Billy "Red" Love

Gee...I Wish: The Sun Years, Plus

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The first-ever CD of Billy “Red” Love, a jumping R&B pianist from Memphis, Bear Family’s 2011 Gee...I Wish: The Sun Years, Plus collects all the sides he recorded between 1951-1954. These include the four singles licensed to Chess by Sun; “Juiced,” which was released under Jackie Brenston’s name as the follow-up to “Rocket 88”; ten unreleased cuts; plenty of alternate takes; and the promotional disc he cut for Hart’s Bakery in Memphis. Love didn’t record much and he didn’t leave much behind: it wasn’t until this disc that his story was told by Martin Hawkins, who sheds much-needed light on this obscure pianist. Hawkins still can’t fill every gap in the narrative -- there is simply a lot that isn’t known -- but the music stands as high-octane Memphis R&B. Love had a nicely coarse sandpaper voice and banged the 88s with enough energy to keep this 26-track disc engaging throughout numerous repetitions of “Gee I Wish” and the cool swinging “Early in the Morning.” Although this may fall just short of being a forgotten gem, partially due to all of that repetition, Gee…I Wish is perhaps an ideal item for genre specialists: if you’re a sucker for that boogie and blues, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:21
2 2:33
3
2:30
4
2:43
5 3:02
6 3:26
7 3:03
8 3:21
9 2:55
10 2:25
11 3:04
12 2:40
13
2:30
14 2:49
15 2:56
16 2:18
17
3:31
18
2:44
19 2:58
20 2:47
21 2:51
22 2:12
23
2:25
24
3:32
25
2:42
26 2:14
blue highlight denotes track pick