James Brown And The Famous Flames – Try Me (1959)

FrontCover1.jpgJames Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as the “Godfather of Soul”. In a career that lasted 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres.

Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He joined an R&B vocal group, the Gospel Starlighters (which later evolved into the Flames) founded by Bobby Byrd, in which he was the lead singer. First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of the singing group The Famous Flames with the hit ballads “Please, Please, Please” and “Try Me”, Brown built a reputation as a tireless live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra (by wikipedia)

And here´s the very young James Brown:

When James Brown and His Famous Flames finally scored a second hit with their 11th single, “Try Me,” King Records constructed this 16-track LP, including the hit along with both sides of three of its follow-ups, “I Want You So Bad”/”There Must Be a Reason,” “I’ve Got to Change”/”It Hurts to Tell You,” and “Got to Cry”/”It Was You”; the B-side of a fourth follow-up, “Don’t Let It Happen to Me”; the 1957 single “Can’t Be the Same”/”Gonna Try”; the 1957 B-sides “I Won’t Plead No More” and “Messing With the Blues”; the B-side of Brown’s first hit (“Please Please Please”), “Why Do You Do Me”; and three other stray tracks. The earliest work especially sounded more like that of a doo wop group rather than that of a gritty R&B solo singer. None of it measured up to “Try Me,” but you could see what Brown had been aiming at, and if the set list comprised what were in effect James Brown’s greatest flops, circa 1959, it demonstrated that he possessed as much promise as fervor. (Try Me! was reissued in 1964 under the title The Unbeatable James Brown: 16 Hits.) (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
James Brown (vocals)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Edwyn Conley (bass)
C. Davis (saxophone)
George Dorsey (saxophone)
Ray Felder (saxophone)
Panama Francis (drums)
Alvin “Fats” Gonder (piano)
Edison Gore (drums)
Reginald Hall (drums)
Ernie Hayes (piano)
Nat Kendrick (drums)
Clarence Mack (bass)
Louis Madison (piano, background vocals)
Bernard Odum (bass)
Carl Pruitt (bass)
Bobby Roach (guitar)
Clifford Scott (saxophone)
Nafloyd Scott (guitar)
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background vocals:
Bobby Byrd – Bill Hollings – Sylvester Keels – Wilbert Smith – Johnny Terry

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Tracklist:
01. There Must Be A Reason (Brown) 2.29
02. I Want You So Bad (Brown) 2.48
03. Why Do You Do Me (Byrd/Keels) 3.02
04. Got To Cry (Brown) 2.39
05. Strange Things Happen (Hawkins/Love/Melcher) 2.12
06. Fine Old Foxy Self (Brown) 2.11
07. Messing With The Blues (Hunt) 2.13
08. Try Me (Brown) 2.35
09. It Was You (Brown) 2.45
10. I’ve Got To Change (Brown) 2.28
11. Can’t Be The Same (Brown) 2.22
12. It Hurts To Tell You (Brown/Shubert) 2.55
13. I Won’t Plead No More (Byrd/Keels) 2.29
14. You’re Mine, You’re Mine (Brown/Scott) 2.34
15. Gonna Try (Brown) 2.47
16. Don’t Let It Happen To Me (Brown) 2.50

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Shirley Bassey – Something (1970)

FrontCover1.JPGSomething is a 1970 album by Shirley Bassey. With her career having been in decline since the latter part of the mid 1960s, Something proved to be Shirley Bassey’s comeback when it was released in August 1970. The title track single became her biggest UK hit for many years, reaching No.4 and spending 22 weeks on the chart. This was actually the second single featured on the album, “The Sea and Sand” having already been released earlier. The album was similarly her biggest hit for many years in the album charts, reaching No.5 and spending 28 weeks in the top 50.

This album led to a major revival in Bassey’s career, and it would see Bassey transform into mainly an album artist, recording fifteen albums in the 1970s (four of those live recordings). Of those three would be top ten albums, three others in the top fifteen, and a further four in the top 40. She would also reach the top three twice, with a pair of compilations. This was also her first work with record producer Noel Rogers and producer/arranger Johnny Harris, who built on Bassey’s traditional pop roots to include contemporary songs and arrangements.

The album’s original release was in stereo on vinyl and cassette. This was the first Shirley Bassey studio album not to be issued in mono. The album was released in the US as Shirley Bassey is Really “Something” and featured different artwork and cover photograph. (by wikipedia)

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Locked out of the singles charts for the past seven years, Shirley Bassey finally returned with this collection of “contemporary” standards, including her British Top Five single “Something.” (Bassey, who first heard the song when Peggy Lee sang it, apparently didn’t even know it was a Beatles tune until just before recording it.) To parallel the modern material, Johnny Harris’ arrangements add an upfront electric bass and hang-loose drumkit to the heavy strings and brass. Of course, Bassey was never a jazz singer, so she makes the transition from traditional pop to contemporary rock with an ease more comparable to Barbra Streisand than Peggy Lee. There are a few jazzy rock standards (“Light My Fire,” “Spinning Wheel,” “Something”) plus plenty of latter-day show tunes (“Easy to Be Hard,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,”) and a few ’60s vocal pieces (“The Sea and Sand,” “My Way,” “Yesterday When I Was Young”). Each tune that comes her way gets stamped with the irrepressible Bassey style, and ends up making a remarkably cohesive album of contemporary pop. (by John Bush)

What a voice !

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Personnel:
Tony Campo (bass)
Harold Fisher (drums)
Bill Parkinson (guitar)
Shirley Bassey (vocals)
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unknown orchestra conducted by Johnny Harris

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Tracklist:
01. Something (Harrison) 3.33
02. Spinning Wheel (Clayton-Thomas) 3.05
03. Yesterday I Heard The Rain (Manzanero/Lees) 3,27
04. The Sea And Sand (Harris/Colton/Smith) 3.59
05. My Way (Comme D’Habitude) (Revaux/François/Thibaut/Anka) 3,36
06. What About Today? (Shire/Maltby, Jr.) 3.08
07. You And I (Bricusse) 3.44
08. Light My Fire (Krieger/Manzarek/Densmore/Morrison) 3.25
09. Easy To Be Hard (MacDermot/Ragni/Rado) 2.39
10. Life Goes On (Theodorakis/Martin) 2.38
11. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? (Legrand/A.Bergman/M.Bergman) 2.55
12. Yesterday, When I Was Young (Aznavour/Kretzmer) 3.48

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Staple Singers – Soul Folk In Action (1968)

FrontCover1This is one you are probably going to have to search out, but this gem is worth all the effort. First, take the stunning voices of the Staple Singers, with the closely blending harmonies that can only come from the years of a family singing together. Put in the crack vibrato guitar of Pops (he was a blues player early on), add in a top-notch rhythm section that play as close as it gets, and throw in the Memphis Horns. Then add some material that was just about custom-tailored for them, mixed and mastered by Steve Cropper, and you have the makings of a fantastic disc. Still, how many times have we seen all the right ingredients and been disappointed? Not this time. The only disappointment might come from the brevity of the disc; you just want it to continue. The power and majesty that these voices carry comes as close to heaven as can be felt here on earth. They are truly performers who give their all. There are few performers who could rival Otis Redding, and to try and do one of his songs while he was still alive was almost considered sacrilege, yet listen to what they do with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” It is a completely different take, yet it loses absolutely nothing and in fact gains a new dimension with their controlled power. True, it probably helps that Steve Cropper, the co-writer of the song, is leading the backing band. Two of the highlights of an incredibly strong disc are “Slow Train,” for its slow adept building of potency, and “The Weight.” It is a vital testament to belief and love, and you will thank yourself for following a hunch. (by Bob Gottlieb)

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Personnel:

The Staples (vocals):
Cleotha Staples – Mavis Staples – Pervis Staples – Roebuck Staples (+ guitar)
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Steve Cropper (guitar)
Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass)
Al Jackson, Jr. (drums)
Marvell Thomas (keyboards)
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The Mempühis Horns:
Andrew Love – Joe Arnold – Wayne Jackson

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Tracklist:
01. We’ve Got To Get Ourselves Together (Bramlett/Rable) 2.44
02. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay (Redding/Cropper) 3.13
03 ,Top Of The Mountain (Crutcher/Thomas) 3.04
04. Slow Train (Cropper/Bell) 2.49
05. The Weight (Robertson) 4.36
06. Long Walk To D.C. (Banks/Thomas) 2.33
07. Got To Be Some Changes Made (Crume) 2.41
08. The Ghetto (Crutcher/Bramlett/Banks) 3.46
09. People My People (Banks/Cropper) 2.33
10. I See It (Edwards/Saples) 3.01
11. This Year (Cropper/Riley) 1.59
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12. The Lady’s Letter (R.Staples) 2.19
13. Pop’s Instrumental (Staples) 2.11

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Don Nix – Gone Too Long (1976)

FrontCover1.JPGDon Nix (born September 27, 1941, Memphis, Tennessee) is an American songwriter, composer, arranger, musician, and author. Although cited as being “obscure”[by whom?], he is a key figure in several genres of Southern rock and soul, R&B, and the blues. He was instrumental in the creation of the distinctive “Memphis soul” developed at Stax Records.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nix came from a musical family (his brother, Larry Nix, became a mastering engineer for Stax and for the Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis). Don Nix began his career playing saxophone for the Mar-Keys, which also featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and others. The hit instrumental single “Last Night” (composed by the band as a whole) was the first of many successful hits to Nix’s credit. Without Nix, the Mar-Keys evolved into Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

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The Mar-Keys in the studio, from left, Charlies “Packy” Axton, Wayne Jackson, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Don Nix, Terry Johnson, Steve Cropper and Jerry Lee “Smoochie” Smith. (Phillip Rauls photo)

As a producer, Nix worked with other artists and producers, such as Leon Russell of Shelter Records; Gary Lewis and the Playboys in Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars; George Harrison, of the Beatles; and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. One notable achievement was his collaboration with Harrison, Russell, and many others in the production of the “Concert for Bangladesh”, a star-studded benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

DonNix01Throughout his career, Nix worked behind the scenes as producer, arranger, and musician and in other roles for artists including Lonnie Mack, Furry Lewis, Freddie King, Albert King, Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Eric Clapton, and many others. He wrote and produced albums for solo artists and for groups, such as Don Nix and the Alabama State Troupers, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers.

The song “Going Down”, originally released by the band Moloch on their eponymous album in 1969, has become a rock-and-roll standard, having been covered by Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, JJ Cale, Marc Ford, Chicken Shack, Bryan Ferry, Pearl Jam, Gov’t Mule, Sam Kinison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Sammy Hagar, Joe Bonamassa, Sturgill Simpson, and others. Nix released a version of the song as a single for Elektra Records in 1972. The song “Black Cat Moan” was covered on the 1973 album Beck, Bogert & Appice. The Rolling Stones performed “Goin’ Down” with John Mayer and Gary Clark, Jr. live on Pay-Per-View television on December 15, 2012, as part of the Stones’ 50th Anniversary Tour.

He did the first time performance in Japan, Tokyo and Kobe, in March 2013 with his friends Terry Wall and Joel Williams.

In 2014, “Alabama State Troupers Road Show” was released as a CD. A celebration event was held in Stax Museum in Memphis (by wikipedia)

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And here´s another solo album by Don Nix … a brilliant nix between Rock, Blues, Gospel and S misuc ..Soul music … he was one of the most underrated musicians in the history of this music !!!

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George Harrison & Don Nix

Personnel:
Don Nix (vocals, saxophone)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians (with spiritual guidance from George Harrison)

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Tracklist:
01. Goin’ Thru Another Change (Nix) 3.02
02. Feel A Whole Lot Better (Clark) 3.55
03. Gone Too Long (Nix) 3.16
04. Backstreet Girl (Jagger/Richards) 4.01
05. Rollin’ In My Dreams (Nix) 2.50
06. Yazoo City Jail (Nix) 3.37
07. Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround (Nix) 2.28
08. Forgotten Town (Nix) 3.14
09. A Demain (Until Tomorrow) (Denimal/Nix) 4.53

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Don Nix talks …

Shakura S’aida – The Blueprint (2008)

FrontCover1Blues singer Shakura S’Aida (pronounced “Shack-oora Sigh-ee-da”) was born in Brooklyn and raised in Switzerland before settling in Toronto. She first began singing professionally with a Toronto band called Mystique, after which she worked with the world music band Kaleefah. Simultaneously, she pursued a legitimate stage career, appearing in Canadian productions of such shows as Ain’t Misbehavin’, and acted on television and in films. As a singer, she provided backup vocals for Patti LaBelle, performed in a Ray Charles tribute band, and appeared on albums by Bill King and Saturday Nite Fish Fry. Her own debut solo album, Blueprint, released by UMI on February 19, 2008, was a collection of blues songs of the 1940s and ‘50s. Two years later, the German label Ruf Records released her second album, Brown Sugar, which consisted largely of her own original compositions, co-written with her guitarist, Donna Grantis. (by William Ruhlmann)

Shakuras debut solo album signals a new beginning with some old music. She did songs that she felt gave her something to sing about. Songs that were once sung by Big Maybelle, Memphis Minnie, Big Mama Thornton and other phenomenal women of the time become Shakuras personal anthems. Recording with the best of Toronto talent gave Shakuras blues a new canvas to paint on. (Editorial Reviews, amazon)

Blues and soul with very much emotional singing, shouting, screaming. her best (Hugo V.)

We should remember her name … what a great voice !

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Personnel:
Howard Ayee (bass)
Michelle Josef (drums)
Dennis Keldie (keyboards)
Shakura S’Aida (vocals)
Simon Wallis (saxophone)
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Harrison Kennedy (guitar, vocals, harmonica on 09., harmonica on 10.)
David Rotundo (harmonica on 07.)
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background vocals:
Jackie Richardson – Shannon Maracle

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Tracklist:
01. No More Troubles Out Of Me (McCoy/Singleton) 3.30
02. He Doesn’t Care (About My Broken Heart) (Pryce) 5.35
03. One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show (McCoy/Singleton) 3.33
04. Getting Along Alright (Sharp/Singleton) 5.07
05. Stop It Baby (King) 3.44
06. Rain Down Rain (Chase) 5.09
07. Las Vegas Blues (S’Aida) 5.45
08. Me And My Chauffeur Blues (Lawlar) 4.11
09. Big City Lights (Have U Seen My Baby) (Randle) 3.29
10. I’m Living With The Blues (B.McGhee/R.McGhee) 2.53
11. Gotta Live (S’Aida) 5.01

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Various Artists – Jingle Bell Rock (1987)

FrontCover1And here´s a nice sampler withRok N Roll and Soul songs about Christmas, publish  by Time Life. And this sampler was a part of the “The Rock N Roll Era”.

Time-Life’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Era: Jingle Bell Rock collects 25 classic tracks of the holiday genre including “Run, Rudolph, Run” (Chuck Berry), “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (the Jackson 5), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), “Sleigh Ride” (the Ventures) and “Step into Christmas” (Elton John). Many of these artists will appeal to a broad range of ages, making it perfect for family gatherings. (by Al Campbell)

in 1987, I guess I was bitten by the same CD buying bug that many were: I bought into the Time-Life “Rock ‘n’ Roll Era” series of CDs. Thankfully I found that the musical selection on these were fine for my purposes, although the sound often suffered a bit. It did enable me to amass a good collection of “oldies” that I otherwise never would have bought. One surprising favorite came my way during the holidays–the compilation Jingle Bell Rock. A couple of the Motown tracks need to be skipped (the Temptations’ “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is narcoleptic at best), but for the most part it is a very enjoyable and crowd-pleasing collection of holiday favorites.

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On here are tracks by Jan and Dean (“Frosty the Snowman”, rescued from obscurity), The Ventures (“Sleigh Ride”), Jack Scott (“There’s Trouble Brewin’”), The O’Jays (“Christmas Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love”) and Dodie Stevens (“Merry, Merry Christmas Baby”). The usual suspects are here also (“JIngle Bell Rock”, “Run, Rudolph Run” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”) and Elton John’s “Step into Christmas” finishes out the disc with the most recent song in the collection. (by rudyscorner.com)

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Tracklist:
01. Bobby Helms: Jingle Bell Rock (Boothe/Beal) 2.08
02. Chuck Berry: Run, Rudolph, Run (Berry) 2.43
03. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby (Moore/Baxter) 2.29
04. Smokey Robinson And The Miracles: Go Tell It On The Mountain (Traditional) 3.40
05. The Supremes: My Favorite Things (Hammerstein/Rodgers) 2.45
06. The Drifters: White Christmas (Berlin) 2.35
07. The Beach Boys: The Man With All The Toys (Wilson) 1.30
08. Booker T. And The MG’s: Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.27
09. The Temptations: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 2.55
10. Carla Thomas: Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas (Thomas/Cropper) 2.38
11. The Jackson 5: Someday At Christmas (Wells/Mills) 2.38
12. Jan And Dean: Frosty The Snow Man (Rollins/Nelson) 2.04
13. King Curtis: The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 2.55
14. Brenda Lee: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (Marks) 2.03
15. Smokey Robinson And The Miracles: Medley: Deck The Halls / Bring A Torch (Traditional) 3.55
16. Marvin & Johnny: It’s Christmas (Josea/Phillips) 2.14
17. The Temptations: My Christmas Tree (Webb) 3.05
18. The Ventures: Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 2.20
19. The O’Jays: Christmas Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love (Gamble/Huff) 2.12
20. The Jackson 5: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) 2.59
21. Jack Scott: There’s Trouble Brewin’ (Veronica) 2.22
22. Dodie Stevens: Merry, Merry Christmas Baby (Lopez/Sylvia) 2.11
23. Aretha Franklin: Winter Wonderland (Smith/Bernard) 2.09
24. Donny Hathaway: This Christmas (Hathaway/McKinnor) 3.26
25. Elton John: Step Into Christmas (John/Taupin) 4.22

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Marva Wright – Marvalous (1995)

FrontCover1Down in Louisiana, Marva Wright is called the Blues Queen. Fans of her energy-filled performances, both live and recorded, call her a lot of other things, too, like “Marvalous Marva.” The “bluesiana” numbers she favors are a strong showcase for her dynamic, gospel-rooted voice. One listen would be enough to convince any newcomer of her strengths, which is surprising in light of the fact that the vocalist was a late bloomer who didn’t turn professional until 1987, when she was creeping up on 40. Even then, she only began singing as a way to support her family with a second job. Bourbon Street in the Big Easy led to more than she had dreamed, ultimately landing her gigs in Europe and across the world, with stops in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Brazil. Her appearances in the U.S. include Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, as well as Texas, California, Vermont, Colorado, and Florida.

Although she made a career out of music late in life, Wright actually began to sing much earlier, when she was nine years old. Like many artists, her first public singing efforts were heard in church, with her mother as her accompanist.

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Top honors in a school-sponsored singing competition followed. Later in life, she credited her mother, a piano player and singer in a gospel quartet, as one of her main influences. Mahalia Jackson, the esteemed gospel singer, was an early friend of the family. Early in 1989 during a live set at Tipitina’s in New Orleans, Wright made her first recording, “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean.” She made her debut on national television in 1991 when her hometown was the setting for a special that revolved around the Super Bowl. Heartbreakin’ Woman, Wright’s first full-length release, appeared later that year and garnered honors from the Louisiana Music Critics Association as Blues Album of the Year. The Times-Picayune placed it among the year’s Top Ten albums in the city. She has sung backup for such artists as Allen Toussaint, Glen Campbell, and Joe Cocker. The long list of others Wright has performed with includes Harry Connick Jr., Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Fats Domino, Lou Rawls, and Marcia Ball. (by Linda Seida)

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Marva Wright, who sings in clubs in New Orleans, has previously released a cassette tape from Tipitina’s (club), but this better-quality production shows what the lady can do. Big, belting gospel sound is burnished by wit and finesse. Her anthem “I Aint Built for Comfort, I’m Built for Speed” is here, along with some Irma Thomas and Koko Taylor covers (“It’s Raining” might make you forget Miss Thomas’s version) and more. “Members Only” (new to me) is great. Marva Wright deserves a national audience…she follows boldly in the footsteps of the queens of the blues, with her signature upbeat touch. Marvalous!!!!! (by an amazon customer)

A real superb blues & soul album from the blues queen of New Orleans !

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Personnel:
Thomas Bingham (guitar)
Lannie McMIllian (saxophone)
Lester Snell (keyboards)
Staff (bass, drums)
Marva Wright (vocals)
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background vocals:
Bertram Brown – William Brown – William C. Brown – Mashaa

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Tracklist:
01.  Members Only (Addison) 4.21
02. I Had A Talk With My Man (Davis/Caston) 4.18
03. Shake A Hand (Morris) 3.52
04. Driving Wheel (Burnett) 3.54
05. Further On Up The Road (Robey/Veasey) 3.29
06. Mr. Big Stuff (Broussard/Washington/Williams) 3.59
07. Built For Comfort (Dixon) 3.43
08. Wang Dang Doodle (Dixon) 5.14
09. You Can Have My Husband (LaBostrie) 3.06
10. Down Home Blues (Jackson) 4.04
11. (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean (Lance/Singleton/Wallace) 3.03
12. You Send Me (Cooke) 3.54
13. It’s Raining (Neville) 4.02

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… but her website is still alive and well … great !