May 2014

May releases from Fantastic Voyage visit  iconic Chicago label Chess and take two very different looks at female vocalists.

Compiled by Lois Wilson (Record Collector, Mojo), Chicago Bound is an 86-track selection of prime blues, R&B and rock & roll, drawn from Chess, associated labels Checker and Argo, and predecessor Aristocrat. Its three CDs “take in all corners of the iconic label’s output”, according to Vintage Rock, while the Now Dig This reviewer observed that some of its tracks “will be unfamiliar to all but the most fanatical Chess aficionado and I can do nothing less than wholeheartedly recommend it to all fans of houserocking R&B and blues.” Nuff said, except that Lois has also selected 32 tracks for a dancefloor-friendly limited 2LP vinyl edition.

Lipstick, Powder & Paint is Austin Powell’s celebration of A Decade Of Girls 1953-1962. Packaged with a delicious 20pp illustrated booklet, the 90 tracks offer a broad survey of female vocal pop, to offer “some good-sized hits along with many decent obscurities” according to Record Collector, concluding “there’s something for everyone here”. “Here come the girls, with 90 pop nuggets”, announced Vintage Rock,  describing the 3CD set as “a rounded listen that takes in all the big names”, drawing attention to “a welcome handful of R&B and country” sides.

Remaining with female vocalists, Voodoo Voodoo has been compiled by pop historian Dave Penny, and turns the spotlight on predominantly R&B vocalists, mostly performing with big bands in the rhythm & rock era 1949-1959. With 90 tracks and names such as Ella Johnson, LaVern Baker, Ella Mae Morse, Dinah Washington, Little Esther and Chubby Newsom, this is real roots of rock & roll stuff. “Blazing R&B from the powerhouses that shook the planet. Can’t get enough!” was Vintage Rock’s verdict, with which we heartily concur. With vinyl aficionados and the club scene in mind, Dave has also selected 32 cuts for a limited 2LP edition.