Great mid-60s to early 70s sides from a genuine New Orleans R&B icon. Featuring nine previously unissued titles. Limited edition of 1500.
Every lover of New Orleans R&B knows Clarence “Frogman” Henry, the guy who “can sing like a girl and sing like a frog”. Clarence has been a favourite all over the world since the 1950s when he burst on the scene with ‘Ain’t Got No Home’. He was a regular visitor to the UK charts in the early 60s and supported the Beatles on their first US tour in 1964. Clarence made his hits for Chess Records, and they have seldom been out of print since the advent of the CD. The recordings he made subsequently have been less well anthologised – something this Ace collection strives to rectify.
“Baby Ain’t That Love” brings together almost all the recordings Clarence made with Texas-based producer Huey Meaux over a period of almost 10 years, with the bonus of four tracks cut for Buddy Killen’s Dial label in Memphis in 1967. Those who like Clarence’s Chess recordings will find plenty to enjoy, as many of the early tracks have the sound that made hits such as ‘But I Do’ and ‘You Always Hurt The One You Love’ so popular in their day. Huey Meaux mostly recorded Clarence inTexas but used New Orleans musicians to capture his sound and style in the way his Chess classics did. The results were invariably successful, as you will hear. By the 70s Huey had expanded Clarence’s repertoire to embrace soul, blues, country, funk and even reggae in an attempt to keep him sounding current. The results of the later sessions are never less than interesting and usually much more than that.
In typical Ace fashion, this is the most complete collection of Clarence’s post-Chess recordings to date – 28 titles in total, including nine issued here for the first time. All tracks are mastered from fresh tape transfers my Ace colleague Alec Palao and I made in Houston’s Sugar Hill Studios in 2013. Clarence is still entertaining audiences and bringing the house down with a show that includes all his hits and some of the songs featured here. It’s a pleasure to be able to shine a spotlight on his lesser-known work via this terrific collection.