Blues & Gospel - New Releases: May 2012 -> November 2012 - Jo Ann Kelly -> Chick Willis

  New Releases: March -> November 2011
Blues & Gospel
Jo Ann Kelly  -> Chick Willis

 

   

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
 
JO ANN KELLY Superbird 051 Key To The Highway ● CD $19.98
22 tracks, 69 mins, highly recommended
Originally issued on the Mooncrest label in 1999 this is an excellent collection of songs (mostly previously unissued) recorded between 1968 and 1974 by this superb British blues singer plus two interviews from 1988. Jo Ann is recorded in several settings, often live, accompanied by British musicians like Tony McPhee (gtr), Bob Hall (piano & mandolin), Dick Wellstood (piano), Pete Emery (gtr) and others. The tracks with Hall are particularly nice as he adds some nice Spann like touches to the performances. Jo Ann also contributes some fine guitar. Songs are mostly country and down home blues favorites (I've Been Scorned/ Rolling Log Blues/ I Can't Be Satisfied/ Key To The Highway/ Black Rat Swing/ Louisiana Blues, etc). She also turns in a beautiful performance of Hank Williams' You Win Again with excellent rolling piano from Hall and a fine Billie Holiday flavored jazz blues Two Nineteen Blues. Some of the live cuts have unexceptional sound but, all in all, while not always Jo Ann at her best there's lots of fine music here. These tracks were also included on the two CD set "Black Rat Swing" issued on Castle in 2003 and now out of print. (FS)

 
HARRISON KENNEDY Electro-Fi 3428 Shame The Devil ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 53 min., very highly recommended
Discovered in the early 1970s by Edward Holland, Jr. of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame, Kennedy seems equally adept on vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and harmonica. More surprising is his original songs which are uniformly upbeat and offbeat. Kennedy takes a mostly acoustic approach, and seems more interested in driving away the blues than being driven by them. From the album's opening lines, "I see cats in the windows,/ I see cops in donut shops," Kennedy announces the suspension of power as usual in favor of a little peace and quiet, or at least a bit of life-affirming Blues. (JC)

 
ALBERT KING Stax 32765 The Definitive Albert King ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 34 tracks, 122 mins, highly recommended
Considering that the other two blues guitar Kings, B.B. and Freddie have had lavish box sets devoted to their careers it is inexplicable that the other great King, Albert hasn't received the same treatment. He was easily one of the biggest names in electric blues guitar and has influenced countless other six-stringers; Otis Rush, Robert Cray, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few. His recordings for the Stax label are treasured by many for their sheer power as well as the trademark razor-sharp guitar tone that King achieved from his Gibson Flying V, played upside-down (left-handed). And, of course, he was a great singer too. This two CD set starts with his first R&B hit recorded for Bobbin in 1961 and ends with his 1984 version of Dust My Broom recorded for Stax's new owner Fantasy Recordings - the rest is drawn from his extensive output for Stax recorded between 1966 and 1975 and includes all his classic R&B hits - Laundromat Blues/ Born Under A Bad Sign/ (I Love) Lucy/ Angel Of Mercy/ I'll Play The Blues For You/ Breaking Up Somebody's Home, etc. along with album cuts and originally unissued titles. The famed Stax house band is on board for many of the tracks, making for truly powerhouse performances - it's only a shame they didn't include another half a dozen tracks which would have easily fit and they could have left out Albert's less than stellar renditions of Hound Dog and Honky Tonk Woman. Still, if you don't have much by Albert this is a great way to get a retrospective of his most productive period. Now, can we have a box set, please? (FS)

 
B.B. KING Legends 22 100 Hits ● CD $19.98
Another of those fine low priced sets- this one devoted to the early career of the blues giant B.B. King. Five CDs with 100 tracks ranging from his earliest sides for Bullet in 1949 through to his #2 R&B hit in 1960 of Sweet Sixteen. From his early tentative recordings through his intense early 50s sides with shattering guitar through the smoother waxings from the mid/ late 50s. It includes all his R&B chart hits from that period on RPM and Kent including Three O'Clock Blues/ Story From My Heart And Soul/ Please LOve Me/ When My Heart Beats LIke A Hammer/ Whole Lotta Love/ Every Day I Have The Blues/ Ten Long Years/ Bad Luck/ Sweet Little Angel and all the rest along with flipsides, non hit singles and album. If you don't have much B.B. or you want to turn someone on to one of the greatest and most influential bluesmen of the 20th Century this collection should fit the bill.
B.B. KING: (I'm Gonna) Quit My Baby/ A Lonely Lover's Plea/ Army Of The Lord/ B.B. Blues/ B.B. Boogie/ Bad Luck/ Bad Luck Soul/ Be Careful With A Fool/ Blind Love/ Boogie Rock/ Boogie Woogie Woman/ Bye! Bye! Bye!/ Can't We Talk It Over?/ Come By Here/ Crying Won't Help You/ Dark Is The Night (Part 1)/ Days Of Old/ Don't Have To Cry/ Don't Look Now, But I've Got The Blues/ Don't You Want A Man Like Me?/ Every Day I Have The Blues/ Everything I Do Is Wrong/ Fine Looking Woman/ Fishin' After Me/ Good Man Gone Bad/ Gotta Find My Baby/ Hard Working Woman/ Highway Bound/ Hold That Train/ I Am/ I Need You So Bad/ I Want To Get Married/ I Wonder/ I'm Craxcking Up Over You/ I'm Willing To Run All The Way/ I'm Working On The Building(I'm Gonna) Quit My Baby/ I've Got Papers On You Baby/ It's My Own Fault/ Jesus Gave Me Water/ Jump With You Baby/ Let's Do The Boogie/ Lonely And Blue/ Mean Old Frisco/ Miss Martha King/ Mistreated Woman/ My Own Fault, Darling/ Neighbourhood Affair/ Never Heard A Man/ Old Time Religion/ On My Word Of Honour/ Partin' Time/ Please Accept My Love/ Please Help Me/ Please Hurry Home/ Please Love Me/ Pray For You/ Praying To The Lord/ Ruby Lee/ Save A Seat For Me/ Shake It Up And Go/ She Don't Move Me No More/ She's A Mean Woman/ She's Dynamite/ Shut Your Mouth/ Sixteen Sons/ Sneaking Around/ Someday, Somewhere/ Story From My Heart And Soul/ Sugar Mama/ Sweet Chariot/ Sweet Little Angel/ Sweet Sixteen/ Sweet Thing/ Take A Swing With Me/ Talking The Blues/ Ten Long Years/ That Ain't The Way To Do It/ The Key To My Kingdom/ The Other Night Blues/ The Woman I Love/ Things Are Not The Same/ Three O'Clock Blues/ Time To Say Goodbye/ Troubles, Troubles, Troubles/ Understand/ Walkin' And Cryin'/ What Can I Do?/ When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer/ When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes/ Whole Lotta' Love/ Why Did You Leave Me?/ Why Does Everything Happen To Me?/ Woke Up This Morning/ Worry, Worry, Worry/ You Didn't Want Me/ You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now/ You Know I Go For You/ You Know I Love You/ You Upset Me Baby/ You've Been An Angel

 
ALEXIS KORNER Not Now 402 Easy Rider ● CD $9.98
2 CDs, 40 tracks, 117 min., highly recommended
Despite being born in Paris, Alexis Korner became known as the founding father of British blues. His earliest recordings, collected here, pre-date the British blues movement that captured the attention and careers of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, and others who would go on rewrite the rules of rock and roll. This two-disc set, which collects tracks recorded between 1954-1957, finds Korner covering Leadbelly and various traditional county blues songs, as well as turning out his own compositions, including Roadhouse Stomp, named after the blues club he helped make famous. It's Korner in an acoustic setting accompanied by honesty and a sincere love of the music that comes right through the speakers. No substitute for your Lightning Hopkins record collection perhaps, but a worthwhile listen for your inner blues historian. (JC)

 
LAZY LESTER Ace CDCHD 1304 Rides Again ● CD $18.98
23 tracks , highly recommended
Lazy Lester was one of the stable of Louisiana "swamp blues" artists produced by Jay Miller for the Excello label in the 50s and early 60s. A distinctive vocalist with his slurred "lazy" style he was a brilliant blues harmonica player and in addition to his own recordings was often featured as a session musician behind Lightnin' Slim, Lonesome Sundown and others. After a 20 year hiatus from music he returned to performing in the late 1980s and recorded his first album "Lazy Lester Rides Again" for Paul Vernon's Blue Horizon label in 1987 which is reissued here along with two previously unissued songs and nine alternate takes. Unlike some recordings of U.S. bluesmen with British bands from this period which were sloppy or underrehersed the backing here is solid, with members of Blues South-West, Blues'n'Trouble and Junkyard Angels, plus the brilliant Bob Hall on piano. In fact, the only weakness is that Lester's voice tends to go flat on the slow tunes. Includes excellent remakes of songs originally recorded for Excello like Sugar Coated Love/ I Hear You Knockin' (not the Fats Domino tune) and The Same Thing Could Happen To You plus some new originals, a couple of songs recorded by other Excello artists (Lightnin' Slim's Nothin' But The Devil and Guitar Gable's Irene). There are two great instrumentals Lester's Shuffle and Blowin' A Rhumba and a superb version of St. Louis Blues which takes St. Louis down to the Bayou! The two unissued performances I Ain't Glad and another instrumental Rockin' With Lester are excellent and fit right in with the rest of the album. The alternate takes don't add a whole lot but are nice to have. (FS)

 
BILLY "RED" LOVE Bear Family BCD 17149 Gee ... I Wish - The Sun Years, Plus ● CD $21.98
26 tracks, highly recommended
Superb collection of Memphis urban blues recorded in the Sun studios between 1951 and '54 featuring the little known but highly talented singer and piano player Billy "Red" Love. Billy only had three official releases under his own name - two on Chess and one a one sided tribute to Hart's Bread issued by the Hart's Bread company. He is also the vocalist on Juiced issued on Chess as by Jackie Brenston even though Brenston doesn't appear on it! Fortunately Love was regular visitor to the Sun studio and this includes many originally unissued tracks and a fair number of alternative takes. Billy was a outstanding vocalist equally comfortable with a boogie like Gee I Wish or an intense slow blues like Way After Midnight. He was accompanied by superb Mmephis musicians like guitarists Calvin Newborn, Pat Hare and the underrated Charles McGowan, sax players like Charles Walker, Harvey Simmons, Richard Sanders and more. In addition to his solo work here he was also a session pianist on many blues & R&B tracks cut at Sun and was the leader of Roscoe Gordon's band for a number of years. The 48 page booklet includes the first extensive biography of Love's life and a detailed discussion of his recordings along with great rare photos and label shots. And, of course, being Bear Family, the sound is above reproach. (FS)

 
MAGIC SAM Delmark 6615 West Side Soul ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, essential
Newly remastered and repackaged edition of one of the great blues albums of the 1960s - the first of only two studio albums recorded by this brilliant Chicago singer & guitarist whose death at the early age of 32 robbed the world of a major talent. Sam was a wonderful singer with melismatic gospel flavor and a brilliant guitarist with a crisp attack who could use vibrato to great effect. On these recordings, made in 1967, he is accompanied by a workmanlike band including Mighty Joe Young/ gtr, Stockholm Slim/ pno, Ernest Johnson or Mack Thompson/ bass and Odie Paine or his son Odie Payne, III/ drums. The material includes remakes of some of his classic Cobra recordings, new songs and versions of songs popularized by others including a version of Sweet Home Chicago which breathes new life into this old warhorse. The CD includes an alternate take of I Don't Want No Woman which is interesting though not markedly different to the issued version. The opening cut - the original song That's All I Need show that had Sam lived he could have also become one of the great soul singers of the era. The new remastering is a revelation with more crispness and depth to the instruments and more presence on Sam's glorious vocals - even if you have the original CD issue you're gonna need to have this new issue. Packaged in a handsome fold out digipac with some previously unpublished photos, the original notes by Bob Koester and Don Lindemann and a new and trivial appreciation by Don Wilcock. A valuable glimpse of a truly talented performer who would surely have scaled the heights had he lived long enough. (FS)

 
BISHOP MANNING & THE MANNING FAMILY Big Legal Mess 0258 Converted Mind - The Early Recordings ● CD $13.98
28 tracks, highly recommended
Terrific collection of down home gospel from North Carolina, mostly recorded in the mid-late 70s, by Bishop Dready Manning with his wife Marie and his five children. Manning was originally a hard living blues and R&B singer who turned to religion in 1962 after a bout of ill health and formed his own church and now leads three churches. Manning and family recorded quite extensively for small Southern labels in the 70s including his own Manning label and has continued to record on and off since then. The tracks here are a selection of the best of his 70s recordings along with his first recording made in the late 60s with his wife and two other church members as The Gospel Four. The Bishop leads the group with powerful lead vocals plays bluesy guitar and on some tracks some wonderful down home harmonica including the great harmonica instrumental The Gospel Train. A few tracks feature leads by his wife Marie or daughter Carolyn or son "Little" Paul. The songs are a mixture or originals, sometimes with a topical flavor, and versions of gospel standards. As a young man Manning was impressed by Merle Travis's recording of I Am A Pilgrim and does a fine version of the song here. Some great music with a very informative booklet by gospel expert Alan Young. (FS)

 
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL & OTHERS JSP JSPCD 4227 Down Home Blues, 1959 ● CD $23.98
Two CD set, 46 tracks, essential
When Alan Lomax conducted his field recordings in the South in 1959 with the assistance of English folk singer he discovered and rediscovered many great musicians but none greater than Mississippi Delta bluesman, Fred McDowell. In my humble opinion Fred was every bit the equal of the legendary Mississippi blues artists who recordings in the 20s and 30s and we can be truly grateful that he left a substantial musical legacy behind him when he died in 1972. Although all his 1959 have been reissued before by Rounder over several album this is the first time that all 23 sides he recorded are featured together in chronological order. Although Fred recorded many of these songs again these are particularly fine performances with impassioned singing and devastating slide guitar from Fred and a number of songs don't appear elsewhere. On several cuts he is assisted by Mile Pratcher on guitar and Fanny Davis on comb and paper producing an eerie but very effective sound. Here we have the first recordings of such trademark McDowell pieces as Write Me A Few Lines/ Shake 'Em On Down/ Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and 61 Highway. The rest of the this set features other artists recorded in Mississippi and nearby Arkansas on the same trip most notable of whom is the incredible John Dudley - an inmate of the infamous Parchman Farm Penitentiary. He does three songs including a magnificent version of Poor Boy Blues with incredible lyrical slide guitar and an intense version of Tommy Johnson's Cool Water Blues. There are three superb and archaic sounding tracks from Miles and Bob Pratcher accompanying themselves on guitar and fiddle. Lonnie Young's great fife and drum band is featured on five cuts and the set is rounded out with some juke joint blues by small groups featuring singer and harmonica player Forest City Joe, singer and harmonica player Boy Blue and singer & guitarist Willie Jones. A superb collection with excellent sound and informative notes. (FS)

 
THE ORIGINAL GOLDEN STARS OF GREENWOOD, S.C/ REVEREND NORRIS TURNER Gospel Friend 1506 South Carolina Gospel ● CD $16.98
26 tracks, 76 mins, highly recommended
Superb collection of black gospel recorded between 1958 and 1979 - half the tracks are by the group the Golden Stars Quartet featuring the fine leads of Alphonso Devlin or Norris Turner and the remainder features solo recordings made by Turner with small group instrumental support and usually a female vocal group engaging in call and response with him. About 2/3 of the songs are original compositions with the rest being fine renditions of traditional gospel favorites like What A Friend We Have In Jesus/ When They Ring The Golden Bells and others. Turner is a powerful and expressive vocalist and several of his songs have a topical edge like Lord Have Mercy On The People Of This World and Let's Get Together With The Lord. Includes 12 page booklet with detailed notes by Per Notini. (FS)

 
LUCKY PETERSON JSP JSPCD 8831 Every Second A Fool Is Born ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, 52 min., highly recommended
Peterson apparently has Steve Washington (son of Fats Washington) writing the material on this album. And the songs are fine, but as usual the reason to get this set is the nuclear powered guitar work of Peterson, and the all too infrequent vocal addition of Tamara Peterson, who can turn mediocre blues into a night to remember. She may even steal the show on the blistering Change Your Ways, but on the unequalled Love Me, Peterson steals it back. When he's good, he's very good. (JC)

