Big Joe Turner, whose early trademark mix of jump blues and jazz-inflected R&B still sounds alive and vital some seventy years later, was arguably at his best when the vocalist was paired with veteran stride pianist Pete Johnson. This set features the Turner/Johnson team on their first big hit, 1938's "Roll 'Em Pete," and the fully realized "Cherry Red" that came a year later and featured trumpeter Hot Lips Page. There are some small combo tracks here as well, and all of it is quite good, but Turner's most memorable years came in the '50s while he was signed to Atlantic Records. His signature "Shake, Rattle and Roll" came out in 1954, and it remains the track that will forever be attached to his name. That the song, along with his other '50s hits, is absent here means this compilation, while all good and fine, only tells the very beginning of the story.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett