Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hipshakers Vol. 2 - Scratch That Itch

(Vampi Soul) This boss biscuit features 20 mostly danceable tracks from the King/Federal catalogue, almost all from the 60s, (an exception being the 1956 burner "Buggy Ride" by pre-Dolemite Rudy Ray Moore). The lineup includes some big names (Willie Dixon, Hank Ballard, Freddy [pre-Freddie] King, and Amos Milburn), though with the exception of Otis Redding doing his legendary "Shout Bamalama," they're doing some pretty obscure numbers that I've never seen on comps. Granted, Eddie Kirk isn't doing the best monkey song, Freddy King's not doing the best Watusi (though he sure can wail on guitar), and "Scratch that Itch" is a pretty generic dance number. But the bands and the singers (especially the chip on her shoulder shouter Carol Ford and the whistling Titus Turner) elevate middle of the pack stuff to joyful jukebox music by sheer will and skill. This is a fun relic of an era when the jump/R&B/orchestra cats who were playing rock 'n' roll before there was rock 'n' roll were still working and didn't have it in them to successfully copy crossover stuff.

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