Various Artists

Just Shuckin' Around: Wild and Crazy L.A. R&B 1953-1963

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Just Shuckin' Around serves up two dozen slabs of wild-west R&B, baked to perfection in the Los Angeles sun. This is R&B at its most raucous and uninhibited, with none of the polish and sophistication of radio-friendly soul music. Instead, the music positively reeks of gin, violence, and sex, a potent reminder of why white conservative audiences found it so alarming. Culled from the small independent labels dotting the postwar L.A. landscape, these songs are both timeless and alien, as if beamed in from another galaxy. Add to the package comprehensive liner notes and a center foldout depicting the legendary Flash Record Store, and it becomes essential for listeners seeking an antidote to the antiseptic sheen of contemporary urban music. Highlights include Gil Bernal's "The Whip," Johnny Wright's "Wine Head," and Flash Terry's "Cool It."