FAYE ADAMS Acrobat ACMCD 4253 Shake A Hand ● CD $13.98 $9.98
30 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
Great collection of 30 sides by this fine and expressive singer. Her unique high pitched squalls and gospel-like phrasings made her a million selling success in 1953 with racial integration's first major anthem, Shake A Hand which is included here. This disc features most of her Herald sides recorded between 1953 and 1956 - a blend of soulful ballads and driving rockers, most of them with the great Joe Morris Band including her other chart toppers I'll Be True and Hurts Me To My Heart and two previously unissued tracks - an early version of Takin' You Back and the unissued song Welcome Home - both fine performances. The disc opens with three of earlier sides which were issued as by the Joe Morris Orchestra including the amusing duet with Joe on That's What Makes My Baby Fat and it also includes her 1957 hit Keeper Of My Heart recorded in New Orleans with the Dave Bartholomew Band. Excellent sound and detailed notes from Bob Fisher. (FS)
FAYE ADAMS: Ain't Gonna Tell/ Angels Tell Me/ Anything For A Friend/ Anytime Anyplace Anywhere/ Crazy Mixed Up World/ Don't Forget To Smile/ Everyday/ Hammer (Keeps A Knockin')/ Happiness To My Soul/ I Owe My Heart To You/ I'll Be True/ I'm Going To Leave You/ I've Gotta Leave You/ It Hurts Me To My Heart/ Keeper Of My Heart/ My Greatest Desire/ Same Ole Me/ Say A Prayer/ Shake A Hand/ Somebody Somewhere Someday/ Sweet Talk/ Tag Along/ Takin' You Back/ Takin' You Back (early unissued version)/ Teenage Heart/ That's What Makes My Baby Fat/ Welcome Home (unissued)/ Witness To The Crime/ You Ain't Been True To Me/ Your Love (Has My Heart Burnin')

BIG MAYBELLE Rojac 159 The Rojac Years ● CD $17.98
23 tracks, 68 min., highly recommended
Rojac was Big Maybelle's last label, and it afforded her career its last flash of brilliance (she even had a hit out of her version of ? And The Mysterians classic 96 Tears, a trick Garland Jeffreys would repeat 15 years later) before her premature death brought everything to a close. The OKeh star made a name as a blues belter long before landing at Rojac in 1966. But as this collection demonstrates, Big Maybelle felt right at home singing deep soul songs such as Keep That Man or the wonderful Love Is A Hurtin' Thing. She seemed to be trying out a few styles while at Rojac, as she wonders into James Brown territory covering It's A Man's Man's World, while the torch Why Was I Born seems to belong to the jazz vocal world as much as it does to the soul scene. Not everything works equally well, and a few tracks feel like B-side filler, but when Big Maybelle starts to cook, as she does on Heaven Will Welcome You Dr. King and the indispensable Don't Pass Me By, she is a force to be reckoned with. (JC)

THE CAPRIS Capri 1001 What's In A Name? ● CD $25.98
54 tracks, 2 hours 8 min., recommended
This could have been a disaster. The compilers have compiled 54 songs by various groups and artists who have Capri or Capris in their name. But while the Gotham group appears to be represented, don't expect to find There's A Moon Out Tonight (not the hit version anyway) because that would make sense. And the four-page booklet, which can only be seen as an intentional waste of space, offers nothing in the way of notes or recording info or dates. And as tenuous as it is, the concept holds together tolerably well for the first half of Disc 1, where many of the tracks are quite good if not better. By the latter tracks, however, the musical outlook is less rosy. And by Disc 2 the concept has been extended beyond group names to song titles that have the word "Capri" in them or to artists who may, at one point, have owned or worn capri pants or driven a Capri. Okay, that may not be true, but it might as well be. Of course, only the music matters, and there's plenty to like here. But those who enjoy The Capris' Can't Get Over You are not necessarily going to be the same listeners who enjoy Bobby Capii's Cleopatra or Tony Capri's Why Do You Do Me (which doesn't really work, despite the promise of naughtiness in the title which sadly goes unfulfilled). That said, fans of doowop and fifties rock and roll should generally be pleased if not downright happy much of the time. And the eight cuts by The El Capris (e.g., Oh But She Did/ Girl Of Mine/ Your Star), are almost essential listening, well, most of them. (JC)

RAY CHARLES Jasmine 260 Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music, Vol. 1 & 2 ● CD $15.98
26 tracks, essential
Two groundbreaking albums on one CD: in 1962, R&B mover and shaker Ray Charles sent shock waves through the music world by cutting two albums of Country songs, which took Country and Western music to the general record-buying public in a new way replete with lush string arrangements and gave him cross-over success. Above and beyond the influence, success, and legacy of these two LPs is of course the music; the integration of R&B, Jazz, Pop and Country is seamless and exhilarating on tracks like Bye Bye Love/ Just a Little Lovin'/ Worried Mind/ It Makes No Difference Now/ Careless Love, and Hey Good Lookin' from the first LP and Don't Tell Me Your Troubles/ Oh Lonesome Me/ Your Cheating Heart, and Midnight from the second. Throw in as bonus tracks Ray's definitive rendition of Georgia On My Mind and a cheeky take on Deep in the Heart of Texas, and you have a mandatory CD that belongs in every record collection. (GMC)

JOEY DEE AND THE STARLITERS Peppermint 1001 More Than Just The Peppermint Twist ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 69 min., recommended
Available again at a lower price. Those who picked up the 2 CD Scepter/Jubilee set on Westside (now long out of print, of course), have most of what's here, but they are missing the circa 1960 doo wop of Lorraine and The Girl I Walk To School (both sides of Bonus 7009)--the best cuts here. The Jubilee/Scepter stuff, such as the soul standards Hold On I'm Comin' and Reach Out (I'll Be There) (which Dee covers more credibly than many might imagine), makes up the majority of tracks here. Joey Dee was nothing if not a versatile singer, despite being pigeonholed into the ubiquitous Peppermint Twist hell. This collection also offers from a rare 1975 45rpm (Tonsil 0003), as well as Wasn't It A Heavy Summer from a rare 45rpm on the Sunburst label. A decent overview of Dee's career and necessary for superfans and completists. Sound is not bad, though unsurprisingly at least some of the source material comes from vinyl. The booklet is full of mostly unidentified photos and no notes (JC)

FRANKIE FORD Fuel 61762 Sea Cruise - The Best Of Frankie Ford ● CD $12.98 $7.98
18 tracks, 48 mins, recommended
Fine collection of mostly New Orleans R&B from this talented vocalist recorded for Ace between 1958 and 1960 accompanied by the cream of New Orleans session musicians - - Justin Adams, Lee Allen, James Booker Salvador Doucette, Frank Fields, Edward Frank, Ernest McLean, Earl Palmer, Huey "Piano" Smith, Red Tyler and Charles "Hungry" Williams. Although there are some expendable pop tunes there's more than enough rockin' R&B to keep us happy including his giant hit Sea Cruise, its flip side Roberta and others like Cheatin' Woman/ Alimony/ It Must Be Jelly/ Watch Dog and more. This set includes several originally unissued sides and an alternate take of Sea Cruise. Excellent sound and fine detailed notes from Bill Dahl. (FS)
FRANKIE FORD: Alimony/ Blow Wind Blow/ Can't Tell My Heart (undubbed)/ Cheatin' Woman/ Chinatown/ Geronimo (unissued)/ Hour Of Need (undubbed)/ I Want To Be Your Man/ I'm Worried Over You/ It Must Be Jelly/ Last One To Cry/ Ocean Full Of Tears/ Roberta/ Sea Cruise/ Sea Cruise (alternate vocal)/ St. Louis Blues (unissued)/ Time After Time (undubbed)/ Watch Dog/ What's Going On/ Your Game Is Over

