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Surefire Hits on Central Avenue
     

Surefire Hits on Central Avenue

 
From the mid-'40s to the mid-'50s, Central Avenue in South Central Los Angeles was the axis of the city's exploding R&B scene, which played a crucial (and sometimes overlooked) part in helping lay the foundation for rock & roll. No one would agree on exactly which two dozen songs or so were the most pivotal recordings from this scene, and in any case you'd need a box

Overview

From the mid-'40s to the mid-'50s, Central Avenue in South Central Los Angeles was the axis of the city's exploding R&B scene, which played a crucial (and sometimes overlooked) part in helping lay the foundation for rock & roll. No one would agree on exactly which two dozen songs or so were the most pivotal recordings from this scene, and in any case you'd need a box set to cover all of the most notable performers and recordings. The 26 songs on this single-disc anthology -- mostly taken from the Modern, Specialty, and Dootone catalogs -- might not be the biggest hits or even most artistically crucial recordings of the style; the selection's too quirky and incomplete for that. But it does include cuts by many of the best mid-20th century L.A. R&B artists, including Joe Liggins, Little Esther, Hadda Brooks, Floyd Dixon, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Jay McNeely, Roy Milton, Chuck Higgins, Little Willie Littlefield, Pee Wee Crayton, Etta James, Jesse Belvin, Richard Berry, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and Joe Houston. Just as vitally, it covers several aspects of L.A. music from the era that could be called R&B, and not just the honkin', shoutin', sax-driven jump blues and piano-based ballads that dominate many single-artist collections from the time and place. Those are here too, of course, but there's also doo wop, electric guitar-fired blues, mid-'50s cuts verging as much on rock & roll as R&B, and gentle numbers that fall as close (or closer) to jazz as R&B. Some of the songs have made an impression beyond the relatively small niche of listeners who specialize in collecting this sort of R&B. Among them are James' "The Wallflower" (covered for a big hit by Georgia Gibbs as "Dance With Me Henry"), presented here in a previously unissued long version that's almost a minute longer than the original; Milton's "The Hucklebuck"; Liggins' "The Honeydripper"; Houston's insane sax honker of an instrumental, "All Night Long"; and Gene & Eunice's "Ko Ko Mo." Also on hand is Young Jessie's "Mary Lou," covered by several rock acts (including Ronnie Hawkins); this CD marks the first time a reissue has used the original single master.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/08/2003
Label:
Ace Records Uk
UPC:
0029667188425
catalogNumber:
884

Tracks

Album Credits

Technical Credits

Floyd Dixon   Composer
Johnny Otis   Composer
Hank Ballard   Composer
Jesse Belvin   Composer
Don Julian   Composer
Joe Liggins   Composer
Andy Gibson   Composer
Buddy Johnson   Composer
John Gray   Composer
Roy Hawkins   Composer
Gene Phillips   Composer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
Ernie Freeman   Composer
Obie Jessie   Composer
Avery Parrish   Composer
Billy Vera   Liner Notes
Johnny "Guitar" Watson   Composer
Will Jason   Composer
Jake "Vernon" Porter   Composer
John Dolphin   Contributor
Cecil McNeely   Composer
Dootsie Williams   Composer
Claude Trenier   Composer
Jules Taub   Composer
Henry Nemo   Composer
Jessie Mae Robinson   Composer
Eunice Levy   Composer
Sam Ling   Composer
Willie Littlefield   Composer
Roy Alfred   Composer
Forest Wilson   Composer
Marvin Phillips   Composer
Charles Higgins   Composer
Que Martyn   Composer
Bud Allen   Composer

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