Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1994, Fantasy Studios).
Liner Note Author: Billy Vera.
Recording information: ??/??/1947-01/22/1952.
Ranging from major hits to little-known rarities, this 1994 CD looks back at Specialty's jump blues output of the late '40s and early '50s. Specialty, which was founded in L.A. in 1945, was one of the most prolific independent labels when it came to jump blues, the music that ruled the dance floor in the African-American community after the swing era and before the emergence of soul music. A blend of swing and blues that started in the 1930s, jump blues was especially hot in the post-World War II years, when big bands were fading in popularity and it was clear that an innovative new form of jazz called bebop was great for listening but hardly great for dancing. The undeniable king of jump blues was Louis Jordan, who was a major influence on Joe Liggins, Jimmy Liggins, Roy Milton, Percy Mayfield, Joe Lutcher, and others on this CD. Some of the collection's better-known recordings include Joe Liggins' "Pink Champagne" (1950) and his 1950 remake of his 1945 hit "The Honeydripper," while its rarities include King Perry's amusing and previously unreleased "I Wonder Who's Boogin' My Woogie" and Mayfield's alternate takes of "I Dare You, Baby" and "The Hunt Is On." Though most of the material is decent, only some of it is essential or superb; this is a disc that contains too many rarities for the casual listener. So if you need a taste of Introductory Jump Blues 101, it's best to look elsewhere. But if you're a collector, this CD is certainly enjoyable. ~ Alex Henderson