required listening

CD Review


The Rhythm, The Blues, The Soul Of New Orleans 1962-1966

History Of Soul (UK) RANDB 052 (4cd)

LEE DORSEY-Messed Around (And Fell In Love); Get Out Of My Life Woman/SHIRLEY RAYMOND-What A Wedding Day/PORGY & the POLKA DOTS-Riding High/TOMMY RIDGLEY-I’ve Heard That Story Before/EDDIE BO-Tee Na Na Na Na Nay; A Heap See (But A Few Know); Let’s Let It Roll; Fare Thee Well; Fee-Fie-Jum-Bo-Li; Danger/PATIENCE VALENTINE-Ernestine/CHUCK JOHNSON-Elephant Fair; The Way You Treat Me/ALEX SPEARMAN-What In The World; I’ll Whip It On You; You’ll Never Find Another Man Like Me/WILLIE WEST-You Told Me; I Need Your Love (Baby)/ROBERT PARKER-The Laughing Monkey; Happy Feet/YVONNE WILLIAMS-I Just Told The Blues Goodbye/KATHERINE HOLT-Tired Of Crying; Bad Luck And Trouble (Don’t Last Always)/ELTON ANDERSON-(Sorry) I’m Gonna Have To Pass/SNOOKS EAGLIN-Little Eva/HUEY SMITH-He’s Back Again/RONNIE BARRON-The Hip Parade; The Grass Looks Greener Yonder/TAMI LYNN-Where Can I Go/JOE TEX-You Keep Her; The Next Time She’s Mine; I’ve Got A Song/SHOWMEN-Valley Of Love/VAN BROUSSARD-When It Rains It Pours/ART NEVILLE-Lover Of Love (+ inst.); My Babe/CHARLES ‘SOUL’ BROWN-Standing On The Outside/WARREN LEE TAYLOR-Oh Anna (We’re Gonna Get Married)/LEE TILLMAN-Fortune Teller/MERLE SPEARS-Ain’t No Need; It’s Just A Matter Of Time/CHRIS KENNER-Johnny Little/MELVIN LASTIE-I Guess/BILL SINIGAL & the SKYLINERS-Second Line (pts.1&2)/CURLEY MOORE-Soul Train; This Way I Do/CLAUDE SHERMACK-Gravy Train/CHUCK CARBO-Lover Of Love/MISS JOHNI NAYLOR/Red Win For My Blues/OLIVER MORGAN-Hold Your Dog; Stagger Lee/JODY WILLIAMS-Time For A Change/WILLIE TEE-Teasin’ You; Ain’t That True Baby; You’ve Got To Pay Some Dues/MILDRED SCOTT-Sadness In My Heart/BOBBY MITCHELL-You Got The Nerve/VIC CORNISH-Make Up Your Mind/BOBBY POWELL-What Are You Trying To Do To Me/RAY WILSON-How Can I Reach You/BETTY TAYLOR-I’m Going Home/LITTLE HULON VINING-I Don’t Have To Cry Anymore/MARVELL-Love Is A One Sided Fight/ERNEST JACKSON-Our Love Will Always Be The Same; I Miss You/MIKE ANCONA & the JOKERS-Bound For Love/OLIVER MORGAN-Who Stole The La La; The Original Crayfish/MAXINE THOMAS-Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day/BILLY TIRCUIT-I Confess/RED TYLER-Olde Wine/WARDELL & the ROYAL DUKES-The Ragman (pts.1&2)/EARL KING-She’s My Driving Wheel/GEE GEE SHINN-Fever; Devil Of A Girl/MARIE DUBARRY-Never Trust A Man/JERRY FOUCHA-Wake Up/EDWARD JONES-Everything Will Turn Out Right/SENATOR JONES-Whatcha Gonna Do; Baby It’s Too Late/CAROLYN FAYE-That’s All I Need Baby/LEONA BUCKLES-Baby We Are Through/SONICS-Crescent Walk/EVA LARSE-(Won’t Someone Help) This Poor Lost Soul/BENNY SPELLMAN-I Feel Good/CHUCK MITCHELL-Your Good Loving/JESSE THOMAS-Should I Pay Dues; Bases Are Loaded/GEORGE PEPP-The Feeling Is Real; He Created Woman/WALTER B-She Was Wrong/ERNEST (CHEWING GUM) JONES-Hurricane Betsy/COZY CORLEY-I Need True Love/EARL HARRISON-Can You Forgive/JIMMY J-No More/J.J. WALLACE-True Love Was Never Meant For Me; Looking For Lee/JAMES RIVERS-Tighten Up/SMOKEY JOHNSON-It Ain’t My Fault (pts.1&2); I Can’t Help It (pts.1&2)/GEORGE WOODS-I Know You Got Someone Else; She’s So Fine/JACKIE AVERY-I Got Love; Understanding/BOONEY TAYLOR-It’s Raining/BOBBY BROWN-Seven Lonely Days/SOUL BROTHERS-Take This Pain/SAMMY KING-What A Night/POLKA DOT SLIM-Trick Bag/CHARLES SMITH-You Need Education/GUITAR RAY-You’ve Got Something/JOE WILSON-I’m Her Only Man/GERRI HALL-I Lost The Key/RAYMOND LEWIS-I Got To Get It/CHARLES DIXON-Come To Me/CHARLES BRIMMER-Sitting Down Thinking/BO JUNIOR-Coffee Pot (pts.1&2)

