At first glance this looks like just another one of those cheap hodgepodge compilations where some obscure label throws together odd out-takes and B-sides under some sort of theme banner, and takes the money and runs. But it's actually an interesting and wide ranging survey of some of the early tunes and musicians who made swing blues hot in the late 40's, and now are inspiring countless revival bands to dress up weird and cavort carelessly.
Music Club has some other worthwhile looking sets as well: "Soulful Mood" sets by Charlie Parker, Chet Baker and Charlie Mingus, "Kings Of New Orleans R&R," an uptempo blues compilation, "Up Jumped The Blues" and a compilation of South African Township jazz. This present one is based largely on singles issued by LA based Swingtime Records, who before they went belly-up in 1954 had also acquired similar cuts from Supreme and Exclusive labels as well. Artists on the roster were people like bandleader Joe Liggins (his staple, "The Honeydripper" is included here in full), Ray Charles (after minor hits with Charles Brown sound-alike releases he got gritty on a 1952 track included here, "Kissa Me Baby") and proto-honking hornman, Big Jay McNeely (heard on "Road House Boogie").
Also here is the original "Saturday Night Fish Fry," which later was a hit for Louis Jordan in 1949, done by Eddie Williams and his Brown Buddies. More early tracks by mainstay vocalists Jimmy Witherspoon ("Moneys Getting Cheaper") and Percy Mayfield ("Half Awake--Baby, You're Still A Square") spread out the scope. Proto-type balladeer Charles Brown is heard as part of Johnny Moore's 3 Blazers on "Groovy Movie Blues," and Johnny Otis Orchestra backs both Earl Jackson and Joe Swift, the later "That's Your Last Boogie" even has a Latin flavor to it, which oughta entice the Ricky Martin crowd.
In any case, a good time set of some root-cellar sounds that later blossomed into full flower foundations. Say that five times fast--but Lindy while you're doing it.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Tony Glover, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.