CLAUDE GRAY B.A.C.M. 407 The Tall Texan ● CD $14.98
28 tracks, 78 mins, recommended
Appealing collection of mostly honky tonk country from Texas vocalist Claude Gray recorded between 1958 and 1962. Gray had a rich warm voice - a little reminiscent of Jim Reeves. His earliest sides were recorded in 1958 for the small Minor label and are fine honky tonk performances of original songs. He then moved to D where he had a hit with Family Bible (suprisingly not included here) and then to Mercury where the rest of the songs are from and features songs from th pens of John D. LOudermilk, Roger Miller, Donniw Bowser and others. The early Mercury songs are pretty much straight ahead honky tonk sides but his later performances include a number of covers of pop songs like Shrimp Boats/ Goodnight Irene/ Just Walking In The Rain and others with pop arrangemenst which are not as interesting. (FS)
CLAUDE GRAY: A World I Can't Live In/ Barricade Around My Heart/ Blackboard Of My Heart/ Call Of The Wild/ Cry/ Goodnight Irene/ I Just Want To Be Alone/ I Really Don't Want To Know/ I Thought I Heard You Call My Name/ I've Been Known To Cry/ Just Walking In The Rain/ Late Again/ Let's End It Before It Begins/ My Ears Should Burn When Fools Are Talked About/ My Happiness/ My Tears Are Inside/ Shrimp Boats/ Stone Heart/ Talk To Me Lonesome Heart/ Three Times/ Till I Waltz Again With You/ Too Young/ Treasure Of Love/ When The Doorbell Rang/ Why Don't You Believe Me/ You Belong To Me/ You Take The Table And I'll Take The Chairs/ Your Old Love Letters

LUTHER INGRAM Fuel 61823 Absolutely The Best Of Luther Ingram ● CD $12.98 $8.98
17 tracks, highly recommended
Regular customers/readers should be familiar with our reviews of Kent's series of Luther Ingram re-issues from a couple of years ago (Kent 279 - "Pity For the Lonely: The Ko Ko Singles Vol. 1"; Kent 292 - "I Don't Want to Be Right: The Ko Ko Singles Vol. 2"; Kent 315 - "I've Been Here All the Time/If Loving You is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right"; Kent 328 - "Let's Steal Away to the Hideaway/Do You Love Somebody"); taken together, each collection paints the full picture of a great, forgotten Soul singer. Anyone who missed those Kent CDs-or found them too daunting-this more manageable compilation makes an excellent alternative, presenting as it does his R&B chart singles-which include immortal tracks like If Loving You is Wrong./ I'll Be Your Shelter, and Pity For the Lonely. All killer no filler and a bargain price to boot, this CD is the perfect introduction to a Seventies Soul giant. (GMC)

WANDA JACKSON El Toro 1055 Rockin' With Wanda ● CD $26.98
2 CDs, 63 tracks, 153 mins, essential
Wanda Jackson is the best female Rockabilly singer of all time, and easily one of the best Rock & Roll singers of all time, period. These are all of her best recordings, done between 1956 - 1961, so it's a no brainer that you need this collection if you don't already have all this great stuff; even if you do, it's nice to have it all in one place. Compiling three of her great Capitol albums in their entirety: "Wanda Jackson," "Right Or Wrong," and "There's A Party Goin' On." As well as most of "Rockin' With Wanda" represented in album or singles versions, other great singles tracks, and fantastic "Live At Town Hall Party" tracks Cool Love from 1957 and Mean, Mean Man/ Rock Your Baby/ Alone With You, and Hard Headed Woman from 1958. Fantastic sound throughout, good notes with great pictures as well as some full color reproductions of original cover artwork for many of Wanda's classic releases, all in all a wonderful collection. (JM)
WANDA JACKSON: (Every Time They Play) Our Song/ A Date With Jerry/ Alone WIth You/ Baby Loves Him/ Baby, Baby, Bye Bye/ Brown-Eyed Handsome Man/ Cool Love/ Cool Love/ Day Dreamin'/ Did You Miss Me?/ Don'A Wan'A/ Fallin'/ Fujiyama Mama/ Funnel Of Love/ Happy, Happy Birthday Baby/ Hard-Headed Woman/ Hard-Headed Woman/ Heartbreak Ahead/ Here We Are Again/ Honey Bop/ Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad/ I Can't Make My Dreams Understand/ I Gotta Know/ I May Never Get To Heaven/ I Wanna Waltz/ It Doesn't Matter Anymore/ Just Call Me Lonesome/ Kansas City/ Let Me Explain/ Let Me Go, Lover/ Let's Have A Party/ Little Charm Bracelet/ Lonely Weekends/ Long Tall Sally/ Lost Weekend/ Making Believe/ Man, We Had A Party/ Mean Mean Man/ Mean, Mean Man/ Money Honey/ My Baby Left Me/ Reaching/ Right Or Wrong/ Riot In Cell Block #9/ Rock Your Baby/ Rock Your Baby/ Savin' My Love/ Sinful Heart/ Slippin' And Slidin'/ So Soon/ Sparkling Brown Eyes/ Step By Step/ Sticks And Stones/ Stupid Cupid/ The Last Letter/ The Window Up Above/ There's A Party Goin' On/ Tongue-Tied/ Tweedle Dee/ Who Shot Sam?/ Why I'm Walkin'/ You're The One For Me/ You've Turned To A Stranger

ALBERT KING Stax 34334 Born Under A Bad Sign ● CD $11.98
16 tracks, 49 minutes, essential
Newly remastered and expanded version of one of the greatest electric blues albums of the 1960 and one that ensured Albert's reputation as a major and incredibly influential bluesman. Though Albert had been recording since 1953 and had made some fine recordings it was his signing with Stax in 1966 that set him on the road to blues stardom. Paired with the rhythm section of Booker T. & The MGs and The Memphis Horns it was a marriage made in heaven. After three singles were issued that made the R&B charts the LP Stax 723 was issued featuring some of those singles tracks along with newly recorded material and the songs on this LP were to become a staple of Albert's stage act for the rest of his life and was closely listened to generations of blues guitarists - both African-American and Caucasian. Highlights include the title song, his first hit single Laundromat Blues, the storming Booker T. composition The HUnter and the sublime minor key gem As The Years Go Passing By. Bonus cuts on this release include alternate takes of four of the album's songs along with a superb untitled instrumental. Booklet includes the original albums notes, notes from the 2002 CD release and new notes by the indefatigable Bill Dahl. (FS)

J.B. LENOIR Fuel 61917 The Blues - Expanded Edition ● CD $12.98 $8.98
16 tracks, 47 mins, recommended
This appears to be a slightly revised version of Fuel 61587 by J.B. A fine compilation of this distinctive bluesman mostly drawn from previously issued and now deleted CDs on the Fuel label. 8 of the tracks are drawn from his superb early 50s sessions for J.O.B. with accompaniments from pianist Sunnyland Slim and saxophonist J.T. Brown. It includes his classic 1954 Parrot recording of the much covered Mama, Talk To Your Daughter and two unique sides recorded for U.S.A. in 1963. Four cuts are from a 1963 live set at Nina's lounge in Chicago and, one song, the powerful topical song Alabama Blues was recorded in 1965 specifically for the European market. If you don't already have these sides it is an invaluable introduction to a superb artist. (FS)

