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Rock Mr Blues

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Album Review

While this single-disc, 30-track CD certainly provides value for money, it's something of an awkward fit into the Wynonie Harris discography. It can't be recommended as the best Harris compilation, as it doesn't contain any material he recorded prior to late 1949. Since that pre-1949 output happens to include what's by far his best-known recording, "Good Rockin' Tonight," that's a major flaw for someone looking for Harris at his best. Still, much of what's here is Harris at his best, as it contains 28 sides he cut for King between 1949 and 1954, adding his 1956 Atco single "Destination Love"/"Tell a Whale of a Tale" (which was his sole release for the label). Too, there are a bunch of big R&B hits here, among them "Sittin' on It All the Time," "I Like My Baby's Pudding," "Good Morning Judge," "Bloodshot Eyes," and "Lovin' Machine" (though his 1950 R&B hit cover of Louis Prima's "Oh Babe!" is missing). If you're a stickler for getting the biggest and most well-known hits, the briefer 18-track Rhino compilation Bloodshot Eyes: The Best of Wynonie Harris is a better starting point. Of course, there's a wealth of good jump blues here, sometimes with an underacknowledged, almost novelty-like Prima influence, occasionally getting into more rock & roll/pop-flavored tunes on the later tracks. This might be too large a dose for non-specialists, but Harris fans looking for a more thorough document of these years than is available on other compilations will appreciate it, and the liner notes and sessionography (covering just the tracks on this compilation) are well done.


Born: 24 August 1915 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

No blues shouter embodied the rollicking good times that he sang of quite like raucous shouter Wynonie Harris. "Mr. Blues," as he was not-so-humbly known, joyously related risque tales of sex, booze, and endless parties in his trademark raspy voice over some of the jumpingest horn-powered combos of the postwar era. Those wanton ways eventually caught up with Harris, but not before he scored a raft of R&B smashes from 1946 to 1952. He was already a seasoned dancer, drummer, and singer when he left...
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