Sunnyland Slim (1977) She Got That Jive (LP) Airway Records 4275

Sunnyland Slim

She Got That Jive 

1977

Airway Records 4275

*** Noteworthy


While he’d headed north to Memphis in the late 1920s, when he was in his early 20s and settled in Chicago in the late 1930s (Dahl), this 1977 outing is still soaked in the Mississippi mud of his rural birthplace.  It’s just dripping with it.


While he played with on countless classic Chicago blues dates and played alongside nearly every Chicago blues legend, and had in fact released plenty of his own sides, he never really became a household name for the casual listener.  Eventually he set up his own label, Airway, which released this set.  Likely they didn’t have all the latest studio technology and that just helps give this recording some nice basement sound that fits the blues like an old piano in the corner.

Mostly Slim and the band stick with slow and mid tempo numbers but get the thing chugging along like a fast train on the instrumental “Station Break.”  Along with the piano, Slim offers vocals on most of the cuts, Bonnie Lee lending her pipes to “Standing on the Corner.”  Fans of electric Chicago blues will likely find plenty to enjoy on this set.

— winch (author of )

Dahl, Bill.  “Sunnyland Slim.”  AMG to the Blues. 2nd Edition. 1999.

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Timi Yuro (1963) Make the World Go Away (LP) Liberty 3319

Timi Yuro

Make the World Go Away

Liberty 3319

1963

**** (recommended)

When an Italian-American from Chicago sings an album full of hillbilly songs, probably the last thing you’d expect is a set of soul music, but that’s what you get.


Not only is this a soul album, it’s a good one, likely coming out of Ray Charles’ albums from a few years earlier.  Like with Ray’s country albums, sometimes the arrangements are a bit much, but fortunately Yuro’s voice shines through.


If you’re looking for an intro to this talented singer, this is a good place to start.

— winch

author of

Tab Smith (1956) Red Hot and Cool Blue Moods (LP) United Records 003

 

Tab Smith

Red Hot and Cool Blue Moods

United Records 003

1956

*** noteworthy

 

While few remember Tab Smith today, he was flying high with success in the mid 50s, perhaps United Records’ (Chicago) answer to Earl Bostic.


This long player houses most of the instrumental sides Tab recorded for United during the mid 50s and provides a window to a world now mostly forgotten. And that’s unfortunate because artists such as Tab helped bridge the jazz of earlier decades to the music the masses would embrace in the decades that followed.  On the other hand, this isn’t part of the wild R&B of this era that clearly welcomes in rock and roll, and it’s not cutting edge jazz, so perhaps it’s not surprising that Tab’s music has been mostly forgotten.  It’s not proto-this or proto-that, and that’s often all the masses find interest in exploring.  But this is enjoyable music, earthy yet urban, full of tone and focused on feeling rather than showing off.  While this lacks the abandonment of much of the R&B from this era, this has more depth than much of the music of the 50s, without ever getting too serious like the innovative jazz of this decade.  It’s mood music with some meat.

There’s a sadness that runs through even the “red hot” numbers, and it’s sad that black artists such as Tab Smith aren’t remembered more.

— winch