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Various Artists: Rockin' the Groove: When Groove Was More Than Just a Habit [Digipak]

Track List

>Charmaine - Frankie Brunson
>Mattie Bee
>Right Now
>Big Foot Mammy - Paul Williams
>Hoodoo - Roy Gaines
>Shout, Holler and Scream
>Blackboard Rock
>Bye Bye Baby
>Champ Ale
>Last Laugh Will Be on You, The - Mr. Blue/The Johnny Bird Orchestra/Mr. Blue
>Run a' Long - Lil McKenzie
>I'm Trapped
>She's Mine
>Break It Up - Chris Powell and the Blue Flames/Chris Powell/The Blue Flames
>My Head Goes Around - Oscar Black
>Good-Bye Little Girl - Chris Powell and the Blue Flames/Chris Powell/The Blue Flames
>Thrill Is Gone, The
>Grab That Thing and Run - Sam "Highpockets" Henderson & His Orchestra
>I Gotta Know - Bertice Reading
>22 Minutes - The Johnny Bird Orchestra
>That's All I Need
>Doo Ba Dee
>Where Is Joe?
>Shake Till I'm Shook
>I Believe in You - Frank Brunson
>Love Ya Like Crazy - Chris Powell and the Blue Flames/Chris Powell/The Blue Flames
>Alabama Sue - Roy Gaines
>Oh! Sweetness
>Since You Went Away
>Crime Doesn't Pay
>Women Are the Root of All Evil - Paul Williams
>Little Boy's Dream, A
>Humpty Dumpty - Paul Williams
>Wheel of Time

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.

RCA decided to leap into the flourishing blues and R&B marketplace in 1954 via the new imprint Groove. This subsidiary didn't last long. By February 1957, RCA folded the label, whose lone hit -- Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange" -- wasn't enough to keep it afloat. A lot of the Groove sides stayed in the vault, which is what makes Bear Family's two 2016 reissues -- this R&B collection, Rockin' the Groove, and its down-and-dirty blues companion Groovin' the Blues -- so welcome. Rockin' the Groove tips the scales slightly toward the aftershocks of jump blues, devoted to hopping combos and swinging singers -- all the elements that made the R&B charts shake, rattle, and roll in the mid-'50s. Sometimes, there are echoes of big bands -- both in wailing horns and snazzy vocal arrangements -- but throughout these 35 sides, the rhythms snap and are sometime quite gritty, particularly when goosed along by fuzzed-up guitars as they are on Paul Williams' "Humpty Dumpty." There aren't a lot of stars here -- the closest is a teenage George Benson and maybe a Clayton Love -- but that's part of the appeal: all these also-rans and hits that never were wind up showing just how good Groove was at finding talent, even if they never found a way to market it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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