Tommy Ridgley

1949-1954

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Although Tommy Ridgley was a big star in his native New Orleans for close to half a century, he never really broke nationally with any of his blues-inflected R&B sides. This set includes his very earliest recordings, including sessions with Imperial (1949-1953), Decca (1951), and his two Atlantic releases from 1953 and 1954. Ridgley wasn't a particularly distinctive singer -- although he certainly got the job done -- and most of these sides are fairly generic R&B outings. When he dips into some of that Crescent City gumbo atmosphere like he does on the slow stroll "Got You on My Mind," the derivative but winning "Lavinia," or his version of Melvin Smith's "Looped" (which features some crisp drumming from the great Earl Palmer), things fare a good deal better. Ridgley's later Atlantic sides (not included here) are probably his best, although he released a pair of nice comeback albums in the mid-'90s.

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