Wail Man Wail!

King Curtis
FORMAT: Audio CD - 3 Disc
Release date: 17 Sep 2012

'Stellar Compilation' 4/5 RECORD COLLECTOR

'This 3-CD package does a sterling job' VINTAGE ROCK


'A magnificent package' NOW DIG THIS


CAT No: FVTD088UPC TEXT: 5055311000886

Full details

The Best Of King Curtis 1952-1961  – Saxophone titan King Curtis gets the stellar showcase he deserves on Dave Penny’s latest career-defining set for Fantastic Voyage, continuing the roll which has seen the label raise the benchmark for knowledgeable, expertly-annotated compilations.

Over three discs and nearly 100 tracks, Wail Man Wail! traverses the unmistakable tones of the late Curtis Ousley after he arrived from Texas in New York City in 1952, winning amateur night at Harlem’s Apollo before embarking on a recording career which took him to several seminal independent labels and bands with the likes of Lester Young and Lionel Hampton. He settled in New York for 17 years, declaring himself King Curtis and quickly making a name for roaring instrumentals and enhancing countless sessions. With the assistance of K.C. expert Roy Simmonds, Dave Penny has excelled himself in providing both beginner’s guide and record collector’s magnet, starting with Curtis’ riproaring role in the earliest days of rock ’n’ roll on CD1, collating outings under his own name for labels such as RPM, Gem, Apollo, DeLuxe, Atlantic/Atco, ABC-Paramount, Everest and Sue, also encompassing his time with Alan Freed’s rock ’n’ roll orchestra. Titles include his debut, ‘Tenor In The Sky’, ‘Honeydripper’, ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Wicky Wacky’. Discs 2 and 3 chart some of his many memorable recording sessions from between 1952 to 1957, then 1958 to 1961, respectively, names including Solomon Burke, the Willows, Roy Gaines, Neil Sedaka, Wilbert Harrison, Ruth Brown, the Coasters, Waylon Jennings, Lionel Hampton, Bobby Darin, Chuck Willis, the Avons, the Willows, Mickey & Sylvia, the Nitecaps and obscurities such as Washboard Bill.

King Curtis was yet another name to fall victim to an early demise, in his case stabbed to death in 1971 after challenging two junkies using drugs outside his Manhattan apartment. Just the groin-rasping solo on ‘Jest Smoochin’’ is enough to convince anyone with a heart and soul that they’re in the presence of greatness. There are scores of similar moments on Wail Man Wail!, the latest instalment in Fantastic Voyage’s The Architects Of Rock ’N’ Roll series, and an exemplary tribute to one of the musical giants of the last century.




  1. No More Crying On My Pillow
  2. Tenor In The Sky
  3. Movin' On
  4. Rockabye Baby
  5. Open Up
  6. King's Rock
  7. Dynamite At Midnight
  8. The Stranger
  9. Steel Guitar Rag
  10. Wicky Wacky, Pt. 1
  11. Wicky Wacky, Pt. 2
  12. The Count And The King [with Count Hastings]
  13. The King
  14. Battle Royal [with Count Hastings]
  15. Jest Smoochin'
  16. Birth Of The Blues
  17. Ilfic
  18. You Made Me Love You
  19. Castle Rock
  20. Chili
  21. Honeydripper, Pt. 1
  22. Honeydripper, Pt. 2
  23. Peter Gunn
  24. Heavenly Blues
  25. Restless Guitar
  26. King Neptune's Guitar
  27. Beatnik Hoedown
  28. The Lone Prairie
  29. Jay Walk
  30. St Louis Blues
  31. My Babe
  32. Hot-Rod


  1. Melvin Daniels: I'll Be There
  2. Bob Kent: Korea, Korea
  3. Melvin Daniels: Boogie In The Moonlight
  4. Doc Pomus: Work, Little Carrie, Work
  5. The Sparks Of Rhythm: Woman, Woman, Woman
  6. Solomon Burke: Why Do Me That Way
  7. Mr Bear & His Bearcats: Mr Bear Comes To Town
  8. Varetta Dillard: If (You Want To Be My Baby)
  9. Roy Gaines: Dee Dat Dee Dum Dum
  10. Big Connie: Mumbles Blues
  11. The Tibbs Brothers: I'm Going Crazy
  12. The Nitecaps: Bamboo Rock 'n' Roll
  13. The Cues: Yes Sir!
  14. Washboard Bill: In The Morning
  15. The Avons: Our Love Will Never End
  16. The Willows: Don't Push, Don't Pull, Don't Shove
  17. Sonny Thompson: Gum Shoe
  18. Mickey & Sylvia: I'm Going Home
  19. The Nitecaps: Oh! You Sweet Girl
  20. Sam Price: Rib Joint
  21. Rudy Greene: Juicy Fruit
  22. Sammy Lowe: Wail Man Wail
  23. Rudy Greene: You're The One For Me
  24. Washboard Bill: Pot Likker
  25. The Pearls: Ice Cream Baby
  26. The Five Keys: Handy Andy
  27. The Twin-Tones: Before You Go
  28. Big Maybelle: Blues, Early Early, Pts. 1 & 2
  29. Walter Spriggs: Rack 'Em Back
  30. The Diamonds: The Stroll