 
PEPPY PRINCE Acrobat 4352 Dance Time With Peppy Prince ● CD $15.98
26 tracks, 73 mins, recommended
A collection of West Coast jump blues, jazzy R&B and ballads featuring the talents of drummer, singer and bandleader Preston "Peppy" Prince including sides with his own band as well as tracks where he performed as sideman. Though little known today he was an important and popular figure on the WEst Coast scene in the 40s and 50s. He started working in Joe Liggins band and the set starts with a couple of live cuts from 1945 by Liggins with Peppy doing the drumming honors followed by two tracks from a 1947 session with members of Liggins band featuring Peppy singing ad the sterling sax work of Little Willie Jackson. The rest of the tracks cover a ten year period featuring Peppy with various bands and often in the company of vocalist and piano player Christine Chatman. Some of the tracks are rather bland soporific ballads but there's also plenty of tough blues and up tempo numbers. Many of these sides were recorded for tiny, very obscure labels and sound quality on a number of tracks is quite mediocre. Compiled and annotated by the West Coast blues and gospel expert Opal Louis Nations the booklet includes rare photos and label shots and full discographical info. (FS)

 
PROFESSOR LONGHAIR Sunny Side 3049 Rock 'n' Roll Gumbo ● CD $16.98
14 tracks, very highly recommended
Available again. A classic revisited and improved! This album was recorded in 1974 for the French Blue Star and it has been remixed by the album's original producer Philippe Rault and two previously unissued songs from the session have been added. The remix gives added emphasis to Fess's superb piano and the sound is brighter and crisper. On this session, Fess was joined by a superb rhythm section and splendid guitarist "Gatemouth" Brown. Fess is in top form on a selection of New Orleans classics (Junco Partner/ Rockin' Pneumonia/ Tipitina), R&B favorites (Mean Ol' World/ Dr. Professor Longhair), a calypso (Rum & Coke) and country favorite Jambalaya (with bluesy fiddle by Gate). One of his best albums. (FS)

 
YANK RACHELL Blind Pig 8012 Blues Mandolin Man ● CD $9.98
9 tracks, recommended
Reissue of 1986 Blind Pig album which was available for a while on CD on the Random Chance label. Yank is one of the great pioneers of blues mandolin playing who worked on and off with Sleepy John Estes from 1929 to 1969. Recorded when Yank was 76 years old this was his first session with a band and the result is very enjoyable. Yank sings and plays electric mandolin and is accompanied by a small electric band, including his granddaughter Sheena on electric bass. They do a good job accompanying him on a set of Chicago blues style performances. Mostly versions of older songs like My Baby's Gone/ She Changed The Lock/ Dreamy Eyed Woman/ Black Snake and others plus the more recent and topical Cigarette Blues. (FS)

 
LULA REED Ace CDCHD 984 I'll Drown In My Tears - The King Anthology, 1952-1955 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 60 mins, highly recommended
Superb collection of sides featuring the sultry, girlish and sometimes gospel tinged vocals of Lula Reed. It features some of her best and most popular sides recorded for King between 1951 and 1955 - all of them accompanied by the superb band of her husband Sonny Thompson and supervised by one of the pioneer black record executives Henry Glover who also wrote many of the songs here. It includes her original recording of I'll Drown In My Tears, later a hit for Ray Charles, Rock Love which was a hit for the pop group The Fontaine Sisters, the blue and moody Last Night, the soulful unissued Living In Misery, the gently rockin' Bump On A Log and a fine gospel performance A Quiet Time With Jesus - Lula started her career as a gospel singer. Sound quality is superb and there are notes by Billy Vera which present what little is known about Lula who has remained elusive to researchers. (FS)
LULA REED: A Quiet Time With Jesus/ Bump On A Log/ Don't Make Me Love You/ Going Back To Mexico/ I'll Drown In My Tears/ I'll Upset You Baby/ I'm Giving All My Love/ I'm Gone, Yes I'm Gone/ Jealous Love/ Just Whisper/ Last Night/ Let Me Be Your Love/ Let's Call It A Day/ Living In Misery/ My Story/ Rock Love/ Sick And Tired/ Troubles On Your Mind/ Waiting To Be Loved By You/ Watch Dog/ Why Don't You Come On Home/ Without Love (ain't It A Shame)/ Wonderful Love/ Your Key Don't Fit No More

 
RAY REED Dialtone 0018 Where The Trinity Runs Free ● CD $15.98
Solid set of down home blues from 67 year old Texas singer/ guitarist Reed with solid band including guitarist Clarence Pierce, Austrian piano player Christian Dozzler, harmonica player Hash Brown and others. A mix of originals and old favorites. Includes Lady Pearl's Cut Yu Loose/ Woke Up This Morning/ Lucy Mae Blue/ Two Trains Running/ Bad Sad/ Wonder Why/ Maypearl Rose, etc.

 
RHYTHM WILLIE Deltacat 1002 The Greatest Harmonica Player You Never Heard Of ● CD $16.98
16 tracks, highly recommended
Back in stock. Willie Hood aka Rhythm Willie is a little known blues harmonica player who is very highly regarded by blues aficionados for his original style with one foot in the older styles of the 20s and the other showing the influence of jazz. He only recorded six sides under his own name in 1940 and 1950 which are included here. The rest of the tracks feature Willie as an accompanying musician. There are five tracks from 1939 by Peetie Wheatstraw with Willie and four by Lee Brown from the same year. The set is rounded out by a cut by the Earl Bostic Orchestra from 1947 with extended harmonica work by Willie. According to rumor Willie was the only harmonica player that Little Walter "feared" though their styles are very different. If you love blues harmonica then this disc is indispensible. (FS)

 
BROTHER CECIL SHAW Acrobat 4200 I Want To Know ● CD $16.98
18 tracks, 48 mins, essential
Back in print - at least temporarily! Superb collection of quartet gospel singing featuring the stunning lead vocals of Texan Brother Cecil Shaw. Though little known today he was admired by his contemporaries - a number who covered his songs and was the only man that Archie Brownlee refused to follow on stage! The 18 tracks here are the sum total of his issued recordings - 16 recorded for Imperial in 1952 and '53 and two for his own Shaw label in 1954. Four tracks feature him with The Alpha Omega Singers, six with The Silverlight Singers including the stunning Heaven's Bells Have Called Mother Home and A Christian's Plea. The remaining tracks are with a female group that Shaw assembled called the Union Spiritual Singers and feature further stunning performances including the original recording of Pray On My Child later recorded by The Staple Singers, the church wrecking Have Mercy My Father and others including a couple with an unidentified female lead who is so good it's scray. A early member of this group was Della Beatrice "Bea" Howard who ended up marrying Ray Charles after hearing him praise Shaw and his group's singing on the radio in Houston. If you like The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi with Archie Brownlee or the Spirit Of Memphis with Silas Steele this is a must purchase. Includes informative notes, based on original research, by gospel expert Opal Louis Nations. (FS)

 
GEORGE "HARMONICA" SMITH Electro-Fi 3423 Teardrops Are Falling - LIve In 1983 ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 56 mins, recommended
Previously unissued live recording made a few months before George's untimely death at the age of 69. George "Harmonica" Smith was a fine singer and magnificent harmonica player who, though obviously influenced by Little Walter, was a true original who himself was a big influence particularly on the West Coast blues harmonica player. George is in good form both vocally and instrumentally on a selection of mostly standard Chicago blues (Key To The HIghway/ CRazy 'Bout You Baby/ JUke/ Goin' Down Slow, etc. as well as some others including his own Teardrops Are Falling which is the highlight here. He is accompanied by Buddy Reed and The Rocket 88's who do a good job though sometimes Reed's guitar work is a bit overbearing. On several tracks the group is joined by harmonica player Bullet Bill Tarsha who takes the lead role on several tracks. Sound quality is generally fine. Considering George's talent and influential his recorded output is fairly thin so this provides a valuable addition to that output. (FS)

 
T-MODEL FORD Alive 115 Taledragger ● CD $16.98
The latest from back-to-basics Mississippi bluesman T-Model Ford find him accompanied by young white band GravelRoad who add a heavy rock element to Ford's music. Not really my cup of tea.

 
SISTER ROSETTA THARPE Primo 6118 Essential Early Recordings ● CD $10.98
Two CDs, 40 tracks, highly recommended
A splendid inexpensive introduction to the music of this great and influential gospel performer featuring recordings made between 1938 and 1949. Sister Rosetta was outstanding and expressive gospel singer and guitarist whose singing and playing had a big influence on performers both sacred and secular. She was probably the first crossover gospel singer who had several nationwide R&B hits with gospel songs. Many of her earliest sides feature her accompanied only by her distinctive guitar work but she also spent a while in the early 40s working with the great Lucky Millinder and recorded several secular blues songs with them - several which are featured here and the orchestra accompanied her on several of her gospel performances including her great Rock Me and That's All. Later recordings feature her accompanied by the Sam Price and two of her big R&B hits with the group are featured here Strange Things Are Happening Every Day and Up Above My Head , I Hear Music In The Air - the latter a duet with the great Marie Knight. If you don't have much by Sister Rosetta this is a fine place to start with excellent sound. (FS)

 
BIG JOE TURNER Bear Family BCD 17215 Big Joe Turner Rocks ● CD $24.98
28 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended
Big Joe Turner was a mighty big figure in the history of Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues, both figuratively and literally, tipping the scales at over 300 pounds on average and reigning over the scene. Possibly the best of all the R&B shouters, Big Joe Turner had a recording career that that spanned several decades and Bear Family does an admirable job presenting the best of his prime years between 1938 - 1958. From early R&B gems like My Gal's A Jockey/ Roll 'em Pete, and Jumpin' Tonight, to breakout blasters like Flip, Flop & Fly/ Corrine, Corrina, and Shake, Rattle & Roll, with all sorts of great, lesser-known cuts as well like Crawdad Hole,/ Adam Bit The Apple, etc. As the title would attest to, these are his most "Rockin'" cuts, not like Big Joe did much that didn't "Rock. " Excellent liner notes by Bill Dahl. (JM)
BIG JOE TURNER: (We're Gonna) Jump For Joy/ Adam Bit The Apple/ Around The Clock Blues, Part 1/ Around The Clock Blues, Part 2/ Boogie Woogie Country Girl/ Bump Miss Susie/ Corrine, Corrina/ Crawdad Hole/ Feelin' Happy/ Flip, Flop And Fly/ Hide And Seek/ Honey Hush/ I Need A Girl/ Jumpin' Tonight (Midnight Rocking)/ Lipstick, Powder And Paint/ Love Roller Coaster/ Midnight Cannonball/ Morning, Noon And Night/ My Gal's A Jockey/ Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop/ Rebecca/ Rock-A-While/ Roll 'Em Pete/ Shake, Rattle And Roll/ T. V. Mama/ Teen Age Letter/ The Chicken And The Hawk/ Well, All Right

 
IKE & TINA TURNER Blues Boulevard 250201 We've Always Had The Blues ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 67 min, highly recommended
Back in stock. Wonderful CD reissuing Ike & Tina's 2 Blue Thumb LPs, "Outta Season" (Blue Thumb 5) & "The Hunter"(Blue Thumb 11), both from '69. Over an hour of superb blues and the occasional soul number with great singing by Tina, but also especially incredible guitar from Ike and Albert Collins who guests on two tracks. Hearing Tina as a down-home blues singer is spine-chilling, especially on such tracks as their great cover of Albert King's The Hunter, Eddie Boyd's 5 Long Years, T-Bone Walker's Mean Old World, & Lowell Fulson's Reconsider Baby. She even tackles such warhorses as Rock Me Baby & Dust My Broom & breathes new life in them, with much help from Ike's guitar & band! And there's even a taste of things to come with I've Been Loving You Too Long which would play a big part in their 70s crossover. This material has been out several times before so you might want to check your collection before ordering. (GM/FS)

 
L.C. ULMER Hillcountry 2116 Blues Come Yonder ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, good
Raw Mississippi country blues from 79 year old singer/ guitarist from South MIssissippi. Ulmer is a decent singer and an adequate guitarist. He plays acoustic and electric guitar and, on one track, some rather erratic banjo. He is accompanied by basic bass and rums on most cuts. His material is strongly based on traditional elements along with material learned from popular blues records. A decent set of performances without anything that really stands out. (FS)

