Various Artists

Let's Ball Tonight

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In its original context as used among African-Americans during the late '40s and early '50s, the term "balling" referred to drinking, dancing, and all-night partying as opposed to the more sexually specific application that became popular during the 1960s and '70s. Earl Bostic's rowdy "Let's Ball Tonight," as the definitive early R&B party tune, is the perfect title track for Flyright's collection of rarities originally recorded for the Gotham label in the late '40s and early '50s. Most of the 23 titles on this disc were shelved by the folks at Gotham and were not released to the public until Flyright dug them up and dished them out during the early '90s. In addition to the jump band fronted by Bostic's needlepoint alto sax, the lineup is excitingly diverse and includes Tiny Grimes, Wee Bea Booze, the Rhythm Rockers, and Lou Elliott with a band led by trumpeter Cat Anderson, who would soon become an attention-grabbing high-note specialist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Jimmy Forrest's "Night Train" (cribbed directly from Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local") is performed by the Jones Boys (not to be confused with various other groups billed as the Jones Boys in the gospel, hard bop, country, and pop/rock categories), and "Early Morning Blues" is sung by Haji Baba & His Arabian Nights; this vocalist was otherwise known as George Grant, leader of a doo wop group known as the Castelles. Flyright's amazing roster of little-known acts briefly signed by Gotham Records long ago also includes Corporal Booker T. Washington with Brown's Blu-Blowers, Pete Martin & the Martinaires, Donald Hines & the Four Hot Rods with Onzie Horne's Orchestra, Gay Crosse & His Good Humor Six, Buddy Floyd with Maxwell Davis & the Miltone Orchestra, Jimmy Grissom with Maxwell Davis & His Blenders, and Lavoyde Nixon & the Variety Chocolate Bars. The bold performers responsible for "Federal Street Boogie" and "Why Don't You Eat It" remain unidentified. This compact gold mine of gloriously obscure good-time music will be ideal for backyard barbecues and brake-pumping bumper-to-bumper highway driving.

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