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"Sue is an island of good music in a sea of banality",
This review is from: The UK Sue Label Story Vol.2: Sue's Rock 'n' Blues (Audio CD)
In the early 60's, Sue UK was a label you went to for rhythm and blues music though over time, and for many people, this term mutated into soul. In fact Sue released a wide range of predominantly though not exclusively black music including a very healthy catalogue of blues plus some black and white rock'n'roll. This album attempts, (and succeeds) to show some of the wealth of rock and blues material that was released during the relatively short time span they were operating.
The sleeve notes to the first volume in this series - see also my review - document extensively Guy Stevens' love for both basic rock'n'roll, and the blues. In the latter field he helped Pye with their International label which released Chess/Checker material. He also played a major role in the first release of artists from the Excello label in the UK via the groundbreaking album, "Authentic R&B", still a classic of its type. These credentials were put to good use in Guy's selection of such music to release on the Sue label.
Under the r'n'r label we have such items as the legendary Canada-based rockabilly Ronnie Hawkins' "Forty Days", Bobby Hendricks' "Itchy Twitchy Feeling" - this one was a reasonable size hit in the US but virtually unknown in the UK, and "Like Longhair" from Paul Revere and the Raiders. We also have two tracks heavily influenced by Little Richard, "Hattie Malatti" from Lee Diamond, and, "Shout Bamalama" from the early Otis Redding. There's also "Little Latin Lupe Loo" from the Righteous Brothers. It you only know "....Loving Feeling" from these guys then this one will be quite a surprise.
On the blues sides the tracks here are even stronger. Classics like John Lee Hooker's stomp, "Boogie Chillen", one of guitar King Freddy`s classy instrumentals, "Driving Sideways", plus a great pleading blues from James Brown in "Why does everything happen to me". Again if you only know the later, much sampled, up-tempo stuff you should try this.
There's decent slightly lesser known stuff like Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae", a raucous slab of blues, which neatly covers both headings in the album's title, and Elmore James` "It Hurts me too" which gets away from his trademark "Dust My Blues" pattern. I`ve always like this one. John Mayall covered it in `67 (and he also recorded a tribute to Elmore titled "Mr James). Then there's "I feel so good" from JB Lenoir and his African Hunch Rhythm (?!?!) which may be an acquired taste. There's another one of JB's tracks on the first album in the series; he certainly had an unusual sound - maybe anticipating World Music!
Mention of the first album reminds that a couple of excellent blues tracks are contained on that one, Elmore's "Dust my Blues" and Bobby Parker's piledriving "Watch your step". Not to mention the Louisiana Red track.
Great selection and packaging from Ace as we've come to expect. I love the reference to Ace as Sue's "Spiritual Ancestor".