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Various Artists

Modern Records Story

Format: CD   Release Date: 07/31/2001
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The Modern label was one of the top RB indies of the late '40s and '50s, continuing to release some soul, blues, and rock of note throughout the '60s as well. This 28-song anthology serves as a sampler and Ace promo of sorts, since the Ace label reissues many Modern products. On its own terms, though, it's a good collection of 1947-1967 RB-based music. Jump blues, raw blues, early rock, doo wop, and early soul are all heard over the course of the disc, with enough commonality in approach to make it a well-flowing listen. About half of these tunes were big RB hits, sometimes crossing over to the pop charts as well, including classics like Lowell Fulson's "Tramp," Ike Tina Turner's "I Can't Believe What You Say," the Cadets' "Stranded in the Jungle," Jesse Belvin's "Goodnight My Love," Marvin Johnny's "Cherry Pie" (covered for a hit by Skip Flip years later), John Lee Hooker's "In the Mood," and the Teen Queens' "Eddie My Love." The non-charters are important, too, however, as heard in entries such as Elmore James' "Dust My Blues," Young Jessie's "Mary Lou" (later covered by white rockers like Ronnie Hawkins), B.B. King's "Three O'Clock Blues," and Joe Houston's classic, rocking sax instrumental "All Night Long." It's a better compilation than most that focus on RB of this era, due both to the high level of the material and the pretty varied approaches within the RB umbrella. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

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