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Koko Showcase: A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Reacting to the positive reception of Koko Mojo’s rhythm and blues series of compilation albums, the final instalment arrives with a thirty-track album consisting of many of the highlights from the series of CDs. With a difficult task filtering through many hours of delightful traditional blues and rhythm and blues found on this set of albums, the final list of tracks making up ‘A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm’ features a track from each album and referenced on the back cover. From this picking list of rhythm and blues it’s such delights as Lucky Millinder’s ‘Who Said Shorty Wasn’t Coming Back’, and powerhouse vocals of Little Miss Jessie with ‘My Baby Has Gone’ to see why this compilation series was in such great demand. From there it’s the likes of opening track ‘You Drink Too Much Booze’ by Jimmy Raney & Slim Slaughter with jazz influencing its rhythm, to confident turn in more ways than one from Marty Lewis and song ‘Satisfied With My Lovin’’. It is also the anecdotes that inform much of these songs in addition to the compelling music, not forgetting some of the monikers of the artists featured and titles of a few of the songs with oddity that is the track ‘Psycho’ by Bobby Hendricks winning hands down. Those who are new to the Koko Mojo experience and missed the majority of these compilation albums would be wise to start with ‘Koko Showcase: A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm’ because during its thirty tracks provides a wide dosage of rhythm and blues with enough evidence to tempt any listener to explore the rest of this series. A limited-edition release to mark this excellent series in style is ‘Koko Showcase: A Journey To The Land Of Blues And Rhythm’.


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Southern Bred: The Hot Thirty Picks

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Due to the resounding success of the Southern Bred series on the Koko Mojo imprint, the final say to this excellent series goes to a strictly limited-edition compilation featuring a selection of tracks from several states in America. With the regions of Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and the City of New Orleans featuring here, the curators of Southern Bred no doubt had tough decisions to make when compiling this list of thirty tracks considering the ten volumes previously issued. No matter as the selection of songs provides more than enough evidence that investment in this series is worth every penny of anyone’s hard-earned cash for those new to the Southern Bred albums. Interestingly and the right decision to go with is the mixture of well-known artists with the less than familiar and providing further details of what to expect if considering further investigation of the series as a whole. Opinions will no doubt differ but highlights featuring ‘The Hot Thirty Picks’ include Sonny Boy Williamson with Willie Love and ‘Too Close Together’; Howlin’ Wolf ‘Wang-Dang-Doodle’; Big Bill Broonzy and His Big Little Orchestra ‘Tomorrow’; Lloyd price and His Orchestra ‘The Chicken And The Bop’; Floyd Dixon ‘Roll Baby Roll’; Baldemar Huerta ‘El Rock De La Prison’ and Clayton Lou ‘Mary Lou’. The truth in fact is that the whole contents of Southern Bred: The Hot Thirty Picks’ is simply engaging and with numbers limited there is only one investment worth making right now.


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The Mojo Man’s Halloween Party

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

More a party at home this year considering the unprecedented times we are all experiencing, but at least this new long player will provide hours of entertainment given the carefully considered track list with far more than the usual suspects. Yes, it’s marketed as a Halloween album, but considering the quality and diversity available here, ‘The Mojo Man’s Halloween Party’ is an album to spin any time of the year if you’re a connoisseur of all things rockin’ or you enjoy a touch of humour and eccentricities with your rockin’ delights. With Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Well, you can’t really leave him out) introducing this compilation with ‘Little Demon’, and then followed by equally gripping track ‘At The House Of Frankenstein’, complete with captivating vocal performance by Big Bee Kornegay, makes for a winning start. There are instrumentals from The Nite Caps (‘Haunted Sax’) and others containing smatterings of haunted vocals for effect from the likes of Oscar Hamod & His Majestics with ‘Haunted House’ and Bill Doggett ‘Monster Party’. Intro of the album goes to Tyrone A’Saurus & His Cro-Magnons and rockin’ ‘Monster Twist’, which is not to suggest the rest of its contents fail to live up to such quality because it happens to be one of several highlights to be discovered here. Serving up a modern twist is Little Victor and raw electric blues of ‘Graveyard Boogie’, before reverting to more rockin’ treasures from the vaults by way of The Verdicts’ ‘The Mummy’s Ball’ and The Monotones’ ‘Legend Of Sleepy Hollow’. The Mojo Man does it again with another ten out of ten selection of oddball snippets and rockin’ tracks that make this album a must have for any Halloween party or to enjoy all year round.


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.10

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Quite possibly the final chapter in what has been a mesmerising spell of blues and traditional rhythm and blues of “Southern Bred” artists who left their musical legacy to history and served as reminders throughout all these volumes. Arriving at number ten in the series, ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ continues with the by now standard format of twenty-eight tracks featuring many well-known artists, in addition to a few lesser known names. With the latest album including several musicians featured on the previous volume such as Roy Hawkins, Peppermint Harris, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Floyd Dixon to name a few, the quality of this latest compilation is already assured to be exceedingly high. Beginning with the excellent and lively rhythm and blues of Big Walter and His Thunderbirds and song, ‘Pack, Fair & Square’, and continuing with engaging vocals and rhythm found during ‘Bippin’ An Boppin’ (Over You)’ by Bobby Byrd and Orchestra. If this is truly the end of this fine series, then the final volume is certainly ending on a high as evidenced by the inclusion of wonderful rough diamond ‘Seven Days’ performed by Gory Carter, to saxophone stompin’ rhythm of Joe Houston’s ‘We’re Gonna Rock ‘N’ Roll’, and equally captivating ‘Wine Drinkin’ Woman’ from Roy Hawkins whose vocal adds to the overall conviction of this record, not to mention standout lead guitar that scorches a few holes in this player! Finishing with smooth as silk numbers as ‘Baby Don’t Go’ from Jesse Belvin, to piano boogie via Lloyd Glenn and His Joymakers and ‘Midnight Boogie’, ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.10’ is a record that stands out on its own merits yet is part of a series of albums equally on par with the quality offered here.


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.9

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Under the knowledge that the previous volume of ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ was the last in the series, up pops another volume much to this publication’s delight. Hosting a further twenty-eight tracks, ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.9’ continues the fine selection of its predecessors as it begins in fine fashion via Bobby Day and ‘That’s All I Want’, and concluding in equally fine manner by way of Young Jessie and ‘I Smell A Rat’. The tracks in between offer much to enthuse over and starting, in no particular order, with the likes of Floyd Dixon ‘Roll Baby Roll’, to rhythm and blues featuring much harmonica from namesake Harmonica Slim and ‘Going Back Home’, and elsewhere the improvised feel and finger pickin’ blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ ‘New York Boogie’. With Marie Adams (‘Ain’t Car Crazy’) adding to the rhythm and blues of this album, and Barbara Lynn (‘Teen Age Blues’) offering something a bit more advanced from the same genre yet still within the boundaries of its traditional foundations, there’s much to take in as far this latest volume goes. Such examples can be cited from somewhat unconventional approach of “Smokey” Hogg, who makes several appearances throughout this compilation and, most notably, during ‘Good Mornin’ Baby’ where instruments seem to overlap one another and, on occasions, sound off-kilter before finding their rhythm once more. A fascinating song. There is much to like about volume nine of ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ but, most of all, it’s the fact that the series has maintained its previous momentum and continues rolling.


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Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party Vol. 2

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Second volume in the series ‘Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party’ sees another twenty-eight tracks of early soul music. Developing its sounds from the foundations of gospel, rhythm and blues and jazz music, the early pioneers of this evolving sound can be heard during ‘Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party Vol. 2’. With established names such as The Isley Brothers leading the charge with rather well-known ‘Twist and Shout’, which helped put a certain beat combo of the 60s on the road to success, and followed by artists as Ray Charles (‘What’d I Say’) Esther Phillips (‘Release Me’) and Little Junior Parker (‘Driving Wheel’). With the emphasis of this series being the early stages of soul, it’s always fascinating to hear the first stages of artists such as James Brown, featured here with The Famous Flames and the track ‘Night Train’. Elsewhere there’s a few lesser known delights to be found via intriguingly named Birdlegs and Pauline ‘Spring’ that is as fresh and bright as its title due to combined female/male vocals and infectious midtempo rhythm, to equally captivating moniker Prince La La with ‘She Put The Hurt On Me’. Interesting lyrics, not to mention excellent vocals from Irma Thomas dominate ‘Don’t Mess With My Man’, in addition to other impressive numbers by way of the Midas touch given to ‘Release Me’ by Esther Phillips and accompanying musicianship. The list goes on as far as the overall quality of this latest volume of ‘Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party’. For best results, simply invest in this album and hear for yourself the consistency of greatness selected because you will not be disappointed.


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Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers Vol.8

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Rather like a good novel that you do not want to end, the same feeling applies to the series ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ such has been the high level of quality of music throughout this series. With Volume eight being the latest and last in the series, the songs featured showcase various artists and songs developed to a far greater level than the raw primitive blues of before. Living up to the album’s additional title ‘That’ll Get It’, any listener can therefore expect a large slice of traditional rhythm and blues. Featuring no less than twenty-eight tracks, ‘Texas R&B Rockers Vol. 8’ certainly goes out on a high with such sophisticated numbers as those delivered by the likes of Calvin Boze and His All-Stars ‘Baby’ You’re Tops With Me’, sounding not too dissimilar to Dave Bartholomew, and equally similar Roy Gaines with ‘Loud Mouth Lucy’. There is a definite influence of jazz and big band music at various stages of the album, and indicated by such examples as ‘Mean Little Girl’ and ‘On My Way’ performed by Roy Hawkins, to the Jesse Powell Orchestra and song ‘Hot Box’. Not everything possesses a polished exterior as Smokey Hogg provides a finger pickin’ delight in the shape of ‘Baby Shake Your Leg’ and sounds like an improvised piece given its raw qualities. There’s a Chuck Berry composition ‘Come Back, Maybelline’ performed by Mercy Dee and is a response to Chuck’s hit song ‘Maybellene’. There’s more rock ‘n’ roll feeling by way of excellent ‘Skippy Is A Sissy’ from Roy Gaines, to Big Walter & His Thunderbirds with ‘Six Weeks Of Misery’. If there’s one series that could run and run, then it would be ‘Southern Bred: Texas R&B Rockers’ because it has been a captivating ride of blues and rhythm and blues from its first volume until its last. Volume eight and ‘That’ll Get It’ completely captures the moment and provides a fitting end to this remarkable series.


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Elvis Stole My Job

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

For those who thought Elvis Presley came first when considering the genre of rock ‘n’ roll, then you would be mistaken. Fresh from the vaults of Koko Mojo is the album ‘Elvis Stole My Job’. The idea behind this latest collection of artists from blues and rhythm and blues backgrounds, is to highlight the important roles and influences these artists had when it came to the King of rock ‘n’ roll. Largely taking inspiration from musicians Elvis held much admiration and respect for such as Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Roy Brown, Lloyd Price and Clyde McPhatter by imitating their styles whether vocally or physically when it came to his live persona. At the helm of this new album is Little Victor (aka The Mojo Man) who compiled all tracks, in addition to writing the liner notes for ‘Elvis Stole My Job’. The selection of songs earmarks the greatness that came before Elvis with, leading the way, the formerly mentioned Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup and ‘My Baby Left Me’, to rhythm and blues of Wynonie Harris ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’. To Elvis’s credit and the writers involved in terms of his recorded output, it wasn’t simply a question of repeating identical versions because history shows that was never the case, but the King certainly added much to these former records, in addition to raising the profiles of these black musicians to wider audiences, especially those of white ethnicity. With this album being concerned with music and not politics, the choices selected are top level with, by now, more familiar names and tracks featured such as Smiley Lewis and ‘One Night’, The Orioles ‘Crying In The Chapel’, Jackie Wilson (‘Right Now’) and Otis Blackwell (‘Make Ready For Love’). What stands out, however, and mentioned by The Mojo Man, is the fact that several of these songs are less familiar when it comes to similar compilations. Therefore, ‘Elvis Stole My Job’ also includes artists with no direct connections to the King yet their resemblance to the artist is clear. With Elvis revealing influences ranging from rhythm and blues to doo wop and ballads such as those by key influence on his career, Roy Hamilton, featured here with the song ‘Don’t Let Go’, the music and inspirations fuelling Elvis Presley were definitely not blinkered choices. Great album and selection of artists where Elvis was guilty of stealing the limelight, but not without confessing his love and admiration that created a wider platform in terms of recognition of these former great artists.


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Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Drumming up ideas for new series is all in a day’s work when it comes to the folks at Koko Mojo Records. Fresh out of the stable is latest series ‘Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party’. Consisting of various artists from the 50s and early 60s, the attention to details is ever-present where music of the blues was transforming, and rhythm and blues really took hold and continued evolving to the point where the early stages of soul music were beginning to show. The compilation ‘Let’s Throw A Rockin’ Soul Party’ focuses on these musical developments with “soul” being the emphasis here, albeit in its early stages. Bringing together an interesting mix of major players within the genres of blues, rhythm and blues and early foundations of soul music you will find well-established artists and tracks. Such examples can be cited from the album’s initial stages with none other than John Lee Hooker’s utterly compelling ‘Boom Boom’, Little Eva with ‘The Loco-Motion’ and probably two of the clearest definitions of early soul music via J.J. Jackson (‘Oh My Liddy’) and Bobby Lewis (‘Tossin’ And Turnin’) where bright rays of sunlight were beginning to break through.  The golden tones of Sam Cooke during ‘I’ll Come Running Back To You’ cement such feelings, albeit at a much calmer pace and, likewise, the ubiquitous airplay of the song ‘Stand By Me’ from Ben E King. Packed therefore with established names from Marvin Gaye (‘Pride And Joy’), Jackie Wilson (‘Baby Workout’), Gino Parks (‘Don’t Say Goodbye’) and Etta James (‘Somethings Got A Hold On Me’), it’s testament to the irresistible charms of soul music where a lot of these tracks lie deep in the psyches of many people where, for example, The Mar-Keys instrumental ‘Last Night’ reminds of a certain BBC comedy and fond memories associated with this. That is the power and popularity of this genre of music because it will last for a lifetime.


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Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.5

Various Artists

Atomicat

Following on straight after volume four in the series ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive’ via Atomicat is ‘So Tired Of Crying’. Whereas the previous volume focused on more lively tempos in terms of its contents, album number five follows a similar route yet the mood is heavier in the sense that heartbreak is never far away. Take a listen from the lean and precise delivery of country ditty ‘I’m A Big Boy Now’ where Justin Tubb reveals a lesson learnt as far as relationships go. As far as the theme of this album goes, the heartbreak is not solely a preserve of relationships as the superb duet between Red Foley & Ernest Tubb with ‘Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Age’ needs no explaining, ditto the hardships of certain occupations such as ‘Pipeliner Blues’ albeit skilfully tied to relationship woes and compellingly played out via excellent fiddle and Moon Mullican’s piano playing. There is the female perspective on love with Charlotte Harden ‘Loving You Baby’ and near-boppin’ rhythm as it edges out of the 50s and into early 60s and links to both hillbilly and rockabilly. The pared back ‘Crazy ‘Bout You’ returns to the straight country line with its steel guitar playing a major role along with Hank Crow’s honest vocals making for a compelling song. With the likes of Bill Haley & His Comets popping up for the finale with ‘Rocket ‘88’’ and Anita Carter with quite unique take on ‘Freight Train Blues’ where breathing doesn’t appear to be an option, especially if you want to keep up with this truly excellent compilation known as ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.5 – So Tired Of Crying’.


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Hillbilly Boogie And Jive Vol.4

Various Artists

Atomicat

The series that keeps on giving is ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive’ with another mouth-watering twenty-eight tracks to consume from a variety of country and hillbilly artists from a bygone age. With this compilation being the fourth in the series, ‘Hillbilly Boogie And Jive – Boogie Woogie Cowboy’ is something of a lively collection of western swing, hillbilly, and country tracks by many of its pioneers. So expect to hear the likes of established names such as Chet Atkins and His Colorado Mountain Boys and detailed guitar instrumental ‘Canned Heat’, to Hank Thompson’s sparky tempo of ‘Deep Elm’ where the brass section really dominates along with breaking lead guitar. From the rockin’ foundations of these numbers, the early foundations of rockabilly can be heard in Moon Mullican’s ‘What’s The Matter With The Mill’ and the lesser-known moniker (to these ears) of Eddie Cletro & His Round Up Boys ‘Flying Saucer Boogie’ also dropping hints of what was to come and no doubt a source of inspiration for Billy Lee Riley considering the occasional bouts of wild hollering and talk of the town fascination with outer space. The inclusion of the less obvious artists is just one of the reasons why this compilation series is worth investigating and investing your time because along with the “bigger” names the listener will become accustomed with “Texas” Bill Strength and ‘Paper Boy Boogie’, to longer title and less heard Jay-Bob Howdy with Hoyle Nix & His West Texas Cowboys’ ‘Real Rockin’ Daddy’. Add to that a “How to do it” cover version of ‘Little Susie’ supplied by Joe Melson, and the likes of Tex Williams, Merle Travis, Tibby Edwards and Jim Reeves also making appearances, then ‘Boogie Woogie Cowboy’ not only provides a quality package of music, but one that serves as a tangible link to the rockin’ sounds of what was to become rockabilly.


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Hank Williams Songbook Vol. 2

Various Artists

Atomicat

Continuing the songs of Hank Williams, in addition to songs associated with the hillbilly country legend and performed by various artists, is ‘The Hank Williams Songbook Vol. 2’. What the listener can expect, therefore, is a tribute album of sorts but one that provides evidence of songs which inspired Hank Williams as well as the numerous artists covering these songs providing their own interpretations. Beginning in style with ‘Move It On Over’, and always good for anyone’s money, Maddox Brothers & Rose provide their usual blend of charisma and precision. From there other big names duly arrive with George Jones popping by for two visits with the album’s title track and later bestowed the honour of another fine William’s classic with his version of ‘Settin’ The Woods On Fire’. Elsewhere, Porter Waggoner provides ‘Tennessee Border, and Lattie Moore really drives home the melancholy of Williams’ in both sound and song title despite being a third-party composition via ‘Sundown And Sorrow’. On a similar theme, Bill Darnell chips in with ‘Alone And Forsaken’; a Hank Williams’ original and one that leads to further investigation of the cover artist given the compelling rendition of this track. Interestingly, one or two names make appearances that are less familiar such as Gene O’ Quin (‘Blues Come Around’), Fred Thornton And The Sons Of The Golden West (‘There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight’) and Morris Mills with ‘Jumbalia Answer’.  With Ferlin Husky (‘Minni-Ha-Cha’) also included, and always a bonus on this side of the country/hillbilly fence, and Hank The Drifter providing perhaps the biggest tribute here with ‘Hank Your Gone’, ‘The Hank Williams Songbook Vol. 2’ is a must-have album for all Hank Williams’ aficionados.



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