Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Encyclopedia of 1950s New Orleans R&B
PH-50-NC | Southeast USA | 08/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set, being out of print, is priced high by the vendors who have copies. That said, it might just be worth the $50+ you'll have to pay, depending on how extensive your record collection is. The set gathers 50 Bartholomew productions for Imperial Records (and only Imperial--no Lawdy Miss Clawdy from Specialty Records, or King Records sessions here). The tracks come from the period between late 1949 and 1962, with about 2/3 recorded between 1950-55. The remastering is fine on all but the first 3 or 4, which sound like 78s smothered by "noise reduction" processing (some of that "noise" being filtered out is of course music, like cymbals and high-frequency overtones from other instruments). But again, that's only on the first few--the notes say the producers mastered everything from the original session tapes (2 and 3 track), and for the most part, that's what it sounds like--clean transfers without the muffled sound typical of 1980s reissues (this set came out in 1992).
Liner notes are good, with track highlights annotated in an essay by Dawn Eden, and another biographical essay by Adam Block. All the track data is covered--songwriters, recording and release dates, and for those super-obsessives, chart placement and matrix numbers from the original Imperial 45s.
Fats Domino covered several of these tunes, and those versions are easily available elsewhere. Fats is here on a handful of cuts, but the great thing about the set is that lots of artists unknown to most casual listeners get featured--it's not just Fats Domino's Imperial Hits with a couple of extras thrown in.
A couple of points of interest:
- Legendary New Orleans piano wizard James Booker, at age 14(!), singing 'Thinking About My Baby'
- Earl King's original version of 'Come On (Parts 1&2), which most people know, if at all, from the Jimi Hendrix version on Electric Ladyland
- Chris Kenner singing his own 'Sick and Tired' which was later a hit for Fats (and much later, a great track on Alex Chilton's 'Man Called Destruction' album)
There's lots of other rock and roll history here, and lots of songs with the New Orleans Big Beat that will bring a smile to your face."