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Various Artists: Unlock the Lock: The Kent Records Story, Vol.1

Track List

>Why Do Everything Happen to Me - B.B. King
>All of Me - Danny Boy
>Hey Little Mama - The Barker Brothers
>"Baby, Baby" Every Night - Etta James
>Sweet Lovin' Honey - Don Cole
>On My Way Back Home - Flash Terry & His Orchestra
>Devil Doll - Lee Denson
>Madness - Sonny Knight
>Basis of Rock 'N' Roll (Take 1) - Van Robinson
>Bye Bye Baby - Chuck "Tequila" Rio
>That's My Baby - Artie Wilson
>Dance the Thing - Floyd Dixon and His Orchestra
>Please Accept My Love [Undubbed Version] - B.B. King
>Red Hot Rockin' Blues - Jesse James
>If It Ain't One Thing - Betty & Dupree
>You You You - Van Robinson
>South's Gonna Rise Again - Jesse James
>Worry Worry (Take 1) - B.B. King
>Ballad of Stagger Lee, The - The Senders
>Thrill Is Gone, The (Take 1) - Hadda Brooks
>Fool, The - B.B. King
>Everybody Needs to Know - The Senders
>(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons - Jesse Belvin
>Mean Ole Frisco (Take 2) - B.B. King
>Sweet Sixteen, Pts.1 & 2 - B.B. King
>Your Cheating Heart (Mono) - Jimmy Witherspoon
>Unlock the Lock - Jimmy Nelson
>Good Man Gone Bad (Mono) - B.B. King
>Tomorrow Night [Overdubbed Version] - Hadda Brooks
>You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now (Take 4) - B.B. King
>Diane - The Sensational Ink Spots/Charlie Owens
>If Love Was Money - The Wanderers/Tony Allen
>Bad Case of Love (Take 1) - B.B. King
>Texas Queen - Billy Ray
>Dreamin' - Tony Allen & Group
>Doing the Twist - Joe Houston
>Get in the Car - Little Joe Hinton
>Do Something Crazy (Crazy Feeling) - Etta James
>Whip Twist, The - Little Joe Hinton
>Goodnight My Love - Pat Hunt
>Do You Wanna Twist - Teddy Reynolds
>Playboy - Billy Ray
>Camel Caravan - The Classicals
>Without You - Hal Davis
>Love You Baby - Bobby "Blue" Bland
>Wonder of Love, The - Newports
>Maybe I'm Wrong [Ext Version] - Bobby Sanders
>Mashing the Popeye - B.B. King

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.

The Bihari Brothers obtained the rights to Kent Records from Lee Silver in 1954 -- Silver never released more than two singles on the imprint -- but didn't turn it into their primary concern until 1958, when they shuttered RPM and Modern. The brothers turned to Kent as a way to shed their roster, but they kept their biggest stars, B.B. King, Etta James, and Jesse Belvin. Within a year or so, James and Belvin defected to other labels, leaving King the big man at Kent. Ace's 2015 Unlock the Lock: The Kent Records Story, Vol. 1 chronicles these early years, running from 1958 to 1962 in the form of a 48-track, double-disc set where 30 cuts make their CD debut (14 of these, mostly alternate takes of well-circulated material, see their first-ever release here). Ten of these cuts belong to King, and he's often the touchstone for the jumping blues and rhythm that make up the rest of the collection: it's robust, rocking R&B and blues that walk the crossover line. There are several attempts to ride the Twist bandwagon -- Joe Houston is "Doing the Twist," Little Joe Hinton attempts "The Whip Twist," Teddy Reynolds tries "Do You Wanna Twist," and King gets into the game with "Mashing the Popeye" -- and there are also hints of string-saturated pop (Pat Hunt's "Goodnight My Love"), plus a bit of wild rockabilly (the Barker Brothers' "Hey Little Mama" is an anomaly but Jesse James' rampaging "South's Gonna Rise Again" kicks, carving a niche between R&B and rock & roll). Generally, though, Unlock the Lock finds a comfortable place between uptown R&B and juke joint blues, proof that as the '50s became the '60s, R&B records started getting wilder and sillier as they tried to find their way onto the charts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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