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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ruth Brown

Juke Box Pearls: Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit that I'd not heard of Ruth Brown before. That's a real shame, but I'm glad I have heard of her now. In fairness, this era of music is one that's not among my favorites, so I don't know a lot of the history of it. Well, after hearing this album, I think Ruth Brown should have been regarded as one of the greats of early rock and roll. The woman could sing, and this music is exceptionally strong. There are songs I like better than others, but this is stronger beginning to end than a lot of sets from that time. I would say that the song "Hello Little Boy" is the rock and roll that Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis wish they were doing. Don't get me wrong, I like both of the music both of those guys created. It is just that this song was ahead of its time in terms of intensity and raw energy. I should also mention, the whole package here, book, digipack and CD is of the usual high quality one expects from Bear Family Records. It should be noted that the sequence of tracks I have listed is different than on the CD cover. That's because the cover is wrong. I did my list in the order the songs actually appear on the CD. I've noted which songs are changed in the track reviews of those pieces.

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Track by Track Review
This Little Girl's Gone Rockin’
Starting acapella, the cut works out to a driving rocking jam after the introduction. The saxophone solo on this is all class.
Lucky Lips
With honking horns, and a bit less driving arrangement, this is a classy tune that lands closer in the zone of the contemporary pop of the time. I like this, but not nearly as much as the opener.
Hello Little Boy
Now, this is really driving and powerful. It's the kind of thing Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard might do, but it's harder edged and rawer. The horn soloing on the cut gets downright crazed. This thing is so intense and driving.
It's Love (24 Hours A day)
With a healthy helping of blues in the mix, this is a 50s rock ballad. It's a powerful tune that works really well.
Mambo Baby
This cut doesn't work as well for me. It's sort of a doo wop thing. The backing vocals bug the heck out of me. I do like the piano and the lead vocals, though. There is a jazz sort of arrangement to the musical background that works pretty well. There is a tasty saxophone solo on the cut.
5-10-15 Hours
Rock and roll and jazz combine their grooves on this tune. it has a great energy and vibe. It has some killer horn work, too. It's not my favorite thing here, but it works well.
Jim Dandy
I've always liked this tune in various versions. This one is a particularly strong one. The horn wailing is on fire. The whole tune moves and grooves. It's just a fun song.
Smooth Operator
The bouncy kind of energy on this song works really well. It's more of a bluesy, jazzy kind of piece, but it still has some rock and roll in the mix.
Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean
Jazzy rock and roll is at the heart of this energetic piece of music. It's a lot of fun.
Sweet Baby Of Mine
The jazzy, bluesy groove on this tune reminds me of the song "Fever." The vocal arrangement really sells this, but don't ignore the classy guitar fills. The guitar solo just screams "cool," too.
Wild, Wild Young Men
More of a driving energy is at the heart of this tune. It's a jazz type piece. Again, the vocals are the real winner here. The instrumental section is fun, though.
I Want To Do More
I should note that this song is actually listed as the 14th song on the album, but it's in the twelfth slot on the CD. So, I've corrected it in the track listing, which means it doesn't match the listing on the album. This has a swinging groove to it. It's a fun little number that works pretty well. This rock and roller is classy.
Bye Bye Young Man
Now, this one is listed at track 12, but it's actually the 13th. Again, I've adjusted it, so this won't match the track list on the CD. This has some doo wop vocals along with a rock and roll meets jazzy blues arrangement. This works pretty well, but is not one of my favorites here.       
I Can't Hear A Word You Say
The final track of the three that had their positions wrong on the track list, this is the 14th tune, but listed as 13 on the disc. I love the jazzy, bluesy groove on this. The horn arrangement and backing vocals are just about perfect, and this is just all class. It's actually one of my favorites here.
As Long As I'm Moving
This has a driving groove and plenty of blues and jazz in the mix. It's a fun rocker that works well.
Papa Daddy
The rock and roll groove of this is tempered with some jazz elements. I dig the horn solo, and the catchy hooks of the tune are solid. It's not one of my favorites here, though.           
I Gotta Have You (& Clyde McPhatter)
Now, this jazzy blues number is so strong. The horns and piano are perfect. The vocals are top-notch. The whole tune just works really well. This is a highlight of the set as far as I'm concerned.
Anyone But You
The backing vocals bring doo wop to the tune. The number is a slow moving ballad. The lead vocals work best of anything on this song. This isn't a favorite, but it is effective.
I Can See Everybody's Baby
I dig the slow bluesy groove on this number. The saxophone solo is classy. It has some doo wop backing vocals, but they work pretty well. Given that I'm not a fan of doo wop, that says a lot.
I Don't Know
Now, this song screams "cool." It's a bluesy little slow moving piece. It's one of the standout pieces here.
Walk With Me, Lord
A gospel sort of slow blues groove is on display here. The tune is strong, but not one of my favorites. That said, the vocal performance is so strong and evocative.
Don't Deceive Me
Contemporary pop music is blended with a bluesy concept on this piece of music. This one doesn't really work that well for me. The arrangement seems a little precious.
I Burned Your Letter
The fun is back with this rock and roller. It's a good time. The section later that gets into a little bit of musical theater doesn't work so well for me, though.
The Door Is Still Open
This balladic piece has a real contemporary pop vibe. The arrangement on this really hurts it for me. It's too fluff-laden. Still, the vocals work.
Why Don't You Do Right
A classic tune, this gets a bluesy, jazzy kind of treatment that's all class. I dig the classic instrumental movement.
I'm Just A Lucky So And So
Another that is built around jazz and blues, this is a strong tune, but not a standout.
Sea Of Love
A lot of music fans will know of this song as having been covered by Robert Plant's band "The Honeydrippers."  This version is a similar arrangement, but the cut works better here to my ears.
Bonus Tracks
Teardrops From My Eyes (Live)

There is a little humorous dialog as an introduction here. This live cut has a killer jazzy groove to it. This energetic and fun.         

Tears Come Tumbling Down (Live)
This live rock and roller is an entertaining one. The horns wail, and the whole tune drives and swings. The instrumental section brings some serious jazz to the table.   
Oh What A Dream (Live)
There is some dialog at the beginning of this number, too. A mellower, balladic approach with a stripped back arrangement is on display here. This tune works reasonably well, but the recording doesn't help that at all. The recording leaves something to be desired.    
Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean (Live)
This energetic tune works pretty well here. The recording isn't great, but it doesn't detract as much as it did on the previous piece.
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