Leiber & Stoller Leiber & Stoller Present: The Spark Records Story
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- Released: June 25, 2001
- Label: Ace Records UK
Living Blues - 5-6/02, p.83"...West Coast R&B magic and mania at its absolute best."
- 1.The RobinsRiot in Cell Block #9
- 2.Willy & RuthLove Me
- 3.Honey BearsOne Bad Stud
- 4.Gil BernalKing Solomon's Blues
- 5.Big Boy GrovesI Gotta New Car
- 6.Mister RuffinBring It on Back
- 7.Sly FoxI'm Tired of Beggin'
- 8.The RobinsLoop de Loop Mambo
- 9.Willy & RuthFarewell
- 10.Gil BernalEasyville
- 11.Sly FoxHoo-Doo Say
- 12.Honey BearsI Shall Not Fail
- 13.The RobinsWhadaya Want?
- 14.Mister RuffinA Touch of Heaven (Just Around the Corner)
- 15.Big Boy GrovesMidnight Special
- 16.Sly FoxMy Four Women
- 17.Frankie MarshallJust Say the Word
- 18.Leiber & StollerSoft Winds
- 19.The RobinsI Must Be Dreamin'
- 20.Frankie MarshallNo One Else Will Ever Know
- 21.Sly FoxAlley Music
- 22.Ray AgeeWobble You
- 23.Garland The GreatStrike a Match
- 24.The RobinsThe Hatchet Man
- 25.Ray AgeeAnother Fool (Sings the Blues)
- 26.Garland The GreatTree Stump Jump
- 27.Gene & BillyIt's Hot
- 28.Ernie AndrewsIn the Still of the Night
- 29.Gene & BillyZerlene
- 30.The RobinsSmokey Joe's Cafe
Performers include: The Robins, Willy & Ruth, Honey Bears, Gene & Billy, Big Boy Groves, The Sly Fox, Ray Agee, Garland The Great, Gil Bernal, Mister Ruffin, Ernie Andrews.
Contains 30 tracks.
Liner Note Author: Randy Poe.
Before becoming fully established as national hit songwriters and producers with the Coasters, Elvis Presley, and others in the late '50s, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were two of the five partners in Los Angeles R&B indie label Spark. This collects 30 of the mid-'50s sides issued by the company, many of which were written and produced by Leiber and Stoller. In fact, this comprises the majority of Spark's output; it put out only 22 singles in all. Only three of these songs will be well-known: the Robins' classic comic R&B/rock numbers "Riot in Cell Block #9" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe," and Willy & Ruth's "Love Me," the original version of a song covered with considerable success by Presley in 1956. Just because the rest is damned obscure, however, doesn't mean it isn't worth checking out. Indeed, although Leiber and Stoller's talents had yet to blossom, this is a couple cuts above the norm for a mid-'50s R&B compilation. That's mostly because there's so much more humorous verve on this stuff than there was on much R&B and early rock that was immediately forgotten. The half-dozen cuts by the Robins (who, of course, evolved into the Coasters) are still the highlights, but there are exuberant jump blues and R&B novelties by the likes of the Honey Bears, Big Boy Groves & Band, and the Sly Fox (a raw bluesy cat by Spark's standards, or anyone's standards). Some routine ballads and straight R&B tunes are interwoven as well, but this is still recommended to both fans of Leiber and Stoller, and to R&B specialists looking for something that offers pleasure as well as scholarly insight. Blues harmonica player Garland the Great's "Strike a Match" was previously unreleased, and marks the first-ever appearance of this Leiber-Stoller composition. ~ Richie Unterberger
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