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Ace (CDTOP2 1406)

Rosco Gordon, Lightnin’ Hopkins, B.B. King, Gene Phillips, Jimmy Nelson, Little Caesar, King Perry, Mickey Champion, Little Eddie Kirkland, Jimmy Huff, Gene Forrest and more…

The second release in the series of comprehensive compilations focussed around the various subsidiary labels of Modern Records, the influential Los Angeles-based musical empire of the Biharis Brothers.

RPM was Modern’s third imprint and was originally created as a ruse to overcome a problem with radio stations reluctant to play too many records on a single label. As Modern had large numbers of new releases coming out by the late 1940s, releasing titles with other logos was seen as a way around this and so, in 1950, RPM as an imprint was born.

This tremendous collection of 52 tracks covers the early years of RPM’s existence between 1950-1953 (with plans for a follow up collection later in the year to tell the rest of the story) and over half of the titles here are new to CD, all having been re-mastered from original acetates.

From its very beginning, RPM featured some the biggest blues and R&B names in the Modern roster (often licensed from elsewhere, most significantly Sam Phillips in Memphis but also from others in regional centres across the southern states). Consequently, tracks abound here from the early recordings of legends such as B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Rosco Gordon (whose huge hit, No More Doggin’, gives this collection its title).

Assuming you are already familiar with the work of the bigger stars, there remains plenty to enjoy here. Willie Nix’s Try Me One More Time is a thunderous R&B number with killer guitar, and Black Gal is a beaut from harmonica ace Walter Horton (listed as Mumbles). And, of the sides recorded in LA by Modern, the Nic Nacs Gonna Have A Merry Xmas is a worth attention as it is actually the hugely popular vocal group, the Robins, moonlighting for the label.

As always with Ace, presentation, packaging and sound quality is exemplary. So, another must-have release. 


Review Date: August 2014

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