Joe Morris


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1950-1953 Review

by Steve Leggett

The second volume in Classics Records' chronological survey of the recording career of trumpet player and bandleader Joe Morris opens with his biggest hit, "Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere," which topped the R&B charts in 1950, thanks in part to a fine vocal by Laurie Tate. Tate sings the first eight tunes here, actually, with Teddy Smith, Billy Mitchell, Jimmy Lewis, and even Morris himself taking turns at singing on other tracks on this collection, which brings together Morris' early '50s sides for Atlantic Records (plus the "Travelin' Man" single from Herald Records). Among the clear highlights are the instrumental "Ghost Train," the edgy, relentless stomp of "Watch Out I Told You," a fine vocal duet by Billy Mitchell and Teddy Smith on "If I Had Known," and the marvelous "Travelin' Man," which clearly prefigures rock & roll, a genre Morris would have thrived in had he lived long enough (he died in 1958). "Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere" is frequently anthologized, but as far as dedicated albums are concerned, the two volumes from Classics Records are all there is on CD, with this second volume getting the nod if you can only afford one.

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