Vintage Rhythm & Blues CDscompiled by JCMarion

The following list of CDs feature R & B artists that are rarely remembered for their contributions to the history of the music. As usual with the music of America, many of these releases are foreign imports from Europe and Japan. Each collection will give the listener a taste of the times musically, and will answer the obvious questions of their influence on a generation of performers that would follow in their footsteps.


Dave Bartholomew & Orchestra : " In The Alley " (Charly 273) - Nineteen cuts by the leader and band that backed up so many of the New Orleans greats of the R & B era of the late 40s and 1950s such as (of course) Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Shirley & Lee, Guitar Slim, Little Richard, Smiley Lewis and so many more. Some of the featured musicians are Todd Rhodes, Herb Hardesty, Red Tyler, Tommy Ridgely, Earl Palmer, and Ernest McLean.

Earl Bostic : "Blows A Fuse" (Charly 241) - Twenty classic cuts fronted by Bostic's wailing alto sax and featuring Gene Redd on vibes. Includes the million selling "Flamingo" plus other winners such as "Cherokee", "Sleep", "8 : 45 Stomp" and "Mambostic".

Tiny Bradshaw : "The Great Composer" (King 653) - Despite the strange title, this CD contains sixteen sides cut for King during the early nineteen fifties including his best known tune "Well Oh Well". Some of the tenor sax soloists gained great fame in later years such as Red Prysock (many hits for Mercury), Sil Austin ("Ping Pong" and "Slow Walk"), and Noble "Thin Man" Watts ("Hard Times (The Slop")). Also included is the original version of "The Train Kept A-Rollin' " which became a rock-a-billy standard in the mid fifties.

Paul Gayten & Annie Laurie : "Regal Records in New Orleans (Specialty 2169) - Top of the line R & B of the late 40s that includes instrumentals "Back Trackin'", Kickapoo Joy Juice", and Bear Hug". Laurie vocals include "Low Down Feeling", "Rough And Ready Man", and "3 X 7= 21". Most of the sides are from Regal and DeLuxe labels then based in New Jersey.

Tiny Grimes : His Rocking Highlanders (Krazy Kat 01) - Twenty tracks cut for Philadelphia based Gotham label from the early nineteen fifties. Most feature tenor sax man Red Prysock (he does get around) and some sides feature vocals from future notables Claudine Clark and George Grand (later fame with the great vocal group The Castelles who also recorded for Gotham).

Joe Houston : "Corn Bread And Cabbage Greens" (Specialty 2171) - Twenty Six smoking tenor sax instrumentals by the top West Coast session man of the nineteen fifties. These sides cut for John Dolphin in 1951-52 include "Flying Home", "All Night Long", "Lester Leaps In" and "Rockin And Boppin".

Buddy And Ella Johnson : "1953 - 1964" (Bear Family 15479) - Concentrating mostly on the Mercury Records years (53-58) this collection of 104 sides documents the later career of one of the top acts in R & B history - a rocking big band with great arrangements and a top notch R & B singer in Buddy's sister Ella. (Earlier sides for Decca are seemingly available only on vinyl). One of the more important sound archives of the era and one that should not be forgotten.

Big Jay McNeely : "Roadhouse Boogie" (Saxophonograph 505) - Sixteen cuts from Savoy and Aladdin labels in 1949-51 which include vocals by Clifford Blivens and Ted Shirley. Some of the tunes are "Deacon's Hop", "Deac's Blowout", "Real Crazy Cool", and the title song.

Lucky Millinder : "Ram-Bunk-Shus" (Charly 288) - Leader of R & B band on King Records from the early fifties. Sidemen include Sam "The Man" Taylor, Sonny Thompson, Tyree Glenn, and Count Hastings. Vocalists on the tunes include the wonderful Anisteen Allen, Brother John Sellers, "Mr. Blues" Wynonie Harris, and The Admirals vocal group. Songs include "Chew Tobacco Rag", "I'm Waiting Just For You", "Please Be Careful" and the title tune.

Little Esther : "Better Beware" (Charly 248) - Esther's early fifties Federal recordings after leaving Johnny Otis. Backup musicians include Pete "Guitar" Lewis, Preston Love, and James Von Streeter. Duet vocals with Little Willie Littlefield, Mel Walker, The Dominos, and Bobby Nunn are also featured. Tunes include "The Deacon Moves In", "Ramblin Blues", "Storm,", and "Cherry Wine".

Little Jimmy Scott : "Regal Records Live In New Orleans" (Specialty 2170) - Obscure recording from 1951 at Rip's Playhouse features Scott on vocals with Paul Gayten's band. Priceless document of early fifties music from the crescent city which features sax by Sam Butera (from Louis Prima's backup band The Witnesses in later years). Vocals are augmented by three tenor sax instrumentals.

Big Al Sears : "Sear-iously" - (Bear Family 15668) - Top New York session man of the fifties and tenor sax man for Alan Freed for years plays on these cuts from 1949 into the mid fifties. Tunes include "Brown Boy", "Love Call", "Come And Dance" and "Going Uptown".

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