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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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BIG JOE TURNER

Two Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1142

 

 

CD1

The Boss Of The Blues

1. Cherry Red

2. Roll ‘Em Pete

3. I Want A Little Girl

4. Low Down Dog

5. Wee Baby Blues

6. You’re Driving Me Crazy

7. How Long Blues

8. Morning Glories

9. St. Louis Blues

10. Piney Brown Blues

Alternate Takes: The Boss Of The Blues

11. Cherry Red (take 3)

12. Roll ‘Em Pete (take 5)

13. I Want A Little Girl (take 1)

14. Low Down Dog (take 4)

15. You’re Driving Me Crazy (take 1)

16. Morning Glories (take 4)

17. St. Louis Blues (take 1)

18. Cherry Red (take 1)

19. Roll ‘Em Pete (take 4)

20. Morning Glories (take 1)

Joe Turner – Vocals

Joe Newman, Jimmy Nottingham – Trumpet

Lawrence Brown – Trombone

Pete Brown – Alto sax

Frank Wess, Seldon Powell – Tenor sax

Pete Johnson – Piano

Freddie Greene – Guitar

Walter Page – Bass

Cliff Leeman - Drums

CD2

Joe Turner & Pete Johnson and other 1945-47 singles

1. S.K. Blues Parts 1 & 2

2. Johnson And Turner Blues

3. Watch That Jive

Frankie Newton – Trumpet

Don Byas – Tenor sax

Pete Johnson – Piano

Leonard Ware – Guitar

Al Hall – Bass

Doc West – Drums

4. Howling Winds

5. Doggin’ The Blues

Unknown group probably including:

Bill Martin – Trumpet

John Dungee - Alto sax

Josh Jackson – Tenor sax

Pete Johnson – Piano

Dallas Bartley – Bass

6. I’m Still In The Dark

7. Miss Brown Blues

8. Milk And Butter Blues

9. That’s When It Really Hurts

10. I’m Sharp When I Hit The Coast

11. Wee Baby Blues

George Cohn – Trumpet

Tab Smith – Alto sax

Leon Washington – Tenor sax

Albert Ammons – Piano (tracks 6, 7)

Ike Perkins – Guitar

Mickey Sims – Bass

Red Saunders – Drums

Porter Derico – Piano (tracks 8-11)

12. Nobody In Mind

13. Lucille, Lucille

14. Rocks In My Bed

15. Careless Love

Charles Gray – Trumpet

Riley Hampton – Alto sax

Otis Finch – Tenor sax

Ellsworth Liggett – Piano, harpsichord

Ike Perkins – Guitar

Robert Moore – Bass

James Adams - Drums

16. Last Goodbye Blues

17. Whistle Stop Blues

18. Hollywood Bed

19. Howlin’ Winds

Similar personnel to tracks 12-15, but with different pianist

Newport 1958

20. Pete’s Boogie

21. Introductions by Willis Conover

22. Feeling Happy

23. Corrina Corrina

24. Honey Hush

Pete Johnson – Piano

Buck Clayton – Trumpet

Jack Teagarden – Trombone

Rudy Rutherford – Clarinet, baritone sax

Georgie Auld, Buddy Tate – Tenor sax

Kenny Burrell – Guitar

Tom Bryant – Bass

Jo Jones – Drums

The last album that I reviewed by Big Joe Turner was from late in his life, when I sensed a certain tiredness. But the tracks on this double album are from Joe’s golden period in the 1940s and 50s. They benefit from accompaniments by a variety of top-class musicians.

The Boss of the Blues from 1956 includes my favourite Turner recording: Morning Glories, which somehow caught my imagination when Joe pronounced “morning” as mewnin’. Each track tends to intersperse Joe’s vocals with an instrumental solo by one of the musicians in the backing group, which contains some of the best instrumentalists from the orchestras of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. For instance, Cherry Red has a superb solo from trombonist Lawrence Brown, while Roll ‘Em Pete has classy boogie-woogie piano from Pete Johnson. The alternate takes have different solos from the accompanists, adding to the enjoyment.

The second CD unites Turner with his long-time colleague Pete Johnson, although Pete is not on all the tracks here, which include some unidentified artists alongside well-known musicians like guitarist Kenny Burrell and trumpeter Frankie Newton. Newton is delightfully rhapsodic on the first three tracks. The CD closes with five tracks recorded at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, where Turner is well appreciated. Pete’s Boogie is a feature for Pete Johnson but the other tracks are enhanced by a starry line-up of such musicians as Jack Teagarden and Buck Clayton. Honey Hush (complete with honking tenor sax) exemplifies how close Big Joe was to rock ‘n’ roll, even if you call it rhythm ‘n’ blues.

This compilation is well worth buying at its bargain price, especially as it includes The Boss of the Blues, which has long been regarded as a classic series of recordings, especially with the alternate takes.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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