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Wednesday 13 July 2016

The Resurrection Of Elmore James

Side 1:
01. Hawaiian Boogie Part 1
02. Quarter Past Nine
03. Sho Nuff I Do
04. Early In The Morning
05. One More Drink
06. Strange Kinda Feeling

Side 2:
01. Make My Dreams Come True
02. Late Hours At Midnight
03. Elmo's Shuffle
04. Can't Stop Lovin'
05. Make A Little Love
06. Hawaiian Boogie Part 2

This is the second Elmore James LP in the "Anthology Of The Blues" series originally released on Kent and subsequently reissued on United-Superior and Musidisc. As I mentioned in the previous post (The Legend Of Elmore James), the May and June 2016 issues of "Blues & Rhythm" magazine ran a two part article by Ray Templeton on this series of compilations of blues tracks originally recorded for the Bihari owned labels (Modern, Flair, RPM, Meteor) in the 1940s and 1950s.

The full list of LPs in the series (compiled by Bruce Bromberg and Frank Scott) was as follows:

The Legend Of Elmore James (Kent KST-9001)
Memphis Blues (Kent KST-9002)
California Blues (Kent KST-9003)
Deep South Blues (Kent KST- 9004)
Texas Blues (Kent KST-9005)
Detroit Blues (Kent KST-9006)
Arkansas Blues (Kent KST-9007)
Lightnin' Hopkins - A Legend In His Own Time (Kent KST-9008)
Mississippi Blues (Kent KST-9009)
The Resurrection Of Elmore James (Kent KST-9010)
B.B. King 1949-1950 (Kent KST-9011)
West Coast Blues (KST-9012)

The original Kent issues (from 1969 onwards) were in gatefold sleeves, but over here in Europe the LPs were mostly available through the French Musidisc reissues of the late 1970s which were in single sleeves. However the original front cover art was still used. They were usually to be found going cheap (around £1.99) and as I said previously, I wish I'd bagged the lot! And how often do R&B fans who were buying LPs back in the 1970s / 80s say that to themselves? "Ah, if only I'd bought ..."

In the end I only bought five of the series - the two Elmore James albums, plus "Memphis Blues", "California Blues", and "Mississippi Blues."

Elmore James was one of the first blues musicians I really got into, and like many other UK fans, this was thanks to Jeremy Spencer's interpretations of James material for the original Fleetwood Mac (THE British blues band of the late '60s). The two "Anthology Of The Blues" Elmore comps were for long among my favourite blues LPs, especially "The Resurrection Of Elmore James", which rocks relentlessly. The rocking rhythm sections, the screaming slide guitar and that unique voice sounded like nobody else. Someone (I forget who) once said that Elmore James sang like he was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I couldn't possibly improve on that insight. 

These collections of Elmore's earliest sides for the Bihari brothers still stand out today. His 1953 recordings for Chess / Checker, late 1950's sides for Chief and early 1960's material for Bobby Robinson's labels are all excellent too, but these recordings (mostly for Flair) have a raw power which I find especially appealing. "The Resurrection Of Elmore James" in particular would waken the dead. Download and crank up the volume to eleven. Let the blues blast forth!

01. Hawaiian Boogie Part 1- unissued, Jackson, Miss. April, 1952.
02. Quarter Past Nine - unissued, Chicago early 1954.
03. Sho Nuff I Do - alternate take of Flair 1039, "Club Bizarre", Canton, Miss. March / April 1954.
04. Early In The Morning - Flair 1011, 1953.
05. One More Drink - unissued, Jackson, Miss. April 1952.
06. Strange Kinda Feeling - alternate take of Flair 1022, Chicago, August 1953.
07. Make My Dreams Come True - alternate take of Flair 1031, Chicago, August 1953.
08. Late Hours At Midnight - Flair 1062, Culver City, CA. August /September 1954.
09. Elmo's Shuffle - unissued, Chicago, January 4th 1956.
10. Can't Stop Lovin' - Flair 1014, 1953.
11. Make A Little Love - Flair 1014, 1953.
12. Hawaiian Boogie (Part 2) - Flair 1011, 1953.


Roffe said...

Thank you for these two Elmore James albums. These were among the first LPs by him that I bought. Then I was hooked.

Frank Jive said...

Great recollection, BW, on discovering these Elmore James albums. And your description of Po' Elmo's vocals is just perfect. When I picked up The Legend of Elmore James c. 1969 and first heard "Hand in Hand" I thought the record itself was going to have a nervous breakdown! Astounding stuff, these Flair sides, and the best of 'em continue to resonate just as strongly nearly 50 years later for this fan.