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Sonny Rhodes -> Rockin' Sidney



SONNY RHODES & THE TEXAS TWISTERS Evidence 26060 Just Blues ● CD $12.98
9 tracks, 36 min., very good
Originally released on his own RhodesWay label, this little known 1985 set features Clarence Edward Smith (Rhodes' real name) playing his lap steel guitar on B. B. King's Please Love Me, Tampa Red-Elmore James' It Hurts Me Too (with J. J. Malone on piano), and on 2 originals, the instrumental East Oakland Stomp (featuring Bernard Anderson on baritone sax), and the first recording of his Cigarette Blues (about the death of his wife). The other original title, House Without Love, brings his intense lead guitar work to the forefront. The remaining 3 titles are songs by Guitar Slim, Percy Mayfield and Jimmy McCracklin. (EL)

TODD RHODES Ace CDCHD 856 Blues For The Red Boy - The Early Sensation Recordings ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended
Although there is a overlap with Classics 5019 and 5040 this issue is indispensable as it was dubbed from original Vitacoustic and Sensation acetates, includes 16 unissued tunes or alternate takes and comes with a 12 page booklet with extensive notes and lots of rare photos. This is a terrific collection of mostly instrumental R&B and jazz featuring a band led by veteran piano player Todd Rhodes who got his start in the 20s as a member of McKinney's Cotton Pickers. The band was very hot featuring trumpeter Howard Thompson and a dynamite three sax line up (Holly Dismukes/alto, Louis Barnet/tenor and George Favors/ baritone). They were equally at home on a hard driving rocker like Bell Boy Boogie, a gently swinging ballad like Oh Baby or a jazzy outing like Bop Bop Sizzle. Their second session from October 1947 yielded their first R&B - the wonderful mid tempo Blues For The Red Boy which some eight years later Alan Freed adopted as the theme song for his Moondog radio program. Although mostly instrumental there are several appealing song from the band's regular vocalist Louis Sanders who was a waiter at the Sensation Lounge which was the bands home for a number of years as well as a couple of vocals by the excellent Kitty Stevenson. Curiously this does not include his other hit Pot Likker and it's unfortunate that discographical deatils aren't included but othewrise this is a must. (FS)

TOMMY RIDGLEY Blue City 1307 Mardi Gras Jam ● CD $17.98

PAUL RISHELL Tone-Cool 1148 Swear To Tell The Truth ● CD $15.98

CHUCK ROBERSON Ecko 1004 Something Good For You ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 48 minutes, very good
Sweet Southern Soul & a few bawdy novelty tunes by this veteran who's been putting out singles since '75. Chuck's been putting out stuff on small Southern soul labels for years, his biggest hit being Lollipop Man, done with vet Steve Alaimo for Vision Records. Chuck remakes his hit in an "X-rated" version, Lollipop Man II, & also has another "X-rated" Something Good For You, plus mostly original tunes written by his producer John ward, includes She's Been Slipping' Out On Me/ Shut In Shut Out & future classic A Whiskey Glass & A Woman's Ass. (GM)

CHUCK ROBERSON Ecko 1028 Love Freak ● CD $15.98
New album by contemporary blues/ soul singer.

PAUL ROBESON Columbia 47337 The Power And The Glory ● CD $11.98
Sixteen-song selection by baritone actor/ activist Robeson sung in straight traditional fashion with piano accompaniment and second vocal by Lawrence Brown. The material, recorded in New York in late 1945, is amazingly restored to Cedar digital clarity by Tim Geelan at the Sony East Coast studios. Spirituals and American Folk Songs sung in concert form, with near perfect pitch and annunciation. Fine suucinct booklet notes by Michael Neal. For lovers of the classic tradition. (OLN)

DUKE ROBILLARD & THE PLEASURE KINGS Rounder 11548 Rockin' Blues ● CD $15.98
CD compilation from Robillard's first two Rounder albums, And The Pleasure Kings, Too Hot To Handle. 17 tracks.

