Blues shouter Wynonie Harris made his biggest impact while on the King label between 1948-1952. Alongside contemporary jump blues singer Roy Brown, Harris helped lay the foundations of rock & roll at the Cincinnati-based company, scoring such smashes as "Good Rockin' Tonight" (a Brown composition), "Bloodshot Eyes," and "All She Wants to Do Is Rock." Although Harris' beginnings were less auspicious, his talent was certainly in full view from the start; this first of three Classics discs makes the case with 22 of the finest slices of early R&B from the mid-'40s. In addition to such early hits as "Playful Baby" and "Wynonie's Blues," the mix contains lower-profile gems like the bop-infused "Everybody's Boogie" and the sonorous "Papa Tree Top." Harris' first recordings with bandleader Lucky Millinder, "Hurry, Hurry" and "Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well," are also included. And besides Millinder, the collection features the likes of Illinois Jacquet, a young Charles Mingus, and a combo comprised of drummer Johnny Otis, trumpeter Howard McGhee, and tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards. A perfect disc for fans wanting to dig deeper into the Harris catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook