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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Big Joe Turner

The Complete Boss Of The Blues

Review by Gary Hill

This is a new double CD reissue of a classic blues album from the 1950s. Don't expect guitar-based blues here. This is of the jazz variety, and it's very strong. Both discs include the same main album. The first disc is a stereo mix, while the second is a mono mix. They both have bonus tracks that are mostly alternate takes. The bonuses on each disc are unique from one another. The set also includes a great booklet. This is a great introduction to an exceptional blues album.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
CD1
            
Cherry Red

There is some classy jazzy blues at the heart of this number. It's slow moving, with a shuffling sort of groove.

Roll ‘em Pete
High energy rocking sound is at the heart of this number. It's a fun cut with a great swing to it.
I Want a Little Girl
This is another slow cut. The bluesy sound on this is so classy.
Low Down Dog
I love the up-tempo jazz jam that brings this into being.  This fun little stomper is one of my favorites here.
Wee Baby Blues
I dig the classy piano on this number. The cut has such style and class. The horn solo on this is magic. At over seven minutes of music, this is the longest song here. It's also one of the best tunes.
You’re Driving Me Crazy
There is a killer swing to this number. It's such a classy tune. This is another standout piece. The horn-solo-based instrumental section is so strong. 
How Long Blues
This really is a classic jazzy blues number. It's another potent cut.
Morning Glories
I love the swinging groove to this number. It's another winner on a disc that's full of them. The horn soloing is so classy, too.             
St Louis Blues
Another smoking hot vintage tune, this swings and sways nicely. It has some great instrumental work, too.
Piney Brown Blues
I love the piano work on this number. I think I like the vocal performance on this one better than on any of the others. It's really an exceptional slow blues tune. The instrumental section later in the song is among the best of the whole disc, too.
Pennies from Heaven
The jazz groove on this works well, but this is not one of my favorites.
Roll ‘em Pete (Take 4)
Somehow this seems more lively than the earlier take of the piece It really has a fierce energy and drive to it here.
Roll ‘em Pete (Take 5)
The final take of this cut on this set, this is solid, but perhaps not my favorite rendition.
Cherry Red Blues (Take 1)
Another alternate take, this works pretty well.
Cherry Red Blues (Takes 2 and 3)
They do a partial version here, and then stop it. We get some studio talk and then take three.
Morning Glories (Takes 1 and 2)
Here get a couple alternate takes of the earlier song. You could probably gather that from the title and parenthetical, though.
Low Down Dog (Take 4)
The final alternate version, this is also effective.
CD2
                
Cherry Red

There is some classy jazzy blues at the heart of this number. It's slow moving, with a shuffling sort of groove.

Roll ‘em Pete
High energy rocking sound is at the heart of this number. It's a fun cut with a great swing to it.
I Want a Little Girl
This is another slow cut. The bluesy sound on this is so classy.
Low Down Dog
I love the up-tempo jazz jam that brings this into being.  This fun little stomper is one of my favorites here.
Wee Baby Blues
I dig the classy piano on this number. The cut has such style and class. The horn solo on this is magic. At over seven minutes of music, this is the longest song here. It's also one of the best tunes.
You’re Driving Me Crazy
There is a killer swing to this number. It's such a classy tune. This is another standout piece. The horn-solo-based instrumental section is so strong.                  
How Long Blues
This really is a classic jazzy blues number. It's another potent cut.
Morning Glories
I love the swinging groove to this number. It's another winner on a disc that's full of them. The horn soloing is so classy, too.          
St Louis Blues
Another smoking hot vintage tune, this swings and sways nicely. It has some great instrumental work, too.
Piney Brown Blues
I love the piano work on this number. I think I like the vocal performance on this one better than on any of the others. It's really an exceptional slow blues tune. The instrumental section later in the song is among the best of the whole disc, too.
Pennies from Heaven
The jazz groove on this works well, but this is not one of my favorites.
Testing the Blues
I love the old school party vibe of this thing. It is so much fun. More of a jam there is no lead vocal on this. In fact, it's more of an instrumental take, but you can hear some voices, more as crowd sound, on it.
St Louis Blues (Take 1)
Here we get another inspiring rendition of this tune. I might like this better than the main version.
You’re Driving Me Crazy
While this isn't labeled as an alternate take, it is shorter than the version on the main part of the album. It's classy in this format.
I Want a Little Girl (Takes 1 and 3)
And, truth in advertising on display, we get a couple takes of this track. The first one is stopped for someone "holding it too long." The second take is all class.
 
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