Various Artists

The Ebb Records Story, Vol. 2 [Ace]

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Specialty Records president Art Rupe's ex-wife Lee started Ebb Records in Los Angeles in 1957 with the proceeds from their divorce. Between 1957 and 1959, she released about 60 singles, which now stand as an excellent cross-section of 1950s music, ranging from blues to rockabilly to doo wop and teen pop. This compilation focuses on primarily on the blues and R&B singles from that label, along with some unissued surprises. Five tracks from future soul star Ted Taylor find him working in styles ranging from rock & roll ("Everywhere I Go") to pop ballad ("Very Truly Yours") to Bobby Bland-styled blues ("Days Are Dark" and "If I Don't See You Again"), with "Hold On (I've Got the Chills)" not seeing issuance until 1968, when it came out on Ronn. Four tracks from the Hollywood Flames ("Give Me Back My Heart," the silly "Two Little Bees," "Just for You" and a cover version of "There Is Something On Your Mind") stand nicely alongside one-offs from the Jaguars ("Piccadilly" and "Hold Me Tight"), the Ebb-Tones ("Trinidad Woman" and "Danny's Blues"), Tony Harris ("When I Get You Back"), the Fabulous Tones ("Close To You"), the 5 Orleans ("Heavenly Escort") and the Tempo-Mentals ("Burning Desire"). The R&B and blues side of the equation is nicely shored up with sides from Ray Agee ("When the Deal Goes Down"), Tony Allen ("Why In the World"), Tommy Lampkin ("The Weather's Stormy"), Riff Ruffin ("True Confession") and two from Professor Longhair, "Misery" and the previously unissued "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand"; the stray nod to gospel is represented by two songs from the Zion Travelers, the label's only foray into non-secular music. A solid 30-track collection, this shines the light on one of the West Coast's most underrated labels of the 1950s.

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