Arthur Gunter, a seemingly obscure blues singer will never be forgotten because he holds a unique place in American pop history. His first recording, 'Baby Let's Play House' in 1954 for Excello Records of Nashville became one of the first recordings by Elvis Presley. This is the first time both sides of his Excello singles have been collected together in chronological order and the quality of these sessions are all exciting and typical of the kind of blues popular in the south.
Listen to the sounds of Arthur Gunter and wonder at the impression it must have had on the young Elvis Presley - stunning by all accounts. This collection is a must for blues and R&B fans.
Stanley Clarke stretches his muscles and comes up with a mostly impressive, polystylistic, star-studded double album (now on one CD) that gravitates ever closer to the R&B mainstream. Clarke's writing remains strong and his tastes remain unpredictable, veering into rock, electronic music, acoustic jazz, even reggae in tandem with British rocker Jeff Beck. Clarke's excursion into disco, "Just a Feeling," is surprisingly and infectiously successful, thanks to a good bridge and George Duke's galvanizingly funky work on the Yamaha electric grand piano (his finest moment with Clarke by far). The brief "Blues for Mingus," a wry salute from one master bassist to another (Mingus died about six months before this album's release), is a cool acoustic breather for piano trio, and the eloquent Stan Getz can be detected, though nearly buried under the garish vocals and rock-style mix, on "The Streets of Philadelphia."
Most musicians when asked to give a list of their favorite composers will usually have at the top, or near the top of the list George Gershwin. They feel that Gershwin wrote in such a fashion that it gives them the most room for improvisation. You will always find that when people are asked to do albums of various composers, invariably Gershwin is on the list. Buddy DeFranco has recorded many albums for me and for two years has been insisting that he be allowed to do a Gershwin album, and this is it…
Smothered by the indulgence of his rock star ranking, Jack White steps into the eccentricities of the supergroup, and at first glance, this seems to be a band where White's imposing presence could overshadow the rest. Not the case with these Raconteurs. Teaming with fellow Detroit songwriter Brendan Benson and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, the rhythm section from Cincinnati band the Greenhornes, White exhales a bit, deferring enough to his mates to make Broken Boy Soldiers play like a team effort. Following the Benson blueprint, "Steady as She Goes," which opens as a slice of 1960's radio pop, the record steers away from pigeonholing the rest of the way. White's in a Middle Eastern mood for the title track as he pulls off a wicked Robert Plant howl, while Lawrence and Keeler excel on the chorus-strong "Intimate Secretary" and the optimistic acoustic rocker "Yellow Sun." Like so many all-star bands before them, The Raconteurs could be one and done. But don't place the blame on this fertile and genuine debut.