Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop - New Releases: March -> November 2011 - George Jackson -> Swamp Dogg
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New Releases: March -> December 2011
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
George Jackson -> Swamp Dogg



GEORGE JACKSON Kent CDKEND 363 Don't Count Me Out - The Fame Recordings, Vol. 1 ● CD $18.98
As talented as he was prolific - and this is the first of what could end up being as many as three compilations of George's Fame material - he wrote songs for just about every important artist to record at FAME from 1968-72. Recorded at Fame's studios in Muscle Shoals and Memphis, here are his original takes on songs that he penned for Wilson Pickett, Willie Hightower, Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Jimmy Hughes and more. Most are as good as and frequently are better than the familiar covers and any one could have made him a star of similar stature to his peers, if he'd not chosen to put writing above singing the songs in public. Includes Search Your Heart/ 3-F Blues (Find 'Em, Fool 'Em And Forget 'Em)/ Bite The Hand That Feeds You/ Stuck On Her/ Talking In Your Sleep/ Evidence, etc.
GEORGE JACKSON: 3-F Blues (Find 'Em, Fool 'Em And Forget 'Em)/ Back In Your Arms/ Bite The Hand That Feeds You/ Don't Count Me Out/ Evidence/ Getting The Bills (But No Merchandise)/ Greasy Two By Four/ Greedy Over You/ I Can't Do Without You/ I Can't Leave Your Love Alone/ I Can't Love Without You/ I Want You So Bad/ Let's Make It A Deal/ Let's Stop Hurting Each Other/ Love Without A Future/ Search Your Heart/ She's Rated G/ Statue Of Soul/ Stuck On Her/ Talking In Your Sleep/ The Feeling Is Right/ You Can't Make It No Better/ You're At The Right Table/ You're Gonna Need Me Again

ETTA JAMES Hip-O Select 15545-02 Heart & Soul - A Retrospective ● CD $59.98
4 CDs, 84 tracks, 284 mins, highly recommended
Another wonderful lavishly produced limited edition set from Hip-O Select. And Etta James is certainly worth the lavish treatment. This career spanning collection gives you pretty much all of the tracks that you would want from this queen of Rhythm & Blues. For those of you who think that Etta James was only good to a certain point in the 1960s, you have a lot of proof of her greatness on these disks, for while her greatest material fills up the first two CDs here, there are excellent songs throughout all four disks of this set; after all, Etta James is still making good music to this day. From The Wallflower (aka Roll With Me Henry,) and Good Rockin' Daddy, to The Pick Up/ Don't Stop The Wedding/ Pushover/ Tell Mama, and her duet with the great Sugar Pie DeSanto In The Basement, to Miss Pitiful, her cover of Alice Cooper's Only Women Bleed, I've Got Dreams To Remember, or The Sky Is Crying, you get one great song after anther. The beautiful, embossed, clothbound packaging contains extensive liner notes, great pictures, recording info etc. making for a collection that will sit proudly on your shelves and fill your house with great music. (JM)
ETTA JAMES: 842-3089 (Call My Name)/ A Lover Is Forever/ A Sunday Kind of Love/ All I Could Do Was Cry/ All the Way Down/ Almost Persuaded/ Ashes by Now*/ At Last/ Baby, What You Want Me to Do/ Breaking Point/ Crazy Feeling/ Damn Your Eyes/ Do I Make Myself Clear?/ Do Right Woman, Do Right Man/ Don't Cry Baby/ Don't Explain/ Don't Go to Strangers/ Down So Low/ Every Night (aka Baby Baby Every Night)/ Feelin' Uneasy/ Fool That I Am/ God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)/ Good Rockin' Daddy/ Higher Ground*/ How Strong Is a Woman/ I Believe I Can Fly/ I Found a Love/ I Just Want to Make Love to You/ I Prefer You/ I Wish Someone Would Care/ I'd Rather Go Blind/ I've Got Dreams to Remember/ If I Can't Have You/ If I Had Any Pride Left at All/ In the Basement, Pt. 1/ It Must Be Your Love/ It's Here for You*/ Let's Burn Down the Cornfield/ Losers Weepers, Pt. 1/ Love Letters/ Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?)/ Lovin' Arms/ Lovin' You More Every Day/ Miss Pitiful/ My Dearest Darling/ My Heart Cries/ Never My Love/ Next Door to the Blues/ On the 7th Day/ Only Time Will Tell/ Only Women Bleed/ Out of the Rain/ Pay Back/ Please Send Me Someone to Love/ Pushover/ Sail Away/ Security/ Something's Got a Hold on Me/ Spoonful/ St. Louis Blues/ Stop the Wedding/ Stormy Weather/ Strange Things Happening Every Day/ Sunshine of Love/ Take It to the Limit/ Tell Mama/ The Blues Is My Business/ The Man I Love/ The Pick Up/ The Same Rope/ The Sky Is Crying/ The Soul of a Man/ The Wallflower (aka Roll With Me Henry)/ There's Something on Your Mind/ These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)/ Tough Lover/ Trust in Me/ Two Sides (To Every Story)/ W-O-M-A-N/ Waiting for Charlie (To Come Home)/ What's Wrong&/ Whatever Gets You Through the Night/ Would It Make Any Differenceto You/ You Got It

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 signed 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

ETTA JAMES Kent CDKEND 345 Who's Blue? Rare Chess Recordings From The 60s & 70s ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 68 mins, highly recommended
Thanks to Beyonce's high profile impersonation of Etta James in the pseudo-bio pic "Cadillac Records," Etta's name means more now than it has in a long time, even if most people only know her for her definitive version of At Last. Although there are many compilations out there for novice listeners (try "Gold", Hip-O 08127 $19.98), this particular collection is for the fans: a mix of B-sides and LP tracks -- including one unissued number from 1964 - which she recorded in Chicago, Muscle Shoals, Nashville, Hollywood, and New Jersey. With the earliest songs being from 1961 and the latest from 1973, there is naturally a wide range of styles and approaches to the material-for example, the funk of Only of Fool, an LP cut from '73, or the Honey Cone-esque Take Out Some Insurance from 1970. Then there's the brassy soul in the wheelhouse of Tell Mama (Fire/ Don't Pick Me For Your Fool), the Swamp R&B of I've Been A Fool, the Jazz of It Could Happen to You, and the up-market early 60's R&B of Street of Tears. Through it all, James remains a passionate, powerhouse vocalist. (GMC)

ETTA JAMES Kent CDKEND 360 Call My Name .. With Bonus Tracks ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 68 mins, essential
Originally released in 1967, this was the first album Etta James had released (on the Chess subsidiary Cadet) that had been conceived as an organic whole rather than just a collection of random tracks. Cut at a time when James was in the middle of a sales slump, of the tracks culled from the LP as singles, only I Prefer You was anything close to a hit in February 1967. But the lack of chart action should not reflect on the quality of the music; producers Monk Higgins and Ralph Bass did an exemplary job and Etta gives it her all, especially on Have Faith in Me/ Don't Pick Me For Your Fool/ I Prefer You, and Happiness. Rounding out the CD are 12 bonus tracks Etta cut at Rick Hall's FAME Studios during 1967/68. After her first trip to Alabama, which yielded her career high classic Tell Mama, the Chess brothers sent Etta back down two more times. And the results speak for themselves: Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (gives Aretha a run for her money), I Got You Babe (wipes the floor with Sonny & Cher and reveals how good the song actually is), I Worship the Ground You Walk On, and Almost Persuaded. This is the first time the "Call My Name" LP has been issued on CD and that alone worth make this disc a must-have for EJ fans, but the addition of the bonus tracks pushes this release into essential territory. (GMC)

ETTA JAMES Kent CDKEND 361 Losers Weepers With Bonus Tracks ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
Following up their first-time-on-CD re-issue of James' 1967 album "Call My Name" (Kent 360 - $18.98u), Kent has re-issued the 1971 Cadet LP "Losers Weepers." With the exception of two tracks - Take Out Some Insurance and You're the Fool - that appeared the Etta compilation "Who's Blue" (Kent 345 - $18.98), "Losers Weepers" is presented for the first time on CD. For an album that was overlooked at the time, it holds up surprisingly well, which is all the more amazing as it was recorded at a time when Etta was at the height of her heroin dependency. Songs like I Think it's You/ Hold Back My Tears/ Look at the Rain/ Ease Away a Little Bit at a Time/I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good, and the title track (which scraped into R&B Top 30) are Etta in full flight, and listening to them one would never know that she was strung out most of the time. The bonus tracks consist of five numbers from the prior LP, 1970's "Etta James Sings Funk" - singles Tighten Up Your Own Thing and "Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing, Quick Reaction and Satisfaction, and The Sound of Love are the keepers-and assorted singles and tracks from 1972 and '73. As with the album tracks, James is in her element and never less than good, even on otherwise ordinary remakes of Tell It Like it Is and Never My Love. These two Etta James re-issues, taken with the earlier "Who's Blue" collection, are a testament to Kent's ongoing efforts to reacquaint the world with the lady's lost treasures. (GMC)

MARV JOHNSON Kent CDTOP 351 I'll Pick A Rose For My Rose - Complete Motown Recordin ● CD $21.98
26 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended
When the average person thinks of Motown recordings, names like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, and Diana Ross (& the Supremes) usually come to mind. And even if the music knowledge goes further than those five names, it's doubtful that anyone beyond music historians and fanatics are gonna think of Marv Johnson. Which is too bad, as Johnson was one of those artists-like the Contours, Barrett Strong, and the Satintones-upon whom Tamla/Motown built its' early reputation before they started having hits with the Miracles, the Marvelettes, and Mary Wells. Johnson was the first artist signed to Tamla, but his early hits Come to Me/ You've Got What it Takes, and I Love the Way You Love were all issued by United Artists when Tamla couldn't provide national record distribution. And that's also why this CD picks up Johnson's saga in 1964, when United Artists dropped his contract and he went back to Motown proper. By the time these tracks were cut, Johnson's days a major hit maker were over (which is why UA dropped him), but there's some interesting material here, including the first-time-on-CD, UK-only "I'll Pick a Rose For My Rose" (1969) LP. Many of these tracks languished in the vaults until either they were resurrected on the Cellarful of Motown CDs or compiled here for the first time. If I'm honest, I think the reason Johnson stopped scoring hits on Motown is because he didn't get the first tier songs and production that, say, Marvin Gaye got-by which I mean that these songs lack some of the oomph the greatest Motown tunes. But even mid-60's B-grade Motown is better than a lot of R&B from the same period, and fans will find a lot to savor in songs like Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues/ You Got the Love I Love, and There Goes a Lonely Man, a previously unreleased track that I think had a better chance of being a hit than the songs that did make it as singles. Marv Johnson coulda been a contender if he'd been handled differently, but, regardless, his legacy holds up pretty well today. (GMC)

JIMMY JONES Jasmine 172 Good Times With The Handy Man ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 43 tracks, 113 mins, highly recommended
The golden voiced Jimmy Jones is given his proper respect on this fantastic two disk retrospective. Jones' soaring Falsetto vocals on his huge hit Handy Man, will probably be fondly remembered by most of you. This collection shows the many sides of the man, solo, as well as with such fantastic vocal outfits as The Sparks Of Rhythm, Pretenders, and Savoys. The vocal group recordings are, all in all, excellent. The earliest also feature the excellent bass singing by Andrew Barksdale, who actually takes the lead on a version of Handy Man that is outstanding, a totally different approach that I absolutely loved. Also included are many previously unissued tracks, Jones' other big Solo hit Good Timing, smaller hits I Just Go For You/ That's When I Cried, and Ready For Love, as well as plenty of other great singles and album tracks from 1955 to 1960. (JM)
JIMMY JONES: A Wondrous Place/ Ee-I-Ee-I-Oh (Old Mcdonald)/ For You/ Good Timin'/ Handy Man/ I Just Go For You/ Itchin'/ My Precious Angel/ Never Had It So Good/ Ready For Love/ That's When I Cried/ The Search Is Over/ Then I'll Know/ Too Long Will Be Too Late/ Whenever You Need Me/ Where In The World/ You For Me For Love/ THE JONES BOYS: Heaven In Your Eyes/ The Whistlin' Man/ THE PRETENDERS: Blue And Lonely/ Close Your Eyes/ Daddy Needs Baby/ I've Got To Have You Baby/ Love You So/ Lover (Version 1)/ Lover (Version 2)/ Part Time Sweetheart/ Plain Old Love/ Possessive Love/ The Bells Are Ringing (Version 1)/ The Bells Are Ringing (Version 2)/ Tonight/ THE SAVOYS: Say You're Mine/ We Made A Vow/ With All My Heart/ You/ THE SPARKS OF RHYTHM: Cry On My Shoulder/ Don't Love You Any More/ Everybody Rock And Go/ Handy Man/ Hurry Home/ Somewhere/ Stars In The Sky/ Woman Woman Woman

ERNIE K.DOE Charly SNAXCD 634 Here Come The Girls: A History, 1960-1970 ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 49 tracks, very highly recommended
Another terrific deluxe package of New Orleans R&B from Charly this time devoted to Ernie K.Doe. Although he only had one hit with the great Mother In Law there was much more to Ernie. The first disc and half the second features 39 tracks recorded for Minit, Instant and Sansu recorded between 1959 and 1963 (some originally unissued) produced by Allen Toussaint who plays on the sessions and wrote about half the songs (many of the others were written by Ernie himself). Accompaniment is from such New Orleans greats as e Robert Parker, Lee Allen, Roy Montrell and others. Ernie was an all-round singer/ entertainer who was comfortable singing ballads, dance tunes, swamp pop and 50's style R&B, turning out fine versions in every style. He had an amazing voice and charming New Orleans phrasing that should have garnered him much more success than it did. Other great songs include T'Ain't It The Truth/ Wanted - $10,000 Reward/ A Certain Girl (later covered by Warren Zevon)/ Come On Home/ Get Out Of Ny House/ Stoop Down and others. In 1970, after a hiatus Ernie returned to recording with the album "Here Come The Girls" which comprises the last ten tracks of this set Produced by Allen Toussaint, who also wrote 8 of the tracks, this was a serious attempt to rev up K-Doe's career and update his style with a more contemporary soul feel with occasional funk elements but still distinctivly New Orleans in feel. No cheesy re-makes on this album and in 2007 the title song was used in a U.K. TV ad which resulted in reissue of the album. Many will recognize the great bluesy track Whoever Is Thrilling You (Is Killing Me,) which would be a hit for Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan) a few years later. Other fine sides include Back Street Lover/ I'm Only Human and the lovely soul ballad A LOng Way Back Home. Fine sound and and the handsome packaging in a small hard cover book includes a fully illustrated booklet with informative notes by Bob Fisher. (FS)
ERNIE K.DOE: (I Can't Believe) She Gave It All To Me/ A Certain Girl/ A Long Way Back Home/ A Place We Can Be Free/ Baby, Since I Met You/ Back Street Lover/ Be Sweet/ Beating Like A Tom Tom/ Come On Home/ Easier Said Than Done/ Fly Away With Me/ Get Out Of My House/ Heebie Jeebies/ Hello My Lover/ Here Come The Girls/ Hey, Hey, Hey/ Hotcha Mama/ Hurry Up And Know It/ I Cried My Last Tear/ I Got To Find Somebody/ I Love You The Best/ I'm Only Human/ I'm The Boss/ Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye/ Lawdy Mama/ Let Me Love You (Previously Unissued)/ Lonelyology (For Your Love)/ Loving You/ Make You Love Me/ Mother In Law/ Penny Worth Of Happiness/ Popeye Joe/ Real Man/ Reaping What I Sow/ Rub Dub A Dub/ She's Waiting/ So Good (Previously Unissued)/ Stoop Down/ Sufferin' So/ Tain't It The Truth/ Talkin' Bout This Woman/ Talking Out Of My Head/ Te Ta Te Ta Ta/ The Fight (Grandma And Grandpa)/ There's A Will There's A Way/ Waiting At The Station/ Wanted - $10,000 Reward/ Whoever Is Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)/ You Got To Love Me

DARLENE LOVE Legacy/ Spector 61290 The Very Best Of Darlene Love ● CD $11.98
17 tracks, 48 mins, essential
I know that when Darlene Love was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame recently, there were people who either didn't know who she was, or didn't think that her career warranted the honor. Those people are wrong, of course, not their fault necessarily, since there are really only a couple of big songs that are credited to her name. Realistically, if you put together a compilation of all the songs that Love sang on, whether as lead or backup singer, you would need one of those big 8-10 CD Bear Family box sets. This single CD collection, gathers up the biggest and best tracks that Darlene Love sang lead on. It includes (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry/ Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home/ Run Run Runaway, and A Fine, Fine Boy, and more under her own name. Then Love singing lead on such classics as He's A Rebel/ He's Sure The Boy I Love, by the Crystals, Why Do Lovers Beak Each Others Hearts? and Not Too Young To Get Married by Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans, That's When The Tears Start, and Good Good Lovin' by The Blossoms. Quite a selection and that is just the bigger songs, there a handful of lesser known tracks here that are just about as good as the hits. Certainly Darlene Love is one of the great singers in the Rock & Roll era and this collection, not only proves that, but is also an essential addition to your collection. All tracks remastered from original master tapes. (JM)

BARBARA LYNN Kent CDKEND 362 A Good Woman - Complete Tribe & Jet Stream Singles ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
Barbara Lynn was a rarity in early sixties R&B: she wrote and sang her own songs and played guitar (left handed, like Hendrix). Under the guidance of mentor, producer and Texas music legend - the infamous Huey Meaux, Lynn scored big in 1962 with You'll Lose a Good Thing. That hit, and many others, was issued through Jamie Records who had a distribution deal with Meaux; when the Jamie deal expired in 1965, Meaux continued releasing Lynn's records through his own local labels Tribe and Jet Stream. It is these post Jamie singles that are compiled on this CD for the first time; the lack of hit action on sides as good as I'm a Good Woman/ Running Back, and You Left the Water Running, has to attributed to the limited distribution of the Tribe label because these songs are as sophisticated as anything Dionne Warwick was putting out at the same time. And her touch with other peoples' material-the bluesy version of Joe Tex's Watch the One (That Brings the Bad News), Penn/Hall's You Left the Water Running - was as deft as on her own. There was a late 60's/early 70's stint with Atlantic from which the sublime (Until Then) I'll Suffer and the funky You Better Quit It date from, and they prove that Lynn was able to adapt to the changing times without missing a beat. Even her Disco era tracks are good. All soul fans should give this CD a listen. (GMC)

JOHNNY MAESTRO & THE CRESTS & BROOKLYN BRIDGE Black Tulip 2635408 The Best Of Johnny Maestro ● CD $17.98
29 tracks, 76 min., highly recommended
Excellent one-disc overview of the late-Maestro's career, offering 24 Crests cuts and closing with five of his better 1960s outings with The Brooklyn Bridge. Two of the Joyce Records sides are collected here (Sweetest One and My Juanita, Joyce 103), but missing are No One To Love and Wish She Was Mine, Joyce 105, from 1957, but then again most collections don't have any of those early sides. The generous helping of the more popular and generally superior Coed material includes The Angels Listened In, Six Nights A Week, Step By Step, I Thank The Moon, Trouble In Paradise, I Do, and of course Sixteen Candle, to name a few. The Brooklyn Bridge sides (The Worst That Could Happen, Blessed Is The Rain, Welcome Me Love, Your Husband, My Wife, You'll Never Walk Alone) confirm that Maestro was indeed a huge talent, as if that needed confirming. No notes but a generous running time. (JC)

THE MAGNIFICENT MEN Black Tulip 6772775 The Magnificent Men ● CD $17.98
26 tracks, 72 min., highly recommended
Sure, their brand of 1960s blue-eyed soul can occasionally sound a bit tame, but just when you are ready to declare them talented without being creative, right when you think you might just as well go listen to old Tom Jones records, they turn out a piece of soul candy you could rot your teeth on. These Pennsylvania sons are as good as they are obscure, and this release offers 8 more tracks that the Collectables CD. (JC)

THE MARCELS Black Tulip 2636426 Blue Moon ● CD $17.98
30 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
The Marcels came in towards the end of the Doo Wop era and ended up producing one of its all-time greats--possibly the last really great Doo Wop song--the amazing, dynamic rendition of Blue Moon - featuring the amazing vocal pyrotechnics of bass singer Fred Johnson. Some Doo-wop purist don't care so much for their acrobatic approach, but we have always loved it. Since their first hit right out of the gate was a cover of a standard, the Marcels and their handlers tended to mine the classics for possible further gold; consequently, you get their personal stamp on Tin Pan Alley favorites like Summertime/ Over the Rainbow/ You Are My Sunshine, and their fabulous, dynamic, Heartaches, which features an even more over the top approach. But The Marcels were more than a one trick pony - they were an excellent all round doo-wop group featuring the expressive lead of Cornelius Harp. In addition to standards they also did fine covers of doo wop classics like Sweet Was The Wine/ Peace Of Mind and Sunday Kind Of Love as well as songs written for them. Although there have been a number of Marcels reissues this disc features some of their lesser known but fine 70s recordings that haven't been on CD before. (FS)
THE MARCELS: A Fallen Tear/ A Sunday Kind Of Love/ Allright, OK, You Win/ Blue Heartaches/ Blue Moon/ Crazy Bells/ Find Another Fool/ Flowerpot/ Friendly Loans/ Goodbye To Love/ HIgh On A Hill/ Heartaches/ Hold On/ I Want To Be The Leader/ I'll Be Forever Loving You/ In The Still Of The NIght/ Lollipop Baby/ Love Her The Whole Week Through/ Most Of All/ My Love For You/ My Melancholy Baby/ Over The Rainbow/ Peace Of Mind/ Summertime/ Sweet Was The Wine/ Teeter Totter Love/ That Old Black Magic/ Twistin' Fever/ Two People In The World/ You Are My Sunshine

BOBBY MARCHAN Kent CDKEND 357 Get Down With It - The Soul Sides, 1963-67 ● CD $18.98
28 tracks, 75 mins, very highly recommended
This collection was a great surprise to me, full of one fantastic track after another. Bobby Marchan was most famous as the lead singer of Huey Piano Smith's Clowns, certainly Rhythm & Blues at its finest. This collection shows you how much more there was to Marchan than his classic R&B sides. On this you get heart soaring Gospel, Blues, and especially big doses of sweet Soul music. This collection gathers up Marchan's recordings from the 1960s for the Cameo, Dial, and Volt record labels, including many previously unreleased and alternate versions, most of which are making their first appearance ever on CD. Great tracks recorded at legendary Stax, Fame, and American studios like Meet Me In Church/ Funny Style/ Everything A Poor Man Needs/ I Gotta Sit Down And Cry, plus many more. Even includes a funky version of Rockin' Pneumonia that is pure Southern Soul at its best. I can't see any fans of classic Soul music not loving this collection. Includes extensive notes, original label reproductions, photos, etc. (JM)

BIG JAY MCNEELY JSP JSPCD 4225 King Of The Honkin' Sax, 1948-1954 ● CD $24.98
Two CDs, 58 tracks, highly recommended
The late 40s and early 50s were the heyday of the sax honkers and at the top was of the heap was the great Cecil "Big Jay" McNeely thanks to his rich and expressive tone on tenor and baritone sax, his great sense of improvisation rooted in bebop, his hard driving bands and his flamboyant stage act. Big Jay (who was still performing a couple of years ago at the age of 83!) is featured here on almost all his recordings made between 1948 and 1954 including several alternate takes. Most of the sides here find him in the company of his brother Bob on baritone sax as well as other top musicians like trumpeter John Anderson, trombonist John "Streamline" Ewing, Leonard "Tight" Hardiman on drums and other with the personnel changing over the years. It includes his 1949 chart topper Deacon's Hop and his other 1949 hit Wild Wig along with other great stormers like Deacon's Groove/ Willie The Cool Cat/ Gingercake/ Let's Split/ Jay Walk/ Deacon's Express and more. Most of the tracks are instrumental but there are also a couple of bluesy vocals from Clifford Blivens and Ted SHirley, some doo-wop flavored titles from Jesse Belvin with Three Dots & A Dash and The Platters shout out the title on Nervous Man Nervous (not Rock Candy as listed in the discography). Great music with superb sound, informative notes by Neil Slaven and full discographical info. (FS)
BIG JAY MCNEELY: All Brown Woman/ All That Wine Is Gone/ Artie's Jump/ Beach Comber/ Big Jay Shuffle/ Blow Big Jay/ Blow Blow Blow/ Boogie In Front/ California Hop/ Cherry Smash/ Deacon Blows For Ray/ Deacon Rides Again/ Deacon's Blowout/ Deacon's Express/ Deacon's Groove (Cool Blood)/ Deacon's Hop, The/ Don't Cry Baby/ Ginger Cake/ Goof, The/ Hard Tack/ Hoppin' With Hunter/ Hot Cinders/ I'll Never Love Again/ Ice Water/ Insect Ball/ Jay Walk/ Jay's Frantic/ Jet Fury/ Junie Flip/ Just Crazy/ K And H Boogie/ Let's Do It (Deacon's Hop)/ Let's Split/ Let's Work/ Love From The Heart (True Love)/ Man Eater/ Midnight Dreams/ Mule Milk/ Nervous Man Nervous/ Night Ride/ Old Black Mule/ Penthouse Serenade/ Real Crazy Cool/ Roadhouse Boogie/ Rock Candy (take 1)/ Rock Candy (take 2)/ Sad Story/ She Don't Work/ Strip Tease Swing/ Sunday Dinner/ Texas Turkey (take 1)/ Texas Turkey (take 2)/ Third Dimension (3D) (take 2)/ Third Dimension (3D) (take 3)/ Tondelayo/ Whipped Cream/ Wild Wig/ Willie The Cool Cat

THE METERS Charly SNAXCD 627 Here Comes The Meter Man - The Complete Josie Recording ● CD $18.98
2 CDs, 50 tracks, 139 mins, essential
This is exactly what you want in a Meters collection, especially if you don't have much of their stuff, or you are looking to retire your old vinyl. This set features the Meters' first three albums in their entirety: "The Meters" (1968,) "Look-Ka Py Py" (1970,) "Struttin'" (1970,) along with the singles tracks, and tracks done as Art Neville & The Meters (1968A) - 4 tracks, and as Cyril Neville & The Meters (1970) - 2 tracks. All tracks recorded in New Orleans and released on the New York label Josie records. Although the Meters would put out a handful of great records afterward, these Josie recordings are still considered by many to be the band's best work. There's certainly not a bum note to be found, and you get such classics as Cissy Strut/ Live Wire/ Sophisticated Cissy/ Look-Ka Py-Py/ The Mob/ 9 Til' 5/ Ride Your Pony/ Chicken Strut/ Britches, and many more classics. Music doesn't get much better than this, and if you don't have these classic recordings, you most definitely should. (JM)
THE METERS: (The World Is A Little Bit Under The Weather)/ 6V6 La/ 9 'Til 5/ Ann/ Art/ Bo Diddley, Pt. 1/ Bo Diddley, Pt. 2/ Britches/ Cardova/ Chicken Strut/ Cissy Strut/ Darlin' Darlin'/ Dry Spell/ Ease Back/ Funky Miracle/ Go For Yourself/ Good Old Funky Music/ Gossip/ Groovy Lady/ Hand Clapping Song/ Heartaches/ Here Comes The Meter Man/ Hey Last Minute/ I Need More Time/ I'm Gonna Put Some Hurt On You/ Joog/ Little Old Money Maker/ Live Wire/ Liver Splash/ Look-Ka Py-Py/ Message From The Meters/ Oh Calcutta!/ Pungee/ Ride Your Pony/ Rigor Mortis/ Same Old Thing/ Sassy Lady/ Sehorn's Farm/ Sing A Simple Song/ Sophisticated Cissy/ Stormy/ Stretch Your Rubber Band/ Tell Me What's On Your Mind/ The Mob/ Thinking/ This Is My Last Affair/ Tippi-Toes/ Wichita Lineman/ Yeah You're Right/ Zony Mash

THE MINITS Kent CDKENM 343 Follow Your Heart - The Sound Of Memphis Recordings ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 39 mins, highly recommended
For some time now, Kent has been releasing tracks from Southern record label Sounds of Memphis in a three volume series ("Can't Be Satisfied"- Kent 283; "Play the Game" - Kent 298; "Steppin' Stone" - Kent 339, all $18.98), as well as individual CDs from the label's first tier artists, The Ovations and Barbara & the Browns. Now someone at Kent has decided that female trio the Minits rates their own compilation, which wasn't a terrible idea. Comprised of Mary Anderson and sisters Mary Ann and Carolyn Watkins, the Minits only had three singles released, but what singles they were: Follow Your Heart/ Lover Boy (with the dance floor cult classic Still a Part of Me on the flip), and Take a Look at Yourself. The early 70's weren't exactly lacking in female R&B performers or groups-and it didn't help that the Minits had a more than passing resemblance to another R&B female trio, the Honey Cone-which probably explains why these singles didn't find an audience in their time. But Lover Boy and Follow Your Heart are as good as sweet soul got in 1971/72, and should have been massive on the R&B charts. Even the B-Sides were of extremely high quality: witness the gospel inflected Last Mile of the Way. These singles are highly prized on the R&B collector's market, and to have them here and not have to pay collector's prices is a plus indeed. This CD includes four tracks that previously appeared on the Sounds of Memphis label collections, the best of which are Natural Reaction and Stepping Stone, as well as the provocatively titled If You Don't Like My Apples (Don't Shake My Tree) and a fine previously unissued alternate take of Love Letters. Although the girls had a brief shelf life, this collection bears witness to what could have been if the whims of fortune had smiled on them. And although this is shorter than most Kent collections, it doesn't make it any less worth your time and the lower price helps too. (GMC)

THE MOONGLOWS Jasmine 591 Most Of All - The Singles As & Bs ● CD $15.98
Two CDs, 57 tracks, very highly recommended
Another fabulous collection of doo-wop from Jasmine, this time devoted to the superb Chicago group, The Moonglows. Initially formed in 1952 as The Crazy Sounds they featured the gorgeous lead vocals of Bobby Lester with Pete Graves (tenor), Harvey Fuqua (baritone) and Prentiss Barnes (bass). Alan Freed took over managing them and changed their name to The Moonglows and they made their first recording for Freed's Champagne label in 1952 and this great set features both sides of all their singles from this first 1952 release through their magnificent rendition of Blue Velvet, issued in 1960 but from a 1956 session. Their early sides all feature the rich expressive lead of Lester who is featured on such classic performances as Sincerely/ Most Of All/ We Go Together/ See Saw and When I'm With You. By 1957 Lester's personal problems were hurting the group and Fuqua (who has also written many of the group's songs) took over the lead and was features on their last two 50s hits - a sublime rendition of Percy Mayfield's Please Send Me Someone To Love and their all time favorite Ten Commandments Of Love. After this the group split up and Fuqua formed a new version of the Moonglows which included a young Marvin Gaye who is featured on his first ever lead vocal on the catchy Mama Loocie. In 1960 they recorded a couple of songs that was more in the novelty vein of the Coasters and Cadillacs that was good enough but not in the same league as their earlier recordings or the groups they were trying to emulate. Although they didn't have as many hits as some of their contemporaries, The Moonglows are revered because of the quality of their recordings, be it a ballad or R&B rocker. Excellent sound and informative notes by Bob Fisher. (FS)

AARON NEVILLE Charly SNAXCD 632 Hercules - The Minit And Sansu Sessions, 1960-1977 ● CD $18.98
2CD, 47 tracks, very highly recommended
Hot on the heels of similar sets covering Allen Toussaint (Charly 624 - $18.98) and Lee Dorsey (Charly 628 - $18.98) comes this collection from one of New Orleans greatest singers, Aaron Neville. One of the few collections to cover Neville's early career with any depth, Disc one consists of all Aaron's released recordings for local N.O. labels Minit, Instant and Bandy - all owned by local entrepreneur Joe Banashak - cut between 1960 and 1961 and produced by Toussaint, along with eight alternate takes. Highlights from this phase include Every Day/ Reality (Even Though)/ Don't Cry, and Over You. Sansu Enterprises was the production company Toussaint formed with Marshall Sehorn and it was through this avenue that the tracks on Disc Two were released roughly between 1969 and 1977, the year The Neville Brothers formed. The first 13 Sansu tracks are the A & B sides of singles placed with major labels, including Bell, Mercury, and Island. Again produced by Toussaint, the keepers on Disc Two include You Can Give, But You Can't Take/ Where is My Baby/ All These Things/ Baby, I'm a Want You (yes, the Bread song), Mojo Hannah, and Hercules. As for the Sansu "bonus tracks", Struttin' On Sunday/ Make Me Strong, and For the Good Times are the standouts. As a showcase for the hard-to-find earlier work of a singer as great as this one, this compilation is hard to beat. (GMC)

JOHNNY OTIS Ace CDCHD 1312 The Johnny Otis Story, Vol. 1 : 1945-57 ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, 69 mins, highly recommended
With more than a few collections available for the choosing-including four or five other ones on Ace-the thought of yet another Johnny Otis collection makes the eyes roll. And yet, from its eye-catching cover to the exquisitely detailed liner notes, this latest release from Ace makes a convincing case for just one more compilation dedicated to exposing a new generation to R&B/Blues legend Otis. Although this CD seems geared toward converting those listeners still unconvinced or on the fence regarding Otis' status as West Coast rhythm & blues lynchpin (according to the liner notes, "the aim.is to provide a balanced overview of Johnny's active musical career."), there's tidbits for the hardcore fans as well. For the newbies there's key songs like Double Crossing Blues (with Little Esther on vocals), Midnight in the Barrelhouse, Hey Hey Hey Hey, the Otis produced Hound Dog by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, and Willie and the Hand Jive; for the collectors, there's a brace of previously unissued instrumentals recorded for Peacock in the early 50's. As a salute to a true renaissance man-a writer, producer, bandleader, singer, and talent scout-The Johnny Otis Story, Vol. 1 does the job. (GMC)
*=previously unissued JOHNNY OTIS AND HIS ORCHESTRA: Cattle Train*/ Johnny Otis Signature/ Miss Mitchell*/ Oopy-Doo/ Robey's Bounce*/ JOHNNY OTIS AND ORCHESTRA: Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!/ Like Shortnin' Bread*/ Tough Enough/ JOHNNY OTIS CONGREGATION: Wedding Boogie/ JOHNNY OTIS ORCHESTRA: Boogie Guitar/ Good Old Blues/ Midnight In The Barrelhouse/ Rock Me Baby/ The Midnite Creeper Part 1/ The Midnite Creeper Part 2/ The Turkey Hop Part 2/ JOHNNY OTIS QUINTETTE WITH THE ROBINS AND LITTL: Double Crossing Blues/ THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW: Bye Bye Baby/ Ma (He's Making Eyes At Me)/ Shake It Lucy Baby/ Willie And The Hand Jive/ JOHNNY OTIS, HIS DRUMS AND ORCHESTRA: Harlem Nocturne/ THE ROYALS: Every Beat Of My Heart/ THE SHEIKS: So Fine/ BIG MAMA THORNTON: Hound Dog

THE PENGUINS Jasmine 176 Earth Angel - The Cool Sounds Of West Coast Doo Wop ● CD $15.98
Two CDs, 40 tracks, 103 mins, very highly recommended
Although The Penguins original recording of the Earth Angel is among the most popular doo-wop songs of all time they were never able to repeat their success with only one other title briefly appearing in the R&B charts. The L.A. group featuring the superb lead vocals of Cleve Duncan signed to Dootsie Williams' Dootone label in 1954 and their second release was the uptempo Hey Senorita backed with Earth Angel. Williams pushed the up-tempo side but DJ Dick "Huggy Boy" Hugg started playing the flip and the disc took off reaching #1 in the R&B charts and #8 in the pop charts. The first half of the first disc features all their Dootone singles from 1954 and '55 including the bluesy Kiss A Fool Goodbye, the lovely Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild with pretty backbeat piano. With subsequent lack of success their manager Buck Ram got them a contract with Mercury where they cut many fine sides over the next couple of years including remakes of Dooto songs including a remake of Earth Angel which is very close to the original but includes an intrusive glockenspiel! After one release on Atlantic in 1957 - the minor hit Pledge Of Love the group returned to Dooto who released three singles and the LP The Cool Cool Penguins. In spite of the quality of these sides that elusive hit never materialized and the group effectively split up in 1959. All these recordings are here in excellent sound and with informative notes by Bob Fisher. Another invaluable release from Jasmine who have being doing such a fine job documenting the music of some of the greatest doo-wop groups. (FS)
THE PENGUINS: A Christmas Prayer/ Baby Let's Make Some Love/ Be Mine Or Be A Fool/ Be My Loving Baby/ Butterball/ Cold Heart/ Cool Baby Cool/ Dealer Of Dreams/ Devil That I See/ Do Not Pretend/ Don't Do It/ Earth Angel (1955)/ Earth Angel (1956)/ Heart Of A Fool/ Hey Senorita/ I Ain't Gonna Cry No More/ I Knew I'd Fall In Love/ Ice/ If You're Mine/ It Only Happens With You/ Jingle Jangle/ Kiss A Fool Goodbye/ Let Me Make Up Your Mind/ Love Will Make Your Mind Go Wild/ Lover Or Fool/ Money Talks/ My Troubles Are Not At An End/ No There Ain't No News Today/ Ookey Ook/ Peace Of Mind/ Pledge Of Love/ Promises Promises Promises/ She's Gone Gone/ Sweet Love/ That's How Much I Need You/ The Sound Of Your Voice/ Walkin' Down Broadway/ Want Me/ Will You Be Mine/ You're An Angel

ESTHER PHILLIPS Epic (Europe) 505163 What A Diff'rence A Day Makes ● CD $10.98
9 tracks, 38 mins, highly recommended
Straight re-issue (except for one bonus track, the 45rpm version of the title track) of Esther's landmark 1975 album that yielded her last big hit, the title track. The uninformed could write this album off as an early Disco cash-in, except for the fact that the musicians involved are all highly qualified and well known Jazz players (which makes sense since CTI was a prominent Jazz label at the time), which lifts the musical level of craftsmanship to well above average for almost any Disco release of the era, and the fact that not all the songs are Disco. With guitarist Joe Beck arranging and leading the band (featuring names like Steve Kahn, Eric Weisberg, Don Grolnick, Will Lee, David Sanborn, and Michael Brecker), the arrangements are sophisticated and rock without the usual monotony that many R&B albums fell into as the Seventies progressed. And then there's Esther herself; she gives it her all on Gamble & Huff's One Night Affair/ I Can Stand a Little Rain/ Mister Magic, and Oh Papa. This album may be short and sweet, but until a better (read: more bonus tracks) version comes along, this set remains an essential purchase for Esther Phillips fans. (GMC)

ESTHER PHILLIPS Soulmusic.com 5006 You've Come A Long Way Baby/ All About Esther Phillips ● CD $19.98
17 tracks, 79 mins, recommended
Esther Phillips was a misunderstood R&B original that, despite periods of success-notably in the early 50's and mid 70's-is barely remembered today. These two albums were recorded for Mercury Records in 1977 and 1978, respectively, and are appearing on CD for the first time. In addition, these albums represent Esther finally achieving creative control over her recordings; the result is a mix between the pedestrian disco of "Love Addict", "Unselfish Love" and "You Think of Him (You Think of Her)", the blues of "You've Been a Good Ole Wagon", and the balladry of "Somewhere Along the Line" and "There You Go Again/Stormy Weather". But the keeper is a smoldering version of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" wherein Esther struts her inimitable stuff (honorable mention: "If I Fall in Love By Morning"). Phillips gets props for not completely bowing to the disco gods (which many R&B acts did in the late 70's) and making some interesting song choices, but this CD is more or less for dedicated fans. (GMC)

ESTHER PHILLIPS Soulmusic.com 5007 Here's Esther, Are You Ready/ Good Black Is Hard To Cra ● CD $19.98
17 tracks, 77 min., highly recommended
Imagine the the classic sound of 1970s Philly soul behind Lula Reed, but not really. Phillips doesn't sound like anyone but herself, and yet no one was more versatile than she. After leaving Kudu Records in 1977, Phillips signed with Mercury. This twofer CD of her third and fourth Mercury LPs "Here's Esther.Are You Ready" (1979) and "Good Black Is Hard To Crack" (1981) - is much better than either of the titles or their album covers would lead one to believe. (For a singer with such a lengthy career, Phillips' records rarely disappointed.) Both are a little funky and a touch disco-fied from time to time, but mostly this is solid soul with few of the excesses that often drown soul of that era. The song selection is all over the map, from Loleatta Holloway's Cry To Me to Willie Nelson's classic Crazy, both of which Phillips does justice to. Can't say her version of Elton John's Philadelphia Freedom gets the blood moving, but then neither does his. But Love Makes A Woman/ Bedtime Stories, and We've Got A Good Thing Going are required listening for soul fans. Informative booklet notes, with original LP art and such. Not likely to be available forever. (JC)

WILSON PICKETT Rhino Handmade 7753 Funky Midnight Mover - The Atlantic Studio Recordings ● CD $104.98
The first comprehensive compilation of Pickett's Atlantic material, "Funky Midnight Mover" includes all his originally issued recordings for the label, as well as early pre-Atlantic sides with the Falcons and his recordings for Verve and Double L, his 1978 album for the Atlantic-distributed Big Tree imprint, and a full CD's worth of rare or previously unreleased recordings. The six CD set's 154 tracks encompass all 35 of the singer's R&B smashes - including five #1 hits - from In The Midnight Hour, his first hit for Atlantic Records, to 1973's International Playboy, his last chart entry for the label. The sixth CD features 18 tracks - all but three previously unreleased songs or alternate takes. The earliest unreleased track, an undubbed alternate of Hello Sunshine, dates from the 1967 American sessions for the album "I'm In Love" and prominently features Bobby Womack's lead guitar. The collection concludes with Superstar, a full-blown disco track from 1978 unearthed in the vaults during research for this set. The set, presented in an elaborate 92-page, linen-wrapped book with many rare and unseen photos, also features comprehensive liner notes, including intros by Jerry Wexler and Steve Cropper, an essay by Chris Morris, and an extensive track-by-track by Bill Dahl. Since the Rhino Handmade series are limited editions that often sell out quickly grab it while you can.

THE PRISONAIRES & MARIGOLDS Bear Family BCD 16893 Only Believe ● CD $21.98
28 tracks, 77 mins, essential
I have long shouted the praises of the Prisonaires and their leader Johnny Bragg, truly one of the great-underrated artists of the last 100 years. Mostly known for being the group of actual prisoners that recorded on of the early records released on Sun Records, but they should be celebrated for so much more than that. That great first record Just Walkin' In The Rain a modest hit for them and a bigger hit for Johnny Ray, is here in a live recording that, with 11 other songs is being released for the first time ever now. These live recordings, taken from various concerts given at the Tennessee State Penitentiary, feature other beautiful ballads as well Prisoners Prayer, and Gentle Hands, as well as some lively versions of Bony Marone, and Caldonia. Also featured here are a half-dozen Prisonaires recordings taken from unissued Sun masters, making their first appearance here. Then a handful of tracks each for different incarnations that Johnny Bragg and company recorded under: the Marigolds and The Solotones. These other 1950's recordings have been released a couple of times, but are fantastic and help fill out the story. The Marigolds' Rollin' Stone should have also been a big hit, it's one of my favorite Vocal group recording ever. All of this great material is accompanied by beautiful packaging and extensive liner notes, making for probably the finest release yet done for the Prisonaires. (JM)

WARDELL QUEZERQUE Funky Delicacies 2CD 0038 Sixty Smokin' Soul Senders ● CD $17.98
2 CDs, 60 tracks, 2 hours, 38 min., highly recommended
Back in stock. After Allen Toussaint, Wardell Quezerque tops the list of great New Orleans soul producers during the 1960's (and beyond). These sixty Quezerque-produced and/or -arranged soul sides offer diversity (funk, doo-wop, girl group, ballads, up-tempo) and rarity (see the Jades Lucky Fellow b/w And Now), and obscurity (George Woods, Lydia Marcelle). The songs come from a variety of labels, including Nola, Atco, Mode, Hot Line, Axe, A.B.S., Shagg, Whurley Burley, and others. And while connoisseurs of rare soul will probably not be put off by the fact that this CD was made from vinyl sources (with the limitations inherent therein), they may be excused from wondering why the compilers couldn't find a better copy of a 45 or two. Specifically, Guitar Ray's Ball & Chain is a challenge to enjoy, thanks to a recurring collection of clicks and surface noise. And Denny Fox's It's You For Me sounds as if someone was randomly twisting the volume knob during recording--perhaps a result of a severely warped piece of wax. Difficult to explain their inclusion, given the circumstances. Still, that leaves 58 songs worth hearing, including such rewarding offerings as The Bates Sisters' So Broken Hearted, who sound like they walked out of a Tamla session in Detroit; The Medallions' You Are Irresistable, a nice slice of late doo-wop; Vickie Labat's When You're In Love and Got To Keep Hanging On; Earl King's Poor Sam; C.L. Blast's I'm In A Daze, and more . Other artists represented include June Gardner, Al Reed, Curley Moore, Marie Boubarere, Klickly Robinson, Raymond Parker, Senator Jones, Edward Jones, Yvonne Wise, Eddie Bo, Billy Tircuit, Sammy Ridgley, The Fabulettes, Elliot Small, Jerry Foucha, Warren Lee, and others. A nice retrospective of Mr. Q's 1960s material and well worth picking up. (JC)

OTIS REDDING Stax 32046 Live On The Sunset Strip ● CD $18.98
2 CDs, 28 tracks, 2 hours 11 min., essential
Everything Otis Redding recorded is requited listening for fans of soul music. This set offers more of the Whisky A Go Go tapes from April 9-10, 1966, than were initially released. Disc one covers "Show 2, Set 3" and the first part of "Show 3, Set 1," while disc 2 is dedicated to the rest of "Show 3, Set 1" and "Show 3, Set 2." And even though a few songs appear more than once (e.g., Satisfaction, which shows up 4 times! and These Arms Of Mine/ Respect, and I Can't Turn You Loose, which appear twice), the performances are too good to ever wish them gone. Redding, backed by his own orchestra (rather than by Booker T. & the MG's or the Bar-Kay), tears up the stage with incendiary, rocket-fueled performances, only to catch his breath on an occasional ballad. Can't think of anybody else in 1966 who could match Redding's level of passion and unregulated energy on stage. Maybe James Brown. I guess they just make them that way in Georgia. (JC)

LULA REED Titanic 6501 The Soulful Side Of Lula Reed ● CD $16.98
25 tracks, 66 mins, very highly recommended
A fantastic collection of blues, R&B and proto-soul from this superb and underrated singer. Lula's early recordings from the period 1951 through 1955 are available on Ace 984 while this covers her later recordings from 1955 through to her last recordings made for Ray Charles's Tangerine label in 1962 and '63. Lula had a couple of R&B hits in 1951 including the original version of I'll Drown In My Hits ,which was later covered with great success by Ray Charles, but never had any further hits. I think these later sides might even be better than her earlier sides with her voice having a richer and more expressive quality - at times her stylings are a little reminiscent of Irma Thomas. Many of these sides feature her in the company of the great band led by her long time associate Sonny Thompson (not her husband as originally thought). Two of her Tangerine sides find her accompanied by the superb Mike Akapoff Orch. with the rest accompanied by an unidentified band though it sound like it might be Ray Charles's Orch. with Brother Ray on piano. Returning the compliment Lula does a stellar rendition of Ray's Ain't That Love. Great music with excellent sound, brief notes and discographical info. (FS)

SAM & THE SOUL MACHINE Funky Delicacies 0039 Po'k Bones & Rice - Unreleased New Orleans Funk,1969-74 ● CD $13.98
18 tracks, 58 min., highly recommended
Available again. The first 12 tracks were recorded at Cosima Matassa's Camp Street studio in New Orleans in 1969 in a session somehow initiated by Allen Toussaint. But the IRS charged Cosimo with tax evasion and exacted their financial revenge on his studio, confiscating all his master tapes in the process because, well, they're the IRS and they don't want people listening to funky music and having a good time. Sam Henry fortunately kept a copy of the master tapes himself, otherwise this great funk album would have remained unheard. As it is the 12-pack of instrumentals features drum work from Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and cool saxing from Gary Brown. Henry's Hammond B-3 glues everything together as The Soul Machine pump through a reworking of Sly Stone's Stand, the Rascals' Beautiful Morning, a James Brown-like groove called Meditation, Mercy-D, featuring guitar sparks from a young Eugene Sinegal, and others. The remaining six tracks show off the vocal side of the Machine a little. A hidden gem from one of New Orleans finest funk bands, even if they never did break out nationally. (JC)

THE SATINTONES Ace CDLUX 002 Sing! The Complete Tamla And Motown Singles Plus ● CD $24.98
26 tracks, 69 mins, very highly recommended
We've turned up a couple of copies of the second in Ace's Limited Edition series (following their excellent Royaltones compilation, which is highly recommended if you can find it) highlights the career of Motown Record's first male group. The members of the Satintones were from the same Detroit neighborhood that spawned most of Motown's roster, and the group helped build the foundation of songwriting, recording, and marketing that other more successful acts benefited from later. From the group's first single, Motor City in 1959, the influence of the Drifters is apparent, but there's something infectious and indefinable that makes the guys worth listening to. If the idea of a doo wop group on Motown seems hard to believe, well, here's the proof in lovely tracks like My Beloved (both versions, with and without strings), which Motown's very first release in 1959; Sugar Daddy, with its echoes of the Coasters; Tomorrow and Always, a rewrite of Will You Love Me Tomorrow that was fashioned as an "answer" song, and had chart potential until the lawyers stepped in; the slow version of Angel; I Know How it Feels; and the hypnotic Faded Letter. Notable among the "plus" material (i.e. alternate versions and previously unreleased tracks) are Foot Stomping Time/ Your Sweet Love (which sounds a lot like something Marvin Gaye could have recorded), Boogie Woogie Heart, the dramatic Because I Love You, and The Feeling is So Fine. In sum, this is sterling stuff, so get it while you can because the pressing limited to 3000 copies worldwide. (GMC)

FREDDIE SLACK Fantastic Voyage 111 Down The Road A-Piece - The Defintive Boogie Woogie Collection ● CD $19.98
Two CDs, 43 tracks, highly recommended
Terrific collection of jumping jazz, R&B and hot boogie woogie featuring Wisconsin born pianist Freddie Slack. He started his career working with the Ben Pollack and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras before joining the Will Bradley Orchestra in 1939 where he really came into his own. It includes the the original version of the great Down The Road A Piece by Slack with The Will Bradley Trio - a tune which has been recorded by many musicians over the years. It includes tracks with the full Bradley Orchestra including the big hits Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar and Scrub Me Mama With A Boogie Beat. In 1941 he left Bradley to form his own group - he teamed up with teenage song sensation Ella Mae Morse and there are several tracks featuring her vocals including the big hit Cow Cow Boogie and another much covered Slack composition The House Of Blue Lights. Lots more fine sides with arrangements ranging from small groups to large orchestras - mostly instrumentals alomg with occasional vocals from Don Raye, Thelma Gracen and Freddie himself. About 20 of these tracks were on the GVC release of 18 months ago but there's enough other excellent material here to make it worthwhile and if you don't have that other release then this is indispensible. (FS)
WILL BRADLEY: Jimtown Blues/ Strange Cargo/ Beat Me, Daddy, Eight To The Bar Parts 1 and 2/ I Boogied When I Should Have Woogied/ Beat Me, Daddy, Eight To The Bar/ Down The Road A Piece/ Down The Road A Piece/ RAY MCKINLEY TRIO: Down The Road A Piece/ ELLA MAE MORSE & FREDDIE SLACK: Pig Foot Pete/ FREDDIE SLACK: A Cats Ninth Life/ After Sours/ Bashful Baby Blues/ Be-Bop Boogie/ Beat Me, Daddy, Eight To The Bar/ Beating With Chopsticks/ Behind The Eight Beat/ Beverly Boogie/ Blackout Boogie/ Boogie In G/ Boogie Minor/ Boogie Woogie On Kitten On The Keys/ Celeste Boogie/ Choppin' The Boogie/ Chopstick Boogie/ Cow Cow Boogie/ Cuban Sugar Mill/ Kitten On The Keys/ Mister Freddie's Boogie/ On The Road To Mandalin/ Pig Foot Pete/ Rhumboogie/ Rib Joint/ Riffette/ Rockin' The Boogie/ Southpaw Serenade/ St Louis Blues/ Strange Cargo/ Strange Cargo/ Is I Gotta Practise, Ma/ Pig Foot Pete/ That Place Down The Road A-Piece/ Cow Cow Boogie/ The House Of Blue Lights

THE SOLITAIRES Jasmine 180 Walking Along ● CD $15.98
Just arrived. Two CD set with 40 tracks featuring all the singles issued by this superb New York group between 1954 and 1960. Although they never had a national hit they are revered by vocal group collectors. Best known for Walking Along this set includes other great sides like Wonder Why/ Blue Valentine/ I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance/ The Wedding/ The Angels Sang and more. Includes fully detailed liner notes covering the groups entire career.
THE SOLITAIRES: At Night/ Big Mary's House/ Blue Valentine/ Chances I've Taken/ Chapel Of St.Clair/ Come Back My Love/ Don't Fall In Love/ Embraceable You/ Fine Little Girl/ Girl Of Mine/ Give Me One More Chance/ Helpless/ How Long/ I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance/ I Really Love You So (Honey Babe)/ Later For You Baby/ Light A Candle In The Chapel/ Lonely/ Lonesome Lover/ Magic Rose/ My Dear/ No More Sorrow/ Nothing Like A Little Love/ Please Kiss This Letter/ Please Remember My Heart/ Pretty Thing/ Round Goes My Heart/ Silent Grief/ South Of The Border/ Stranger In Paradise/ The Angels Sang/ The Honeymoon/ The Wedding/ Thrill Of Love/ Walkin' And Talkin'/ Walking Along/ What Did She Say/ Wonder Why/ You're Laughing Cause I'm Crying/ You've Sinned

BARBARA STANT Soulscape 7026 That Man Of Mine ● CD $19.98
16 tracks, 51 min., very highly recommended
It's the stuff soul fans dream about: an obscure but talented singer on a tiny regional label gets her own CD housing her complete recorded works. Stant recorded for the Shiptown label of Norfolk, Virginia, between 1971-77. Any one of her four singles would be tough to find, and at least two of them would likely cost a couple hundred dollars. A deep soul singer with sterling pipes, Stant watched her career go nowhere as a result of poor distribution by her label and a public who had an increasing thirst for disco. But if she was a woman out of time, such songs as My Mind Holds On To Yesterday and I'm Going To Outfit You Baby sound timeless now. Her few singles are supplemented here by a few alternate versions and some unissued work, but some of the alternate takes outstrip their more legitimate brothers. The second version of He's Still Your Man might be the best track here. Maybe the Numero Group will release a label compilation some day. Essential listening for soul fans. (JC)

CANDI STATON Kent CDKEND 353 Evidence - Complete Fame Masters ● CD $27.98
Two CDs, 48 tracks, essential
Some of the greatest Southern soul of the late 60s/ early 70s is finally available on CD in its entirety on this two CD set with 48 tracks. Candi Staton is a truly great singer with a soaring, emotion drenched voice that reveals her gospel roots - I'd put her up there with Aretha Franklin & Irma Thomas. Linking up with producer Rick Hall in 1969 she recorded a series of stunning singles over the next four years at his justifiably acclaimed Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Accompanied by some great studio musicians she recorded songs written by staff writers like George Jackson, her husband Clarence Carter, covers of country and R&B songs as well as some composed or co-composed by Candi herself. This two CD set - the first of Kent's reissues from the legendary Fame catalog includes all the tracks that were on the Honest Jon's CD of some years back along with 22 tracks that have never been on CD before - 12 of them previously unreleased including her last session from 1974 which was thought lost. Among the highlights is the stupendous I'm Just A Prisoner, one of my all time favorites with it's great Roebuck Staples style tremelo guitar from Joe South and the deliciously effective key change. Other standouts includes her first hit I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart, a great cover of the country song Stand By Your Man which changes the whole mood of the song, the powerful Evidence and a gorgeous cover of the O.V. Wright/ Otis Redding classic That's How Strong My Love Is that equals the originals in emotional intensity. The unissued songs are up to the high standard of the issued material and her rendition of the Ann Peebles song Trouble, Heartaches And Sadness is particularly fine. Includes illustrated 20 page booklet with extensive notes by DEan Rudland. (FS)
CANDI STATON: Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man/ Are You Just Building Me Up/ Blackmail/ Darling You're All That I Had/ Do It In The Name Of Love/ Do Right Woman/ Do Your Duty/ Evidence/ For You/ Freedom Is Just Beyond The Door/ Get It When I Want It/ He Called Me Baby/ Heart On A String/ How Can I Put Out The Flame (When You Keep The Fire Burning)/ I Gave A Little And Lost A Lot/ I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart (Than A Young Man's Fool)/ I'll Be Here/ I'll Drop Everything And Come Running/ I'm Gonna Hold On (To What I Got This Time)/ I'm Just A Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin')/ In The Ghetto/ It's Not Love/ Jolene/ Love Chain/ Lovin The Easy Way/ Lovin' You Lovin' Me/ Mr And Mrs Untrue/ Never In Public/ One More Hurt/ Slipping Away/ Someone You Use/ Something's Burning/ Spread Your Love On Me/ Stand By Your Man/ Sure As Sin/ Sweet Feeling/ Sweet Feeling (Old Time Feeling)/ That's How Strong My Love Is/ The Best Thing You Ever Had/ The Thanks I Get For Loving You/ To Hear You Say You're Mine/ Too Hurt Too Cry/ Trouble, Heartaches And Sadness/ Wanted: Lover/ We Had It All/ What Would Become Of Me/ Where Were You/ You Don't Love Me No More

BILLY STEWART Shout 75 Unbelievable/ Cross My Heart - Chess Recordings,1964-69 ● CD $21.98
24 tracks, 79 mins, highly recommended
Billy Stewart is a largely forgotten R&B singer who is remembered-if at all-for three hits: I Do Love You/ Sitting in the Park, and his Jazzy re-imagining of the Gershwin standard Summertime. This CD is comprised of the 1966 LP "Unbelievable" - the album of show tunes that housed Summertime - and the collection of random 60's tracks Chess released in 1974, "Cross My Heart." The compilers have decided to sequence the tracks in order of recording, hence the appearance of Tell it Like It Is and How Nice It Is - two cuts from "Cross My Heart" recorded in 1964 and 1965, respectively-at the beginning of the disc. "Unbelievable" is a solid album, with Stewart putting his singular imprint all over the songs; the end result is good deal more sophisticated, coherent, and tasteful than the average R&B album of the period. By contrast, the "Cross My Heart" tracks are mostly singles jumbled together into an LP after the fact, which in this context is a moot point and the songs can be judged at face value. How Nice It Is is a worthy follow-up to Sitting in the Park that went unnoticed upon original release, while other equally overlooked singles Cross My Heart/ Tell Me the Truth, and a cover of Jim Webb's By the Time I Get to Phoenix deserve a hearing. These first time on CD LPs are a testimony to a towering singer and artist who died way before his time, and was promptly forgotten. Let the Billy Stewart revival begin here. (GMC)

BARRETT STRONG Spectrum 980 777 The Complete Motown Collection ● CD $11.98
22 tracks, 59 mins, highly recommended
Available again. Barrett Strong is usually only remembered for his R&B classic Money (That's What I Want) recorded for Berry Gordy's fledgeling Tamla label in 1960 and the company's first number one hit. Although he never repeated that success this collection shows that he was far from a one hit wonder and features a fine collection of mid tempo burning R&B and soulful ballads written by the likes of Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and Strong himself. 10 of the tracks are previously unissued and are every bit as good as the issued sides. In addition to Money and the gorgeous flipside Oh, I Apologize this set also includes You Knows What To Do/ Whirlwind/ You've Got What It Takes (a fine cover of the Marv Johnson hit)/ Misery/ Do The Very Best You Can/ ACtions Speak Louder Than Words/ Who's Taking My Place/ Sugar Daddy/ You're Too Young and more. (FS)

NOLAN STRONG & THE DIABLOS El Toro R&B 117 For Old Time's Sake - The Complete Early Sides ● CD $17.98
27 tracks, 74 mins, essential
Nolan Strong was one of the most influential and popular singers in the Detroit area in the mid 1950's to early '60s. His is one of those cases where if his timing was just a little different he would have been a household name. As it was, in the pre-Motown years in Detroit, there weren't many R&B and Doo Wop groups that could come close to the great Nolan Strong & The Diablos. This collection gathers up all of their great sides recorded for the Fortune label 1954 - 1960, as well as a few tracks that the Diablos did with the likes of Andre Williams, and Willie Hunter. This features such vocal group gems as: Do You Remember What You Did/ Daddy Rockin' Strong/ I Wanna Know/ If I Oh I (Could Be With You Tonight)/ Watcha Gonna Do/ The Wind/ Baby Be Mine, and more. Nolan Strong idolized Clyde McPhatter and that shows, but Strong was a powerhouse singer all on his own, with a rich, beautiful voice and fantastic range and would go on influence other diverse greats himself like Lou Reed, and Smokey Robinson, both admitted Nolan Strong devotees. As a whole The Diablos hold their own next to the great groups like the Clovers, Robins et all, and if you are a fan of those classic sounds, you will certainly need this collection. El Toro has done a fine job on this; the sound is fantastic, with excellent liner notes and rare pictures included as well. (JM)
THE DIABLOS FEATURING WILLIE HUNTER ON LEAD: Come Home Little Girl/ Harriet/ NOLAN STRONG & THE DIABLOS: (I Want) An Old Fashioned Girl/ A Teardrop From Heaven/ Adios My Desert Love/ Baby Be Mine/ Can't We Talk This Over/ Daddy Rockin' Strong/ Do You Remember What You Did/ For Old Times Sake/ Goodbye Matilda/ Hold Me Until Eternity/ I Am With You/ I Wanna Know/ If I Oh I/ Jump Shake And Move/ My Heart Will Always Belong To You/ Route 16/ Since You're Gone/ The Mambo Of Love/ The Way You Dog Me Around/ The Wind/ Try Me One More Time/ Watcha Gonna Do/ You Are/ You're The Only Girl, Delores/ ANDRE WILLIAMS & GINO PARKS WITH THE DIABLOS: (Georgia May Is) Movin'

SWAMP DOGG Kent CDKEND 346 It's All Good - A Singles Collection, 1963-1989 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
For the last couple of years, Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams has been re-issuing his old (and long out of print) albums on CD through his S.D.E.G. imprint, but this is the first time that anyone has compiled his a definitive collection of his singles, including those he recorded as Little Jerry Williams (although Westside did issue a collection of his Calla recordings in 2000). Singer/Songwriter/Producer and all around eccentric, the Dogg has need a retrospective like this from a less biased perspective (ie other than his own) and Kent, as usual, delivers. Although the sides he cut as "Swamp Dogg" feature the kind of brilliant R&B/Funk wizened craziness we've come to expect from Williams (the compilers have thoughtfully included such gems as Mama's Baby-Daddy's Maybe/ Synthetic World/ Buzzard Luck and Wife Sitter) it's the tracks under his own name that are revelatory: straightforward R&B love songs that rank with anything Chubby Checker or the Contours did during the same era. Don't believe me, try She's So Divine/ I'm the Lover Man/ The 1965 King Size Nicotine Blues (how's that for a title!), and It's Still Good - corkers all. As cool as it's been to hear the Dogg's 70's opuses on the S.D.E.G. CDs, hearing where it all began for Jerry-and finding out that he had the goods from early on-makes this collection worth its weight in gold. (GMC)
SWAMP DOGG: Baby Bunny (Sugar Honey)/ Baby You're My Everything/ Buzzard Luck/ Choking To Death (From The Ties That Bind) (Single Edit)/ Creeping Away/ Did I Come Back Too Soon (Or Did I Stay Away Too Long) (Single Edit)/ Happy Dog Day (Version II)/ Hum Baby/ I'm In The Danger Zone/ I'm The Lover Man/ If You Ask Me (Because I Love You)/ It's Still Good/ Kiss Me/ Knowing I'm Pleasing Me And You/ Let's Do The Wobble (Before Chubby Gets It)/ Mama's Baby - Daddy's Maybe/ Oh Lord, What Are You Doing To Me/ Right Arm For Your Love (Single Edit)/ She's So Divine/ Silly Silly Silly Silly Me/ Synthetic World/ The 1965 King Size Nicotine Blues/ The Other Man/ Wife Sitter - (Feat. Steve Alaimo)


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