In the trio of Ace CDs that document Fulson's stint with Kent in the 1960s, Black Nights covers the first part of that era (although, confusingly, it was not the first of the reissues to be released). The 1965 release "Black Nights" itself was his big success of the period, stopping just outside the R&B Top Ten and even getting into the bottom of the pop charts. A brassy and sassy feel-good tune despite the sorrowful lyrics, it also features a guitar with a twang so unusual it verges on sounding rather like an electric sitar. It's the unquestioned highlight of a collection that documents a time at which Fulson was modernizing, but only slightly, his brand of urban blues. All of the material dates from the mid-'60s, much of it written by Fats Washington, though Fulson wrote a few of these numbers himself. It's well-constructed blues-R&B with adult lyrics and just a slight 1960s soul influence (especially in some of the horn arrangements). It sounds like it could have been recorded in the 1950s, which is not so much of a drawback as the mid-tempo similarity of many of the songs to each other, and the lack of many tunes on the same level as "Black Nights." The guitar still stings admirably, though. Two of the songs were previously unissued.
Black Nights Review
by Richie Unterberger