Little Willie Littlefield

Boogie, Blues and Bounce: The Modern Recordings, Vol. 2

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As the sequel to the previous Ace compilation Kat on the Keys, this gathers all the remaining singles that Little Willie Littlefield issued on Modern Records in the late '40s and early '50s. It also has eight previously unissued tracks -- most of them featuring only Littlefield's vocals and piano, without band accompaniment -- and a half dozen other recordings that were not issued while Littlefield was on Modern, surfacing for the first time on 1980's Ace LPs. Kat on the Keys is a better place to start a survey of Littlefield's Modern material, if only because it contains "It's Midnight (No Place to Go)," his sole hit for the label. This companion disc offers more secondary choices, and though it's still above average West Coast piano blues, there is a sameness to a high percentage of the cuts that limits its appeal to collectors of the style. The presence of some songs on which he drifts into a more melancholy, minor-flavored mood than many bluesmen, however, adds some welcome variety to a genre that doesn't customarily embrace such eclecticism. Too, while the vocal-piano-only numbers aren't a match for the more fully produced sides, they do offer a different glimpse of the performer than is heard on his singles, with the greater intimacy that sparser arrangements allow. As usual for Ace, the sound quality and mastering is very good, but you can hear some surface noise on some of the cuts, with some varispeed afflicting just a few songs.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:01
2 3:05
3 2:50
4 3:05
5
2:22
6
2:22
7 3:06
8 2:58
9
2:01
10
2:50
11
3:08
12
2:41
13 2:42
14 3:11
15 2:46
16 2:44
17
2:43
18 2:56
19
2:35
20 2:19
21 2:52
22
2:33
23 2:47
24 2:53
blue highlight denotes track pick