'll I Do" by Mac Curtis, and the classic "A Real Cool Cat" by Sonny Burns, which, although no doubt heresy to say so, sounds more like country than rockabilly, the cool vocabulary notwithstanding. Six pages of informative booklet notes by Dave Penny. Sound quality is generally quite good, especially considering that some (but not all) of the source material is vinyl. (JC)
DEAN BEARD: Sing, Sing, Sing/ Time Is Hangin' Heavy on My Hands/ CHARLIE BROWN: Don't Put the Blame on Me/ Have You Heard the Gossip/ SONNY BURNS: A Real Cool Cat/ JOHNNY CARROLL: Crazy Little Mama/ Cut Out/ Hearts of Stone/ Sexy Ways/ Stingy Thing/ Why Cry/ You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often/ MAC CURTIS: What'll I Do/ LINK DAVIS: Grasshopper/ SONNY FISHER: Hey Mama/ Hold Me Baby/ I Can't Lose/ Rockin' & A-Rollin'/ Rockin' Daddy/ Rockin' Daddy (alternate)/ Sneaky Pete/ BEN HALL: Move Mama/ JIMMY HEAP: Go Ahead On/ Sebbin' Come Elebbin'/ SID KING & THE FIVE STRINGS: Purr, Kitty, Purr/ Sag, Drag & Fall/ BOB LUMAN: Hello Baby/ In the Deep Dark Jungle/ Stranger Than Fiction/ That's All Right/ You Were the Cause of It All/ FRANK STARR: Dig Them Squeaky Shoes/ The Dirty Bird Song/ WAYNE WALKER: Love Me/ Love Me (alternate)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Heritage 45 Boogu Yagga Gal ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, 68 mins, highly recommended
Wonderful reissue of recordings from the 50s featuring Jamaican mento music. Mento is a dance style that like much Caribbean music draws on both African and European influences. It has some similarities to Trinidadian calyspo but is a distinctly Jamaican musical form. The songs, like calypso, deal with topical events, philosophical observations and, of course, the joys and tribulations of love. Instrumental accompaniments are by small groups featuring instrumentation which includes fife, banjo, guitar, maracas, rumba box (a form of bass thumb piano), violin, bamboo clarinet and more. There are some wonderful singers here including Count Lasher, Lord Lebby, the particularly fine E. Bedasse and Lord Power. At times one can hear hints of the forthcoming ska music which was become popular in the early 60s. Sound quality is generally excellent though some of the original recordings have distortion which cannot be eliminated. 28 page booklet has informative notes by Richard Noblett and transcripts of the lyrics. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Jazz Oracle 8008 Richmond Rarities ● CD $16.98
25 tracks, highly recommended
Richmond, IN was the home of The Starr Piano Co., which put out the legendary Gennett label, home of some of the finest hot jazz of the 20s. 1st up are 4 sides by Alex Jackson & His Plantation Orch, which included future Fletcher Henderson great Bob Ysaguirreon brass bass. One 78 from these 78s came out on Gennett, the other 2 as by The Plantation Serenaders on Champion, including the hot When Erastus Plays His Old Kazoo. Much hotter are the 8 sides by Alphonso Trent Orch starring the great Stuff Smith on violin & vocals, along with Snub Mosely, Peanuts Holland on the '28 & '30 sides & on the 2 from '33, Stuff is gone, but joining the trumpet section is Sweets Edison (Louder & Funnier/ St. James Infirmary). Zack Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels has 6 tunes from '28. Featuring trumpeter Sy Oliver's great arrangments in an orch that also included Big Al Sears on tenor & bari & Herman Chittison on piano. Oliver's West End Blues & It's Tight Like That are heard in their Spotlight & Champion versions, & West End adds a 3rd version released on Merritt. The set is rounded up by 4 '31 sides by Red Perkins & His Dixie Ramblers. Loaded with old band pics, ads, posters & 78 labels. The following CD is a companion to this one. (GM)

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7781 Mississippi Blues, Rare Cuts 1926-1941 ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, essential
Utterly fantastic collection of Mississippi country blues. JSP has already issued some sets featuring the big names in Mississippi blues (JSP 7702 - "Charlie Patton & Associates - Complete Recordings", 7715 - "Legends Of Country Blues" and JSP 7719 "Big Joe Williams & The Stars Of Mississippi Blues" - $28.98 each) but this set features lesser known artists - many who only recorded a couple of songs but what recordings they were - in many cases the equal of recordings made by the more well known figures. At first I was taken aback that the set is not organized by artist or chronologically but then I realized what a smart move that was - like those old OJL or Yazoo LPs we collected in the 60s and 70s you never know what's going to come next but you can be sure that it will be great. Mississippi blues is noted for its intensity and there's no shortage of that here with incredible tracks like Jim Thompkins' "Bedside Blues" - his only issued recording but a truly monumental performance with a vocal reminiscent of Robert Johnson and a unique plangent slide guitar style. Why oh why didn't he record more? Then there's the magnificent William Harris who recorded about a dozen sides though only a few of them have been found - his "I'm Leavin' Town" and "Bullfrog Blues" with their hypnotic churning rhythm are among my all time favorites. The Mississippi Moaner (Isaiah Nettles) takes Blind Lemon Jefferson material and tunrs it into pure Mississippi blues. On the more unusual front we have Walter Rhodes who accompanies himself on primitive accordion accompanied by Pet & can on guitars or the intriguing Willie '61" Blackwell - a somewhat limited musician who makes up for it with truly fascinating lyrics. We also get songs and alternate takes only discovered in recent years of Son House, Blind Willie Reynolds and Robert Johnson and so much more from the like of Garfield Akers, The Mississippi Jook Band, Geeshie Wiley, Freddie Spruell (possibly the first Mississippi country bluesman to record), Joe McCoy, Charlie McCoy, Mose Andrews, J.D. Short, Bogus Ben Covington, Buddy Boy Hawkins, Robert Lockwood, George Torey, King Solomon Hill and more. There's not a single track that's less than excellent and many are truly outstanding. Sound is as good as one can expect for on some of these extremly rare records and brief notes by Neil Slaven help roun out an exceptional package. This is one of those few box sets where you can play all the CDs one after another without the slightest trace of boredom. (FS)
GARFIELD AKERS: Cottonfield Blues Pt 1/ Cottonfield Blues Pt 2/ Dough Roller Blues/ Jumpin' And Shoutin' Blues/ MOSE ANDREWS: Ten Pound Hammer/ Young Heifer Blues/ KID BAILEY: Mississippi Bottom Blues/ Rowdy Blues/ WILLIE '61' BLACKWELL: Bald Eagle Blues/ Chalk My Toy/ WILLIE ‘61' BLACKWELL: Don't Misuse Me, Baby/ WILLIE '61' BLACKWELL: Four O'Clock Flower Blues/ Machine Gun Blues/ Noiseless Motor Blues/ Rampaw Street Blues/ She's Young And Wild/ MISSISSIPPI BRACEY: Cherry Ball/ I'll Overcome Someday/ Stered Gal/ You Scolded Me And Drove Me/ SAM BUTLER: Devil And My Brown Blues/ Jefferson County Blues/ Poor Boy Blues/ You Can't Keep No Brown/ JOE CALICOTT: Fare Thee Well Blues/ Traveling Mama Blues/ SAM COLLINS: Devil In The Lion's Den/ Loving Lady Blues/ The Jail House Blues/ Yellow Dog Blues/ BOGUS BEN COVINGTON: Adam And Eve In The Garden/ Boodle-De-Bum Blues/ MATTIE DELANEY: Down The Big Road Blues/ Tallahatchie River Blues/ WILLIAM HARRIS: Bull Frog Blues/ Early Mornin' Blues/ I'm Leavin' Town/ Leavin' Here Blues/ BUDDY BOY HAWKINS: Jailhouse Fire Blues/ Number Three Blues/ Shaggy Fog Blues/ Snatch It Back Blues/ KING SOLOMON HILL: My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon/ Tell Me Baby/ Times Has Done Got Hard/ SON HOUSE: Clarksdale Moan/ Mississippi County Farm Blues/ ROBERT JOHNSON: Traveling Riverside Blues Tk 1/ ROBERT LOCKWOOD: Black Spider Blues/ I'm Gonna Train My Baby/ Little Boy Blue/ Take A Little Walk With Me/ MISSISSIPPI JOOK BAND: Barbecue Bust/ Dangerous Woman/ Hittin' The Bottle Stomp/ MISSISSIPPI MOANER: It's Cold In China Blues/ Mississippi Moan/ MISSISSIPPI JOOK BAND: Skippy Whippy/ CHARLIE McCOY: Baltimore Blues/ Last Time Blues/ Motherless And Fatherless Blues/ JOE McCOY: Evil Devil Woman Blues/ Look Who's Coming Down The Road/ Meat Cutter Blues/ When The Levee Breaks/ ARTHUR PETTIES: Good Boy Blues/ Out On Santa Fe Blues/ Quarrellin' Mama Blues/ Revenue Man Blues/ That Won't Do/ Two Time Blues/ BLIND JOE REYNOLDS: Cold Woman Blues/ BLIND WILLIE REYNOLDS: Married Man Blues/ BLIND JOE REYNOLDS: Ninety Nine Blues/ BLIND WILLIE REYNOLDS: Third Street Woman Blues/ WALTER RHODES: Leaving Home Blues/ The Crowing Rooster/ JELLY JAW SHORT: Barefoot Blues/ Grand Daddy Blues/ Snake Doctor Blues/ FREDDIE SPRUELL: 4A Highway/ Don't Cry Baby/ Let's Go Riding/ Milk Cow Blues/ Mr Freddie's Kokomo Blues/ Muddy Water Blues/ Way Back Down Home/ Your Good Man Is Gone/ JOE STONE: Back Door Blues/ It's Hard Time/ ELVA THOMAS & GEESHIE WILEY: Motherless Child Blues/ JIM THOMPKINS: Bedside Blues/ GEORGE TOREY: Lonesome Man Blues/ Married Woman Blues/ OTTO VIRGIAL: Bad Notion Blues/ Got The Blues About Rome/ Little Girl In Rome/ GEESHIE WILEY: Last Kind Words Blues/ Over To My House/ Skinny Leg Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS Kent CDKEND 108 Carnival Of Soul Vol 1 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 66 min., essential
Jazz saxophonist Joe Evans' capitalized on the burgeoning soul market of the early to mid-1960s by starting Carnival Records. Along the way to discovering his label's financial wheel horse, The Manhattans, he recorded some truly wonderful acts, though most were unfortunately destined for the footnotes of soul history. Most notably, the super fine Barbara Brown, who, as the story goes, left the music biz because of a jealous and possessive boyfriend, had talent to spare, as her "Forget Him" will attest. Norma Jenkins' "Me Myself And I" and Lee Williams & The Cymbals' 1966 gem "I Love You More" may be counted as 2 of the 3 miracles Evans needs to attain sainthood. (Fans should also be advised that of the 3 Manhattans Carnival singles that do not appear on their LPs, one is here, one on vol. 2, and one on vol. 3.) (JC)
RENE BAILEY: I'm Gonna Be Missing You/ BARBARA BROWN: Forget Him/ HARRY CALDWELL: Nobody Loves Me (Like My Baby)/ CURBY COGGINS: Come Home To Daddy/ NORMA JENKINS: Me Myself And I/ JIMMY JULES: Nothing Will Ever Change (This Love Of Mine)/ LEON AND THE METRONOMES WITH THE KOOL KI: I'll Catch You On The Rebound/ THE LOVETTES: I Need A Guy/ THE MANHATTANS: All I Need Is Your Love/ Til' You Come Back To Me/ THE METRICS: Wishes/ THE PETS: I Say Yeah/ THE PRETENDERS: I Call It Love/ I Wanna Be (Your Everything)/ KENNETH RUFFIN: I'll Keep On Holding On/ PHIL TERRELL: Can I Come In/ Love Has Passed Me By/ THE THREE REASONS: Go Right On/ THE TOPICS: She's So Fne/ THE TRUE-TEENS: My Baby's Gone/ THE TURNER BROTHERS: My Love Is Yours Tonight/ LEE WILLIAMS AND THE CYMBALS: I Love You More/ It's Everything About You (That I Love)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Stomper Time STCD 3 The Last Great Rockabilly Saturday Night ● CD $17.98
36 tracks, 76 minutes, essential
Apparently Dave Travis has been buying up the rights to some of the small 50's rockabilly labels. It looks like he's grabbed Satellite, Profile, Erwin, Demon, Memphis and more, so far. Hopefully, some of the artists here will make a few bucks off of these vintage recordings. Even though some mastertapes were used the sound is no better than any of the other comps around. The line-up here is incredible though - a virtual rollcall of great rockers - Mickey Hawks, Don Willis, Ray Scott, Johnny Carroll, Eddie Bond, Jody Reynolds, Andy Anderson, Charlie Feathers and on and on. Many are around on other comps but you can't beat the bang for the buck here with a whopping 36 tracks worth of rompin' stompin' mostly Tennessee rockabilly. Don Willis- "Boppin' High School Baby/ Warrior Sam" , Jimmy Evans - "The Joint's Really Jumpin'" , Johnny Carroll - "Be Bop A Lula Is Back On The Scene/ Rockin' Maybelle/ Crazy Crazy Lovin'" , Andy Anderson - "You Shake Me Up/ Tough, Tough, Tough" , etc. (AE)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Yazoo 7004 The Secret Museum Of Mankind Vol.1 1925-48 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 66 min, essential
Stunning music selected by editor Pat Conte from rare 78s from around the world, recorded before the full impact of radio and records on the traditional musical cultures of our world. Each selection is an absolute gem, crystallizing the uniqueness of the performers and the power of their tradition, from manic violin/accordion party music from Ceylon, & wild gypsy tunes from Romania & Russia, to eerie Rajastani vocal duets & somber Japanese court songs. Sardinian "launedda" bagpipes, Indian "ghungur" bells, and Swedish "nyckelharpa" fiddles vie for unusual instruments, while Nigerian, Society Island, Fijian and Abyssinian choirs expand our perception of vocal possibilities. Vibrant, syncretic popular musics are represented by Cuba's Septeto Matamoros (with a bagpipe!), Jamaica's Lord Composer, a klezmer orchestra, flamenco's La Nina De Los Peines, & Basque "Triki-Triki" music. Wonderful music, masterfully programmed, with fine sound and great notes and pix. A true delight! (JMC)

VERN & RAY Arhoolie 524 With Herb Pedersen - 1968 ● CD $12.98
17 tracks, 38 min., highly recommended
Farms in Berkeley? Nope. But what about bluegrass? Well, of course--at least it was so in the 1960s when Vern and Ray (originally from Arkansas) were living in Stockton. They met in 1958 or '59, eventually bringing their bluegrass intentions to San Francisco, Modesto, Berkeley and throughout Northern California. They had an EP on Starday in 1961 (a four-song 45 rpm), but spent most of their waking hours raising their families, dedicating spare moments to making music. The boys joined youngster Herb Pedersen and eventually moved to Nashville, where bluegrass was only mildly more popular than it was in the S.F. Bay Area. Vern and Ray performed together until 1974. These songs were recorded live at the San Francisco State Folk Festival in 1968 while Pedersen was still harmonizing and playing banjo with the boys. And while the sound quality is surprisingly high under the circumstances, the musicianship is even higher. Vern and Ray turn in an amazing performance, complete with fiery fretwork and tight harmonies that the Louvins or Delmores might admire. A lost treasure recovered by the fine folks at Arhoolie. Any more Vern and Ray recordings out there? (JC)

PORTER WAGONER Omni 103 The Rubber Room ● CD $16.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
A great collection of tracks recorded for RCA between 1966 and 1977 and focusing on some of the more offbeat and darker material Porter recorded. It includes the crazed title song plus songs dealing with murder, child abuse and suicide along with the more familiar cheating and drinking songs. Only a couple of these tracks were hits - most were album tracks and B-sides and show that there was more to Porter than the cheerful gregarious figure that he cut on stage. Most of the songs were written by Porter along with a few by Dolly Parton (he duets with her on the truly grim "The Party" about children dying in a fire). Many of the tracks feature soulful narrations by Porter. Probably not the ideal album to listen to if you're feeling depressed or are expecting mainstream country but a real eye opener. (FS)
PORTER WAGONER: As Simple As I Am/ Bones/ Cassie/ Crumbs From Another Man's Table/ Fairchild/ First Mrs Jones/ George Leroy Chickashea/ He's Alone Again Tonight/ Indian Creek/ Jim Johnson/ Julie/ Let Me In/ Life Rides The Train/ Little Boy's Prayer/ Lonely Comin' Down/ Lonelyville/ Moments In Meditation/ My Last Two Tens/ My Many Hurried Southern Trips/ Nothing Between/ Out Of The Silence (Came A Song)/ Shopworn/ The Bottom Of The Bottle/ The Caroll County Accident/ The Cold Hard Facts Of Life/ The Rubber Room/ Wino/ Woman Hungry/ The Party

WATERSON:CARTHY Topic TSCD 536 Dark Light ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, 58 mins, essential
Another fabulous collection of traditional songs and tunes from this wonderful family group - Martin Carthy, his wife Norma Waterson and their daughter Eliza Carthy. They are among the finest singers in Britain and Martin and Eliza are superb instrumentalists. For their fourth album they are joined by the splendid Tim van Eyken on melodeon and vocals plus occasional guest instrumentalists. The songs are performed solo, as duets, trios and quartets and is drawn from the repertoire of some of the great traditional singers who inspired the members of the group including Seamus Ennis, Sam Larner, Almeda Riddle, Packie Manus Byrne and others. Songs include "The Devil & The Farmer/ Death & The Lady/ The Lofty tall Ship/ The Old Churchyard/ Diego's Bold Shore" and others. Just when you think it can't get any better the album ends with a true piece de resistance - a version of the traditional hymn "Shepherds Arise" inspired by the singing of the great and influential Copper Family. It opens with a spine chilling modal fiddle intro by Eliza and then the glorious vocal harmonies come in and ends with the fiddle being joined by Martin's guitar and Tim's melodeon - the result is stunning and inspired. Glorious. (FS)

GABRIEL & MARIE YACOUB Griffe 191852 Pierre De Grenoble ● CD $17.98
12 tracks, 37 mins, essential
After leaving Alan Stivell's band in 1973 and prior forming the great band Malicorne in 1974, Gabriel Yacoub and his wife Marie put out this album of traditional songs and tunes under their own name on Barclay. This gem is now available again on CD. Joining them are fellow Stivell alumni Dan Ar Bras and Alan Kloatr as well as other fine French musicians. As in Malicorne their approach to traditional songs and tunes was strikingly imaginative, using ancient and contemporary instruments (acoustic and electric guitars, dulcimer, hurdy gurdy, harmonium, psaltery, bagpipes, bouzouki, crumhorn, etc) weaving them together in a complex interplay of sounds but always remaining faithful to the spirit of the original. Gabriel has a rich baritone voice full of emotion that is beautifully complemented by Marie's lovely fragile soprano. A number of tracks feature those spine chilling, almost Gregorian chant sounding, harmony vocals that were to become a trademark of Malicorne's sound. The material is consistently fine with the highlights being the beautiful title song which segues into a wonderful bransle and the powerful "Le Prince D'Orange" but it's all superb. You owe it to yourself to hear this! (FS)

JIMMY & MAMA YANCEY Collectables 7702 Chicago Piano, Volume One ● CD $12.98
14 tracks, 47 mins, essential
Originally issued on LP in 1972 as Atlantic 7229 and subsequently on CD as Atlantic 82368. The 14 cuts here, 5 of which feature effective vocals by Mama Yancey, were originally cut in 1951, just eight weeks before Jimmy passed away. And they are stunning examples of the stately style of one of the elder statesmen of boogie woogie piano. Tracks include "Mournful Blues/ Yancey Special/ 35th And Dearborn/ Make Me A Pallet On The Floor/ How Long Blues". Features the 1972 notes by Bruce Bastin and fine digitally remastered sound. Buy two, just in case a friend with good taste steals one while you're not looking. (DH)

LESTER YOUNG Blue Note 32787 The Complete Aladdin Sessions ● CD $35.98
2 discs, 40 tracks, 125 min., essential
This set represents some of Lester Young's earliest post-1942 sides including his first as a leader, the 1942 Philo Records trio session with Nat King Cole and bassist Red Callender, now finally available without the drum overdubbing! Like their other 'Aladdin' releases, EMI/Capitol has done us a great service in releasing these Lester Young sides along with the 1945 Helen Humes recordings, where our man is mostly in the ensemble, soloing only on "Pleasing Man Blues". As a special bonus an awesomely-rare instrumental from this session has finally come to light. Accidentally used on an early pressing of "See See Rider", the now retitled "Riffin' Without Helen" offers everyone a chance to solo, including uncredited trumpeter, Snooky Young! The remainder of this collection is made up of his 1945-1947 sides that were first compiled in 1975 supplemented now with "Easy Does It" (alt tk), "One O'Clock Jump" and "Tea For Two". Recorded shortly after his Army conscription and his resulting mental breakdown, the opening 1945 title "D. B. Blues" (for Disciplinary Barracks) has Lester Young in all his glory, playing in that cool, laid-back style that was so unique and significant. The pattern was also set with these early sides, a pattern where (using sometimes pickup groups) last minute decisions were made, resulting in snappy (yes, even raggedy) endings ; or as he had a habit of doing, introducing whole new melodies to standards, rarely returning to the original tune, as evident on "These Foolish Things" and "Lover Come Back To Me". Yes, maybe these recordings were works-in-progress, but I prefer to consider them 'diamonds in the rough', and if you want to hear the genius that was Lester Willis Young, this set is essential. (EL)


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