Entertainment Weekly - 2/19/93, p.64
"...Now 40 years young, these frisky numbers still rock & roll like a cement mixer..." - Rating: A
Personnel includes: Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (vocals); Pete Lewis, Roy Gaines (guitar); Billy Harvey, James Von Streeter (tenor saxophone); Fred Ford (baritone saxophone); Don Johnson (trumpet); George Washington (trombone); Devonia Williams (piano); Albert Winston (bass); Leard Bell (drums).
Reissue producer: Andy McKaie.
Recorded in Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California from 1952-1957. Includes liner notes by Mary Katherine Aldin.
Digitally remastered by Erick Labson (MCA Studios, North Hollywood, California) except "Yes, Baby" (transferred from the original 78 r.p.m. by Steven Lasker, Venice, California).
HOUND DOG contains material recorded for Peacock Records from 1952-1958, much of which had been released in America only as singles.
Personnel: Big Mama Thornton (vocals); Muddy Waters, Pete "Guitar" Lewis, Roy Gaines (guitar); James Cotton (harmonica); James Von Streeter, Bill Harvey (tenor saxophone); Fred Ford (baritone saxophone); Don Johnson (trumpet); George Washington (trombone); Devonia Williams, Otis Spann (piano); Johnny Otis (vibraphone, drums); Francis Clay, Leard Bell (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Erick Labson.
Recording information: Houston; Los Angeles, CA.
If you've never heard Big Mama Thornton's version of "Hound Dog" (recorded years before Elvis Presley's legendary take)--or any of the singer's muscular R&B efforts--you'd do yourself a service to investigate this collection. The classic Leiber & Stoller cut opens this set on a torrid note, with its spare but inspired instrumentation and exceptionally well-executed canine-mimicking yelps from the singer. A nostalgic big-band feel pervades many of these cuts, especially the swinging "They Call Me Big Mama," the doo-wop-flecked "My Man Called Me," and the electric-guitar streaked "Rock-A-Bye Baby." The majority of the remaining tracks are down-and-out meditations typified by the dire 12-bar blues "Hard Times." Few can make feeling bad sound as good as Big Mama Thornton.