Saturday, 21 May 2016

"Party Time" by JULIA LEE (1995 Bear Family 5CD Box Set ("Kansas City Star") and 2016 10" Vinyl LP Repress Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...He Has Four-Foot Shoulders And That Ain't All..."

Back in the salty mists of time I reviewed Bear Family's fabulous 5CD Box Set "Kansas City Star" by JULIA LEE and HER BOYFRIENDS (Bear Family BCD 15770 EI) and provided a detailed Discography to quantify every track. Amidst the saucy R&B rhythms was her debut US LP in 1950 - "Party Time" on Capitol H-228 - an ultra-rare 8-track 10" Mono mini album. Capitol reissued it in 1955 in a 12" LP with 12 tracks (see list below). As part of their 'Vinyl Club Exclusives' - Bear Family of Germany have decided in their wisdom to give the original 8-track LP "Party Time" by JULIA LEE - A 2016 Vinyl 10" LP repress on Bear Family Records BAF 11002 with two bonus tracks added that weren't on the original nor the 12" reissue. They've pressed 1000 copies - the first 500 of which are on coloured vinyl (an instant collectable). As it says on the rear - 'these cats dig music'. The 2016 LP configuration plays out as follows.

Side 1:
1. King Size Papa
2. Snatch And Grab It [aka "(Opportunity Knocks But Once) Snatch And Grab It"]
3. You Ain't Got It No More
4. Tell Me, Daddy

5. Oh, Chuck It (In A Bucket)

Side 2:
1. Tonight's The Night
2. I Didn't Like It The First Time (The Spinach Song)
3. Ain't It A Crime
4. Don't Save It Too Long

5. Lotus Blossom

All of the tracks are old R&B shuffling 78"s ranging from October 1947 for "Snatch And Grab It" (Capitol Americana 40028) up to "Ain't It A Crime" from 1950 (Capitol 938). The music is almost all saucy tunes about her 'daddy' and her 'big man'. The double-entendres are brilliant - take "I Didn't Like It The First Time (The Spinach Song)" where she sings "...I used to run away from the stuff...but now I can't get enough..." or the seriously fruity "...somehow it's always hittin' the spot...especially when they're bringing it in hot..." In "King Size Papa" she warns the neighbours that "...I take the door off the hinges when he comes to call..." or missing her man in "Tonight's The Night" where she advises " time we set a record...and it was quite a feat...but I just have a feeling that record can be beat...yes tonight's the night..."

Other times she cools on her big beau where in "Ain't It A Crime" she whines, "...out of millions of's me that got stuck with you..." Worse is to come in the soggy-chip song "You Ain't Got It No More" where Miss Lee breaks the sad news " say baby let's bop and let's beep...I get ready for action...but it's sound asleep...” And later on in that tune of bedroom woe Julia informs us that his 'rear end's shot' (ouch). Half the fun of course is listening to the whole combo – her voice, the sly and witty words, the genius arrangements and a super-tight house-band – all shuffling drums, piano rolls and Saxophone solos – what fun.

If you get a chance - sequence the stunning 12-Track version of the 1955 "Party Time" LP on Capitol T-228 (Mono) by JULIA LEE. You can do this by using the Bear Family "Kansas City Star" 5CD Box Set. Here's how it plays out (16/3 = Track 16 on Disc 3 and so on):

Side 1:
1. King Size Papa [16/3]
2. Snatch And Grab It [14/2]
3. You Ain't Got It No More [15/4]
4. Tell Me, Daddy [22/3]
5. Last Call (For Alcohol) [16/5]
6. I Was Wrong [11/3]
Side 2:
1. Tonight's The Night [7/4]
2. I Didn't Like It The First Time (The Spinach Song) [20/3]
3. Ain’t It A Crime [3/3]
4. Don't Save It Too Long [13/4]
5. After Hours Waltz [14/4]
6. My Man Stands Out [8/4]

Of the four new tracks - "Last Call (For Alcohol)" is a 1952 USA 78" on Capitol 2203 and is typical barroom boozy tune while "My Man Stands Out" gives lyrics like "...when my man's at the wheel...that's the deal..." (what a lucky gal).

Julia Lee's naughty R&B is forgotten now and the sexily great "Party Time" LP in all its forms is the same. Typical of the mighty Bear Family to remind us of the errors of our musical ways with this brilliant Limited Edition reissue - love it to bits...

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