"For years the owners of the King catalog have been assembling Hank Ballard CDs and while some of the later ones have been an improvement, most of what's out there is a lesson in how not to produce a CD. It wasn't until Rhino did some work with the major King label artists that some of this material became available in a quality piece, although Rhino's track selection was not what it could have been. See For Miles from the U.K. has also brought to market some quality CDs with wider repertoire. Recently, the standard-bearer of reissues, Ace Records of the U.K., has given King material its due with some excellent CDs. Now, from where some past experiences may lead you to think otherwise, comes Collectables Records with a Hank Ballard/Midnighters collection that goes where no King material has been before. For the first time, many of the hit singles (all but 2,3,18,19,25) are presented in stereo! Ace's collection did have a few stereo tracks but not of charting singles and did little to lead anyone to expect much more. What's equally astonishing is that it has taken all these years to unearth these recordings. It needs to be noted that some, if not all, of these stereo versions appear to be of the primitive binaural type but even with the tricky two-channel balancing, the sound stage explodes with these tunes. Another reassuring thing about these tracks is the fact that they were mastered by the well-respected Little Walter DeVenne. As to be expected, purists may object to these stereo versions but one listen to "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" and you can't not be blown away by the new life given these 40-year-old classic rockers. This collection is limited to the King recordings of the Midnighters with Hank Ballard (1959-63) and contains within its 25 tracks all their charted a-sides during that period. The four-page liner notes booklet is brief but informative. If you're a fan of these tunes, and providing you're not a mono-purist, even if you own other Ballard/Midnighter CDs you will be jumping with this one."
The original Bad Boys Of Rock and Roll
L. E STOTTLEMEYER | KCMO | 03/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whenever I listen to Hank and The Midnighters I'm in for a treat of good soulful,sweaty,funky R&B from the 50's and early 60's. For some reason when I hear these cats sing it transforms me to a down south hole in the wall juke joint( circa 1961 ) with fish frying in the kitchen and bar b que ribs being served off a grill out back and the whole place is full of cigarette smoke and tight red dress coca cola bottle shaped women. That's a darn good feelin for me for I grew up in places like that down south and Hank Ballard was always on the jukeboxes. Sometimes he would have 5 or 6 hits on the jukebox alone at one time. Hank had some of the most danceable R&B of the early 60's like "The Hoochie Coochie Coo", "Let's go,Let's go,Let's go, "Finger Poppin Time", "Nothing but good", "The Coffee Grind", and a smooth belly rubber called "Teardrops on your letter". In my opinion there was no "King" of Rock n Roll-instead their were "Kings" of Rock nRoll and Hank was one of those Kings and still is. So I think I'll go put me some ribs on the grill and pop open a cold one and listen to my Hank Ballard and The Midnighters cd-talk at cha later cats! Keep Rockin and a rollin"
Hank and The Midnighters Do The Real Thing
Spiritof67 | New York | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those of you who like rhythm and blues, the real stuff, this is a motherlode. Hank who as usual never got his proper shot at fame or radio play even with The Twist is a fantastic bridge between the doo-wop crooners the blues shouters and the so-called novelty performers. He's got threads that run into territory inhabited by James Brown, Jackie Wilson and even Joe Turner. There's even some quasi-gospel with Rain Down Tears. It's all here in one big great party record. And for those who are coming into this late, the Twist/Continental Walk/Coffee Grind and Hoochie Coochie were all popular dances where I grew up. It's great to hear them all again. Then there's Hank's radio records (AM radio, that is)like Let's Go ( a wonderful vocal performance..listen to him sing/say "and go where it is...up on the hill"!) It's just a great recording. And as the other reviewers have said, you are instantly taken to a social hall/juke joint/union hall (Hank mentions one!) where Hank and the Midnighters surely had their best shiny suits, pompadours, gold teeth and well-shined shoes. Get this, and enjoy! (PS: If there's some stuff about "voting buttons under this review< I didn't type it. It's some kind of Amazon virus.)"
"Where are his "Annie" songs like "Annie Had a Baby", "Annie's Aunt Fanny", "Sexy Ways", etc. He's known for those and for having written and performed "The Twist" two years before Chubby Checker did it and created a whole new dance craze. Don't buy any Hank Ballard album unless it has these four songs."