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Beale Street Beats, Vol. 1 - Home Of The Blues (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

This vinyl EP is a lot of fun. It features R&B and early soul music. The record comes with a classy booklet. It's packed full of strong tunes, too. There is only one that doesn't work as well for me as some of the rest do. All in all, this comes highly recommended.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.


Track by Track Review
Side One:
                       
Sammy Lawhorn - Home Of The Blues

The old-school surf-rock kind of sound to this instrumental is classy. The tune is a fun little rocker. The guitar soloing is pure retro gold.

Larry Birdsong - Little Schoolgirl
Horn lends something special to this. The rocker really grooves with a lot of style and charm. This is on fire, and so cool. The horn solo mid-track is on fire. I have to say that with modern eyes, the lyrical content of this is a bit unsettling.
Willie Cobbs - You're So Hard To Please
Here we get a tune that is more decidedly blues oriented. it's a slow one, and it's packed with emotion. This is great stuff.
Billy Yates - I Believe To My Soul
I dig the jazzy old-school rock and roll sound on this thing. It's another one of the strongest pieces here.
Roy Brown - Rocking All The Time
A high0energy stomper, this oozes retro cool. The horns bring a lot of magic to this, but don't miss the smoking hot piano work.
Side Two:
                     
Willie Mitchell - Thirty Five Thirty

Horn wailing brings this classy instrumental into being. It has a great swinging groove, and the melodies and energy are so strong. There is a definite jazz sensibility to much of the jamming, but it's all set in a rock and roll motif.

Billy Lee Riley - Teenage Letter

A bouncy, driving old-school rock and roll concept is at the heart of this. The piano and horns are both great touches, but it's the vocal delivery that really makes this one.

The '5' Royales - Goofball
There is a twisting kind of vibe here. This is another energetic and fun rocker.
Roy Brown - Sugar Baby
A doo-wop tune, this is solid, but not one of the standouts. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of this kind of music, so your mileage may vary.
Jimmy Dotson - Search No More
This might be the best song of the disc. It has a great sense of drama to the song structure. The multiple layers of vocals work so well together. This is actually quite sublime.
 
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