required listening

CD Review

VARIOUS ARTISTS  -  Stack Of Soul : Red Hot R&B Classics

Jasmine (UK) JASCD 995

BOBBY DARIN-What’d I Say/MEL TORME-Right Now/PRINCE CONLEY-I’m Going Home/HERBIE MANN-Comin’ Home Baby/RAY CHARLES & his BAND-I’ve Got A Woman/BARBARA STEPHENS-Wait A Minute/LAVERN BAKER-Tiny Tim/BEN E. KING-Young Boy Blues/DRIFTERS-When My Little Girl Is Smiling; Drop Drop/CARLA THOMAS-Promises/TONETTES-Stolen Angel/FIESTAS-So Fine/CORVELLS-He’s So Fine/ LAVERN BAKER & BEN E. KING-A Help Each Other Romance/BOBBETTES-I Shot Mr Lee/RUTH BROWN-I Burned Your Letter/HOLLYWOOD FLAMES-Every Day Every Day (I’ll Always Be In Love With You)/CHUCK WILLIS-Whatcha Gonna Do When You Baby Leaves You/JIMMY RICKS & the RAVENS-Daddy Rollin’ Stone/VAN DYKES-Stupidity/BOOKER T & the MGs-Green Onions/BARBARA DANE-I’m On My Way/RUFUS THOMAS-The Dog/LAVERN BAKER & JIMY RICKS-You’re The Boss/HAMP JONES-Pack Your Clothes/SOLOMON BURKE-Cry To Me/CHUCK BERRY-Wee Wee Hours

Dipping into the catalogue of Atlantic/Atco and distributed labels between the years 1958 and ’62, here we have twenty-eight examples of r&b - sometimes a somewhat ill-used term for modern black music - which rather pre-dated the word ‘soul’ that would next become the norm.  Although oft disputed, many will contend that the title of ‘the man who invented soul’ should go to Solomon Burke and he is represented here as the writer of ‘Stupidity’ - a spirited outing from the Van Dykes which he cut coincidentally but whose version would not emerge until used as a 1963 b-side - and with the initial hit version of the Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell) penned and produced, ‘Cry To Me’.  Cross-fertilisation further occurs as Mel Torme delivers the jazzy, Latinesque ‘Right Now’, co-composed by Herbie Mann, while Mann offers up his instrumental version of ‘Comin’ Home Baby’, a number much associated with Torme.  As well as soloing on the strutting ‘Tiny Tim’, the full-throated Lavern Baker duets with both Ben E. King and former Ravens’ singer, Jimmy Ricks on ‘A Help Each Other Romance’ and ‘You’re The Boss’ respectively.  Fellow Atlantic songstress, Ruth Brown presents the bouncy, string and choral-backed ‘I Burned Your Letter’, Carla Thomas entertains with the delicious pop-slanted roller, ‘Promises’ and further distaff names such as Barbara Stephens and the Tonettes show the prolific styles emerging from Stax/Volt.  Barbara Dane’s tough ‘I’m On My Way’ came from the Atlantic-distributed Trey label and, should you wonder what Chuck Berry’s 1955 Chess outing, ‘Wee Wee Hours’,  is doing within this selection as final track, it was issued again by Atlantic in 1962, having been bought in for their compilation album, ‘Hound Dog’s Got Soul’.

review posted 25/618