Various Artists

1950: The R&B Hits

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This is a two-CD, 48-track compilation of, as the no-frills title suggests, songs that were R&B hits in 1950. Jump blues, piano boogies, and bluesy ballads form virtually the entire program, much of which consists of contributions from well-known pioneers such as Louis Jordan, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris, Little Esther, Lowell Fulson, Amos Milburn, Roy Brown, Tiny Bradshaw, Ruth Brown, Johnny Otis, Floyd Dixon, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, and Lightnin' Hopkins. Some of these are famous classics: Hunter's "I Almost Lost My Mind," Clarence Garlow's "Bon Ton Roula" (the first zydeco-influenced song to be a big hit), Joe Liggins' "Pink Champagne," Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love," and Amos Milburn's "Bad Bad Whiskey." For the most part, though, these aren't going to be overly familiar to anyone but R&B collectors, for whom the most unusual items will be the occasional selections by obscure performers, like Ray-O-Vacs' reading of "Besame Mucho" and Nellie Lutcher and Nat King Cole's duet on "For You My Love." It's a good overview of where rhythm and blues was at in 1950, though perhaps not diverse enough to compel those who aren't devotees of jump blues and boogie. It would be good to have more thorough liner notes than the perfunctory annotation given on the sleeve, as well as the actual chart positions of these songs, as they were (one assumes) selected on the basis of their popularity.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:11
2 2:50
3 2:34
4 2:39
5 2:47
6 2:47
8 2:24
9 2:57
10 2:48
11 2:42
12 3:15
13 2:59
14 2:49
15 2:44
16 3:01
17 3:00
18 3:00
19 3:11
20 3:02
21 3:00
22 2:41
23 2:30
24 2:23
blue highlight denotes track pick