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Surefire Hits on Central Avenue

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/8/2003
  • Label: Ace Records Uk
  • UPC: 029667188425
  • Catalog Number: 884
  • Sales rank: 346,890

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Honeydripper - Joe Liggins (3:10)
  2. 2 You Won't Let Me Go - Johnny Moore's Three Blazers (3:39)
  3. 3 Who's Been Jivin' You - Jimmy Witherspoon (2:38)
  4. 4 Dallas Blues - Floyd Dixon (3:19)
  5. 5 The Hucklebuck - Roy Milton (3:08)
  6. 6 Out of the Blue - Hadda Brooks (3:02)
  7. 7 Double Crossing Blues - Johnny Otis Quintette (2:48)
  8. 8 The Deacon's Hop - Big Jay McNeely (2:49)
  9. 9 Once There Lived a Fool - Red Callender Sextet (2:27)
  10. 10 Stinkin' Drunk - Gene Phillips (3:03)
  11. 11 Pachuko Hop - Chuck Higgins (2:53)
  12. 12 It's Midnight (No Place to Go) - Little Willie Littlefield (2:56)
  13. 13 Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So) - Gene & Eunice (2:43)
  14. 14 Blues After Hours - Pee Wee Crayton (3:03)
  15. 15 Goodbye Baby - Que Martyn (2:29)
  16. 16 The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry) - Etta James (3:06)
  17. 17 Dream Girl - Jesse Belvin (2:51)
  18. 18 Why Do Everything Happen to Me - Roy Hawkins (2:59)
  19. 19 Get Out of the Car - Richard Berry (3:03)
  20. 20 The Letter - The Medallions (2:49)
  21. 21 Three Hours Past Midnight - Johnny "Guitar" Watson (3:24)
  22. 22 Ookey Ook - The Penguins (2:56)
  23. 23 All Night Long - Joe Houston (2:38)
  24. 24 Heaven and Paradise - Don Julian and the Meadowlarks (2:51)
  25. 25 Mary Lou - Young Jessie (3:00)
  26. 26 Jivin Around, Pt. 1 - Ernie Freeman Combo (2:34)
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Album Credits

Technical Credits
Nick Robbins Mastering
Billy Vera Liner Notes
John Dolphin Contributor
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