Tuesday, 26 August 2014

"Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974" by VARIOUS ARTISTS - A Review Of The 1991 USA 8CD Box Set...(Included Track Listing For The 2012 Japanese 10CD Reissue)

 

Original 186-Track LP Box Set (VINYL ONLY) from 1985


1991 USA-Only 203-Track 8CD Reissue Box Set (12" x 12") with 17 Bonus Tracks 


2005 UK/EUROPE 8CD 203-Track Budget-Priced Reissue In A 5" Outer Card Wrap With No Booklet and Gatefold Slip Inlays Inside Each Jewel Case



2012 Japan-Only 255-Track 10CD Reissue with 2 Exclusive Bonus CDs

Click below for the 1991 USA 8CD 12' x 12" Box Set Version....



“…The Cause Of It All…” 

As someone who worked in a top quality record shop in the heart of London for over 20 years - I was regularly asked at the counter on a busy Saturday (especially when Fifties R'n'B made it into the clubs again and onto Daytime radio) for a one-stop buy - a Grade A introduction into the music. Well look no further. In my opinion this is arguably the greatest box set ever made bar none - and I keep my original 1985 Seven-Volume VINYL version alongside my 1991 8CD Box Set reissue - and stroke them on occasion with affection. But a little history about this fabulous American CD Box Set is in order before we go any further...

The VINYL BOX SET of "Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974" was first issued in the USA in 1985 on Atlantic 7-81620-1 and belatedly in the UK in April 1987 on Atlantic 781 620-1 (as 7 x Double Albums). Housed in a distinctive black and red outer box (like their Fifties labels) - the individual 2LP sets inside each had unique artwork and extensive liner notes. Sometimes sold outside of the box in the UK and Europe - the individual 2LP sets were Atlantic 781 293-1 (Volume 1), 781 294-1 (Volume 2), 781 295-1 (Volume 3), 781 296-1 (Volume 4), 781 297-1 (Volume 5), 781 298-1 (Volume 6) and 781 299-1 (Volume 7). There were also 7 individual CDs issued in the UK in April 1987 (reissued Oct 1990) each with the above catalogue numbers but the code -2 instead of 1 for CD (781 293-2 etc). There was NO Original 12" x 12" box set for the CDs at that time - and worse - 6 of the 7 CD volumes had their track lists truncated - reducing 186 on the vinyl doubles by 17 to 163 on CD.

Atlantic USA decided to rectify this and reissue the entire box set again (only on CD) with more tracks. So in October 1991 "Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974" was relaunched on Atlantic 7 82305-2 in the USA (Barcode 075678230523) - but this time as an 8CD 12" x 12" box set with 203 tracks (17 extra). The individual booklets that came with the original 7CDs were taken out (replaced with a simple gatefold track list inlay) and expanded into a full-sized 36-page booklet. The reissue also used the distinctive black and red packaging of the 1985 vinyl box and the artwork remained the same for each CD.

In 2005 in the UK and Europe these CDs were reissued yet again but this time with different artwork and in a budget-priced 5" x 5" mini box set - essentially all 8 CDs housed in a flimsy card wraparound. They were also released individually (different artwork) and without the booklets that accompanied the 1987 issues or the 1991 reissue box - just gatefold slips of paper with the track titles and nothing else. That reissue mini box set is easily available today at a mere £30 or roughly £4 per individual disc. And in the UK, Europe and USA - it's remained so ever since.

To add further salt to a reissue wound - there is a 255-Track Japanese-Only issue of "Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974" on Warners/Atlantic WPCR-14441 released 25 May 2012 - again with different artwork - which adds on 52 new tracks on 2 NEW BONUS DISCS. Chosen by noted Japanese expert Keishi Suzuki - the two extra CDs contain very rare Fifties Blues and R'n'B on Disc 9 and lesser-seen Soul Sides on Disc 10 - much of it unavailable elsewhere. But that's another discussion...

Back to the 8CD 1991 Box Set at hand - the track lists for all 8 volumes are available easily on line - but here is a basic breakdown - noting the bonuses over the 1987 originals:

CD Volume 1: 1947–1952 (26 Tracks, 75:37 minutes):
1.     Lowe Groovin' by JOE MORRIS
2.     That Old Black Magic by TINY GRIMES
3.     Annie Laurie – TINY GRIMES
4.     Midnight Special – TINY GRIMES
5.     The Applejack – JOE MORRIS
6.     Cole Slaw – FRANK CULLEY [Originally Called “Sorghum Switch”)
7.     Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee – STICK McGHEE And HIS BUDDIES
8.     So Long – RUTH BROWN
9.     I'll Get Along Somehow (Parts 1 & 2) – RUTH BROWN
10.  Hey Little Girl – PROFESSOR LONGHAIR [as Roland Byrd]
11.  Mardi Gras In New Orleans – PROFESSOR LONGHAIR and his NEW ORLEANS BOYS
12.  Tee-Nah-Nah – HARRY VAN WALLS and AFTER HOURS SESSION BOYS
13.  Danny Boy – AL HIBBLER with Orchestra Directed by Billy Kyle *
14.  Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere – JOE MORRIS And His Orchestra
15.  Teardrops From My Eyes – RUTH BROWN
16.  One Monkey Don't Stop No Show – STICK McGHEE
17.  Don't You Know I Love You – THE CLOVERS
18.  Shouldn't I Know – THE CARDINALS 
19.  The Chill Is On – JOE TURNER
20.  Chains Of Love – JOE TURNER
21.  Fool Fool Fool – THE CLOVERS
22.  One Mint Julep – THE CLOVERS
23.  Wheel Of Fortune – THE CARDINALS
24.  Sweet Sixteen – JOE TURNER with Van ‘Piano Man’ Walls Orchestra
25.  5-10-15 Hours – RUTH BROWN with Orchestra
26.  ‘Gater's Groove – WILLIS JACKSON and His Orchestra
* Track 13 is a 1991 Bonus Track not on the 1987 version

CD Volume 2: 1952-1954 (26 Tracks, 73:23 minutes):
1.     Ting-A-Ling – THE CLOVERS
2.     Daddy Daddy – RUTH BROWN
3.     The Midnight Hour – RAY CHARLES
4.     A Beggar For Your Kisses – THE DIAMONDS
5.     Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean – RUTH BROWN
6.     Good Lovin’ – THE CLOVERS
7.     Wild Wild Young Men – RUTH BROWN
8.     Mess Around – RAY CHARLES
9.     Honey Hush – JOE TURNER
10.  Soul On Fire – LaVERN BAKER
11.  Money Honey – CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS
12.  Lovey Dovey – THE CLOVERS
13.  Such A Night - CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS
14.  Tipitina – PROFESSOR LONGHAIR
15.  White Christmas - CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS
16.  Honey Love - CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS
17.  Watcha Gonna Do CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS
18.  Shake, Rattle & Roll – JOE TURNER
19.  Sh-Boom – THE CHORDS
20.  Oh What A Dream – RUTH BROWN *
21.  Jam Up – TOMMY RIDGLEY
22.  After The Lights Go Down Low – AL HIBBLER *
23.  Tomorrow Night – LaVERN BAKER
24.  Tweedle Dee – LaVERN BAKER
25.  I Got A Woman – RAY CHARLES
26.  Greenbacks – RAY CHARLES
* Tracks 20 and 22 are 1991 Bonus Tracks not on the 1987 version

CD Volume 3: 1955-1957 (28 Tracks, 74:38 minutes):
1.     The Door is Stoll Open – THE CARDINALS
2.     Flip Flop And Fly – JOE TURNER
3.     A Fool For You – RAY CHARLES
4.     This Little Girl Of Mine – RAY CHARLES
5.     Play It Fair – LaVERN BAKER
6.     Adorable – THE DRIFTERS
7.     Smokey Joe’s CafĂ© – THE ROBINS
8.     Ruby Ruby – THE DRIFTERS
9.     In Paradise – THE COOKIES
10.  The Chicken & The Hawk – JOE TURNER
11.  Devil Or Angel – THE CLOVERS
12.  Drown In My Own Tears – RAY CHARLES
13.  Hallelujah, I Love Her So – RAY CHARLES
14.  Jim Dandy – LaVERN BAKER
15.  Down In Mexico –THE COASTERS
16.  Corrine Corrina – JOE TURNER
17.  Treasure Of Love – CLYDE McPHATTER
18.  Love, Love, Love – THE CLOVERS
19.  It’s Too Late – CHUCK WILLIS
20.  Lonely Avenue – RAY CHARLES
21.  Since I Met You Baby – IVORY JOE HUNTER
22.  Lucky Lips – RUTH BROWN
23.  Without Love (There Is Nothing) – CLYDE McPHATTER
24.  Fools Fall In Love – THE DRIFTERS
25.  Midnight Special Train – JOE TURNER
26.  Empty Arms – IVORY JOE HUNTER
27.  C. C. Rider – CHUCK WILLIS
28.  Searchin’ – THE COASTERS

CD Volume 4: 1957-1960 (27 Tracks, 73:11 minutes):
1.     Young Blood – THE COASTERS
2.     Mr. Lee – THE BOBBETTES
3.     Long Lonely Nights – CLYDE McPHATTER *
4.     Betty & Dupree – CHUCK WILLIS
5.     What Am I Livin’ For – CHUCK WILLIS
6.     Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes – CHUCK WILLIS
7.     Yakety Yak – THE COASTERS
8.     A Lover’s Question - CLYDE McPHATTER
9.     I Cried A Tear – LaVERN BAKER
10.  The Right Time – RAY CHARLES
11.  Charlie Brown – THE COASTERS
12.  What’d I Say (Parts 1 & 2) – RAY CHARLES
13.  There Goes My Baby – THE DRIFTERS
14.  Along Came Jones – THE COASTERS
15.  Let The Good Times Roll – RAY CHARLES
16.  Poison Ivy – THE COASTERS
17.  Dance With Me – THE DRIFTERS
18.  Just For The Thrill – RAY CHARLES
19.  This Magic Moment – THE DRIFTERS
20.  Save The Last Dance For Me – THE DRIFTERS
21.  Shopping For Clothes – THE COASTERS
22.  Spanish Harlem – BEN E. KING
23.  Young Boy Blues – BEN E. KING
24.  Stand By Me – BEN E. KING
25.  Gee Whiz – CARLA THOMAS
26.  Saved – LaVERN BAKER
27.  Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms) – SOLOMON BURKE
* Track 3 is a 1991 Bonus Track not on the 1987 version

CD Volume 5: 1961-1965 (27 Tracks, 74:09 minutes):
1.     Little Egypt – THE COASTERS
2.     Amor – BEN E. KING
3.     Last Night – THE MAR-KEYS
4.     I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song) – THE IKETTES
5.     You Don’t Miss Your Water – WILLIAM BELL
6.     I Found A Love – THE FALCONS
7.     Cry To Me – SOLOMON BURKE
8.     Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) – BEN E. KING
9.     Green Onions – BOOKER T. & THE MG’S
10.  Up On The Roof – THE DRIFTERS
11.  See See Rider – LaVERN BAKER
12.  I (Who Have Nothing) – BEN E. KING
13.  If You Need Me – SOLOMON BURKE
14.  These Arms Of Mine – OTIS REDDING
15.  Hello Stranger – BARBARA LEWIS
16.  On Broadway – THE DRIFTERS
17.  Just One Look – DORIS TROY
18.  Do The Mashed Potatoes (Part 1 & 2) – NAT KENDRICKS & THE SWANS
19.  Land Of 1000 Dances – CHRIS KENNER
20.  Walkin’ The Dog – RUFUS THOMAS
21.  Release Me – ESTHER PHILLIPS
22.  Mercy, Mercy – DON COVAY
23.  Under The Boardwalk – THE DRIFTERS
24.  And I Love Her – ESTHER PHILLIPS
25.  Hold What You’ve Got – JOE TEX
26.  Mr. Pitiful – OTIS REDDING
27.  Baby I’m Yours – BARBARA LEWIS

CD Volume 6: 1965-1967 (27 Tracks, 74:44 minutes)
1.     Teasin’ You – WILLIE TEE
2.     Get To Get You Off My Mind – SOLOMON BURKE *
3.     I Want To Do Everything For You – JOE TEX *
4.     I’ve Been Loving You Too Long – OTIS REDDING
5.     A Sweet Woman Like You – JOE TEX *
6.     In The Midnight Hour – WILSON PICKETT
7.     See-Saw – DON COVAY
8.     Respect – OTIS REDDING
9.     You Don’t Know Like I Know – SAM & DAVE
10.  When A Man Loves A Woman – PERCY SLEDGE
11.  634-5789 – WILSON PICKETT *
12.  Hold On, I’m Comin’ - SAM & DAVE
13.  Cool Jerk – THE CAPITOLS
14.  Neighbor, Neighbor – JIMMY HUGHES
15.  Land Of 1000 Dances – WILSON PICKETT
16.  Knock On Wood – EDDIE FLOYD
17.  Try A Little Tenderness – OTIS REDDING
18.  Mustang Sally – WILSON PICKETT
19.  When Something Is Wrong With My Baby - SAM & DAVE
20.  Sweet Soul Music – ARTHUR CONLEY
21.  I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) – ARETHA FRANKLIN
22.  Do Right Woman – Do Right Man – ARETHA FRANKLIN
23.  Show Me – JOE TEX
24.  Tramp – OTIS & CARLA
25.  Funky Broadway – WILSON PICKETT
26.  Hip Hug-Her – BOOKER T. & THE MG’S
27.  Soul Man – SAM & DAVE
* Tracks 2, 3, 5 and 11 are 1991 Bonus Tracks not on the 1987 version

CD Volume 7: 1967-1969 (22 Tracks, 73:19 minutes):
1.     Respect – ARETHA FRANKLIN
2.     (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – ARETHA FRANKLIN
3.     Soul Finger – THE BAR-KAYS
4.     Baby I Love You – ARETHA FRANKLIN
5.     Skinny Legs And All – JOE TEX
6.     Chain Of Fools – ARETHA FRANKLIN
7.     I’m In Love – WILSON PICKETT
8.     Memphis Soul Stew – KING CURTIS
9.     (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone – ARETHA FRANKLIN *
10.  (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – OTIS REDDING
11.  Tighten Up – ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS
12.  Slip Away – CLARENCE CARTER
13.  Think – ARETHA FRANKLIN
14.  Too Weak To Fight – CLARENCE CARTER *
15.  Can I Change My Mind – TYRONE DAVIS *
16.  The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face – ROBERTA FLACK
17.  Take A Letter Maria – R. B. GREAVES
18.  Rainy Night In Georgia – BROOK BENTON
19.  The Ghetto – DONNY HATHAWAY
20.  Turn Back The Hands Of Time – TYRONE DAVIS
21.  Compared To What – LES McCANN & EDDIE HARRIS
22.  Call Me – ARETHA FRANKLIN *
* Tracks 9, 14, 15 and 22 are 1991 Bonus Tracks not on the 1987 version

CD Volume 8: 1970-1974 (20 Tracks, 73:26 minutes)
1.     Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) – ARETHA FRANKLIN
2.     Precious Precious – JACKIE MOORE *
3.     Groove Me – KING FLOYD
4.     Patches – CLARENCE CARTER
5.     Don’t Knock My Love (Part 1) – WILSON PICKETT *
6.     Funky Nassau (Parts 1 & 2) – BEGINNING OF THE END
7.     Thin Line Between Love And Hate – THE PERSUADERS
8.     Rock Steady – ARETHA FRANKLIN
9.     Day Dreamin’ – ARETHA FRANKLIN *
10.  You’ve Got A Friend – ROBERTA FLACK and DONNY HATHAWAY
11.  Clean Up Woman – BETTY WRIGHT
12.  Could It Be I’m Falling In Love – THE SPINNERS
13.  Killing Me Softly With His Song – ROBERTA FLACK
14.  Where Is The Love? - ROBERTA FLACK and DONNY HATHAWAY
15.  I’ll Be Around – THE SPINNERS
16.  Feel Like Makin’ Love – ROBERTA FLACK
17.  One Of A Kind (Love affair) – THE SPINNERS *
18.  Sideshow – BLUE MAGIC *
19.  Mighty Love – THE SPINNERS
20.  Love Won’t Let Me Wait – MAJOR HARRIS
* Tracks 2, 5, 9, 17 and 18 are 1991 Bonus Tracks not on the 1987 version

The lovely oversized booklet is in black and white - has paragraphs on each of the artists using Michael Ochs Archives photos to header them - and on the last few pages there's a Sessionography for every track (but oddly no catalogue numbers of albums mentioned). The knowledgeable essays go into chart histories and smartly concentrate on the songs at hand rather than career overviews. Noted writers and music historians PETER GRENDYSA handle Volumes 1 to 4 while DAVID PRUTER takes on Volumes 5 to 8.

Some had complained about the sound quality on the original 1987 CDs - as well as wrong versions of songs being used (personally I found the audio quality of the VINYL doubles to be superlative). So Atlantic made efforts with the 1991 CD reissue. The liner notes tell us that all tracks were "digitally remastered from mono and true stereo originals" and that "in this edition, the proper tracks have been used in all cases". BOBBY WARNER and JIMMY DOUGLAS carried out the Digital Transfers while ZAL SCHREIBER and STEVE INNOCENZI did the mastering. The quality on these CDs is shockingly good - full of life and clarity. It's a joy to listen to. Sure in the decades since there have been reissues (by Bear Family especially) that knock spots off the 1991 sound (try their "Joe Turner Rocks" or their "Sweet Soul Music" volumes 1961 to 1975). But what you do get is fantastic all the way to the finish.

Musically every huge talent and influence is here - beginning with LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, The Clovers, Professor Longhair, Ray Charles, Clyde McPhatter And The Drifters, The Cardinals, Chuck Willis, Ivory Joe Hunter, The Coasters and stretching into the Soul era - Ben. E King, Carla Thomas, Solomon Burke, Booker T & The MG's, Joe Tex, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin - right up to Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack. It's an embarrassment of riches.

Atlantic also seemed to have a knack of signing genius no what the genre they put out. As you play CD 4 for instance - you travel through the musical changes - the gritty swagger of Ray Charles sides with the hilarity of The Coasters benefitting from Lieber and Stoller lyrics which segues into the birth of Soul with Ben E. King and Carla Thomas still moving the body and spirit. But what makes this box set so worth the money is the voyage of discovery it will send you on. Next thing - you'll be digging in deeper - seeking out those Clovers and Joe Turner sets that will quench your need for more.

You could argue that you can pick up the 8 individual reissue CDs for peanuts - probably less than thirty quid - so why spend £60 on an American 12" x 12" version? The booklet, the presentation and where it will take you... In fact in 2014 - I can't help think that someone in Atlantic or Rhino should re-issue the Japanese 10-disc version on this side of the pond real soon - with upgraded art and liner notes (and on 10 vinyl double-albums too).

If ever a record label deserved DELUXE EDITION treatment - then surely Atlantic Records is it. I only have to look at "Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974" - and it brings a smile to my face...

PS: For Info Purposes - The Japanese Extra CDs pan out as follows...


DISC 9 – Japan Only – All Are MONO except 25 in STEREO:
Goodnight Irene – LEADBELLY 
Love Fever Blues – JOE MORRIS BLUES CAVALCADE 
Let’s Get Together And Make Some Love – JIMMY LEWIS
Freddie – CARMEN TAYLOR and THE BOLEROS 
Wait Baby – LITTLE JOHNNY JONES 
Hey Bartender – FLOYD DIXON
You Tickle Me Baby – THE ROYAL JOKERS 
The Price Of Love – BILLY NIGHTINGALE
Somebody Take Me – JIMMY GRIFFIN
Happy And Gay – THE CASTELLES
Wake Up (Miss Rip Van Winkle) – THE TIBBS BROTHERS
Paper Dollar - PRETTY BOY
Bip Bop Bip – PRETTY BOY 
While Walking – THE FABULAIRES 
Rack ‘Em Back – WALTER SPRIGGS 
Rumble Tumble – MAD MAN TAYLOR
Every Day, Every Way (I’ll Always Be In Love With You) – THE HOLLYWOOD FLAMES
Twist And Shout – THE TOP NOTES 
She’s My Heart’s Desire - THE OHIO UNTOUCHABLES
My Man – He’s A Lovin’ Man – BETTY LaVETTE
Pistol Packin’ Mama – THE HIGH KEYS
The Montague Theme Part 2 – THE MAGNIFICENT MONTAGUE
I Want To Know – MERLE SPEARS & THE TREATS
The Beating Of My Heart – THE DRELLS
That’s How Heartaches Are Made – PATTI LaBELLE & THE BLUEBELLES
I Found A Love (Oh What A Love) – JO ANN & TROY
We Can’t Believe You’re Gone – BOBBY HARRIS

DISC 10 – Japan-Only – All Are MONO except STEREO on 10, 21, 22, 24 and 25:
Wild As A Tiger – THE ISLEY BROTHERS
Step By Step – CLARENCE & CALVIN
Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes – ROY ARLINGTON
(Zap! Pow!) Do The Batman – GATE WESLEY & BAND
Help Me (Get The Feeling) – Part II – RAY SHARPE 
Sock It To ‘Em J.B. - Part II - REX GARVIN & THE MIGHTY CRAVERS 
My Love Is Getting Stronger – CLIFF NOBLES 
Show Stopper – THE CASHMERES 
How Does It Feel – BOBBY WOMACK
Some Kind Of Wonderful – SOUL BROTHERS SIX
Feed The Flame – TED TAYLOR 
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby – THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS 
I’ll Try Harder – LAWRENCE & THE ARABIANS 
That’s How It Feels – THE SOUL CLAN [Featuring Arthur Conley, Ben E. King, Don Covay, Joe Tex and Solomon Burke] 
Good Love Gone Bad – THE AMBASSADORS
Don’t Sign The Paper Baby (I Want You Back) – JIMMY DELPHS 
Call On Me – THE DYNELLS
Please Don’t Desert Me Baby – GLORIA WALKER And THE CHEVELLES
Sexy Coffee Pot – TONY ALVON & THE BELAIRS 
You Hurt Me For The Last Time – OTIS CLAY
One Night Is All I Need – PEGGY SCOTT
Love Is Gone – RICHARD MARKS
Hold On – JAMES CARR
Spinnin’ Top – MOVING VIOLATION
You Took My Love – NEW FOUNDATIONS

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