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When You Find Love You’re Feelin’ Good

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Setting up for a theme focusing on love is the latest compilation from Koko Mojo Records, ‘When You Find Love You’re Feelin’ Good’. Filled with a whopping twenty-eight tracks and featuring some well-known names as The Cadillacs, Little Junior Parker, Clyde McPhatter and Howlin’ Wolf. Considering the established stars here, the music is of a consistent quality of mainly rhythm and blues and doo-wop. If you’re searching for such reassurance, then Little Junior Parker’s toss of a coin ‘Feelin’ Good’ and ‘Feelin’ Bad’, more or less bookending each side of this compilation, is up there with the best of them; a delicious combination of running word commentary and vocals to melt the coldest of hearts, not to mention the pinpoint blues sound that gives a simplistic impression in terms of its delivery yet is far from any such notion. Tracks of the album with no hesitation. Of course, the abundance of music on offer provides more than enough runners to shade second place including The Jive Five’s energetic ‘Do You Hear Wedding Bells’, rockn’ blues of J.B. Lenoir’s ‘I Have Married’, fine rhythm and blues of ‘Crazy Bells’ courtesy of Julie Stevens and the Premiers, and topped off with compelling and altogether different approach of ‘Wedding Boogie’ via the Johnny Otis Congregation. Just don’t expect the positive feelings to last however, as the downturn in emotions tumbles sharply but the quality remains on high when you’ve got Roy Hamilton’s golden vocals on your side!


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With This Ring

Various Artists

Atomicat

A romantic theme (and the fallout for some) sets up the collection of songs ‘With This Ring’. With songs focusing on the fascinating topics of love and relationships, where better to start than a positive beginning than Sam Butera and popcorn induced ‘Love Charm’. From there on, the tracks provide doses of rock ‘n’ roll with great examples coming from The Super-Phonics light rockin’ ‘Teenage Partner’, to thoroughly engaging Darrell Glenn and ‘Congratulations To Me’, and later on one half of the Burnette brothers, in this instance Dorsey, with ‘Let’s Fall In Love’. The song title alone of Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps entry is enough to claim this compilation but that would be a disservice to the rest of the contents where great country turns from Hank Snow (‘Honeymoon On A Rocketship’) and Dave Rich (‘Tuggin’ On My Heart Strings’) show up. There’s even the inclusion of female performers such as Bunny Paul and the snappy rock ‘n’ roll/early pop of ‘Baby Sitters Blues’. With the final word of this compilation reserved for Patsy Cline’s ‘A Church, A Courtroom, Then Goodbye’, there’s much to ponder which, for most of its contents, it’s all positive as far as the music is concerned.


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Sputnik Dance: Wild Sounds From Outer Space

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Hailing the Sputnik Dance is the newest compiled album of blues and rhythm and blues from Koko Mojo. With twenty-eight tracks transmitting from outer space and back down to planet Earth via a vintage setup that predates any modern-day era technology (thankfully!), the nature of the tracks is naturally space themed. With fascinating storytelling and humour found in the lyrics, not to mention exhilarating rhythms, ‘Sputnik Dance: Wild Sounds From Outer Space’ is a joyous ride. For those looking for an instant fix, look no further than the wild blast ‘Gonna Get Me A Satellite’ (Little Ernest Tucker). The title track is a compelling groove of traditional rhythm and blues supplied by The Equadors and followed by the smooth as silk ‘Rocket Ship’ from Vernon Green. Balancing such tracks with a few rougher edges is the blues stomp ‘Into orbit’ by Johnny Acey, and then continued by a rockin’ ‘Satellite Fever’ via Paul Perryman. By adding to the mix oddball moments as ‘Marty On Planet Mars Pt.1’ (Marty), and Buchanan and Goodman’s ‘The Flying Saucer Pt.1’ draws on the 50’s preoccupation with UFOs and space travel, in addition to providing examples of the colourful imagination of this time. Full of brass is the excellent ‘Destination 2165’ from The Cues, proceeded by, and showing great variation with super skilful delivery, ‘Weightless Blues’ with Jimmie Haskel creating a piece of magic. ‘Sputnik Dance’, the album, is a treasure-trove of musical delights where variation is key, not to mention quality of artists chosen for this compilation.


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Satan’s Holiday: The Devil’s Jukebox

Various Artists

Atomicat

Even baddies get the blues. Latest compilation from the stable that is Atomicat is ‘Satan’s Holiday: The Devil’s Jukebox’. With the meanest dude of them all spinning a playlist of rockin’ delights, you can expect to hear a few of the usual suspects and lesser known artists committing their wares to wax. There are many welcome choices made with Gene Vincent’s ‘Race With The Devil’ or Al Jones ‘Mad, Mad World’. The less obvious choices prove inspired decisions as well, with The Zanies ‘Mad Scientist’ revealing influences of rhythm and blues and horror movies straight from the 50s. Other instances reveal more serious turns such as the frantic rock ‘n’ roll of Myron Lee, in addition to The Caddies ‘Homicide’. Raising it a few notches higher on the wild scale is rhythm and blues rocker ‘Wail Baby Wail’ by Tommy Louis with Marshall and the Versatiles. The definition of scintillating rock ‘n’ roll continues via The Rhythm Rockets and ‘My Shadow’, and then throws up a well-known artist, Chuck Berry, but with less obvious track ‘Downbound Train’, which makes for an interesting diversion. There’s room to breathe via Ella Mae Morse and the big band accompaniment that is ‘Rip Van Winkle’, whereas “Scat Man” Crothers excellent take on ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ adds variation. This is one jukebox that will keep minds and hearts warm during the winter months with its diverse range of artists and piping hot tracks.


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New Spark Boogie / Free Ballin (Single)

The Ragtime Wranglers

Homebrew Records

With current single ‘Lover Please / Beau From Tupelo’ featuring Miss Mary Ann on vocals and The Ragtime Wranglers supplying the rhythm sections, special mention also goes to previous single ‘New Spark Boogie / Free Ballin’. Restricted to a mere 300 copies, it’s the turn of the three instrumentalists namely Joe (guitar/steel-guitar), Sietse (drums/percussion) and Huey (upright bass) to work their magic via two rockin’ tracks. Beginning with ‘New Spark Boogie’, The Ragtime Wranglers gradually work up a sweat with this rockin’ instrumental that gives an edge of unpredictability in terms of its direction, which excites the senses as does the rest of its rhythm that draws on rock ‘n’ roll and elements of country and western leading to a considerably cool and compelling track. The flipside, ‘Free Ballin’, follows in similar vein to its predecessor only the country and western influences are far more prominent and the rock ‘n’ roll is of a more dangerous nature with the guitars giving off an air of arrogance that lives up to its title and makes for a thoroughly compelling listen. It’s not often that instrumentals on their own cause much of a stir, but when it comes to The Ragtime Wranglers and this double-sided single, they wake up the neighbourhood with good reason because this is rock ‘n’ roll worth getting excited about.


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Lover Please / Beau From Tupelo (Single)

Miss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers

Homebrew Records

Arriving fresh in the mail only recently comes the new single from Netherlands’ rockabilly outfit Miss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers. With this brand new single being a strictly limited edition (500 copies) pressed on 45” vinyl with a pastel green finish and launched in conjunction with the band’s appearance at this year’s Rockabilly Rave, the double header featuring ‘Lover Please’ and ‘Beau From Tupelo’ are timely reminders of the capabilities of this rockin’ four piece. With ‘Beau From Tupelo’ selected as the first choice for consideration here, and purely out of curiosity for its given title, the decision pays off immediately. From its bright, snappy opening that remains intact throughout where the upright bass makes its presence known with a solid beat and the lead guitar weaves a spell through the eye of a needle such is its precision, it’s a song of wonder from start to finish that can best be described as a “stroller” with a beating heart such is its admiration for the ‘beau’ in question. The flipside (or main offering) ‘Lover Please’ is an altogether different beast and shows the inventiveness of this band where standing still is not an option. Such is the experience of Miss Mary Ann & the Ragtime Wranglers that merely churning out another similar sounding number is all too easy that’s why ‘Lover Please’ inspires the mind with it’s clever infusion of Cajun spices crossed with rock ‘n’ roll yet never straying from a midtempo rhythm that cleverly enhances the expressed sigh of its lyrical content of unrequited love. Truly a top-class double effort that is deserved of its ‘special’ release status and limited run.


