What is it about hearing Jimmy Jones' original 1960 version of the song "Handy Man" that makes one feel like James Taylor should have been prosecuted for song desecration in the 1970s? Checking out the 1960 volume in the German Bear Family label's Blowing the Fuse series makes a dead-set, open-and-shut case. This baby has 31 cuts, all of them burners. The thing opens with Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae," and after Jones' cut, Barrett Strong tears the mother down with the original version of "Money"! The blues are here, too, with Jimmy Reed's smash "Baby, What You Want Me to Do." There is just so much here, from the biggest hits -- and there are plenty, like Maurice Williams' "Stay," Fats Domino's "Walking to New Orleans," and Howlin' Wolf's read of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" -- to the near ones -- like Sugar Pie DeSanto's "I Want to Know," the Shirelles' "Tonight's the Night" (speaking of criminals, Neil Young should never have been allowed to write a song or title an album with this moniker; the man has no respect), and Hank Ballard's "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go," to name a few. The '60s dawned with plenty of great music: just check the original of "Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Pt. 1," by Jessie Hill. All of these tracks were consumed massively before the mass consumption of the transistor radio! Of course, there were real record stores then, and people gobbled up singles because there were so few albums to buy. Of course, it's going backwards now: today everyone picks rock the iPod way, and the culture for that stuff has just blown away like a tumbleweed. Nonetheless, anybody interested in the greatest singles that rock & roll, R&B, blues, and soul had to offer in the '50s and early '60s needs to scope out these platters from Bear Family.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek