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BLUES & GOSPEL
St. Louis Jimmy Oden -> Isiah Owens

ST. LOUIS JIMMY ODEN
ODETTA
JOHNNY OTIS
SHUGGIE OTIS
REV. LOUIS OVERSTREET
ISIAH OWENS

 
ST. LOUIS JIMMY ODEN Document DOCD 5235 Complete Recorded Works, Vol 2 : 1944-1955 ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 68 min., recommended
Unlike Volume 1 (Document 5234), most of the sides on this set were recorded by independent labels like Bullet, Miracle, Aristocrat, Job, Regal, Herald, Duke & Parrot. For the first time James Burke Oden is accompanied by saxophonists on Goin' Down Slow ('55, with Red Saunders' band), Dog House Blues (with J. T. Brown on tenor sax), and Biscuit Roller (with Eddie Chamblee). Also, Sunnyland Slim replaces Roosevelt Sykes on a few tracks, including So Nice And Kind (with Muddy Waters on slide guitar) and Shame On You Baby (with, I suggest, someone else other than Robert Jr. Lockwood on guitar). Also included is a rare & wonderful tribute to Chicago's 1st black radio announcer Jack L. Cooper (1888-1970). Born in Memphis, his WSBC radio show was aired on over 150 stations. The CD ends with St. Louis Jimmy's original version of Murder in The First Degree (presently in Elvin Bishop's repertoire). Note that as his 5 Apollo recordings (with Sunnyland Slim) are available on Delmark CD 655, they were not included in this set. (EL)

 
ODETTA M.C. Records 38 Blues Everywhere I Go ● CD $15.98
First album in 14 years by famed folk performer is an all blues collection with Dr. John guesting on two tracks.

 
ODETTA MC 44 Lookin' For A Gome ● CD $15.98
2001 album with guest appearances by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Henry Butler & Kim Wilson.

 
ODETTA Original Blues Classics  509 Odetta & The Blues ● CD $11.98

 
ODETTA & LARRY Original Blues Classics 565 The Tin Angel ● CD $11.98
19 tracks, 50 min., recommended
The welcome reissue of Odetta Felious's first LP, partially recorded live at San Francisco's Tin Angel bar in 1953-1954, with the addition of six previously unissued tracks from the original live and studio recording sessions. The performances here, particularly the few that feature her fellow performer Larry Mohr, are not really up to the standards of her later, more polished Vanguard recordings. But her voice is as majestic as ever and her vocal presence, even in its relative infancy, is unmistakable. The program of folk standards includes John Henry/ Old Cotton Fields at Home/ The Frozen Logger/ Water Boy/ No More Cane on the Brazos, and Wade in the Water. Good sound quality; original cover and liner notes. (DH)

 
JOHNNY OTIS Ace CDCHD 325 Creepin' With The Cats - Legendary Dig Masters Vol. 1 ● CD $18.98
At the dawn of the rock'n'roll era (1955/56) Johnny Otis had a weekly TV program, his own radio show and a steady string of gigs in the L.A. area. As if that wasn't enough, he started the Ultra/ Dig labels at this time, recording sides in the morning and playing them on the air that afternoon! This CD presents Otis' own spinnings for the label; a 50-50 mix of instrumentals and jukebox-ready R&B. The instrumentals mostly fall into the desirable category, with greasy sax, the T-Bone Walkerish fretting of Jimmy Nolen and Pete "Guitar" Lewis, and cool nocturnal themes - Midnight Creeper/ Sleepy Shines Butt Shuffle/ The Creeper Returns. Songs range from "serious" blues - Someday and Driftin' Blues with an excellent J.O. vocal - to R&B crooners and even some nutty numbers like Ali Baba's Boogie/ Hey Hey Hey Hey/ Wa-Wa Pt. 1 that would be right at home on one of those kooky various artists compilations. 22 in all, including mucho unreleased vault stuffers. (MB)
JOHNNY OTIS SHOW: Ali Baba's Boogie/ Butterball/ Dog Face Boy (Part 1)/ Dog Face Boy (Part 2)/ Driftin' Blues/ Groove Juice/ Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!/ Let The Sun Shine/ My Eyes Are Full Of Tears/ Number 69/number 21/ Organ Grinder's Swing/ Sadie/ Show Me The Way To Go Home/ Sleepy Shines Butt Shuffle/ Someday/ Stop, Look And Love Me/ The Creeper Returns/ The Midnight Creeper (Part 1)/ The Night Is So Young And You Are So Fine/ Trouble On My Mind/ Turtledove/ Wa-wa (Part 1)

 
JOHNNY OTIS Ace CDCHD 855 Cold Shot/ Snatch & The Poontangs ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, highly recommended
Two classic Otis albums from 1969 combined along with two previously unissued sides. "Cold Shot" (which Johnny reissued on his own J&T label a while back) was recorded in 1968 with Delmar "Mighty Mouth" Evans and Otis on vocals, Johnny's 15 year old son Shuggie making his first appearance on record and session musicians on bass and drums. A fine mixture of new and old blues songs. A single from that session Country Girl gave Otis his first R&B chart hit in more than 10 years. The opening cut of "Cold Shot" was Signifying Monkey a version of the traditional African American toast complete with totally unexpurgated lyrics and given a blues arrangement. The "Snatch & The Poontangs" album expanded on that concept with part 2 of "Signifying Monkey" and seven more bawdy songs - some of them also drawn from the African-American oral tradition. This was some of the raunchiest music put out as a commercial recording until rap achieved popularity. The two bonus songs are taken from the Snatch & The Poontangs session and includes a version of The Dirty Dozens. The enclosed booklet has rather bland notes by Dean Rudland and includes a copy of the wonderful and very graphic painting done by Otis for the inside jacket of "Snatch." (FS)

 
JOHNNY OTIS Alligator 4726 The New Johnny Otis ● CD $16.98
1982 Album by Otis was his first in almost ten years and is an excellent one - a fine mixture of blues and R&B with excellent vocal work by Otis himself, Delmar Evans and other vocalists - outstanding guitar work by son Shuggie Otis plus backup by Plas Johnson, Zaven Jambazian, Earl Palmer and others

 
JOHNNY OTIS Wolf 120.612 Johnny Otis Show Live In Los Angeles 1970 ● CD $16.98
A fine collection of live performances recorded by The Johnny Otis Show at a club in Los Angeles in early 1970 around the same time as the legendary performances recorded at Monterey and featuring many of the same guest performers. Johnny sings and plays piano and vibes and son Shuggie plays guitar along with an unknown group of musicians who accompany Big Joe Turner, Roy Milton, Little Esther Phillips, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Charles Brown, Lowell Fulson and T. Bone Walker. Some enjoyable performances by all concerned. 15 tracks - 50 minutes. (FS)

 
SHUGGIE OTIS RPM 509 Shuggie Otis - In Session Information ● CD $19.98
Collection of 15 sides recorded in the mid 70s for Johnny Otis's Blues Spectrum label featuring a number of blues and R&B pioneers, including Otis himself, doing versions of some of their most popular songs. Produced by Otis and featuring some of the leading L.A. sideman it also featured Otis's brilliantly talented son Shuggie on guitar and bass. These sessions were recorded around the same time as Shuggie's solo LP "Inspiration Information" - hence the album title. Among the artists featured are Richard Berry, Roy Milton, Eddie Vinson, Charles Brown, Joe Liggins and Otis himself.

 
ISIAH OWENS Casequarter 102 You Without Sin Cast The First Stone ● CD $14.98
18 tracks 66 mins, recommended
Don't get this just because Owens sports an imitation zebra-skin cowboy hat, sunglasses and a silver lam suit on the cover, get it for the authenticity and intensity of the performances. Owens has dedicated the better part of his life to singing with gospel quartets. In particular, he spent about 45 years with the Flying Clouds, who released a couple of albums on Savoy. Owens learned guitar late in the game, and this album-his first solo-finds him singing his own songs and accompanying himself on electric guitar. The tracks were culled from local Montgomery, Alabama, gospel radio broadcasts. At times Ann Talbert adds her vocals, testimony, and the occasional radio advertisement, where appropriate. The music is raw (think Hasil Adkins and early Billy Bragg without all the polish), the recordings a bit primitive, but the power of Owens' music is difficult to deny. But then why would you? "Without Sin" is an aural documentary of the kind of local gospel radio that isn't around much any more. And that's too bad. (JC)

 
REV. LOUIS OVERSTREET Arhoolie 442 With His Sons & Congregation Of St. Lukes Church ● CD $12.98
16 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
Terrifically exciting down home gospel recorded in 1962 at the appropriately named St. Luke's Powerhouse Church Of God In Christ in Phoenix, AZ. Leading the music is Rev. Louis Overstreet who accompanies his ferocious gravelly vocals with electric guitar and bass drums and is joined by his four sons on vocal and tambourines along with members of his congregation. Recorded live at a service these wonderful and important recordings help to preserve an infrequently documented aspect of African-American culture. The material is mostly traditional gospel songs - I'm A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord/ I'm Working On The Building/ Getting Richer/ Is There Anybody Here Who Loves My Jesus, etc. Some of these recordings were issued some 30 years ago on Arhoolie LP 1014 but this CD is almost double the length with additional recordings from the service plus some moving solo performances recorded at Rev. Overstreet's home where he accompanies himself on acoustic guitar. Excellent sound and informative notes from Chris Strachwitz. (FS)
REV. LOUIS OVERSTREET: A Prayer & I'm A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord/ Believe On Me/ Calling Jesus/ Get Ready, I'm Gonna Move In The Room / Getting Richer/ Holiness Dance/ I'm On My Way/ I'm Working On A Building/ In The Morning (Holiness Dance)/ Is There Anybody Here Who Loves My Jesus?/ Preaching & Jesus Is Able/ Say Seven Prayers/ Search Me, Lord/ Two Little Fishes/ Walk With Me Lord/ Yeah, Lord! Jesus Is Able

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