We were pleased when our “Shattered Dreams” collection proved to be a good seller. It had been compiled on something of a whim to examine how blues developed during the late 60s and 70s, a period when it had fallen out of fashion.
Blues records were being issued most often for regional independent labels in areas with established blues scenes, such as Los Angeles and Chicago. They weren’t released with the charts in mind, but were part of the strategy to keep the artist in the public eye and maybe earn them a gig, or a place on local jukeboxes. For years these later blues records were seen as hybrids and largely ignored, until young funk collectors hungry for new sounds started to pick them up.
“Hard To Explain” covers a variety of styles, all influenced to some degree by aspects of the American black music spectrum. Jimmy Robins, Ray Agee and Big Daddy Rucker slow things down and give us blues enriched by deep soul ballads, whereas Earl Wright, Larry Davis, Tommy Youngblood and others update the R&B dancer. On the funkier side, we open with Freddy Robinson, who remade his hit ‘The Creeper’ with the help of Isaac Hayes’ backing band the Movement, while Albert King totally transforms James Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat’. Other stars of the compilation include Smokey Wilson, Finis Tasby, Artie White and Jimmy McCracklin, who all help prove that the blues didn’t die in the 70s, but instead adapted to what was going on in the world at large. This immediacy still shines through today, making this another vital collection from a sometimes less fondly remembered era in blues history.
By Dean Rudland