Various Artists

1950: The R&B Hits

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1950: The R&B Hits Review

by Richie Unterberger

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 Stream
1 Ivory Joe Hunter 03:11 Amazon
2 Ivory Joe Hunter 02:50 Amazon
3 Louis Jordan 02:34 Amazon
4 Wynonie Harris 02:39 Amazon
5 Little Esther 02:47 Amazon
6 John Lee Hooker 02:47 Amazon
7
Peppermint Harris 02:35 Amazon
8 Nat King Cole / Nellie Lutcher 02:24 Amazon
9 Roy Hawkins 02:57 Amazon
10 Ivory Joe Hunter 02:48 Amazon
11 Roy Milton 02:42 Amazon
12 Clarence "Bon Ton" Garlow 03:15 Amazon
13 Cecil Payne 02:59 Amazon
14 Joe Turner 02:49 Amazon
15 Wynonie Harris 02:44 Amazon
16 Little Esther / Mel Walker 03:01 Amazon
17 Charles Brown 03:00 Amazon
18 Paul Gayton / Annie Laurie 03:00 Amazon
19 Ivory Joe Hunter 03:11 Amazon
20 Joe Liggins 03:02 Amazon
21 Amos Milburn 03:00 Amazon
22 Tiny Bradshaw 02:41 Amazon
23 Lowell Fulson 02:30 Amazon
24 Calvin Boze 02:23 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Little Esther / Mel Walker 02:36 Amazon
2 Roy Brown 03:00 Amazon
3 Wynonie Harris 02:42 Amazon
4
Larry Darnell 02:52 Amazon
5 Louis Jordan 05:07 Amazon
6 Lowell Fulson 02:49 Amazon
7 Amos Milburn 02:50 Amazon
8 Roy Brown 02:43 Amazon
9 Lightnin' Hopkins 02:40 Amazon
10
Helen Humes 03:09 Amazon
11 Laurie Tate 03:03 Amazon
12 Tiny Bradshaw 02:44 Amazon
13 02:49 Amazon
14 Percy Mayfield 02:54 Amazon
15 Ruth Brown 02:53 Amazon
16 Roy Brown 02:56 Amazon
17
Floyd Dixon 02:47 Amazon
18 Johnny Otis 02:54 Amazon
19 Amos Milburn 02:57 Amazon
20 Lloyd Glenn 02:54 Amazon
21 Fats Domino 02:07 Amazon
22 Wynonie Harris 02:53 Amazon
23 Johnny Otis Orchestra / Mel Walker 02:51 Amazon
24 Piano Red 02:28 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick