01. The Snap
03. Cole Slaw
04. Central Avenue Breakdown
05. Waxie Maxie Boogie
06. After Hour Session
07. Rumboogie Jive
01. Hop'N Twist
02. My Silent Love
03. Mona Lisa
04. Gone After Hours
05. Little Miss Blues
06. I've Got You Under My Skin
Hold it! Where did that Frank Culley front cover come from? A reissue of one of the Atlantic Rock & Roll series of albums from 1956 / 1957? Nope, there never was such an LP. It's a clever 1989 pastiche created for this compilation of Frank's Atlantic sides recorded between 1949 and 1951. I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, where reissue companies make the effort to "get in period." But if Frank Culley was honking and hooting in the late 1940's and early 1950's, surely it's stretching things a bit to pass his music off as "rock and roll"?
Well, Atlantic themselves set the precedent back in 1957 when a couple of Culley sides turned up on the LP with the worst ever cover in the history of rock and roll -
A rock and a roll, geddit? It was in fact a compilation of R&B instrumentals from the late 1940's to the mid 1950's' including sides by Tiny Grimes, Willis Jackson, Joe Morris, and Arnett Cobb among others. I reconstructed the LP for the blog in 2014 (using tracks from the "Atlantic Honkers" collection) and you can download it from here:
In the first half of the 1950's Atlantic was probably THE R&B record company which helped to get rock and roll going with its roster of artists such as Ruth Brown, The Clovers, Joe Turner, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters, Lavern Baker and Ray Charles. Frank Culley belongs to the earlier phase of Atlantic when they were peddling a jazzier form of R&B via the bands of Tiny Grimes and Joe Morris, featuring tenor sax men Red Prysock and Johnny Griffin respectively.
Some of his tracks turned up on Atlantic retrospectives such as the aforementioned "Atlantic Honkers" and the first volume of "Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947 - 1974." That's where I first heard Frank Culley and I was immediately taken with his warm toned sound. He could do the honkin' wild man stuff, but without going overboard and his handling of ballads and moody after hours blues material was very good, as you can hear on this collection.
There's no need for me to go into any great detail about Frank Culley as the admirable sleeve notes by Peter Grendysa have it all covered. You can get Frank's 1955 sides for Baton Records on another Be Bop Wino post here:
... and it's a good read too!
And to finish, a couple of questions.
Question one - Frank recorded four sides for Lenox in 1948. Does anyone know if these sides ended up on the infamous Hen Gates and his Gaters budget LPs? Some Lenox sides by Lockjaw Davis certainly did.
Question two - the 1999 Ace CD "Let The Boogie Woogie Rock and Roll" has an instrumental track listed as "Rhumboogie Jive" by Frank Culley. It obviously isn't the real "Rumboogie Jive" as you can hear from listening to this LP or going to this blog post. Does anyone know what that track on the Ace CD is?
Keep a-blowin' and a -bluesin', fellow groovers!