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Various Artists Collections - Post-War West Coast Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 884 Surefire Hits On Central - The South Central R&B Scene ● CD $18.98
First in a new series paying tribute to the blues and R&B scene in Los Angeles in the late 40s and early 50s which was focussed on Central avenue. The 26 track collection features many hits.
JESSE BELVIN: Dream Girl/ RICHARD BERRY: Get Out Of The Car/ HADDA BROOKS: Out Of The Blue/ PEE WEE CRAYTON: Blues After Hours/ FLOYD DIXON TRIO: Dallas Blues/ ERNIE FREEMAN COMBO: Jivin' Around (part 1)/ GENE & EUNICE: Ko Ko Mo (i Love You So)/ JIMMY GRISSOM & THE RED CALLENDER SEXTET: Once There Lived A Fool/ ROY HAWKINS: Why Do Everything Happen To Me/ CHUCK HIGGINS COMBO: Pachuko Hop/ JOE HOUSTON: All Night Long/ ETTA JAMES & THE PEACHES: Wallflower (dance With Me Henry)/ JOE LIGGINS & HIS HONEYDRIPPERS: Honeydripper/ LITTLE CAESAR: Goodbye Baby/ 'LITTLE' WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: It's Midnight (no Place To Go)/ 'BIG' JAY MCNEELY: Deacon's Hop/ THE MEADOWLARKS: Heaven And Paradise/ THE MEDALLIONS: Letter/ ROY MILTON & HIS SOLID SENDERS: Hucklebuck/ JOHNNY MOORE TRIO & CHARLES BROWN: You Won't Let Me Go/ JOHNNY OTIS QUINTETTE: Double Crossing Blues/ THE PENGUINS: Ookey Ook/ GENE PHILLIPS: Stinkin' Drunk/ JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON: Three Hours Past Midnight/ JIMMY WITHERSPOON: Who's Been Jiving You/ YOUNG JESSIE: Mary Lou

VARIOUS ARTISTS El Cerrito 1004 Bay Area Blues Blasters, The 60s - Vol. 1 ● CD $16.98
26 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Terrific collection of West Coast blues - many tracks featuring the brilliant and distinctive guitar playing of Johnny Heartsman. There are a number of instrumental tracks by Johnny and his band including his local hit, the two part Johnny's House Party - a steal of Bill Doggett's Honky Tonk. His work as an accompanying musicians is even more interesting and he is featured playing some wonderful guitar (and occasionally flute) on sides by the brilliant Tiny Powell (his classic My Time After Awhile), Tommy Harris, Jesse James, Ray Agee (when is someone going to a whole CD of his work?) and others. Heartsman is also obviously the guitarist on the track by veteran West Coast bluesman Jimmy Liggins even though on the original 45 it was credited to "Jimmy Liggins, his guitar and Orchestra". Heartsman influenced guitarist Eddie Foster is featured on a couple other Tiny Powell cuts and the set ends with the excellent instrumental Jump Back featuring another fine local guitarist Eugene Blacknell and his band The Savonics. Sound is excellent and there are brief informative notes. (FS)
RAY AGEE: Love Is A Cold Shot/ The Monkey On My Back/ EUGENE BLACKNELL & HIS SAVONICS: Jump Back/ TOMMY HARRIS: My Conscience Is Bothering Me/ JOHNNY HEARTSMAN: Besame Mucho, Pts. 1 & 2/ Johnny's Blue Mood/ Johnny's Thunderbird/ One More Time/ Sizzling/ Syrup Soppin'/ JOHNNY HEATSMAN: Johnny's House Party, Pts. 1 & 2/ JESSE JAMES: A Love Like The Wind/ I Call On You/ I Wanna Full Time Love/ RUDY LAMBERT: I'll Do It/ Love/ JIMMY LIGGINS: Blues For Love/ TINY POWELL: Done Made It Over/ Get My Hat/ My Time After Awhile/ That Was Yesterday/ JOE SIMON: I Keep Remembering/ Troubles/ LACY STEWART: Lightning Flashing