DUKE ROBILLARD Stony Plain 1277 Living With The Blues ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 55 minutes, highly recommended
Much like Duke's Blues from 1994, Robillard pays homage to heroes while managing to toss in a few originals. If Walls Could Talk smolders and Use What You Got is a six-minute slow blues with dynamic guitar and passionate vocals. Stratisfied is a rocking original feature for Duke's double stops, simultaneous rhythm and lead, and numbing bends, then he goes it alone for Tampa Red's Hard Road sporting fine acoustic slide, although vocally he seems to force an old-style phrasing. Buy Me A Dog is potent with distorted guitar and thick harp, plus impeccable backing from the rhythm section, and Good Time Charlie is also strong. Muddy's I Live The Life I Love buzzes with horns and Painful Memory is a workout with Guitar Slim's ghost present. Another Robillard-penned offering, Sleepin' On It, is muscular and the disc closes with B.B. King's Long Gone Baby, laced with drilling guitar over a stumbling groove. (CR)

ELZADIE ROBINSON Document DOCD 5248 Complete Recorded Works, Vol 1, 1926-28 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 66 min., recommended Little is known about her -- she may or may not be from Shreveport, Louisiana or Houston, Texas or Baltimore, Maryland, but Robinson must have been good because her bluesy moan triumphs over scratchy copies of poorly recorded Paramount 78 rpms. And while liner noter John Wilby finds her to be "competent, if not particularly remarkable" and "not a powerful singer," she proves herself better. The Blanche Johnson sides on Herwin, which are purported to be Elzadie, are here, too. Accompanying musicians include barrelhouse pianist Will Ezell, Blind Blake, Johnny Dodds, Shirley Clay, and others. (JC)

ELZADIE ROBINSON/ LOTTIE BEAMAN Document DOCD 5249 Complete Recorded Works, Vol 2/ Alternate Takes ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 69 min., recommended The 2nd and final volume of her recorded output, including an unissued take of Rowdy Man Blues, is here. And while the liner notes offer no more info than vol. 1's, Robinson's song titles provide material for creative speculation as regards her life: Pleading Misery Blues/ Mad Blues/ Wicked Daddy/ Unsatisfied Blues/ Cheatin' Daddy/ Ain't Got Nobody. Perhaps her life was not without it downs and downs. At any rate, these Paramount recordings are as noisy as the first batch, but worth the bother nonetheless. Also included are half a dozen "Bonus Tracks" from Lottie Beaman, whose work is collected on DOCD-5152. All 6 are alternate takes from a 1924 session. (JC)

FENTON ROBINSON Alligator 4705 Somebody Loan Me A Dime ● CD $15.98
Fenton's second Alligator album. Excellent set with fine singing and guitar by Fenton and splendid accompaniment by a small solid band - songs are mostly remakes of songs he had recorded before - Title song + Directly From My Heart To You/ You Say You're Leaving/ You Don't Know What Love Is/ Country Girl/ Texas Flood, etc.

FENTON ROBINSON Alligator 4710 I Hear Some Blues Downstairs ● CD $11.98

FENTON ROBINSON Alligator 4736 Nightflight ● CD $15.98
1984 album originally recorded for the Dutch Black Magic label. Fenton is in fine form on a selection of mostly new original songs, and is accompanied by an excellent band of Chicago musicians with Junior Wells guesting on one track. 10 cuts.

FENTON ROBINSON Evidence 26025 Special Road ● CD $12.98
13 tracks, 54 min., recommended
Although marred by less than spectacular production values, and accompaniments that don't always do him justice, this collection proves that Fenton is one of the greatest contemporary blues performers. He is a wonderfully soulful singer with a gospel tinge to his vocals and is guitar playing is unique - dazzlingly imaginative with a hint of jazz, but 100% blues in his execution. The material here includes a few new songs (the title song, Money Problem, etc), some remakes including a spellbinding version of Blue Monday, and some refreshing versions of blues standards like Baby Please Don't Go. In spite of my minor reservations this was one of my favorite albums of 1990 when issued as Black Magic 9012. (FS)

JIMMIE LEE ROBINSON & THE ICE CREAM MEN Delmark 665 Lonely Traveller ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 60 min., recommended
Chicagoan Jimmie Lee Robinson, who earned his blues credentials in the 50s and 60s playing and recording with the likes of Freddy King, Sonny Cooper, Elmore James, Magic Sam, Jimmy Reed, and Willie Mabon, has been musically idle for a quarter of a century. Backed here by 3/4ths of The Ice Cream Men, a 4 - piece that started out in '80 with Smokey Smothers and specializes in a sparse, club - like feel, Robinson plays in familiar - sounding surroundings. And while not possessed of a particularly strong singing voice, his smooth guitar work is a notch above many who traverse this blues terrain. Mr. R. consistently does a better job on originals such as Leave My Woman Alone/ Triflin' On You/ All My Life and the unusual I'll Be Your Slave than he does on the covers. Wonder what that means? (JC)

