Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Jesse Allen - Rockin' and Rollin'

Side A
1. What A Party
2. Rockin' And Rollin'
3. I Love You So
4. I Wonder What's The Matter
5. The Things I Gonna Do
6. Sittin' And Wonderin'

Side B
1. Boogie Woogie Mama
2. Shake 'em Up Baby
3. Rock This Morning
4. Gonna Move Away From Town
5. Gotta Call That Number
6. Gonna Tell My Mama

Many thanks to Big Al (The Bloggers’ Pal!) for sending in this 1980s Pathe Marconi compilation of Aladdin and Imperial sides recorded in New Orleans by singer / guitarist Jesse Allen between 1951 and 1954.

No-one seems to know where Jesse Allen came from. The sleeve notes on this album have fellow musicians speculating that he came from Florida or Georgia or Alabama or Mississippi, while John Broven in his book “Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans” refers to “Texas-styled blues shouter, Jesse Allen.” But wherever he came from, he established himself on the New Orleans scene at the beginning of the 1950s, making his recording debut for Aladdin in October 1951 at a session which was the first to be held by the Mesner brothers in the Crescent City.

Four tracks were cut with two being released on Aladdin 3129 – “Rock This Morning” b/w “Gonna Move Away From Town.” The former track is a good relaxed swingin’ jump tune while the latter is a decent slow blues with some nice guitar work by Allen. Two sides from this session were unissued: “Boogie Woogie Mama” in which Allen sounds like Roy Brown, and “Shake ‘em Up Baby” (previously recorded by Roy Brown) in which Allen seems to try too hard not to sound like Roy Brown.

Jesse’s next session came in December 1951 for Coral, with two sides “My Suffering” and “Let’s Party” being released as a single. In 1952 he recorded for the Bayou subsidiary of Imperial, releasing what may have been his most successful record, “Dragnet.”

None of his Coral and Bayou sides are on this LP, so we move onward to August 1953 when Jesse made his debut for Imperial, recording a couple of duets with chantoozie Audrey Walker whose warblings come under the heading of “acquired taste.” A single (Imperial 5256) was released, with the duo sounding like Little Esther and Mel Walker on “Gotta Call That Number” and veering more towards Shirley and Lee on “Gonna Tell My Mama.”

Time marches on, and back in the 1950s it marched on too, and as Jesse's records weren’t selling, it was time to call in the heavy hitters. In early 1954 Jesse Allen entered the studio with New Orleans legends Lee Allen, Alvin “Red” Tyler, Edward Frank, Frank Fields and Earl Palmer to cut four sides which were released on Imperial singles 5303 and 5285. The first single was an excellent rocker, “What a Party” b/w a blatant rip-off of Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do” titled “”The Things I Gonna Do.” Despite the obvious plagiarism, “Things” was a fine performance with Jesse serving up some nice guitar runs set against riffing saxes. Come to think of it, there was more than a hint of “Money Honey” about “What A Party” but Lee Allen’s booting sax gave it a distinctive sound and made it a real tough piece of rock 'n' roll.

By now it was becoming clear that a certain lack of originality was an obstacle to Jesse’s hit record ambitions. Imperial 5285 featured another rip-off, for “Sittin’ And Wonderin’” was simply a rehash of Lloyd Prices’ “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” or if you were being kind it was an answer record, only about two years too late. The other side of the disc, “I Wonder What’s The Matter,” was a good slow blues with the usual fine guitar work from Jesse.

In September 1954 Jesse cut his final sides for Imperial. “Rockin’ And Rollin’” was simply “Rock Me Baby” with a new title and this time round Jesse’s voice sounded like a slightly less strident than usual Big Joe Turner. The other side of the disc (Imperial 5315), “I Love You So,” had that great rolling New Orleans rhythm, but Jesse’s vocals featured a few bum notes.

Obscurity was beckoning, but there was still time for a couple more records. Three or four years after his last Imperial session, Jesse was reunited with Lee Allen and Red Tyler for a session for Johnny Vincent’s Vin label. One single was the result – “Baby Say You Will” b/w “Goodbye Blues” (Vin 1002). In 1959 Jesse made his first recording session outside of New Orleans, for Jimmy Liggins’ Duplex label in Fayetteville. “Love My Baby” b/w “After A While” was released on Duplex 9003. The great record buying public could hardly contain its indifference.

And so it was all over and Jesse, we may speculate, returned whence he came. Or perhaps he went somewhere else. Who knows? Yet wherever he was he could reflect that he had made some good records and had performed with the finest musicians in New Orleans. And a quarter of a century later a French record company thought his work was good enough to release on an LP, and another quarter of a century further on down the road here we all are listening to his work again. Not a bad epitaph.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps by Big Al. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/391544826/Jesse_Allen_Rockin__and_Rollin_.rar

2. Rockin' And Rollin'
3. I Love You So
4. I Wonder What's The Matter
5. The Things I Gonna Do
6. Sittin' And Wonderin'
7. Boogie Woogie Mama
8. Shake 'em Up Baby
9. Rock This Morning
10. Gonna Move Away From Town
11. Gotta Call That Number
12. Gonna Tell My Mama

Recommended purchases:

The Official CD "Little Walkin' Willie Meets Jesse Allen" has twenty tracks by Jesse, covering just about everything he ever released. Wild isn't the word for the six Little Walkin' Willie tracks on this collection. Simply astonishing stuff.

The UK Ace label LP “Jumpin’ The Blues, Volume 3” featured Jesse’s Coral side “Let’s Party,” which is a good jump blues. Keep crate digging for you never know, it may turn up when you least expect it.

You might have a better chance of turning up a copy of the long out of print Westside CD “Tuff Enuff, The Ace Blues Masters, Vol 3.” It has both sides of Jesse’s Vin single. Alternatively, you can download the comp from Amazon’s UK mp3 store. “Baby Say You Will” is a meandering performance which loses its way several times. “Goodbye Blues” is a much better track, being a rousing rocker with lots of blues guitar and riffing horns. A good vocal from Jesse, too.

“Love My Baby” from Jesse’s Duplex single is on the CD “Stompin’ 4.” The Stompin’ series of CDs has more than thirty volumes of the rarest, most obscure R&B records ever recorded. A labour of love and a work of genius. “Love My Baby” is a raw and primitive blues guitar blaster with shouted vocals and little trace of the New Orleans sound. A fine note on which to end a post.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Amos Milburn - Let's Have A Party


Side A
1. Chicken Shack Boogie
2. Trouble In Mind
3. I Know You Love Me
4. Good Good Whiskey
5. Rocky Mountain
6. Let's Rock Awhile
7. Down The Road Apiece

Side B
1. Bewildered
2. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer
3. Let's Have A Party
4. I'm Still A Fool For You
5. Bad Bad Whiskey
6. My Happiness Depends On You
7. All Is Well

This is a revamped post from the original blog with all-new scans of the LP cover and some labelshots of the disc itself.

This is one of 5 (I think) Amos Milburn LPs released on the French Pathe Marconi label in the 1980s. It’s a terrific album, mostly in fantastic sound quality (in fact superior to that on a 3CD Milburn set I bought during the 1990s), with the exception of “Let’s Rock Awhile” which is marred slightly by some feedback or microphone hum. Like the previous post of “13 Unreleased Masters” this is a career spanning collection, although this time round there’s rather more emphasis on the early 1950s with a goodly sample of Amos’s booze anthems and some cracking early rock and roll in “Let’s Have A Party” and “Rocky Mountain.”

Amos Milburn is perhaps my favourite artist of the golden era of rhythm and blues. His voice can evoke a semi deserted after hours joint in the wee wee hours when he tackles blues or ballads (try “Bewildered” or “Trouble in Mind”) or equally he can bring a picture of a packed dance hall to the mind’s eye when he pounds out that boogie woogie and rockin’ R&B (often accompanied by the legendary Maxwell Davis on tenor sax.)

