I suppose it was inevitable, once Ace of London gained control of the library of the legendary West-Coast R&B label, Modern Records, that they would release the many sides cut there by boogie pianist/vocalist Little Willie Littlefield, born September 16, 1931 in El Campo, Texas. The thing is, despite recording well over 60, he never did gain the national popularity of such contemporaries as Amos Milburn or Floyd Dixon, to name just two prominent examples, and so only managed to get three of them onto what passed as the R&B charts back in 1949-1951.
What Ace has done, unfortunately - if his hits are your goal - is to put out three separate volumes containing 63 sides - many of them not released at the time and some alternate takes - with the three hits and their flipsides spread over two of them. His initial national charter, It's Midnight (No Place To Go), a # 3 on what then passed as the R&B charts in September 1949 on Modern 686, is included in this volume, first released in 1999. Also here is his third and last such hit, I've Been Lost, a # 10 R&B in August 1951 on Modern 801 billed as Little Willie Littlefield and Little Lora Wiggins (about whom very little is known).
However, to find the B-sides to those - Once Was Lucky and Midnight Whistle - you have to purchase Boogie Blues Bounce - The Modern Recordings Volume 2 which, released in July 2005, at least contains both sides to his middle hit, Farewell, a # 5 R&B in November 1949 on Modern 709 b/w Drinkin' Hadacol.
The tracks in this release are (showing label details for those releases as singles):
1. Ain't A Better Story Told (Modern 781-B); 2. A Life Of Trouble (Modern 854-A); 3. You Never Miss A Good Woman Till She's Gone (Modern 781-A); 4. Nakite Stomp; 5. Cheerful Baby (Modern 754); 6. Happy Pay Day (Modern 754-B); 7. I've Been Lost (Modern 801-A as Little Willie Littlefield & Little Lora Wiggins - # 10 R&B August 1951); 8. Love Me Tonight; 9. Trouble All Around Me (Modern 775-B); 10. Money Hustlin' Woman; 11. Real Fine Mama; 12. Too Late For Me (Modern 854-B); 13. Mean, Mean Woman (Modern 837); 14. Lump In My Throat (Modern 837-A); 15. I Like It; 16. Your Love Wasn't So (Modern 729-B); 17. Rockin' Chair Mama (Modern 729-A); 18. Nights Are So Long; 19. Hit The Road (Modern 775-A); 20. Train Whistle Blues; 21. The Sun Is Shining In Your Front Door; 22. Long About Midnight; 23. Til We Meet Again; 24. It's Midnight (No Place To Go) (Modern 686 - # 3 R&B September 1949).
The digitally remastered sound quality is excellent, especially considering the age of some and the comparatively primitive equipment used at the time by the Bihari brothers, who had launched the label in Los Angeles in 1945, and as usual with an Ace product, the liner notes by Ray Topping are extensive and informative.
The other Littlefield volume issued by Ace is the March 2004 Going Back To Kay-Cee by Little Willie Littlefield And Friends.