Various Artists

You Talk Too Much: The Ric & Ron Story, Vol. 1

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Ric & Ron are legendary New Orleans labels from the late '50s and early '60s, both founded by Joe Ruffino. Naming his twin labels after his sons, Ruffino didn't draw much of a distinction between his imprints, but Ric arrived first, with the recordman issuing a handful of sides he inherited from Ace before moving into local New Orleans artists he recruited with the assistance of Edgar Blanchard, who was hired as head of A&R. Blanchard didn't stick around long and his replacements Harold Battiste and Mac Rebennack --- later better known as Dr. John -- helped Ruffino build a N.O. R&B empire that was the stuff of legend. It wasn't always the stuff of hits, however, with only a handful of singles breaking outside of the Big Easy, including Joe Jones' robust "You Talk Too Much." That single lends its title to this 2014 compilation from Ace UK (not the same label as the '50s, to be clear) and what's striking about this 24-track history is how high-caliber all the music is. Many of the names are familiar -- Professor Longhair, Johnny Adams, Eddie Bo, Chris Kenner, Robert Parker, Irma Thomas, and Tommy Ridgley are on the front guard of New Orleans R&B -- but aside from 'Fess pounding out "Go to the Mardi Gras" (and a previously unreleased demo of "Tipitina") they're not here with songs that are among their best-known. That doesn't mean they're in off-form. Ric & Ron captured the best New Orleans R&B, specializing in sides that were heavy on both the rhythm and blues and rhumba, while slyly avoiding the manic rock & roll that also was being made in the Crescent City around that time. Eddie Lang comes close with his wild "She's Mine, All Mine" and Kenner's "Rocket to the Moon" and Ridgley's "Let's Try and Talk It Over" have a friendly roll and slight polish that could've made them crossover hits. Things didn't break that way for these or any single beside "You Talk Too Much," but this necessary volume illustrates the depth of talent that existed in New Orleans at the turn of the '60s and how Ruffino, Battiste, and Rebennack were smart enough to capture many of the very best musicians of that golden era.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 2:23
3 2:20
4 2:28
5 2:12
6 2:28
7 2:18
8 2:16
9 2:37
10 2:17
11 2:37
12 3:10
13 2:23
14 1:58
15 2:07
16 5:20
17 2:20
18 2:40
19 1:58
20 2:41
21 2:24
22 2:35
23 2:25
24 3:01
blue highlight denotes track pick