In 1995, AVI/Atomic Beat expanded Roscoe Shelton Sings to 25 tracks, reissuing the music on the logo where it was originally found, the majestic Excello Records imprint. Bill Dahl does an excellent job in his five pages of liner notes, chronicling the material Shelton recorded for Excello during the three-year period from the first session, October 3, 1958, up to the last Excello date Shelton taped for the label on February 2, 1961. In those 28 months something very special was captured, and the reissue wisely keeps the tracking in its original order before adding the bonus tracks. Dahl mentions that Shelton was "reasonably sure" that "Sunny" author Bobby Hebb performed on the first sessions. The musicians were neighbors and it is indeed the lead guitarist who appeared on the Dave "Baby" Cortez Top Ten hit "Rinky Dink" in 1962 who plays on the exquisite "Something's Wrong," a minor hit for Shelton. With regard to "Crazy Over You," "Why Didn't You Tell Me," and other tracks, Hebb said, "It sounds like something I might have done at that time. I was playing that particular style -- within four frets' reach." Shelton's grasp of mood and nuance is tremendous, the band setting the table perfectly on "Think It Over," giving Roscoe a perpetual groove to ride. He provides different shades of pain on "A Fool Wrapped Up in Love," the song titles posing questions or making statements on the various romantic states the singer explores with his dynamic and underexposed voice. The packaging is tremendous, complementing these sounds from the succinct but important initial phase of Shelton's equally small but vital catalog. You can feel bits of Nat King Cole as well as Sam Cooke on "Are You Sure" and Jackie Wilson's dancehall verve on "Lonely Heartaches," but these are merely flavors as Roscoe Shelton delivers his own unique impressions on these early and essential sides.
Roscoe Shelton Sings Review
by Joe Viglione