VARIOUS ARTISTS Messaround 001 Blue Bay - Anthology Of San Francisco Bay Blues ● CD $14.98
20 tracks, 66 min. recommended
Apparently, this is a CD reissue of an album released in 1976, featuring some lesser, some better known bluesmen living in the S.F. Bay Area. Ron Thompson shows up on 4 cuts, including a solo performance (years before he went solo) on dobro, Blue Chariot, and an original, Is That Any Way To Treat Your Man? Also featured are Robert Lowrey, Luther Tucker, Charlie Musselwhite, Hi Tide Harris, Sonny Rhodes, and The Gary Smith Band. With few exceptions the songs are short and sweet, making this an enjoyable collection from generally underrated performers. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Fremeaux & Associates 175 California Blues, 1940-1948 ● CD $34.98
Two CD, 36 tracks, 100 mins, recommended
A fine collection of blues recorded in California between 1942 and 1948. Just as many African-Americans migrated from Mississippi to Chicago so those from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma migrated to the West Coast where they imposed their musical styles on the emerging West Coast blues scene. Although the West Coast is associated with a polished sound this set also reveals some of the wonderful more rural styles that were also present, if mostly on the fringes, with superb artists like Thunder Smith , Guitar Slim Green (his Alla Blues is a precursor to the Tin pan Alley theme that was prevalent on the West Coast), Sidney Maiden, Jesse Thomas, Mercy Dee and others. The set includes two early sides by Jimmy McCracklin performing in a more down home style than he was to become famous for. Among the fine artists in a more urban style are T-Bone Walker, Lowel Fulson, Charles Brown, Hadda Brooks, Floyd Dixon, Jimmy Liggins and others. It's all good music but I wish Fremeaux would put another dozen or so sides on their compilations to help fill out the picture. Generally excellent sound and nice booklet with notes in French and English and some photos. (FS)
BLACK DIAMOND: T.p. Railer/ HADDA BROOKS: Blues In B-flat/ CHARLES BROWN: It Ain't Gonna Be Like That/ Soothe Me/ CLARENCE "GATEMOUTH" BROWN: Gatemouth Boogie/ NAT "KING" COLE: Gone With The Draft/ PEE WEE CRAYTON: Central Avenue Blues/ MERCY DEE: G.i. Fever/ FLOYD DIXON PRAIRIE: Dog Hole/ LOWELL FULSON: Television Blues/ CECIL GANT: Special Delivery/ LLOYD GLENN: That Other Woman's Gotta Go/ GUITAR SLIM GREEN: Alla Blues/ SMOKEY HOGG: Worryin' Mind/ IVORY JOE HUNTER: Reconversion Blues/ SONNY BOY JOHNSON: Desert Blues/ SAUNDERS KING: S.k. Groove/ JIMMY LIGGINS: Troubles Goodbye/ LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: Little Willie's Boogie/ JOE LUTCHER: No Name Boogie/ SIDNEY MAIDEN: Eclipse Of The Sun/ PERCY MAYFIELD: Leary Blues/ JIMMY MC CRACKLIN: Baby, Don't You Want To Go?/ Bad Luck And Trouble/ AMOS MILBURN: I'm Gonna Leave You/ Operation Blues/ ROY MILTON: True Blues/ GENE PHILLIPS: Ramblin' Woman/ JESSE PRICE: Jump It With A Shuffle/ JOE PULLUM: I Came To California (my Woman)./ THUNDER SMITH: L. A. Blues/ JESSE THOMAS: Another Friend Like Me/ BIG JOE TURNER: Playboy Blues/ T-BONE WALKER: I'm In An Awful Mood/ Plain Old Down Home Blues/ JIMMY WITHERSPOON: Please Stop Playing Those Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS El Cerrito 1005 Don't Freeze On Me - Independent Womens Blues ● CD $16.98
25 tracks, 65 minutes, essential
Fabulous collection of sides from the 60s featuring some of the best female blues singers of the era. The emphasis is on West Coast artists and this set includes five tracks by the Queen of West Coast blues Big Mama Thornton recorded for small West Coast labels. It includes a sequel to her hit Hound Dog called Tomcat, the fabulous Mercy with hot guitar and the fine You Did Me Wrong with Mama playing harmonica. Seeveral of the West Coast gals are accompanied by Johnny Heartsman and his band with Heartsman playing great and distinctive guitar - these include Ella Thomas (a sensational singer with four great songs), Delilah (including a great cover of Rock Me Baby) and Camille La Vah (a beautiful cover of the soul classic Steal Away). Also from out West are Dell Graham, Mary Ann Miles (duetting with Ray Agee), Al & Nettie, Marie Adams and Sugar Pie DeSanto (including her wonderful Use What You Got). From New York we have Betty James and her terrific double sider I'm A Little Mixed Up and Help Me To Find with probably Tarheel Slim on guitar. There's also Oliver Brown (from Detroit), Blanche Thomas (from New Orleans) and Jessie Mae doing the title song. Excellent sound and brief notes. (FS)
MARIE ADAMS: Old Feeling (that Same Old Feeling)/ AL & NETTIE WITH JIMMY MCCRACKLIN BAND: Now You Know/ OLIVE BROWN: Roll Like A Big Wheel/ DELILAH: Packin' Up/ I'll Rock You Baby/ Worried Feeling/ SUGAR PIE DESANTO: Going Back Where I Belong / Strange Feeling/ Use What You Got/ DELL GRAHAM & THE QUE MARTIN BAND: Work With It/ BETTY JAMES: Help Me To Find My Love/ I'm A Little Mixed Up/ JESSIE MAE: Don't Freeze On Me/ CAMILLE LA VAH: Let's Steal Away/ MARY ANN MILES & RAY AGEE: Baby's Coming Home/ BLANCHE THOMAS: You Ain't So Such A Much/ ELLA THOMAS & THE JOHNNY HEARTSMAN BAND: Ain't That The Truth/ I'm Your Part Time Love/ Introducing A Fool/ Understanding/ BIG MAMA THORNTON: Big Mama's Coming/ Don't Do Me This Way/ Mercy/ Tomcat/ You Did Me Wrong

