The Classic Early Recordings: 51-56 [Box]

The Classic Early Recordings: 51-56 [Box]

by Elmore JamesElmore James


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Although a few hardcore electric Chicago blues fans might take offense at the remark, Elmore James' work does not comprise the most varied discography among major bluesmen. So a single-disc survey of his material, whether it covers the first five years or so of his career (as this three-CD anthology does) or a longer period, works better as both a general introduction and a more listenable compilation than a box set does. If you're a completist who does want everything known to exist that he laid down in the studio between August 1951 and January 1956, however, this 71-track compilation is the most thorough retrospective of that era likely to be produced. In addition to including songs that were not issued in any form until after his death (and sometimes long after his passing), there are multiple takes of specific tunes, alternates, false starts, studio chatter, instrumental version, songs on which he guested for J.T. Brown and Little Johnny Jones, and so forth. Indeed, there are so many multiple versions on this release that even the liner notes take care to suggest custom-programming the CD sequence if you'd rather not hear them all in a row. For all the if-we-can-find-it-release-it mentality driving this collection, however, it really is pretty listenable, at least if you like James and early- to mid-'50s Chicago blues a lot. For one thing, it does include a couple of big hits, those being James' original 1952 version of "Dust My Broom" and the 1953 Top Ten R&B hit "I Believe." More relevantly, James played and sang consistently well even on the material that languished in the vault. Plus all those multiple versions aren't wholly repetitive; James occasionally makes changes to the lyrics and music, though the similarity of style from song to song is prevalent enough that you have to be paying close attention to catch all of these. Some fans primarily familiar with James through his Delta-soaked electric slide guitar playing (and there's plenty of that here) will also be surprised at the commercial R&B edge to many of the sides, though it's commercial in the better sense of that term, often with horns and piano urbanizing James' approach. The 40-page booklet has a wealth of information, vintage photos, and a detailed sessionography, increasing its appeal to those who want all things James. [Initially released in 1993 in long-box packaging, The Classic Early Recordings 1951-1956 was reissued by Ace in 2007 as a standard-sized three-CD set with a different cover.]

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/28/2007
Label: Ace Records Uk
UPC: 0029667000420
catalogNumber: 4
Rank: 52957


Disc 1

  1. Dust My Broom
  2. Please Find My Baby
  3. Hawaiian Boogie
  4. Please Find My Baby
  5. Hand in Hand
  6. Long Tall Woman
  7. Rock My Baby Right
  8. One More Drink
  9. My Baby's Gone (Won't Be Back No More)
  10. One More Drink
  11. Lost Woman Blues (aka Please Find My Baby)
  12. I Believe (My Time Ain't Long)
  13. I Held My Baby Last Night
  14. Baby What's Wrong
  15. Sinful Woman
  16. Round House Boogie aka Sax Symphonic Boogie
  17. Dumb Woman Blues
  18. Sax-Ony Boogie
  19. Kickin' the Blues Around (aka Flaming Blues)
  20. I May Be Wrong aka Boogie-Woogie [A.k.a. Boogie-Woogie (I May Be Wrong)
  21. Sweet Little Woman

Disc 2

  1. Early in the Morning
  2. Can't Stop Lovin' My Baby
  3. Hawaiian Boogie
  4. Make a Little Love
  5. My Best Friend
  6. Make My Dreams Come True
  7. Make My Dreams Come True
  8. Make My Dreams Come True
  9. Make My Dreams Come True
  10. Strange Kinda Feeling
  11. Strange Kinda Feeling
  12. Strange Kinda Feeling
  13. Strange Kinda Feeling
  14. Strange Kinda Feeling
  15. Strange Kinda Feeling
  16. Dark and Dreary
  17. Dark and Dreary
  18. Dark and Dreary
  19. Quarter Past Nine
  20. Where Can My Baby Be
  21. Where Can My Baby Be
  22. Where Can My Baby Be
  23. Please Come Back to Me (Sho' Nuff I Do)
  24. Sho' Nuff I Do
  25. Sho' Nuff I Do
  26. Sho' Nuff I Do
  27. 1839 Blues
  28. I Got a Strange Baby
  29. Canton, Mississippi Breakdown

Disc 3

  1. Standing at the Crossroads
  2. Late Hours at Midnight
  3. Happy Home
  4. Sunny Land
  5. The Way You Treat Me (aka Mean and Evil)
  6. No Love in My Heart
  7. Dust My Blues
  8. I Was a Fool
  9. Blues Before Sunrise
  10. Good Bye (Baby)
  11. So Mean to Me
  12. So Mean to Me
  13. So Mean to Me
  14. Wild About You Baby
  15. Wild About You Baby
  16. Wild About You Baby
  17. Elmo's Shuffle
  18. Elmo's Shuffle
  19. Elmo's Shuffle
  20. Long Tall Woman
  21. Long Tall Woman

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elmore James   Primary Artist,Guitar,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Johnny Jones   Piano,Vocals
Boyd Atkins   Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
J.T. Brown   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals,Track Performer
Maxwell Davis   Tenor Saxophone
Frank Fields   Bass
Edward Frank   Piano
Jewell L. Grant   Baritone Saxophone
Ralph Hamilton   Bass
Raymond Hill   Tenor Saxophone
Ike Turner   Guitar,Piano
Ransom Knowling   Bass
Willard McDaniel   Piano
Frock O'Dell   Drums
Odie Payne   Drums
Earl Palmer   Drums
James Parr   Trumpet
Jesse Sailes   Drums
Unk   Bass,Drums,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Leonard Ware   Bass
Sonny Boy Williamson   Harmonica
Sonny Boy Williamson [II]   Harmonica
Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis   Tenor Saxophone
Elmore James & His Broomdusters   Track Performer
Ralph "Chuck" Hamilton   Bass

Technical Credits

Leroy Carr   Composer
Johnny Jones   Arranger,Contributor
Roger Armstrong   Contributor
Elmore James   Arranger,Composer
Robert Johnson   Composer
Bob Jones   Contributor,Disc Dub
Marshall Sehorn   Composer
Ray Topping   Producer,Liner Notes,Vocal Coordinator
Hudson Whittaker   Composer
Lillian McMurry   Producer
Carol Fawcett   Vocal Coordinator
Joe Josea   Composer
Jules Taub   Composer
Sam Ling   Composer
Joe Bihari   Composer,Producer
Robert Sacre   Photo Courtesy
Bob Jones   Disc Dub

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