Blues & Gospel - New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011 - Various Artists

 

New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011
Blues & Gospel
Various Artists

   

NEW COMPACT DISCS

   
VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 1266 More Miles Than Money ● CD $25.98
2CD, 38 tracks, 140 mins, highly recommended
Garth Cartwright wrote a book about his travels through America's musical back roads ("More Miles Than Money: Journeys Through American Music"  - $15.95), and Ace Records compiled a "soundtrack" of music that reflects the spirit of the book. Cartwright's great loves are "roots" music and Tex-Mex/Tejano, and those styles are represented here by the likes of Billy Joe Shaver, Alejandro Escovedo, Selena, Lydia Mendoza, Lefty Fizzell, Townes Van Zandt, Jimmie Rodgers, and more. Blues and R&B also get a look-in with appearances by Memphis Minnie, Sonny Boy Williamson, R.L. Burnside, Bessie Smith, The Dells, O.V. Wright, and others. The bases are well covered for a general overview of American music, both past and present, and no major genre (except jazz) is left unheard - even Native American music. There's even a few unsung gems here (Linda Lyndell, The Goodees) that deserve a listen. Fans of the book will no doubt enjoy hearing the music talked about in its pages, while to the uninitiated the collection might come across as a random selection of (good) tracks, some of which can be found elsewhere. Either way, there is no disputing the wealth of music included here and its place in American culture; besides, one can't deny a collection put together with as much obvious love and care as this one. (GMC)
BIG GEORGE BROCK: Down South/ R.L. BURNSIDE: Over The Hill/ JIMMY CASTOR: Hey Leroy (Your Mama's Calling You)/ RADMILLA CODY: Corn Grinding Song/ THE DELLS: Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay/ HONEYBOY EDWARDS & CAREY BELL: Every Now And Then/ ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO: Castanets/ JOHNNY FARMER & ORGANISED NOIZE: Death Letter/ LEFTY FRIZZELL: How Far Down Can I Go/ THE GOODEES: Didn't Know Love Was So Good/ J.J. GREY & MOFRO: Turpentine/ THE IMPRESSIONS: I Gotta Keep On Moving/ MABLE JOHN: Able Mable/ DIANA JONES: Pony/ JUNIOR KIMBROUGH: Sad Days, Lonely Nights/ FURRY LEWIS: John Henry/ LUKE THE DRIFTER (HANK WILLIAMS): Ramblin' Man/ LINDA LYNDELL: I Don't Know/ MARIACHI LOS GAVILANES DE OAKLAND: Los Traficantes De Michoacan/ MEMPHIS MINNIE: Nothing In Rambling/ LYDIA MENDOZA: Mi Problema/ PIPESTONE: Crazy Love Life/ KELL ROBERTSON: Texas Hood Song/ JIMMIE RODGERS: Standing On The Corner (Blue Yodel #9)/ BOBBY RUSH: It's Alright/ SAM THE SHAM & THE PHAROAHS: I Couldn't Spell !!*@!/ GIANT SAND: Astonished (In Memphis)/ SELENA: Bidi Bidi Bom Bom/ BILLY JOE SHAVER & JOHNNY CASH: You Just Can't Beat Jesus Christ/ MARLENA SHAW: Woman Of The Ghetto/ BESSIE SMITH: Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer/ T-MODEL FORD & SHRIVE ALIVE: If I Had Wings/ HOUND DOG TAYLOR: Sitting At Home Alone/ TOWNES VAN ZANDT: Flying Shoes/ DALE WATSON: Aint That Livin'/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Mighty Long Time/ CHARLES WRIGHT: A Mother's Love/ O.V. WRIGHT WITH THE KEYS: That's How Strong My Love Is

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Arhoolie 518 Hear Me Howling ● CD $53.98
4 CDs bound in a 136 page, 8 1/2 x 11" full color, hardcover book, 72 tracks, 280 mins, essential
This gorgeous package celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the world's great labels devoted to American vernacular music. Arhoolie was the brainchild and is the life long passion of German immigrant Chris Strachwitz whose family emigrated to California in the 1940s where Chris was able to indulge his zeal for the American music that he first heard when his mother brought home some 78s after a visit to the USA. In 1959 he made his first trip to the South in the company of blues expert Paul Oliver recording artists along the way that would provide the nucleus for Arhoolie. Initially a blues label Chris's interests are diverse and over the years he has travelled throughout the USA many times and recorded and reissued a vast range of American vernacular music and in the process has popularized music that was little known outside its local community. In 2000 Arhoolie issued a five CD Grammy winning box set (Arhoolie 491 - $49.98) that covered the whole spectrum of Chris's recording endeavors. This set takes a somewhat different approach featuring recordings made in Chris's own backyard - the San Francisco Bay Area including studio recordings, home recordings and live performances featuring local artists and visiting performers. Over half the tracks are previously unissued and many others were previously only available on Arhoolie 45s and LPs and the set includes a number of artists who never appeared on regular Arhoolie releases including Lonnie Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis and Skip James - the five incredible tracks by the latter, including songs not recorded elsewhere, recorded at Chris's house are worth the price of admission. The recordings were made between 1954 and 1971 and includes country blues (Big Joe Williams, Bukka White, Lightnin' Hopkins, Fred McDowell, etc.), traditional jazz (Bob Mielke's Bearcats), folk music (Toni Brown, Bob Neurwirth, Alice Stuart, etc.), black gospel (Rev. Louis Overstreet), bluegrass (Vern & Ray), zydeco (John Semien, Clifton Chenier) and even some avant garde jazz (NOW Creative Arts Ensemble, Smiley Winters, etc.). Most importantly, even though many of these tracks have not been out before the music is consistently superb.
Disc one starts with two cuts from 1954 of Jesse Fuller at Jesse's home in Oakland which marks the recording debuts for both Chris and Jesse. Disc two opens with the original 1965 recording made at Chris's home of an acoustic Country Joe & The Fish doing I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die Rag for release as a 45 to accompany the magazine Rag Baby. Asked by Joe what he wanted for payment Chris told him he didn't need payment but if Joe didn't have a publisher he would handle the publishing for him. Two years later the song was used in the multi million selling Woodstock soundtrack and became an anti Vietnam war anthem and Chris's publishing royalties enabled him to buy the building which has housed Arhoolie ever since. Complementing the music is the wonderful book written by Adam Machado which tells the story of Arhoolie and discusses the local music scene and has in depth profiles of all the artists featured and discusses Chris's involvement with them and is illustrated with more than 150 great photos - many previously unpublished. A wonderful tribute to a great man and a great label. (FS)
TONI BROWN +: Don't Forget Me, Love/ How Could I Stand It/ You Turned Your Back/ CLIFTON CHENIER: Louisiana Rock/ Mr. Charlie/ COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH +: I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag/ CRABGRASS +: Charles Giteau/ BARBARA DANE: Deportees/ REV. GARY DAVIS*: Courtin' Boy/ Floor Sweepin' Boy/ I'm a Soldier/ MERCY DEE: Lady Luck/ K.C. DOUGLAS AND BAND: Hear Me Howling/ Night Shirt Blues/ I Know You Didn't Want Me/ Stop Time/ THE FONDETTES +: The Beatles are in Town/ JESSE FULLER*: Brother Low Down/ Hump in My Back/ DEBBIE GREEN*: Who's Going to Be My Man?/ THE HACKBERRRY RAMBLERS*: Turtle Tail/ THE HACKBERRY RAMBLERS*: Grand Texas/ Jolie Blonde/ JERRY HAHN: In the Breeze/ MERRITT HERRING +: Talking Protest Blues/ LIGHTNING HOPKINS: Up on Telegraph (Avenue)/ Tom Moore's Farm/ SKIP JAMES*: 22-20 Blues (Mr. Kress)/ Low Down Dirty Things/ No Special Lover/ Peace in the Valley/ Sea Walking Jesus/ LONNIE JOHNSON*: Brenda/ Stand Alone Blues/ THE JOY OF COOKING*: Midnight Blues/ PERRY LEDERMAN +: Eventually/ Impressions of John Henry/ MANCE LIPSCOMB: Mean Boss Man/ Sugar Babe/ The Titanic/ Willie Poor Boy/ FRED MCDOWELL: Louise/ Shake 'Em on Down/ Write Me a Few of Your Lines/ BOB MIELKE'S BEARCATS +: Moose March/ BOB NEUWIRTH*: Come See/ NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND +: What Am I Doing Here?/ NOW CREATIVE ARTS ENSEMBLE +: Pretty Good/ REV. LOUIS OVERSTREET*: The Old Ship of Zion/ Working on a Building/ JOHN SEMIEN & THE OPELOUSAS PLAYBOYS*: Bye Bye Rosa/ JOHN SEMIEN & THE OPELOUSAS PLAYBOYS +: Chi Ca Nai/ JOHN SEMIEN & THE OPELOUSAS PLAYBOYS*: Monsieur Leonard/ SONNY SIMMONS: The Beauty of Isis/ THE SKID BAND*: Berkeley's Junko Partner/ Tight Like That/ JANET SMITH +: Lady Gay/ ALICE STUART: Black Jack David/ T.A. TALBOTT +: Depression Gone from Me/ T.A. TALBOTT*: Mr. Brakeman/ SONNY TERRY*: Changed the Lock on my Door/ BIG MAMA THORNTON*: 'Fore Day in the Mornin'/ Ball and Chain/ Hound Dog/ VERN & RAY*: Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong/ The Touch of God's Hand/ BUKKA WHITE*: Bald Eagle Train (take 1)/ BIG JOE WILLIAMS: Greystone (Alameda County Jail) Blues/ Oakland Blues/ Highway 49/ STANLEY WILLIS*: To Be a Thief/ SMILEY WINTERS: To 'Trane (aka: Two Trains)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Arhoolie 539 The Best Of Sacred Steel ● CD $13.98
16 tracks, highly recommended
Although steel guitar based black gospel music is now a familiar part of the musical landscape it wasn't until the 1996 release "Sacred Steel" by Arhoolie (Arhoolie 450 - $12.98) that this musical style first achieved worldwide attention. Although not unknown in black gospel music it seems as though this style is predominantly a feature of the Keith & Jewel Dominions of the Holiness-Pentecostal church centered in Florida. This superb collection features 16 tracks drawn from six of the ten albums of sacred steel issued on Arhoolie. There are two tracks by one of the pioneers of the style - Brother Willie Eason who first recorded in the 1930s including his great "rap" about the life and death of President Roosevelt. Other artists include Glenn Lee - the first sacred steel musician to use a pedal steel plus Darick Campbell, Robert Randolph, Calvin Cooke, Footie Covington and others. More than half the tracks are instrumnental and most of the artists are accompanied by a rhythm section. Includes informative notes by Robert L. Stone author of the book "Sacred Steel: Inside An African American Steel Guitar Tradition." (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS BGP CDBGP 222 The Gospel Truth - The Gospel Soul And Funk Of Stax ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 78 mins, highly recommended
During the late 60's and early 70's, Al Bell of Stax Records wanted to expose gospel artists to a wider audience. So, he hit upon the idea of having these messengers of the Lord record songs that appeared spiritual, but would appeal to everyone and feature modern musical arrangements. Bell tested this plan first on the Staple Singers, whom he had signed to Stax in 1968, and their early tracks When Will We Be Paid For the Work We Did and Brand New Day set the tone for the hits - Respect Yourself and I'll Take You There - that would come at the turn of the decade. Bell set up the Gospel Truth label at the end of 1971, which would be aimed at a "youth gospel market" and would make use of "contemporary backup", in response to the Staple Singers' success. The collection of tracks included here are a testament to Bell's vision and love of gospel music: the songs have a musical flavor in step with the times, and lyrics that are uplifting without being preachy. But most of all, the songs sound fabulous with grooves and vocals that just won't quite. The Rance Allen Group get down with Talk That Talk, Pt.1 and a cover of Archie Bell & the Drells' (There's Gonna Be a) Showdown, while the Marion Gaines Singers, the Howard Lemon Singers, Clarence Smith, and The Sons of Truth all contribute stunning performances. This CD documents a forgotten musical subdivision and label of early 70's soul, and I hope the folks at BGP are planning a second volume. (GMC)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS BGP BGPCD 229 Shattered Dreams - Funky Blues, 1967-1978 ● CD $18.98
21 tracks, 71 mins, highly recommended
While there is a tendency to think that the African-American audience had abandoned the blues as a popular music by the late 60s this is not completely true. As has been the case over the years, blues continually reinvents itself and in the late 60s it started adding elements of soul and funk to the blues sound and the result is most certainly still blues but with a somewhat different feel. This superb collection is mostly drawn from material from the archives of the Modern group of labels, Johnny Otis's studios and Stax and includes a number of previously unissued sides. There are tracks here by Albert King, Little Milton and Lowell Fulson who started succesful careers in the 40s and 50s and continued as stars in the 60s and 70s with their style adapted to the times. Johnny Otis and his band returned to the charts for the first time in 11 years in 1969 with his funky duet with Delmar Evans on Country Girl with son Shuggie on guitar. Other artists here include down home bluesman Slim Green with a funky 1971 remake of his 1959 song Shake 'Em Up, Al King, Icewater Slim, Smokey Wilson (underrated bluesman with the superb soul blues ballad You Shattered My Dreams), Larry Davis (the terrific, previously unissued The Whole World's Down On You), Arthur K. Adams, Little Sonny and more. The disc ends with a bit of a tease featuring the brilliant and underrarted L.A. bluesman Ray Agee with the great Tough Competition with superb soulful vocals and a great band with tough guitar but is the only track on the album not discussed in the notes. Ray recorded a song with that name for a couple of different tiny labels in the 60s and 70s but this version is listed as "unissued" - so what gives Ace? Do you have some more by him up your sleeve? I sure hope so! (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Blue Label 308772 Bullet Records Jump Blues & Ballads ● CD $11.98
25 tracks, 69 mins, highly recommended
A terrific collection of sides recorded in the late 40s/ early 50s - about half appearing on CD for the first time. Most of the ballads here are provided by the superb Cecil Gant who has three songs including a remake of his classic I Wonder. Also on the ballad front is the Red Miller Trio with his 1946 chart topping version of Bewildered which was also a no. 1 hit that year for Amos Milburn. There are four cuts from the maginificent singer and piano player Walter Davis who recorded extensively in the 30s and 40s. Three of the songs are in a similar vein to his early sides - slow, minor key songs but the fourth finds him tackling an upbeat R&B song - it doesn't quite come off but is a nice surprise. This disc features the earliest recordindings of two artists who would become blues giants - Willie Dixon (with his jivey Big THree Trio) and B.B. King. Other artists include blues shouter Chuck Merrill, the excellent Sherman Williams Combo, Max Bailey (another fine blues shouter), Tucker Coles (the great hard driving House Rockers Jamboree, probably recorded in New Orleans), Don Q and others. Sound is genrally excellent and there are informative notes from Fred James. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Chief 7000 The Best Of Chief Records, Vol. 1 ● CD $17.98
22 tracks, highly recommended
Not a new release but not reviewed before. First of three volumes featuring recordings made for Mel London's Chicago based Chief and Profile labels between 1956 and 1962. A great collection of Chicago blues, doo-wop and black rockabilly (the classic Look Out Mabel by G.L. Crockett) and a couple of pop rock numbers from Terri Anders including a nice cover of All In MY Mind. The blues tracks have all been reissued before but if you don't have them here's a chance to get some great sides by Junior Wells (often with Earl Hooker), Elmore James, Lillian Offitt (three songs including her classic Will My Man Be Home Tonight with great slide guitar from Earl Hooker), Magic Sam and Earl Hooker (two hot instrumental sides). The doo-wop sides by The Serenaders and The Elites are less familiar and are fine, mostly uptempo black doowop - the former with tough sax and the latter with fine guitar (Earl Hooker?). Excellent sound but no notes. (FS)
TERRI ANDERS: All In My Mind/ Come Back My Love/ G. DAVY CROCKETT: Look Out Mabel/ THE ELITES: Come On Dance/ Dapper Dan/ Darling What About You/ EARL HOOKER: Rockin' Wild/ Universal Rock/ ELMORE JAMES: Calling All Blues/ It Hurts Me Too/ Knocking At Your Door/ Take Me Where You Go/ MAGIC SAM: Do the Camel Walk/ LILLIAN OFFITT: My Man Is a Lover/ The Man Won't Work/ Will My Man Be Home Tonight/ THE SERENADERS: A Sinner In Love/ Pajama Song/ JUNIOR WELLS: Galloping Horses and a Lazy Mule/ I Need Me a Car/ Lovey Dovey Lovely One/ Messin' With the Kid

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Chief 7001 The Best Of Chief Records, Vol. 2 ● CD $17.98
22 tracks, highly recommended
Another fine collection drawn from the Chief and Profile label recorded in Chicago in the late 50s and early 60s. Blues is represented by Lillian Offitt, Junior Wells, Elmore James (the first Elmore James cut I ever heard Coming Home and still one of my all time favorites of his), Magic Sam, and Earl Hooker. G. Davy Crockett is here with the fine blues ballad Did You Ever Love Someone with tough guitar by Louis Myers. We have fine rocking doo-wop from The Labradors and The Duchesses and Bobby & Lucy are an excellent R&B duo. The set is rounded out by a cut by Chief owner Mel LOndon - the pseudo calypso The Man From The Island which makes one glad he didn't give up his day job as producer. (FS)
BOBBY & LUCY: I Feel So Strange/ It's Nothing/ G. DAVY CROCKETT: Did You Ever Love Someone/ THE DUCHESSES: Every Boy In Town/ Will I Ever Make It/ THE FOUR DUCHESSES: Queen Without a King/ EARL HOOKER: Rockin' With the Kid/ ELMORE JAMES: Coming Home/ THE LABRADORS: Queen of Swing/ MEL LONDON: The Man From the Island/ MAGIC SAM: Blue Light Boogie/ Everynight About This Time/ Square Dance Rock Part 1/ Square Dance Rock Part 2/ LILLIAN OFFITT: Oh Mama/ Shine On/ Troubles/ JUNIOR WELLS: Cha Cha Cha In Blue/ It Hurts Me Too/ Love Me/ Two Headed Woman/ You Sure Look Good To Me

