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The Jewels -> Don Julian & The Meadowlarks


THE JEWELS! Gold Dust 931 B-Bomb Baby ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 69 min., recommended
A solid look at the full career of this underrated West Coast ensemble. Gifted with several markedly different leads, among them Johnny Torrance and Rudy Jackson, the Jewels could lay down the rawest of jumps and the smoothest of ballads. Certainly their original of Hearts of Stone, included here, qualifies as the former, and A Fool in Paradise and The Wind surely qualify as the latter. Other featured numbers here include Golden Girl (recorded as by the Marbles), Rosalie, Angel in My Life, Natural Natural Ditty, No Shoulder to Cry On, Give Me Your Hand, the title track, and I Had a Dream. Definitely not a disc to miss. Sound quality is acceptable, and the liner notes, though short, are informative. (DH)

THE JIVE FIVE Ace CDCH 76 Our True Story ● CD $18.98
The Jive Five took the Brooklyn doo-wop singing style of the late 50's and shaped it to perfection. Led by Eugene Pitt, who sang in The Genies of Who's That Knocking fame in the late 50's, and supported by friends Norman Johnson (bass), Jerome Hanna (1st tenor), Billy Prophet (bari) and Richard Harris (2nd tenor), the original J5 are represented here by their finest ballads and novelties from Les Cahan's Beltone label circa 1961 thru '63. Outstanding vocal gymnastics can be caught on classics like My True Story/ Begging You Please/ What Time Is It/ No, Not Again. 18 cuts in all, from tapes used on Relic LP's 5020 and 5028. Church-edged doo-wop with fine booklet notes by Bill Millar. (OLN)

THE JIVE FIVE Castle 1004 I'm A Happy Man ● CD $18.98
Reissue of the group's mid 60s recordings when their sound developed from their earlier doo wop styling to more contemporary soul arrangements. The group still featured the fine lead vocal and had a modest hit with the title song. Also includes United/ Please Baby Please/ Kiss Kiss Kiss/ You/ Falling Tears/ In My Neighborood/ Ha! Ha! and others
THE JIVE FIVE: (if You Let Me Make Love To You) Then Why Can't I Touch You/ A Bench In The Park/ Another Rainy Day/ Falling Tears/ Falling Tears (remix)/ Going Wild/ Ha! Ha!/ Hang On The Corner/ I Never Met A Girl (i Didn't Like)/ I Remember When/ I Want You To Be My Baby/ I'm A Happy Man/ If I Had A Chance To Love You/ In My Neighborhood/ Kiss Kiss Kiss/ Kiss Kiss Kiss (remix)/ Main Street/ Please Baby Please/ Please Baby Please (remix)/ Prove Every Word You Say/ Then Came Heartbreak/ United/ United (remix)/ Why Why Why/ You/ You Gotta Feel It/ You Promised Me Great Things/ You Showed Me The Light Of Love/ You're A Puzzle

THE JIVE FIVE Collectables 5022 Their Greatest Hits ● CD $11.98
The Jive Five were truly a major league doo wop group proven by their all-time classic My True Story but also, as a listen to this will attest, in their many other beautiful and artful tunes. Lead singer Eugene Pitt's soulful voice, backed by the deep, rich bass of Norman Johnson and the soaring harmonics of the rest of the group is sure to send a chill down your spine on songs like Begging You Please and Never Never . And if you want to knock your sacroiliac out of wack roll up the rug for their dance tunes, especially Hully Gully Callin' Time where Johnson tells you to "do the Frank Sinatra" and "do the Floyd Patterson.".... AE

THE JIVE FIVE Relic 7007 The Jive Five ● CD $14.98
The Jive Five are one of the finest, and certainly one of the most exciting East Coast vocal groups ever to grace the boards. Ex-Genies lead Eugene Pitt (who still heads the group with his brothers and friends today) is perhaps one of the greatest leads of our time. This 20-song collection covers the Brooklyn quintet's Lescay/ Beltone period circa 1961-'63, and includes all the group's masterpieces, My True Story/ Hurry Back/ What Time Is It/ Never Never/ No Not Again/ Beggin' You Please/ Rain. Lovingly transferred from original session tapes; duplicates Relic albums 5020 and 5028. The Jive Five represent all that was superb and magnificent in popular black secular quartet singing - an indispensable collection. (OLN)
THE JIVE FIVE: Another World/ Beggin' You Please/ Do You Hear Wedding Bells?/ Hully Gully Callin' Time/ Hurry Back/ I Don't Want To Be Without You Baby/ Johnny Never Knew/ Lily Mariane/ My True Story/ My True Story/ Never Never/ Never Never Never/ No Not Again/ People From/ Rain/ She's My Girl/ The Girl With The Wind In Her Hair/ These Golden Rings/ What Time Is It?/ When I Was Single/ You Know What I Would Do

