Thursday, 10 February 2011

"Restless Heart – The Ultimate Singles Collection 1952-1959" by LLOYD PRICE. A Review Of The 2011 Jasmine Label 2CD Compilation.

"…Mailman…Mailman…Tell Me What You Got For Me…"

Offering up a huge 57-tracks, this 2CD set covers almost all of the 45" single output for the American Rhythm'n'Blues singer Lloyd Price on the Specialty, KRC and ABC-Paramount labels in the USA between 1952 and 1960 (despite the title saying 1959).

Released in the UK/Europe in February 2011, here's a breakdown of Jasmine JASCD 552…

Disc 1 (72:43 minutes):
1 and 2 are Specialty 428 (May 1952) Number 1 USA R’n’B charts
3 and 4 are Specialty 440 (October 1952) Number 4 USA R’n’B charts
5 and 6 are Specialty 452 (February 1953) Number 8 USA R’n’B charts
7 and 8 are Specialty 457 (1953)
9 and 10 are Specialty 463 (1953)
11 and 12 are Specialty 471 (1953)
13 and 14 are Specialty 483 (1953)
15 and 16 are Specialty 494 (1953)
17 and 18 are Specialty 535 (1953)
19 and 20 are Specialty 540 (1954)
21 and 22 are Specialty 576 (1956)
23 and 24 are Specialty 578 (1956)
25 and 26 are Specialty 582 (1956)
27 and 28 are Specialty 602 (1956)
29 and 30 are KBC 587 and ABC-Paramount 9792 (1957) Number 3 USA R’n’B charts

Disc 2 (64:37 minutes):
1 and 2 are ABC-Paramount 9653 (1957)
[Stereo Re-Recordings of Tracks 3 and 2 on Disc 1]
3 and 4 are KRC 301 (1957)
5 and 6 are KRC 303 (1957)
7 and 8 are KRC 305 (1957)
9 and 10 are KRC 5000 (1957)
11 and 12 are KRC 5002 (1957)
13 and 14 are ABC-Paramount 9972 (December 1958) Number 1 USA R’n’B charts
15 and 16 are ABC-Paramount 9997 (March 1959) Number 4 USA R’n’B charts
17 and 18 are ABC-Paramount 10018 (May 1959) Number 1 USA R’n’B charts
19 and 20 are ABC-Paramount 10032 (October 1959) Number 15 USA R’n’B charts
21 and 22 are ABC-Paramount 10062 (November 1959) Number 2 USA R’n’B charts
23 and 24 are ABC-Paramount 10075 (February 1960) Number 3 USA R’n’B charts
25 and 26 are ABC-Paramount 10102 (April 1960) Number 16 USA R’n’B charts
27 is the A-side of ABC-Paramount 10123 (July 1960) Number 5 USA R’n’B charts
[All recordings are Mono - except 1 and 2 on Disc 2 - which are Stereo]

Like all of the other Jasmine 2CD sets in this on-going 'Singles' series, the compilation and annotation have been put together by BOB FISHER (small but very informative liner notes on a three-way fold-out inlay) with the CD Mastering done by TALL ORDER of the UK.

Hailing from Louisiana (born in 1933), as you can see from the chart details provided above, Price had an extraordinary Rhythm'n'Blues and Pop crossover career with many large-selling Number One singles. He even introduced the explosive Little Richard to Art Rupe’s Specialty Records (only to be outshone by him). He also had ties with soulster legends Howard Tate and Wilson Pickett and the early recordings of Reggae Giant Bob Marley. Price even became one of the first R’n’B artists to own his own label – KRC Records – he was an astute businessman.

I wish I could say that the sound quality on these recordings is worth writing home about – it isn’t – it’s good rather than being great – and tracks on Disc 2 in particular sound muddy and distant. To put this into a context - there’s a BEAR FAMILY 34-track CD called "Rocks" from 2008 with a superlative 52-page booklet (1st legimate CD on his material) - which has the track “Hello Little Girl” on it for instance... Bear’s version is from the real tapes and sounds fantastic – the version here is muffled and lifeless. The re-recording Stereo cut of “Mailman Blues” (lyrics above) fares better and is excellent, but the same muddiness afflicts Disc 1. Also the material dips in quality big time by the time you get to the early Sixties recordings which feature awful girly backing vocals drowning out any passion or rocking vibe…

So - lots of tracks for sure and its cheaper, but the audio and inlay are only OK at best. I’d say that even though it costs a couple of quid more - Bear Family’s “Rocks” is a far better buy - both presentation and soundwise.

PS: Jasmine have also done "The Five Keys", "The Flamingos" and "Roy Hamilton" in this 2CD series - see separate reviews

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