L.C. 'GOOD ROCKIN' ROBINSON Arhoolie CD 453 Mojo In My Hand ● CD $12.98
19 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended
L.C. Robinson was a fine and popular Bay Area bluesman from the 40s until his death in 1976 at the age of 58. An excellent and expressive singer he not only played regular electric guitar, but also steel guitar and fiddle - the latter influenced by country musicians - though L.C.'s playing is all blues. This CD is a reissue of his only full length LP (Arhoolie 1062 from 1972) with nine bonus previously unissued cuts! The first six cuts from 1971 feature him accompanied by the Muddy Waters Band of the time (Sammy Lawhorn, Pee Wee Madison, "Pinetop" Perkins, etc) plus Charlie Musselwhite on harp. The result is an exciting mixture of Chicago and West Coast blues styles. There are seven cuts from three months later where he is accompanied by Omar Sharriff/ piano, William Hyatt/ bass and his long time drummer Teddy Winston. This session is, in some ways, more interesting as L.C. has more room to stretch out and he plays some great steel on I've Got To Go and wonderful fiddle on She Got It From The Start. The final six tracks are from a 1975 radio broadcast with L.C. on fiddle accompanying his brother Reverend A.C. Robinson who sings and plays harmonica on mostly traditional gospel favorites and also throws in a version of Ida Red learned from Bob Wills! (FS)
L.C. "GOOD ROCKIN'" ROBINSON: Across The Bay Blues/ Can't Be A Winner/ I Don't Know What I Would Do Without The Lord/ I'm Just A Country Boy/ I've Got To Go/ Ida Red/ Jesus, Did I Know/ L. C.'S Shuffle/ L.C.'S Theme/ L.C.'s Blues/ Mojo In My Hand/ New Train Time/ Pinetop's Boogie Woogie/ She Got It From The Start/ Something Mighty Sweet About The Lord/ Stop And Jump/ Sweet Jesus/ Things' So Bad In California/ Ups And Downs

TAD ROBINSON Delmark 673 One To Infinity ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, 54 min., very good Singer, songwriter, pianist & harmonica player, Tad Robinson, first came on the scene as a member of the Hesitation Blues Band, and on Dave Specter's 1994 Delmark CD, "Blueplicity" (Delmark 664 - $16.98) where he sang on 8 tracks. As a soul blues singer, and with the knack of coming up with original material (9 originals for this CD), Tad Robinson should prove himself popular, especially if you're a fan of people like Eddie Hinton & Arthur Alexander. The highlights here include the 2 tracks featuring the vibrato-guitar sound of Robert Ward (At The End Of The Tunnel, Give Love A Chance), and soul-inspired titles like One To Infinity, Empty Apartment Blues and Eight Days A Week (the Beatles song). (EL)
TAD ROBINSON: At The End Of The Tunnel/ Can't Print It Fast Enough/ Coming Home/ Eight Days A Week/ Empty Apartment Blues/ Give Love A Chance/ Little Rascal/ Lonely Man/ One To Infinity/ Raining In New York/ Trouble In Mind/ Walking In The Sunshine

ROCKIN' DOPSIE  AIM 5001 Feets Don't Fail Me Now ● CD $15.98

ROCKIN' DOPSIE Maison De Soul 104 Saturday Night Zydeco! ● CD $16.98
19 zydeco cuts by the venerable Rockin' Dopsie, with members of Clifton Chenier's old band! Over an hour of dancefloor fun, including Mardi Gras In New Orleans/ Shake Rattle And Roll/ The Back Door/ I Got A Woman/ Flip Flop And Fly.

ROCKIN' SIDNEY Ace CDCH 160 My Toot Toot ● CD $21.98
25 tracks, 66 min., recommended. Not exactly an overnight sensation, Louisiana zydeco/swamp pop singer Sidney Semien recorded extensively for Jin Records in 1963/64 only to reenter a recording studio twenty years later and achieve chart success with the mysteriously-named title track here. This disc features both the twelve 60s tracks and the thirteen 80s numbers. Among the tasty titles are If I Could I Would/ Send Me Some Lovin'/ It Really Is A Hurtin' Thing/ My Zydeco Shoes/ Once Is Not Enough, and, of course, the title track. One photo, fine sound, and authoritative notes by Louisiana music scholar John Broven. Too much fun to miss. (DH)

ROCKIN' SIDNEY Maison De Soul 1009 My Toot Toot ● CD $16.98
20 cuts by the Toot Toot man, including Let Me Take You To The Zydeco/ My Zydeco Shoes/ Alligator Waltz/ You Ain't Nothin' But Fine, and of course the smash hit title track. These came out on the Maison De Soul LP's Boogie, Blues 'N Zydeco/ My Zydeco Shoes Got The Zydeco Blues.

ROCKIN' SIDNEY Maison De Soul 1046 Mais Yeah Chere! ● CD $16.98


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