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The Mojo Man Special Volume 5 Party Time

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

In for a fifth volume and the final in the series is ‘The Mojo Man Special’ with the focus being ‘Party Time’. With the “Mojo” Man in full control here, expect the customary high quality of goods as far as the music is concerned because this series has been red-hot when fulfilling both dancing and listening appetites. Album number five begins in great fashion with Eddie Boyd on Chess Records and track ‘Drifting’, which is saxophone heavy and plenty of additional piano. From there the mood becomes even more animated with a strong vocal performance from Eddie Burns during ‘(Don’t Be) Messing With My Bread’, and equally talented as far as the vocals go is Danny Owens sweeter take of ‘You’re A Little Too Late’. A song of a different sort and more suited for a specific party in mind (i.e., Halloween) is The Poets with ‘Dead’. That said, the song does not sound out of place and offers something a little different, which is a theme during this album with back-to-back gospel numbers from first, Lucilee Barbee and ‘Let The Church Roll On’ and then Swan Silvertones and passionate ‘Trouble In The Way’. Bo Diddley is quite possibly the most represented musician on all the Koko Mojo output as he makes another appearance and this time it’s ‘Dearest Darling’, with special mention going to Bo’s vocal performance. The atmosphere loosens somewhat once ‘Dimple’ gets underway by Felton Jarvis, and followed later by ‘Need Your Lovin’ from Peppermint Harris who is in equally relaxed mood. The end of another fine set of albums from the “Mojo” Man with each volume offering much quality and a few hard to obtain tracks making this a must-have series for those enamoured with rhythm and blues.


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Koko Mojo Diner – Rib Joint Volume 4

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

And so it is, Volume 4 and the last in the series focusing on African American’s experience with food brought to life here via ‘Koko Mojo Diner – Rib Joint Volume 4’. As with the previous albums in this series, Volume 4 features much traditional rhythm and blues, in addition to a few straight blues numbers. Getting things underway in terms of the last album in the series is Harold Burrage and His Combo ‘You Eat Too Much’, which is the likely outcome if you are heading down to this diner given the delights on offer! From this starting position expect to hear the pared-back blues of ‘Barbecue’ from the hands of Washboard Sam & His Washboard Band, to wonderful, harmonised vocals of The Moroccos during ‘Red Hots and Chili Mac’. Stemming from the antiquated wireless housed in the corner of the Koko Mojo Diner you will hear the “bigger” band sound supporting Savannah Churchill waxing lyrical about the positives to be sourced from ‘Fat Meat Is Good Meat’. There’s more blues to be had by way of Big Ed and his Combo and track ‘Biscuit Baking Mama’, before Titus Turner takes a wild turn via ‘Jambalaya’ where instruments jostle for position and constantly overlap each other. It’s rock ‘n’ roll meets rhythm and blues and certainly makes for an interesting listen! ‘Kidney Stew’ may not be the most appetising choice on the menu, but the vocals of Eddie Cleanhead will sort out any further hesitations. As with previous volumes, ‘Rib Joint’ contains a few eccentricities and once more supplied by (clearly ahead of his time) Andre Williams and ‘Please Pass The Biscuits’, to surreal song naming ‘I Heard The Voice Of A Pork Chop’ by Jim Jackson. ‘Koko Mojo Diner – Rib Joint Volume 4’ is a fine way to end this series of albums and another example of the consistently good output of this record label.


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Koko Mojo Diner – Southern Menu Volume 3

