Formed by brothers Saul Bihari and Jules Bihari in 1945, Modern Records was one of the truly great record labels of the rise of rhythm & blues, and while this is the fourth disc in Ace's Yet More Mellow Cats 'N' Kittens series of collections drawn from Modern's back catalog, this disc leaves no doubt that there's still plenty worthwhile stuff left in their vaults. Featuring a handful of unreleased tracks along with classic 78 sides, Yet More Mellow Cats 'N' Kittens focuses on some of the lesser-known acts who recorded for Modern, though Johnny Otis and Little Esther team up for the fine and bluesy "I Got a Guy," and Jimmy Witherspoon wails hard on "I'm Just a Country Boy." But if names like Felix Gross, the Nic-Nacs, Edna Broughton, and Geechie Smith aren't as immediately recognizable, the music they left behind is great stuff, and the two dozen numbers here run the gamut from gutbucket jump blues with screaming guitars to smooth proto-doo wop harmony singing. Highlights include the Three Bits of Rhythm's mildly blue novelty item "I Used to Work in Chicago," the high-strutting blues of the Herb Fisher Trio's "Doggone Shame," a mess of rollicking piano from Jesse Perry on "Jesse's Bogie," some high-octane swing courtesy Johnny Alston's "I'm Feeling Fine," the mellow midnight harmonies of the Ebonaires' "We're in Love," and Louis Barnett & His Boppers' timely editorial on financial solvency, "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is." If you dig classic R&B from the pre-rock & roll era, this will leave you satisfied and wishing for more, and with any luck, Ace has another tour through the Modern archives in the works.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming