It’s always good to not judge a record by its cover. I’ve actually had a few customers turn down this album simply because the cover isn’t anything special. It’s pretty funny, considering how priceless this music is. Here you have cuts from the golden age of New Orleans R&B, all produced by the legendary Dave Bartholomew. This stuff isn’t very well known by collectors, but it represents some of the best recordings made in one of the most musically rich cities on the planet.
Many of these tracks are tough to find. For some reason this early New Orleans R&B stuff hasn’t been re-released very many times. This features two gems by the wild & wonderful Smiley Lewis, who Fats Domino got his sound from. His shouting’ on “I Hear You Knockin” is pretty unparalled. Two cuts by Fats Domino are on here as well. He showcases his piano chops on the instrumental “Domino Stomp”. Smilin’ Joe just kills ya with the blues on the very obscure “Sleepwalking Woman”. Earl King’s “Come On” is presented here with parts 1 & 2 seamlessly put together, making one of the greatest party anthems of all-time last nice & long. And this even goes all the way back to the roots with Dave Bartholomew’s 1949 classic, “That’s How You Got Killed Before”. The great bluesman Snooks Eaglin is featured here, during his R&B days he went by Ford Eaglin.
Imperial Musicians: 1951-1962 is available at Folk Arts for $10. This music absolutely rules. I also have a decent number of R&B 78’s on the great Imperial label and a really nice “New Orleans Music” LP section.