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Lovin' Machine

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Album Review

This is a companion disc to Ace's earlier compilation, Women, Whiskey and Fish Tails, and likewise hones in on his 1950s output for King Records, the 26 tracks hailing from 1951-1957. Though the early part of that stretch found him continuing to land some R&B smashes with "Lovin' Machine" and his cover of Hank Penny's "Bloodshot Eyes" (both included on the disc), generally it marked the point at which he began his absence from the charts. Actually there's not much difference between this body of work and his salad days, other than the lack of many obvious hits from the git-go like "Good Rockin' Tonight." Harris' problem was that his brand of jump blues-cum-R&B had itself passed its peak, though he continued to be one of its best practitioners. This isn't recommended for those who just want one or two Harris anthologies; his most well-known sides from the late '40s, like "Good Rockin' Tonight," are not represented, and Rhino's Bloodshot Eyes best-of collection takes a chronologically wider and more selective view of his top work. Also, to be honest, Harris worked the same approaches over and over, and it's too much at once if mid-20th century jump blues/R&B isn't your main dish. All that said, it's a good roundup of sides that aren't as frequently anthologized (for the most part) as his biggest hits, and Harris does delve into some ballads and mild detours into the mambo ("Good Mambo Tonight," a bandwagon-hopping takeoff from "Good Rockin' Tonight") and weird funereal, near-spiritual blues ("Song of the Bayou"). The version of "Rot Gut" was previously unissued, and it's actually one of the better items, its hangover tale fitting well into the singer's usual persona. Note also that the final track, "All Night Long," is actually a 1952 single by the vocal group the Royals, with Harris singing the middle eight.

Biography

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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Lovin' Machine, Wynonie Harris
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