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Various Artists: Wow, Wow, Baby! 1950s R&B, Blues & Gospel from Dolphin's of Hollywood, Vol. 3

Track List

>Heavy Artillery aka The Solid Rock [Unedited Version] - Big Boy Groves (previously unreleased, mono, featuring Roland Mitchell)
>Man Have I Got Troubles - Scatman Crothers (previously unreleased, mono)
>Wow Wow Baby - Hollywood Flames (previously unreleased, mono)
>Pete's Boogie - Memphis Slim (previously unreleased, mono)
>S.K. Blues - Jimmy Witherspoon (previously unreleased, mono)
>Years and Tears Ago - Little Margie (previously unreleased, mono)
>Oh Baby - Floyd Dixon (previously unreleased, mono)
>Step in the Right Direction - Prince Dixon (previously unreleased, mono)
>I Walk All Night - John Fuller (previously unreleased, mono)
>Elaine - Scatman Crothers (previously unreleased, mono)
>Yak Yak Woman [Demo] - Marvin & Johnny (previously unreleased, mono)
>Sleep, Drink and Play - The Earl Burton Combo (previously unreleased, mono)
>Traffic Ticket - Big Boy Groves (previously unreleased, mono)
>My Love Is Real - James Reed (previously unreleased, mono)
>Hey Rube - Mellowtones (previously unreleased, mono)
>Never Can Tell (When a Woman's Going to Change Her Mind) - Floyd Dixon (previously unreleased, mono)
>Lonely, Lonely Woman - Little Eve (previously unreleased, mono)
>Teenage Party [Take 1] - Jimmy Witherspoon (previously unreleased, take, mono)
>Fancy Pants - Tap Anthony & His Orchestra (previously unreleased, mono)
>Don't Blooper - Grady Chapman & The Suedes (previously unreleased, mono)
>All Messed Up - Vernon Anders (previously unreleased, mono)
>I Need the Lord to Guide Me Everyday - Prince Dixon (previously unreleased, mono)
>Teenagers Only - Big Boy Groves (previously unreleased, mono)
>Rock & Roll aka Oh Yeah! - Chuck Higgins & His Mellotones (previously unreleased, mono)

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.

The "Vol. 3" in the title of Ace's 2015 compilation Wow, Wow, Baby! 1950s R&B, Blues & Gospel from Dolphin's of Hollywood, Vol. 3 refers to how this is the label's third installment of treasures from the vaults of Johnny Dolphin, the Los Angeles R&B kingpin of the '50s (its two predecessors are 2008's On with the Jive! and 2009's Toast of the Coast). Dolphin recorded, produced, and licensed a variety of R&B records, sometimes taking credit he perhaps didn't deserve -- a tendency that led to his early demise at the hands of Percy Ivy, a singer who swore Dolphin did him wrong -- but there's no denying he had excellent taste, something Wow, Wow, Baby! proves time and time again. As the subtitle suggests, Dolphin dipped his toe into a lot of different sounds, but this swinging 24-track collection feels surprisingly unified, possibly because it all grooves to big, bawdy beats. Even the doo wop -- notably the Hollywood Flames, who belt out the title track -- and the gospel groups here have considerable grit to their performances, and there are other surprises, including Scatman Crothers doing more than credible jump blues, Jimmy Witherspoon encroaching on Big Joe Turner territory, and the madly hopping Chuck Higgins' "Rock & Roll aka Oh Yeah!" This latter cut sums up the attitude of the whole set, how this is R&B that feels as exciting and invigorating as rock & roll, and that's why this collection of '50s West Coast R&B rarities packs a real punch. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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