Messing With The Blues Various Artists (Atlantic)

£11.50

Availablity:
World
Genre:
Blues
Label:
Ace Records
Format:
CD
Catalogue Id:
CDCHD 773

Ace's previous forays into the back catalogue of Atlantic Records have given us some sparkling compilations of rhythm & blues and soul. The label may not be so readily associated with hard-core blues but it recorded plenty of choice items, as this selection from the first decade or so of the company's existence demonstrates. Here are plenty of blues heavy hitters - Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and more - mixed with others who are much less well known. A handful of the performers were on Let The Boogie Woogie Rock'n'Roll (CDCHD 718), an excavation of early rhythm & blues to which this release can be seen as a follow-up.

Ace's previous forays into the back catalogue of Atlantic Records have given us some sparkling compilations of rhythm & blues and soul. The label may not be so readily associated with hard-core blues but it recorded plenty of choice items, as this selection from the first decade or so of the company's existence demonstrates. Here are plenty of blues heavy hitters - Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and more - mixed with others who are much less well known. A handful of the performers were on Let The Boogie Woogie Rock'n'Roll (CDCHD 718), an excavation of early rhythm & blues to which this release can be seen as a follow-up.

The star of the CD is Little Johnny Jones, a hugely talented pianist in the style of Big Maceo Merriweather who died much too young. He is best known for his playing on recordings by Tampa Red and Elmore James, for he made less than a handful of singles under his own name. Here are all four sides from his only session for Atlantic, plus one alternate take, with Elmore on guitar throughout. This reviewer finds it hard to imagine a more perfect example of 1950s Chicago blues than Chicago Blues. Four of these five tracks appeared on an Atlantic LP almost thirty years ago, but this may be the first reissue of the take of Hoy Hoy used on the original Atlantic 78.

As a kind of bonus, Little Johnny and Elmore pop up again, backing Big Joe Turner on his well-known TV Mama. Big Joe and Ray Charles were both stalwarts of Atlantic in the 1950s. The Atlantic recordings of Champion Jack Dupree, T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker, on the other hand, were brief stops in long and varied careers. It's a tribute to the care that the company always took that, for all three men, these recordings rank amongst their best work.

Compiler Ray Topping has spiced up the package by including plenty of material that even long-in-the-tooth collectors won't have heard before. Check out Jimmy Griffin's band doing an answer to Muddy Waters' I'm A Man, called She's A W-O-M-A-N. Or saxophonist Frank Culley's lovely version of After Hours, with a rippling piano solo by Van Walls. Then we have both sides of West Coast guitarist Chuck Norris' Atlantic single, and a rocking version of Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Larry Dale. And at the far end of obscurity gulch is Lucky Davis, who Ray Topping speculates was recorded in Texas. And there's lots more besides. In short, Messing With The Blues has something for everybody.

By Tony Collins

Track listing

Side 1

  • 01
    Hoy Hoy Aka Hop, Skip And Jump - Little Johnny Jones

  • 02
    Up The Line (Doin' The Best I Can) - Little Johnny Jones

  • 03
    Chicago Blues - Little Johnny Jones

  • 04
    Wait Baby - Little Johnny Jones

  • 05
    Hoy Hoy - Little Johnny Jones

  • 06
    TV Mama - Joe Turner & His Blues Kings

  • 07
    T-Bone Shuffle - T-Bone Walker

  • 08
    Play On Little Girl - T-Bone Walker

  • 09
    Bad Blood Aka Think You Need A Shot - Jack Dupree

  • 10
    Junker's Blues - Jack Dupree

  • 11
    A Bit Of Soul - Ray Charles

  • 12
    Losing Hand - Ray Charles

  • 13
    Sinner's Prayer - Ray Charles

  • 14
    After Hours Session - Frank 'Floorshow' Culley & His Band

  • 15
    Climbin' Up To Heaven Blues (Part 1) - Jimmy Earle & The Jazz Kings

  • 16
    Cold Love - Lucky Davis & His Blues Kings

  • 17
    Messin' Up - Chuck Norris

  • 18
    Let Me Know - Chuck Norris

  • 19
    Guitar Lovin' Man (Lovin' Guitar Man) - John Lee Hooker

  • 20
    Real Real Gone - John Lee Hooker

  • 21
    She's A W-O-M-A-N Aka Mannish Boy - Jimmy Griffin & His Band with Beau Fairley - vocal

  • 22
    Blue Harlem - Tiny Grimes & His Sextet

  • 23
    Draggin' Hours - Odelle Turner with The Jesse Stone Orch

  • 24
    Break Of Day Blues - Hal Paige & His Band

  • 25
    Drinkin' Wine Spo-dee-o-dee - Larry Dale

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