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 839 Dootone Rock 'n' Rhythm & Blues ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Great selection of rocking blues and R&B recorded for Dootsie Williams' Dootone label in the mid 50s. There are eight fine sides by one of the pioneers of the West Coast sound Roy Milton - his glory days at Specialty were behind him but he sounds as good as ever with his soulful vocals and great band featuring Jackie Kelso/as, Eddie Taylor/ ts, Floyd Turnham/ bas, Camille Howard/ p, Jimmie Davis/ g and others. There are nine tracks from hot sax man Chuck Higgins whose band has a more contemporary sound (for 1956) than Milton and includes the wonderful guitar work of Jimmy Nolen. Higgins is not a great vocalist biut most of his sides are instrumental so that's not a problem. Another fine west coast tenor player is Claude McLin who is featured on two tracks here. There are also tracks by veteran vocalist Helen Humes and by Mickey Champion. Informative notes by Bob Porter but no discographical info. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 524 Ebb Story ● CD $18.98
31 tracks, 71 min., recommended
In 1957 after Leonora "Lee" Rupe had split with husband Art Rupe, big cheese at Specialty Records, she started the graphically unadorned Ebb label. Ebb enjoyed only one national hit in The Hollywood Flames Buzz Buzz Buzz before calling it quits in 1959. But the Ebb story sounds a lot better than it sounds. No shortage of talent existed. Artists included Smokey Hogg, Ted Taylor, Professor Longhair, The Jaguars, The Roulettes, Jerry Hawkins, Tony Harris, and many more. The Ambers (really The Jaguars acting as back-up band) featuring Johnny Mathis' younger brother Ralph Mathis on lead vocals prove that genetics are not everything and that Ebb wasn't perfect. Oh well. Excellent overview of a terribly fun albeit short lived label--booklet notes include a complete discography. (JC)
THE 5 ORLEANS: The Way You Carry On/ RAY AGEE AND ELLY JOHNSON: My Silent Prayer/ True Lips/ DOLLY COOPER: Time Brings About A Change/ EDDIE DANNIELS: I Wanna Know/ FLOYD DIXON: What Is Life Without A Home/ THE EBB-TONES: I've Got A Feeling/ THE GEORGETTES: Love Like A Fool/ TONY HARRIS: You Fascinate Me/ JERRY HAWKINS: Lucky Johnny/ Need Your Lovin'/ SMOKEY HOGG: Good Mornin' Baby/ Sure 'nuff/ THE HOLLYWOOD FLAMES: Buzz, Buzz, Buzz/ Much Too Much/ THE JAGUARS: Mine All Mine/ J J JONES: Darkness/ DAVE LEE: Kiss Me, Squeeze Me/ PROFESSOR LONGHAIR: Look What You're Doing To Me/ Looka, No Hair/ RALPH MATHIS: Never Let Me Go/ EARL NELSON: Come On/ Hali-lou/ RIFF RUFFIN: If You Please/ THE SOUVENIRS: Voodoo Love/ TED TAYLOR: Keep Walking On/ Wrapped Up In A Dream/ KIP TYLER: Hali-lou/ Oh Linda/ She's My Witch/ SAMUAL VANCE: Run, Run, Run

VARIOUS ARTISTS Wolf 120.614 Elko Blues, Vol 1 ● CD $15.98
23 mins, 61 mins, recommended
The first of three CDs featuring recordings made in the 50s for eccentric West Coast producer J.R. Fullbright and issued on his Elko label plus some from his vaults that were never originally issued along with some that licensed to other labels. Fullbright was a real character and a hustler extraordinaire. His productions are often very amateurish but he recorded some important and exciting performers and the energy of the music often compensates for the mediocre sound. This volume includes the first recordings of the great Clifton Chenier cut in Lake Charles, La in 1954, the first sides by the excellent West Coast singer/ guitarist Phillip Walker, three cuts by George Smith, Arkansas singer/ harmonica player Elmon Mickle, the excellent vocalist Jimmy Wilson with the Jimmy Nolen Band including hot guitar from Lafayette Thomas plus West Coast stalwarts Smokey Hogg and Jesse Fuller. Production is up (or down) to Wolf's usual standards. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS South Side 3 More Blues From The South Side ● CD $13.98
Collection of sides by three blues performers based in the South Side of Los Angeles - Smokey Wilson, South Side Slim and Curtis Tillman.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Delmark 657 West Coast Jive ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, 53 min., recommended
An energetic, often upbeat mix of uninhibited and comic mid-40's cuts from the vaults of Apollo Records featuring Wynonie Harris, Duke Henderson, Cee Pee Johnson, Frank Haywood, and the Al "Stomp" Russell Trio. Among the choicely-named tracks: The G-Man Got the T-Man/ Somebody Changed the Lock on the Door/ You Gotta Give It Up/ Give Me My Money Back, and Miss Jiveola Brown. A celebration of the exuberant night life of L.A.'s Central Avenue night clubs. Brief but solid notes, session information, fine sound, and a hip cover drawing. All in all, a nice package. (DH)

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