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

Heading to the diner for more “Soul food” is Volume 3 in the series ‘Koko Mojo Diner’. With this being music to satisfy the appetite for those enamoured with traditional rhythm and blues, not to mention the occasional “wild” blues workout or instrumental, then ‘Koko Mojo Diner’ is the right destination. Featuring no less than twenty-eight tracks, ‘Southern Menu’ like its predecessors focuses on the subject of food within song. Expect therefore plenty of tunes dedicated to the subject of food and in particular African American’s experience of food. At the front of the queue and ready to order is Louis Jordan with the mighty fine ‘Chicken Back’; a song loaded with charisma from its vocals to its bright, foot-tapping rhythm. Once the order of “chicken” is secured, The Three Riffs is next in line with ‘Barbeque Ribs’, which is a calmer proposition due to the velvety vocals and jazz associations held by its smooth rhythm yet has the same alluring power as Louis Jordan’s opening song where you can almost smell and taste the food on offer. In fact, there’s plenty on offer when it comes to this “Southern Menu” from The Scamps’ instrumental ‘Enchilada’ to a couple of portions of ‘Ham ‘N’ Eggs’ first by Skip Manning, and then later by Count Basie & His Orchestra. Titus Turner is convincing as he provides great storytelling during ‘Hungry Man’. As ‘Southern Menu Volume 3’ nears its end, it is of the opinion that Volume 3 is the strongest performance yet given the masterclasses in musical compositions, but also for the inclusion of the weird and the wonderful as Andre Williams’ ‘The Greasy Chicken’, and fascinating eccentricities via Brownie McGhee (‘Barbecue Any Old Time’) and Cecil Grant and ‘Owl Stew’ (Did they really have this on the menu?). Simply buy this latest addition of the Koko Mojo Diner because you will not be disappointed.


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Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers Vol. 1

Various Artists

Atomicat

A new series making its name known via Atomicat Records is ‘Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers Vol. 1’. The brand-new album series reignites a collection of rhythm and blues numbers and rock ‘n’ roll tracks and, specifically, the countries of America, Australia and New Zealand. With this album being a covers only fest, the difference from other likeminded collections is the focus given to the aforementioned nations, but also because several of the artists featured on ‘Rockin’ Rollin’ Covers Vol. 1’ will not be household names to quite a few listeners or at least their interpretations of well-known songs will be even less familiar. Starting off with Pat Flowers and rock and roll jiver ‘Ain’t That Just Like A Woman’ and then slipping into some traditional rhythm and blues via Pigmeat Peterson and his superb delivery of ‘Loud Mouth Lucy’ gets this album off to a flyer! Maintaining this winning start is The Half Brothers who notch up a rockin’ cover with ‘This Little Girl Of Mine’ and not too dissimilar from The Everly Brothers who covered the song as well. From there it’s quality all the way with instrumental from Larry Collins ‘The Rebel – Johnny Yuma’, to interesting turn from The Keil Isles and cover of Gene Vincent’s ‘Boogie Boy’ that warrants further investigation regarding this group. Ed Hardin shadows Elvis with his version of ‘One Broken Heart For Sale’, before making way for more rockin’ delights including Mickey Gilley (‘Drive In Movie’), Rusty Lee (‘Peggy Sue’), Rick (Ricky) Nelson (‘Down The Line’) and Ted Diagle impressive throughout ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Ruby’.


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Rock And Roll Vixens #6

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

What has been a top-notch series so far adds another volume to its list. ‘Rock And Roll Vixens #6’ showcases a long line of female performers of the 50s and early 60s. The source is rhythm and blues, and you won’t find much missing if you are searching for a definitive answer to the artists who represented these eras in music. As with previous albums in this collection, there is a modern example provided by talented performer Bonita and again with The Blues Shacks during ‘Hottest Wings In Town’. From there its back to the past and plenty of excellent performances from the likes of Dee Dee Sharp (‘Just To Hold My Hand’), The Bobbettes (‘I Shot Mr. Lee’) and Big Maybelle (‘That’s A Pretty Good Love’). Proof that some female musicians pipped their male counterparts to the post by simply getting there first can be identified from Ann Cole and ‘Got My Mojo Working (But It Just Won’t Work On You’); a song often associated with Muddy Waters who changed it slightly, but it was Ann Cole who claimed the original draft. There is great chemistry between Boo and His Girlfriend with male – female vocals ricocheting off each other during ‘You Got What It Takes’. Such an approach also transfers to ‘I’ll Have To Let You Go’ with Sally Stanley on fine form and making clear her intentions to the male singer involved during this excellent laid-back rhythm and blues number with definite signs of early soul music. Stripped to the barest of bones musically is blues SUN Records flip ‘Baby No No’ supplied by powerhouse vocalist Big Memphis Ma Rainey and accompanied by a lone guitar and drums. Given much respect, and rightfully so, are the African American female artists of the 50s and early 60s with latest album ‘Rock And Roll Vixens #6’ being one the finest in the series to date.


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The Hank Williams Songbook And More! Volume 3

Various Artists

Atomicat

Rather than issue another straightforward compilation featuring many Hank Williams songs, Atomicat decides to approach the former country star’s back catalogue with a little something else in mind. What the listener can expect therefore, with current album ‘The Hank Williams Songbook And More! Volume 3’, is a whole slew of artists covering the songs of Hank Williams in addition to tracks William’s had written for him or, in other instances, songs the great country artist was influenced by when it came to his own song writing. Responsible for selecting the thirty tracks for this latest album is DeeJay Mark Armstrong who makes fine work of it by not only choosing natural candidates as Ray Price, Moon Mullican, Lattie Moore, for example, but also for broadening the roster with a few surprises from areas of rhythm and blues and vocal groups. There is even the inclusion of an excellent reworking from an associated record label in more modern times but sounding nothing like anything in the present from the Chrome Daddies and ‘Ramblin’ On’. Reprising another close connection (Rhythm Bomb) is Rayburn Anthony and irresistible rhythm of ‘I Don’t Sing Hank Williams Anymore’, which happens to be an original composition from the former Sun Records’ recording artist. There is a masterclass from the guitar of Billy Mure during whirlwind instrumental ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and sounding a little more pop than country and just before that onrush of such influences of the early 60s is Rusty and Doug with ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’. That’s the beauty of this compilation because there’s plenty of the familiar, but also many wonderful surprises with The Pearls knockout rendition of ‘Your Cheating Heart’ being one of the highlights.


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Rock And Roll Floozy 1

Various Artists

Atomicat

A new series compiled by Marcus Juarez (El Paso, Texas) and given the title of ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 1’ features lesser-known artists and songs moulded to a pace that is suited to the styles of jive, stroll, and bop. The idea of the latest series of albums are ones to fill the dancehalls with a 50’s attitude in mind but, of course, for those content with listening on the home music system of choice, then such a decision is equally valid. With nothing going to waste judging by the wealth of material selected, twenty-eight tracks to be precise, the first introduction of ‘Rock And Roll Floozy’ certainly features fewer familiar artists than the usual fare when it comes to such compilations, but there are also names that will be familiar to many. The intention is not to exclude your key audience by simply selecting little-known artists, but the selection of Kip Tyler’s ‘She’s My Witch’ is one such example of familiarity, ditto the inclusion of Don Woody but this time with the less chosen ‘Not I’. The inclusion of Booby Vee is also a household name but this time it is a track from the beginning of his career with The Shadows and an instrumental in ‘Flyin’ High’ and therefore ‘Rock And Roll Floozy 1’ is already providing something different and refreshing. Elsewhere the less familiar tracks dominate and where this album really takes off. Look to such tasty treats as Bobby Hicks and The Youngsters ‘Hassle It Jack’, Billy Brown ‘Run ‘em Off’, and Jimmy Hufton and His Hot Shots ‘Shiver And Shake’ to name but a select few. There’s a familiar feel to opening song ‘Rockin’ Shock’ by Johnny Carr in terms of compiling such albums but the track, despite a more rockin’ feel, never strays from that bopping, strollin’ tempo mentioned in the liner notes. Extra bonus points go to the decision to include Macy Skipper and ‘Who Put The Squeeze On Eloise’ and individual approach to the vocals at least of ‘Big Dog Little Dog’ from Harvey Hurt with both tracks worth the price of this CD alone. Off to a flyer then is the first chapter in the new series that is ‘Rock And Roll Floozy’.


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Southern Bred: Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers Vol.16

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

The album series that keeps on giving adds another volume with ‘Southern Bred: Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers Vol.16’. With an impeccable record to date with each album proving a worthwhile addition to any record buyer’s collection, album number sixteen of ‘Southern Bred’ turns its attention once more to the Rhythm and Blues Rockers of Louisiana and New Orleans. Holding a subtitle of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Dance’, the tracks focus on the “rock and roll” and associated dancing. But it is also the mood of the narratives of some of these songs which add extra spice to the overall feel of this latest album, with examples such as Henry Hayes Orchestra and Elmore Nixon demanding clemency via ‘Forgive Me Baby’ or feelings of regret expressed by Long John and Orchestra ‘She Used To Be My Woman’. There are familiar names with Little Walter popping by and providing the harmonica treatment during ‘Teenage Beat’, and elsewhere Lloyd Price providing the song to match the album’s theme with ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Dance’. Flying a lone flag for the female performers is Linda Hopkins with two tracks and both are stunners with ‘Shiver And Shake’ and ‘My Loving Baby’ (Note to record label: Maybe a feature album of said artist for a future release?). There is a sense of the “rock ‘n’ roll” bursting through a few of these songs and, most notably, during Willie Egan and Orchestra’s ‘I Can’t Understand It’, and Huey Smith and His Rhythm Aces’ ‘Little Liza Jane’. Expertly compiled, and not a dud track to be had throughout ‘Southern Bred: Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers Vol.16’, this is one ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Dance’ you will not want to miss.


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The Johnny And Dorsey Burnette Song Book

Johnny And Dorsey Burnette

Atomicat

A surprising absence until now of an appreciation of the rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll legends that were the Burnette brothers – Johnny and Dorsey – on the Atomicat label. Arriving in style via colourful and stylised artwork and housed in a threefold digipak complete with liner notes from the pen of Dee Jay Mark Armstrong, the “Song Book” in question here is not so much about what the Burnette brothers achieved when powering away as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio more that this collection of songs concerns their song writing skills and those numbers bequeathed to others. Whether contributing songs to other artists as a song writing duo or operating alone or with an additional writer, Johnny and Dorsey notched up an incredible number of songs with many included here. Naturally beginning with a joint Johnny & Dorsey Burnette composition ‘Kiss Me Sweet’, the rest is left to Johnny Garner to provide some fine rock ‘n’ roll. Equally convincing and another joint effort from the Burnette’s is Myron Lee’s take on ‘School’s Out’ where his vocal impresses greatly, in addition to a compelling rockin’ guitar break. The inclusion of Ricky (Rick) Nelson appearing on three occasions via the tail end of the 50’s duo ‘Don’t Leave Me’ and ‘One Of These Mornings’, to 60s era ‘Gypsy Woman’ sees Dorsey Burnette along with Joe Osborn responsible for song writing duties, with Dorsey going alone for ‘One Of These Mornings’, and in the first instance a Johnny Burnette solo effort. In fact, perusing down the track list for this current album is testament to the song writing skills of Johnny & Dorsey because many established artists of the periods in focus included Bob Luman, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Frankie Lymon and Roy Brown all of whom applied their talents to recognised quality when they saw it. Leaving the finale to a momentary flurry of the Burnette brothers in action really was the right decision considering the glut of compilation albums available featuring their own music. Truly an album for all supporters of the greatest duo (trio) from the era of rockabilly and early rock ‘n’ roll simply for assuming a different angle to present their sublime song writing skills.


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Spotlight On Clyde McPhatter – The Voice Of R&B

Clyde McPhatter

Koko Mojo

Updating their series of albums focusing on artists who made a serious impact in terms of their music is Koko Mojo’s latest featuring the singing talent and rhythm and blues artist that was Clyde McPhatter. The album ‘Spotlight On Clyde McPhatter – The Voice Of R&B’ contains thirty-two tracks from the 50s and early 60s and work from record labels of Atlantic, Federal, MGM and Mercury. The beginning of this compilation features Clyde McPhatter during stints with The Dominoes and The Drifters and therefore shining a light on his involvement within a group setting and providing further evidence of his work. The solo tracks, however, arrive thick and fast starting with ‘Such A Night’ before hopping over a couple of Drifters’ numbers (‘Honey Love’ and ‘Bip Bam’) and landing on another solo excursion ‘Hot Ziggity’ and then ‘What ‘Cha Gonna Do’ with The Drifters once more, before going it alone for the rest of this album. Gifted with a “high tenor vocal” and inducted on two occasions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first as a solo artist (1987) and a year later as a member of The Drifters. Such was McPhatter’s impact on the American public and recognition for his musical exploits that the United States Postal Service bestowed him the honour of his own official stamp in 1993. Easy to see why once the tracks contained within ‘Spotlight On Clyde McPhatter – The Voice Of R&B’ get underway from rockin’ ‘I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday’, Ray Charles’ classic ‘What’d I Say’, and another group who also made the song famous ‘Honey Hush’. There’s plenty here to keep the listener entertained, especially the wonderful voice that was Clyde McPhatter.


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The Many Sides Of Buck Owens – Right After The Dance

Buck Owens

Atomicat

The timing seems to be right for an appreciation of country music artist Buck Owens. Boasting thirty tracks to get its message across just how good Buck Owens was, ‘The Many Sides Of Buck Owens – Right After The Dance’ shows how versatile he could be as well. Examples of his song writing prowess can be associated with a brief flurry with rockabilly, serving as a session musician, providing songs for other performers, and not forgetting being a part of the now famous Bakersfield Sound. Beginning with eighteen tracks solely associated with Buck Owens, and the rest of this album being divided into a compilation of artists who’ve either been influenced and/or associated with Buck Owens or performing one of his own songs. It makes for an interesting listen, especially first song from Buck Owen’s alter ego Corky Jones and rockabilly ‘Hot Dog’ displaying much energy, only to be surpassed by more considered rockin’ slice of ‘Sweet Thing’. Turning a corner, the country sides of Buck Owens show themselves, beginning in superb fashion with ‘Excuse Me’ where you can hear genuine sadness in Buck’s vocal especially during its chorus. A powerful instrument without doubt was the vocals of Buck Owens as it steered many of his songs and almost akin to spoken words poetry (‘Under Your Spell Again’). The latter half is filled with the likes of Tommy Collins (‘Whatcha Gonna Do Now’), Tommy Sands (‘Hey, Miss Fannie’), Bakersfield resident Bill Woods and rockabilly ‘Bop’ as well as Corky Jones making another appearance with utterly raw ‘Rhythm And Booze’. A fine collection with a difference to celebrate the music of Buck Owens is “The Many Sides of…” with plenty of interesting twists and turns that will see the listener coming back for more.


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Southern Bred: Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers Vol.15

Various Artists

Koko Mojo

The subtitle of latest addition in the ‘Southern Bred: Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers Vol.15’ via Koko Mojo ‘I Hate To See You Go’ was the feeling many expressed when this consistently high-quality series appeared to reach its end. Thankfully, the good folk at Koko Mojo decided to reach back into their vault of musical treasures and ended up developing more volumes in this R & B Rockers series. By turning its attention to the blues’ sounds emanating from Louisiana and New Orleans, and probably just edging it compared to previous series because of the inclusion of Smiley Lewis, Richard Berry, Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino and Larry Williams. Volume fifteen features a few of these artists and continues its tradition of adding more obscure artists and tracks than those normally featured on similar compilations. By beginning the album with the lesser known Blind Billy Tate and His Orchestra and ‘Love Is A Crazy Thing’ and concluding with the more familiar Huey “Piano” Smith and His Clowns (‘Don’t You Just Know It’), ‘Southern Bred: Louisiana & New Orleans R&B Rockers Vol.15’ is justified in its decision making given the charming raw qualities of this opening number, but every right to feel full of confidence given the quality of previous volumes and this now longstanding series. Drifting Charles is another inclusion that is less familiar yet has more qualities of swamp blues and rockabilly attached to the contents of ‘Evil Hearted Woman’. Wading through this lengthy compilation the rewards keep on coming with the jazz and rhythm and blues fest of ‘Good For Nothin’ Man’ complete with glorious vocals from Mickey Champion, which also extends to the voice of Richard Berry and ‘I Want You To Be My Girl’. Its motto, “Killer and no filler” applies once more to the fifteenth album of the ‘Southern Bred: R&B Rockers’ series.



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