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All the Classic Hits 1938 - 1952

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Album Review

Classic Hits 1938-52 is a five-disc, 123-track collection of Big Joe Turner's earliest recording sessions before finding stardom with his mid-'50s R&B sides. While this JSP set isn't extravagant, it's a luxury to have Turner's sides for National, Aladdin, Freedom, MGM, and Imperial remastered and together in one collection. The final disc also includes the Boss of the Blues' first recordings for Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun of Atlantic Records: "Chains of Love," "Sweet Sixteen," "Poor Lover's Blues," and "Still in Love (With You)." Turner tackles blues, swing, and fiery up-tempo jump blues, assisted by Pete Johnson, Wynonie Harris, Pee Wee Crayton, Budd Johnson, Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino, Joe Houstin, Albert Ammons, Don Byas, Art Tatum, and Hot Lips Page. While this is a collector's dream, the casual listener would do better with Big, Bad & Blue: The Big Joe Turner Anthology on Rhino.


Born: 18 May 1911 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

The premier blues shouter of the postwar era, Big Joe Turner's roar could rattle the very foundation of any gin joint he sang within — and that's without a microphone. Turner was a resilient figure in the history of blues — he effortlessly spanned boogie-woogie,...
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