Anyone with the slightest appreciation for Louis Prima's incredible Vegas shows of the '50s and '60s will instantly recognize Butera's name … and his hard-driving, don't-tell-'em-it's rock 'n' roll sound. Butera, with his band The Witnesses, backed Prima for the better part of 20 years, but had an equally interesting career before the Vegas run. Here Bear Family collects the whole of the four sessions Butera cut for RCA in 1953/54 19 tracks including gems like Chicken Scratch and Easy Rockin', 6 previously unreleased sides and two unheard alternate versions, all featuring his sweet-and-greasy, strip-joint-in-New Orleans sax.
Eddie Noack had a rough '50s, working hard and never scoring a hit, but that's nothing compared to his '60s. After he was dropped by Mercury, the singer wound up drifting to Allstar, a fly-by-night Nashville indie that specialized in "song poems" – suckers would send in lyrics and pro musicians would set them to music, for a fee – and found space for Noack, a songwriter who had success, but a singer who had none. At Allstar, he was usually able to record his own songs, but Noack wound up chasing trends instead of setting them. Specifically, he wound up cutting several singles in the style of Buck Owens & the Buckaroos, sides that may not have charted but illustrated Noack was a pro, capable of following shifting fashions and delivering upon them ably, even appealingly.
In May 1956, the Texan label Starday issued a wild rockabilly single by Thumper Jones. Its top side, the kinetic “Rock It”, was primal, uncontrolled and wild. The flip, “How Come It”, was less frenzied but still driving and infectious. Original pressings of the two-sided pounder in either its 45 or 78 form now fetch at least Ј200. This is not your usual rockabilly rarity though. The record’s label credited the songs to a Geo. Jones. Thumper Jones was a pseudonymous George Jones (1931–2013), who was cashing in a hip style: the only time he did so with rockabilly.
In the world of music, there was never anyone quite like ARTHUR 'BIG BOY' CRUDUP. Rooted in the Mississippi Delta, his style was propulsive, melodic, original, and profoundly soulful. If he wasn’t 'The Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll', as one LP proclaimed, there’s no doubt that rock ‘n’ roll owes a debt to his songs, including That’s All Right Mama, My Baby Left Me, Rock Me Mamma, So Glad You’re Mine, and Mean Ol’ Frisco Blues, as much as to his tight, swinging brand of rural blues.
The mambo has become fashionable again lately, but for Tito Puente it has never gone out of fashion. In 1957 he cut two stellar albums for RCA, but just how good they were didn't become obvious until the advent of the CD. The full, rich sound on these LPs is nothing short of astonishing. This is mambo at its most ecstatic: blasting brass, sensual saxes, and that irresistible Afro-Cuban rhythm section led by Tito, Ray Baretto and Mongo Santamaria. This set contains 23 titles, including 3-D Mambo, Mambo Gozon, Conga Alegre, Hot Timbales…. etc.. Ay! Ay! Ay!
In 1993, Bear Family released Night Beat/Mucho Puente, Plus, which contained two complete albums – Night Beat (1957) and Mucho Puente (1964), both originally released on RCA – by Latin jazz giant Tito Puente on one compact disc.
1-CD-Album Digipak (4-plated) with 44-page booklet, 29 tracks, playing time approx. 75 mns. The forgotten recordings of Edna McGriff a Fifties R&B star! Few ever reissued on CD, most unheard since the 1950s! Includes fabulous R&B versions of pop songs like The Fool, Born To Be With You, Freight Train, and I Enjoy Being A Girl with the cream of New York's R&B session men! First full-length biography by R&B scholar Bill Dahl.
8-CD box (LP-size) with 47-page book, 137 tracks. Playing time approx. 725 mns. The third German Jazz Festival in 1955 was a four-day event that featured nearly 30 groups and soloists. It was recorded by Deutsche Grammophon for release on Brunswick, but only parts of it were released on long-deleted EPs. The complete tapes survived though. The 1954 festival was also recorded, but only the portion issued on an EP was saved. Now the surviving portion of the 1954 festival and the entire 1955 festival are issued complete by Bear Family on eight CDs.
Having come to the U.S. from his native Nigeria to study medicine, percussionist Babatunde Olatunji eventually became one of the first African music stars in the States. He also soon counted jazz heavyweights like John Coltrane ("Tunji") and Dizzy Gillespie among his admirers (Gillespie had, a decade earlier, also courted many Cuban music stars via his trailblazing Latin jazz recordings). And, in spite of it being viewed by some as a symbol of African chic, Drums of Passion is still a substantial record thanks to Olatunji's complex and raw drumming.