Over the course of time, Heavy Sugar has been the title of a song, the name of a radio station, an independent movie and the primary ingredient for a rapturous recipe. How fitting it is that this latter description also epitomizes the ingredients that go to make up Heavy Sugar: The Pure Essence of New Orleans R&B. Just think. If the celebrity chefs of New Orleans were to whip up Heavy Sugar until the peaks start to form, then the hostesses on Bourbon Street would go that little bit further and add any flavour necessary to achieve a creamy finish. The musical melting-pot, which helped turn rhythm & blues into rock n roll, was always at its most flavoursome in the Crescent City. Issuing forth from a store-front recording facility, the beguiling big beat reached out to a global audience through such artists as Fats Domino, Little Richard, Huey Smith and Lloyd Price. Many lesser-known but equally worthy individuals achieved the same level of sass, Alberta Hall, Ray Washington, Harry Lee, TV Slim to name but a few, although usually with just a couple of releases to show for their troubles. The focal point of the operation centred around a remarkable house-band that assembled day-after-day at Cosimo Matassa's funky studio in the heart of the French Quarter. Date-wise the metronome began ticking towards the end of the '40s, which was when the hip crowd first latched on to rhythm & blues. Rather than being restricted to a minority audience, the music's freewheeling ambience ended up blowing off anyone and everyones' cobwebs. New Orleans came out on top, because its talented musicians were able to put onto record the good time feel that was heard in the clubs. In order to share the joy, Fantastic Voyage has trawled through the city's rich musical repertoire to arrive at 75 highly sought-after recordings. Compiled and annotated by record producer and music historian Stuart Colman, and with many titles on CD for the first time, Heavy Sugar: The Pure Essence of New Orleans R&B could easily end up being one of the releases of 2010.