Sunday, 7 June 2015

"Hard To Explain: More Shattered Dreams - Funky Blues 1968-1984" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2015 Ace/BGP CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


Amazon UK Link Above - USA Link Below

Back in my pre-Heart Attack and Vine days of 2011 – I excitedly reviewed the first Volume of "Shattered Dreams – Funky Blues 1967-1984" on Ace's Beat Goes Public Label (BGP) and duly raved about its many charms and butt-wobbling eblutions. Well take me up the back passage with Shergar's love truncheon but the crafty buggers have only gone and put out Volume 2 (no shame that lot) and it’s another star in a reasonably priced car. Here are the necessary toiletries...

UK released October 2014 (November 2014 in the USA) – "Hard To Explain: More Shattered Dreams – Funky Blues 1968-1984" on Ace/Beat Goes Public CDBGPD 285 (Barcode 029667528528) pans out as follows (63:08 minutes):

1. The Creeper – FREDDY ROBINSON (from the 1979 LP “Blue Monday: The Stax Blues Masters Vol.2” on Stax 3015)
2. Gimme Some Of Yours (I’ll Give You Some Of Mine) – ARTIE WHITE (1970 USA 7” single on Gamma 11112, A)
3. You Upset Me Baby – LARRY DAVIS (1968 USA 7” single on Pisces 8114)
4. Walk On – FINIS TASBY (1977 LP Big Town 1009)
5. Getting Down With You – OBREY WILSON (2014, Previously Unreleased Bastille Productions Recording)
6. It’s Hard To Explain – RAY AGEE (1972 USA 7” single on Romark RK-118, A)
7. Don’t Down Me People Part 1 – MEMPHIS SOUL (2014 USA 7” single Numero 027, A - 70s Recording from Phoenix, Arizona and not Memphis)
8. Lovemaker – LOWELL FULSOM (1978 USA LP “Lovemaker” on Big Town 1008)
9. Cold Sweat – ALBERT KING (1969 USA 7” single on Stax 0069, A)
10. I Want You – SMOKEY WILSON (2014, Previously Unreleased Modern Recording)
11. I Don’t Understand It – ICE WATER SLIM & THE FOURTH FLOOR 9174 USA 7” single on Hawk Sound HS 1001, A)
12. Go Go Train – SMOKEY WILSON (1976 USA 7” single on Big Town BT-711, A)
13. He Made You Mine – BID DADDY RUCKER featured with The Johnny Otis Show (1972 USA 7” single on Hawk Sound H-101,B-side)
14. Fine Something Else To Do – FINIS TASBY (1984 UK LP “Blues Mechanic” on Ace Records CH 122)
15. Getting’ Down With The Game – ADOLH JACOBS (1972 USA 7” single on Romark RK-117, B-side of “Do It”)
16. I Finally Got You – JIMMY McCRACKLIN (1972 USA LP “Yesterday Is Gone” on Stax STS 2047)
17. Them Love Blues – EARL WRIGHT (1969 USA 7” single on Virgo 101, A)
18. Hey Little Girl – TOMMY YOUNGBLOOD (1970 USA 7” single on Kent 4516, A” and on the “The Soul Of Tommy Youngblood” Kent LP)
19. Sister Rose –SHAKEY JAKE HARRIS (1974 USA 7” single on Grenade GR 1004, A)
20. It’s Real (Part 1) – JIMMY ROBINS (1968 USA 7” single on Kent 487, A)
Tracks 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 to 14, 16 and 18 to 20 are STEREO
Tracks 2, 3, 4, 7 10, 15 and 17 are MONO

The 16-page booklet has detailed and (deeply) affectionate liner notes from genre lover and expert DEAN RUDLAND – picturing along the way those rare American 45 labels like Romark, Hawk Sound, Big Town and Grenade. There’s colour photos of Lowell Fulsom (looking dapper with his guitar and a white suit), Albert King thrilling the crowds live at WattStax and a black and white snap of Jon Kincaid & Smokey Wilson live at the Pioneer Club in Los Angeles in November 1980. At the end there’s a two-page interview with Phillippe Rault about songwriter and singer OBREY WILSON and Rault’s recordings with him in New Orleans from 1975 through to the early Eighties. It’s the usual classy affair from Ace.

NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering has handled the Transfers and Remasters – and there’s loads of Funky oomph and punch in these recordings - even the Mono cuts like “Gimme Some Of Yours (I’ll Give You Some Of Mine)” and the wildly brilliant “Don’t Down Me People – Part 1” punch way above their weight.

It opens with a belter from a 1979 Stax LP I used to own and treasure called “Blue Monday: The Stax Blues Masters Vol.2” which primarily featured Previously Unreleased Funky Blues cuts from that great label. Ace Records have smartly chosen Freddy Robinson’s infectious “The Creeper” to kick off proceedings in all its groovy Stereo glory. We dip aurally to Mono for the excellent “Gimme Some Of Yours” from Artie White but the Larry Davis cover of B.B. King’s classic “You Upset Me Baby” is a funk-version that doesn’t really work. Sounding stylistically similar to BB – guitarist Finis Tasby gives us a mid-tempo shuffle on “Walk On” - but things get infinitely better and Sly Stone/Millie Jackson biting Funky with Obrey Wilson on the nasty and lyrically loaded “Getting Down With You” where he assures his lady his love is “doggone hard” (which is very big of him you have to say).

Organ Blues gets a lovely outing with “It’s Hard To Explain” by Roy Agee – a very cool groove similar to Albert King on Stax with strings. One of the compilation highlights is the mysterious group Memphis Soul giving it some Hendrix Guitar/James Brown’s JBs backing on the fabulous “Don’t Down Me People” – a stunning groove that Funks along in a Bluesy Rock way and just won’t quit (I wish they’d included Part 2). It’s cleverly followed by the title track to a long forgotten Lowell Fulsom album “Lovemaker”. Johnny Otis had a hand in the writing of “He Made You Mine” along with Ervin “Big Daddy” Rucker – probably the most straight up Blues cut on here. Some tracks like “Them Love Blues” and “It’s Real” try hard but don’t really excite while others like the sly hook for “I Finally Got You” from Jimmy McCracklin and the wicked guitar-boogie of “Sister Rose” (is alright with me) by Shakey Jake Harris are growers that will be on one of my home compilations real soon.

A more-than-worthy compliment volume to 2011’s “Shattered Dreams” – Volume 2 is making me groove the more I listen to it. And when it comes to Funky Blues I likes that a whole lot...

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