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Straight to Watts: Central Avenue Scene 1951-54
     

Straight to Watts: Central Avenue Scene 1951-54

 
Straight to Watts is a 24-track collection of material originally issued by Jake Porter's Combo Records in Los Angeles between 1951-1954. Compiled by British record collector Tony Rounce for Ace Records, with excellent notes by Jim Dawson, this set -- which is merely the

Overview

Straight to Watts is a 24-track collection of material originally issued by Jake Porter's Combo Records in Los Angeles between 1951-1954. Compiled by British record collector Tony Rounce for Ace Records, with excellent notes by Jim Dawson, this set -- which is merely the first volume in a projected set -- showcases the raw, woolly R&B and jump blues that stood in stark contrast to the slicker New York styles of the time. Pre-rock & roll and yet solidly swaggering with the same careening spirit of freedom and wildness, this stuff is full of heat and passion, piss and vinegar. Like Motown a decade later, Combo featured a few different house bands playing behind a revolving stage of frontpersons. Here, Chuck Higgins, Porter, Johnny Moore and his band the Three Blazers (which featured the incomparable Floyd Dixon), Ernie Fields, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Betty Jones, Jack McVea, Rozelle Gayle, Gene Philips, Honey Coleman, and many other obscure but now legendary R&B singers laid down vocal tracks for singles that were regional hits -- and some misses. This is the music that would be spun in the back of Dolphin's drugstore in Hollywood, and Porter made it all in a basement studio on Virgil Avenue in Watts. There are no standout tracks, as everything here is brilliant. This is the only side necessary for a jumpin' party on a summer night under the lights. But there are some real heretofore hidden gems here -- such as the "T-Town Mambo" duet between Ernie Fields and Angela Walls, or "Ridin' Mighty High" by Johnny Moore's band fronted by Dixon, who could move a song into overdrive the same way Joe Turner did. There are also several unreleased tracks that are mind-blowing -- the final cut, a Rozelle Gayle version of "The House of Blue Lights," feels like it was recorded there: it's drunken, loose, and pumps like mad. This is a classic set for anyone interested in the music of the period or region, whether you are a musicologist or an R&B nut. And if you aren't, this'll convert you or you're already dead.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/02/2003
Label:
Ace Records Uk
UPC:
0029667186827
catalogNumber:
868
Rank:
210179

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Floyd Dixon   Vocals
Jack McVea   Vocals
Christine Chatman   Vocals
Candy Rivers   Vocals
Angela Walls   Vocals
Dorothy Ellis   Vocals

Technical Credits

Floyd Dixon   Composer
Danny Barker   Composer
Freddie Slack   Composer
Jim Dawson   Liner Notes
Gene Phillips   Composer
Monteria   Composer
Mario Delagarde   Composer
Ernie Fields   Composer
Andrew "Smokey" Hogg   Composer
Don Raye   Composer
Fletcher Smith   Composer
Johnny "Guitar" Watson   Composer
Jack Carrington   Composer
Jake "Vernon" Porter   Composer
Eddie Williams   Composer
Betty Hall Jones   Composer
Tal Carter   Composer
Honey Coleman   Composer

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