Hey Sister Lucy

The Treniers

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Hey Sister Lucy Review

by Bruce Eder

This release and its companion volume from Bear Family pretty much sum up the Treniers' range, from jump blues to exquisitely slow R&B ballads -- and the opener, "Hey Sister Lucy," explains how Claude Trenier earned the name of the "Sepia Sinatra" -- with a level of sophistication that puts Louis Jordan and other rival performers of the 1940s to shame. The 18 sides here, originally issued as credited to "The Trenier Twins," "Milt Trenier," "Milt Trenier & His Solid Six," and also some from "Milt Trenier with the Gene Gilbeaux Quartet" -- the latter featuring Mickey Baker on guitar -- cover the group and its various permutations at work for Mercury and RCA Victor, from the summer of 1947 to the summer of 1956, leaving out their work for the OKeh label, which are compiled separately. The sound is generally excellent, despite the fact that certain sides, such as the slow ballad "Near to Me" have obviously only been preserved on disc (their recording pre-dating the advent of magnetic recording tape in American studios). Ideally, Bear Family would combine this and the companion Treniers releases into a box with a full-size booklet (and bigger print on the discography), but there's no arguing with the listening pleasure contained on this disc.

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