Johnny Otis

Johnny Otis Rock 'N Roll Hit Parade

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Johnny Otis originally released a 12-song version of this CD in 1957 on his Dig label. That LP centered around the Jayos, a group assembled by Otis that at times included Richard Berry, Jesse Belvin, Mel Williams, Arthur "Lee" Mayes (a future Major Leaguer), Harold Lewis, Sonny Moore, Tony Allen, and others. Nobody brought anything resembling an original song to these sessions; practically all the tunes are remakes or, in some instances, covers, and even the few that aren't sound like something you heard before by someone else. Ace tacked on 12 more tracks (most previously unreleased) for a more thorough perspective of Otis' late-'50s empire. The Jayos do hits by the El Dorados, the Platters, the Drifters, the Penquins, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and others, and did them well, but what else would you expect from a lineup of vocal harmony superstars? The Johnny Otis Orchestra pumps out three tracks, and there are tunes by some So Cal singers that are unknown to those outside the region. Jeannie Barnes does tunes made famous by Faye Adams and Ruth Brown; Mel Williams duets with Arthur Lee Mayes on Gene and Eunice's "Ko Ko Mo, I Love You So"; Mayes solos on Little Willie John's "Fever. Tracks by Prince Moreland, Harold Lewis and Mel Williams fill out the interesting compilation. If you just like the original versions of songs this CD won't interest you. But if enjoy good music, regardless of who came first, you'll find this to be a fine collection of '50s R&B/doo wop. The original vinyl LP sells for around $500.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Jayos
2:23
2
feat: Jayos
2:24
3
feat: Jayos
3:00
4
feat: Jayos
2:01
5
feat: Jayos
3:09
6 2:55
7
feat: Jayos
2:32
8 1:53
9
feat: Jayos
2:34
10
feat: Jayos
2:20
11 2:56
12 2:27
13 2:41
14
feat: Jayos
2:17
15 2:43
16 2:39
17
feat: Harold Lewis
2:33
18 2:43
19 2:35
20
feat: Jayos
2:58
21 2:54
22 2:50
23
feat: Mel Williams
2:21
24
feat: Mel Williams
2:16
blue highlight denotes track pick