Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Don’t You Want To Rock? By WYNONIE HARRIS (2015 Ace Records 2CD Remasters) - A Review Of Mark Barry...





“...Jumpin’ Like Mad...”

Ace Records of the UK have been steadily putting out these classy "Acetate Series" CD compilation for shouters and players from the golden age of American Blues and R’n’B for some years now – and their latest given over to Nebraska’s irrepressible WYNONIE HARRIS is a long-anticipated double-whammy (literally). Once a featured Lead Singer with Lucky Millinder’s Band – Harris was 34 and at the peak of his singing abilities when he joined the mighty King Label in November 1947. So Ace have gone the distance on this 48-track twofer for a man who is held in as much affection as Louis Jordan on Decca. Disc 1 gives you 23 Masters on King Records - while Disc 2 jumps up and offers an amazing 25 ‘Alternate’ Boogies – all making their Previously Unreleased debut on CD. It’s a Rockin’ Fest  for sure - so let’s get to the good time details right away...

UK released 25 May 2015 (19 June 2015 in the USA) – “Don’t You Want To Rock? – The King & Deluxe Acetate Series” by WYNONIE HARRIS on Ace Records CDTOP2 1124 (Barcode 029667071925) boogies as follows:

Disc 1 – The Masters (62:48 minutes):
1. Love Is Like Rain (1948 USA 78” on King 4217, A)
2. Rose Get Your Clothes (1948 USA 78” on King 4202, A)
3. Wynonie’s Boogie (1948 USA 78” on King 4202, B-side to “Rose Get Your Clothes”)
4. Your Money Don’t Mean A Thing (1948 USA 78” on King 4217, A)
5. Good Morning Mr Blues (April 1948 USA 78” on King 4210, A)
6. Blow Your Brains Out (June 1948 USA 78” on King 4226, B-side to “Lollipop Mama”)
7. Blowin’ To California (1948 USA 78” on King 4252, B-side to “Bite Again, Bite Again”)
8. Crazy Love (Comes Love) (23 December 1947 recording, first appeared on the 1968 UK LP “Kings Of Rhythms & Blues” on Polydor 623 273 credited to Tiny Bradshaw & Wynonie Harris)
9. Bite Again, Bite Again (1948 USA 78” on King 4252, A)
10. Lollipop Mama (June 1948 USA 78” on King 4226, A)
11. I Believe I’ll Fall In Love (1948 USA 78’ on King 4445, A)
12. Grandma Plays The Numbers (1948 USA 78” on King 4276, B-side to “I Feel That Old Age Coming On”)
13. She Just Won’t Sell No More (1948 USA 78” on King 4292, A)
14. I Want My Fanny Brown (September 1949 USA 78” on King 4304, A)
15. I Feel That Old Age Coming On (1948 USA 78” on King 4276, A)
16. Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee (1949 USA 78” on King 4292, AA)
17. All She Wants To Do Is Rock (September 1949 USA 78” on King 4304, AA)
18. I Can’t Take It No More (1949 USA 78” on King 4342, B-side to “I Like My Baby’s Pudding”)
19. Sittin On It All The Time (1949 USA 78” on King 4330, AA)
20. I Like My Baby’s Pudding (1949 USA 78” on King 4342, AA)
21. Baby, Shame On You (1949 USA 78” on King 4330, A)
22. Oh Babe! (1949 USA 78” on King 4418, AA)
23. Teardrops From My Eyes (1949 USA 78” on King 4419, A)
Tracks 22 and 23 credited to Wynonie Harris with Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra

Disc 2 – The Alternates (69:14 minutes):
1. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Take 1 (Breakdown) of King 4210
2. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Take 2 of King 4210
3. Love Is Like Rain – Take 3 of King 4217
4. Wynonie’s Unissued Blues – Take 2
5. Baby, Shame On You – Take 1 of King 4330
6. I Believe I’ll Fall In Love – Take 1 of King 4445
7. Don’t You Want To Rock? – Take 1
8. Love Is Crazy (Crazy Love) – Take 2
9. Good Morning Mr Blues – Take 1 of King 4210
10. From Good To Bad Blues – Take 1
11. Grandma Plays The Numbers – Alternate of King 4276
12. She Just Won’t Sell No More – Take 2 of King 4296
13. Love Is Crazy (Crazy Love) – Take 1
14. I Want My Fanny Brown – Alternate of King 4304
15. I Feel That Old Age Coming On – Take 1 of King 4276
16. Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee – Take 3 of King 4292
17. All She Wants To Do Is Rock – Take 3 of King 4304
18. Sittin’ On It All The Time – Take 1 of King 4330
19. I Like My Baby’s Pudding – Take 2 of King 4342
20. Triflin’ Woman – Take 1 of King 4415
21. Oh Babe! – Take 1 of King 4418
22. Teardrops From My Eyes – Take 1 of King 4419
23. Don’t You Want To Rock? – Take 2
24. Love is Crazy (Crazy Love) – Take 3
25. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Unedited Master of King 4210

The 16-page booklet (and the inside of the back inlay) picture a whopping 16 of those cool-looking King 78”s while rarities on Vogue Records of the UK and even a King DJ 10” get a look in (“Triflin’ Woman”, King 4415, A). Inbetween all that are American trade adverts and publicity photos showing a suited Wynonie clowning it up with a order-waitress and a woman dressed in cowboy duds packing a pistol (nice). Liner-notes hero TONY ROUNCE discusses every session in detail explaining that most cuts barely got past 3 takes (the band was so tight) - it’s the usually classy affair from Ace.

DUNCAN COWELL has handled the transfers/remastering – and given that many of these are scratchy 78”s and Acetates – the audio is remarkable right through both discs – full of beans and life. Only on certain tunes like “All She Wants To Do Is Rock” do the clicks and pops threaten to overtake proceedings.

The risqué is never far from the surface in titles like “She Won’t Sell No More” where our hero laments a lady who’s been rumbled by the cops and has had to curtail her ‘open all hours’ business. “Lollipop Mama” is typically witty and clever R’n’B fare where the band gets a rare vocal talk-in before Harris launches into that trademark “Well!” shout on “Grandma Plays The Numbers” – a song that has the old biddy feeling fruit in the marketplace to get inspiration for the Lottery. Rudolph Toombs’ masterpiece “Teardrops In My Eyes” would of course be a sensation for Ruth Brown over on Atlantic Records in October 1950 – Harris keeps its R’n’B lilting pace in tact.

Disc 2 is a blast. It opens with a one-minute breakdown on the legendary “Good Rockin’ Tonight” where someone hits a bum note. Take 2 isn’t as rough as Take 1 and its like eavesdropping on history – tremendous stuff. “Wynonie’s Unissued Blues” comes from a 13 December 1947 session in New York (the first of four sessions that month) – Syd Nathan getting a stockpile of usable tunes in the can before the Recording Ban of 1948. The blasting R’n’B of “Baby, Shame On You” features superb Tenor Saxophone work from a young Dexter Gordon while “I Want My Fanny Brown” tells us that a 40-year old will make you come back for more. Once again (and disappointingly) the wonderful swing of “All She Wants To Do Is Rock” is pretty rough – better is a very clean “I Like My Baby’s Pudding” where our hero sings the praises of his lady recipes (nice of him you have to say). In ends well on a very ballsy and clear ‘unedited’ master of “Good Rockin’ Tonight” that only reminds you of how important a crossover record it was.


“Have you heard the news...there’s Good Rockin’ Tonight....” – Harris sang on that King Records classic. Amen to that...

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