Like most independent labels, Gotham Records had a number of contacts in different cities and in an effort to diversify its catalogue, owner Ivin Ballen not only recoded artists from outside his Philadelphia base, but also bought recordings from existing companies and purchased masters from record companies who were defunct or closing down. This release of extremely rare material contains seven recordings purchased by Ballen in 1950 from Roy Milton's "Miltone" label and seven recordings purchased by Gotham's 20th Century subsidiary during the late forties from J. Mayo Williams, a Chicago-based promoter and blues "entrepreneur."
Includes liner notes by Tony Burke.
Personnel: Harry Dial (vocals); Eddie Gibbs, Emmett Spicer, Leroy Foster (guitar); Henry Jones (clarinet); Caughey Roberts (alto saxophone); Hosea Sapp, Reuben Reeves (trumpet); Alfred Bell, James Bowman , Lee Brown, Camille Howard (piano); Roy Milton (drums).
Liner Note Author: Tony Burke.
Unknown Contributor Role: Lee Brown.
Collectables' Philadelphia Boogie has nothing to do with the city; rather, the title comes from one of the songs contained within. The tracks on the collection are by artists from all over the U.S. and were released during the '40s and '50s by labels like Roy Milton's Milltone and Ivin Ballen's Gotham subsidiary, 20th Century. The tracks are a nice mix of jump-jazz swingers and laid-back blues ballads. None of the songs are lost classics or even all that original, but the 38 minutes you spend listening to the disc will fly by pleasantly. The tracks that stand out are Lee Brown's rollicking "Bobbie Town Boogie," James Carter's narcoleptic piano blues "Let Me Be Your Coalman," Duke Groner's easy take on the Dinah Washington classic "New Blowtop Blues," Jesse Price's "Just Before Sunrise" (which features some greasy tenor work by Buddy Floyd), and Great Gates' ramshackle "Come Back Home" (on which the guitar player can barely be contained before breaking out with a wonderfully slurred solo). Philadelphia Boogie is hardly the place to start building a jump blues or pre-rock & roll boogie collection; it is a nice but nonessential addition to an already well-appointed collection, however. ~ Tim Sendra