RARE WEST COAST JUMP 'N JIVE 1945 - 54 (4CD BOX SET)
JSP (JSP 77127 )
Charlie Boogie Woogie Davis & His Orchestra, Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy, King Porter & His Orchestra, Poison Gardner & His All Stars, Lloyd Glenn & His Joymakers, Calvin Boze & His All Stars, Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces, Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers, Roy Milton & His Solid Senders, Dick Lewis & His Harlem Rhythm Boys, Richard Lewis & His Orchestra.
Here's a whompin' stompin' box full of rollicking good West Coast R&B featuring some of the very best artists in the field. Some of them are well known practitioners of the art of jump'n'jive and some are pretty obscure but, rest assured, many of the sides on this 100 track anthology have never been out on CD before. Let's take a look at some of them.
Jimmy Liggins big fat sound owes a lot to his Honeydrippers tenor-men Charles Ferguson and Harold Land who together formed the bluesiest of the R&B outfits but they could rock out too. If you think Jackie Brenston's Rocket 88 was the original rock'n'roll record, wait till you hear Jimmy's block buster Cadillac Boogie from 1947 - issued a full year before Jackie's record. Folks in the know are fully aware that you just can't beat Roy Milton and His Solid Senders in full flight and here they rip the joint apart with their hits RM Blues, Rainy Day Confidential and Red Light.
King (Jake) Porter thunders out sizzling tracks from the late forties with a big band fortified by the heavy brigade of Gene Phillips on guitar and Gene Porter on baritone sax and Bumps Myers on tenor along with the spot-on vocalising of Alton Redd and Betty Jones. Lloyd Glenn was one of the biggest stars on the circuit and his bunch of tunes from 1947 shows how well his band could swing! Alongside Glenn's purring piano runs, Marshal Royal and Gene Porter's saxes provide a rockin' rhythm that used to drive their audiences into a frenzy. Calvin Boze had a hip jiving style that he learned from Louis Jordan and his songs were jump numbers filled, at times, with hilarious lyrics that gave him hit after hit. His big hits Safronia B, Stinkin' From Drinkin' and Lizzy Lou are star items here. Gene Phillips was a blues guitar player with a cool, almost nonchalant style on the slow numbers but he could rock with the best of them when his band, powered along by Lloyd Glenn on piano and Maxwell Davies on tenor, turned up the heat.
Nothing is known about pianist Charlie Davis but there's no doubt that his outfit, which includes trumpeter Jake Porter, could boil over at any time with this bunch of hot material. Charlie's smoky vocals deliver just the right mixture of flippancy and hip-ness for his material about boogie woogie babies, immigrant share croppers and San Quentin jailbait. Poison Gardner is another mystery. He was a boogie pianist whose heavy rocking attacking style must have made quite a few fans on the jukeboxes and club circuits of Los Angeles. Surprisingly, he was a white artist but the sound of his band is decidedly black and there's no doubt that his rocking records like Lenox Avenue Boogie and Big Leg Mama identify him as an artist who knew the R&B genre inside out.
Dick Lewis and His Harlem Rhythm Boys just grabbed a tune and went crazy with it! Lewis was an almost manic piano player who roared into every performance with gusto. If you want proof, just play Old Crow Boogie - a ripping piano boogie showcase of the first order and Shuffle Beat that has jazzy licks that remind me of early Mingus! Some think that Dick Lewis and His Harlem Rhythm Boys also recorded as Richard Lewis and His Orchestra but there's a doubt because Richard's six tracks here have a more confident and sophisticated feel to them - but then again, they were recorded seven years later. It doesn't bother me either way because it's more gloriously heavy pounding stuff with some pretty astounding piano and thundering horn sections. Just how I like it!
JSP don't usually get too involved with hard hitting R&B but they've hit the right note with this little beauty. Compilers Victor Pearlin and Bob Fisher should be proud of themselves on a job well done.
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Review Date: March 2010