I bought a 45rpm many moons ago of JT's Cannonball Express. At first I did not like it. However as my taste changed it grew on me but I never bought anything else of Big Joe's until now. The album starts with Shake Rattle n Roll and for the next 4 tracks you would be forgiven to think only the lyrics have been changed - why alter a winning format? Nevertheless the lyrics with their innuendos and sexual slang make up for the repetition of the arrangements. After track 5 it changes to a more varied selection. There is one slow track which reveals JT's limitations. My favourite is still Cannonball Express. I am very glad I bought this CD as it encompasses most of my likes - good danceable rhythms, slick lyrics, wonderful jazz/blues arrangements and a sense that the musicians were having fun. I would have loved to have seen this band perform.
Europe's "The Platinum Collection" is one of a large number of collections issued in 2007 to celebrate Atlantic Records 60th Anniversary - and this fabulous Big Joe Turner enrty (issued March 2007) rightly deserves his place in that long list of excellence. Warner Platinum/Rhino 8122-79994-0 (Barcode 081227999407) consists of 21 rocking Fifties Rhythm' n' Blues tracks - a huge number of which charted between 1951 and 1959. It's issued at a budget price and still has that great Rhino remastered sound throughout (originally remastered in the Nineties from original tapes).
At budget price - the inlay isn't detailed (gatefold inlay) and there's a few gems on here that are off the beaten track when it comes to hits - so here's a song-by-song breakdown (58:33 minutes):
All tracks (except 16) are USA 7" singles: 1. Shake, Rattle And Roll - 1954 on Atlantic 1026 [A] 2. Flip, Flop And Fly - 1955 on Atlantic 1053 [A] 3. Honey Hush - 1953 on Atlantic 1001 [A] 4. Well All Right - 1954 on Atlantic 1040 [A] 5. Hide And Seek - 1955 on Atlantic 1069 [A] 6. Morning, Noon And Night - 1956 on Atlantic 1080 [B-side to 7] 7. The Chicken and The Hawk (Up, Up And Away) - 1956 on Atlantic 1080 [A] 8. Corrine Corrina - 1956 on Atlantic 1088 [A] 9. Boogie Woogie Country Girl - 1956 on Atlantic 1088 [B-side to 8] 10. Midnight Special Train - 1957 on Atlantic 1122 [A] 11. Rock A While - 1956 on Atlantic 1100 [B-side to 12] 12. Lipstick, Powder And Paint - 1956 on Atlantic 1100 [A] 13. Midnight Cannonball - 1955 on Atlantic 1069 [B-side to 5] 14. The Chill Is On - 1951 on Atlantic 45-949 [A] 15. Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop - 1953 on Atlantic 1016 [B-side to 17] 16. You're Driving Me Crazy - 1956 USA LP "Boss Of The Blues" on Atlantic 1234 17. TV Mama - 1953 on Atlantic 1016 [A] 18. Tomorrow Night - 1959 on Atlantic 2044 [A] 19. Don't You Cry - 1952 on Atlantic 45-970 [A] 20. Sweet Sixteen - 1952 on Atlantic 45-960 [A] 21. Chains Of Love - 1951 on Atlantic 45-939 [A his debut single for Atlantic]
"TV Mama" features Elmore James on trademark slide guitar and it's said that Fats Domino is the one tinkling away on the ivories in the background. Both "Corrine Corrina" and "Lipstick, Powder And Paint: feature backing vocals from the girl group The Cookies, while Van "Piano Man" Walls puts in lovely keyboard flourishes on "Boogie Woogie Country Girl".
"Teen-age Letter" has witty and sharp lyrics that are the equal of Chuck Berry's finest, while "Morning, Noon And Night" features the wicked brass of The Blues Kings - as well as racy words that will put a naughty smile on your face. "Tomorrow Night" is a cover of LaVern Baker's 1955 Atlantic hit, while "You're Driving Me Crazy" is not a track you see on most JT compilations and it's a gem - almost like WWII swing in places - the brass uplifting like Glenn Miller. In fact there's not a duffer on here anywhere...
Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, The Clovers, The Coasters - they were all sensational Fifties acts for Atlantic, but my heart has always been with "Big" Joe Turner. My son - who is 18 and has Autism - has played this man's wonderfully uplifting R 'n' B since he was 5 - driving us near crazy with it sometimes - and yet in truth - I never tire of him or his music. Cracking tunes, huge voice, big personality, witty and clever lyrics - everything about Big Joe Turner's Atlantic sides is magic.
Sold for four pounds retail and even less online - this compilation is a steal at twenty times that price - and something you need in your life.
Dig in and enjoy and I envy you the journey.
PS: the other Atlantic artists in "The Platinum Collection" series are: LaVern Baker (see REVIEW), Archie Bell & The Drells (see REVIEW), Brook Benton (see REVIEW), Booker T & The M.G.'s, Ruth Brown (see REVIEW), 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 and Betty Wright
A great collection from one the legendary "shouting" blues-men of the 40's and 50's. This is from the magic period of rhythm and blues which combined the swing band sound with country and blues to produce the early stages of Rock n Roll. Real good time music at an absolute bargain price and a credit to the Rhino/Atlantic label.
This interesting compilation will probably be of interest both to Joe Turner's jazz fans and to his pop/rock fans. If the latter fan base still exists, it will be more pleased than the first group, because the songs are mostly arranged in early rock'n'roll and r'n'b style; with occasional sappy back-vocal backed dud.
However, there's plenty of spirit and fire here, lots of blues and r'n'b standards, some mean piano and OK brass, one song taken from the Count Basie book (and rechristened "You're driving me crazy"), etc... Pitty the liner notes are so poor for an "platinum" collection - one would like to know more, for instance, about the musicians on these tracks - for instance their names.