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"...Mercy Mercy...Pudding And Pie...You've Got Something That Money Can't Buy...",
This review is from: The Platinum Collection (International Release) (Audio CD)
Born Delores Williams in Chicago in 1929, LaVern Baker was one of Atlantic's first true superstars. Possessed of the most gloriously fun voice, she was big, bold, sassy and sexy - a sort of Mae West of Rhythm 'n' Blues. Armed with top session players that included King Curtis, floor-filling songs with catchy lyrics and an image that was pure knock-out, her irresistible popularity crossed over from the race music charts into the popular, which along with the wonderful Joe Turner practically put the fledgling Atlantic label on the map.
This 20-track budget-priced 2007 "Platinum Collection" is an exact rerun of Rhino's 1993 compilation "Soul On Fire" minus the detailed booklet, but still with that great re-mastered sound.
The songs stretch from 1953's "Soul On Fire" through to an obscure album track "You Said" from the 1963 LP "See See Rider". Many of the early singles "Tweedlee Dee" (lyrics above), "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" and "My Happiness Forever" feature The Gliders as her backing group (The Cues under another name), "How Often" is a duet with Ben E. King, while "I Waited Too Long" is an early Neil Sedaka song.
As you play this uplifting compilation of both fast and slow rhythm 'n' blues, you understand why her loss in 1997 at only 67 was greeted with such sorrow by the industry and music lovers alike - at least she lived to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991.
At a retail price of only four pounds (even cheaper online), "Platinum Collection" is a great way into her magical Atlantic recordings - it's a well of riches people, it really is. If there's a God in Heaven, she's there on a Saturday night at the local blues bar - Pina Colada in hand, hair immaculate, foot tapping - boogieing to LaVern Baker doing "Jim Dandy".
Recommended - big time.
PS: the other Atlantic artists in "The Platinum Collection" series are: Brook Benton (see REVIEW), Booker T & The M.G.'s, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter (see REVIEW), The Clovers (see REVIEW), Arthur Conley (see REVIEW), Don Covay, The Detroit Spinners, Eddie Floyd, King Curtis, Barbara Lewis (see REVIEW), The Mar-Keys, The Persuasions, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge (see REVIEW), Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, (Big) Joe Turner (see REVIEW) and Betty Wright