Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
With "Check Mr. Popeye," Eddie Bo had one of the great New Orleans singles of the '60s, but its success was great enough to overshadow the rest of his discography. Of course, it didn't help that his sides for Ric weren't in circulation. Rounder released a collection in 1988 but Ace's 2015 set, Baby I'm Wise: The Complete Ric Singles 1959-1962, is the first to round up the As & Bs of the nine singles Bo released for the label between 1959 and 1962, along with four tracks making their CD debut here. Bo didn't cut "Check Mr. Popeye" until 1962, which means plenty of songs arrived before the hit, and through these it's possible to hear Bo try on a number of different styles. There is a fair share of easy-rolling Fats Domino numbers, a few high-energy groovers ("Every Dog Got His Day"), the swinging mischief of Allen Toussaint ("Dinky Doo"), some relatively straightforward blues ("I Need Someone"), and even a bit of syrupy, string-saturated soul on "What a Fool I've Been." That tune bears a passing allusion to Lloyd Price's "Personality," and Bo wasn't above reworking the hits of others; "Baby I'm Wise" borrows heavily from Little Richard's "Slippin' & Slidin'." The cumulative effect of Eddie Bo dipping his toe into all these different Big Easy styles is that he seems masterful, a man who not only knows all the glories of his hometown, but knows how to showcase their quirks so they shine. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine