Since his big hit was "Mother-In-Law," a funny song that could easily be perceived as a novelty, Ernie K-Doe is often dismissed when it comes to the top rank of New Orleans R&B singers. That's an inaccurate assessment, as WestSide's delightful 2002 compilation A Real Mother-in-Law for Ya proves. Part of the reason, of course, is that these are the Toussaint sessions, and Allen Toussaint is the king of late-'50s and -'60s New Orleans R&B, not only writing classics like "Mother-in-Law," but producing sessions that had precisely the right combination of rolling rhythms, horns, mellow funk, pianos, and warm vocals from the friendly, skilled Ernie K-Doe. He didn't have as rich a selection of material as, say, Fats Domino or Lee Dorsey, but he was at the top tier of the second tier, as this compulsively listenable 29-track collection proves. This is nearly all top-shelf material -- from hits like "A Certain Girl" and "I've Cried My Last Tear" (the A and B, respectively, of one of the greatest R&B singles of the early '60s), to lesser-known material like Toussaint's "Hello My Lover" or the rollicking "Wanted $10,000 Reward." After hearing this collection, it's hard not to think of Ernie K-Doe as one of the great New Orleans R&B artists of his time, and it's hard to imagine a serious New Orleans collection without this disc.
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