Following an unsatisfying three-year stint at Mercury Records, Chuck Berry returned home to Chess in 1969, just like Phil Chess predicted. Heading home didn’t necessarily mean retreating, as the four-disc Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969-1974 illustrates. During his time at Mercury, Chuck followed the kids wherever they went, aligning himself with the psychedelic ‘60s in a way none of his peers did. This shift is immediately apparent on “Tulane,” the very first song he cut upon his return to Chess. An ode to a couple of kids who dealt dope underneath the counter of a novelty shop, “Tulane” puts Chuck on the side of the counterculture, and over the next five years, he never strayed back to the other side of the fence, often singing about getting stoned, dabbling with a wah-wah pedal, rhapsodizing about rock festivals, cheerfully telling smutty jokes.
The Dells were one of the few groups that rode the transition from doo wop to smooth soul without missing a beat and without falling off the charts. Just as remarkably, the group did so without declining much in quality, as Hip-O's definitive double-disc Anthology proves. Throughout these 36 tracks, the music changes, from street-corner R&B to string-drenched disco-soul, but in all their incarnations, The Dells always sound wonderful. There are a handful of minor hits missing, but all the big singles – including both the Vee-Jay and Cadet versions of "Oh, What a Nite" and "Stay in My Corner" – are here, assembled chronologically.
Hip Hip Hooray is actually a retitled and slightly resequenced reissue of the Troggs' 1968 U.K. album Mixed Bag (which never came out in the United States), tacking on 11 CD bonus cuts from 1970 and 1973 singles. The original title Mixed Bag was an appropriate description of this rather scrapheap assembly, as it wasn't really a regular album. Instead, it was a budget-priced compilation matching eight songs that appeared on British and American singles in 1968 with four others that made their first appearance on the LP. Although all but one of the tracks was a Troggs original ("Hip Hip Hooray" being the lone exception)…
Andy Narell's second release as a leader (following a long-out-of-print effort for Inner City) was reissued as a 1989 CD. Narell virtually introduced the steel drums to jazz, and this diverse recording (which ranges from Brazilian jazz to touches of rock, post-bop jazz and even a "Celtic Folk Song") was a strong force in making him a well-known name in the jazz world. Narell also plays some keyboards and drums on the date and is joined on the worthwhile effort by guitarist Steve Erquiaga, electric bassist Rich Girard and drummer/percussionist Kenneth Nash.
This double LP was the first jazz concert ever recorded at the Hollywood Bowl (and only the second one held at that L.A. institution). Although not an official Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, it has the same basic format and was also produced by Norman Granz. Trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Harry "Sweets" Edison, tenors Flip Phillips and Illinois Jacquet, the Oscar Peterson Trio and drummer Buddy Rich all jam on "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and there is also a ballad medley and a drum solo by Rich. In addition the Oscar Peterson Trio plays two numbers, the remarkable pianist Art Tatum (in one of his final appearances) has four, Ella Fitzgerald sings six songs (including a scat-filled "Airmail Special") and collaborates with Louis Armstrong on two others. For the grand finale nearly everyone returns to the stage for "When the Saints Go Marching In" which Armstrong sings and largely narrates, cheerfully introducing all of the participants. This is a historic and very enjoyable release featuring more than its share of classic greats.