Nineteen Sixty Six: The David Axelrod and H.B. Barnum Recordings

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Though no Little Willie John discs of material recorded after his imprisonment for murder in October 1964 were issued between that time and his death (in jail) in May 1968, he did actually record quite a few tracks for Capitol in February 1966. These recordings (supervised by David Axelrod and H.B. Barnum) were unreleased both at the time and for decades afterward, in part because King Records (John's previous label) contested Capitol's right to issue the cuts. This 2008 CD of 20 tracks from the sessions, recorded at a time when he was out on appeal, can thus be considered as a genuine lost Little Willie John album. (And despite the number of songs, there would have ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Though no Little Willie John discs of material recorded after his imprisonment for murder in October 1964 were issued between that time and his death (in jail) in May 1968, he did actually record quite a few tracks for Capitol in February 1966. These recordings (supervised by David Axelrod and H.B. Barnum) were unreleased both at the time and for decades afterward, in part because King Records (John's previous label) contested Capitol's right to issue the cuts. This 2008 CD of 20 tracks from the sessions, recorded at a time when he was out on appeal, can thus be considered as a genuine lost Little Willie John album. (And despite the number of songs, there would have only been enough for one LP, since there are two versions of eight of the numbers.) For someone with a murder sentence hanging over him, John sounds remarkably unaffected and at ease, and indeed pretty much the same as he did in his classic King period, albeit a little more mature. Much the same can be said for the arrangements, which update his sound a little into the mid-'60s, but draw considerably from lightly swinging jazz and even a bit of easy listening pop in addition to soul. There are a few remakes of songs he'd cut at King, as well as some standards and R&B-oriented tunes (and, disappointingly, just one original John composition). Would this have reestablished John as a star had he won his appeal and Capitol been allowed to put the material out? Probably not; there aren't any songs that scream "hit," and that was still the name of the game in the R&B market. But if it had been somehow marketed as a comeback album, without expectations that it would be a huge seller -- in the manner that respectable efforts by R&B and rock veterans were, many times over, in subsequent decades -- it would have been well received, as John sings well and the material is sympathetic, if not quite outstanding. For all these reasons, this doesn't rank among his best work; his best King sides remain the place to start. But for the same reasons, it will be enthusiastically and justifiably welcomed by Little Willie John fans as a significant discovery, at a time when few such substantial unreleased bodies of work from soul's golden age seemed to remain at large.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/11/2008
  • Label: Kent Records Uk
  • UPC: 029667230520
  • Catalog Number: 305
  • Sales rank: 85,513

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Little Willie John Primary Artist
Gerald Wiggins Organ, Piano, Electric Piano
Clifford Scott Tenor Saxophone
Billie Barnum Choir, Chorus
Dennis Budimir Guitar
Les Buie Guitar
Gary Coleman Percussion, Vibes
Freddie Hill Trumpet
Jim Horn Baritone Saxophone
Jeff Kaplan Guitar
Carol Kaye Electric Bass
Earl Palmer Drums
Tony Terran Trumpet
Arthur Wright Guitar
Jimmy Bond Bass
Tommy Strode Organ, Piano, Electric Piano
William Edgar John Vocals
Technical Credits
Jimmie Davis Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
David Axelrod Producer, Author
Billie Barnum Vocal Arrangements
H.B. Barnum Arranger, Director
Dallas Bartley Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Charles Mitchell Composer
Jody Reynolds Composer
Nick Robbins Mastering
Rudy Toombs Composer
Tony Rounce Sleeve Notes
Lillian "Lil" Green Composer
William Lee Conley Broonzy Composer
Teddy "Cherokee" Conyers Composer
Joseph Scott Composer
Noel Sherman Composer
Dolores Nance Composer
Leo Hickman Composer
Lloyd Pemberton Composer
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