 
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON Jasmine 171 The Original Gangster Of LOve, 1953-1959 ● CD $15.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
There have been a number of reissues of early Johnny "Guitar" Watson sides so chances are that you have many of the tracks but this is a superbly compiled set featuring all the issued singles issued between 1953 and 1959. Johnny started his musical career playing piano as a child and in 1951 at the age of 17 he joined the Chuck Higgins combo as pianist and occasional vocalist. He was subsequently signed by Federal in 1953 who issued his recordings under the name Young John Watson. The first two sessions for Federal feature Johnny singing and playing piano with superb small bands including a remake of Motor Head Baby originally cut with Higgins, the fine I Got Eyes and others. At his his February, 1954 session he unleashed his guitar skills with the spectacular instrumental Space Guitar and the dynamic Gettin' Drunk. He subsequently moved to RPM with his guitar skills continually improving and developing an immediately recognizable clipped approach top his playing. These sides include such all time classics as Hot Little Mama, Too Tired and his first R&B chart hit - a fabulous cover of Earl King's Those Lonely, Lonely Nights. In 1957 he signed to Keen where he had two singles released including the first version of his most famous song Gangster Of Love and a superb version of Mercy Dee's One Room Country Shack along with two forgettable rock 'n' roll songs. The set ends with one side of his 1959 single for the Class label which was also pretty unexceptional. Sound quality is superb and there are informative notes by Bob Fisher. (FS)

 
JUNIOR WELLS Delmark 6612 Hoodoo Man Blues ● CD $14.98
26 tracks, 63 mins, highly recommended
Another classic Delmark album remastered and repackaged. This time the first full length album from the great singer and harmonica player Junior Wells accompanied by small group with his regular musical associate Buddy Guy on guitar (listed on the original LP as "Friendly Chap" as Delmark thought Budddy was under contract to Chess), bassist Jack Myers and drummer Billy Warren. Junior is in great form on a selection of originals and blues favorites including his superb rendition of Sonny Boy Williamson's Hoodoo Man Blues plus Snatch It Back And Hold It/ Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/ In The Wee Wee Hours/ Early In The Morning/ Chitlins Con Carne, etc. When first reissued on CD in 1993 there were three bonus alternate takes - this edition includes three more alternate takes, the previously unissued song I Ain't Stranded and half a dozen snippets of studio chatter. The new mastering brings new life to the classic and the booklet has the original notes, notes from a 70s reissue and new notes by Delmark head Bob Koester. (FS)

 
REVEREND KM WILLIAMS Dialtone 0022 When I Rise ● CD $13.98
13 tracks, highly recommended
Exciting collection of gospel and blues from Texas singer/ guitarist Reverend KM Williams. Williams, who was born in 1956 started playing music in the 1960s and was inspired by the music of a varied selection of artists including John Lee Hooker, Blind Willie Johnson and R.L. Burnside. Williams' style is a bit reminiscent of the Mississippi Hill Country blues artists with his fairly simple tunes and repetitive distorted guitar riffs backed mostly by just percussion accompaniment. Most of the songs are Williams originals and many of the gospel tunes feature vocal accompaniments from Blue Lisa and Andrea Dawson who join Williams in call and response mode. A few cuts feature Williams playing some powerful slide guitar. Bluesman Hash Brown joins in on guitar on a couple of cuts and harmonica on a couple of others to great effect. (FS)

 
SHARRIE WILLIAMS Electro-Fi 3426 Out Of The Dark ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 54 min., highly recommended
Williams stands apart from the female blues belter crowd by virtue of her ability to incorporate soul, gospel, jazz and even rock into her blues. And not many in her shoes write their own material. Only the title track, a well-chosen slow bit of jazz-inflected blues, lacks her name on the songwriting credits. And don't be surprised if several of these songs get covered by the competition. The slow and memorable Choices and Gone Too Long dial back the energy on the album just when it needs to catch its breath. Williams has talent to spare, but doesn't. (JC)

 
CHICK WILLIS Benevolent Blues 10 Let The Blues Speak For Itself ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 48 min., recommended
Willis shares his third Benevolent Blues release with label mate Travis Haddix, who shares lead vocal duties on On Your Way Fishing and We're Going Too Boogie and has the vocal spotlight to himself on Crush On My Next Door Neighbor, to which Haddix adds his lead guitar. Still, no one steals the show from Willis, who has been around the block before and apparently stopped at a few houses to visit his lady friends. And when he is singing about fishing or dancing or his neighbor or anything else, he's singing about women and sex. You know, the blues, with and without the rhythm. His releases, this one included, are never earth shattering, always a pretty good time. This album should come with a six pack. (JC)

 

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