When was the last time there was a year like 1957 -- on the charts, that is? Germany's Bear Family label has created an amazing series in their Blowing the Fuse project. Each volume features chart and jukebox sellers of all stripes of R&B. Take a good long look at this volume and try to stop yourself from whistling in amazement. From Fats Domino's "Blue Monday" and "I'm Walkin'" and LaVern Baker's smoking "Jim Dandy" (you mean you thought that Black Oak Arkansas' camped-up read was a BOA original? Shame on you!) to Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee," Roy Brown's "Let the Four Winds Blow," and Ruth Brown's "Lucky Lips," it's such a killer year that it almost seems like everything coming later in the genre was superfluous. Sure, it's ridiculous to say such a thing when it was great until 1970, but there's more here to enjoy to make a small case. Andre Williams' hysterical and greasy "Jailbait," Huey "Piano" Smith's "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" (remember how great the Johnny Rivers cover on Imperial was? It doesn't hold a candle to this), Richard Berry's "Louie, Louie," Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Farther Up the Road," and Jackie Wilson's "Reet Petite" are just a few others. Right. What are you waiting for?
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