Various Artists

Blowing the Fuse: 28 R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox in 1955

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Blowing the Fuse is a killer series of compilation CDs issued by Germany's premier archivist label, Bear Family. Subtitled "R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox," each volume is compiled by year. 1955 was a pivotal year for jukeboxes across the United States as rhythm & blues and rock & roll collided in the cultural atom smasher. This volume contains 29 affirmed classics of the early postwar years. The more well-known tunes of the era are given great balance by some nearly forgotten gems that are juxtaposed in the brilliant sequencing -- by producer Dave "Daddy Cool" Booth. This batch opens with LaVern Baker's awesome "Tweedle Dee," and is followed by Lowell Fulson's stellar "Reconsider Baby." The big names of the era are packed in tight here, from Etta James and Jimmy Reed to Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. But there are tunes that have all but disappeared into the smoke and ether of pop culture history such as the Jacks' "Why Don't You Write Me," the Nutmegs' "Story Untold," and Nappy Brown's ' "Don't Be Angry." Add to this Louis Brooks' gorgeous "It's Love Baby," and the spectrum is complete. The package is beautiful with Colin Escott's liner notes detailing every cut, accompanied by photographs and a lovely digipack. Sound quality is as good as it can be for archival material, making this a fine introduction to postwar R&B for the novice and a killer chronological listen for the connoisseur.