The King Sessions

The King Sessions

by Little Willie John


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The King Sessions

During the period covered by this compilation, Little Willie John was moving into more orchestrated, pop-oriented material and arrangements than he'd used on his initial mid-'50s R&B hit singles for the King label. The change wasn't at all for the worse; he still put a lot of bluesy feeling into this form of blues-R&B-pop-rock & roll, getting his two biggest pop hits with "Talk to Me, Talk to Me" and "Sleep." Both of those songs are on this CD, which actually covers both sides of all dozen singles those hits bracketed, though a couple ("My Love-Is" and "Why Don't You Haul off and Love Me") are represented by previously unissued, more sparsely arranged takes without the overdubs used on the official 45 versions. While the general Little Willie John or R&B/soul fan will likely be better off with an overall best-of that draws from only the best of these sides, this is an admirably thorough (and thoroughly annotated) collection of his work in the era. And it's not all orchestrated R&B-pop by any means: he gets into a credible Little Richard bag on "Do You Love Me," pretty hot classy jump blues on "Spasms," a boppin' blues ballad on "Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me)," a great minor-keyed R&B groove on "I'm Shakin'," and more straightforward rock & roll on "Leave My Kitten Alone," which would be covered by the Beatles in 1964 (though it remain an unreleased studio outtake until it was issued on Anthology 1 three decades later). Some of the less familiar orchestrated tunes are good too, though some aren't as memorable; some of the poppier ones veer close to Platters territory, and "My Love-Is" is uncomfortably close to a rewrite of his earlier hit "Fever." It's also obvious from listening to this disc how influential this material in particular was on John's labelmate James Brown, who not only eventually recorded a tribute album to John, but also used a similar approach for his own more orchestrated ballads, such as "Prisoner of Love" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World."

Product Details

Release Date: 08/23/2005
Label: Ace Records Uk
UPC: 0029667012423
catalogNumber: 1061

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Little Willie John   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Bill Doggett   Composer
Titus Turner   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Joyce Kennedy   Composer
Otis Blackwell   Composer
Reginald Adams   Composer
Roger Armstrong   Master Transfers
Larry Conley   Composer
Henry Glover   Composer
Wayne Raney   Composer
Rudy Toombs   Composer
Bill Dahl   Liner Notes
Alec Palao   Master Transfers
Eddie Cooley   Composer
Lonnie Glosson   Composer
Billy Myles   Composer
Willard Robison   Composer
Harold Adamson   Composer
Earl Lebieg   Composer
James McDougal   Composer
Bobby Stevenson   Composer
Ace Adams   Composer
Sally Nix   Composer
Rose Marie McCoy   Composer
John Thomas   Composer
Wally Hall   Composer

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