Saxophone titan King Curtis gets the stellar showcase he deserves on Dave Penny s latest career-defining set for Fantastic Voyage, continuing the roll which has seen the label raise the benchmark for knowledgeable, expertly-annotated compilations. Over three discs and nearly 100 tracks, Wail Man Wail! traverses the unmistakable tones of the late Curtis Ousley after he arrived from Texas in New York City in 1952, winning amateur night at Harlem s Apollo before embarking on a recording career which took him to several seminal independent labels and bands with the likes of Lester Young and Lionel Hampton. He settled in New York for 17 years, declaring himself King Curtis and quickly making a name for roaring instrumentals and enhancing countless sessions. With the assistance of K.C. expert Roy Simmonds, Dave Penny has excelled himself in providing both beginner s guide and record collector s magnet, starting with Curtis riproaring role in the earliest days of rock n roll on CD1, collating outings under his own name for labels such as RPM, Gem, Apollo, DeLuxe, Atlantic/Atco, ABC-Paramount, Everest and Sue, also encompassing his time with Alan Freed s rock n roll orchestra. Titles include his debut, Tenor In The Sky , Honeydripper , Dynamite and Wicky Wacky . Discs 2 and 3 chart some of his many memorable recording sessions from between 1952 to 1957, then 1958 to 1961, respectively, names including Solomon Burke, the Willows, Roy Gaines, Neil Sedaka, Wilbert Harrison, Ruth Brown, the Coasters, Waylon Jennings, Lionel Hampton, Bobby Darin, Chuck Willis, the Avons, the Willows, Mickey & Sylvia, the Nitecaps and obscurities such as Washboard Bill. King Curtis was yet another name to fall victim to an early demise, in his case stabbed to death in 1971 after challenging two junkies using drugs outside his Manhattan apartment. Just the groin-rasping solo on Jest Smoochin is enough to convince anyone with a heart and soul that they re in the presence of greatness. There are scores of similar moments on Wail Man Wail!, the latest instalment in Fantastic Voyage s The Architects Of Rock N Roll series, and an exemplary tribute to one of the musical giants of the last century.