Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Rock Around The Clock! Again!

Side One:
01. Around The Clock Part 1 - Wynonie Harris
02. Around The Clock Part 1 - Big Vernon
03. Rock Around The Clock - Sonny Dae & His Knights
04. Move It On Over - Hank Williams
05. (We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley And His Comets
06. Thirteen Women And One Man - Dickie Thompson

Side Two:
01. Thirteen Women - Bill Haley And His Comets
02. Shake, Rattle And Roll - Joe Turner and his Blues Kings
03. Shake, Rattle And Roll - Bill Haley And His Comets
04. Later For You Baby - Guitar Slim
05. Later Alligator - Bobby Charles
06. See You Later, Alligator - Bill Haley And His Comets

Download from:


To paraphrase the great Hank Ballard - "... what is this I see?" An ultra rare rock 'n' roll LP issued on Essex, the tiny label which gave Bill Haley his first big pop hit "Crazy Man, Crazy"? Or is it some dodgy bootleg from the '50s, or 60's or ... ? Nope it's another Be Bop Wino homemade comp which was the best way I could think of to rescue an old post from November 2011 - Rock Around The Clock.

That post used streaming audio to illustrate the origins of Bill Haley's biggest hit (and probably still the top selling 1950's rock and roll single) "(We're Gonna) Rock around The Clock." It was conceived as a follow-up to the original "Destination Rock and Roll!" post which told the story of how Bill Haley and His Comets moved from their country roots to an R&B based sound which became rock and roll. Unfortunately the streaming audio host, Divshare, mysteriously vanished from the web, leaving "Rock Around The Clock" and various other posts soundless and more or less wrecked.

I've decided to restore a couple of the streamed tracks on "Rock Around The Clock" but the story will now be illustrated by providing a downloadable "album" featuring the tracks mentioned in the post. I've added the three tracks used to illustrate the background to another big Bill Haley hit, "See You Later, Alligator" about which I wrote a post back in December 2011.

The story of how "Rock Around The Clock" became a worldwide hit is told in depth in Jim Dawson's marvelous book "Rock Around The Clock: The Record That Started The Rock Revolution!" If you should come across a copy going for a reasonable price, grab it! It's an enthralling read for all fans of rock 'n' roll and r&b.

It's quite a story, so get yourself over to my original "Rock Around The Clock" post to discover the roots of the song, who actually recorded it first, why it was a B Side on Bill Haley's disc, how it bombed, how Big Joe Turner provided Haley with the long awaited follow up hit to "Crazy Man, Crazy" and why "Rock Around The Clock" had a second coming and became a monster hit. Oh yeah, and where did the money go? Not to all The Comets, that's for sure. Find out who left the band and who replaced them. And what about poor Danny Cedrone, the guy who played the world's first rock 'n' roll guitar break? It's all in the post, bud!

And as though that weren't enough excitement for one evening, the story continues in my post on "See You Later, Alligator." From Guitar Slim to Bill Haley And The Comets via a Bobby Charles B Side.  It's crazy man, crazy!

More Bill coming soon. Keep yer peepers on this blog.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bill Haley - Destination Rock and Roll! Re-upped! Twice!

Side One:
01. Rocket '88'
02. Green Tree Boogie
03. Rock The Joint
04. Rocking Chair On the Moon
05. Real Rock Drive
06. Crazy Man, Crazy

Side Two:
01. Wat'cha Gonna Do
02. Fractured
03. Live It Up!
04. Farewell, So Long, Good-Bye
05. I'll Be True
06. Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Original release details:

01. Rocket '88' - Bill Haley and The Saddlemen - Holiday 105 - July 1951

02. Green Tree Boogie - Bill Haley and The Saddlemen - Holiday 108 - August 1951

03. Rock The Joint - Bill Haley with The Saddlemen - Essex 303 - April 1952

04. Rocking Chair On the Moon - Bill Haley with The Saddlemen - Essex 305 - August 1952

05. Real Rock Drive - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 310 - January 1953

06. Crazy Man, Crazy - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 321 - April 1953

07. Whatcha Gonna Do - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 321 - April 1953

08. Fractured - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 327 - June 1953

09. Live It Up! - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 332 - September 1953

10. Farewell - So Long - Good-Bye - Bill Haley with Haley's Comets - Essex 332 - September 1953

11. I'll Be True - Bill Haley and His Comets - Essex 340 - December 1953

12. Chattanooga Choo-Choo - Bill Haley and Haley's Comets - Essex 348 - March 1954

There have been a few requests for Bill Haley to be re-upped to the blog, so I've decided to kick off with this compilation of some of his pre-Decca sides on the small Holiday and Essex labels.

"Destination Rock and Roll!" is a home-made compilation with the front cover art adapted from a series of Essex EP covers, and the back cover ripped off from a Decca EP.

I chose the 12 tracks to illustrate the transformation of Bill Haley's music from Countrified covers of R&B hits to a heavily R&B influenced sound which kind of accidentally ended up as Rock 'n' Roll, if for the purposes of this post we define Rock 'n' Roll as the white version of Rhythm and Blues. Yep, as far as I can make out, Bill Haley invented Rock 'n' Roll. Or maybe it was Jimmy Cavallo. It definitely wasn't that Johnny-come-lately down in Memphis 'cos Bill had been rockin' for a couple of years before Elvis hauled his ass into Sam Phillip's studio and luckily for the big E, Sam had the foresight to team him up with Scotty Moore and Bill Black.

Just kidding - I really dig early Elvis and no one person "invented" Rock 'n' Roll (which I am capitalizing today just because I can). But it must be said that Bill Haley rarely received the credit he deserved when the time came to write the history of where and how and why that music came about.

I wrote a very extensive post for "Destination Rock and Roll!" back in August 2011 which you can read here:


I entreat you all, if you count yourselves as true fans of Rock 'n' Roll, to click on the link and dig Bill and his role in the development of the music to which we still groove, sixty-five years on.

That post has a selection of label and cover shots supplied by Joan K. The sound files on "Destination Rock and Roll!" were also supplied by Joan. They were ripped from original 1950s vinyl singles and EPs, so there is surface noise on quite a few of the tracks. For this post I have put together a second version of the compilation, using non-original audio sources (ahem). Both versions contain a folder of Joan's scans of the original 1950s artwork.

Original vinyl ripped version here:


New version with less surface noise here:


More Bill Haley re-ups coming soon!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Lost Dreams: The New Orleans Vocal Groups

Side 1:
01. Drunk Drunk Drunk - The Kidds
02. Why Fool Yourself - Bernie Williams
03. Bluesy Me - Dave Collins & The Scrubs
04. Lost Dreams - The Dukes
05. Sunny Side Of The Street - The Bees
06. Eternally Yours - The Barons
07. Cotton Picking Hands - The Dukes

Side 2:
01. Later, Baby - Fat Man Matthews & The Four Kittens
02. Boom Boom - The Barons
03. Teardrop Eyes - The Dukes
04. Ain't Gonna Do It - The Pelicans
05. Shake The Dice - The Barons
06. Darling, Please - The Bees
07. Last Ride - The Dukes

Lost Dreams: The New Orleans Vocal Groups. EMI America ST-17232. Sleeve notes by Jim Dawson and Steve Brigati. Design by Henry Marquez and Lou Beach. Issued in 1987.

Download from here:


Having spotlighted The Spiders in the previous post, we remain on the New Orleans vocal groups theme with this compilation of sides from the label which hosted The Spiders, Imperial. This LP has been on the blog off and on over the years but for the purpose of this post I've added new cover and label scans. There is also a folder of 45 rpm scans provided by Joan K.

The notes on the back cover of the LP are very comprehensive and I've based the notes below on the sleeve notes. I have, however, added some extra info and corrected a couple of points regarding release numbers and release dates. See the tracklist below for a summary and then read on!

01. Drunk Drunk Drunk - The Kidds (Imperial 5335) February 1955
02. Why Fool Yourself - Bernie Williams (Imperial 5360) July 1955
03. Bluesy Me - Dave Collins & The Scrubs (Imperial 5294) July 1954
04. Lost Dreams - The Dukes (unreleased, 1956)
05. Sunny Side Of The Street - The Bees (unreleased, 1955)
06. Eternally Yours - The Barons (Imperial 5343) March 1955
07. Cotton Picking Hands - The Dukes (Imperial 5415) November 1956
08. Later, Baby - Fat Man Matthews & The Four Kittens (Imperial 5211) December 1952
09. Boom Boom - The Barons (Imperial 5343) March 1955
10. Teardrop Eyes - The Dukes Imperial 5401) July 1956
11. Ain't Gonna Do It - The Pelicans (Imperial 5307) October 1954
12. Shake The Dice - The Barons (unreleased, 1955)
13. Darling, Please - The Bees (unreleased, 1954)
14. Last Ride - The Dukes (unreleased, 1956)

The earliest side on this compilation, "Later, Baby" by Fat Man Matthews & The Four Kittens, was released on Imperial 5211 in December 1952. The B Side was "When Boy Meets Girl." The group was actually a gospel group, The Humming Four, who backed Allen "Fat Man" Man Matthews (at that time singing with The Dave Bartholomew Band) on these two sides. The disc didn't do much business and singer and group went their separate ways for a while.

At the end of 1953 Matthews and a changed line up of The Humming Four re-united in the recording studio as The Hawks. They released a total of five singles in 1954 and in June of that year also backed up Dave Collins (adopting the moniker The Scrubs) on "Bluesy Me" (Imperial 5294) which was released the following month.

The full story of The Hawks, The Four Kittens, and The Scrubs can be found on Marv Goldberg's site here:


The Pelicans and The Kidds were the same group recording under different names. "Ain't Gonna Do It" (Imperial 5307), released in October 1954, was the B Side of "Chimes". In February 1955 the same group, now renamed The Kidds, released "Drunk, Drunk, Drunk" (Imperial 5335). Both of these discs were equally raucous and unruly. Versions of "Ain't Gonna Do It" were also recorded by Smiley Lewis and Fats Domino.

The Bees were brought to New Orleans from New York by Dave Bartholomew. They recorded the double entendre "Toy Bell" which was released in October 1954. Many years later Chuck Berry covered the song as "My Ding-A-Ling". The Bees tracks on this comp, "Darling Please" (1954) and "Sunny Side Of The Street" (1955) were not released

"Eternally Yours" / "Boom Boom" (Imperial 5343) by The Barons was released in March 1955. Billboard described "Boom Boom" as being "in dubious taste." Note that the release number given to "Boom Boom" in the LP sleeve notes is wrong. Imperial 5359 was another disc by the Barons - "My Dream, My Love" / "I Know I Was Wrong" (July 1955). The rousing "Shake The Dice" is an unreleased Barons track from 1955.

The Barons may be the group backing Bernie Williams on "Why Fool Yourself" (Imperial 5360) which was released in July 1955, b/w "Don't Tease Me".

The Dukes recorded  a couple of sessions for Imperial in 1956. "Teardrop Eyes" (Imperial 5401) was released in July 1956 and was highly rated by Billboard. "A highly effective side, sparked by the unusually distinctive vocal work of the lead singer on a moving theme." "Cotton Picking Hands" (Imperial 5415) was the B Side of "Wini Brown" which was released in November 1956. Neither "Lost Dreams" nor the supremely weird "Last Ride" were released in the 1950s.

A disc listed by some websites as a Dukes release on Imperial from 1954, "Come On And Rock" / "I'll Found A Love", is in fact a bootleg issue of two unreleased sides recorded for Specialty by a different group called The Dukes. A listen to "Come On And Rock" on YouTube confirms that these Dukes sound nothing like Imperial's Dukes. See Marv Goldberg's article on The Dukes who recorded for Specialty for details:


You can hear more Imperial vocal group sides on the BGO CD reissue of 2 LPs originally issued on the Imperial label in the US and on Liberty in the UK around 1970: "Rhythm 'N' Blues Vol. 1: The End Of An Era" and "Rhythm 'N' Blues Vol. 2: Sweet N' Greasy". The LPs were part of a series of 8 "Legendary Masters" LPs inspired by Bob Hite of Canned Heat.

BGOCD466. The Dukes, The Bees, The Kidds / The Pelicans, and The Barons are featured, and sides not on "Lost Dreams" are on this CD. The Spiders, The Hawks and The Shaweez provide more New Orleans sounds.

Included in the download is a folder of scans by Joan K, so let's close the post with a visual feast.

Monday, 14 November 2016

The Spiders - 2LPs Re-upped

Side 1:
01. I Didn't Want To Do It
02. You're The One
03. I'm Slippin' In
04. Mmm Mmm Baby
05. Walkin' Around In Circles
06. I'm Searching

Side 2:
01. That's Enough
02. Sukey, Sukey, Sukey
03. Am I The One
04. Don't Knock
05. (True) You Don't Love Me
06. Witchcraft

Download "I Didn't Wanna Do It" from here:


Side A:
01. Don't Pity Me
02. How I Feel
03. Bells In My Heart
04. For A Thrill
05. Lost And Bewildered
06. The Real Thing
07. Honey Bee

Side B:
01. That's The Way To Win My Heart
02. Goodbye
03. I'll Stop Crying
04. Tears Began To Flow
05. Dear Mary
06. A1 In My Heart
07. You Played The Part

Download "The Best Of The Spiders" from here:


I've reposted the two Spiders' LPs in response to a request for a re-up of the 1961 Imperial LP "I Didn't Wanna Do It." The version posted on Be Bop Wino is a "reconstruction" of the original LP from vinyl rips sent in by Joan, so the version of "Mmm Mmm Baby" here is the original 1954 single release track (Imperial 5305), instead of the second hitherto unreleased version  (also recorded in 1954) which was used on the LP. Both versions can be found on YouTube.

For "The Best Of The Spiders Volume 1" I've added new cover and label scans. I've also run the tracks from both LPs through MP3 Gain to increase and normalize the volume.

There is no duplication of tracks between these LPs, so you get 26 primo sides by the number one vocal group in New Orleans, recorded between the beginning of 1954 and the end of 1956. "I Didn't Want To Do It", "You're The One", "I'm Slippin' In", "21", and "Witchcraft" were all top ten R&B chart entries. For the full story of The Spiders go over to Marv Goldberg's web site here:


"I Didn't Wanna Do It" was posted on Be Bop Wino on 19th March 2010. You can find the post here:


"The Best Of The Spiders Volume 1" was originally posted on 22nd March 2010. That post is here:


I see by the short review I wrote of the LP that I was really enthusiastic about it, singing the praises of Chuck Carbo's performance on the bluesy sax-laden "You Played The Part."

"I Didn't Wanna Do It" was ripped at 128 kbps and "The Best Of The Spiders" was ripped from a scratched bootleg LP, so the tracks aren't very Hi in the Fi, but nevertheless they demand attention!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Bobby 'Blue' Bland - Woke Up Screaming!

Side One:
01. No Blow No Show
02. Wise Man Blues
03. Army Blues
04. Lost Lover Blues
05. It's My Life Baby
06. Honey Bee
07. Time Out
08. Little Boy Blue

Side Two:
01. Woke Up Screaming
02. You've Got Bad Intentions
03. I Can't Put You Down Baby
04. I Smell Trouble
05. Don't Want No Woman
06. I Don't Believe
07. I Learned My Lesson
08. Farther Up The Road

Download from here:


"Woke Up Screaming" indeed! This 1981 Ace  compilation of Bobby Bland's early sides for Duke Records is a good follow up to the previous post of Little Junior Parker's early Duke sides. Like Parker, Bobby Bland had a rural upbringing before he moved to Memphis in the late 1940s and again like Parker his early musical involvement was with gospel music before becoming involved with the loose aggregation of blues musicians who would become known as the Beale Streeters.

Bobby's first record, "Crying" / "A Letter From A Trench In Korea" was produced by Sam Phillips at his studio on Union Avenue, Memphis, in early December 1951 and released on Chess 1489 credited to Robert Bland with Roscoe (sic) Gordon and his Orchestra. A month later Bobby recorded four sides in Memphis under the supervision of Ike Turner for release on the Bihari brothers Modern label - "Crying All Night" / "Dry Up Baby" (Modern 848) and "Good Lovin'" / "Drifting From Town To Town" (Modern 868), both discs being credited to Robert Bland.

A few months after these sessions, a new record label appeared on the Memphis scene. Duke Records was the creation of Memphis radio station WDIA program director David James Mattis who set about recording blues records by the musicians associated with the Beale Streeters. Early releases on the label included sides by Johnny Ace, Rosco Gordon, Earl Forest and Bobby "Blue" Bland, as he was now billed.

Bobby's first release on Duke was "Lovin' Blues" / "IOU Blues" (Duke 105), recorded in July 1952 but not released until November of that year, by which time Bobby had been called up for military service and James Mattis had lost control of Duke to Houston entrepreneur Don Robey.

While on leave in August 1952, Bobby recorded a second disc in Memphis "Army Blues" / "No Blow, No Show" (Duke 115) which was not released until October 1953. These were Bobby's last recordings until he left the military in 1955 when he signed on again with Duke Records which was now based in Houston.

Problems had arrived quickly for Mattis and his Duke label as he lacked experience in the ruthless cut and thrust of the recording business. One of his earliest releases (June 1952), "My Song" by Johnny Ace with The Beale Streeters, started to sell big, causing Mattis to pour more money into manufacturing more records to meet demand, while the distribution firms sat on the money brought in by sales. Duke was under capitalized and by July 1952 was facing financial ruin when Mattis turned to Houston night club owner and owner of Peacock Records, Don Robey, a man with a "robust" approach to business dealings.

Robey came up with the necessary cash to keep Duke going, but his help came at a price to Mattis who thought he was acquiring a partner but soon found that he had in fact been taken over. In November 1952 Mattis was definitively out, and Robey was the sole owner of Duke whose recording operations were moved to Houston, which turned out to be good news for Bobby Bland.

Robey may have been a ruthless business dealer, but he ran a highly professional music operation. When Bland resumed his recording career in February 1955 it was with a crack studio band led by Bill Harvey. The four tracks laid down ("Lost Lover Blues", "It's My Life Baby", "Honey Boy" and "Time Out") also featured the blues guitar of Roy Gaines.

The early Memphis recordings on Duke were primitive compared to the later Houston sides. This can be heard to good effect on another Ace LP "Earl Forest featuring The Beale Streeters with Bobby Bland and Johnny Ace", which includes Bobby Bland's first Duke single "Lovin' Blues" / "IOU Blues". The earliest sides on the compilation can make for tough listening but the later sides are recorded to a much higher standard. You can download the LP from the Blues Years blog here:


Sometime in 1956 Roy Gaines left the Bill Harvey Orchestra for Chuck Willis but Harvey replaced him with the equally effective Clarence Holliman whose guitar licks feature heavily on many of Bobby's sides from the second half of the 1950s.

Mention must also be made of Joe Scott, trumpet player and arranger who was behind the developing sound of the Bobby "Blue" Bland records. This was a sound that started out as blues but was already becoming soul music before the 1950s were finished. "Little Boy Blue" from 1958 is as soulful as you can get - a gospel influenced blues ballad pleader with perhaps even a hint of country around it, which builds to a screaming, testifying climax. It was a hit (number 11 R&B) as was "Farther Up The Road" which reached number 5 in the R&B charts in 1957.

These are the only hits on this compilation, for Bobby's years of real chart success lay a few years in the future in the 1960s with tracks such as "I Pity The Fool", "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "Turn On Your Love Light", to name but a few.

"Woke Up Screaming" - Ace CH 41, 1981. Mastered by Bob Jones. Cover art by Waldo's. Sleeve-notes by Ray Topping.

These are the facts on the tracks, Mac:

01. No Blow No Show - Duke 115, recorded in Memphis, circa August 1952

02. Wise Man Blues - not issued, recorded in Memphis, circa August 1952

03. Army Blues - Duke 115, recorded in Memphis, circa August 1952

04. Lost Lover Blues - not issued, recorded in Houston, February 22nd or 26th, 1955

05. It's My Life Baby - Duke 141, recorded in Houston, February 22nd or 26th, 1955

06. Honey Bee - not issued, recorded in Houston, February 22nd or 26th, 1955

07. Time Out - Duke 141, recorded Houston, February 22nd or 26th, 1955

08. Little Boy Blue - Duke 196, recorded in Houston, 1958

09. Woke Up Screaming - Duke 146, recorded in Houston, 1955

10. You've Got Bad Intentions - Duke 153 - recorded in Houston, 1956

11. I Can't Put You Down Baby - Duke 153 - recorded in Houston, 1956

12. I Smell Trouble - Duke 167 - recorded in Houston, 1957

13. Don't Want No Woman - Duke 167 - recorded in Houston, 1957

14. I Don't Believe - Duke 160 - recorded in Houston, 1956

15. I Learned My Lesson - Duke 160 - recorded in Houston, 1956

16. Farther Up The Road - Duke 170 - recorded in Houston, 1957

Release information

Army Blues / No Blow, No Show - Duke 115 - "Bobby Blue" Bland and Orchestra. Released in October 1953.

It's My Life, Baby / Time Out - Duke 141 - Bobby Blue Bland w Bill Harvey Orchestra. Released in May 1955

Woke Up Screaming / You Or None - Duke 146 - Bobby Bland w Bill Harvey Orchestra. Released in September 1955

You've Got Bad Intentions / I Can't Put You Down, Baby - Duke 153 - Bobby "Blue" Bland w Bill Harvey's Band. Released in June 1956

I Don't Believe / I Learned My Lesson - Duke 160 - Bobby "Blue" Bland w Bill Harvey's Band. Released in November 1956

I Smell Trouble / Don't Want No Woman - Duke 167 - Bobby "Blue" Bland w Bill Harvey Orchestra. Released in March 1957

Above: Billboard ad, April 1957. Not much chart action, though label mate Little Junior Parker hit big at this time with "Next Time You See Me".

Sometimes Tomorrow / Farther Up The Road - Duke 170 - Bobby "Blue" Bland w Bill Harvey Orchestra. Released in July 1957. "Farther Up The Road" peaked at number 5 in the Billboard R&B bestsellers chart in early September 1957

Little Boy Blue / Last Night - Duke 196 - Bobby "Blue" Bland. Released in July (?) 1958. Number 11 in Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart in October 1958

For further listening there are two CDs available on Ace:

Above: "The Blues Years: 1952 - 1959" Ace CDCHD 302. Covers the period of "Woke Up Screaming" but more completely. 25 tracks.

Above: "The Voice" Ace CDCHD 323. The big ones from the 1960s on Duke. 26 tracks including "I Pity The Fool", "Don't Cry No More", "Stormy Monday Blues", Yield Not To Temptation", etc. The hits are all here!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Little Junior Parker And The Blue Flames - I Wanna Ramble

Side One:
01. I Wanna Ramble
02. Please Baby Blues
03. Dirty Friend Blues
04. Can't Understand
05. Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'*
06. Driving Me Mad
07. I'm Tender
08. Pretty Baby

Side Two:
01. Sweet Home Chicago
02. 5 Long Years**
03. Can You Tell Me Baby
04. Backtracking
05. There Better Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)***
06. Mother-In-Law Blues
07. That's Alright
08. Pretty Baby (version 2)

* Track 5 was identified wrongly by Ace. It is NOT "Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'" (A Side of "Please Baby Blues"). This track is "Sitting And Thinking", which was the B Side of "Wondering."

** Track 10 (Side 2 track 2) - the  title on the original single release is "Five Long Years".

** Track 13 (Side 2 track 5) was wrongly titled on this LP. The title on the original single release was "There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)".

An early Ace (UK) LP from 1982 of 1950s sides recorded by Little Junior Parker for Duke Records, Houston. As you can see from the notes above there were some errors in the compilation. Unfortunately I've tagged the tracks as they were listed on the LP sleeve, so sticklers for accuracy will have to change the tags after downloading. There are are a few clicks and pops on this album but they shouldn't prevent you from enjoying a terrific record.

Download from here:


Facts on the tracks:

All sides recorded in Houston, Texas

01. I Wanna Ramble - Duke 137, recorded 10th June 1954.
02. Please Baby Blues - Duke 127, recorded 2nd December 1953.
03. Dirty Friend Blues - Duke 120, recorded 2nd December 1953.
04. Can't Understand - Duke 120, recorded 2nd December 1953.
05. Sitting And Thinking - Duke 184, recorded in January 1958.
06. Driving Me Mad - Duke 147, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
07. I'm Tender - Unreleased, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
08. Pretty Baby - 1st version, unreleased, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
09. Sweet Home Chicago - Duke 301, recorded in January, 1958.
10. Five Long Years - Duke 306, recorded in January, 1958.
11. Can You Tell Me Baby - Unreleased, recorded 10th June, 1954.
12. Backtracking - Duke 137, recorded 10th June, 1954.
13. There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes) - Duke 147, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
14. Mother-In-Law Blues - Duke 157, recorded 7th May, 1956.
15. That's Alright - Duke 168, recorded 11th December, 1956.
16. Pretty Baby (version 2) - Duke 168, recorded 11th December, 1956.

Session details:

Please Baby Blues
Dirty Friend Blues
Can't Understand
- recorded on 2nd December, 1953. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal); unknown saxes; Bill Johnson (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); unknown bass and drums

I Wanna Ramble
Can You Tell Me Baby
- recorded on 10th June, 1954. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal); Jimmy Stewart (trumpet); Joe "Papoose" Fritz (alto sax); Jimmy Johnson (tenor sax); Rayfield Devers (baritone sax); Donnie McGowan (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); Hamp Simmons (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums)

I'm Tender
Pretty Baby (1st version)
Driving Me Mad
There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)
- recorded between the 22nd and 26th February, 1955. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Joe Scott (trumpet); Pluma Davis (trombone); Bill Harvey (alto sax); Rayfield Devers (baritone sax); Connie Mack Booker (piano); Roy Gaines (guitar); Hamp Simmons (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums)

Mother-In-Law Blues
- recorded on 7th May, 1956. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Connie Mack Booker (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); Hamp Simmons (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums)

That's Alright
Pretty Baby (2nd version)
- recorded on 11th December, 1956. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Connie Mack Booker (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); Otis Jackson (bass); Sonny Freeman or John "Jabo" Starks (drums)

Sitting And Thinking
Five Long Years
Sweet Home Chicago
- recorded in January, 1958. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica) accompanied by unknown brass, reeds, piano, guitar, bass and drums.

Original release details:

Can't Understand / Dirty Friend Blues - released on Duke 120, March, 1954. "Little Junior" Parker w Bill Johnson's Blue Flames.

Please Baby Blues / Sittin' , Drinkin', And Thinkin' - released on Duke 127, June 1954. Little Junior Parker with Bill Johnson Blue Flames.

I Wanna Ramble / Backtracking - released on Duke 137, July 1955. Little Junior Parker w The Blue Flames.

Driving Me Mad / There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes) - released on Duke 147, October 1955. Little Junior Parker and His Orchestra.

Mother-In-Law Blues / That's My Baby - released on Duke 157, September 1956. Junior Parker and Bill Harvey's Band.

That's Alright / Pretty Baby - released on Duke 168, December 1957. Little Junior Parker and His Combo.

Wondering / Sitting And Thinking - released on Duke 184, April 1958. Little Junior Parker and His Band.

Sweet Home Chicago / Sometimes - released on Duke 301, November 1958. Little Junior Parker And His Band.

Five Long Years / I'm Holding On - released on Duke 306, April 1959. Little Junior Parker And His Band.

A native of West Memphis, Arkansas, Herman Parker Jr, aka Little Junior Parker was born in 1927. He had a hard upbringing on a farm. His first musical interest was gospel - at a young age he sang with a quartet and was influenced by the Swan Silvertones and the Staples Singers. In his teens he came under the influence of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) for whose band he played harmonica. When Sonny Boy moved out of the West Memphis area, Parker started playing with Howlin' Wolf. At the beginning of the 1950's he was associated with the informal Memphis group of young musicians known as the Beale Streeters whose shifting personnel also included Bobby "Blue" Bland, B.B. King, Earl Forrest, Johnny Ace and Rosco Gordon.

Parker's first recordings were for Modern under the supervision of Ike Turner in early 1952. His first hit record came when he started recording for Sam Phillip's Sun label in 1953."Feelin' Good" was a number 5 R&B hit and the follow up "Love My Baby" / "Mystery Train" was a big influence on Elvis Presley whose version of "Mystery Train" incorporated Pat Hare's guitar riff from "Love My Baby."

In 1954 Junior Parker signed with Don Robey's Houston based Duke Records. The label had started out as a Memphis independent before being taken over by Robey. Despite the move to Houston, Duke continued a strong Memphis connection and Parker's label mates included fellow Beale Streeters Bobby Bland, Johnny Ace, Earl Forrest and Rosco Gordon.

Parker had a string of good sellers on Duke including "Mother-In-Law Blues", "Next Time You See Me", "Sweet Home Chicago" and in 1961 his biggest hit "Driving Wheel." Together with Bobby Bland he toured the chitlin' circuit with a dynamite package show called Blues Consolidated. Although his blues roots went back to Sonny Boy and Howlin' Wolf, his own sound developed into a forward looking, horn laden, gospel drenched modern blues with a strong affinity to soul music. This was the music of the clubs where the black audience gathered and it can be heard to good effect on the classic 1962 LP "Driving Wheel" (Duke LP 76).

Above: CD reissue of the 1962 LP "Driving Wheel". Junior poses in front of his Houston home with a 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood. No "folk blues" type broken-down country shack for our man!

Junior left Duke in 1966 and continued to record for Mercury, Blue Rock, Minit, Capitol, United Artists and Groove Merchant. He died in November 1971 while undergoing an operation for a brain tumor.

Recommended purchase:

Next Time You See Me ... And All The Hits (The Complete Singles 1952 - 1962) - Jasmine 2CD set, 50 tracks. Includes the early Modern and Sun sides, plus those great Duke singles.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Otis Williams and His Charms - 16 Original Greatest Hits

Side 1:
01. Heaven Only Knows
02. Hearts Of Stone
03. Two Hearts
04. Ling Ting Tong
05. Bazoom (I Need Your Love)
06. Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)
07. Whadaya Want?
08. Gum Drop

Side 2:
01. Ivory Tower
02. In Paradise
03. Save Me Save Me
04. That's Your Mistake
05. United
06. Could This Be Magic
07. Little Turtle Dove
08. Panic

Download from here:


Track details:

Tracks 1 - 7 released as by "The Charms", other release credits noted beside each track.

01. Heaven Only Knows - Rockin' 516, July 1953; DeLuxe 6000, September 1953
02. Hearts Of Stone - DeLuxe 6062, September 1954
03. Two Hearts - DeLuxe 6065, November 1954
04. Ling Ting Tong - DeLuxe 6076, December 1954
05. Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin') - DeLuxe 6076, December 1954

Above: review in Billboard, 11th December 1954. The Charms were top of the R&B charts that week with "Hearts Of Stone." The Charms were the 9th best selling R&B act in 1954 and "Hearts Of Stone" was the 2nd best selling R&B record of that year, with "Work With Me Annie" by The Midnighters being the year's top R&B seller.

06. Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) - DeLuxe 6080, January 1955
07. Whadaya Want? - DeLuxe 6080, January 1955
08. Gum Drop - DeLuxe 6090, June 1955, Otis Williams and His New Group
09. Ivory Tower - DeLuxe 6093, March 1956, Otis Williams And His Charms
10. In Paradise - DeLuxe 6093, March 1956, Otis Williams And His Charms
11. Save Me Save Me - DeLuxe 6090, June 1955, Otis Williams and His New Group
12. That's Your Mistake - DeLuxe 6091, January 1956, Otis Williams and His New Group
13. United - DeLuxe 6138, June 1957, Otis Williams And His Charms
14. Could This Be Magic - DeLuxe 6158, December 1957, Otis Williams And His Charms
15. Little Turtle Dove - King 5455, February 1961, Otis Williams And His Charms
16. Panic - King 5527, August 1961, Otis Williams And His Charms

The full story of The Charms, Otis Williams and His New Group, and Otis Williams And His Charms is told on Marv Goldberg's site here:


This is a re-up of an LP originally posted in January 2008. Cover and label scans are new, as the original cover scans were "incomplete", i.e. they didn't capture the whole front and back covers. While working on the new scans I noticed that the price label was from Saturn-Hansa in Munich - 7.95 Deutschmarks. Them were the days! (Das war Zeiten!)

Original post is here:


Posts will be somewhat shorter for a while as the new academic term has started and I've returned to my studies. Thanks to everyone who has expressed support regarding the rip-off merchants who try to sell material posted on this blog. The fight for truth, justice and the true spirit of rock'n'roll goes on!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Bobby Smith & Orchestra - Jazz At The Apollo

Side 1:
01. Tippin' In
02. Station Break
03. After Hours
04. Bess Boogie
05. Dash Hound Boogie
06. Blue Keys
07. Flip A Coin
08. Cinder Bottom

Side 2:
01. Buffalo Nickel (part 1)
02. Desert Night
03. Danny Boy
04. Skippin' And Hoppin'
05. Night Watch
06. Tread Lightly
07. Lightfoot
08. Don't Shake Those Hips At Me

Download from here:


Good collection of small group jazz / boogie / jump by alto sax man, composer and arranger Bobby Smith. This was a spin-off project from the Erskine Hawkins big band, the Smith group consisting entirely of Hawkins band members. It wasn't a breakaway group as the musicians continued to play with and record with the parent big band while the small group acted as house band for Apollo Records of New York.

Bobby Smith was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1907. Born into a musical family, he learned piano, drums and saxophone. While on tour with Banjo Bernie's band he found himself stranded in
Florida. This turned out to be a career defining stroke of fortune, for he then joined the Original Sunset Royal Serenaders with whom he stayed for nearly ten years. When trombonist and singer Doc Wheeler took over as band leader the outfit was renamed Doc Wheeler and his Sunset Orchestra under which name the band recorded for the Victor subsidiary label Bluebird in late 1941 / early 1942.

Among the sides recorded were a Bobby Smith / Cat Anderson composition, "How 'Bout That Mess" and a Bobby Smith arrangement of Jesse Stone's "Sorghum Switch", a number which would be revived in the R&B years as "Cole Slaw" by Frank Culley, Louis Jordan and Jesse Stone himself. Also noteworthy is the version of "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well" recorded by the band in March 1942, more than two years before the Lucky Millinder / Wynonie Harris version.

Somewhere around 1943 or 1944 Bobby moved over to the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, a much better established band which had enjoyed long residencies at the Savoy Ballroom (often side by side with the Chick Webb Orchestra) and a long series of hit recordings, including the original version of "Tuxedo Junction", "Whispering Grass" and "Don't Cry Baby." The Sunset Orchestra seems to have been a source of musicians for the Hawkins band, for among the musicians who made the transition were Ace Harris, who replaced Avery Parrish (composer of "After Hours") on piano, guitarist Leroy Kirkland, trumpeter Jimmy Harris and drummer Joe Murphy.

Bobby composed one of Erskine Hawkins' biggest hits, "Tippin' In" which was an R&B number one in 1945 and which was revived twice more by Bobby and the small group on Apollo - in the 1950 instrumental version on this LP and in a vocal version by The Larks in 1954 with the Smith band providing accompaniment.

The Bobby Smith Orchestra recorded under their own name for Apollo between 1949 and 1954, as well as accompanying acts like blues shouter Eddie Mack and the top notch bluesy vocal group The Larks. The latter recorded the superb B Side of "Little Side Car" with Bobby - "Hey Little Girl" which is one of my favourite R&B records

This LP features sides from the 1949 - 1950 Apollo sessions, plus both sides of two singles for Apollo subsidiary Ruby which Bobby recorded with Sam "The Man" Taylor in 1951. This was something in the way of a reunion, for Sam was a fellow graduate of The School Of Cool aka The Sunset Orchestra.

Recommended further listening is the Delmark CD "That's For Sure!" which has 22 sides recorded by The Bobby Smith Orchestra between 1949 and 1954. From the mastertapes!

Information sources - Dave Penny: notes to "Jazz At The Apollo" and to the CD "Erskine Hawkins Jukebox Hits 1940-1950" (Acrobat). Stanley Dance: notes to the Delmark CD "That's For Sure!"