The first track on this LP is perhaps the hardest rocking track he ever recorded – the 1956 remake of “Chicken Shack Boogie.” The LP sleeve wrongly lists track one as the original 1947 recording of “Chicken Shack Boogie” which became Amos’s biggest hit in 1949, helping to make him the top selling R&B artist of that year. In fact the track on this LP is from the session Amos recorded in New Orleans in September 1956 with Lee Allen and Alvin “Red” Tyler on tenor and baritone saxes. By this stage in his career the hits had long dried up for Amos, and this version of “Chicken Shack Boogie” got nowhere near the charts, but nevertheless it is one of the most stonkingly brilliant rock and roll records ever committed to wax.

The atmospherically sleazy LP cover is a straight copy of the 1957 Score LP “Let’s Have A Party” which has different tracks from the 1983 Pathe Marconi release.

Some day I might write a lengthier post on Amos Milburn, but I fear that I would only end up subconsciously regurgitating Nick Tosches’ great chapter on the man himself in “Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Get a hold of that book, turn to chapter 9 (“Amos Milburn: the chicken shack factor”), read and weep. And listen to “Let’s Have A Party” while you’re doing it.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www86.zippyshare.com/v/tVbavymT/file.html

Recommended purchases:

There are several Amos Milburn comps available, including an Amazon mp3 download of the old Capitol Blues Collection 3 CD set “Blues, Barrelhouse & Boogie Woogie.” Last time I looked, Amazon Marketplace had the CD at an eye watering £60 or so.

If you prefer CDs to mp3s (and what sensible person doesn’t?) then you could do worse than buy the Revola CD (29 tracks) with the same title as the LP on this post – “Let’s Have A Party! (Amos Milburn in the 50s)”

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Jackie Brenston - Rocket 88

Side A
1. Rocket 88
2. I Want To See My Baby
3. Jackie's Chewing Gum
4. Make My Love Come Down
5. My Real Gone Rocket
6. Mule
7. My Baby Left Town

Side B
1. Hi Ho Baby
2. Lovin' Time
3. Fat Meat Is Greasy
4. 88 Boogie
5. You Won't Be Comin' Back
6. True Love
7. The Blues Got Me Again


My thanks to our new donor – Big Al (The Bloggers’ Pal) for sending in this Green Line LP of Jackie Brenston Chess sides. Big Al is a fellow pilgrim on the Way of the Wailin’ Tenor Sax and has sent in several contributions which will appear on the blog.

The story behind “Rocket 88” has been told often – in Robert Palmer’s “Deep Blues,” in Jim Dawson and Steve Propes’ “What Was The First Rock ‘N’ Roll Record?” and perhaps most memorably in Nick Tosches’ “Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

It is a cautionary tale, of hopes raised and dashed, of friendships betrayed, of resentment and forgiveness, and, sadly, of an inordinate amount of boozing. The story unfolds in the year of Our Lord 1951, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, far from the usual Bebopwino arenas of Los Angeles and New York. Here we find ambitious young bandleader and deejay Ike Turner playing a few local gigs, and impressing guitarist B.B. King who was just passing through on the way to Sam Phillip’s Memphis Recording Service.

On B.B.’s recommendation, a recording date was arranged for Turner’s outfit (modestly named The Kings of Rhythm) at Sam Phillip’s studio at 706 Union Avenue where he recorded local blues musicians and leased or sold the masters to the Bihari Brothers’ Modern label in Los Angeles. And here we enter the realm of divine intervention, for lo, guitarist Willie Kizart’s amp was damaged in transit but on Sam’s insistence the session went ahead with paper stuffed into the cone. The result was a distorted fuzztone which dominated the best track on the session, “Rocket 88,” a paean to the Oldsmobile automobile of that name.

The song was written by band baritone sax player Jackie Brenston but it was really just an updated version of Jimmy Liggins’ 1947 jump blues “Cadillac Boogie.” The fortuitously distorted guitar gave the recording a sound which was different from other records of that era. The vocal was performed by Brenston, a long-time friend (some say they were cousins) of Ike. And here Sam Phillips takes another hand, for from the session he credited “Rocket 88” and “Come Back Where You Belong” to “Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats” while the other two sides, “Heartbroken and Worried” and “I’m Lonesome Baby” were credited to “Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm.” The sides were sent off to Chicago to be released on Chess.

