For a second time round, delve into the Rockinitis sounds of mid-fifties to early-sixties Black dance music. Juke joint gear, as chosen by London based record-slinger, Diddy Wah, and Stag-O-Lee’s troublemaker-in-chief, R-Man. If your nights are mis-a-ble and your days blue, salvation can be found right here. These selections aren’t just a mild pick-me-up, this is full-blown electric-guitar blues to make you stand up and shake your hips.
1. H-Bomb Ferguson – Little Tiger (ARC) 1959
Hold tight, we start with a blues shouting son of a preacher man. The wig-wearing, piano-playing H-Bomb and his Mad Lads blast out a full-figured R&B mover.
2. Guitar Slim – You Give Me Nothin’ But The Blues (Specialty) 1956
Next up is another bluesman known for his wild stage antics. Listen out for the distorted guitar stabs about half way in, almost hidden behind the sax.
3. Sonny Boy Williamson – Stop Right Now (Checker) 1961
Electrified rerecording of a song which describes an encounter with another man’s wife. The second harmonica playing Sonny Boy Williamson released his first version on Trumpet in 1952.
4. Floyd Dixon – The Late Freight Twist Pt.1 (Skeet) 1962
Piano bashing Floyd Dixon’s name is printed on the label, but this instrumental is all about the ferocious guitar virtuosity of Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
5. Moose John – Talkin’ ‘Bout Me (Ultra) 1955
The boogie beats strong on this exciting and urgent Johnny Otis production. Musically, it owes more than a hint to Little Junior Parker’s Feelin’ Good.
6. Cousin Leroy – Goin’ Back Home (Groove) 1955
Leroy Rozier’s first recording transports us straight to rural Georgia, where he grew up. This slays on the front porch as well as in the juke joints. That guitar!
7. John Lee Hooker – 609 Boogie (Fortune) 1959
This song first appeared on a Chance 78 as by John L. Booker, the slackest of pseudonyms. That same fellow is backed by a hot combo of keys, drums and filthy sax on this later cut.
8. Hound Dog Taylor – Take Five (Bea & Baby) 1960
Another first single. This one’s from the six-fingered, cheap Japanese guitar destroying hand of Hound Dog Taylor. His composition has nothing to do with the jazz hit of around the same time.
1. Otis Rush – It Takes Time (Cobra) 1958
Intense, menacing music from the note-bending upside-down guitar playing Chicago blues legend. Willie Dixon sure had the Midas touch while working as A&R for Cobra.
2. Eddie Burns – Hard Hearted Woman (Harvey) 1961
The first single on Harvey Fuqua’s eponymous label was from a guy who made his first guitar out of a broom handle. A hand-clap rife slice of Detroit blues, with Marvin Gaye on drums.
3. Eddie Hope – A Fool No More (Marlin) 1956
Out of Miami comes the hip-shakin’ rhythms and low-down dirty blues of Eddie Hope. Together with The Mannish Boys he recorded this underrated party starter.
4. Elmore James – Stranger Blues (Fire) 1962
Classic blues lyrics, yep. Seasoned vocals, check. Ultra-amplified electric guitar, oh yeah! Looped backing track, what? Don’t worry, producer and label owner, Bobby Robinson, knew his onions.
5. Slim Harpo – Don’t Start Cryin’ Now (Excello) 1961
It’s unbelievable that this bopping dancefloor favourite was a b-side. But it’s also testament to the talent of the honey-voiced, swamp-rocking Slim Harpo.
6. Lightnin’ Slim – Mean Ole Lonesome Train (Excello) 1957
Ready for another train song? This time the goods are delivered by Excello’s other swamp blues Slim, Lightnin’. Also, Lazy Lester’s brought his harmonica along for the ride. All aboard!
7. Junior Wells – Two-Headed Woman (Chief) 1957
Junior Wells puts his harp aside on this and just treats us to his soulful voice. A young Syl Johnson plays guitar and, as with so much tip-top Chicago blues, Willie Dixon’s hand is all over it.
8. Billy Boy – I Wish You Would (Vee-Jay) 1955
Probably the best known and most covered Billy Boy Arnold tune is this, his first release for Vee-Jay. With a Bo Diddley beat and Jody Williams on guitar, music just doesn’t get better.
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Format: Vinyl Album
Genre: Rhythm & Blues