Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Son of RE-RE-RE-UPPED: Otis Blackwell: Volume 2 with 20 more classic tunes

5/11/14: The download file is newly re-re-upped on Box.com. It lives again AGAIN!

Hi, gang! Well, here's a second volume of songs written or co-written by the great OTIS BLACKWELL! Many songs I'm looking for are elusive, so this set has a mere 20 tunes on it.
I had to settle for a couple of less-than-stellar renditions here. When Pat Boone and Mahalia Jackson record the same tune, and the only version I could find is Pat's, well, er, it's bound to suffer in comparison. You can find videos of Mahalia Jackson singing FOR MY GOOD FORTUNE on YouTube. The recording itself seems very hard to find, although it was issued as a single by Columbia Records, and seemed to do fairly well. The search goes on...

Among the highlights are Barbara Lynn's imaginative update on DON'T BE CRUEL, in a 1963 performance that rivals Elvis' own in soulful intensity and playfulness; two bouncy R&B tunes by Thurston Harris, best-known for LITTLE BITTY PRETTY ONE; four fine pieces by Jimmy Jones, highlighted by PARDON ME, a Brill Building-style beat-ballad with an awkward social scenario (imagine SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME where the nice guy doesn't win!); an alternate take of PRISCILLA by Blackwell's songwriting partner Eddie Cooley, with some studio chit-chat; Jerry Lee Lewis' rollicking take of LIVIN' LOVIN' WRECK and Charlie Gracie's smooth rockabilly pop on COOL BABY.
I find the vocal mannerisms of Frankie Valli annoying on APPLE OF MY EYE. I like that Otis Blackwell wrote the song in the studio bathroom in 15 minutes, according to legend.
Otis turns in fine performances of two songs--MUSIC AND FIRE (a natural title track for this set!) and a reworking of ALL SHOOK UP that differs substantially from Elvis' classic 1957 version.
Th' King checks in with two early '60s efforts--the overlooked ONE BROKEN HEART FOR SALE and '61's RETURN TO SENDER, a quintessential Blackwell souffle of romantic rejection and toe-tapping melody.
Download the album and artwork HERE--and enjoy!

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