If you thought the various releases by way of the 2-cd sets from History Of Soul were a lot to digest in one go, how about this set of 119 - yes, that’s right, One Hundred And Nineteen - tracks, many of which I guarantee will be pretty unfamiliar to a high number of us, across four cds with sources gleaned from from Crescent City labels between 1962 and 1966?  And... the whole comes complete with a 36-page, fully illustrated booklet, annotated by expert soulster, John Ridley, full of track information and biographical details on the artists, no matter how obscure - well, to me, anyway.  Because of the general nature of History Of Soul releases, intended to bring to light much that might be unfamiliar in  the mainstream, to have to take on board such a volume of ‘first-time-around’ tracks in a minimum of three sittings can be overwhelming to a person such as I, I am going to take the usual scapegoat route for reviewing a release such as this and alight on a random - and, albeit, small - selection of cuts on each cd to endeavour to give a general flavour of what’s on offer.  So, cd number one first and, having cited ‘obscurities’, contradiction comes by way of a number of recognisable names...  Eddie Bo - the most represented artist on the set overall - Lee Dorsey, Tommy Ridglely, Willie West, Robert Parker, Patience Valentine, Huey Smith, Tami Lynn, Joe Tex, Art Neville, Chris Kenner...  and, jumping around the list, ‘Fortune Teller’ might be more familiar by Benny Spellman but Lee Tillman’s lively later version from the Michelle imprint should not be overlooked; Katherine Holt offers up a bluesy, self-penned, ‘Tired Of Crying’ (a Booker release) and, sticking with the ladies, a contrast comes in poppy style by Yvonne Williams with ‘I Just Told The Blues Goodbye’, just the third Booker release after Katherine’s.  Ronnie Barron, who we learn had and would have a quite colourful recording career, brings a novelty feel to the disc with ‘The Hip Parade’, while Robert Parker’s ‘The Laughing Monkey’ - another Booker outing - requires precious little work from Parker himself, the dance number being carried by the backing band, while Van Broussard’s ‘When It Rains It Pours’ brings down the tempo to deliver up a cream cut from that first cd.  Willie Tee and Bobby Powell bring recognition to cd-two, sitting alongside Miss Johni Naylor, whose ‘Red Wine For My Blues’ is a fine, jazz-slanted piece penned by Mac ‘Dr. John’ Rebennack and Maxine Thomas, her ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day’ being a perky treatment of the Sam Cooke song popularised by Johnnie Taylor.  Staying with the ladies, Mildred Scott - not to be confused with the later Mildred Vaney/Millie Scott - gets real deep with the mournful ‘Sadness In My Heart’, a Dorothy Labostrie composition that represented one side of Mildred’s only release.   Little Hulon Vining - where do they find these people! - also keeps the mood deep with another single recording stab, viz a fine ‘I Don’t Have To Cry Anymore’ while, by way of contrasts, the next track, Marvell’s ‘Love Is A One Sided Fight’ is another of those pop-slanted New Orleans’ items rendered by a singer whose voice can only be described as ‘Marmite‘ and Oliver Morgan’s ‘Who Shot The La La‘ epitomises the plodding Big Easy style.  So... we’re on to the third silver disc in the set and and the names Leona Buckles and Eva Larse join those more familiar to yours truly.  Not exactly at random then, Leona’s offering is a mid-paced ‘Baby We Are Through’, a Watch release and Eva’s suitably pleading ‘(Won’t Someone Help) This Poor Lost Soul’ marks her recording debut (in 1965 on Reginald).  Gee Gee Shinn both plays trumpet and sings his way through a spirited version of Little Wille John’s ‘Fever‘ while, elsewhere, Jesse Thomas asks ‘Should I Pay Dues‘ in appropriately begging fashion and Jimmy J [Williams] gently struts through the sparsely-supported ‘No More’.  Finally, on cd-three, it’s a return to the ladies as Marie Dubarry warns ‘Never Trust A Man’.  Sounding like a black Kay Starr, John Ridley offers up some suggestions that Marie Dubarry might be a pseudonym.  So, we finally reach the fourth cd of the set after what was perhaps the best of the batch so far.  Can it be matched?  Well, Charles Brimmer’s upbeat ABS recording, ‘Sitting Down Thinking‘ is here for a start, tastily joined by Booney Taylor’s ‘It’s Raining’, not the Irma Thomas song but a mournful, self-penned piece with flute and female vocal accompaniment.  Curley Moore both talks and sings his way through the downtempo ‘The Way I Do‘ and Charles Smith takes us into uptempo, toe-tapping mood with the femme-supported ‘You Need Education’.  Sadly, except as those backing rôles, the women are missing from this cd but there’s no denying the appeal of the brass-driven ‘Looking For Love‘ from J.J. Wallace nor Alex Spearman’s sterling, deep declaration, ‘You’ll Never Find Another Man Like Me’, a 1966 outing on White Cliffs.  With this latest History Of Soul release, New Orleans music fans (in particular) should be in seventh heaven.

review posted 7/11/18