Tuesday, 12 April 2011

“Shattered Dreams – Funky Blues 1967-1978” by VARIOUS ARTISTS. A Review Of The Ace/Beat Goes Public (BGP) CD Compilation.

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


"…They’re Socking It To Me…Everywhere I Go…"

"Shattered Dreams – Funky Blues 1967-1978" is the latest release on Ace Records label imprint Beat Goes Public (also known as BGP) and typically it’s an absolute belter. I had a feeling it would be good, and it is. Here’s the details first…

Released 28 March 2011, Ace/Beat Goes Public CDBGP 229 breaks down as follows (73:26 minutes):

1. Shake ‘Em Up – SLIM GREEN (from the 1971 USA LP “Stone Down Blues” on Kent KST 549)
2. It Took A Long Time – FINIS TASBY (1977 Big Town label recording, exclusive to this compilation)
3. Bad Understanding – AL KING (Previously Unreleased until the 2010 CD compilation “Together: The Complete Kent And Modern Recordings” by Al King and Arthur K Adams on Ace CDCHD 1292)
4. Mellow Together - LOWELL FULSON (USA 7” single on Kent 489, B-side of “Blues Pain”, 1968)
5. Country Girl – THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW (USA 7” single on Kent 506, A-side, 1969)
6. That’s What Love Will Make You Do – LITTLE MILTON (USA 7” single on Stax STA-0111, 1971)
7. Your Love Is Good Enough For Me – ICEWATER SLIM (USA LP on Hawk Sound 1002, 1974)
8. Playing On Me – ALBERT KING (USA 7” single on Stax 0166, 1973)
9. You Shattered My Dreams – SMOKEY WILSON (USA 7” single on Big Town 725, Non-Album Track, 1978)
10. The Whole World’s Down On You – LARRY DAVIS [Previously Unreleased]
11. Cloudy Day – FINIS TASBY 1977 (Big Town label recording, exclusive to this compilation)
12. I’m Not The Best – BUDDY GUY (USA 7” single on Vanguard 35080, B-side of “Fever”, 1968)
13. Comin’ At Ya Baby Part 2 – THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW [Previously Unreleased]
14. Eli’s Pork Chop – LITTLE SONNY (From the 1972 USA LP “New King Of The Blues Harmonica” on Enterprise ENS 1005)
15. Gimme Some Of Your Lovin’ – ARTHUR K ADAMS (USA 7” single on Modern 1034, 1967)
16. Welcome Home – LOWELL FULSON (Previously Unreleased until the 2001 CD compilation “Black Nights: The Early Kent Sessions” on Ace CDCHD 831)
17. No Matter What The Cost May Be – ALBERT WASHINGTON (from the 1973 USA LP “Sad And Lonely” on Eastbound EB 9007)
18. High Time – SMOKEY WILSON [Previously Unreleased Big Town Recording]
19. You Got Me Movin’ – BIG DADDY RUCKER [Previously Unreleased]
20. Good Feeling – FREDDY ROBINSON (Previously Unreleased until the 1999 CD compilation “Bluesology” on Ace CDCHD 728)
21. Tough Competition – RAY AGEE [Previously Unreleased]

It’s been mastered by NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering in London and each track is superbly rendered especially the Seventies stuff which has a full and ballsy sound. The 12-page booklet has knowledgeable and informative liner notes by DEAN RUDLAND with 7” singles and colour photos of some artists featured.

Proceedings open very nicely with “Shake ‘Em Up” – a Guitar Slim 'chugger' boasting an incessant backbeat overlaid with spoken lyrics – it makes you want to boogie and it’s not surprising that it’s a huge hit on the dancefloors of UK clubs. It’s followed by a rediscovery - the unlikely sounding FINIS TASBY - a Texan Bluesman who comes over as a funky Albert King on a Meters tip. “It Took A Long Time” is a fantastically good cut (the second on here is an equally cool harmonica funker called “Cloudy Day”). His self-titled album was supposed to come out on Big Town Records in 1977 (even has a catalogue number) but I’ve never seen one (the company apparently went bust before it was issued). Both tracks are exclusive on CD to this comp – and what finds they are…

There follows two brassy Blues numbers by Al King and Lowell Fulson, which are very good, but even better is “Country Girl” by Johnny Otis. It sounds like a Blues reworking of “Tramp” by Otis Redding and features the 19-year genius Shuggie Otis providing the tasty guitar solo on his father’s cut. The double-whammy of Little Milton’s 1971 track “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” on Stax and Icewater Slim’s “Your Love Is Good Enough For Me” from 1974 sum up this great compilation – funky Blues tunes that are practically irresistible – top Seventies production values too.

The six-minute slow blues of “You Shattered My Dreams” by Smokey Wilson sounds a little like Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” from 1976 on Capricorn but with more brass and piano. The bass and guitar on the Previously Unreleased “High Time” by Smokey Wilson has production chops so good, you’d swear it was a Niles Rodgers and Bernard Edwards session – very funky and very cool.
Page 6 of the booklet pictures a nattily dressed Freddy Robinson whose “Good Feeling” is a standout track on here – and again previously unreleased until Ace put it out in 1999 on their “Bluesology” compilation. It all ends on a genuine high – the hard-grooving “Tough Competition” by another lesser-known name - Ray Agee. It sounds not unlike a Shuggie Otis outtake and is just brilliant - how has this gem remained in the can until now (lyrics above)?

Niggles - although the booklet’s good, I would have liked more of it – and the detailed track list I provided above, I had to dig out myself. The back inlay gives an original vinyl catalogue number and year, but not what ‘album’ the track is from. The 7” is the same – is it an A or a B? I also think the front artwork doesn’t do this release any favours because in a crowded marketplace, it would be a real shame to see this cool little reissue go unnoticed.

To sum up – “Shattered Dreams” does exactly what it says on the tin – it gives you Funky Blues from 1967 to 1978 - and I’ve been playing it to death since I got my grubby hands on it a few days ago.

Lustier than a Knickerbocker Glory in Wimpy and tighter than a nun’s knickers in the Vatican (both endangered species) - you need this Funky Blues nutrition in your life.

I’m off now to buy a Banana Boat - while I still can…

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