Blowing the Fuse is a killer series of compilation CDs issued by Germany's premier archivist label, Bear Family. Subtitled "R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox," each volume is compiled by year. This one, covering 1945, hosts 26 tunes. What is immediately arresting is the sequencing here. The order juxtaposes performers like Sister Rosetta Tharpe ("Strange Things Happening Every Day") Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup ("Rock Me Mama"), the Four Clefs ("V Day Stomp"), Lucky Millinder ("Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well"), Louis Jordan ("Caldonia") and the Five Red Caps ("Boogie Woogie on a Saturday Night") in one segment. Most of these names are legends, of course, from Wynonie Harris and Count Basie to Ivory Joe Hunter to Helen Humes. But there are some slightly off-track attractions as well: Julia Lee's "If It's Good," and Cecil Grant's "I Wonder." There are excellent liner notes by Colin Escott discussing each track in detail, great photos and a beautiful package. Sound quality, too is as good as it can be for this kind of archival material. This is a great way to kick off the series. ~ Thom Jurek
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