THE JIVE FIVE Relic 7109 The Jive 5 Live On Stage ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 43 min., recommended
A much-better-than-average live audience recording from the late 70's, featuring original Jive Five lead singer Eugene Pitt and his then current back up group. Both performances and sound quality are solid. Featured numbers include Kiss Kiss Kiss, These Golden Rings, I'm a Happy Man, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Now That I Have You, and their classic 1961 hit, My True Story. I'm honestly not much of a fan of these latter day concert issues, but this one is good enough to pass muster. The front cover photo is well-chosen; the liner notes are brief. (DH)

THE JIVE FIVE Stompin' Tide 9206006 Let Us All Go back ● CD $18.98

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN Ace CDCHD 1061 The King Sessions, 1958-1960 CD $18.98
24 tracks, 63 min., highly recommended
After a hitless 1957, R&B legend and early soul practitioner Little Willie John rode Talk To Me, Talk To Me to #5 R&B (and #20 Pop) on the Billboard charts in early 1958. In fact, 1958 and (much of) 1959 were ballad heavy for LWJ, whose releases included You're A Sweetheart, All My Love Belongs To You, I'll Carry Your Love Wherever I Go, No Regrets, No More In Life, Made For Me, and Let Nobody Love You. But by the end of 1959 ballads didn't sell as well and he reverted to jump sides. Other standout tracks include the previously unreleased "underdub take 1" of Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me, written by country great Wayne Raney, which moves in ways Wayne never imagined possible and probably would have disapproved of. The previously unreleased "underdub take 9" of My Love-Is leaves out the awkwardly inserted drumming included on the LP version. Expect a third volume, since LWJ's contract with King wasn't up by 1960. (JC)

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN Collectables 2822 The Very Best Of Little Willie John ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 66 min, essential
Possibly the definitive John collection, which includes 11 tunes in stereo, many for the 1st time on CD. Programmed by Victor Pearlin, who also did the brief notes, & remastered by Little Walter Devenne, this set has all his R&B hits, many of them you probably known for their covers, includes Fever (Peggy Lee, Elvis), Talk To Me, Talk To Me (Sunny & The Sunglows), I Need Your Love So Bad (Fleetwood Mac), All Around The World (done by Little Milton as Grits Ain't Groceries). Even The Beatles covered Willie, with their version of Leave My Kitten Alone not appearing until the Anthology series, & James Brown did an entire LP of John covers! The originals are all here, & with great sound. (GM)
LITTLE WILLIE JOHN: (I've Got) Spring Fever/ A Cottage For Sale/ All Around The World/ Big Blue Diamonds/ Do Something For Me/ Fever/ Flamingo/ Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me)/ Home At Last/ I'm Sticking With You Baby/ Leave My Kitten Alone/ Let Nobody Love You/ Let Them Talk/ Letter From My Darling/ Need Your Love So Bad/ Person To Person/ Sleep/ Suffering With The Blues/ Take My Love/ Talk To Me, Talk To Me/ Tell It Like It Is/ Walk Slow/ Will The Sun Shine Tomorrow/ You Got To Get Up Early In The Morning/ You're A Sweetheart

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN King 596 Talk To Me ● CD $9.98
A straight reissue of Willie's second LP from the late 1950's, featuring original cover art and notes. Worth getting for one of the most distinctive and effective R&B voices of all time, and also because only the title track has been widely reissued. Most of the rest are currently available only on this record. Titles include I've Been Around/ Drive Me Home/ No More In Life/ Person To Person/ Don't Be Ashamed To Call My Name. An inexpensive way to add some great music to your library, and a great cover to boot. 12 cuts in all - staunchly recommended. (DH)

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN King 603 Mister Little Willie John ● CD $9.98
It's a treat to see this long out of print collection available again. Many of Little Willie's best 50's singles sides are included here. The joyous Let's Rock While The Rockin's Good, the unusual Spasms, written by Young Jessie, the bluesy Don't Leave Me Dear, and Are You Ever Coming Back are all included. Little duplication with previous reissues. Thrill to the sweeping glissandos and hypnotic melismatics of Little Willie's pipes. Recommended. (OLN)

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN King 739 Sure Things ● CD $9.98
Surprisingly, apart from a couple of cuts on Gusto 45's, most of this collection has remained legally unreissued up to this point. Gathered from 1950's King 45's, the album includes hits Sleep / A Cottage For Sale, and Heartbreak along with the outstanding I Like To See My Baby (a song shared with Hank Ballard with The Midnighters) and You Hurt Me. This extraordinary five foot tenor, who had one of R & B's most dynamic voices, sadly died of pneumonia in Walla Walls Penn. in May 1968. Great collection. (OLN)

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN King 5004 15 Hits ● CD $6.98
What Detroit native Little Willie John lacked in stature, he more than made up for in voice. A cross between Johnnie Taylor and O.V. Wright, Willie John laid the groundwork for soul stylists to come. His sides for King circa 1953-1962 were a mixture of pop ballads, jumps and blues. This set features all 15 of his chart hits - All Around The World/ Fever/ You're A Sweetheart/ Let Them Talk/ Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me)/ Walk Slow/ (I've Got) Spring Fever, etc.

MABLE JOHN Stax 8578 Stay Out Of The Kitchen ● CD $12.98
25 tracks, 67 min., recommended
Mable John (Little Willie John's sister and lead singer for the Raelettes) went to Stax in 1966 after 4 misses on Tamla. Only 7 of the cuts released by Stax are here - the rest appear on the Stax singles box - so her only hit Your Good Thing is missing. But fear not - the out-takes, a mix of ballads and mid-tempo shakers, are too good to wear the name. Just why Sweet Devil/ Love Tornado/ The Man's Too Busy/ That Woman Will Give It A Try were never issued is hard to say. And anyone who hasn't heard her Shouldn't I Love Him/ I Taught You How has been deprived. (JC)

JOHNNIE & JOE Gold Dust 933 Over The Mountain ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 70 min., recommended
Following in the footsteps of earlier successful duos like Shirley & Lee and Gene & Eunice, Johnny Louise Richardson and Joe Rivers struck pay dirt in 1957 with title track here. Of their remaining 50's and early 60's output, only I'll Be Spinning is generally well known, but, as this disc demonstrates, there is also much to like among their lesser known numbers. Among them, all included here of course, are Why Oh Why, Where Did She Go?, I Adore You, Across the Sea, Jamaica-Our Thing, There Goes My Heart, Darling, Feel All Right, Why Did She Go?, and False Love Has Got to Go. A solid program, featuring acceptable, but not outstanding, sound quality and minimal liner notes. Catch it while you can. (DH)

BUBBER JOHNSON King 569 Come Home ● CD $9.98
Bubber Johnson, singer/ composer/ pianist/ arranger, seems to have been too "talented" for his own good, opting for the sophisticated lounge market while his raunchy stable mates raked in the dough with hard rockin' R&B. But if you like the Johnny Mathis sound this might be up your alley. Another martini dear? I Lost Track Of Everything/ Too Many Hearts/ Come Home/ My Lonely Heart , etc.... AE

24 tracks, 74 min., highly recommended
Woodrow Wilson (Buddy) Johnson (1915-1977) will always be remembered for his songs & arrangements, especially on titles like Since I Fell For You (1st covered by Paul Gayten), Please, Mr. Johnson, and Fine Brown Fame (covered by Nellie Lutcher) - all included on this new compilation of his first (and best) recordings. As a pianist & band leader, he was an important link between the swing era and early R&B. If the term Big Band Blues belongs to anyone, it belongs to Buddy Johnson. His sister Ella (b. 1923) is an early pioneer and influence on R&B divas like LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown and Etta James. She's represented here by 12 tracks, including Since I Fell For You ('45) and That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch ('44, Top 5 R&B hit) (covered by both Wynonie Harris and Muddy Waters). Of the three instrumentals, Boogie Woogie's Mother-In-Law ('41) should prove interesting to all you Elmore James fans, because it is this track where the Hawaiian Boogie slide guitar riff comes from, played here on steel guitar along with ex-Louis Jordan sideman Kenneth Hollon (1909-1974) on tenor sax. Shufflin' And Rollin' ('52) and Shake'em Up ('49) both feature the main tenor sax star of the band, Purvis Henson. As for the singers (other than Buddy himself), we have Arthur Prysock's They All Say I'm The Biggest Fool ('44, Top 5 R&B hit) and two by their alto saxophonist, Cuban-born Harold Geezil Minerve (1922-1992). The mastering is excellent, with a few taken from near-mint 78s. (EL) 
HAROLD "GEEZIL" MINERVE: Root Man Blues Harold/ Talking About Another Man's Wife/ BUDDY JOHNSON: Be Careful (if You Can't Be Good)/ Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?/ Fine Brown Frame/ Southern Echoes/ Walk 'em/ ELLA JOHNSON: Baby You're Always On My Mind/ I Don't Know What's Troublin' Your Mind/ No More Love/ Please, Mr Johnson/ Satisfy My Soul/ Since I Fell For You/ Stormy Weather/ That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch/ Til My Baby Comes Back/ When My Man Comes Home/ You'll Get Them Blues/ BUDDY JOHNSON & ENSEMBLE: Boogie Woogie's Mother-in-law/ Shufflin' And Rollin' (instrumental)/ You Gotta Walk That Chalk Line/ ELLA JOHNSON & THE BEE JAYS: I'm Gonna Jump In The River/ ARTHUR PRYSOCK: Shake 'em Up (instrumental)/ They All Say I'm The Biggest Fool

BUDDY JOHNSON & HIS ORCHESTRA Collectables 5664 Rock 'n' Roll Stage Show ● CD $13.98
14 tracks, 38 min., recommended
Born in 1915, Buddy Johnson headed to New York to follow his musical career aspirations as a teenager. He ended up with the Tramp Washboard Band as a part of the Cotton Club Revue. During World War II, he signed with Decca Records and scored hits as a performer with his sister Ella and as a songwriter throughout the 40's and into the 50's. In 1953 he and his singing sibling switched allegiances to the Mercury label, and it's those tracks that are highlighted here. Selections include I Don't Want Nobody, Bring It Home to Me, A Pretty Girl (A Cadillac and Some Money), It's Obdacious, Ain't But One, and I'm Just Your Fool. Stellar band-backed jump blues, nicely presented, with solid liner notes by Mark Marymont, and a color photo of the band on the cover. (DH)

BUDDY JOHNSON Collectables 5410 Go Ahead And Rock - Featuring Ella Johnson ● CD $13.98
Reissue of Roulette LP 25085 (1959) with the Rock & Roll cover photo. A great collection of post-Mercury treasures - highlights include a remake of the Decca classic Fine Brown Frame revamped as Real Fine Frame, and Walk 'Em, both 1946 numbers convincingly rendered by South Carolina's singer, pianist, composer and bandleader Buddy Johnson. Sister Ella's smokey interpretation of her 1949 torch song Down Yonder, the no-nonsense Get On The Right Road, plus Don't Fail Me Baby/ Sliding Horns and a sultry reading of I'm Tired Of Crying Over You make the collection worthwhile. Ends with a bluesy rendition of My Humble Plea by Lee Thomas. One of the best blues & rhythm big bands from the East Coast post-swing era. Essential gravy. (OLN)

MARV JOHNSON Collectables 2770 Marvelous Marv Johnson/ More Marvelous Marv Johnson ● CD $13.98
This 27 track collection reissues Detroit singer Marv's first two U.A. albums from 1960 and '61 and adds four bonus cuts thereby including all his early hits including You've Got What It Takes/Come To Me/ I Love The Way You Love/ Happy Days and others. Marv's danceable blend of R&B and pop music foreshadowed the popular style of the later 60s and 70s and his success helped the fledgling Motown empire get its start since many of his songs were written by Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson and Brian Holland.

RUBY JOHNSON Stax 8580 I'll Run Your Hurt Away ● CD $12.98
20 tracks, 58 min., recommended
As proven by the title hit which starts this compilation, Ruby Johnson was an unusually emotive deep soul songstress in the Etta James mold. At this time (1967-8) feminine sweetness still ruled the airwaves, which may be why she saw little chart action. There must be some reason - songs like The Love Of My Man/ Won't Be Long/ How Strong Is My Love/ I'd Rather Fight Than Switch, all unreleased, are gutsy soul classics that stand with the best of the era. Much of the credit is due to the MG's backing band (with Isaac Hayes on keyboards) and the Mar-Key Horns, who worked similar magic for many Stax and Atlantic stars. It's almost criminal that only six of these songs were issued as Volt singles, but after 25 years here's your chance to get hip to a great talent. (MB)

SYL JOHNSON Collectables 5736 The Twilight & Twinight Master Collection ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, 46 min., essential
His years at Twilight/Twinight (1967-71) produced some of the finest tracks of his career, as good or better than anything he recorded for Hi Records in the '70s. While grunting in the manner of an emotionally disturbed James Brown, Johnson sweats out song after funky song. Dresses Too Short, Different Strokes, and Come On Sock It To Me stand without apology as raw slabs of horn-fed funkiness. (Dyke and the Blazers would have been proud.) Is It Because I'm Black and Concrete Reservation (about ghettoes) offer up Syl's more thoughtful, socially conscious self without sacrificing an ounce of musical enjoyment. The guy plays a mean guitar too. All this and ugly cover art. (JC)

JIMMY JONES Central 2605 And His Groups, 1954-1959 ● CD $18.98
29 tracks by various vocal groups that featured the distinctive high pitched lead vocals of Jimmy Jones who later went on to fame and fortune with his hits Handy Man and Good Timing. Includes sides by The Pretenders, Savoys, Sparks of Rhytm and The Jones Boys as well as a couple under his own name.
JIMMY JONES: Whenever You Need Me/ You For Me To Love/ THE JONES BOYS: Heaven In Your Eyes/ The Whistlin' Man/ THE PRETENDERS: Blue & Lonely/ Close Your Eyes/ Daddy Needs Baby/ I Love You So/ I've Got To Have You Baby/ Lover Version 1/ Lover Version 2/ Part Time Sweetheart/ Plain Old Love/ Possessive Love/ The Bells Version 1/ The Bells Version 2/ Tonight/ THE SAVOYS: Say You're Mine/ We Made A Vow/ With All My Heart/ You/ THE SPARKS OF RHYTHM: Cry On My Shoulder/ Don't Love You Anymore/ Everybody Rock & Go/ Handy Man/ Hurry Home/ Somewhere/ Stars In The Sky/ Women Women Woman

LINDA JONES Collectables 5452 20 Golden Classics ● CD $13.98
Previously issued as Collectables 5120. Linda was born in Newark in 1944 and sang in her family gospel group The Jones Singers from age six and on. She suffered diabetes all of her life, and this was reflected in the flamboyantly soulful recordings she made over the last eight years of her career (she died in 1972). Linda's second waxing (her first was for Cub) was the great soul classic Take This Boy Out Of The Country on Atco in 1964. In 1967 her producer George Kerr signed her to the Loma label, where she enjoyed four successful recordings, two of which (Hypnotized/ What've I Done) shot up to the top ten (none of these older cuts are included here). An unexpected goldmine for Linda Jones lovers & a must for any true lovers of 60s soul. This set conains her entire Hypnotized LP (Loma 5907 from 1967), along with 9 singles sides never before on LP from Loma, Blue Cat & Neptune, includes such classics as I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow/ Take This Boy Out of The Country/ For Your Precious Love & of course the wonder title track. Highest recommendations. (GM)

JORDAN & THE FASCINATIONS Crystal Ball 1039 Jordan & The Fascinations & Friends ● CD $17.98
Includes 15 tracks by Jordan & The Fascinations, 8 by the Gothics and 9 by The Boulevards.

DON JULIAN & THE LARKS Kent 207 The Jerk - The Money Recordings ● CD $18.98
Mid 60s soul includes the original 1965 "Jerk" album along with non album 45s. Includes tracks by Don Julian, The Larks and The Meadowlarks. Also includes a previously unissued version of The Jerk.
DON JULIAN: Lemme See You Philly/ What Chance Has A Man/ Sad, Sad Boy/ The Philly Jerk/ THE LARKS: Come Back Baby/ Do The Jerk/ Forget Me/ Heaven Only Knows/ Heavenly Father/ I Want You (back)/ Jerk Once More/ Jerkin' U.s.a./ Keep On Jerkin'/ Lost My Love Yesterday/ Mickey's East Coast Jerk/ Philly Dog/ Slauson Shuffle #1 (inst)/ Slauson Shuffle #2/ Soul Jerk/ The Answer Came Too Late/ The Jerk/ The Jerk (alt)/ The Roman/ The Skate/ You Must Believe Me/ THE MEADOWLARKS: Can You Do The Duck

DON JULIAN & THE MEADOWLARKS Ace CDCHD 552 Heaven & Paradise ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, 51 min., recommended
Depend on Ace to do the job right. Combining tracks from the Dootone, RPM, and Original Sound labels, this delightful disc is surely the definitive look at this long-lasting vocal group as it existed in the mid-1950's. The opening number, as you might expect is the title track, the closest the group ever got to a hit. The remaining program includes I Got Tore Up, Untrue, Boogie Woogie Teenage, Pass the Gin, Doin' the Cha Cha, Please Love a Fool, Real Pretty Mama, and Please (Say You Love Me). All production values are high, of course, and the black and white cover photo of the group's first incarnation performing before a television camera is a fine testimony to the interracial spirit of 50's rock 'n' roll. (DH)

DON JULIAN & THE MEADOWLARKS Collectables 5046 Golden Classics ● CD $11.98


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