PLEASE DON'T FREEZE
Ruth Brown, Elmore James, Donnie Elbert, Guitar Slim, Little Willie John, The Ravens, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Terry Timmons, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Otis Blackwell and more..
It’s been a while coming, but here we finally get Trikont’s third volume in their amazing Early Black Rock ‘N Roll series. As before, the intent is to present real American rock ‘n roll as it first emerged in the late 1940s-early 1950s, before the music’s black roots were de-emphasised and it was cleaned up for consumption by the middle class white America of Richie Cunningham, Ralph Malph and Potsie.
These 26 knock-out tracks certainly deliver on this - or, in the words of Nik Cohn in the booklet’s notes, ‘compared to the sentimentalism of white music, (hearing the originals) was like a window being opened to let the stale air out’.
You may already have some of these tracks, but, in this context, every one will impress in their freshness and vitality. From the mood-enhancing opener, Ike & Tina Turner’s I Idolise You right through to Terry Timmons terrific closer, Got Nobody To Love, this CD is stacked with fantastic songs, tremendous singing and rockin’ bands invariably dominated by rumbling, grumbling and mumbling (never stumbling or fumbling) guitar riffery.
Highlights? You want highlights? How about Thirteen Women And One Man by Dickie Thompson And His Orchestra, a boppin’ little number with insistent guitar and a great vocal performance of a cool lyric. Or Little Margie’s ultra-sultry Yes It’s You or Arthur Alexander’s unusual swamp blues-like 1960 recording debut Sally Sue Brown, a world away from the smooth soul singer that would later emerge. And Percy Mayfield’s jaunty Louisiana has a lovely Hoagy Carmichael vibe to commend it. Not forgetting Titus Turner’s riff-tastic Big Mary’s.
Enough already! You may recall that we reviewed both earlier volumes when they first appeared - Roll Your Moneymaker (US0392) and I Smell A Rat (US0412). Now with this third volume, taken together they make up just about the perfect ready-made musical jukebox you could ever hope for. Roll on Volume 4!
Review Date: August 2014