JERRY MCCAIN Varese Vintage 6022 Good Stuff ● CD $15.98 $5.98
16 tracks, 49 mins, recommended
Collection of recordings made between 1960 and 1984 by this Alabama singer and brilliant harmonica player drawing on recordings made for Jerry's long time producer Gary Sizemore and issued on various singles and LPs. It opens with his classic Rex sides from 1960 of the much covered She's Tough and one of the all time great blues harmonica instrumentals Steady. From the same session but not released until 1977 were the almost as good What About You and Rough Stuff. After that it's a bit of a mixed bag with fine blues and harmonica playing interpersed with silly novelty songs (including the controversial Welfare Cadillac Blues) and not always successful attempts at soul. The disc ends with the rock 'n roll novelty Pussycat A-Go-Go by The Shindigs, who were actually Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs - a dumb song rescued by a fine harp solo from Jerry. (FS)

JD MCPHERSON Rounder 9136 Signs & Signifiers ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 35 mins, essential
First off, I'd like to apologize for not bringing this to your attention when Rounder put it out last year, let alone when it came out on a smaller label before that. I was late coming to this release, but I figure you all are used to listening to music that is 40-70 years old anyway, so what's a couple years compared to that? I first heard JD McPherson on a satellite radio show that plays mostly older Roots music. I was blown away by the track, thinking it must have been some obscure track by the likes of Larry Williams, Peppermint Harris, or--dare I say--Little Richard. I was even more blown away when I saw that it was by this great new artist. I tracked down this CD and was knocked out! Not only was the rest of the CD as good as the first track that I heard, he even writes most of his own material (sometimes with band mates.) I love it, so now all of you have to check it out. This is easily the best CD of new music I have heard it the last ten years. Life is full of simple things that mean a lot and complex things that mean next to nothing. JD McPherson has mastered the simple things in music that make it great. Stripped down production, songs about sexy women, cool guitars with lots of echo, this album is raw, primal and just about perfect. Finding this felt like when I discovered bands like The Blasters and Los Lobos back in the 1980s. I would also update with this comparison: What Amy Winehouse did with classic Soul a few years ago, McPherson does for Rhythm & Blues now. This is a simply fantastic release that I can't recommend highly enough. (JM)

LEE PERRY & FRIENDS Trojan 533 980-2 Disco Devil ● CD $17.98
2 CD's, 18 tracks, 2 hours 31 min, very highly recommended
Yes, all of these cuts are from 1977-79 (all but 3 from 1977), but don't let that and the word "disco" conjure images of John Travolta in white polyester or evoke the monotonous strains of, say, Anita Ward. Here "disco" refers to the special 12" vinyl 45 rpm singles (which yield superior sound) produced in Jamaica by Lee "Scratch" Perry and others intended for nightclub deejays. Perry was an early master of the form and influenced not just Jamaican producers and artists but their New York and London counterparts. (Even U.K. punks The Clash were heavily influenced by the form and in turn influenced countless others, including Elvis Costello.) The rarity of these original 12"ers is legendary, helping to make this collection irresistible. The Twin Roots' Know Love is worth the cost all by itself. But then so is The Congos' Neckodeemus. And Carlton Jackson's History (Of Civilization) too. All that and informative booklet notes. (JC)

JIMMY REED Jasmine 3034/5 Ain't That Lovin' You Baby - Singles As & Bs, 1953-61 ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 50 tracks, very highly recommended
A perfect introduction to the recordings of Jimmy Reed who was the most popular down home bluesman of the mid to late 50s and early 60s. His lazy voice, limited but effective harmonica playing and hypnotic guitar beat have entranced generations of fans and fellow musicians. Along with B.B. King, Reed is one of the most influential bluesmen ever, and hit for hit, only King can beat him quantity-wise. His songs and style have been covered by hundreds of blues musicians - both black and white. His early sides for Vee Jay are wonderful; full of the relaxed guitar work, harp fills, and laid-back vocals that made him popular even among white audiences. Much credit must go to longtime guitarist Eddie Taylor and Reed's wife, Mary "Mama" Reed who whispered the lyrics into his ear. This set features both sides of his first 25 singles recorded for Vee-Jay between 1953 and 1961 and includes all his R&B chart hits except for one late hit in 1966 - several which crossed over into the pop chart. He had his first hit in 1955 with his third Vee-Jay single You Don't Have To Go and continued on with hit after hit like Ain't That Loving You Baby/ I Love You Baby/ Little Rain/ The Sun Is Shining/ Honest I Do/ Baby What You Want Me To Do/ Hush, Hush/ Close Together/ Big Boss Man and many more. And there are lots of great B-sides and non hits including several fine harp instrumentals like Jimmy's Boogie and Boogie In Dark as well as some great songs like I'm Gonna Ruin You/ My First Plea/ Take Out Some Insurance and Signals Of Love. On the gorgeous slow instrumental Odds And Ends the group is joined by Remo Biondi playing some great blues violin. A terrific collection with superb sound and brief notes from Sam Hick. (FS)
JIMMY REED: A String To Your Heart/ Ain't That Loving You Baby/ Baby Don't Say That No More/ Baby What Do You Want Me To Do/ Baby What's On Your Mind/ Big Boss Man/ Boogie In The Dark/ Bright Lights Big City/ Can't Stand To See You Go/ Caress Me Baby/ Close Together/ Down In Virginia/ Ends And Odds/ Found Love/ Go On To School/ Going By The River Pt 2/ Going To New York/ High & Lonesome/ Honest I Do/ Honey Don't Let Me Go/ Honey Where Are You Going/ Hush, Hush/ I Don't Go For That/ I Found My Baby/ I Know It's A Sin/ I Love You Baby/ I Told You Baby/ I Wanna Be Loved/ I'm A Love You/ I'm Gonna Get My Baby/ I'm Gonna Ruin You/ I'm Mr. Luck/ Jimmy's Boogie/ Laughing At The Blues/ Little Rain/ My First Plea/ Odds And Ends/ Pretty Thing/ Rockin' With Reed/ Roll & Rhumba/ She Don't Want Me No More/ Signals Of Love/ Take Out Some Insurance/ The Sun Is Shining/ Where Can You Be/ You Don't Have To Go/ You Got Me Crying/ You Know I Love You/ You're Something Else/ You've Got Me Dizzy

JOHNNY RIVERS Jasmine 262 THis Could Be The One - The Early Sides, 1958-1962 ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, recommended
Johnny Rivers became the toast of mid 60's Los Angeles thanks to constant gigging and his Top 10 remake of Chuck Berry's Memphis; from there, his career flourished with hit after hit-mostly remakes of other peoples' songs-and he became renown as a label owner (Soul City Records) and talent scout (he discovered The 5th Dimension pop group and nurtured songwriter Jimmy Webb). But before all this fame, Rivers was a struggling songwriter/performer and it's this period of his career that's covered by this collection. Rivers' sides for Gone (some cut under his real name, Johnny Ramistella), Guyden, Dee Dee, Cub, Chancellor, Capitol, Coral, and United Artists are all represented for the first time in one place. Much of his Gone work was cut in the prevailing rockabilly style, and showed off his songwriting ability, but not much more, with the exception of the brooding One Man Woman, which, ironically, went unissued. The Guyden, Dee Dee, and Cub sides find Rivers recording songs by written by others, and here we see hints of Rivers' ability to make other peoples' songs his own, which yielded big dividends later on, in his handling of You're the One/ Darling Talk to Me, and It's So Doggone Lonesome. Then there's cuts recorded for Chancellor wherein Bob Marcucci-the Idolmaker himself-tries to make Rivers into a teen idol; these songs are interesting from a historical standpoint, but Rivers doesn't sound as natural as he does on other tracks. Finally, we get two Capitol tracks which were handled by Nick Venet, the early mentor of the Beach Boys; now these cuts are more like it, as they show what Rivers, when handled by the right person, was capable of: Long Black Veil and the self-referential This Could Be the One are singularly great and it's too bad Venet didn't get to do more with him. To sum up: fans of Johnny Rivers and anyone else interested in his origins should give this CD a try. (GMC)
JOHNNY RAMISTELLA: Little Girl/ To Be Loved/ Too Good To Last/ Two By Two/ JOHNNY RIVERS: Answer Me My Love/ Baby Come Back/ Blue Skies/ Darling Talk To Me/ Dream Doll/ Everyday/ Hole In The Ground/ It's So Doggone Lonesome/ Knock Three Times/ Long Black Veil/ Long Long Walk/ Loser's Can't Win/ One Man Woman/ That Someone Should Be Me/ That's My Babe/ That's Rock And Roll/ The Customary Thing/ This Could Be The One/ White Cliffs Of Dover/ You're The One/ Your First And Last Love

BILLY JOE SHAVER Real Gone 113 The Complete Columbia Recordings ● CD $27.98
Two CDs, 31 tracks, essential
For the past 40 years Billy Joe Shaver has been writing and singing some of the greatest American songs. Although his songs have been recorded by numerous performers (Waylon Jennings, Elvis, Bob Dylan, etc) and his recordings have received massive critical acclaim his success as a performer has been minimal. Perhaps his performances are too raw, gritty and honest and reflective of his raucous and unpredictable lifestyle ranging from dissipation to salvation which come out in his unforgettable lyrics - he's been through it all and it shows. This wonderful set features the three magnificent albums he recorded for Columbia in 1981, 1982 and 1987. The first "I'm Just An Old Chunk Of Coal" was recorded shortly after he detoxed from a long spell of drug taking and features some incredibly powerful songs including the title song which is one of his most well known along with gems like Fit To Kill And Going Out In Style/ Ragged Old Truck/ Mexico and my personal favorite, the intense and poetic (We Are) The Cowboys. 1982's "Billy Joe Shaver" finds a slightly mellower Billy Joe revisiting some of classic old songs like Old Five And Dimers Like Me/ Ride Me Down Easy and I Been To Georgia On A Fast Train along with fine new songs like One Moving Part and the gorgeous Oklahoma Wind. 1987s "Salt Of The Earth", produced with his son Eddy who provides dynamic guitar support, is a more edgy and raw album with such powerful and memorable songs as Hardworkin' Man/ Manual Labor/ Fun While It Lasted and Street Walkin' Woman and the conflict in Billy Joe's psyche comes over in the juxtaposition of You Just Can't Beat Jesus Christ and The Devil Made Me Do It The First Time. An utterly superb collection accompanied by a 20 page booklet with insightful notes by Doug Freeman. Billy Joe didn't record again for six years but then made the greatest record of his career - "Tramp On Your Street" (Columba Special Products 31063 - $7.98). (FS)

SHAVER Columbia Special Products 31063 Tramp On Your Street ● CD $7.98
13 tracks, 48 mins, essential
With Real Gone's reissue of Billy Joe's 1980s Columbia albums it's time to revisit this masterpiece - now available as a budget release. Quite simply, this is one fantastic disc! In the 1970s, Texas-born Billy Joe Shaver was a "poet laureate" of the "Outlaw" movement, the man responsible for all but one song on Waylon Jennings's first great album Honky Tonk Heroes and creator of other anthems like Ain't No God in Mexico. This, only his second album in ten years, issued under the name Shaver, features help from Al Kooper, Waylon and Shaver's son Eddy, a potent guitarist in his own right. All the songs are Shaver originals, much of them drawing on his own life and philosphy - he's been through it all and it shows. His singing is gritty and soulful and the band is sensational - guitarist Eddy can rock as hard as the best of them or can play a beautiful acoustic melody. Billy Joe tackles plain-spoken, picturesque originals like Heart of Texas, an I'm Gonna Live Forever, with guest vocals from Waylon. Just as good are Oklahoma Wind and the Tex-Mex Take A Chance on Romance. Good Ol' USA is Shaver's surrealistic approximation of the Ernest Tubb sound of the forties. The title song, possibly the highlight here, reminisces about his ten mile walk to see Hank Williams when he was young and how that shaped his view of the role of travelling singer. He sounds revitalized on the new versions of Shaver standards I Been to Georgia on A Fast Train and I'm Just An Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be A Diamond Someday), best known through John Anderson's 1981 hit. Though the songs are often serious they are never pretentious and you will hear some of the most glorious melodies in a long time. With the "new traditionalist" movement sinking into predictable mediocrity this disc of gritty realism came as a breath of fresh air - or maybe a howling Texas wind would be more appropriate. (RK/ FS)

RICHARD THOMPSON New West 6273 Electric - Deluxe Edition ● CD $23.98
2 CDs, 18 tracks, 75 mins, very highly recommended
For my money, there is no other artist from Richard Thompson's generation that still puts out as consistently high a quality of releases. When, some five to ten years down the road, the next Richard Thompson "Best Of" collection comes out, at least two of these songs will be on there: Salford Sunday and Good Things Happen To Bad People, Salford, for its deft and delicate guitar work of gentle song styling, and Good Things for its exemplary R.T. cynicism and humor. Not that those are the only great songs on here, I dig every track. I'm about five listenings into this CD and it is doing nothing but growing on me. Produced and mixed by Buddy Miller at his house, which certainly seems to be a good pairing, Buddy throws in some guitar work as well, it would be great if they did some shows together. The regular edition is certainly well worth picking up, but don't hesitate on getting the deluxe edition if your budget allows. With the deluxe you get a full CD (7 beefy tracks,) of a folkier Thompson, with highlights like Will You Dance Charlie Boy/ The Rival, and The Tic-Tac Man. There's no flies on Richard Thompson, here's to him living to 100 and putting out as more of this as he can! (JM)

RICHARD THOMPSON New West 6270 Electric ● CD $16.98
Regular 11 tracks single CD edition - see above for details.

BIG JOE TURNER Acrobat 3069 The Essential 40s Collection ● CD $16.98
Two CDs, 54 tracks, 151 mins, very highly recommended
Back in print! Big Joe Turner was quite possibly the greatest of all the blues shouters with a big voice to match his stature and a swinging style that brings out the best in his accompanying musicians. Fortunately for us Big Joe was prolific starting his recording career in 1938 and continuing up to shortly before his death in 1985. If you missed the JSP box set of a few years ago this is an excellent way to get a collection of Big Joe's great pre-Atlantic recordings. These recordings find Joe recording for a slew of different labels between 1938 and 1949 in a variety of setting from the solo piano of regular associate Pete Johnson to trios, quartets and larger bands and featuring accompanying musicians like "Hot Lips" Page, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Morton, Benny Carter, Sam Price, Freddie Slack, Don BYas, Teddy Bunn, Albert Ammons, Maxwell Davis and many others. Songs include slow blues, boogie, covers of recent blues hits like Goin' To Chicago and S.K. Blues and even great bluesy renditions of pop flavored songs like I Can't Give You Anything But Lover and Blues In The Night. It also includes his great two part Around The Clock Blues which, surely, was the inspiration for Chuck Berry's Around And Around. Great music from start to finish with excellent sound, informative notes by Neil Slaven and full discographical information. (FS)
BIG JOE TURNER: Around The Clock Blues (Part 1)/ Around The Clock Blues (Part 2)/ B&O Blues/ Baby Won't You Marry Me/ Beale Street Blues/ Blues On Central Avenue/ Blues in the night/ Boogie Woogie Baby/ Born To Gamble/ Cherry Red/ Chew'd Up Grass/ Christmas Date Boogie/ Cry Baby Blues/ Fuzzy Wuzzy Honey/ Goin' To Chicago Blues/ Going Away Blues/ Hollywood Bed (Cherry Red Blues)/ How Long, How Long Blues/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love/ I Don't Dig It/ I Got A Gal For Everyday In The Week/ I Got My Discharge Papers/ I'm Still In The Dark/ Ice Man/ It's The Same Old Story/ Joe Turner Blues/ Johnson And Turner Blues/ Little Bittie Gal's Blues/ Low Down Dog/ Lowdown Dirty Shame/ Miss Brown Blues/ Morning Glory/ My Gal's? A Jockey/ My Heart Belongs To You/ Old Piney Brown's Gone/ Ooh Ouch stop/ Piney Brown Blues/ Radar Blues/ Rainy Weather Blues/ Rebecca/ Rocks In My Bed/ Roll 'Em Pete/ SK Blues (Part 1)/ SK Blues (Part 2)/ Sally-Zu-Zass/ Shake it and break it/ Somebody's got to go/ Sun Rising Blues/ Tell Me Pretty Baby (How D'ya Want Your Rollin' Done)?/ That's when it really hurts/ Trouble Blues/ Watch That Jive/ Wine O Baby Boogie/ Wish I Had A Dollar

VARIOUS ARTISTS Acrobat 3082 New York City Blues & R&B, 1949-1954 ● CD $16.98
Two CDs, 48 tracks, recommended
An excellent collection of blues and R&B recorded in the Big Apple between 1949 and '54. Most of the tracks have been reissued before but there are a few that are new to CD and a number of others not readilly available. The material is a mix of down home and urban material and the tracks are arranged chronologically and among the many artists featured are Joe "Mr. Google Eyes" August, Ralph Willis, H-Bomb Ferguson, Varetta Dillard, Bob Gaddy, Little Bobby Harris, Sonny Terry, Champion Jack Dupree, Clifford "King" Solomon, Brownie McGhee, Sammy Cotton and many more. Sound quality is excellent and the 16 page booklet has profiles of all the artists and full discographical info. (FS)
JOE "MR. GOOGLE EYES" AUGUST: No Wine, No Women/ Rough and Rocky Road/ MAX "SCATMAN" BAILEY WITH BUDDY TATE'S ORCH.: Leave It Alone/ ALLEN BUNN: Too Much Competition/ SAMMY COTTON: Give Me One More Drink/ You the Kind of Woman/ LARRY DALE: Please Tell Me/ You Better Heed My Warning/ VARETTA DILLARD: Them There Eyes/ CHAMPION JACK DUPREE: Drunk Again/ Highway Blues/ Number Nine Blues/ Shake Baby Shake/ Shim Sham Shimmy/ Stumblin Block Blues/ H-BOMB FERGUSON: I Love My Baby/ BOB GADDY: Little Girls Boogie/ Bicycle Boogie/ I Believe You Got a Side Kick/ Slowdown Baby/ BIG JOHN GREER: Bottle It up and Go/ I'm the Fat Man/ LITTLE BOBBY HARRIS: Love Love Love/ OTIS HINTON: Walking Down Hill/ AL JACKSON: Let's Drink Some Whiskey/ THE JACKSON BROTHERS ORCHESTRA: Flat Foot Boogie/ There's No Other Way/ ALBINIA JONES WITH SAM PRICE & HIS ROCKIN' RHYTH: Hole in the Wall/ LIGHTNIN' JR. (JACK DUPREE): Ragged and Hungry/ BROWNIE MCGHEE: Daisy/ Don't Dog Your Woman/ I Feel So Goos/ Bluebird Bluebird/ Miss Christine/ Meet You in the Morning/ BIG RED MCHOUSTON: I'm Tired/ JIMMY NEWSOME: I'm Afraid I Love You/ BERTICE READING: I'm Alone/ CLIFF "KING" SOLOMON: But Officer/ JESSE STONE: Runaway/ SONNY TERRY: I Love You Baby/ SONNY "HOOTIN" TERRY & HIS NIGHT OWLS: Doggin' My Heart Around/ Harmonica Hop/ Harmonica Train/ BIG JOE TURNER: Sweet Sixteen/ DINAH WASHINGTON: Short John/ RALPH WILLIS: Bed Tick/ Income Tax Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS Archeophone 9017 1917 - Yankees To The Ranks ● CD $14.98 $10.98
25 track, 77 mins, highly recommended
There's oldies, and then there's oldies, the tracks on this are soooo old that even Frank Scott wasn't born yet when they were recorded. 1917 was certainly a momentous year in America's history. Probably nothing was more momentous than our American men (and some women) going "Over There" into the First World War, and there are three different rousing versions of Over There to get the troops going. The war wasn't the only thing on people's minds and you get catchy tunes covering a host of topics like: They're Wearing Them Higher In Hawaii by Collins and Harlan, Livery Stable Blues by Original Dixieland "Jass" Band, and even Joan Of Arc by Henry Burr. Probably most enjoyable of all are the great takes on soon-to-be standards like For Me And My Gal/ Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag, and of course The Star Spangled Banner (catchy tune!). As with all of these fantastic Archeophone collections, you get deep notes, the best possible sound, and the requisite apology for the occasional racism inherent in recordings of the day. Fascinating as always and a must for history buffs like me. (JM)

VARIOUS ARTISTS B.A.C.M. 408 Hillbilly From The Windy City ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, recommended
Though better known for its blues, Chicago was home to the WLS Barn Dance - one of the longest running country radio shows and so, while there were not many indigenous country artists, many passed through town and some ended up recording for Russ Hall's Dome label. These sides from the late 40s and early 50s are mostly by fairly obscure artists and while there is nothing exceptional it's a pleasing mix of honky tonk, western flavored items and more. Among the artists here are excellent honky tonk singer Eddy Wayne, Marty Roberts (two songs including the chilling My Last Battle), Jack Sutton & Drifters (a fine band with two titles including the excellent instrumental Rubber City Boogie), Sheriff Tom Owen's Cowboys (who had previously recorded for Mercury), The Saddle Mates (featuring an effective clarinet) and others. Sound quality is fine and there are excellent notes by Al Turner. (FS)
MURL ALEXANDER & THE TEXAS WRANGLERS: Little Bundle Of Sunshine/ JOHNNY BURNAT: Keepin' My Arms Full Of You/ Puppet Heart/ DENVER BILL CLARK: Please Don't Be Another's Darling/ Stop Crying On My Shoulder/ WALT DALTON: Crossroads Of Tomorrow/ Old Jalopy Bounce/ JACK & THE DRIFTERS: After We Said Goodbye/ Rubber City Boogie (instr)/ SHERIFF TOM OWEN'S COWBOYS: I Send Back Your Letters/ The Trouble With Me Is You/ MARTY ROBERTS: My Last Battle/ This Is Where I Came In/ THE SADDLE MATES: I Hope I Never Wake Up/ I Would Care/ BLAINE SMITH: A Message From The Moon/ Big Blue Eyes (And Little White Lies)/ Nine Times Out Of Ten/ There Stands The Glass/ They're Digging My Grave/ JACK SUTTON & THE DRIFTERS: Down In The Carolines/ Last Night Your Kisses Told Me/ EDDIE WAYNE: S-U-G-A-R (My Baby's Like Sugar To Me)/ EDDY WAYNE: A Good Deal

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5692 Blues From Maxwell Street ● CD $16.98
20 track, highly recommended
A most welcome reissue of a rare LP issued on the Heritage label in 1960 and available for only a short while along with six bonus tracks. It features recordings of some of the blues artists who performed on Chicago's famed open air market on Maxwell Street. It opens with 90 year Daddy Stovepipe who had first recorded in 1928. He accompanies himself on guitar and harmonica on a selection of pop and gospel songs and though his performances are erratic they are charming. James Brewer was a long time performer on Maxwell Street - I saw him there in 1963 and 1966. He mostly played gospel but here is featured on the fine blues I'm So Glad Good Whiskey's Back In Town. Singer and harmonica player King David is featured on five excellent traditional songs. Unfortunately he refused to reveal any details about himself so remains an intriging enigma. The rest of the CD is devoted to the superb Blind Arvella Gray who was a powerful singer and a ferocious guitarist playing a steel bodied National guitar - often with a slide. Four of the tracks here are from the Heritage Lp and the other six are from singles that Arvella released himself in 1965. His material is a mix of traditional and original material including a spectacular version of John Henry with slashing slide guitar. Amon his 1965 recordings are the fascinating civil rights songs Freedom Riders and Freedom Bus. The booklet includes Paul OLver's original notes, a reminiscnce of Maxwell Street by Dutch writer Rien Wisse and new notes by Gary Atkinson. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Fantastic Voyage 157 Just Wailing ● CD $19.98
A two CD 50 track collection featuring some of the greatest post war among blues. The performances range from the late 40s through the early 60s and includes sides by Little Walter, Junior Wells, Louis Myers, Slim Harpo, Snooky Pryor, Walter Horton, Papa Lightfoot, Joe Hill Louis, Jerry McCain, Doctor Ross, Walter Mitchell and many more. Includes 16 page booklet with informative notes by compiler Neil Slaven.
BILLY BOY ARNOLD: I Ain't Got You/ I Wish You Would/ CHAMPION JACK DUPREE WITH GEORGE SMITH: Sharp Harp/ FORREST CITY JOE: She Lived Her Life Too Fast/ SLIM HARPO: I Got Love If You Want It/ Moody Blues/ EARL HOOKER & JUNIOR WELLS: Calling All Blues/ WALTER HORTON: Little Walter's Boogie/ HOWLIN' WOLF: Highway My Friend/ Worried All the Time/ PEE WEE HUGHES: Country Boy Blues/ JIMMY & WALTER (HORTON: Easy/ WILLIE JOHNSON WITH SAMMY LEWIS: Baby Tell Me Your Name/ FLOYD JONES WITH SNOOKY PRYOR: Floyd's Blues/ MOODY JONES WITH SNOOKY PRYOR: Snooky and Moody's Boogie/ LAZY LESTER: Sugar Coated Love/ PETE "GUITAR" LEWIS: Going Crazy/ LITTLE WALTER: Blues With a Feeling/ Boogie/ I Got To Find My Baby/ Juke/ JOE HILL LOUIS: Jack Pot/ She May Be Yours/ HOT SHOT LOVE: Harmonica Jam/ JERRY MCCAIN: Steady/ That's What They Want/ WALTER MITCHELL: Pet Milk Blues/ LOUIS MYERS: Just Whaling/ SAMMY MYERS: My Love is Here To Stay/ Sleeping In the Ground/ WILLIE NIX WITH JAMES COTTON: Baker Shop Boogie/ PAPA LIGHTFOOT: Jumpin' With Jarvis/ Wine, Women, Whiskey/ SNOOKY PRYOR: Judgement Day/ JIMMY REED: Jimmy's Boogie/ She Don't Want Me No More/ ROBERT RICHARD: Wigwam Woman/ JIMMY ROGERS WITH WALTER HORTON: Walking By Myself/ DOCTOR ROSS: Come Back Baby/ Juke Box Boogie/ JOHNNY SHINES WITH WALTER HORTON: Evening Sun/ OTIS SPANN WITH WALTER HORTON: I'm Leaving You/ SUNNYLAND SLIM WITH SNOOKY PRYOR: Be My Baby/ SONNY TERRY: Ride and Roll/ BABY BOY WARREN WITH SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON II: Chicken/ JUNIOR WELLS: Come On In This House/ Junior's Wail/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON II: Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide/ Mighty Long Time/ Trust My Baby

VARIOUS ARTISTS Fuel 61808 Cajun Swamp Rock Party ● CD $12.98 $7.98
Entertaining 15 track collection of New Orleans R&B, Cajun music, Zydeco and swamp pop including hits and rarities from Frankie Ford, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Clifton Chenier, "Fiddlin" Frenchie Burke, Huey "Piano" Smith & The Clowns, Bobby Marchan, Papa Link Davis, Dr. John and others. Tracks are drawn from the Crazy Cajun and Ace (US) catalogs.
BIG SAMBO: At the Party/ FIDDLIN' FRENCHIE BOURKE: Let's Go To Big Mamou/ CLIFTON CHENIER: Oh! Lucille/ COOKIE & THE CUPCAKES: Mathilda/ PAPA LINK DAVIS: Jolie Blon/ DR. JOHN: Chicky Wow Wow/ FRANKIE FORD: Sea Cruise/ CLARENCE "FROGMAN" HENRY: Lovin' Cajun Style/ DOUG KERSHAW: Hippy-Ty-O/ BOBBY MARCHAN: You Can't Stop Her/ PAPPY "TE-TAN" MEAUX: Winnie Two-Step/ MARK SAVOY: Evangeline Two-Step/ FRANKIE LEE SIMS: She Likes To Boogie Real Low/ THE SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET: Sugar Bee/ HUEY "PIANO" SMITH & THE CLOWNS: Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 77164 Devil's Jump - Important Indie Label Blues, 1946-1957 ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, highly recommended
The Indie label in question here is the famed King label and its Federal and DeLuxe subsidiaries and this is a fine collection of sides drawn from those labels. The cover states that there are 20 previously unissued tracks which is not accurate (actually a fib) since 10 of the supposed unissued tracks featuring veteran bluesmen Lee Brown, Jimmie Gordon and Johnny Temple were previously available on Proper BOX 7 "Broke, Black & Blue" which is now out of print. These were some of King's first blues recordings made in Chicago of three bluesmen who started their recording career in the 1930s and are featured here with small urban groups. The Lee Brown sides are particularly nice with fine piano from Brown, guitar from Baby Face Leroy Foster and string bass from Big Crawford. King licensed a number of tracks from legendary Detroit producer Joe Von Battle - most notably by John Lee Hooker who is featured here on 15 tracks which include some of his most intense recordings though the one track listed as unissued was previously avalable on a Collectables CD. Also from Detroit was the amazing twin harp combo of Robert Richard and Walter Mitchell and singer/ piano player Detroit Count with four songs including his remarkable two part Hastings Street Opera. This set also includes all six tracks recorded by the incredible Alabama country blues singer/ guitarist John Lee - recorded in 1951 he could have easily been recorded 20 years earlier. There are two previously unissued tracks by him (really!!) - Slappin' The Boogie and the gospel song in My Father's House which are not as good as the issued sides but worthwhile - but why did they spread the six tracks over three CDs? They should have been together. Other artists featured include Lightnin' Hopkins influenced country bluesman Coutry Paul, Memphis Slim, Smokey Hogg (including some unissued alternate takes), Robert Henry - a fine singer and harmonica player influenced by Sonny Boy Williamson #1 and others. There's a lot of great music here thogh some of it is presented under false pretences and much of it has been reissued before. Sound quality is excellent and there are informative notes by Neil Slaven. (FS)
LEE BROWN: Horse Shoe Boogie/ Low Land Blues/ New Little Girl, Little Girl/ Round The World Boogie/ Ruby Moore Blues/ EDDIE BURNS: Dealing With The Devil/ Hello Miss Jessie Lee/ COUNTRY PAUL: Ain't It Sad/ Black Cat Trail/ I'll Never Walk In Your Door/ Mother Dear Mother/ One More Time/ Side Walk Boogie/ Since I Seen Your Smiling Face/ Your Picture Done Faded/ DETROIT COUNT: Detroit Boogie/ Hastings Street Opera Pt 1/ Hastings Street Opera Pt 2/ Hastings Street Woogie Man/ JIMMIE GORDON: Fast Life/ I Ain't Like That No More/ It's My Time To Go/ Jumping At The Club Blue Flame/ Mistreated Blues/ My Baby's Acting Funny/ Rock That Boogie/ That Woman's A Pearl Diver/ ROBERT HENRY: Early In The Morning/ Miss Anna B/ Old Battle Ax/ Something's Wrong With My Little Machine/ SMOKEY HOGG: Baby Don't Leave/ Do It No More/ Gone Gone Gone/ I Ain't Got Over It Yet/ Keep A-Walkin' Tk 1/ Keep A-Walkin' Tk 2/ Penny Pinchin' Mama/ Up And Down/ Your Little Wagon/ JOHN LEE HOOKER: Black Man Blues/ Devil's Jump/ Don't Go Baby/ Heart Trouble Blues/ I Came To See You Baby/ I'm A Boogie Man/ I'm Gonna Kill That Woman/ Late Last Night/ Moaning Blues/ My Baby Left Me/ Nightmare Blues/ Poor Joe/ Slim's Stomp/ Stomp Boogie/ The Numbers/ Wandering Blues/ Who's Been Jiving You/ EDDIE KIRKLAND: Mistreated Woman Tk 1/ Mistreated Woman Tk 2/ No Shoes Tk 1/ No Shoes Tk 2/ Please Don't Think I'm Nosey/ Time For Lovin' To Be Done/ JOHN LEE: Albama Boogie/ Baby Blues/ Blinds Blues/ Down At The Depot/ In My Father's House/ Slappin' The Boogie/ MEMPHIS SLIM: (Sometimes I Feel Like A) Motherless Child/ A Letter Home/ Cheatin' Around/ Lend Me Your Love/ Life Is Like That/ Little Mary/ Midnight Jump/ Nobody Loves Me (Alt)/ Pacemaker Boogie/ Slim's Boogie/ WALTER MITCHELL: Pet Milk Blues/ Stop Messing Around/ ROBERT RICHARD: New York Central/ Root Hog/ Wig Wearin' Woman/ JOHNNY TEMPLE: Chain Gang Blues/ Dixie Flyer/ I Believe I'll Go Downtown Again/ KID THOMAS: Jivin' Mess Tk 1/ The Spell Tk 3/ The Wolf Pack Tk 10/ BABY BOY WARREN: Forgive Me Darling/ Please Don't Think I'm Nosey/ RALPH WILLIS: Do Right/ Door Bell Blues/ Gonna Hop On Down The Line/ Why'd You Do It/ JOHNNY WRIGHT: '54 Blues/ Boogie Baby/ I Stayed Down/ I Was In St. Louis

VARIOUS ARTISTS Morada 101 O Blues, Where Art Thou? ● CD $11.98 $8.98
15 tracks, 43 mins, recommended
Goofy title, goofy cover art but this is a fine collection of blues from the early 50s, mostly from the vaults of Bob Shad's Jax and Sittin' In With labels. Most of this has been out before but some of it is not readily available and it has been mastered from original master tapes by outstanding remastering engineer Steve Hoffman who really brings out the best from these 50 year old tapes. It includes two superb Modern sides by John Lee Hooker plus Jax/ Sittin' In With tracks by Brownie & Sonny (some of their best), Smokey Hogg, James Wayne (his classic Junco Partner), Peppermint Harris, L.C. Williams and Ray Charles. Bob Gaddy is listed on the back but Bulldog Blues is actually a Sonny & Brownie track. (FS)
RAY CHARLES: I Found My Baby There/ BOB GADDY & HIS ALLEY CATS: Bulldog Blues/ PEPPERMINT HARRIS: Please Tell Me Baby/ ANDREW "SMOKEY" HOGG: I Love You Baby/ JOHN LEE HOOKER: Bad Boy/ Gonna Boogie/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Long Way From Texas/ New York Boogie/ BROWNIE MCGHEE & HIS JOOK BLOCK BUSTERS: Ease My Worried Mind/ Key to the Highway/ SONNY TERRY: Goin' Down Slow/ Mean Old 'Frisco/ SONNY "HOOTIN" TERRY & HIS NIGHT OWLS: Cryin' Blues/ JAMES WAYNE: Junco Partner/ L.C. WILLIAMS: So Sorry

VARIOUS ARTISTS One Day DAY2CD 191 Hard To Get - The Challenge Story ● CD $11.98
2 CD's, 50 tracks, 1 hour 54 min., highly recommended
The label that Gene Autry co-founded had a handful hits and traded owners a few times before calling it a day, and just about everything worth hearing is collected here, as well as a few other tracks. The compilation stretches from 1957-1962, and the earlier tracks tend to be of greater interest. Cuts move from doo wop (The Neons, Rochell & The Candles, The Trophies) to country (Wynn Stewart's Another Day, Another Dollar), to instrumental rock (The Champs) to old school rock and roll (e.g., Bobby Milano's Life Begins At Four O'Clock) and beyond. Plenty to like here, including the a pair of tracks by the Kuf-Linx, a pair by Big Al Dowling & the Poe Kats, three from Huelyn Duvall, and a couple by Kip Tyler. Also of note are two early Marty Balin cuts (Nobody But You and I Specialize In Love) and two by Jan & Dean (Heart And Soul and the less interesting Wanted, One Girl). The missteps, perhaps best represented by El Clod's Tijuana Border (Wolverton Mountain), are few. Worthwhile. (JC)
MARTY BALIN: I Specialize In Love/ Nobody But You/ DEAN BEARD: Egad, Charlie Brown/ Little Lover/ THE BLOSSOMS: Son In Law/ ard To Get/ DAVE BURGESS: Lovey Dovey Baby/ Everlovin'/ THE CHAMPS: Experiment In Terror/ Tequila/ THE CHEROKEES: Uprising/ THE COMMODORES: Sweet Angel/ JOEY COOPER: You, That's Who/ SCATMAN CROTHERS: Rock Roma Rock It/ BIG AL DOWNING & THE POE KATS: Down On The Farm/ Oh Babe/ HUELYN DUVALL: Comin' Or Goin'/ Hum-m-m-dinger/ Juliet/ Pucker Paint/ EL CLOD: Tijuana Border/ THE FLEAS: Scratchin'/ Tears/ THE FOUR TEENS: Go Little Go Cat/ Spark Plug/ JERRY FULLER: Tennessee Waltz/ Why Do They Say Goodbye/ JAN & DEAN: Heart And Soul/ Wanted, One Girl/ JIM AND ROD: Didn't It Rock/ JOHNNY & JONIE: In The Middle Of The Night/ THE KUF LINX: Eyeballin'/ THE KUF-LINX: So Tough/ DIANE MAXWELL: Date Bait/ BOBBY MILANO: Life Begins At Four O'Clock/ PRENTICE MORELAND: Holy Mackrel/ TINY MORRIE: Bump Ity Bump/ THE NEONS: Magic Moment/ ALAN PIERCE & THE TONEKINGS: Swampwater/ THE RIPTIDES: Machine Gun/ ROCHELL & THE CANDLES: Each Night/ WYNN STEWART: Another Day, Another Dollar/ ED TOWNSEND: I Love To Hear That Beat/ THE TROPHIES: Desire/ I Laughed So Hard I Cried/ KIP TYLER: She Got Eyes/ Ohh Yeah Baby/ JERRY WALLACE: Little Miss Tease/ Primrose Lane/ JOHNNY WYATT: I'll Stand By You

VARIOUS ARTISTS Specialty 7069 Golden Age Gospel Quartets, Vol 1 : 1947-1954 ● CD $15.98 $10.98
26 tracks, 78 minutes, essential
With 25 never-before-issued cuts, mostly alternate takes, gospel fans will know what to expect from these groups that recorded for Art Rupe's Specialty Records. The Swan Silvertones' I'm Coming Home (take 1) contains one of Claude A. Jeter's greatest falsetto leads - if not one of the greatest in all of hard gospel quartet! The two Paramount Singers demos (featuring Vance 'Tiny' Powell) alone are worth the price of admission. Powell's lead on He Means So Much To Me hints (vocally) just a little at his original 1964 classic Wax recording of My Time After Awhile. If you have Specialty CD 7013 (The Soul Stirrers featuring R. H. Harris - "Shine On Me") - this set has a new take of C. A. Tindley's By And By where R.H. Harris ("the father of gospel quartet") & the late Paul Foster out-duet each other. The CD also includes (taken from rare 78 rpm pressings) the very first gospel group recorded by Specialty - The Southern Harmonizers - singing in the popular prewar 'jubilee' style of the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet. The set ends with nearly 12 minutes of live "house-wreaking" a cappella singing by Rev. Presley Thomas' West Coast Jubilees. Their 7-minute version of Prof. Alex Bradford's He'll Be There is not for the faint at heart! (EL)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Sunrise 006 Island In The Sun - A History Of Caribbean Music ● CD $16.98
Two CDs, 50 tracks, highly recommended
A truly delightful collection of Caribbean music recorded between 1927 and 1962 before the ascendence of reggae. From Trinidad we have such legendary Calypsonians as Wilmouth Houdini, King Radio, The Hun, Sir Lancelot (his classic (Shame And) Scandal In The Family), Lord Kitchener, The Duke Of Iron, The Mighty Sparrow and others with witty and humorous tales of unfaithful women, health, superior women, rock & roll and, of course, risque tales with clever double entendres (Music Lesson/ Parakeets/ The Lost Watch), etc. From The Bahamas we have the famed troubadour Blind BLake and his lively group The Royal Victoria Hotel Calypsos with three songs including a 1952 recording of John B. Sail which was recorded by a number of U.S. artists as Sloop John B. - most notably by The Beach Boys in 1966. Also from the Bahamas we have George Symonette & The Native Bahmian Rhythms and Vincent Martin & The Bahmians. From Jamica we have a selection of mento music which is closely related in style to calypso but with different instrumentation and here we have such artists as Count Owens & Hs Calypsonians (the title song of the album), Lord Foodoos & His Calypso Band (a 1957 recording of the traditional Jamaican song Day-O which became a massive hit in the USA as Banana Boat Song by Harry Belafonte), Boysie Grant & Reynolds Calypso Clippers and others. Sound quality is excellent and the 16 page illustrated booklet has historical details and information about the artists. (FS)
ATILLA THE HUN: Freddo/ LORD BEGINNER & THE CALYPSO RHYTHM KINGS: Love, Love, Love!/ LORD BEGINNER WITH CYRIL BLAKE'S CALYPSO SERE: I Will Die A Bachelor/ The Dollar And The Pound/ BLIND BLAKE & THE ROYAL VICTORIA HOTEL CALYPSO: Go Down Emmanuel Road (Lady Oh)/ John B Sail (The Wreck Of The John B)/ The Monkey Song/ LORD COMPOSER & THE SILVER SEAS ORCHESTRA: Hill And Gully Ride (Mandeville Road)/ LORD CREATOR WITH FITZ-VAUGHN BRYAN & HIS ORC: Evening News/ THE DUKE OF IRON: I Left Her Behind For You/ Music Lesson/ Parakeets/ The Big Bamboo/ The Lost Watch/ LORD FOODOOS & HIS CALYPSO BAND: Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)/ THE FOUR DEUCES: Four Day In The Morning/ BOYSIE GRANT & REYNOLDS CALYPSO CLIPPERS: The Naughty Little Flea/ THE GROWLER: In The Dew And The Rain/ WILMOUTH HOUDINI & LIONEL BELASCO & HIS ORCHESTRA: Caroline/ LORD INVADER WITH GERALD CLARK & THE CALYPSO: You Don?t Need Glasses To See/ KING RADIO: Man Smart Woman Smarter (Not Me)/ Mathilda (aka Matilda)/ LORD KITCHENER: Kitch/ Muriel And The Bug/ Trouble In Arima/ Wife And Mother/ LORD KITCHNER: Love In The Cemetery/ LORD LEBBY & THE JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS: Dr Kinsey Report/ THE LION: Mary Ann/ Ugly Woman (If You Want To Be Happy)/ Vitalogy/ MACBETH THE GREAT WITH GERALD CLARK & TH: Hold ?Im Joe/ VINCENT MARTIN & THE BAHAMIANS: Island Woman/ LORD MELODY & THE CARIBBEAN ALL STARS: Boo Boo Man (Mama Look A Boo Boo)/ Rock & Roll Calypso/ THE MIGHTY DOUGLAS: The Laziest Man/ THE MIGHTY SPARROW: Jean And Dinah/ Madame Dracula/ No Doctor No (The Situation In Trinidad)/ Rose/ Picong Duel/ COUNT OWEN & HIS CALYPSONIANS: Island In The Sun/ The Weed/ HAROLD RICHARDSON & THE TICKLERS: Healin? In De Balmyard/ ROY SHURLAND & THE BIG BAMBOO ORCHESTRA: Yellow Bird (Choucoune)/ SIR LANCELOT: (Shame And) Scandal In The Family/ GEORGE SYMONETTE & THE NATIVE BAHAMIAN RHYTHMS: Don't Touch Me Tomato/ My Lima Beans/ THE TORPEDO & THE CARIBBEANS: Lazy Janie/ THE TORPEDO WITH THE CARIBBEANS: Pretty Woman/ ERSKILL ZUILL: The Three Old Maids

VARIOUS ARTISTS Vintage Music Productions 361 Seldom Heard Hot Dance Tunes, 1923-1929 ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
Here's a charming collection of rare old time Jazz with which to channel your inner Gatsby. We're not talking King Oliver and Louis Armstrong here; this is full of the ham & egger dance bands and orchestras that thrived in the Jazz age. Acts like Original Memphis Five, Ray Miller Orchestra, Piccadilly Players, and a whole lot by Jack Pettis. With timely songs like Mercy Percy/ Stockholm Stomp/ Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine, and of course Dry Martini. More often than not sounding like the house band at the Overlook Hotel, full of Jack Nicholson's drinkin' buddies, but I'm fine with that, I love listening to music that sounds as if it was played by ghosts of a bygone age. (JM)

ROBERT WARD Black Top 1123 Black Bottom ● CD $15.98 $9.98
The third Black Top album from this fine artist is another selection of blues flavored soul and soul flavored blues - many of them original compositions. Robert is in fine form with powerful vocals and lots of his dynamic and distinctive guitar work with accompaniments by a solid band. Includes Lonely Man/ Soul Stroll/ Beyond This Planet/ Yonder Goes My Baby/ Help The Needy, etc.

DANNY WOLFE & FRIENDS El Toro 1057 Let's Flat Get It ● CD $18.98
33 tracks, 72 mins, recommended
Texas songwriter Danny Wolfe thrived in the years from 1955 - 1966 excelling in writing Rockabilly songs, most notably for Gene Vincent's classic Capitol Records releases. This collection features three of the great Gene Vincent recordings: Pretty, Pretty Baby/ Gonna Back Up, and Double Talkin' Baby, as well as good tracks by Tooter Boatman, Carl Smith, Mac Wiseman, John D. Loudermilk, Huelyn Duval, and many more. Loudermilk's Susie's House being amongst the best tracks here, not to mention pretty rare. Wolfe's most famous composition has to be Fools' Hall Of Fame and you get great versions of that as well from no less than Rudy Richardson, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash. Also featured are about half a dozen tracks with Danny Wolfe himself tackling his own compositions, which unfortunately are some of the weakest tracks on the CD; oh well, he did just fine on the writing royalties. Deep notes tell old Wolfie's whole musical story. (JM)


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