Various Artists

Dootone Rock N' Rhythm & Blues

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

Dootone was one of many notable Los Angeles independent labels releasing R&B and early rock & roll in the mid-'50s, though it wasn't on the same level, musically or commercially, as Specialty and Modern. This gathers 28 Dootone cuts from the mid- to late '50s that generally lean toward the jump blues and jazzy R&B end of things, though there's some honkin' sax rock & roll too. In fact, most of the artists were pretty important figures in the scene, though many would contend that their best work was done for other labels: Roy Milton, Helen Humes, Chuck Higgins, and Joe Houston (though the last is represented by just one track, the 1958 single "Shindig"). These kind of styles were passing their peak by the mid-'50s, and while the artists hadn't lost their energy or skills, the songs do sound on the routine and samey-sounding side. Miss Mickey Champion fronts two songs by Roy Milton's orchestra, and these stand out a little due to her saucy, slightly raunchy vocals. The duo of Lorenzo Holden and Ernie Freeman also contributes to variety with their two organ instrumentals. Overall it's one for those who just can't get enough of the urbane-to-rough 1950s Los Angeles R&B sound, and not among the best anthologies of the style.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Roy Milton 02:32 Amazon
2 Roy Milton 02:50 Amazon
3 Roy Milton 02:48 Amazon
4 Roy Milton 02:58 Amazon
5 Roy Milton 02:09 Amazon
6 Roy Milton 02:40 Amazon
Mickey Champion / Mickey Champion & The Roy Milton Orchestra 02:21 Amazon
8 Mickey Champion / Mickey Champion & The Roy Milton Orchestra 02:32 Amazon
9 Roy Milton 02:59 Amazon
10 Roy Milton 02:53 Amazon
11 Ernie Freeman / Lorenzo Holden & Ernie Freeman / Lorenzo Holden 02:32 Amazon
12 Ernie Freeman / Lorenzo Holden & Ernie Freeman / Lorenzo Holden 03:13 Amazon
13 Helen Humes 02:42 Amazon
Helen Humes 02:41 Amazon
Helen Humes 02:16 Amazon
Helen Humes 02:54 Amazon
17 Chuck Higgins & His Band 02:25 Amazon
18 Chuck Higgins 02:33 Amazon
19 Chuck Higgins 02:21 Amazon
20 Chuck Higgins 02:27 Amazon
21 Chuck Higgins 02:54 Amazon
22 Chuck Higgins 02:08 Amazon
23 Chuck Higgins 02:08 Amazon
24 Chuck Higgins & His Band 02:29 Amazon
25 Chuck Higgins 02:17 Amazon
26 Claude McLin 03:01 Amazon
27 Claude McLin 02:21 Amazon
28 Joe Houston 02:39 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick