Friday, December 04, 2015

Dust My Rhythm & Blues: The Flair Records Story

Dust My Rhythm & Blues: The Flair Records Story
Ace (UK)

A compilation "Dust My Rhythm & Blues: The Flair Records Story" is one of a series of double CD reissues that the English Ace Records label has issued that survey the Bihari Brothers legendary Modern Records label and its subsidiary labels that include Flair, RPM and Kent. Flair was the third subsidiary and in its three years of existence issued some terrific music although it never had a national hit. Originally intended to be the Bihari's country label, the label shifted direction with Elmore James being the first R&B artist assigned to Flair. This reissue has a number of choice recordings from the likes of Elmore James (seven sides including "Standing at the Crossroads"); his pianist Little Johnny Jones (with the classic "Dirty By the Dozen (Sweet Little Woman)"; Mercy Dee; pioneering electric blues guitarist Saunders King; Richard Berry (famous for "Louie Louie" (not included here) represented by several tracks including "The Big Break"); the doomy West Coast downhome blues of Johnny Fuller, the vocal group The Flairs (whose Cornell Gunter would enjoy fame with The Coasters); Shirley Gunter; Ike Turner (a couple instrumentals including "Cuban Get Away"); and Clarence 'Bonton' Garlow doing the rollicking "Route 90." The 50 tracks include some alternate takes and some selections that had not previously been issued on CD. If not having complete session information, the wonderfully illustrated booklet accompanying these 50 tracks includes Tony Rounce's essay with history of the label as well as his discussion of the artists and the recordings.

I purchased this CD. This is one of a number of short reviews I have written for the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide edition of Jazz & Blues Report. Here is Clarence Garlow's recording of "Route 90."

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