Sunday, 3 April 2011

"Rocks" by BIG JOE TURNER. A Review Of The 2011 Bear Family CD Compilation.

"…The Sun Comes Shining Through…"

Bear Family’s "Rocks" series now numbers in excess of 40 titles released since their Wanda Jackson starter in 2002, but this new 2011 addition given over to the frankly beautiful BIG JOE TURNER is liable to quicken even the most hardened collector’s pulse. His Fifties Atlantic R'n'B sides are the stuff of legend, but have always suffered from 'acceptable to good' sound quality when fans have longed for more. Well, at last, this peach finally delivers. The sound quality here is FABULOUS - far better than anything put out in the last 25 years of CD reissues. "Rocks" will leave fans reeling - and the 52-page booklet is a typical BF joy to behold.

There’s a lot to get through, so lets get down to the nitty gritty – “Rocks” was released Monday 28 March 2011 on Bear Family BCD 17215 AR and breaks down as follows (70:35 minutes):

1. Jump For Joy (Atlantic 1184, A-side, May 1958)
2. Well, All Right (Atlantic 1040, A-side, September 1954)
3. Flip, Flop And Fly (Atlantic 1053, A-side, February 1955)
4. Love Roller Coaster (Atlantic 1146, A-side, August 1957)
5. Honey Hush (Atlantic 1001, A-side, September 1953)
6. I Need A Girl (Atlantic 1155, A-side, 1957)
7. Lipstick, Powder And Paint (Atlantic 1100, A-side, August 1956)
8. TV Mama [featuring Elmore James on Guitar] (Atlantic 1016, A-side, January 1954)
9. Hide And Seek (Atlantic 1069, A-side, August 1955)
10. Adam Bit The Apple (Freedom F-1531, B-side, March 1950)
11. My Gal’s A Jockey (National 4002, A-side, July 1946)
12. Feelin’ Happy (Federal 1540, A-side, January 1951)
13. Jumpin’ Tonight (Imperial 5090, B-side, June 1950)
14. Shake, Rattle And Roll (Atlantic 1026, A-side, May 1954)
15. Boogie Woogie Country Girl (Atlantic 1088, B-side, April 1956)
16. Teen-Age Letter (Atlantic 1167, A-side, 1957)
17. Corrine Corrina (Atlantic 1088, A-side, April 1956)
18. Midnight Cannonball (Atlantic 1069, B-side, August 1955)
19. Bump Miss Susie (Atlantic 949, B-side, December 1951)
20. Crawdad Hole (Atlantic 1001, B-side, September 1953)
21. Morning, Noon And Night (Atlantic 1069, B-side, December 1955)
22. Rock A While (Atlantic 1100, B-side, August 1956)
23. Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop (Atlantic 1016, B-side, January 1954)
24. The Chicken And The Hawk (Up, Up And Away (Atlantic 1069, A-side, December 1955)
25. Roll ‘Em Pete (Vocalion 4607, A-side, January 1939)
26. Rebecca (Decca 11001, B-side, December 1944)
27. Around The Clock Blues, Part 1 (Stag 508, A-side, December 1947)
28. Around The Clock Blues, Part 2 (Stag 508, B-side, December 1947)
[NOTE: the above list is laid out as follows: Title, Label, Catalogue Number (mostly 7” singles), Side and Release Date. Tracks 10 to 13 and 25 to 28 are 78”s. A full Discography referencing this CD is in the ‘comment’ section attached to this review]

The 3-way foldout card digipak houses an oversized 52-page booklet, a themed CD featuring a repro of the rare Freedom 78” from 1950 and even pictures a 50’s collector’s card. The booklet is beautiful – published and unpublished photographs, loads of trade adverts, tour posters, an album sleeve and a very detailed track-by-track discography. Page 41 carries a colour photo of BILL DAHL with Big Joe and 2 others – I mention this because Dahl wrote the superlative and knowledgeable liner notes and they ooze affection and classy writing. There’s even a little Joe Turner 'face' logo at the end of each page – talk about attention to detail! But the real deal is in the SOUND…

I’ve raved about JURGEN CRASSER and his superlative remastering of old recordings before - the 10 Volumes of the “Sweet Soul Music” series (1961 to 1970) and the 16 volumes of the “Blowing The Fuse” series (1945 to 1960). I’ve reviewed all but 3 and have been consistently wowed by the sound quality he gets – but he’s outdone himself here. The clarity off the Atlantic tracks especially is wonderful – alive, warm and rocking out of your speakers with an energy that belies their 50-year age.

There are niggles though with regard to track choice and how some of the other inclusions sound; tracks 10 to 13 and 25 to 28 (as noted above) are older recordings taken off 78’s and they do sound rough. I can understand their inclusion on sheer rarity basis, but I would have preferred more of the rare single B-sides on Atlantic. Also – why only 28 tracks and 70 minutes? Some of these “Rocks” discs have 34 tracks with 82-minutes and more of playing time? I also can’t say I needed the original 1938 Vocalion take of “Roll ‘Em Pete” when I could have had the much better remake on 1956’s “Boss Of The Blues” Atlantic LP – an absolute joy to listen too – but not on here…

Still – these are minor points – and detract from what has been for me a blast to listen to. I can’t be rational about Joe Turner – I’ve loved his great music for decades and my son plays him to distraction – yet I never tire of it.

To sum up – you can buy the same material cheaper of course, but if you want the real deal, then paying that bit extra for this import will pay dividends. This is a very definite jewel in the crown of Bear’s “Rocks” series – and that’s really saying something.

As Big Joe Turner belts out "Shake, Rattle And Roll" and the band boogies behind him and my feet tap maniacally to that irresistible beat, I’m reminded of its lyrics “…The sun comes shining through…”

Amen to that baby!

***************************************************************************

"BIG" JOE TURNER Discography referencing the 28-track Bear Family CD “Rocks”
Released in Germany March 2011 on Bear Family BCD 17215 AR
Track Identifier [19] = Track 19, [2] = Track 2 etc
Discography is in release date order

78”s:
Vocalion 4607 (January 1939) – Roll ‘Em Pete [25] b/w Goin’ Away Blues
[Credited to Joe Turner and Pete Johnson]

Decca 11001 (December 1944) – It’s The Same Old Story b/w Rebecca [[26]
[Credited to Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson Trio]

National 4002 (July 1946) – My Gal’s A Jockey [11] b/w I Got Love For Sale
(Reissued in 1950 as National 9106)

Stag 508 (December 1947) – Around The Clock Blues, Part 1 [27] b/w Around The Clock Blues, Part 2 [28]
[Credited as Big Vernon – featured Pete Johnson on Piano]

Freedom F 1531 (February 1950) – Still In The Dark b/w Adam Bit The Apple [10]

Imperial 5090 (June 1950) – Story To Tell b/w Jumpin’ Tonight [13]
(“Jumpin’ Tonight” was reissued under the title “Midnight Rockin’” on Colony 108 (78”) in 1952)

Federal 1540 (January 1951) – Feelin’ Happy [12] b/w (After A While) You’ll Be Sorry

78” and 45’s:
Atlantic 939 (May 1951) – Chains Of Love b/w After My Laughter Came Tears
Atlantic 949 (December 1951) – The Chill Is On b/w Bump Miss Susie [19]
Atlantic 960 (April 1952) – Sweet Sixteen b/w I’ll Never Stop Loving You
Atlantic 970 (July 1952) – Don’t You Cry b/w Poor Lover’s Blues
Atlantic 982 (1953) – Still In Love b/w Baby I Still Want You
Atlantic 1001 (September 1953) – Honey Hush [5] b/w Crawdad Hole [20]
[Note: re “Honey Hush” – see also re-recorded version on Atlantic 2044]
Atlantic 1016 (January 1954) – TV Mama [8] b/w Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop [23]
Atlantic 1026 (April 1954) – Shake, Rattle And Roll [14] b/w You Know I Love You
Atlantic 1040 (October 1954) – Well, All Right [2] b/w Married Woman
Atlantic 1053 (February 1955) – Flip, Flop And Fly [3] b/w Ti-Ri-Lee
Atlantic 1069 (August 1955) – Hide And Seek [9] b/w Midnight Cannonball [18]
Atlantic 1080 (December 1955) – The Chicken And The Hawk (Up, Up And Away) [24] b/w Morning, Noon And Night [21]
Atlantic 1088 (April 1956) – Corrine Corrina [17] b/w Boogie Woogie Country Girl [15]
Atlantic 1100 (August 1956) – Lipstick, Powder And Paint [7] b/w Rock A While [22]
Atlantic 1122 (December 1956) – Midnight Special Train b/w Feeling Happy
Atlantic 1131 (March 1957) – Red Sails In The Sunset b/w After A While
Atlantic 1146 (August 1957) – Love Roller Coaster [4] b/w A World Of Trouble
Atlantic 1155 (1957) – I Need A Girl [6] b/w Trouble In Mind
Atlantic 1167 (1957) Teen-Age Letter [16] b/w Wee Baby Blues
Atlantic 1184 (May 1958) – Jump For Joy [1] b/w Blues In The Night

45”s:
Atlantic 2034 (1959) – Got You On My Mind b/w Love, Oh Careless Love
Atlantic 2044 (1959) - Tomorrow Night b/w Honey Hush
[Note: “Honey Hush” here is a re-recording - original 1953 cut is the A of Atlantic 1001]
Atlantic 2054 (1960) – Chains Of Love b/w My Little Honey Dripper
Atlantic 2072 (1960) – My Reason For Living b/w Sweet Sue

7” EXTENDED PLAYS:
1. “Joe Turner Sings”, Atlantic EP 536 (1955)
Side 1: Honey Hush [5] / Sweet Sixteen
Side 2: Chains Of Love / TV Mama [8]

2. “Joe Turner”, Atlantic EP 565 (1956)
Side 1: Shake Rattle And Roll [14] / Flip, Flop And Fly [3]
Side 2: In The Evening, When The Sun Goes Down

3. “Joe Turner”, Atlantic EP 586 (1957)
Side 1: Corrine Corrina [17] / The Chicken And The Hawk… [24]
Side 2: Feeling Happy [12] / Hide And Seek [9]

4. “Rock With Joe Turner”, Atlantic EP 606 (1958)
Side 1: Boogie Woogie Country Girl [15] / The Chicken And The Hawk… [24]
Side 2: Midnight Special / Crawdad Hole [20]

ALBUMS:

1. “Joe Turner” [aka “Rock & Roll”], Atlantic 8005 (1957)
Side 1:
1. Shake, Rattle And Roll [14]
2. Flip, Flop And Fly [3]
3. Feeling Happy [12]
4. Honey Hush [5]
5. Well, All Right [2]
6. The Chicken And The Hawk [24]
7. Honey Hush [5]
Side 2:
1. Corrine, Corrina [17]
2. Midnight Special Train
3. Hide And Seek [9]
4. Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop [23]
5. Crawdad Hole [20]
6. Sweet Sixteen
7. Chains Of Love

2. “Rockin’ The Blues”, Atlantic 8023 (1958)
Side 1:
1. We’re Gonna Jump For Joy [1]
2. Teen Age Letter [16]
3. Love Roller Coaster [4]
4. Lipstick Powder And Paint [7]
5. Morning Noon And Night [21]
6. I Need A Girl [6]
7. Red Sails In The Sunset
Side 2:
1. Blues In The Night
2. After A While
3. World Of Trouble
4. Trouble In Mind
5. TV Mama [8]
6. You Know I Love You
7. Still In Love

3. “Big Joe Is Here”, Atlantic 8033 (1960)
Bump Miss Susie [19]

4. “The Best Of”, Atlantic 8081 (1963)
Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop [23]

No comments:

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc