Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop - New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011 - Johnny Maestro -> Maurice Williams

 

New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011
Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Doo-Wop
Johnny Maestro -> Maurice Williams

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS



JOHNNY MAESTRO & THE CREST & 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)

 
NATHANIEL MAYER Vampi Soul 072 (I Want) Love And Affection (Not The House Of Correctio ● CD $19.98
23 tracks, 59 mins, highly recommended
A most welcome release featuring the complete 60s recordings made for Fortune by this superb Detroit singer and songwriter along with a rare 45 from 1980. Mayer was a superb gospel tinged vocalist who wrote most of his own material and was backed by The Fabulous Twilights, a group, that at times included moonlighting members of Motown's Funk Brothers. Nathaniel recorded for Jack & Devora Brown's Fortune label from 1961 through 1966 starting with the intense doo-wop ballad My Last Dance With You though to the proto soul of his only hit - the great Village Of Love and ending with the proto-funk of the title tune. Fortune's primitive recording facilities accentuates the raw and primitive feel of Nathaniel's music. In addition to the great originals Nathaniel does a superb cover of Clyde McPhatter's Lover Please and a ferocious rendition of the standard Summertime. The two 1980 tracks complete the 20th century recording career of Mayer but are not very good. After these recordings Nathaniel disappeared into the ghetto and a world of poverty, drugs and alcohol until his return to recording in 2002. This set sounds as good as it possibly could considering the primitive recording quality and comes with a great 24 page booklet telling Nathaniel's story as well as delving into the story of Fortune Records. (FS)

 
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

 
CLYDE MCPHATTER Hip-O Select 14233-02 Lover Please - The Complete MGM & Mercury Singles ● CD $29.98
Clyde McPhatter was one of the most popular and influential R&B singers of the 50s and early 60s. Not only did he have a string of hits, starting as a lead singer for The Dominoes and Drifters, before going solo his style was to influence artists from Frankie Lymon to Smokey Robinson to Garry "U.S." Bonds to Aaron Neville and many others. This limited edition (5,000 copies) two CD set is the first in depth CD representation of his recording career between 1959 and 1965 featuring all the singles issued on MGM and Mercury. It includes his biggest pop hit (Lover Please), his top 25 take on Little Bitty Pretty Ones, his final top ten hits (Ta Ta and Deep In The Heart Of Harlem), his versions of classics like (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over and The Glory Of Love, plus songs penned by Brook Benton, Otis Blackwell, Charles Singleton, Neil Sedaka and Clyde himself. Handsomely packaged in a gatefold digipack it includes extensive notes by Bill Dahl, song by song credits, and period photos and memorabilia.

 
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)

 
WILLIE MITCHELL Stomper Time 26 The Memphis Rhythm 'n' Blues Sound, 1958-1961 ● CD $18.98
29 tracks, highly recommended
Terrific collection of R&B featuring the talents of Memphis musical giant Willie Mitchell before he became a major contributor to soul with his work at Hi where he was producer, arranger and songwriter and his masterminding of many of Al Green's greatest recordings. By the time of the recordings here trumpeter Mitchell had been working on the Memphis musical scene for almost 15 years and had gathered around him a superb band which included saxophonist J.P. Louper who later went on to work with B.B. King and a rhythm section of Lewis Steinberg and Al Jackson, Jr. who became part of the Stax rhythm section. Vocals were provided by The Four Kings - a quartet featuring future soul artist Don Bryant. This CD features all the issued recordings by Willie and The Four Kings for Stomper Time and Home Of The Blues along with originally unissued tracks and as a delightful bonus there are seven unissued acapella demos of the Four Kings when they were known as The Canes which are superb examples of acapella doo-wop. The rest of material is a mix of solid R&B instrumentals and vocals - most of them written by Willie. Sound is excellent and 12 page booklet has extensive notes by Tony Wilkinson, photos, label shots and full discographical data. (FS)

 
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)

 
THE PERSUASIONS Zoho Music 201011 Knockin' On Bob's Door ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 54 min., recommended
Since the Persuasions have already paid a cappella tribute (with varying degrees of artistic success) to The Beatles, U2, and Frank Zappa, their decision to release an album of Dylan songs is hardly surprising. And if every track were as stunning as Just Like A Woman, this would be the best album of 2010. But that is not the case. The oft-covered Mr. Tamourine Man kicks off the album, but without its jingle-jangle it does little to convince its listeners to follow it. And the track that does, All Along The Watchtower, is similarly disappointing. Their upbeat treatment of Like A Rolling Stone is so counter to the song's DNA that it falls flat. Still, there are enough bright moments (e.g., Blowing In The Wind, Quinn The Eskimo, Forever Young, which is excellent), to make this worth it. In fact, just about everything The Persuasions put their voices to is at least worth hearing. (JC)

 
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.

 
OTIS REDDING Legends 18 100 Hits ● CD $19.98
Five CDs, 100 tracks, very highly recommended
Here's your chance to get an extensive collection of one of, if not the, greatest of all deep soul singers, for a very low price. All the classics are here - These Arms Of Mine/ Pain In My Heart/ That's How Strong My Love Is/ Mr. Pitiful/ Respect/ Satisfaction/ My Lover's Prayer/ Try A Little Tenderness/ Shake/ (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay and his other hits along with B-sides, album cuts, duets with Carla Thomas and tracks released posthumously. The tracks are arranged approximately chronologically with the posthumous releases on the last disc. If you don't have much or any Otis this is the perfect collection for you. (FS)
OTIS REDDING: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction/ (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay)/ (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher/ 634-5789 (Soulsville U.S.A)/ A Fool For You/ A Lover's Question/ A Woman, A Lover, A Friend/ Amen/ Any Ole Way/ Are You Lonely For Me, Baby?/ Bring It On Home To Me/ Chain Gang/ Chained And Bound/ Champagne And Wine/ Change Gonna Come/ Cigarettes And Coffee/ Come To Me/ Day Tripper/ Direct Me/ Don't Mess With Cupid/ Down In The Valley/ Everybody Makes A Mistake/ Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)/ For Your Precious Love/ Free Me/ Glory Of Love/ Good To Me/ Got To Get Myself Together/ Groovin' Time/ Hard To Handle/ Hawg For You/ Home In Your Heart/ I Can't Turn You Loose/ I Love You More Than Words Can Say/ I Need Your Lovin'/ I Want To Thank You/ I'll Let Nothing Separate Us/ I'm A Changed Man/ I'm Coming Home To See About You/ I'm Sick Y'all/ I've Been Loving You Too Long/ I've Got Dreams To Remember/ It Takes Two/ It's Growing/ It's Too Late/ Just One More Day/ Keep Your Arms Around Me/ Knock On Wood/ Let Me Be Good To You/ Let Me Come Home/ Look At That Girl/ Louie Louie/ Love Have Mercy/ Love Man/ Lovey Dovey/ Lucille/ Mr. Pitful/ My Girl/ My Lover's Prayer/ New Years Resolution/ Nobody Knows You/ Nobody's Fault But Mine/ Nothing Can Change This Love/ Ole Man Trouble/ Ooh Carla, Ooh Otis/ Open The Door/ Pain In My Heart/ Respect/ Rock Me Baby/ Scratch My Back/ Security/ Shake/ She Put The Hurt On Me/ Something Is Worrying Me/ Stand By Me/ Sweet Lorene/ Tell It Like It Is/ Tell The Truth/ Tennessee Waltz/ That's A Good Idea/ That's How Strong My Love Is/ That's What My Heart Needs/ The Dog/ The Happy Song (Dum-Dum-De-De-De-Dum-Dum)/ The Hucklebuck/ The Match Game/ These Arms Of Mine/ Ton Of Joy/ Tramp/ Treat Her Right/ Trick Or Treat/ Try A Little Tenderness/ When Something Is Wrong With My Baby/ Wonderful World/ You Don't Miss Your Water/ You Left The Water Running/ You Send Me/ You're Still My Baby/ Your Feeling Is Mine/ Your One And Only Man

 
THE ROYALETTES RPM 879 It's Gonna Take A Miracle - The Complete MGM Recordings ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 78 mins, highly recommended
This Baltimore, Maryland quartet may only have been a two-hit wonder (the title track, later covered by Laura Nyro in the Seventies and Deniece Williams in the Eighties, and I Want to Meet Him) in 1965, but they-along with Little Anthony & the Imperials-were the vehicle through which producer Teddy Randazzo pioneered a brand of sophisticated soul that was equal parts Sam Cooke and Bacharach/David, which in turn foreshadowed the later productions of Gamble & Huff and Thom Bell. This CD contains the two albums the group cut with Randazzo for MGM Records-"It's Gonna Take a Miracle" and "The Elegant Sound of the Royalettes"-and the two songs (single) that the girls cut in 1969 with Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers producing. This material has been out before (on Celeste, Ichiban, and Black Tulip) and this CD doesn't include their earlier singles for Chancellor and Warner Brothers, but this package gives the songs the showcase they deserve with excellent liner notes and annotation. "The Complete MGM Recordings" may not be as thorough a Royalettes collection as Black Tulip 39219, but it sure looks and sounds better. (GMC)

 
HUEY "PIANO" SMITH & THE CLOWNS Great American Music 228 Just Clownin' (More Of The Best) ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 50 mins, highly recommended
This collection is, no surprise, full of all kinds of rhythm & Blues classics, done by, or featuring, one of the all time greats: Huey "Piano" Smith. Many classic versions like Huey's own Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu, The Bobbetts' Fortune Teller, Frankie Ford's Sea Cruise, etc, mixed with lesser known and previously unreleased gems. One of the tracks (I Don't Want A Broken Heart) is so obscure that the vocalist is still unknown, I guess all we know is that it was a Huey Smith session; doesn't matter, it's great. As a matter of fact, the whole CD is fantastic, essential for fans of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues for sure. The Clowns with Barbara/ Mississippi, and Don't You Just Know It, Junior Gordon with Blow Wind Blow, Jesse Thomas with That Will Get It, Curley Moore, Gerri Hall & Benny Spellman doing I Tried, and so on, just one great track after another. Some discographal information, especially on all the rarer tracks would be nice; there are some good liner notes, but all biographical stuff, no nuts and bolts on the sessions etc. Oh well, that don't stop the party. (JM)

 
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)

 
TED TAYLOR Kent CDKEND 348 Keep What You Got - The Rare & Unissued Ronn REcordings ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 79 mins, recommended
After tasting chart success with dual identity vocal quartet the Cadets/Jacks in the 50's and label hopping as a solo artist during the early 60's (including a noteworthy stint on Okeh), Ted Taylor landed at Stan Lewis' Ronn Records in 1967. While at Ronn, Taylor cut some memorable singles including Miss You So/ Without a Woman/ Long Ago/ Strangest Feeling, and a cover of Chuck Willis' It's Too Late at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals. However, the tracks on this CD were cut later (probably in the early 70's) in Los Angeles, his home turf, in a style that's a mixture of funk and blues/soul-a far cry from the deep southern soul from his FAME sides. Many of the songs here have remained in the vault until now, and there are quite a few gems-notably, Why Do I Have to Suffer and Got to Have a Woman. Taylor has a slightly unusual voice-a cross between Z.Z. Hill and Curtis Mayfield-which can be a bit of an acquired taste, but if you're so inclined this collection of buried treasures, including four duets with Little Johnny Taylor, is worth checking out. (GMC)
TED TAYLOR: (Long As I Got You) I Got Love/ A Lick And A Promise/ Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere/ Call The House Doctor/ Cry It Out Baby/ Cummins Prison Farm (Take 1)/ Don't Be Slappin' My Hand/ Fair Warning/ Farewell/ Funky Ghetto/ Got To Have A Woman/ How's Your Love Life Baby/ I'll Be Here/ Keep What You Get And Like It/ Let Me Fix Up Your Feelings/ Make Up For Lost Time/ Papa's Gonna Make Love/ Pretending Love/ She's Got A Munchy Tunchy/ Sweet Lovin' Pair/ Walking The Floor/ What A Fool/ Who's Doing It To Who/ Why Do I Have To Suffer

 
ALLEN TOUSSAINT Charly SNAX 624 Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky ● CD $17.98
2 CDs, 50 tracks, very highly recommended
At last, a fairly comprehensive and well put together compilation of Allen Toussaint's work during his most fruitful period. Disc one focuses on his session work with the likes of Fat Domino and Lee Allen, and on his solo recordings under various aliases (Al Tousan, Allen and Allen, The Stokes, The Rubyiats, Willie and Allen). These sides are interesting because they show his talents as a pianist and give us glimpse into his early work as a young performer. The Stokes tracks include the original recording of Whipped Cream which was later a big hit for The Tiajuana Brass. The duets with Allen Orange are cute, and the ones with Willie Harper are more down 'n' dirty soulful. Most of these tracks were cut in the late 50's/early 60's and are great deal more sophisticated than much of what was coming out of New York at the same time. Disc two spotlights the hits Toussaint wrote and/or produced and all the biggies are here: Jesse Hill's Ooh Poo Pah Doo; Ernie K Doe's Mother In Law and A Certain Girl; Chris Kenner's I Like it Like That" Parts 1 & 2; Lee Dorsey's Working in a Coal Mine/ Holy Cow, and the original version of Yes We Can (later made more famous by the Pointer Sisters, again with Toussaint at the board); and best of all The Showmen's immortal It Will Stand. There are also tasty helpings of Toussaint's work with Irma Thomas, Aaron and Art Neville, Benny Spellman, and The Meters. The set is not quite as definitive as it could be (that would probably need four or five discs), but as a window into the career of a giant of New Orleans R&B it will do nicely. (GMC)
LEE ALLEN: Tic Toc/ Walkin' With Mr. Lee/ ALLEN AND ALLEN: Beverly Baby/ Heavenly Baby/ Tiddle Winks/ ERNIE K DOE: A Certain Girl/ Mother In Law/ FATS DOMINO: I Want You To Know/ I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday/ Young Schoolgirl/ LEE DORSEY: Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky (From Now On)/ Holy Cow/ Night People/ Working In A Coal Mine/ Yes We Can/ BETTY HARRIS: I'm Evil Tonight/ Nearer To You/ JESSIE HILL: Oogsey Moo/ Ooh Poo Pah Doo Pts 1 & 2/ CHRIS KENNER: I Like It Like That Pt 1/ I Like It Like That Pt 2/ THE METERS: Look A Py Py/ Sophisticated Cissy/ AARON NEVILLE: Over You/ Wrong Number/ ART NEVILLE: All These Things/ THE PRIMEMATES: Hot Tamales Pt 1/ Hot Tamales Pt 2/ THE RUBYIATS: Omar Khayyam/ Tomorrow/ THE SHOWMEN: It Will Stand/ BENNY SPELLMAN: Fortune Teller/ Lipstick Traces/ THE STOKES: Banana Split/ Fat Cat/ Pie Crust/ Whipped Cream/ Young Man Old Man/ IRMA THOMAS: Its Raining/ Ruler Of My Heart/ AL TOUSAN: Happy Times/ Java/ Moo Moo/ Naomi/ Wham Tousan/ Whirlaway/ ALLEN TOUSSAINT & THE STOKES: Go Back Home/ Poor Boy Got To Move/ WILLIE AND ALLEN: Baby Do Liddle/ I Don't Need One

 
DORIS TROY Kent CDKEND 344 I'll Do Anything - The Doris Troy Anthology ● CD $18.98
26 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended
To one generation, the name Doris Troy conjures memories of a glorious 1963 pop hit called Just One Look; to another, she was one of the back-up singers on Pink Floyd's landmark 1973 album "Dark Side of the Moon." Whichever way one chooses to remember her, Troy's career as a singer of the first rank cannot be disputed, and this collection has come along as irrefutable proof to support that assumption. This career-spanning compilation features singles and LP cuts from the Calla, Atlantic, Capitol, Shirley, Arliss, Everest, Cameo-Parkway, Wand, and Apple labels. Just to show how comprehensive this collection is, Doris' session work is also represented; for example, the Wand cuts are Doris backing up Chuck Jackson. And we get generous doses of Doris' songwriting, something she did quite successfully for herself (she co-wrote Just One Look) and others. All of her classics are here: Just One Look/ What'cha Gonna Do About It/ Heartaches, two tracks from her first Apple LP, the George Harrison co-written and produced Ain't That Cute and You Tore Me Up Inside, and I'll Do Anything. From gospel singer to R&B singer to pop singer, to world-class session/back-up singer, and back to gospel singer, Doris Troy has done it all, and "I'll Do Anything" is a towering testament to her immense talent. (GMC)

 
IKE & TINA TURNER BGO BGOCD 942 Come Together/ 'Nuff Said ● CD $18.98
23 tracks, highly recommended
Two excellent Ike & Tina LPs from 1970 and '71 issued on Liberty and United Artists find the duo in fine form on a collection of R&B, soul and black rock. "Come Together" is mostly drawn from singles including their hit versions of The Beatles title song and Sly & The Family Stone's I Want To Take You Higher. It also includes their superb cover of The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman with most of the rest being compositions by Ike. "'Nuff Said" was a full studio album and mostly features songs co-composed by Ike and has a black rock feel showing the influence of Sly & The Family Stone. The two part title song is a blues-rock instrumental workout. Ike & Tina are accompanied by the great Kings Of Rhythm (renamed Family Vibes for the second album) with vocal backups from The Ikettes. Some of the tracks on these albums are a bit more rock flavored than I care for but these are solid performances throughout. Newly remastered and with extensively annotated booklet. (FS)

 
IKE & TINA TURNER Hip-O Select 15367-02 River Deep ~ Mountain High ● CD $18.98
12 tracks, 36 mins, recommended
Straight re-issue (available for the first time in years as a domestic CD) of this recorded in 1966/released in 1969 LP. As most people know, the title track was Phil Spector's last major Wall-of-Sound production before he went into spiteful temporary retirement, after the single flopped in the U.S. Apparently, there was supposed to be an entire album, produced by Spector, to be released on his Philles label in 1967; as it turned out, what we got was this hodgepodge of half helmed by Spector - A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Every Day)/ I'll Never Need More Than This/ Save the Last Dance For Me/ Hold On Baby/ Every Day I Have to Cry, and the title track-and the rest helmed by Ike. The juxtaposition of Spector's everything-but-the-kitchen sink, atmospheric tracks with Ike's gritty, no-non sense R&B isn't as jarring as one might think, and the album holds together surprisingly well. The remakes of early Ike & Tina hits, A Fool in Love/ It's Gonna Work Out Fine, and I Idolize You, are ok, while Such a Fool For You is a typical Ike & Tina barn burner. River Deep Mountain High remains the classic it's been for 45 years, while the other Spector tracks do apt justice to Tina's soaring vocals. All 'n' all, a welcome re-issue indeed, although docked a notch for no bonus tracks or truly informative liner notes. (GMC)

 
SPENCER WIGGINS Kent CDKEND 340 Feed The Flame: The Fame And XL Recordings ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, 67 min., essential
After Rick Hall (of Fame Records) bought Wiggins' contract from the floundering Goldwax Records, he send him straight to the studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The results of those and later sessions (as well as Wiggins' final Goldwax outing) appear on this excellent release. Recorded between 1969-73, these sides, made at Fame and Sounds Of Memphis (many previously unreleased) are every bit the equal of Wiggins' earlier work (also available on Ace/ Kent). It's deep southern soul recorded the way it should be. Wiggins' voice, which is two parts Bobby Bland and one part O.V. Wright sounds vibrant and strong on the classic This Time, the much sought after I'm At The Breaking Point, This Love Is Gonna Be True, Holding On To A Dying Love, the ballad Love Works That Way, Make Me Yours,and more. Wiggins even turns out a James Brown-esque funk workout called Love Machine and funks it up some more on Love Attack. Used to be impossible to find this guy's records, so it's especially nice to have these great recordings made available. And Kent/Ace does its usual quality job all around. Impressive stuff. (JC)

 
MAURICE WILLIAMS Black Tulip 39227 And The Zodiacs And The Gladiolas ● CD $18.98
33 tracks, highly recommended
Terrific retrospective of top notch doo-wop and proto-soul featuring the fine lead vocals of Maurice Williams with his groups The Gladiolas and The Zodiacs. It ranges from his iconic hit Little Darlin with the Gladiolas recorded in 1957 for Excello through to his 1968 remake of his 1960 classic Stay (the original is also included here). The group started as the Junior Harmonizers gospel group and the Royal Charms, then, switching to original material they signed with Excello as the Gladiolas (1956-57) before changing their name to the Zodiacs and recording briefly for Cole and Selwyn in 1959. They signed to Al Silver's Herald label with a change in personnel and recorded some of their jumping-est sides, many of which became regular "Beach" dance classics in the Carolinas. This disc includes many of their familiar Excello and Herald recordings along with fine, lesser known sides, for Cole, Selwyn, Soma, Scepter and other labels. As the 60s progress the group's moved in a soul direction. Throughout the singing, songs and arrangements are excellent and sound quality is excellent. It's a shame that there are no notes but it's the music that counts and there are no problems with that. (FS)

 

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