Cleo Brown Complete Recorded Works
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by Bessie Smith ~ Empress of the Blues, Volume 2: 1926-1933 (4-CD Box Set) $24.26
- Released: June 9, 2008
- Label: Document
- 1.(Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie
- 2.(Lookie, Lookie, Lookie) Here Comes Cookie - (alternate take)
- 3.You're a Heavenly Thing
- 4.You're a Heavenly Thing - (alternate take)
- 5.I'll Take the South (You Take the East, Take the West, Take the North)
- 6.I'll Take the South (You Take the East, Take the West, Take the North)
- 7.Stuff is Here and It's Mellow
- 8.Stuff is Here and It's Mellow - (alternate take)
- 10.Boogie-Woogie - (alternate take)
- 11.'Way Back Home
- 12.Pelican Stomp
- 13.Never Too Tired To Love
- 14.Never Too Tired For Love
- 15.Give a Broken Heart a Break
- 16.Give a Broken Heart a Break
- 17.Mama Don't Want No Peas an' Rice an' Coconut Oil
- 18.Mama Don't Want No Peas an' Rice an' Coconut Oil - (alternate take)
- 19.Me and My Wonderful One
Personnel: Cleo Brown (vocals, piano); Ella Logan (vocals); Perry Botkin and His Orchestra, Perry Botkin (guitar); Artie Bernstein (bass instrument); Gene Krupa (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Gary Atkinson.
Liner Note Authors: Gillian George; Gillian George.
Recording information: New York, NY (03/12/1935-06/08/1935).
With her kinetic stride piano style and her sassy, wispy voice, Cleo Brown had the talent, energy, and personality to be a big star, but somehow the fates managed to overlook her. One wonders how on earth that could possibly be, since the evidence presented on this delightful, bubbling collection (in spite of its title, this isn't Brown's complete recorded works, documenting instead sessions she did between March and June in 1935) shows an artist impossible to ignore. Known as the Queen of Stride Piano, Brown combined Fats Waller-like stride piano with a fragile, wispy, and yet joyously compelling vocal style, creating a fascinating body of work that manages to be equal parts blues, jazz, and pop (and sometimes all three at once). The sessions presented here, for which Decca assembled one of the best house bands the label ever had, one that featured guitar wizard Perry Botkin and a young Gene Krupa on drums, show Brown at her absolute best. Every track is a delight, but among the highlights featured here are the vibrant and infectious "Mama Don't Want No Peas an' Rice an' Coconut Oil," the classic reefer song "The Stuff Is Here and It's Mellow," the romping "Pelican Stomp," where Brown shows off her considerable piano skills, and the wry "Give a Broken Heart a Break." Even the alternate takes (and there are several here) are fascinating. This is jive done as only Brown could do it, making this set definitely the place to start. ~ Steve Leggett
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