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Toast Of The Coast: 1950s R&B From Dolphin's Of Hollywood Volume 2, CD (£11.50)
We’re often asked why we don’t put out as many R&B compilations as we used to. In part, our extensive release schedule in the past has meant that, while the well is still by no means dry, it’s not as full as it used to be. Additionally, demand has dwindled a little, as its audience gets older and less interested in ownership of CDs. Also, the relentless onslaught of lesser quality “out of copyright” issues has eaten away at the core market for R&B and given a false perspective on the true worth of material that’s being, for want of a better term, legally bootlegged.
We still love R&B, and we will continue to support it as long as people keep calling for it. This month, we’re delighted to bring you another volume in our series of CDs devoted to the labels of the late John Grattan Dolphin.
Our previous Dolphin compilation highlighted repertoire that Lovin’ John had recorded for release on his first label, Recorded In Hollywood. This time, the repertoire is largely drawn from the stack of tapes that Dolphin produced or bought with the intention of issuing them on his later labels, Money and Cash. With one exception, all tracks come from original mastertapes that Ace acquired from Dolphin’s widow, Ruth, some years ago.
Dolphin’s scattergun approach to running his labels meant that he would be recording and releasing high profile acts like Memphis Slim, Pee Wee Crayton, Joe Houston and Jimmy Witherspoon one day, and extremely obscure ones like Vernon Anders and Al Calloway the next. For every two sides that he issued, he left two in the can. Indeed, some singers heard here, such as Ervin “Big Boy” Groves’ protégée Little Margie, recorded many sides over several sessions without so much as one finding its way onto the market.
Half a century may have passed since John Dolphin really was the Toast Of the Coast, but his musical legacy has outlived him. Thanks to our being able to bring you compilations such as this one, it will continue to do so for many years to come.
By Tony Rounce