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Fighting Fire With Gasoline

The Kokomo Kings

Rhythm Bomb

Fighting fire with fire, or in this instance gasoline, is all in a day’s work if you’re The Kokomo Kings. Made up of a contingent of Swedish and Danish musicians, The Kokomo Kings has been delivering its raw authentic blues sound for a few years now. Having established a healthy fanbase throughout Europe after several years performing at numerous bars and clubs on the rockin’ circuit, The Kokomo Kings make a fresh return with album number three ‘Fighting Fire With Gasoline’. With the band now consisting of members Ronni Busack-Boysen (guitar/maracas), Daniel Winerö (drums), Martin Abrahamsson (vocals/guitar) and Magnus Lanshammar (bass/guitar), having seen the departure of founding member Harmonica Sam, The Kokomo Kings has certainly not discarded its winning formula of raw energised blues. With all songs written by Magnus Lanshammar who has a way with words with interesting alternatives to the male – female dynamics of relationships by providing considerable thought via the likes of ‘Tied To The Tracks’ where the male central figure is at the mercy of his beloved sweetheart, or simply out of luck during ‘The Fish Won’t Bite’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Pocket’. The song writing also knows when to have fun such as ‘A Big Pile of Fish’, which bathes in a shimmering blues boogie and something The Rolling Stones would be proud to claim as their own composition such are the similarities. But with the album kicking off on a more familiar raw and rockin’ blues note – ‘The More I Get, The More I Want’ – that states its intentions judging by the forcefulness of its rhythm, The Kokomo Kings weave a heady spell here that continues in similar vein via ‘Tornadohead’ and ‘I Thought I Was A Patient Man’. In fact, it’s this last track referenced here that gives way to the pensive nature of the majority of the lyrics that is worrying about its present as well as its future, and this is something that sets The Kokomo Kings apart from its rivals by some considerable distance.


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Southern Bred Vol. 2 – Mississippi R & B Rockers

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

What begins in charming fashion where blues was raw and rickety with plenty of  evidence supplied by the ilk of Robert Johnson (‘Preaching Blues’), Charley Booker (‘Charley’s Boogie Woogie’) and a truly acidic turn from Boyd Gilmore (‘All In My Dreams’), the change in style(s) soon gathers pace where the songs begin to add a few more layers and a touch of polish. With ‘Southern Bred Vol. 2 – Mississippi R& B Rockers’ this is exactly what the listener can expect once the aforementioned Robert Johnson opens this particular account and followed by a few musicians offering their take on an early blues sound, before the musical adventure begins to develop more of a rhythm and blues theme that takes in a variety of artists who compel the senses in their own unique ways. For example, one moment BB King is in thrilling mood with his exhilarating ‘BB’s Boogie’ and the next the lesser known (to these ears anyway) Cleo Brown provides a female interpretation via the neat and tidy shuffle, not to mention sophisticated, ‘(Lookie Lookie Lookie) Here Comes Cookie’. That said, there are plenty of well-known names littered throughout this excellent compilation with the likes of Bo Didley appearing with ‘Sixteen Tons’ and a clear candidate for influencing The Rolling Stones, and Eddie Clearwater providing a fuller and rockin’ performance with ‘Hey Bernardine’. The primitive blues sound never strays completely as Big Joe Williams and His 9 String Guitar demonstrate with the basic nuts and bolts of ‘Juanita’. A thoroughly engaging compilation that briefly traces examples of early blues before opening up to a more developed sound consisting of rhythm and blues, ‘Southern Bred Vol. 2 – Mississippi R& B Rockers’ is a good introduction to a vast scene of artists who left their marks through time and will lead to further investigation once these particular songs get under your skin.


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You Shake Me

Various Artists

Pan American/Atomicat

Rejuvenating a former series and continuing under the Pan American label but via Atomicat Records is latest compilation ‘You Shake Me Up’. Featuring various artists from the world of 50s rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll, ‘You Shake Me Up’ mixes lesser-known artists with those who made a name for themselves during this brief yet golden period of music. Containing twenty-six tracks and offering serious value for money, ‘You Shake Me Up’ certainly delivers when it comes to the most important ingredient, and that being the music. Beginning in scintillating fashion with the triplet that is Bobby Smith and ‘She’s Gone From Me’; Earl Reed and His Rhythm Rockers ‘Mama’ and Floyd Lee with ‘Go Boy’, ‘You Shake Me Up’ lives up to its title from the off. In fact, the entire album is littered with such delights whether raw and loose like Blacky Vale’s version of ‘If I Had Me A Woman’ or equally Thunder Rocks with ‘Oh, My Linda’, to a different interpretation of well-known classic ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ delivered by Junior Shank and The Jesters. With this album being filled with many highlights, one of these is reserved nearing its end with rip-roaring number ‘Slow Down Sandy’ given the required spark by Eddie Quinteros and accompanying guitar. The decision to revive the Pan American series was a worthwhile one considering the hot rockin’ cuts selected for ‘You Shake Me Up’ because it won’t let you down.


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Southern Bred Vol. 1 – Mississippi R & B Rockers

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Welcome to the wonderful world of snap, crackle and pop! Such is the introduction to the first volume in the ‘Southern Bred’ series where blues and rhythm and blues from a distant past is given a fresh airing in the present via Koko Mojo. With this initial volume offering an insight into the workings of a small handful of artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Elmore James, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup et al, it is Willie Love and His Three Aces who receive the honour of opening this particular account and, in the process, provide a piano lesson that sounds somewhat ghostly given the age of this series via ‘My Own Boogie’. In fact, the passion for Willie Love continues as he makes an appearance during Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Stop Now Baby’ and then showing up again at various points with, for example, His Three Aces and the cryptic title of ‘Feed My Body To The Fishes’ that sounds like redemption to these ears. Big Joe Williams ‘She Left Me A Mule’ is a compelling listen with its simplicity of sound and down on its luck tale. Such thoughts also apply to Elmore James with Sonny Boy Williamson where the combined use of slide guitar and harmonica have no problems coming up with the required ‘Dust My Broom’. By focusing on a select group of artists provides a different angle to previous compilations released by this record label where volume one in this series focuses strongly on an early blues sound that will have you hooked from start to finish.


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Geechie Goomie: Rhythm and Blues Gone Caribbean

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

A clutch of sophisticated tracks has been chosen for this compilation album consisting of various artists that make up this rather cool and collected long player by the name of ‘Geechie Goomie: Rhythm & Blues Gone Caribbean’. From the off Geechie Goomie: Rhythm & Blues Gone Caribbean’ will appeal to the vinyl connoisseurs among us due to its 10” album format. Despite the appealing presentation of this LP package, it remains the contents inside that rightly attracts the most attention, and for good reason, when blessed with Latin American influences via the moving upbeat tempos of ‘Voodoo’ supplied by Red Callender Sextet and wild and carefree rhythm of Chris Powell & His Blue Flames’ ‘I Come For Jamaica’, with both songs receiving extra points for their use of brass instrumentation. Providing sterling jobs elsewhere are back-to-back numbers ‘Within This Heart of Mine’ and ‘Where Were You’ where the vocal performances of Camille Howard and Jimmy Rushing respectively shine the brightest. Such feats are repeated via the smooth running of The Talbot Brothers of Bermuda and ‘Bermuda Buggy Ride’ and, always reliable, Dave Bartholomew & His Orchestra with ‘Cat Music’. Brimming with ideas and possessing a real vigour as far as many of the rhythms go, ‘Geechie Goomie: Rhythm & Blues Gone Caribbean’ is a record to get lost in as well as appreciate for its sheer sense of class.


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Movin

Shaun Young and The 3 Ringers

Rhythm Bomb

Arriving only recently at FLW is the already available ‘Movin’ by Shaun Young and The 3 Ringers and The Texas Blue Dots. Issued on both CD and 12” vinyl, ‘Movin’ is a collection of songs split between the two guises of The 3 Ringers and The Texas Blue Dots, but with most songs going to The 3 Ringers. With the album being recorded and produced by Shaun Young at Jet-Tone Studios, Austin, Texas – “The Speed of Sound”, the quality really shines throughout this release. From rockabilly influenced numbers ‘Things Will Never Be The Same’, to an amalgamation of said genre with a strong hint of blues powering ‘When You Do That’, and then rounding off with the rock ‘n’ roll ‘Knockout’, Shaun Young with his cohorts is never one to sit still for a moment. Such a notion can be gleaned from the modern touches applied to this album, despite the album retaining a definite authentic feel overall, because ‘Movin’ never gives the impression of holding a desire to go back to the 50s as it’s a record that sounds perfectly at home in the present. With song titles and lyrics suggesting much heartache and longing for better times (‘Things Will Never Be The Same’, ‘Drink Till I Can’t Feel The Pain’, ‘My Heartaches Been Confirmed’, etc) Shaun Young (and bands) has/have a real way of convincing its audience via such tearjerkers as ‘I Plead The 5th’, to the more hopeful ‘More Than Any Tongue Can Tell’ with its mashup intro of Tom Petty meets Buddy Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue’. The contents of ‘Movin’ are a delight to behold and provide enough evidence that rockabilly is alive and well in Austin, Texas.



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