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Various Artists: Speak Easy: The RPM Records Story, Vol. 2 [Slipcase]

Track List

>Real Pretty Mama - Meadowlarks
>Feel My Broom - Quinton Kimble
>Love Me Pretty Baby - Connie Mack Booker
>One Whole Year Baby - Earl Curry
>Pass the Gin - Meadowlarks
>Way You Used to Treat Me, The - Lover Boy
>I Ain't Drunk - Lonnie the Cat
>Don't You Want a Man Like Me - B.B. King
>Whoopin' and a Hollerin' - Preacher Stephens
>She Wants to Mambo - The Chanters
>You Upset Me Baby - B.B. King
>O O Wah - Buddy Milton & The Twilighters
>Dream, Pts. 1-2, The - The Fox
>Every Day I Have the Blues - B.B. King
>Hot Little Mama - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
>Truly - Arthur Lee Maye & the Crowns
>Shitiggy Boom - Joe Houston
>Why Don't You Write Me? - The Jacks
>Blues in the Dark - Little George Smith
>Too Tired - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
>Dog Gone It - Donna Hightower
>Suffocate - Johnny Wright
>Hands Off - Donna Hightower
>Those Lonely, Lonely Nights - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
>Oopin' Doopin' Doopin' - Little George Smith
>Crying Won't Help You - B.B. King
>16 Tons - B.B. King
>Eddie My Love - The Teen Queens
>Ruben - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
>Cross-Eyed Suzie Lee - George Smith
>Did You Ever Love a Woman - B.B. King
>Sugar Baby - The Jacks
>Do Me No Wrong - Pat Cupp
>Casual Look, A - Little Clyde & the Teens
>Billy Boy - The Teen Queens
>Yama Yama Pretty Mama - Richard Berry
>I'm All Alone - Eddy Lang
>Sweet Little Angel - B.B. King
>She Moves Me - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
>Blau-Wile-Deveest-Fontaine - Paul Anka
>Long Gone Daddy - Pat Cupp
>She's a Flirt - The Jewels
>You Got to Crawl Before You Walk - Eddy Lang
>Down in New Orleans - George Smith
>Rock Everybody - The Teen Queens
>He's My Baby - Donna Hightower
>Cool Diggin' - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
>Bippin' and Boppin' (Over You) - Jack Lewis
>Bim Bam - B.B. King
>Memories of You - Prentice Moreland
>Speak Easy - Vido Musso
>Hello Baby (Glad to Have You Home) - Darrell Glenn
>Snake Eyed Mama - Don Cole
>I Wonder - B.B. King

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.

The second installment of Ace's new-millennial telling of The RPM Records Story picks up the narrative in 1953, the place where its predecessor No More Doggin' concluded. Like No More Doggin', Speak Easy mixes up original 45s with alternate takes and rarities, many of which were excavated by reissue producer Tony Rounce for this 2014 reissue. This approach occasionally misses the original versions of some major songs -- there's a newly found alternate of B.B. King's "Sweet Little Angel," for instance (the original "You Upset Me Baby" is here, though) -- which may be a mild frustration for some listeners but this is a boon for archivists and devotees, with 33 of the 54 songs never showing up on a previous Ace collection (a whopping 15 cuts bear 2014 copyrights, marking their first-ever appearances). This reliance on rarities doesn't dilute the overall impact of the collection, which makes a strong case for RPM being one of the liveliest and wildest of the Bihari Brothers' Modern Records subsidiaries during the '50s. Much of the first disc bears the greasy imprint of Ike Turner, who was the Brothers' A&R man and house musician, and once this down-and-dirty R&B starts to lose its hold -- not even the best efforts of Johnny "Guitar" Watson could stem the shifting tides -- up comes B.B. King, who retains that same raw vitality but has a smoother touch. This means the second disc is largely devoted to the fallout, containing some straight-up rock & roll and jumping harmony groups, along with teen-beat groups and a wild rarity by Paul Anka called "Blau-Wile-Deveest-Fontaine." The variety makes this disc a bit of a blast, but for R&B and blues fans the real legacy of RPM lies on that first disc, which feels like it could've been packaged with No More Doggin' with no problem whatsoever. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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