Various Artists

The Complete Meteor Blues/R&B Gospel Recordings

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AllMusic Review by

Lester Bihari was the Bihari Brother (the brothers owned and operated Modern Records) with the least real business sense, and initially Meteor Records was a Modern spinoff label handed to Lester to keep him from being underfoot in the day-to-day operations of Modern proper. In time, the fledgling imprint with the flashy logo proved itself, though, and Joe Bihari assumed more of the operational controls. Between 1952 and 1957 Meteor released an impressive number of singles in styles ranging from raw blues and R&B to gospel, country (then called hillbilly), and nascent rockabilly, and as this generous double-disc 54-track collection shows, much of it was of high quality, possessing a rough, natural energy that rivaled Sun Records' more famous output. Among the highlights in a set that is full of them are Baby Face Turner's raw blues "Gonna Let You Go," Woodrow Adams' even more primitive-sounding "Baby You Just Don't Know," Smokey Hogg's ramshackle "Dark Clouds" (Hogg's shaky sense of rhythm and timing create a powerful tension throughout this reluctant gem), and the mournful doo wop strains of the Del Rios' "Alone on a Rainy Night." There are several interesting Elmore James cuts here as well, including the flame-throwing "I Believe" that opens things, the leaping and roaring R&B of "Baby, What's Wrong," and the obscure "Hawaiian Boogie," which emerges definitely more Elmore than Hawaiian. There isn't really a whole lot of gospel here, and the rockabilly and country material that Meteor released is covered in other installments of Ace's Meteor reissue series, so this set is by no means the full Meteor picture, but it is sure to please both collectors and casual listeners because, well, it rocks with a ragged power that is rare in any era.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:15
2 3:24
3 2:43
4 3:00
5 2:22
6 2:13
7 2:48
8 2:48
9 3:09
10 2:33
11 2:52
12 2:28
13 2:04
14 2:18
15
2:38
16
2:59
17 2:07
18 1:59
19 3:10
20 2:28
21 2:50
22 3:03
23 2:39
24 2:27
25 2:20
26 2:18
27
2:30
28
2:29

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:41
2 3:08
3 2:34
4 3:12
5 3:00
6 2:45
7
2:59
8 3:27
9
3:24
10 3:36
11 2:29
12 2:47
13 2:13
14 2:18
15 3:16
16 2:47
17
2:45
18
2:08
19 2:47
20 3:18
21 2:48
22 3:15
23 2:29
24 3:48
25 2:56
26 2:24
blue highlight denotes track pick