“Rocket 88” was an immediate smash, tearing up the R&B charts to the number one spot and finishing as the 8th best selling R&B record of 1951. This was great news for Jackie and the Chess brothers, but not so hot for Ike Turner (whose Chess single bombed) and the Biharis. In the blink of an eye Jackie was out of the Kings of Rhythm and touring the country with a new set of Delta Cats. Sam Phillips started to think more seriously about starting his own record label and a corny country musician called Bill Haley brought out a good cover version of “Rocket 88” and decided that covering R&B records might prove to be both artistically and financially advantageous.

As for Jackie, his star was soon on the wane. The follow up release on Chess, “My Real Gone Rocket” went nowhere and there were signs of trouble when his next release, “Independent Woman,” was backed by a Billy Love side, “Juiced,” which was credited to Jackie despite his total lack of involvement in that recording. Jackie’s Chess career finally faded out in 1953. There was a brief spell in Lowell Fulson’s band before Jackie found himself back with Ike Turner, this time as a salaried sax player.

By now the Turner outfit was more like a rhythm and blues review than the tight little group which had entered Phillip’s studio only a few years before. They were signed to Federal Records and released sides credited to Ike Turner and his Orchestra, Billy Gayles, The Gardenias and even two records credited to Jackie Brenston – “What Can It Be” / “Gonna Wait For My Chance” and “The Mistreater” / “Much Later”, both in 1956.

They were reasonably good records, especially the hard rocker “Much Later,” but they were not to be the route back to stardom for Jackie. Indeed that route was now closed forever as Jackie took to some serious boozing with fellow band member (and one of the original Kings of Rhythm) Raymond Hill. He remained with Ike Turner into the early sixties and was on the international smash hit for Ike and Tina Turner “A Fool In Love” which was released on Sue in 1960. Jackie had his own single on Sue, “Trouble Up The Road” but naturally it didn’t sell. In 1962 Jackie parted with Ike Turner for the final time, worked for a while with Sid Wallace, and now sober again, made his last recording with the Earl Hooker band for the Mel-Lon label in 1963.

He returned to Clarksdale where he took up the insanely lethal combination of truck driving and wine drinking, finally passing in December 1979 while being treated in a veterans’ hospital in Memphis.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/387383828/Rocket_88.rar

Or from here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=69MH3JFH

1. Rocket 88 (Memphis, March 1951, Chess 1458)
2. I Want To See My Baby (Memphis, December 1951, unreleased)
3. Jackie's Chewing Gum (Memphis, December 1951, unreleased)
4. Make My Love Come Down (Memphis, July 1951, unreleased)
5. My Real Gone Rocket (Memphis, July 1951, Chess 1469)
6. Mule (Chicago, April 1953, unreleased)
7. My Baby Left Town (Memphis, December 1951, unreleased)
8. Hi Ho Baby * (Chicago, December 1951, Chess 1496)
9. Lovin' Time (Chicago, December 1951, unreleased)
10. Fat Meat Is Greasy (Memphis, December 1951, unreleased)
11. 88 Boogie (Chicago, December 1951, unreleased)
12. You Won't Be Comin' Back (Chicago, December 1951, unreleased)
13. True Love (Chicago, April 1953, unreleased)
14. The Blues Got Me Again (Chicago, December 1951, Chess 1532)

* duet with Edna McRaney

Recommended purchase:

“The Mistreater” (Rev-Ola Bandstand), a 24 track collection of all the Chess and Federal sides.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Big Jim Wynn - Blow Wynn Blow


Side A
1. Ee-Bobaliba
2. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz
3. I Want A Little Girl
4. Cherry Red
5. Rock Woogie
6. Shipyard Woman
7. J.W. Bop
8. In A Rhapsody In Minor

Side B
1. Blow Wynn Blow
2. Jelly Kelly Blues
3. Fat Meat
4. Farewell Baby
5. Put Me Down Blues
6. I'm The Boss (At My House)
7. Goofin' Off
8. Down To The Ocean

A pioneering R&B saxman on both tenor and baritone, Big Jim Wynn could consider himself unlucky on two counts. First off, while working the LA nightspots with his small jump band in the mid 1940s he wrote an infectious ditty called “Ee-Bobaliba” which became a staple of his act. Such was its popularity with the club audiences, Big Jim even renamed his band the “The Bobalibans.”

In 1945 Helen Humes (accompanied by the Bill Doggett Octet) recorded a version for the new LA indy label Philo. “Be-Baba-Liba” as it was now called was one of the biggest R&B hits of the year, but as Miss Humes took composer credits, not a cent wended its way to Big Jim’s pocket. To add insult to injury, Lionel Hampton recorded a version called “Hey! Ba-ba-re-bop” which became the second top selling R&B record of 1946, tucked in behind Louis Jordan’s “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie." Composer credits for the rewrite were taken by Curly Hammer and Lionel Hampton, so once again Big Jim got zilch.

Big Jim and his band recorded his song for 4 Star in late 1945, but despite a fine lead vocal by Claude Trenier, this version remained in the shadows of the “cover” versions by Humes and Hampton. Big Jim’s version is a great jump record, but the problem was that the combination of nonsense syllables and standard blues verses lent itself to rewrites and the subsequent loss of composer credits and record sales to more established acts.

In fact Big Jim Wynn was destined never to have a hit record, despite doing the rounds of the LA indies such as 4 Star, Gilt Edge, Modern, Supreme and Specialty as well as the major label Mercury. Apart from writing “Ee-bobaliba”, Big Jim is probably best remembered by R&B fans for providing the backing on many of T-Bone Walker’s fine recordings for Imperial in the early 1950s. The two had first played together in the LA club scene as far back as the late 1930s when T-Bone was doing a dance act. Big Jim’s band not only worked in the studio with T-Bone but also accompanied him on the road. As the band included Eddie Davis on tenor sax, Big Jim moved over to baritone sax.

Big Jim’s live act was something to behold as he pioneered many of the tricks which would be taken up by more renowned “honkers.” As George Moonoogian says in his sleevenotes: “He would kick, dance, shuffle, strut, go down on his knees, roll and literally provide his own mini-show on stage, all the while blowing wild solos on his sax. He was the first of the Los Angeles area sax players to perform these antics on stage …” And here bad luck struck a second time, as one Cecil J. McNeely was a regular spectator at Big Jim’s shows and “borrowed” his act to carve out a (thank God) long career as king of the tenor sax wildmen.

As the fifties wore on, Big Jim concentrated more and more on session work, with the occasional foray on the road backing acts such as Etta James and Richard Berry. Even in the 1970’s, and now aged well over sixty, he was still appearing live with the Johnny Otis show and managing to tear up the audience with his wild stage shenanigans. As he said in an interview: “One of my desires is to live to be a hundred. I try to keep in shape by exercise and eating health foods…” Well they do say that bad luck comes in threes. Within a year of that interview he was dead.

This 1985 LP was issued on the “Whiskey, Women and …” label, which was a joint enterprise run by the magazine of the same name and Mr R&B records. I only ever did find one issue of the “Whiskey, Women and …” magazine, in the Glasgow branch of Tower Records. The magazine (which was indescribably brilliant), the record shop, and the record company are, like Big Jim Wynn himself, no longer with us.


Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www24.zippyshare.com/v/JxjxmVOt/file.html

1. Ee-Bobaliba (4-Star 1026, 1945)
2. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz (4-Star 1026, 1945)
3. I Want A Little Girl (4-Star 1025, 1945)
4. Cherry Red (Gilt Edge 528, 1945)
5. Rock Woogie (Gilt Edge 528, 1945)
6. Shipyard Woman (Gilt Edge 527, 1945)
7. J.W. Bop (Supreme 1509, 1948)
8. In A Rhapsody In Minor (Gilt Edge 531, 1945)
9. Blow Wynn Blow (Supreme, 1509, 1948)
10. Jelly Kelly Blues (Gilt Edge 531, 1945)
11. Fat Meat (Specialty 312, 1948)
12. Farewell Baby (Supreme, 1522, 1948)
13. Put Me Down Blues (Specialty 312, 1948)
14. I'm The Boss (At My House) (Million 2004, 1954)
15. Goofin' Off (Supreme 1522, 1948)
16. Down To The Ocean (Million 2004, 1954)

Recommended purchase:

The 4 CD set “Honk for Texas” on the JSP label (JSP7760) has one CD entirely devoted to Big Jim Wynn, plus 10 tracks on another CD shared with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson. You’ve just gotta buy this one!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Rock 'n' Roll (Regent MG-6015)


Side A
1. Rockin' Boy / Chuz Alfred Combo
2. Hot Rod / Hal Singer
3. Blues For Everybody / Bobby Banks Orch.
4. Playboy Hop / Rockin' Bros. Orch.
5. The Grinder / Rockin' Bros. Orch.

Side B
1. You Gotta Rock And Roll / Bob Oakes Orch.
2. Backbiter / T.J. Fowler
3. Wine Cooler / T.J. Fowler
4. Rooster Boogie / Paul Williams Orch.
5. Frog Hop / Hal Singer Orch.


The anonymous donor who sent in the Plymouth LP “Rock and Roll No. 2” also sent this 1950s LP on the Regent label. The album was released around 1956 and it’s another fine example of a record company using old R&B sides to exploit the rock and roll craze. The tracks on offer here range from early 1950s R&B honk and jump to a couple of jazz groups recording in an R&B / rock and roll style in the mid 1950s. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very listenable collection of sax dominated rockin’ music which is guaranteed to tickle the musical taste buds of Be Bop Wino fans, especially as it is sourced from the vaults of Savoy, home of the big fat tenor sax sound.

Founded by Herman Lubinsky in 1947, Regent was a sister label to his renowned Savoy label. In the early 1950s Regent released singles by established Savoy R&B names like Johnny Otis and the various artists associated with his group such as Mel Walker, Redd Lyte and Little Esther. Around 1952 it was unsuccessfully relaunched as a vehicle for pop releases. Throughout its existence Regent was always overshadowed by the longer established Savoy.

In the mid-50s Regent started releasing a line of LPs, the Regent 6000 series. Titles included classical, gospel, cocktail jazz and the kind of thing that the Schadenfreudian Therapy blog would thrive on – Mexican folk, polkas, hot harmonicas, swingin’ organs, military marches, Rudy Vallee, banjo music, Fingers Finnegan, Dixieland jazz, ye gods, I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

But in amongst the cheese was a smattering of jazz and early R&B from Savoy, National and DeeGee – Billy Eckstine, Don Byas, Art Pepper, The Ravens, Dizzy Gillespie, live cuts by Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon recorded in 1947, and another “rock and roll” LP with the imaginative title “Rock and Roll Party No. 2.” Like the LP featured here, it was very much a recycling of old Savoy R&B material including sides by Big Jay McNeely, Paul Williams, Hal Singer, T.J. Fowler, Little Esther and Nappy Brown. It would be very good listening for Be Bop Winos, if anyone out there has a copy they would like to donate.

Thank you once more to our ever generous anonymous donor for this vintage LP!

Ripped from vinyl at 128 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/DcKsy6Em/file.html

1. Rockin' Boy / Chuz Alfred Combo (1955)
2. Hot Rod / Hal Singer (1955)
3. Blues For Everybody / Bobby Banks Orch. (1955)
4. Playboy Hop / Rockin' Bros. Orch. (1954)
5. The Grinder / Rockin' Bros. Orch. (1954)
6. You Gotta Rock And Roll / Bob Oakes Orch. (1956)
7. Backbiter / T.J. Fowler (1952)
8. Wine Cooler / T.J. Fowler (1952)
9. Rooster Boogie / Paul Williams Orch. (1951)
10. Frog Hop / Hal Singer Orch. (1952)