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Big Joe Turner Selected Favorites (Vol. 2)

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Album Review

Big Joe Turner's music is the aural equivalent of a rare Porterhouse steak — oversized, juicy, and a glorious overload for the senses, and if isn't always good for you, that's just part of the fun. Whether what he was singing was billed as jazz, swing, rhythm & blues, or rock & roll, Turner pretty much always did things the same way, rolling with the big beat and shouting with carnal joy on the subjects of wine, women, and song (even his hurtin' songs were pretty lively), and to this day his rollicking Atlantic sides are an ideal way to get the party started. Big Joe Turner's Greatest Hits pulls together most of Turner's best-known tunes for Atlantic (fleshed out to a full 21 songs on its CD re-release), and while Turner recorded an awful lot of music over the course of a career that spanned five decades, this CD does a surprisingly good job of serving up the best stuff from his most fruitful and satisfying period, and if you can listen to "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "Flip, Flop and Fly," "Honey Hush," "Boogie Woogie Country Girl," or "Well All Right" without getting up to dance (or at least tapping your foot), maybe you shouldn't be bothering with this music stuff in the first place. Historically invaluable, and more importantly a whole lot of fun, Big Joe Turner's Greatest Hits pretty well lives up to its billing and is a superb place to introduce yourself to the music of one of the great wildmen of the blues.


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, jump blues, even the first wave of rock & roll, enjoying great success in each genre. Turner, whose powerful physique certainly matched his vocal might, was a product of the swinging, wide-open Kansas City scene. Even in his teens, the...
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