Taken from the catalog of the King label, this has 24 tracks that generally fall into the dance R&B-jump blues-jazz crossover style of the early '50s, though a few of these postdate the mid-'50s (with one straggler from as late as 1964). There are cuts by a bunch of names who were big in their day, though they're relatively forgotten by all but dedicated enthusiasts now: Wynonie Harris, Bullmoose Jackson, Lucky Millinder, Mabel Scott, Tiny Bradshaw, Jimmy Rushing, Roy Brown, Boyd Bennett, Lula Reed, and Moon Mullican. And there are about as many by figures who wouldn't even be familiar to some genuine early R&B enthusiasts. Still, what's more important is that this is pretty high-quality music for the genre, with a lot of humor and verve, though as is the norm for said genre, diversity isn't its highest attribute. Some of the items that stand out for quality or relatively unusual flavor include Zeb Turner's "No More Nothin'," which has a much stronger hillbilly country flavor than most of the program; Pete "Guitar" Lewis's instrumental "Louisiana Hop," which has a much stronger blues guitar presence than most of the surrounding material; the Platters' "Voo-Vee-Ah-Bee," from 1954, which is far more playful and up tempo than their subsequent hits; H Bomb Ferguson's "Midnight Ramblin' Tonight" (from 1960), in which '60s soul starts to creep into the arrangement; and Jesse Powell's "The Walkin' Blues" (featuring singer Fluffy Hunter), which has an instantly memorable catchy refrain. Those on the lookout for rare Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller songs might want to hear Little Esther's "Hollerin' and Screamin'," an early collaboration of theirs from a 1953 single.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger