Buddy Johnson was able to keep his big band going in the second half of the 1940s by adding touches of R&B and faint hints of bop to his swing sound, and thanks to the skillfully nuanced singing of his sister Ella Johnson, his orchestra had several hits for Decca Records between 1940 and 1951, the era covered by this collection. The essential stuff is here, including Ella's amazing singing on "Please Mr. Johnson," "Since I Fell for You," "That's the Stuff You Gotta Watch," and "I'm Gonna Jump in the River," as well as Buddy's own "Fine Brown Frame," his signature "Walk 'Em," and the delightful jazzy baseball novelty "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" from 1949. You can just hear the sound of full-throttled modern R&B and rock & roll around the corner in these recordings, which give off an uncommon warmth and presence.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett