Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wynonie Shouts the Blues, Sun Ra plays them

Fred James has been putting out a number of collections of classic rhythm and blues recordings from Nashville on the German SRV Blue label. Bullet Records Rhythm & Blues is the second reissue in this series of the important Nashville label. It focuses more on jump blues and blues shouters. It opens with four selections by one of the greatest shouters, Wynonie Harris, and in addition to his vocals, these recordings include the first recordings of pianist Herman ‘Sonny’ Blount (better known as Sun Ra). These recordings may have also had Mr. Harris on drums. A few years later Mr. Blount would be leading a band in Chicago and emerge with his unique and influential big band. While these recordings will be of historical interest for that fact, there is plenty more here for fans of jump blues and blues shouters. Fred James speculates that its tenor saxophonist Buddy Tate’s band backing Max Bailey whose tune includes an exhortation to the troops on Drive Soldiers Drive. Alto saxophonist Sherman Williams’ selections feature pianist-shouter Skippy Brooks who would later be a mainstay in Nashville for Excello. He is heard strongly singing six strong tracks including Baby Don’t You Want to Go, a reworking of Kokomo Blues, a song that was the model for Sweet Home Chicago. Two tracks by The Bobby Plater Orchestra feature members of Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra backing a young Rufus Thomas, while Doc Wiley’s two tracks include a hot jump instrumental and the more philosophical Play Your Hand with Wiley’s strong piano and a nice vocal. A few cuts are more in the vein of Mills Brothers styled harmony, and fill out what is an exceptional reissue that will be of special interest to fans of blues shouters.

No comments: