1996.09 various artists 8CD "The Mercury rhythm'n'blues story 1945-1955"

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1996.09 various artists 8CD THE MERCURY BLUES'N'RHYTHM STORY 1945-1955 (US: Polygram / Mercury Chronicles 314 528 292-2)

country us.gif US: Polygram / Mercury Chronicles 314 528 292-2

  • UPC: 731452829221
  • Executive producer: Bill Levenson
  • Production: Jim Fishel, Barbara Lynn Micale
This 8 CD-box features 211 tracks with a total length of 9 hours and 56 minutes.
Following on the heels of the 1995 7CD-box BLUES, BOOGIE AND BOP (THE 1940S MERCURY SESSIONS) [US: Verve 525 609-2] here we have the release of a set that was first announced over 7 years ago! Compilers Jim Fisher and (his wife) Barbara Lynn Micale, along with the esteemed essay writers (Mary Katherine Aldin, Jim O'Neal, Dick Shurman, Billy Vera) have come up with one of the most entertaining sets I've heard in years even though 47 of the tracks are to be found in the BLUES, BOOGIE AND BOP set (by Albert Ammons, Professor Longhair, Julia Lee, Helen Humes, Jay McShann and Eddie Mr. Cleanhead Vinson).
The set is divided up regionally into 4 double slimline CD sets (Midwest, Southwest, West Coast, East Coast) reflecting both the diversification of the music they recorded and their own state-wide distribution/recording network. Each 2CD set is written up with a perceptive essay, all accumulated together into a 88 page booklet, including rare photographs and specially commissioned art works, a short history of Mercury Records' early R&B years, a detailed discography and a handy title index to the 64 performers highlighted. Nearly 60% of the tracks were originally released in the Mercury 8000 Race series (between March 1946 and September 1952).
Given the overall success of Mercury Records in placing hits on the Billboard R&B charts (they rank 4th according to the booklet though Joel Whitburn ranks them as 8th), this set only has 12 bona fide R&B hits, including the following Top 10 R&B hits: "Bald head" (Roy "Professor Longair" Byrd, 1950), "Worry, worry, worry" (Joe Houston, 1952), "Hittin' on me" (Buddy Johnson, 1953), "Call operator 210" (Johnny Otis, 1952), "Old maid boogie" (Eddie Mr. Cleanhead Vinson, 1947) and "Baby get lost" (Dinah Washington, 1949). This, of course, leaves much more room for some intriguing "new" music, some being reissued for the first time since the original 78 rpm release. 22 tracks were previously unissued, including tracks by Big Bill Broonzy (1), (pre-Screamin') Jay Hawkins (1), Joe Liggins (1), Robert Jr. Lockwood (2), Elmore Nixon (2), Johnny Otis (3) and L. C. Williams (1). Early 1945 recordings like "Jockey blues" (by Bill Samuels and the Cats'n'Jammer Three, covered by John Lee Hooker), and "It's just the blues" (by the Four Jumps of Jive, with Willie Dixon) should please everyone who has an interest in early postwar R&B.
Chicago Blues fans are in for a treat, as the recordings by Big Bill Broonzy (12), Robert Jr. Lockwood (4), Memphis Slim (8), St. Louis Jimmy (2) and Sunnyland Slim (6) were some of the best of their recordings, including Lockwood's "Dust my broom", recorded just 3 or so months after the Elmore James version. Texas Country Blues is well represented by Lightnin' Hopkins (6), Luther Stoneham (2), L. C. Williams (3), Smokey Hogg (4) and Elmore Nixon (4). Given that the set has nearly 10 hours of music, almost every type of postwar blues is included.

[disc 1:] Midwest blues, vol. 1

DiscID: 7811e41a

[disc 2:] Midwest blues, vol. 2

DiscID: 8411f31b

[disc 3:] Southwest blues, vol. 1

DiscID: 8810df1a

[disc 4:] Southwest blues, vol. 2

DiscID: 55113719

[disc 5:] West Coast blues, vol. 1

DiscID: 8811b41b

[disc 6:] West Coast blues, vol. 2

DiscID: 9b11701b

[disc 7:] East Coast blues, vol. 1

DiscID: 8611b51b

[disc 8:] East Coast blues, vol. 2

DiscID: 8810d01a

A 01 (2:45) Joyce Jackson Lonely blues ()
A 02 (2:31) Joyce Jackson Body rocking daddy ()
A 03 (2:41) Joyce Jackson Lovin' blues ()
A 04 (2:38) Dinah Washington New blowtop blues (Leonard Feather, Jane Feather)
A 05 (2:17) Joe Houston Worry, worry, worry (Robert Shad)
A 06 (2:36) "Manhattan" Paul Bascomb Mumbles blues ()
A 07 (3:10) Buddy Johnson and his Orchestra with Ella Johnson Hittin' on me ()
A 08 (2:49) Zilla Mays with John Peek and the Blues Caravan Don't give my good love away ()
A 09 (2:41) Zilla Mays with John Peek and the Blues Caravan Thank you ()
A 10 (2:43) Zilla Mays with John Peek and the Blues Caravan The other side ()
A 11 (2:54) Buddy Johnson and his Orchestra with Ella Johnson I'm just your fool (Buddy Johnson)
A 12 (2:56) Buddy Johnson and his Orchestra with Ricky Harper Shut your big mouth (Girl) ()
A 13 (2:42) Stomp Gordon Sloppy daddy blues ()
A 14 (3:06) Stomp Gordon Juicy Lucy ()
A 15 (2:48) Stomp Gordon What's her whimsey, Dr. Kinsey ()
A 16 (2:49) Stomp Gordon Walk around the corner ()
A 17 (2:54) Dinah Washington Short John ()
A 18 (2:54) Jay Hawkins This is all ()
A 19 (2:27) Jay Hawkins What that is ()
A 20 (3:04) Jay Hawkins (She put the) Wamee (on me) ()
A 21 (2:36) Jay Hawkins Well I tried ()
A 22 (2:33) Jay Hawkins Talk about me ()
A 23 (2:54) Titus Turner Sweet and slow ()
A 24 (2:44) Titus Turner Big John ()
A 25 (2:39) Titus Turner All around the world ()
A 26 (2:52) Arthur Prysock Woke up this morning ()

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1996.09 8CD THE MERCURY BLUES'N'RHYTHM STORY 1945-1955 country us.gif US: Polygram / Mercury Chronicles 314 528 292-2