Jimmy Witherspoon

Jimmy Witherspoon...Plus

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When it was issued as an LP in 1958, Jimmy Witherspoon was just a random -- and short -- roundup of ten tracks from 1949-1951 singles he'd done for Modern. As is typical for the Ace label, however, the CD reissue adds a lot of value, tacking on eight bonus tracks from other 1948-1951 singles, as well as lengthy historical liner notes. Together with a previous Ace compilation, Blowin' in from Kansas City, it supplies a good overview of Witherspoon's early career, in which he -- like so many R&B singers -- was purveying a brand of West Coast blues that could both swing and croon. This isn't necessarily a lesser companion piece to Blowin' in from Kansas City, including as it does four national R&B hits ("Ain't Nobody's Business," "No Rollin' Blues," "Big Fine Girl," and "Once There Lived a Fool"). It's not up there with the singer's best recordings, as it doesn't have the most forceful of the jazz-blues fusions he'd make. It's respectable early R&B, with a bunch of sides recorded in concert (including "Ain't Nobody's Business," "No Rollin' Blues," and "Big Fine Girl") with a spontaneous rawness unusual even by the standards of this earlier, more rudimentary era. "Jump Children" (aka "Good Jumpin'") is a pretty transparent imitation of "Good Rockin' Tonight," however.

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