When I dug this LP out of the vinyl vault a couple of years ago for a post on Rockhall, I wasn’t particularly impressed by the contents and, rushing to judgement, I decided that the majority of the tracks weren’t worthy of a post by a hip rockin’ cat like myself. So I extracted 5 tracks (the whole of side 1 minus track 3) and added them to the tracks from “Rock’n Roll” to make up a collection of jumping big band rock ‘n’ roll.
Well I’m not ashamed to admit that I was wrong, for this is one cracking little album. Of the tracks I originally rejected, only two fall into the sentimental ballad category: Nolan Lewis’s Eckstine-style singing on “There’s No One Like You”, and the slightly hipper Floyd Ryland’s 1950’s crooner effort on “You’re Everything My Heart Desires.” Ella Johnson’s vocal efforts on side two are absolutely outstanding. “You’d Better Believe Me” is a sultry blues while “So Good” is a rocker with an irresistible dance beat.
The final two tracks are contrasting instrumentals which demonstrate Buddy Johnson’s talent as an arranger. “Bitter Sweet” conjures up pictures in my mind’s eye of deserted city streets at dawn. It’s like a moody piece from the soundtrack of a 50’s crime film or perhaps an episode of “The Naked City” (“there are eight million stories in New York …”) “Gone Walkin’” on the other hand is all hustle and bustle, evoking the streets in the rush hour.
As for the rest of the LP, it’s rock’n roll time again, with blaring saxes by Purvis Henson, Dave Van Dyke and Johnny Burdine. I’m glad I listened more carefully this time around. Download and appreciate the many sides of the Buddy Johnson Orchestra: blues, boogie, ballads, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll.
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Download from here:
1. Rockin' Time
2. They Don't Want Me To Rock No More (vcl – Ella Johnson)
3. There's No One Like You (vcl - Nolan Lewis)
4. Rock On! (vcl – Buddy Johnson)
5. Ain't Cha Got Me (Where You Want Me) (vcl – Ella Johnson)
6. Buddy's Boogie
7. Oh! Baby Don't You Know (vcl – ensemble)
8. You'd Better Believe Me (vcl – Ella Johnson)
9. You're Everything My Heart Desires (vcl – Floyd Ryland)
10. So Good (vcl – Ella Johnson)
11. Bitter Sweet
12. Gone Walkin'