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Chief 7002 The Best Of Chief Records, Vol. 3 ● CD $17.98
I can't say too much about the third volume as the copy we have doesn't play but it looks like another fine selection with tracks from Tobin Matthews (rock 'n' roll), Junior Wells, Elmore James, The Elites, Mel London, Frank Butler, Melvin Simpson, Earl Hooker, The Duchesses, The Labradors and Magic Sam
FRANK BUTLER: Girl of My Dreams/ I Can't Believe It/ THE ELITES: Jack the Ripper/ Mama Look At Me/ The Blues/ THE FIVE DUCHESSES: Cry For Me Baby/ EARL HOOKER: Blues in "D" Natural/ ELMORE JAMES: Cry For My Baby/ Elmore's Contribution to Jazz/ The Twelve Year Old Boy/ THE LABRADORS: When Someone Loves You/ MEL LONDON: Doggin' Me Round/ MAGIC SAM: My Love Is Your Love/ You Don't Have to Work/ TOBIN MATTHEWS: Irish Washerwoman/ Leather Jacket Cowboy/ Ruby Duby Du/ Steel Guitar Rag/ MAGIC SAM: Mr. Charlie/ MELVIN SIMPSON: I Love My Baby/ Try and Understand/ JUNIOR WELLS: Come On In This House/ I Could Cry/ I'm a Stranger/ So Tired/ The Things I'd Do For You

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fantastic Voyage 070 Let Me Tell You About The Blues - Detroit ● CD $22.98
Three CDs, 75 tracks, highly recommended
Although Detroit had substantial African-American population in the 40s and 50s it didn't have a significant recording industry catering to that population until the arrival of Motown. Of the handful of record labels that existed only Jack Brown's Fortune label had any kind of national distribution. Other labels like JVB and Sensation were primarily local endeavors though owners Joe Von Battle and Bernie Bessman were able to achieve some degree of distribution through license deals with bigger independents - the most notable being the recordings of John Lee Hooker whose licensing deal with Modern was to lead to his subsequent success. This fine collection of 75 sides is therefore only a snapshot of what was a thriving musical scene in the 40s and 50s. The first two discs are devoted to down home and country blues and includes several of the more obscure Hooker titles plus a couple of the field recordings made in 1938 by superb country bluesmen Calvin Frazier and Sampson Pittman. There are some amazing cuts by Robert Richard and Walter Mitchell featuring two harmonicas, singer/ harmonica player Eddie Burns, singer guitarist Sylvester Cotton (including his delightfully risque Sak Relation Blues), the last recordings of Big Maceo, early sides by Louisiana Red issued as by Playboy Fuller and much more. The third disc is devoted to the urban jump blues style and includes sides by Paul Williams, T.J. Fowler, Wild Bill Moore, Maurice King & His Wolverines, Joe Weaver and His Blue Notes and others. Booklet has informative but brief notes by Neil Slaven but no discographical data. Sound quality is excellent. Most of these tracks have been out before but it's nice to have these together in a well compiled collection. (FS)
ALBERTA ADAMS: Remember/ BIG MACEO: Without You My Life Don't Mean A Thing/ Worried Life Blues No 2/ JOHN BRIM: Bus Driver/ Mean Man Blues/ Strange Man/ EDDIE BURNS: Dealing With The Devil/ Hello Miss Jessie Lee/ Where Did You Stay Last Night/ SYLVESTER COTTON: Sak-Relation Blues/ Stormy Weather Blues/ Ugly Woman Blues/ DETROIT COUNT: Hastings Street Opera (Part 1)/ Hastings Street Opera (Part 2)/ Little Tillie Willie/ ANDREW DUNHAM: Hattie Mae/ Sweet Lucy/ T.J. FOWLER: Red Hot Blues/ Say Baby Say/ T.J. Boogie/ CALVIN FRAZIER: A Double Crossing Woman/ Got Nobody To Tell My Troubles To/ Little Baby Child/ Rock House/ PLAYBOY FULLER: Gonna Play My Guitar/ Sugar Cane Highway/ L.C. GREEN: 38 Pistol Blues/ Goin' Down To The River Blues/ Hastings Street Boogie/ LENA HALL: Five Long Years/ ROBERT HENRY: Old Battle Ax/ HARVEY HILL: She Fool Me/ JOHN LEE HOOKER: Henry's Swing Club/ I Do Like I Please/ I'm A Boogie Man/ I'm In The Mood/ Never Satisfied/ No More Doggin'/ JOHNNY HOWARD: Dark Night Blues/ Natural Man Blues/ SAM KELLY: Ramblin' Around Blues/ MAURICE KING & HIS WOLVERINES: I Feel So Good/ I Want A Lavender Cadillac/ EDDIE KIRKLAND: It's Time For Lovin' To Be Done/ No Shoes/ That's All Right/ THE KOOL KATS: That's The Best I Can Do For You Blues/ LITTLE MISS SHARECROPPER: I Want To Rock/ WALTER MITCHELL: Pet Milk Blues/ Stop Messin' Around/ WILD BILL MOORE: Burnt Toast/ We're Gonna Rock/ ONE STRING SAM: I Need A $100.00/ My Baby Ooo/ SLIM PICKENS: Notoriety Woman/ SAMPSON PITTMAN: Highway 61 Blues/ ROBERT RICHARD: Cadillac Woman/ Root Hog/ GIP (SANDMAN) ROBERTS: No One Monkey Goin' To Run My Show/ EMMIT SLAY: Beulah/ Looky Ploot/ HENRY SMITH: Good Rockin' Mama/ Lonesome Blues/ KITTY STEVENSON: It Ain't Right/ JAMES TAYLOR: Little Bitty Woman/ JOE VON BATTLE: Lookin' For My Woman/ BABY BOY WARREN: Chicken/ Hello Stranger/ My Special Friend Blues/ Sanafee (Not Welcome Anymore)/ WASHBOARD WILLIE: Washboard Blues (Part 1)/ JOE WEAVER & HIS BLUE NOTES: J.B. Boogie/ PAUL WILLIAMS: The Hucklebuck/ Thirty-Five-Thirty/ SONNY WILSON: The Rainy Day Blues

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fantastic Voyage 077 Gospel Celebrities & Celestial Lights ● CD $19.98
Two CDs, 52 tracks, very highly recommended
Another stellar collection of gospel from the late 40s and the 50s compiled by the indefatigable Opal Louis Nations. The selection is varied including some familiar artists and groups (The Soul Stirrers, Mahalia Jackson, Staple Singers, Golden Gate Quartet, etc) but often featured in obscure titles, alternate takes or live performances. There are a number of tracks featuring artists who are best known as R&B or soul singers - Ollie Nightingale, The Orioles, Joe Hinton, Candi Staton (with The Jewel Gospel Singers), Lou Rawls (with The Chosen Gospel Singers), Bobby Womack (at 10 years old with The Womack Brothers), Judy Clay (as Judy Guions with The Drinkard Singers). We also have a couple of spellbinding slide guitar instrumental versions of gospel songs from bluesman Jesse Fuller and a very black sounding Just A Little Talk With Jesus from 1950 by country gospel group The Jordanaires who later went on to back Elvis and others artists. Whatever the provenance the music is superb - much of it appearing on CD for the first time. Sound quality is superb and there are brief notes by Opal. (FS)
REV MORGAN BABB & THE PHILCO SINGERS: Cold Cold Ground/ Dedication To Mother/ LAVERN BAKER & THE ALEX BRADFORD SINGERS: In The Upper Room/ NAPPY BROWN WITH THE SELAH SINGERS: I Want To Go To Heaven And Rest/ ANN COLE & THE COLEMANAIRES: Be Ready When He Comes/ LITTLE JOE COOK & THE EVENING STAR QUARTET: Say A Prayer For The Boys In Korea/ SAM COOKE & THE SOUL STIRRERS: Jesus, Wash Away My Troubles (alternate)/ ETHEL DAVENPORT WITH BROWNIE MCGHEE: I'm Tired/ THE DIXIE HUMMINGBIRDS: I'll Live Again/ THE DIXIEHUMMINGBIRDS & ANGELIC GOSPEL SINGE: Today (Evening Song)/ BILL DOGGETT QUINTET WITH SISTER DOROTHY WILL: Strange Things Happening Every Day/ THE FIVE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA: Coming Up Thru The Years/ JESSE FULLER: Amazing Grace [instrumental]/ Hark From The Tomb/ THE GOLDEN GATE QUARTET: Have Thine Own Way/ I'm A Pilgrim/ THE GOSPEL CLEFS: Big Wheel/ Book Of Revelations/ Steal Away To Jesus/ JUDY GUIONS & THE DRINKARD SINGERS: Somebody Touched Me/ GOLDIA HAYNES WITH JOE LIGGINS: This Old World/ JOE HINTON: Ladder Of Prayer/ MAHALIA JACKSON: Each Day [live]/ When He Spoke (live)/ THE JORDANAIRES: Just A Little Talk With Jesus/ MARIE KNIGHT & THE SENSATIONAL NIGHTINGALES: On Revival Day/ Satisfied With Jesus/ LITTLE RICHARD: Talking About My Mother [alt take]/ ODESSA MCCASTLE & CATHERINE BURKES WITH THE ANT: Search Me Lord/ GEORGE MCCURN & THE PILGRIM TRAVELERS: God Has Promised [fragments, live]/ OLLIE NIGHTINGALE & THE DIXIE NIGHTINGALES: I've Got A New Home/ Living For My Jesus/ THE ORIOLES: Robe Of Calvary/ LOU RAWLS & THE CHOSEN GOSPEL SINGERS: Won't Be Back/ THE SENSATIONAL WONDERS: Walk Around Me My Lord/ THE SIMS BROTHERS: Ocean Of Prayer/ THE SOUL SEEKERS: I'm Serving The Lord/ Mother Take Your Rest/ On The Rock/ THE SOUL STIRRERS: Last Mile Of The Way [take 2]/ THE STAPLE SINGERS: Low Is The Way [original version]/ Since He Lightened My Heavy Load/ This May Be The Last Time [original]/ This Same Jesus/ CANDI STATON & THE JEWEL GOSPEL TRIO: Too Late/ SISTER ROSETTA THARPE & THE HARMONIZING FOUR: I Can Hear The Angels/ MARION WILLIAMS: When He Calls Me/ BOBBY WOMACK & THE WOMACK BROTHERS: The Bible Tells Me So/ DEWEY YOUNG & THE SWAN SILVERTONES: Jesus Brought Me-I Found Joy [fragments, live]/ THE ZION TRAVELERS: Beautiful City/ Believe In Me/ I May Never Pass This Way Again

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fantastic Voyage 078 Let Me Tell You About The Blues - Nashville ● CD $22.98
Three CDs, 75 tracks, highly recommended
Though best known as a country music center Nashville was also the home of a thriving blues and R&B recording industry. Principal among the labels were Bullet, Republic, Tennessee, Nashboro and Excello, with a welter of smaller ones such as World, Mecca, J-B and Cheker. This collection provides a great selection of recordings made for these and other labels between 1946 and 1959. The Bullet label was launched in 1946 with records by Wynonie Harris and 'G.I. Singsation' Cecil Gant; Harris moved on but Gant became a prolific Bullet artist, soon joined by bluesmen Rudy Greene, Walter Davis(the last recordings of this great prewar bluesman) , Max (Blues) Bailey and Rufus Thomas (disguised as Mr Swing.) Bullet was joined in 1951 by Republic, Tennessee and Nashboro, the latter run by Ernie Young, owner of Ernie's Record Mart. Tennessee's most popular artist was Christine Kittrell, a talented and powerful singer who never achieved nationwide fame, while Republic's Bernard Hardison cut the original version of Too Much, later made a hit by Elvis. Starting in 1952, Excello soon swept its competition aside with a roster of artists that included Kid King's Combo, Shy Guy Douglas, Max Bailey, Arthur Gunter (two tracks including his original recording of Baby Let's Play House, subsequently recorded by Elvis), Gunter's brother Little Al, Louis Brooks, Good Rockin' Sam, Louis Campbell, Clarence Samuels (with hot guitar from Johnny Copeland) and Jerry McCain, alongside a host of less commercial but no less interesting talent like Slim Hunt, the Dixie Doodlers, the Leap Frogs, the Blue Flamers and the Blues Rockers. Most of recordings were small group urban flavored titles but Julius King's great If You See My Lover is pure country blues. If you have the out of print Bear Family box "Nashville Jumps" then you have a lot of the tracks here, but if not then this provides a valuable insight into the sparsely documented story of Nashville blues. Sound is excellent and Neil Slaven provides brief but informative notes. (FS)
LITTLE MAXIE BAILEY: Brownskin Woman Blues/ Drive Soldiers Drive/ MAX (BLUES) BAILEY: Delinquency Blues/ JIMMY BECK & HIS ORCHESTRA: Pipe Dreams/ THE BLUE FLAMERS: Driving Down The Highway/ THE BLUE JACKS: Late Hours Blues/ LOUIS BROOKS: It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)/ TOMMY BROOKS: Steam Pressing Woman/ LOUIS BROOKS & THE HI-TOPPERS: Bus Station Blues/ BEULAH BRYANT: Prize Fightin' Papa/ LEWIS CAMPBELL: Call On The Phone/ Don't Want Nobody Hangin' Around/ LOUIS CAMPBELL: Gotta Have You Baby/ The Natural Facts/ TUCKER COLES: Don't Get Excited/ GAY CROSSE: No Better For You/ WALTER DAVIS: Move Back To The Woods/ THE DIXIE DOODLERS: Best Of Friends/ She Was All I Had/ DON Q ORCHESTRA: Tom, Tom The Piper's Son/ SHY GUY DOUGLAS: Detroit Arrow/ I'm Your Country Man/ Wasted Time/ TOM DOUGLAS: Raid On Cedar Street/ CHARLIE DOWELL BAND: Wail Daddy/ HELEN FOSTER: I Got A Big Fat Daddy/ Somebody Somewhere/ EARL GAINES WITH LOUIS BROOKS & HIS HI-TOPPER: I Don't Need You Now/ CECIL GANT: Bullet Boogie/ Nashville Jumps/ Train Time Blues/ GOOD ROCKIN' SAM: Don't Let Daddy Slow Walk You Down/ RUDY GREEN: Cool Lovin' Mama/ Evil Man Blues/ ARTHUR GUNTER: Baby Let's Play House/ Blues After Hours/ BERNARD HARDISON: Hey Little Girl/ Too Much/ BERNIE HARDISON: Love Me Baby/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Dig This Boogie/ My Baby's Barrel House/ J.D. HORTON: Why Don't You Let Me Be/ SLIM HUNT: Lonesome For My Baby/ SHERMAN JOHNSON: Back Alley Boogie/ EDDIE JONES: Certainly All/ Feelin' Sad/ JULIUS KING: If You See My Lover/ KID KING'S COMBO: Chocolate Sundae/ Skip's Boogie/ The Brass Rail/ CHRISTINE KITTRELL: Don't Do It/ I Ain't Nothing But A Fool/ Old Man You're Slipping/ Sittin' Here Drinking/ THE LEAP FROGS: Dirty Britches/ Things Gonna Change/ LITTLE AL: Little Lean Woman/ No Jive/ LITTLE EDDIE: My Baby Left Me/ BILLIE MCALLISTER: Well Alright Baby/ JERRY MCCAIN: Courtin' In A Cadillac/ That's What They Want/ TOMMY MCGHEE: Late Every Evening/ MR SWING (RUFUS THOMAS): Beer Bottle Boogie/ Gonna Bring My Baby Back/ FORD NELSON: Little Annie/ Still Feelin' Sad/ LILLIAN OFFITT: Miss You So/ BLUES ROCKERS: Johnny Mae/ CHARLES RUCKLES: Pitch A Boogie Woogie/ ROBERT TUCKER: Changeable Woman/ It Sure Costs Money To Live/ VIVIAN VERSON: Payday Lover/ IONA WADE & SHERMAN WILLIAMS: Keep Your Man At Home/ SHERMAN WILLIAMS: I'm Lucky With My Brown Gal

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fantastic Voyage 095 Let Me Tell You About The Blues - New Orleans ● CD $22.98
The third volume in this fine series of three CD sets devoted to recordings made in various cities is devoted to the great city of New Orleans. The first disc is devoted to the pre war era - the 1920s and 30s. Not too many New Orleans based bluesmen recorded in this era so many of the artists featured on this disc are artists from other Southern states who travelled to New Orleans to record. Artists on this disc include Richard "Rabbit" Brown, Mary Butler, Christina Gray, Amede Ardoin, Harry Carter and others. By the 1940s the city developed it's own brand of blues and rhythm and blues and the other two discs features some of the great home grown talent like Roy Brown, Smiley Lewis, Dave Bartholomew, Lloyd Price, Guitar Slim, Sugar Boy, Professor Longhair, Earl King, Shirley & Lee, Ernie K-Doe and many others along with a number of non local artists who recorded there including Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles and Elmore James.
JESSE ALLEN: Goodbye Blues/ ARCHIBALD: Stack-A-Lee (Part 1)/ AMD ARDOIN): Blues De Basille/ Les Blues De La Prison/ DAVE BARTHOLOMEW: Girt Town Blues/ BOO BREEDING: Country Woman/ RICHARD (RABBIT) BROWN: James Alley Blues/ ROY BROWN: Good Rockin' Tonight/ Let The Four Winds Blow/ MARY BUTLER: Electrocuted Blues/ BO CARTER: Bo Carters Advice/ Ride My Mule/ HARRY CARTER: These Jackson Women Will Not Treat You Right/ BO CARTER & WALTER JACOBS: Times Is Tight Like That/ BOBBY CHARLES: See You Later Alligator/ RAY CHARLES: I Wonder Who/ THE CHATMAN BROTHERS: If You Dont Want Me Please Dont Dog Me Around/ BO CHATMAN): Good Old Turnip Greens/ SUGAR BOY CRAWFORD: Jock-A-Mo/ PEE WEE CRAYTON: Runnin Wild/ LARRY DARNELL: Pack Your Rags And Go/ WILL DAY: Central Avenue Blues/ FATS DOMINO: The Fat Man/ SNOOKS EAGLIN: That Certain Door/ THE FALCON TRIO: Raise Your Window/ LILLIAN GLINN: Where Have All The Black Men Gone/ CHRISTINA GRAY: The Reverend Is My Man/ TOMMY GRIFFIN: Young Heifer Blues/ GUITAR SLIM: The Things That I Used To Do/ ERLINE HARRIS: Never Missed My Baby/ RODNEY HARRIS: Blow Your Top/ ROBERT HILL: Lumber-Yard Blues/ You Gonna Look Like A Monkey When You Get Old/ WALTER JACOBS: Rats Been On My Cheese/ ELMORE JAMES: Dust My Blues/ BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON: God Moves On The Water/ RAY JOHNSON: Ill Never Let You Go/ WILLIE JOHNSON: Say Baby/ EDDIE JONES & HIS PLAYBOYS: New Arrival/ ERNIE K-DOE: Theres A Will Theres A Way/ EARL KING: Eating And Sleeping/ JEWEL KING: 3 X 7 = 21/ EDDIE LANG: Troubles, Troubles/ ANNIE LAURIE: Annies Blues/ LEONARD LEE: When The Sun Goes Down/ RAY LEWIS: Jealous Blues/ SMILEY LEWIS: Here Comes Smiley/ LITTLE RICHARD: Directly From My Heart/ JAMES "BLAZER BOY" LOCKS: Joes Kid Sister/ New Orleans Women Blues/ FATS MATTHEWS: Goin Down/ GEORGE MILLER & HIS MID-DRIFFS: Bat-Lee Swing/ THE MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS: Lean To One Woman/ ALMA MONDY: Street Walkin' Daddy/ LITTLE BROTHER MONTGOMERY: Crescent City Blues/ Vicksburg Blues No. 2/ HERBERT WOO WOO MOORE: Somethings Wrong/ SAMMY MYERS: You Dont Have To Go/ BIG BOY MYLES & THE SHAW-WEES: Whos Been Fooling You?/ CHUBBY HIP SHAKIN NEWSOM: New Orleans Lover Man/ PAPA LIGHTFOOT: P.L. Blues/ Wine, Women & Whiskey/ LLOYD PRICE: Mailman Blues/ PROFESSOR LONGHAIR & HIS SHUFFLING HUNGA: Mardi Gras In New Orleans/ TOMMY RIDGLEY: Shrewsbury Blues/ DEWEY SEGURA: Far Away From Home Blues/ SHIRLEY & LEE: Let The Good Times Roll/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Sweet Old Chicago/ BILLY TATE: Single Life/ BLANCHE THOMAS: You Aint So Much A Much/ BIG JOE TURNER: Crawdad Hole/ LAWRENCE WALKER: Alberta/ T-BONE WALKER: Pony Tail/ BOOGIE BILL WEBB: Bad Dog/ OSCAR WOODS: Evil Hearted Woman

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Gusto 2194 Great Gospel Groups ● CD $5.98
12 tracks, highly recommended
Another tantalizing glimpse into the extensive King catalog of black gospel recordings. Except for the goregous acapella rendering of Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen by The Harmoneers from 1946, the rest is all from the 1960s and early 70s. There are four tracks by the venerable Harmonizing Four who had changed little since their first recordings in the 1940s and continue to feature the chilling bass vocals of Jimmy Jones. The powerful Mighty Faith Increasers are featured on three cuts - two featuring the superb lead vocals of female vocalist Willa Dorsey who sings in the Mahalia Jackson tradition. Other artists include The Original Calvary Singers, The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama (I think their cut is from Vee-Jay as I don't believe they recorded for King) and the Harrison Gospel Music. Superb music throughout. Please Mr. Lytle can we have more (much more)? (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 77108 Rub A Little Boogie - New York Blues, 1945-1956 ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 113 tracks 5 hours 2 mins, highly recommended
Terrific collection of down home New York blues. Although many of these tracks have been reissued before this is very well compiled with excellent sound and informative notes by Neil Slaven. The first disc is devoted to recordings made by the ever popular Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry between 1946 and 1955. Although they were recording more folk oriented material for the Library Of Congress and Folkways at the time the tracks here were hot electric blues recorded for the African-American market on independent labels with accompaniments by musicians like Bob Gaddy, Jack Dupree, Mickey Baker, Doc Bagby, Milt Hinton and others. The second and third discs mostly features fine but obscure artists including the enigmatic guitar & piano trio Sonny Boy & Lonnie, the outstanding singer and piano player Big Chief Ellis, singer guitarist Alonzo Scales (with Sonny & Brownie on four of his six sides), singer/ guitarist Leroy Dallas (accompanied by Big Chief Ellis & Brownie McGhee), superb singer/ guitarist Allen Bunn (aka Tarheel Slim), singer and piano player Bob Gaddy, singer and bass player Bob Harris, singer and guitarist Alec Seward (recording as Duke Bayou with Jack Dupree & Brownie McGhee), the fine and mysterious Square Walton and all the issued sides of the superb Cousin Leroy. The fourth disc is devoted to the complete recordings of North Carolina born country bluesman Ed Harris whose records cut between 1950 and 1952 were issued under the names of Carolina Slim, Lazy Slim Jim and Country Paul. Harris was a fine performer whose music not only showed the influence of his home state but also owed a strong debt to the very popular Lightnin; Hopkins. A most worthwhile collection. (FS)
DUKE BAYOU (ALEC SEWARD): Doomed/ Rub A Little Boogie/ She Can Shake It/ That's All Right With Me/ ALLEN BUNN: My Kinda Woman/ Too Much Competition/ CAROLINA SLIM: (Pour Me) One More Drink/ Ain't It Sad/ Black Cat Trail/ Black Chariot Blues/ Blues Go Away From Me/ Blues Knocking At My Door/ Carolina Boogie/ Come Back Baby/ Georgia Woman/ I'll Get By Somehow/ I'll Never Walk In Your Door/ Jivin' Woman/ Mama's Boogie/ Money Blues/ Mother Dear Mother/ One More Time/ Pleading Blues/ Rag Mama/ Shake Boogie/ Side Walk Boogie/ Since I Seen Your Smiling Face/ Slo-Freight Blues/ Sugaree/ Wine Head Baby/ Worry You Off My Mind/ Worrying Blues/ Your Picture Done Faded/ COUSIN LEROY: Catfish/ Crossroads/ Goin' Back Home/ Highway 41/ I'm Lonesome/ Up The River/ Waitin' At The Station/ Will A Matchbox Hold My Clothes/ LEROY DALLAS: Baby Please Don't Go Back To New Orleans/ Good Morning Blues/ I'm Down Now, But I Won't Be Down Always/ I'm Going Away/ Jump, Little Children, Jump/ Your Sweet Man's Blues/ BIG CHIEF ELLIS: Big Chief's Blues/ Dices, Dices (a)/ Dices, Dices (b)/ She Is Gone/ BOB GADDY: Bicycle Boogie/ Blues Has Walked In My Room/ I Believe You Got A Sidekick/ I Love My Baby/ Little Girl's Boogie/ No Help Wanted/ Operator/ Slow Down Baby/ BOB HARRIS: Baby You Say You Love Me/ Doggin' Blues/ Drinkin' Little Woman/ Friendly Advice/ Love, Love, Love/ Up And Down The Hill/ BROWNIE MCGHEE: Bluebird, Bluebird,/ Bottom Blues/ Brownie's Blues (Lordy Lord)/ Cheatin' And Lyin'/ Christina/ Daisy/ Don't Dog Your Woman/ Greyhound Bus/ I'd Love To Love You/ I'm 10,000 Years Old/ Love's A Disease/ My Confession (I Want To Thank You)/ My Fault/ Need Someone To Love Me/ When It's Love Time/ Worrying Over You/ ALONZO SCALES: Hard Luck Child/ Left My Home Blues/ My Baby Don't Allow/ My Baby Likes To Shuffle/ She's Gone/ We Just Can't Agree/ SONNY BOY & LONNIE: Big Moose Blues/ Bigheaded Woman/ I Wonder Who's Holding You/ I'll Water You Every Day/ Mama Blues/ My Baby Blues/ South West Pacific Blues/ Talking Boogie/ The Wide Boogie/ Wiggle Round Me Baby/ SONNY TERRY: Dangerous Woman (With A 45 In Her Hand)/ Doggin' My Heart Around/ Harmonica Hop/ Hoopin' And Jumpin'/ Hooray, Hooray/ I Don't Worry/ I Love You Baby/ I'm Gonna Rock Your Wig/ News For You Baby/ Ride And Roll/ Sonny Is Drinking/ The Woman Is Killing Me/ SQUARE WALTON: Bad Hangover/ Fish Tail Blues/ Gimme Your Bankroll/ Pepper head Woman

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 77135 Powerhouse Gospel ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, almost five hour, essential
Another fantastic collection of gospel compiled by the indefatigable gospel expert Opal Louis Nations featuring 100 superb performances recorded between 1946 and 1959. The emphasis here is on recordings made for independent labels and while there are sides from some of the bigger independents like Vee-Jay, Nashboro and Dooto the labels here are mostly small operations like Bronze, Bowman, Hi-Hat, Glory, Avant and others. Just as the labels are obscure so are the performers - many local artists who only recorded a handful of sides but in those handful of sides produced some magnificent performances. The first three discs predominantly features gospel quartets and includes some outstanding performances from groups like The Pilgrim Singers, Silvertone Quartet, Kansas City Soul Revivers, Deacon Tom Foger & The Camp Meeting Choir (a phenomenal acapella performance), Spiritual Five and others. There are also a couple of solo sides from Sister Rosa Shaw, Evangelist Sister Winnn (with some wonderfully funky guitar by Jesse Thomas) and Sister Bessie Griffin. The fourth disc features preachers and their congregations featuring both sermons and singing and including several incredibly moving examples of "lining out" as well as ferocious sermons from the likes of Rev. Arthur Caruthers, Rev G.W. Killens & The Mt. Calvary Congregation, Deacon Leroy Shinault and others. This is a truly superb collection, almost all of it appearing on CD for the first time. Sound quality is generally excellent and there was only room in the notes to discuss the importance of independent labels and provide profiles of many of the labels. An indispensible collection of lovers of black gospel. (FS)
SISTER LUCILE BARBEE & DR. MORGAN BABB: Call Him By His Name/ MARGARET BARNES: Savior Don't You Pass Me By/ ELDER CHARLES D. BECK: Rock And Roll Sermon, Pts. 1 & 2/ THE BLAIR GOSPEL SINGERS: I've Been Moaning In The Valley So Long/ THE BLIND WONDERS OF WASHINGTON DC: Night Prayer/ ELDER BENJAMIN H. BROADIE: John Saw The Number/ Prayer #1/ Prayer For All/ REV. ARTHUR CARUTHERS: Good Man In A Bad Fix (A Sermonette)/ I Know For Myself I've Been Changed/ REV. C.C. "THE 'TRAVELING SHOES' MAN" CHAPMAN: On My Way, Pts. 1 & 2/ HAZEL CHAPMAN & THE GOLDEN HARMONIZERS: I'm Going To Die With A Staff In My Hand/ LITTLE JOE COOK & EVENING STAR QUARTET: I'm A Witness/ REV. ROBERT CRENSHAW: I Love The Lord/ I Wonder Will We Meet Again/ REV. H.B. CRUM & THE GOLDEN KEYS: Do You Know Me Thomas/ I Wanna Be Ready/ So Much To Thank Jesus For/ REV. R.A. DANIELS: I'm A Soldier/ ETHEL DAVENPORT & THE ETHEL DAVENPORT SINGERS: Heavenly Express/ Steal Away And Pray/ SISTER BERNICE DOBSON & THE CAMP MEETING CHOIR: If I Can Just Make It In/ THE DREXALL SINGERS: Jesus Said Live Holy/ THE EVENING STAR QUARTET: Lord Take My Hand/ THE FLYING CLOUDS OF DETROIT: When They Ring Those Golden Bells/ DEACON TOM FOGER & THE CAMP MEETING CHOIR: Working On The Building/ REV. C.L. FRANKLIN: Eagle Stirreth Her Nest (Closing Section)/ I'll Go, Pts. 1 & 2/ REV. M. LARRY FRANKLIN: Little Baby Of Bethlehem, Pts. 1 & 2/ THE FRIENDLY BROTHERS: Need Jesus On My Journey/ THE GOSPEL SILHOUETTES: Rock In A Weary Land/ Tell It To Jesus/ THE GOSPEL TRAVELERS: Praying Time/ BESSIE GRIFFIN & THE SOUTHERN REVIVALISTS: I'm Thinking Of The Lord/ SISTER BESSIE GRIFFIN WITH BROWNIE MCGHEE: Heaven's Radio/ THE HARMONY FOUR SINGERS: Leaning Independent/ Testimony/ IDA HAYES & THE MELLO-TONES: How Many Souls/ THE HEAVENLY GATES: All Right Now/ THE HIGHTOWER BROTHERS: He That Believeth In Me/ THE JACKSON GOSPEL SINGERS: I Can't Walk This Highway/ REV. H.R. JELKS: It Rained 40 Days And 40 Nights, Pts. 1 & 2/ Why Complain/ THE JOYFUL TRAVELERS: Lord Lift Me Up/ THE KANSAS CITY SOUL REVIVERS: I Don't Need No One Else/ Jesus Came At Midnight/ REV. G.W. KILLENS & MT. CALVARY CONGREGATION: Fighting For Jesus/ Great God Almighty/ Same Man/ THE KINDLY SHEPHERDS: Climbing Higher Mountains/ How I Love Jesus/ NELLIE LYNN & THE SONS OF HARMONY: If Jesus Had To Pray/ THE MACEDONIANS: I'll Never More Pass This Way/ MCCAULEY SPIRITUAL SINGERS: Jesus Said Live Holy/ THE MCCAULEY SPIRITUAL SINGERS: Jesus Gave Me Water/ THE MELLO-AIRES OF ROCHESTER: Take Your Burdens There/ THE MIGHTY GOSPEL GIANTS: There'll Be A Perfect Day/ THE NATIONAL CLOUDS OF JOY: Somebody Touched Me/ OLLIE NIGHTINGALE & THE DIXIE NIGHTINGALES: Living For My Jesus/ THE NORFLEET BROTHERS: Draw Me Nearer/ None But The Righteous/ THE NOVA-TONES: Down Here/ SISTER ELIZABETH PHILLIPS & THE PILGRIM SINGERS: In The Kingdom With The Lord/ THE PILGRIM SINGERS: Glory Land The/ Night Was Dark/ REV. WILLIAM M. RIMSON: Believe On Me ("Jesus Said It")/ THE RISING SUN GOSPEL SINGERS: Prodigal Son, The/ THE SAINTS OF GLORY: Jesus Knows/ Perfect Stranger/ THE SEVEN MELODY MEN: Mother Pray For Me/ SISTER ROSA SHAW: He Rolled The Stone Away/ DEACON LEROY SHINAULT: Lord, I Cannot Live In Sin (A Lining Hymn With Congregation In Chicago)/ THE SILVERTONE QUARTET: It's Gonna Rain/ Stand By Me/ Storm Of Life/ THE SKYLIGHT SINGERS: Certainly Lord/ I Need Thee/ THE SOUL SATISFIERS OF PHILADELPHIA: I'm His And He's Mine/ Run On Home And Live With God/ THE SOUTHERN ECHOES: On My Way To See Jesus/ THE SOUTHWINDS: They Call Me Crazy/ THE SPIRITUAL FIVE: I Don't Have To Worry/ I'll Carry My Burden/ I've Been Born Again/ THE SPIRITUAL FOUR: Waiting/ THE SPIRITUAL HARMONIZERS: I'm Your Servant Lord/ Wait On The Lord/ THE SPIRITUAL KINGS: A Letter To Jesus/ THE SPIRITUAL WONDERS: You Got To Move/ THE SPIRITUALAIRES OF COLUMBIA: Last Mile Of The Way/ Lay This Body Down/ THE SUPREME ANGELS: Seven Seals/ THE TOMMIETTES GOSPEL SINGERS: Have You Been Through The Water/ THW TRENTON SINGERS: I Shall Know Him, Pt. 2/ UNIDENTIFIED QUARTET: I Look Back Down The Road And Wonder/ One More Working Day/ Ship Of Zion/ THE VERSATILE ACAPELLA CHORAL GROUP OF CHICA: You Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley/ DOUG WILLIAMS & THE MELLO-TONES: Send Me/ EVANGELIST SISTER ROSETTA WINN: Building On The Good Shore

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Not Now 360 Voodoo Blues - The Devil Within ● CD $11.98
Two CD set with 40 tracks featuring blues dealing with the subject of hoodoo, the devil, sin and just evil in general. This has some similarities (and duplications) to the similarly titled Saga Blues collection we reviewed a while back though this one casts its net more broadly including Evil (Is Going On) by Howlin' Wolf, Burnin' Hell by John Lee Hooker, Devil Got My Woman by Skip James, Preaching Blues (Up Jumped The Devil) by Robert Johnson, Black Cat Bone Blues by Leecan & Cooksey, Your Funeral And My Trial by Sonny Boy Williamson plus sides by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Champion Jack Dupree, Washboard Sam, Casey Bill WEldon, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Memphis Minnie, J.D. Short, Josh White and others. Mostly familiar songs but it's nice to have them under this thematic rubric, sound is fine and the price is right.
JOHN BRIM: Drinking Woman/ DOCTOR CLAYTON: Root Doctor/ ARTHUR "BIG BOY" CRUDUP: Hoodoo Lady Blues/ CHAMPION JACK DUPREE: Bad Blood/ Evil Woman/ Nasty Boogie/ SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS: I Put A Spell On You/ Little Demon/ JOHN LEE HOOKER: Burnin' Hell/ Graveyard Blues/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Black Cat Bone/ HOWLIN' WOLF: Evil Is Going On/ I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)/ ELMORE JAMES: Sinful Woman/ SKIP JAMES: Devil Got My Woman/ ROBERT JOHNSON: Me And The Devil Blues/ Up Jumped The Devil/ LOUIS JORDAN: Somebody Done Hoodooed The Hoodoo Man/ BOBBY LEECAN AND ROBERT COOKSEY: Black Cat Bone Blues/ MEMPHIS MINNIE: Hoodoo Lady/ MA RAINEY: Louisiana HooDoo Blues/ JIMMY REED: I Know It's A Sin/ J.D. SHORT: Snake Doctor Blues/ BESSIE SMITH: Blue Spirit Blues/ Sinful Blues/ OTIS SPANN: I'd Rather Be The Devil/ Must Have Been The Devil/ JOHNNIE TEMPLE: Hoodoo Women/ SISTER ROSETTA THARPE: The Devil Has Thrown Him Down/ T-BONE WALKER: Evil Hearted Woman/ Street Walking Woman/ WASHBOARD SAM: She Belongs To The Devil/ JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON: Gettin' Drunk/ CURLEY WEAVER: Two Faced Woman/ CASEY BILL WELDON: I've Been Tricked/ JOSH WHITE: Black And Evil Blues/ Evil Hearted Man/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Hoodoo Hoodoo/ I Been Dealing With The Devil/ Your Funeral And My Trial

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Official 001 Rare Grooves, Vol. 1 ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
Following on from Official's great series of CD of blues & R&B from the RCA label comes the first of a series of CDs featuring RCA's Groove label which was formed in 1954 specifically to cater to the R&B market. It opens in great style with the smoking Straighten Up Baby by Milt Trenier accompanied by a terrific band with some sensational guitar work from Mickey Baker who is present on a number of tracks and is featured as leader of a group under the name of Big Red McHouston with vocals by fellow New York guitar giant Larry Dale. This CD features the earliest recordings of future jazz guitar legend George Benson singing two stirring blues numbers at the age of 11 including a reworking of Ray Charles' It Should Have Been Me. Other artists include Melvin Smith, Paul Williams & His Orch., Bertice Reading (a fabulous singer), San "Highpockets" Henderson, Buddy Lucas & His Orch. (with terrific vocals by Almeta Stewart), Sue Allen & Oscar Black, Miss Peaches (the unusual two part Calling Moody Field - a spoken word piece with some fine blues and boogie piano accompaniment) and others. Excellent sound but no notes. (FS)
SUE ALLEN & OSCAR BLACK: Baby Please Don't Go/ GEORGE BENSON: It Should Have Been Me, No. 2/ She Makes Me Mad/ SAM BUTERA: (These Are) The Things I Love/ I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire/ BONNIE DAVIS & THE PICCADILLY PIPERS: How Could You/ BIG JOHN GREER: (We Wanna See) Santa Do The Mambo/ Wait Till After Xmas/ SAM "HIGHPOCKETS" HENDERSON: Go, Mother, Go/ Too Bad Sweet Mama/ BUDDY LUCAS & HIS ORCH. (VOCAL ALMETA STEWART): I Need Help/ BUDDY LUCAS & HIS ORCHESTRA (VOCAL ALMETA STEW: My Pinch Hitter/ BIG RED MCHOUSTON (VOCAL LARRY DALE): I'm Tired/ Where Is My Honey/ MISS PEACHES: Callin' Moody Field, Part 1/ Callin' Moody Field, Part 2/ BERTICE READING: I Gotta Know/ I'd Gladly Do It Again/ THE ROMAINES: Till The Wee Wee Morning/ MELVIN SMITH: No Baby/ You Can't Stay Here/ MILT TRENIER: Straighten Up Baby/ Day Old Bread/ PAUL WILLIAMS & HIS ORCHESTRA (VOCAL JIMMY BR: Women Are The Root Of All Evil

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Official 002 Rare Grooves, Vol. 2 ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 62 mins, highly recommended
Another groovy collection from the Groove label. In addition to great jump blues and rocking R&B we have the great two part gospel gem Holding On by Mme. Ernestine Washington with the Milleraires - part one is slow but the second part is a tambourine shaking storming up tempo title. There are a couple of hot tracks from Sam Butera including the opening instrumental The Tout and the exceptional Melvin Smith has two originally unissued titles. Other artists include Milt Trenier, Maymie Watts (two songs including a fine cover of Rollee McGill's hit There Goes That Train), Sonny Brooks, Otis Blackwell, Buddy Lucas & His Orch., Bertice Reading (a great soulful rendition of the pop hit Little Things Mean A Lot), Zilla Mays & The Four Students, Chick Green & His Orch. (a rocking R&B instrumental rendition of the old English folk song Greensleeves) and more. Another classy winner from Official. (FS)
SUE ALLEN & OSCAR BLACK: Don't Leave Me to Cry/ I'll Get By/ OTIS BLACKWELL: Oh! What a Babe/ SONNY BROOKS: Champ Ale/ Sentimental Blues/ SAM BUTERA: The Tout/ Who's Got the Key/ CHICK GREEN & HIS ORCHESTRA: Greensleeves/ BIG JOHN GREER: Play Me Some Loud Music/ JONAH JONES & HIS ORCH. WITH THE CONSTELLATION: God Loves You Child/ BUDDY LUCAS & HIS ORCHESTRA: High Low Jack/ No Help/ ZILLA MAYS & THE FOUR STUDENTS: Right Now/ CHRIS POWELL & THE BLUE FLAMES: Break It Up/ BERTICE READING: Little Things Mean a Lot/ MELVIN SMITH: Crazy Baby/ Things You Ought to Know/ MILT TRENIER WITH GENE GILBEAUX: Give a Little Time/ THE TWI-LIGHTERS: Sittin' in a Corner/ MME. ERNESTINE WASHINGTON & THE MILLERAIRS: Holding On, Part 1/ Holding On, Part 2/ MAYMIE WATTS: Quicksand/ There Goes the Train/ BEVERLY WRIGHT: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Official 003 Rare Grooves, Vol. 3 ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
Another splendid collection of blues and R&B recorded for Groove in the mid 50s with an emphasis on up tempo items. Among the artists here are Mr. Bear & The Bearcats (fine novelty blues from Teddy McRae), Johnny Bird, Big John Greer, Sam Butera, Big Tiny Kennedy (two terrific sides with hot guitar from Mickey Baker), Charles Calhoun (aka famed R&B songwriter Jesse Stone - also featuring tough guitar from Baker), Bertice Reading (superb vocalist), Little Tommy Brown (his Don't Leave Me features some excessive sobbing), Arnie Alford (excellent female vocalist with fine band including some hot tenor blowing) and others. Excellent sound but, as usual, no notes. (FS)
ANNIE ALFORD: Easy Easy Baby/ SUE ALLEN & OSCAR BLACK: I Dedicate My Heart/ MR. BEAR & HIS BEARCATS: How Come/ MR. BEAR & THE BEARCATS: Mr. Bear Comes To Town/ JOHNNY BIRD ORCH. (VCL. LILLIAN CHILDS): 22 Minutes/ JOHNNY BIRD ORCH. (VCL. MR. BLUES): The Last Laugh Will Be On You/ OSCAR BLACK & SUE ALLEN: I'll Live My Life Alone/ OTIS BLACKWELL: O-O-O-Oh!/ LITTLE TOMMY BROWN: Don't Leave Me/ SAM BUTERA: Sam's Clan/ Sam's Reverie/ CHARLES CALHOUN: My Pigeon's Gone/ BONNIE DAVIS & THE PICCADILLY PIPERS: Since You're Gone/ CHICK GREEN & HIS ORCH.: Intermezzo/ BIG JOHN GREER: Soon, Soon, Soon/ Will I Be The One/ BIG TINY KENNEDY & HIS ORCH.: Country Boy/ I Need A Good Woman/ ZILLA MAYS & THE FOUR STUDENTS: Come Back To Me/ CHRIS POWELL & THE BLUE FLAMES: Good-Bye Little Girl/ Love Ya Like Crazy/ BERTICE READING: I Wash My Hands/ JAN STRICKLAND: Let's/ THE TWI-LIGHTERS: It's A Cold, Cold Rainy Day

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Official 004 Rare Grooves, Vol. 4 ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
Another fine collection starting off with Big Tiny Kennedy's hard driving Strange Kinda Feeling - remake of a song he originally recorded for Trumpet in 1952 and was covered by Elmore James. It also includes the obscure but superb female vocalist Vikki Nelson, The Dappers (fine doo-wop), Mr. Bear & His Bearcats (a couple of better than average novelty songs including his classic Radar), Charles Calhoun, Big John Greer, Lil Mckenzie & The Four Students, Johnny Sparrow, The Coronets, Clayton Love Orch. and others. There are a few duds from Charlie Hughes, Jonah Jones and The Deep River Boys but the rest more than makes up for them. (FS)
MR. BEAR & HIS BEARCATS: Peek-A-Boo/ MR. BEAR & THE BEARCATS: Radar/ LITTLE TOMMY BROWN: Won't You Forgive Me/ A Gambler's Prayer/ SAM BUTERA: Screw Driver/ CHARLES CALHOUN: Jamboree/ BIG CONNIE: Mumbles Blues/ THE CORONETS: I Love You More/ THE DAPPERS: Unwanted Love/ THE DEEP RIVER BOYS WITH HOWARD BIGGS ORCH.: You're Not Too Ol' (To Rock And Roll)/ BIG JOHN GREER: I Didn't Know/ Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Me/ CHARLIE HUGHES: Itsy Bitsy Puddin' Pie/ JONAH JONES & HIS ORCH. WITH THE CONSTELLATION: Come Sit By Me/ BIG TINY KENNEDY: 'Taint Right/ Strange Kind Of Feeling/ CLAYTON LOVE ORCH.: Bye Bye Baby/ Mary Lou/ BUDDY LUCAS & HIS ORCH.: No Dice/ LIL MCKENZIE & THE FOUR STUDENTS: Run A' Long/ VIKKI NELSON: Just One More Smile/ BERTICE READING: The Judgment Of Love/ JOHNNY SPARROW: Sparrow's Nest/ BEVERLY WRIGHT WITH THE STUDENTS: Shake Till I'm Shook

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Official 4501 Rare Blues Girls On King, Vol. 1 ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, 60 mins, recommended
Fine collection of urban blues recorded for King and Federal between 1947 and 1952 by female singers. Includes three of the earliest recordings of Big Maybelle when she was recording as Mabel Smith. Great vocals accompanied by a superb band led by Hot Lips Page with a guitarist thought to be Lonnie Johnson - he certainly sounds like it. There are also three superb sides by Sarah McLawler - two of them with fine vocal group accompaniments by The Syncoettes. Other artists include Tina Dixon, Marion Abernathy (also with the Hot Lips Page band), Flo Garvin (more of torch singer than blues singer), Bixie Crawford, Valerie Carr, Aletra Hampton and Mabel Scott. Quite a few of these tracks have been reissued before but were available on now deleted Westside and Classics releases. Sound quality is excellent and there is full discographical data. (FS)
MARION ABERNATHY: Brotherly Love/ My Man Boogie/ Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out/ Scroogli-Oli-Re-Bos/ You Ain't Got Nothin' For Me/ BIXIE CRAWFORD WITH BUDDY BANKS & HIS NOTES: I Got Your Water On/ Maybe Some Rainy Day/ TINA DIXON WITH THE GENE NERO SEXTET: Blow Mr. Be Bop/ Walk That Walk Daddy-O/ FLO GARVIN WITH JIMMY COE ORCH.: I'm On The Outside Looking In/ Let Me Keep You Warm/ DUKE HAMPTON & HIS ORCH. (VCL. ALETRA HAMPTON: Please Be Good To Me/ SARAH MCLAWLER: I Gotta Have You/ Ready, Willin' And Able/ I Can't Stop Loving You/ Love Sweet Love/ GENE REDD & HIS ORCH. (VCL. OBLIGATTO VALERIE: I Dreamed The Blues/ MABEL SCOTT: Baseball Boogie/ Fine, Fine Baby/ MABEL SMITH: Bad Dream Blues/ Foolin' Blues/ Little Miss Muffett

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Official 4502 Rare Blues Girls On King, Vol. 2 ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, recommended
More fine sides including many of the same artists as on the first volume and also includes four sides by the excellent and energetic Martha Moore who recorded the DeLuxe subsidiary and two cuts by singer and piano player Camille Howard and her Orchestra. Also includes Marion Abernathy, Mabel Smith, Saraha McLawler (three sides including a fine rendition of Lil Green's Romance In The Dark), Tina Dixon and Lou Green. (FS)
MARION ABERNATHY: Ee-Tid-Ee-Dee/ Ja-Hoosey Baby/ Undecided/ Wee Baby/ TINA DIXON WITH THE GENE NERO SEXTET: Parrot Bar Boogie/ What I Say/ ERSKINE HAWKINS & HIS ORCH. (VCL. LOU ELLIOTT): Remember My Love/ CAMILLE HOWARD & HER ORCH.: Excite Me Daddy/ Hurry Back Baby/ I Tried To Tell You/ I'm So Confused/ SARAH MCLAWLER: I Need You Now/ I'm Just Another One In Love With You/ Please Try To Love Me/ Romance In The Dark/ MARTHA MOORE: Baby I'm Through/ I Gets A Hard Way To Go/ I Needs A Whole Lot Of Everything/ Yo, Yo, Yo/ MABEL SMITH: Too Tight Mama/ Dirty Deal Blues/ Sad And Disappointed Jill

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Smithsonian Folkways 40183 Classic Sounds Of New Orleans From Smithsonian Folkways ● CD $11.98
26 tracks, 75 mins, highly recommended
A fine and varied collection of African-American New Orleans music from the vaults of Folkways recorded between 1946 and 1980 with the majority being from the 50s and including many tracks appearing on CD for the first time. The music encompasses blues (Snooks Eaglin, Lonnie Johnson, Champion Jack Dupree, etc.), gospel (Sister Dora Alexander, Rev. Lewis Jackson, etc.), jazz (Baby Dodds, Emile Barnes, KId Clayton, etc.), New Orleans marching bands (The Eureka Brass Band, Doc Paulin and group) and more including Hambone performed by a shoe shine boy, street calls and the first recordings of the Mardi Gras Indians from 1956. Putting all this variety into perspective is a 30 page booklet with extensive notes and full recording info. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Sundown 4002 Juicy Harmonica, Vol. 2 ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 62 mins, highly recommended
Complementing Sundown 4001 issued a few years back this is another splendid collection of down home harmonica blues from the 50s and 60s. Although many of the tracks have been reissued before, this is the first time they are appearing on a harmonica oriented collection. And there some cuts that I don't believe have been reissued elsewhere like both sides of James Cotton's Loma single from 1966 with Sammy Lawhorn, two tracks from the fine Detroit singer and harmonica player Robert Henry who was obviously influenced by John Lee "Sonny Boy Williamson" and cuts from Sonny Boy Williams and Lord Luther (the very hot Du Dee Squat). The two cuts by Mississippi blues singer and harmonica player Woodrow Adams are originally unissued cuts that were previously only available on a hard to find Japanese CD. There are five cuts from the fine Little Sam Davis (including one accompanying Earl Hooker) plus "Little Willie" Foster, Willie Nix (with Walter Horton), Papa Lightfoot, Walter J. Westbrook, etc. Excellent sound and booklet has some label shots and discographical details on all the cuts. (FS)
WOODROW ADAMS: Don't You Know I Love You/ I Love You O Yes I Do/ BABY FACE (LITTLE WALTER, HCA.): Red Headed Woman/ BIRMINGHAM JUNIOR & HIS LOVER BOYS: Birmingham Late Hours/ You're Too Bad/ JAMES COTTON: Complete This Order/ Laying In The Weeds/ PERCY LEE CRUDUP: Open Your Book (Daddy Wants To Read With You)/ LITTLE SAM DAVIS: 1958 Blues/ Goin' Home To Mother/ Goin' To New Orleans/ She's So Good To Me/ LITTLE WILLY FOSTER: Falling Rain Blues/ ROBERT HENRY: Early In The Morning/ Old Battle Ax/ EARL HOOKER (LITTLE SAM DAVIS, HCA.): Alley Corn/ LITTLE LUTHER: Du Dee Squat/ LITTLE RED WALTER: Aw Shucks Baby/ WILLIE NIX (WALTER HORTON, HCA.): Just One Mistake/ Trckin' Little Woman/ PAPA LIGHTFOOT: After-While/ Mean Old Train/ WALTER J. WESTBROOK & HIS PHANTOM FIVE: Midnight Jump/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMS: Possum Rock

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Superbird 026 The End Of An Era - 20 Years In Bluesland ● CD $18.98
14 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
Terrific collection of blues and soul produced over the past 20 years by the multi-talented Fred James for his Southland Productions. Includes tracks originally issued on U.S. and European (some now out of print) along with four previously unissued cuts. In addition to producing Fred plays fine guitar on all the cuts and wrote or co-wrote most of the songs. Many of the artists are from around Fred's home base of Nashville along with some from Chicago and the deep south. Artists include Roscoe Shelton, Earl Gaines (the gorgeous soul song I Believe In Your Love), Johnny Jones (The previously unissued I Can't Do That), Herbert Hunter, Charles Walker, Dave Riley, Homesick James, Frank Frost (the particularly fine Born To Be Wise) and others including a nice instrumental from Fred's own band. The title of the album refers to the fact that so many of the artists here are now deceased and this album shows just what we have lost. (FS)

 

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