There's more than one B.B. King best-of out on the racks, but this 1998 issue, Greatest Hits [MCA], updates his chart achievements and puts them together in a modern, 16-track package for both the novice and casual modern blues listener…
Gen X-ers will instantly recognize Burl Ives's voice from his appearance as a rotund snowman in the animated TV classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. But more mature listeners should remember that Ives was a key figure in the folk explosion of the '50s. His pop handling of traditional tunes brought him great success, and this CD collects some of his best. A few tracks, like a swinging "Blue Tail Fly," complete with Andrews Sisters-style background singing, may seem anathema to the folk aesthetic, but that's splitting hairs. If nothing else, this is exceedingly friendly music, and there's nothing wrong with that.
While heavily influenced by Art Tatum, this performer was hardly considered a heavyweight pianist during his career. Born Louis F. Bush, or Busch depending on the source, the keyboard maestro who would also make heavy use of the stage name of Joe "Fingers" Carr managed to make it into Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz, but with the following disclaimer: "A novelty performer rather than a jazz artist." The novelty itself was a kind of heavily sexed-up ragtime piano style that caught on in the very dawn of the hi-fi era. The invention was in sharp contrast to lounge music and would most likely have the opposite effect than a seduction if played in a bachelor pad. Carr began driving his piano this way while working as an A&R man for Capitol. In a brainstorm based on a sharp analysis of current trends, he decided to sign himself up as the mysterious "Fingers."
Hit songs of a decade that influenced the shape of popular music as we know it from homegrown British stars to those that made ripples from across the pond. Rock and rollers, crooners, souls stars, pop princes and princess and a whole lot more.