In the shadow of the label's headline-grabbing R&B and rock & roll stars, Atlantic's honking hornmen not only fired up many a vocal chart-topper, but they also helped lay the foundation for the mid-'50s rock revolution with their own jump swinging instrumentals from the decade before. In lieu of probable figures like Big Jay McNeely and Bill Doggett making this Atlantic two-fer of mad R&B blowers, though, such other A-list players as Willis Jackson, King Curtis, and jazzer Arnett Cobb take center stage for the course of the collection's 28 tracks. In addition, key honkers are featured on cuts by the jazz and R&B bands of pianist Jesse Stone (Sam "The Man" Taylor), guitarist Tiny Grimes (Red Prysock), and drummer Joe Morris (Johnny Griffin). A solid affair through and through, as the mix does heavy time in the prime late-'40s and early-'50s stretch, then reveals the enduring quality of all that bar walkin' with several late-'60s boogaloo revisions by Curtis, including his "Memphis Soul Stew" and a go at Led Zeppelin's behemoth "Whole Lotta Love."
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook