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ARTIST: Judy Garland  TITLE: A Celebration: Classic & Collectable Performances GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ACTRCD9151  FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Judy Garland remains one of the enduring icons of show business, retaining a mystique and a huge fan following more than half a century after her death in 1969. This new 73-track 3-CD set adds a new dimension to Acrobat’s existing catalogue covering Judy’s mainstream recording career with a unique selection of performances which include classic and collectable recordings from movies, records, radio, concerts and TV. It has been curated by Lawrence Schulman, award-winning music producer, critic and author of the two-volume book Garland: That’s Beyond Entertainment – Reflections on Judy Garland, published in 2023. The set is an overview of Garland’s career, but also includes 12 new-to-CD tracks, many from private collections. These unreleased recordings include overdubs from her 1956 album Judy, alternates, outtakes, rehearsals, and television appearances. It includes restorations and remixes by such audio engineers as Nick Dellow, who has remastered as well as repitched several tracks, and Brian Lee, who has done stereo remixes on many tracks. Schulman has written the extensive and detailed liner notes, which include rare archival photos. Parallel to this release, Acrobat is releasing Volume 1 of a two-volume LP containing selections from the set. This is a collection which will naturally appeal to Garland aficionados, but will also find a wider market as a thoroughly enjoyable showcase for one the pop’s true greats. 

ARTIST: Lightnin' Hopkins TITLE: The Singles Collection Vol.1 1946-53 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ACTRCD9152 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins was one of the true blues greats, a singer, guitarist, songwriter and occasional pianist from Texas, who through a life as a long-time solo performer developed a highly distinctive style, playing rhythm, lead, bass and percussion, with a legendarily unstructured approach to the 12-bar format. Musicologist Mark McCormick said that Hopkins is “the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”. Born in 1912, he did not get an opportunity to record until the post-war years, and then recorded prolifically for a variety of labels. Acrobat has addressed his output on 78s and 45s from 1946 to 1962 with two 3-CD sets of which this is the first. This 78-track collection comprises the A & B sides of just about all his releases during these years on the Aladdin, Modern, Gold Star and RPM labels. His RPM releases overlapped with his releases on the Sittin’ In With label which begin in 1951 and start Vol. 2. It includes his hits in the US R&B charts with “Shotgun Blues”, “T Model Blues” and “Tim Moore’s Farm”. It also includes records for Aladdin with pianist Wilson “Thunder” Smith. His New York Times obituary in 1982 said he was “one of the great country blues singers and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players”, and this substantial collection covering the early years of his recording career helps to explain and underline that view.

ARTIST: Lightnin' Hopkins  TITLE: The Singles Collection Vol.2 1951-62 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ACTRCD9153 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins was one of the true blues greats, a singer, guitarist, songwriter and occasional pianist from Texas, who  through a  life as a long-time solo performer developed a highly distinctive style, playing rhythm, lead, bass and percussion, with a legendarily unstructured approach to the 12-bar format. Musicologist Mark McCormick said that Hopkins is “the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”. Born in 1912, he did not get an opportunity to record until the post-war years, and then recorded prolifically for a variety of labels. Acrobat has addressed his output on 78s and 45s from 1946 to 1962 with two 3-CD sets of which this is the second. This 71-track collection comprises the A & B sides of just about all his releases during these years on the Sittin’ In With, Decca, Herald, Chart, Bluesville and Prestige labels. His Sittin’ In With releases overlapped with his releases on the RPM label which go through to 1953 and are at the end of Vol. 1. It includes his hits in the US R&B charts with “Coffee Blues” and “Give Me Central 209”. His New York Times obituary in 1982 said he was “one of the great country blues singers and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players”, and this substantial collection covering the early years of his recording career helps to explain and underline that view.

ARTIST: Slim Gaillard TITLE: Vout, Floogie & Tutti Frutti: Selected Recordings 1938-53 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ADDCD3518 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Bulee ‘Slim’ Gaillard was a one of the most unusual and idiosyncratic personalities in jazz – a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer, who even brought a new language to the genre in his vocalese singing which he called “Vout-o-Reenee”, as well as occasionally playing piano with his hands upside down and playing guitar with his hand above the fretboard. Although he continued performing until just before his death in 1991, appearing in the film “Absolute Beginners” in 1989, he was at the peak of his popularity and creative influence in the era spanning WWII and into the post war decade. This 52-track 2-CD collection comprises releases on the Variety, Vocalion, Okeh, Hep, Columbia, Meritt, Queen, Bee-Bee, Melodisc, Atomic, Beltone, MGM, Mercury, Clef and Norgran labels during this era. It features recordings with his long-time associate, bassist Slam Stewart as Slim & Slam, plus performances with his Flat Foot Floogee Boys, and his Quartette, Trio and other line-ups, with musicians including Frankie Newton, Slam Stewart, Howard McGhee, Lucky Thompson, Tiny ‘Bam’Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Dodo Marmorosa, Zutty Singleton, Buddy Tate, Ben Webster and many more. It includes his US pop and R&B hits “Flat Foot Floogie”, “Jump Session”, “Laughing In Rhythm”, “Tutti-Frutti”, Buck Dance Rhythm” and “Cement Mixer (Put-Ti-Put-Ti)”. It’s a thoroughly entertaining showcase for one of the great larger-than-life personalities of jazz. 

ARTIST: Eddie Cantor TITLE: All The Hits & More: 1917-47 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3519 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Eddie Cantor was one of the most prominent entertainers of the early era of commercial recording, a comedian, singer actor, dancer and later a philanthropist, who was ubiquitous in Broadway shows as well as being one of the first real radio stars and went on to have a long career in movies, both as actor, writer and producer. His New York Times obituary in 1964 said that “Popeyed, peppy, exuberant Mr. Cantor was one of the most successful vaudeville comedians who ever lived. He was indelibly associated with the style of classic vaudeville songs which came to for the fore in the 1920s and were early entries in the Great American Songbook. This 53-track 2-CD collection features selected releases on the Victor, Pathe, Emerson, Columbia, Melotone, Decca and RCA labels, plus radio and movie performances of songs associated with him that he did not record commercially. It features all his 24 hits, including the No. 1s “Margie”, “No, No, Nora” and “If You Knew Susie”, and other classics like “Makin’ Whoopee”, “The Old Piano Roll Blues”, “Row Row, Rosie”, “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, “Merrily We Roll Along” and many more. This selective overview of his recording career offers an enjoyable showcase for his unique style of entertainment which was very much of its era.

ARTIST: Wesley Tuttle TITLE: With Tears In My Eyes: The Singles Collection 1944-55 GENRE: Country CAT NO: ADDCD3520 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Wesley Tuttle was a country star of the immediate post-war era, although one of his earliest forays into showbiz was contributing the yodelling for the “Silly Song” in Walt Disney’s 1937 movie “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs”. Raised in California, he was always part of the west coast country fraternity, based variously around the cowboy country scene of Hollywood western movies, the popular western swing groups, and the emerging group of Bakersfield-based innovators comprising emigres from the southern and mid-western dust bowl states. This 53-track 2-CD collection comprises selected A and b sides of his releases on the Capitol and Coral labels from this era, and includes recordings with Tex Williams’ Western Caravan, and with Merle Travis in his Texas Stars and as Shug Fisher & The Ranchmen, along with duet recordings with his wife as Wesley & Marilyn Tuttle. Features his US country No. 1 “With Tears In My Eyes”, plus his other hits “I Wish I Had Never met Sunshine”, “Tho’ I Tried (I Can’t Forget)”, and “Detour”, and the Wesley & Marilyn Tuttle hit “Never”. This selective overview of the primary era of his career offers an entertaining showcase for a stylish and versatile performer who typified the California country scene of that era.

ARTIST: Rudy Vallee  TITLE: The Hits Collection 1929-43 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ACTRCD9148  FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Rudy Vallee was a singer, saxophonist, bandleader and actor, who was probably the first star to emerge from performing on radio in its early days in the 1920s to become a hugely popular “crooner”, taking advantage of the introduction of microphones to project his light and sensitive voice. With his band The Connecticut Yankees, he started recording in 1928 and immediately had a succession of hits through the next decade and more, as well as becoming heartthrob movie star through into post-war years. This 67-track 3-CD collection consists entirely of hits and comprises nearly all the 72 records listed as hits during his career, featuring releases on the Harmony, Victor Columbia, Bluebird and Decca labels. It includes his No. 1 hits with “Honey”, “The Stein Song”, “Brother Can You Spare A Dime”, “Vieni Vieni” and “As Time Goes By”, plus many other classics of the era as he recorded many new songs that were being composed for Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pin Alley which would become Great American Songbook standards. He was a performer who pioneered a particular style of pop that characterised his era, and this is a great showcase for that talent, projected through all his big sellers.  

ARTIST: Sister Rosetta Tharpe TITLE: The Singles Collection 1939-50 GENRE: Rock n Roll CAT NO: ACTRCD9149 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a gospel singer, songwriter and guitarist who was unique in her genre as the pioneer of performing gospel using an electric guitar, to the extent that many of her records and performances have been seen as early examples of rock ‘n’ roll, and she acquired the nicknames “the original soul sister” and “the Godmother of rock ‘n’ roll”. Rock ‘n’ roll artists like Elvis Presley and Little Richard, and blues guitarists like Eric Clapton and Jeff beck cite her as an influence. This 78-track 3-CD collection comprises a significant proportion of the A & B sides of her releases on the Decca label during this era, and includes releases with Lucky Millinder’s Orchestra, duets with fellow gospel singer Marie Knight, and tracks where she is accompanied by The Sam Price Trio. Her work strayed into the mainstream R&B market, and this collection includes her US R&B hits “Strange Things Happening Every Day”, “Precious Memories”, “Up Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air” and “Silent Night”. She was an artist who broke the mould of how gospel could be performed and this collection from a key era of her career is a substantial and entertaining showcase for her unique approach.

ARTIST: Lonnie Donegan  TITLE: All The Hits And More 1955-62 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ACTRCD9150 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Lonnie Donegan was a singer, guitarist and bandleader who became known as “The King of Skiffle”, such was his all-pervading influence as a pioneer of skiffle music in the UK in the latter half of the 1950s. He was always fan and keen student of American country and blues music, and gravitated towards the traditional jazz scene in the post-war years – after his jazz band supported US bluesman Lonnie Johnson in 1952, he changed his name from Tony Donegan to Lonnie Donegan. He played with Chris Barber’s band, where skiffle developed as ‘break-out’ music played by the rhythm section during the intervals in shows. Donegan popularised the skiffle form with his hit “Rock Island Line” and it became a national craze, providing the grounding for dozens of future pop and rock stars. This 78-track 2-CD collection features all his 42 UK chart entries plus just about all his other A & B sides from these years, and tracks from EPs. It includes his UK No. 1s with “Cumberland Gap”, “Puttin’ On The Style”, “Gamblin’ Man” and “My Old Man's A Dustman”, plus other Top 10 classics like “Rock Island Line”, “Tom Dooley”, “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour”, “The Battle Of New Orleans”, “Michael Row The Boat Ashore” and many more. It also includes performances with Chris Barber and his hit with Miki & Griff. He was an innovative performer who had a massive influence on the development of British pop music and this is a substantial and entertaining showcase comprising his most popular recordings.

ARTIST: The Three Suns TITLE: Peg O' My Heart: Selected Singles 1944-56 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3515 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

The Three Suns were an innovative American pop trio, who created the highly original instrumental line-up of accordion, guitar and electric organ. They became popular through ‘live’ performances and found success on record during the post-war decade, enjoying a string of US hits during the years covered by this collection. The trio were brothers Al Nevins and Marty Nevins on guitar and accordion along with their cousin, the radio and vaudeville veteran Artie Dunn, on electric organ and vocals, and they were favourites of US First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. This 48-track 2-CD collection comprises selected A & B sides of their releases on the Hit, Majestic and RCA-Victor labels during this era, and features all their 15 career hits, including the No. 1 “Peg O’ My Heart”, and Top 10 entries “Twilight Time”, “How Many Hearts Have You Broken”, “All of My Life”, “Five Minutes More”, “Rumours Are Flying” and “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover”. The recordings feature vocal performances by Artie Dunn, The Fontane Sisters, Rosalie Allen, Elton Britt, The Sons Of The Pioneers and The Johnny Parker Trio, along with special piano contributions by Larry Green. It’s a varied and enjoyable insight into the music of one of the more unusual groups of the era.

ARTIST: Blind Willie McTell TITLE: Statesboro Blues: Collected Recordings 1927-50 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ADDCD3516 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Acrobat has devoted a number of collections to the blues guitarists and singers who represent what is known as the Piedmont school of blues – artists whose roots were in the region surrounding Atlanta, Georgia, and developed a distinctive style of blues during the late 1920s and through the ‘30s, the best-known names including Blind Blake, Barbecue Bob, Curley Weaver, Josh White, Blind Boy Fuller and Buddy Moss. Blind Willie McTell was one of the most prominent of that coterie of performers, and one of the best-known in later years.  He had a highly distinctive style, with a fluid fingerstyle technique, playing music that incorporated ragtime, jug band and hokum influences and chord sequences that differentiated it from pure blues more typical of the Delta. This 48-track 2-CD collection comprises a significant proportion of his releases during this era on the Victor, Okeh, Columbia, Bluebird, Vocalion, Decca, Atlantic and Regal labels. It features recordings with his sister Kate McTell and with singer Ruby Glaze, and releases under the names Blind Sammie, Georgia Bill and Barrelhouse Sammy, and with Curley Weaver as The Pig ‘n’ Whistle Band. He is also accompanied by Curley Weaver on second guitar on a number of the recordings. He was a highly individual and stylish performer, with a very extrovert and entertaining approach, and this collection is an enjoyable showcase for his very particular contribution to the Piedmont blues tradition.

ARTIST: Mitch Miller TITLE: The Yellow Rose Of Texas: Selected A & B Sides 1950-62 GENRE: Country CAT NO: ADDCD3517 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Mitch Miller was a hugely influential personality in the US record business in the 1950s in his position as A&R Director of Columbia Records, guiding the careers of major stars during that era. He was also a hit-making artist in his own right, an oboist, conductor and producer who championed a style of novelty singalong pop which struck a chord with a market still recovering from the dark days of WWII.  Many artists hated the material he insisted they record, but there’s no denying his success, although he never adapted to the changes that rock ‘n’ roll brought about. However, right through into the 1960s his series of hugely-popular “Singalong” albums defied the march of musical time. This 56-track 2-CD collection comprises selected A & B sides of his releases on the Columbia label during this era, and features all his 16 career hits including the No. 1 “Yellow Rose Of Texas”, and the top 20 entries “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena”, “Lisbon Antigua”, “Song For A Summer Night”, “March From River Kwai/Colonel Bogey” and “Children’s Marching Song”. With plenty of rousing marches, novelty songs, happy-go-lucky movie choruses and the like, it captures the essence of Mitch’s approach, and it’s one that will lift the spirits for many listeners who enjoyed his singalong style back in the day.  


ARTIST: Richard Himber TITLE: The Himber Magic: Selected Recordings 1933-41 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ACTRCD9146  FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

This is another in Acrobat’s strand of collections featuring the “sweet” US orchestras of the 1930s, who entertained in ritzy hotel venues and on radio, and kept people’s spirits up during the Depression era. Richard Himber was a violinist who got a grounding in vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley, working with Rudy Vallee before forming his own orchestra in 1933 and getting a long-term engagement at New York’s Essex House Hotel. He was a versatile entertainer with  sense of humour who had hits parodying other orchestras and was also a noted magician and illusionist. This great-value 76-track 3-CD collection comprises selected A and B sides from his releases on the Vocalion, Bluebird, Victor, Royale and Decca labels during this era, featuring his various orchestras – the Essex House Orchestra, his Ritz-Carlton Orchestra, the Studebaker Camion Orchestra, his Rhythmic Pyramids Orchestra, The Seven Stylists, and others. It features all his 16 career hits, including the No. 2 “Stars Fell On Alabama”, and the Top 10 entries “Footloose And Fancy Free”, “Just One Of Those Things”, “You Hit The Spot”, “Cling To Me, “Tormented”, “In The Chapel In The Moonlight” and “Day After Day”. The recordings feature performances by resident and guest vocalists, including Joey Nash, Stuart Allen, Johnny Mercer, Guy Russell, Marion Shaw, Bart Phillips, Harry Stanton and Johnny Johnson. It includes many early recordings of compositions which became Great American Songbook standards. It’s a thoroughly entertaining collection which admirably captures the spirit of the times.   

ARTIST: Johnny Dankworth TITLE: African Waltz: The Singles Collection 1950-62 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACTRCD9147 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Sir John Dankworth CBE was a jazz saxophonist, clarinettist, bandleader and composer who probably did more than any other musician to introduce and promote modern jazz in the UK, becoming an internationally respected figure in the process, as well as introducing his future wife and renowned singer Cleo Laine to the jazz scene. Born in 1927, he trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and in post-war years played on transatlantic liners enabling him to see and play jazz in New York. After playing with Charlie Parker at the 1949 Paris Jazz Festival he formed the Johnny Dankworth Seven in 1950, eventually developing to a big band in 1953. His early recordings came out on singles and EPs, and even as he turned increasingly towards albums, he continued to release singles on a regular basis. This 75-track 3-CD collection comprises most of the A & B sides of his UK releases on the Jazz Parade, Esquire, Parlophone, Capitol, Columbia and Fontana labels from these years, and features his Top 10 UK hits “Experiments With Mice” and “African Waltz”, which also made the US charts. It features vocal performances by Dame Cleo Laine and Frank Holder, as well as performances by noted British jazz musicians, including Jimmy Deuchar, Don Rendell, Bill LeSage, Tony Kinsey, Tommy Whittle, Kenny Clare, Ronnie Ross, Alan Branscombe, Pete King and Dudley Moore. It’s a fine showcase for a noted pioneer of British jazz and a hugely innovative jazz personality. 

ARTIST: Dorsey Burnette  TITLE: The Rockabilly Years: The Singles & Albums Collection 1955-62 GENRE: Rock n Roll CAT NO: ADDCD3511 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1932, Dorsey Burnette was the older brother of rock ‘n’ roll singer and pop star Johnny Burnette, and they shared an early career in the Rock ’N’ Roll Trio before they branched out into their respective solo careers, with Dorsey enjoying a number of hits in the pop and country charts, although overshadowed somewhat by his brother’s chart-topping achievements. In his later career during the 1970s, all his hits were in the country charts, but in the early years he was very much a rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll specialist. This great-value  63-track 2-CD collection (records were often pretty short in this era) features the A & B sides of singles on the Von, Coral Abbott, Surf, Imperial, Era, Dot, Lama & Reprise labels from these years plus selected titles from his albums “Dorsey Burnette’s Tall Oak Tree” and “Dorsey Burnette Sings”. It includes his early recordings with his brother Johnny and Paul Burlison as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio, and features all his chart entries from this era, including the Top 30 hit “Tall Oak Tree”, along with “Big Rock Candy Mountain”, “Hey Little One”, “The Ghost Of Billy Maloo” and “The Feminine Touch”. He was a performer very much of his era and culture, and this is a substantial showcase for the rockabilly side of his music.

ARTIST: Sue Thompson TITLE: Sad Movies: Singles & Albums Collection 1950-62 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3512 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Born in Missouri in 1925, Sue Thompson was performing at the age of seven, but it was not until after working at a defence plant in WWII and having a daughter in a failed marriage that she started singing professionally at the end of the 1940s. She met and married bandleader Dude Martin and made her first records with him in 1950, going on to develop a solo career in the early 1950s, although it took the best part of a decade to make an impact on the charts, having her first hit with “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” in 1961, her youthful  image defying the fact that she was 36 years old by then. This 59 track 2-CD collection features the A and B sides of her singles on the Mercury, Decca, Columbia and Hickory labels from these years, and the tracks from her albums “Meet Sue Thompson” and “Two Of A Kind” not otherwise released on singles. It includes releases with Dude Martin’s Round-Up Gang and Hank Penny, whom she married after divorcing Martin. It features her Top 5 US hits “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” and “Norman” and her other chart entries from these years “Two Of A Kind”, “If The Boy Only Knew”, “Have A Good Time” and “James (Hold The Ladder Steady)”. She was a highly versatile performer, equally at home with the country-flavoured  material where she started her career and to which she gravitated in later years, and the teen-styled pop with which she enjoyed her success, and this a fairly comprehensive overview of the first decade and more of her career.   

ARTIST: Curley Weaver TITLE: The Georgia Guitar Wizard 1928-50 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ADDCD3513 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Acrobat has devoted a number of collections to the blues guitarists and singers who represent what is known as the Piedmont school of blues – artists whose roots were in the region surrounding Atlanta, Georgia, and developed a fairly distinctive style of blues during the late 1920s and through the ‘30s, the best-known names including Blind Blake, Barbecue Bob, Blind Willie McTell, Josh White, Blind Boy Fuller and Buddy Moss. Curley Weaver was another prominent Piedmont bluesman, and an especially noted guitarist who was often invited to play on sessions with artists mentioned above, and whose recording career, albeit fitfully, extended through to 1950. This 50-track 2-CD collection comprises recordings under his own name for the Columbia, QRS, Okeh, Banner, Vocalion, Decca, Sittin’ In With and Regal labels. It includes recordings which were duets with Eddie Mapp, Ruth Willis, Fred McMullen, Clarence Moore and Blind Willie McTell along with titles where he performed as a member of the Georgia Cotton Pickers alongside Barbecue Bob and Buddy Moss, and The Georgia Browns, and on which he accompanied Buddy Moss or Blind Willie McTell. It’s a great showcase for a lesser-known blues luminary who nevertheless made a considerable contribution to the Piedmont sub-genre.

ARTIST: The Radio Four TITLE: The Classic Decade: The Singles Collection 1952-62 GENRE: Gospel CAT NO: ADDCD3514 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Acrobat has recently been adding to its catalogue of collections featuring the gospel groups of the 1950s, who were part of the burgeoning gospel scene at a time when there were opportunities to perform at major venues and opportunities to record for labels with access to mass markets, and during an era when sanctified soul was laying the groundwork for the developing secular soul scene. The Radio Four, originally comprising various brothers from the Babb family, came from Kentucky, and after performing in different line-ups through the 1940s, first came to the fore around 1950 on radio WHOP in Hopkinsville, where one of the brothers Dr. Morgan Babb hosted a show. This led to their signing to the Tennessee label, with most of their recording being done for Nashville-based labels during this era. This 48-track 2-CD collection comprises most of their releases during these years on the Tennessee, Republic and Nashboro labels, only omitting titles of which mastering sources could not be located. It includes recordings made accompanying label colleagues Madame Edna Gallmon Cooke and Sister Lucille Barbee during this time, where they were named as accompanists on the record label. They were perhaps one of the less flamboyant and high-profile of the gospel groups of this era, but they were a highly-regarded ensemble, and in Morgan Babb had an outstanding lead singer.  


ARTIST: Chick Webb & His Orchestra TITLE: All The Hits & More 1929-39 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACQCD7183  FORMAT: 4CD BUY HERE: £19.00

Chick Webb was a jazz and swing drummer and bandleader who enjoyed huge success and popularity during the 1930s before his career was tragically cut short by his death from spinal tuberculosis in 1939 at the age of 34. He was renowned for introducing the teenaged Ella Fitzgerald to the scene as his featured vocalist. With a much-admired powerful virtuoso drumming technique, he was a highly influential figure, paving the way for the likes of Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson.  This 98-track 4-CD collection comprises most of his releases under his own name on the Brunswick, Vocalion, Columbia, Okeh and Decca labels, plus early recordings with the Jungle Band. It contains a significant number of recordings featuring Ella Fitzgerald, who performed on several of his 17 career hits, all of which are included here, most notably the No. 1 “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”. Also featured is his original version of “Stompin’ At The Savoy”, plus many other classics of the era – “Don’t Be That Way”, “You’ll Have To Swing It”, “Rock It For Me”, “Undecided”, “T’Ain’t What You Do” and more.  Other vocalists featured are Taft Jordan, Louis Jordan, Chuck Richards, Charles Linton and Louis Bacon, with his bands also including many notable names of the era. It’s a substantial and fairly comprehensive overview of his recording career, and a highly entertaining showcase for his distinctive approach, not to mention his important work with Ella Fitzgerald as an emerging star of the day.

ARTIST: Jimmy Witherspoon TITLE: Ain't Nobody's Business: The Singles Collection 1945-53 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ACTRCD9145 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

Born in Arkansas in 1920, Jimmy Witherspoon was one of the old school “blues shouters” of the 1940s, making his first records with Jay McShann’s band in the immediate post-war years. He enjoyed a long career, continuing to record for over 50 years until not long before his death in 1997 at the age of 77. His career had distinct phases, with the emphasis changing to a focus on the album market after the mid-1950s, and this collection addresses his formative decade or so when he recorded 78s and 45s for a variety of labels. This 78-track 3-CD collection comprises most of his releases during this era releases under his own name and with the bands of Jay McShann, Buddy Tate, Al Wichard and Lou Spreigner on the Aladdin, Mercury, Supreme, Swing Time, Down Beat and Modern  labels. It features all his R&B hits from these years, including the R&B No. 1 “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, and the Top 10 hits “Big Fine Girl”, “In The Evening”, “No Rollin’ Blues” and “The Wind Is Blowin’”. The last two are among the ‘live’ recordings in the set from Gene Norman’s famous concert promotions. It’s a substantial and reasonably comprehensive overview of the years when he established his reputation, and it’s a fine showcase for his distinctive style as a blues, R&B and jazz performer.

ARTIST: Jerry Wallace  TITLE: How The Time Flies: The Early Years 1952-62 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3507 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Jerry Wallace was a pop and country singer who built a reputation as a performer before making his recording debut for the Hollywood label Vogue, a division of Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch corporation, and moving around the labels until he ended up back at Autry’s Challenge label in 1957. He is best-known these days for his Top 10 US pop hit with “Primrose Lane” in 1959 as he made the transition into the rock ‘n’ roll era with a string of hits that lasted into the ‘70s as he gravitated to the country charts. This 55-track 2-CD collection comprises most of his A & B sides from this era on the Vogue, Allied, Mercury, Wing & Challenge labels, plus the titles from his albums “Just Jerry” and “There She Goes” not otherwise released on singles. It features all his eleven US pop hits from this era, including the Top 30 entries “How The Time Flies”, “Primrose Lane”, “There She Goes” and “Shutters And Boards”. He was an artist with a broad musical base who could readily handle old-school pop, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B-flavoured material (several of his hits made the R&B chart), along with the country style he increasingly embraced, and this collection is not only a pretty thorough trawl across his early career but an entertaining showcase for that versatility.

ARTIST: Ruby Newman & His Orchestra TITLE: Sing, Baby, Sing: Selected Recordings 1932-40 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3508 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Ruby Newman was a bandleader who enjoyed a successful career during the 1930s as he formed a series of society orchestras to perform at the plush hotels in the cities of the US north-west, most notably the Ritz-Carlton in Boston, where he enjoyed long-term engagements over the years. He performed on radio and was one of the many “sweet orchestras” whose easy-listening dance music was a staple of popular entertainment during the Depression years, maintaining its profile even as the big swing bands began to dominate the charts. He was a close associate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and often played at the White House. This48-track 2-CD collection comprises selected releases on the Victor, Associated,Brunswick and Decca labels from this era, featuring the various incarnations of his orchestra. It includes all his career hits including the Top 10 entries “My Silent Love”, “Sing, Baby, Sing” and “Please Come Out Of Your Dream”, plus “On Your Toes” and “So Ashamed”. The recordings feature vocal performances by Buddy Clark, Barry McKinley, Ray Morton , Adelaide Moffet, Gordon Graham, Ray Heatherton, Larry Taylor, Bob Hannon and The Funnyboners. It’s an entertaining introduction to one of the lesser-known names of the era, and a slice of pure nostalgia, as he recorded early versions of many Great American Songbook classics which were introduced during these years.

ARTIST: Dodie Stevens TITLE: Pink Shoelaces: The Singles & Album Collection 1959-62 GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3509 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Dodie Stevens shot to fame as a 13-year-old when she was given a chance to record, having been spotted in a local show, and had a US pop No. 3 with “Pink Shoelaces” in 1959. It launched her on a brisk chart career which lasted a year or two, returning to the business in the late ‘60s and ‘70s after raising a family. She was a fascinating example of that strand of young artists who had chart success in the teen pop style, but whose underlying musical influences were those of a former era, a feature which emerged in her albums. This 52-track 2-CD collection comprises the A & B sides of her singles in the Crystalette and Dot labels from this era, plus the titles from her Dot albums “Dodie Stevens”, “Over the Rainbow” and “Pink Shoelaces” not otherwise released on singles. It features her US No. 3 hit “Pink Shoelaces” and her other career hits “Yes Sir-Ee”, “Five Pennies”, “Miss Lonely Hearts”, “No” and “Yes, I’m Lonesome Tonight”. It’s a comprehensive overview of the first and most significant era of her career, and  is an entertaining showcase for a talented young performer who belied her youth, and successfully projected herself as being way beyond her years.

ARTIST: Marion Williams & The Stars Of Faith TITLE: Four Classic Albums & More1958-62 GENRE: Gospel CAT NO: ADDCD3510 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Marion Williams & The Stars Of Faith were one of the extremely popular and successful gospel groups of the late 1950s and early ‘60s who helped bridge the gap between gospel and the secular soul styles which emerged during that era. Marion Williams was a powerful and impassioned singer who made her name during the 1950s as a member of The Famous Ward Singers before falling out with Clara Ward and forming her own group The Stars Of Faith as well as making solo records. This 51-track 2-CD collection comprises the titles from her album on the Gospel label “Somebody Bigger Than You And I”, plus those from The Stars Of Faith albums on the Savoy label, “The Stars Of Faith” and “The Upper Room - The Beloved Songs Of Lucie Campbell”, along with their VeeJay album “God And Me”. In addition there are titles from Gospel and Savoy singles not otherwise featured on albums, which also include a title from their “O Holy Night” album. It’s a fairly thorough overview of their output from their sessions during the first years of their career as a group as well as showcasing Marion Williams’ talents as a solo performer, and it’s an uplifting and exciting compilation of inspiring gospel music.

NEW RELEASES February 2024

ARTIST: Cootie Williams TITLE: Concerto For Cootie: Selected Recordings 1928-32 GENRE: Jazz CAT NO: ACQCD7182  FORMAT: 4CD BUY HERE: £19.00

Charles Melvin “Cootie” Williams was a jazz trumpeter, born in Mobile Alabama in 1911, who enjoyed a lengthy career as a sideman and bandleader, and was especially renowned for his associations with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. This collection takes its title “Concerto For Cootie” from a tune Duke Ellington composed in his honour. This collection is designed as a companion to a new biography of Cootie written by noted US writer and jazz researcher Steve Bowie which is being published by the University Press of Mississippi at the end of 2024. Mr. Bowie has researched, compiled and annotated this 93-track 4-CD collection, which comprises recordings made by Cootie across the first three decades and more of his career, and which represent his most important and most highly-regarded performances and collaborations. While well known for his solos with plunger muted trumpet, this collection also highlights Williams' range and versatility and virtuosity in his open trumpet and lead work. Inevitably, it features recordings made with many of the greatest names in jazz, swing and R&B, including not only Ellington and Goodman, but Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker, Pearl Bailey, Bud Powell, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Rex Stewart, Johnny Hodges and many more. There have been very few products of this substance devoted specifically to Cootie Williams, so this will be a welcome addition offering an insight into his music and a varied and fascinating showcase for his huge contribution to the genre.

ARTIST: The Original Gospel Harmonettes TITLE: The Collection 1949-62, Featuring Dorothy Love Coates GENRE: Gospel CAT NO: ACTRCD9144 FORMAT: 3CD BUY HERE: £15.00

The Original Gospel Harmonettes were one of the most popular and successful female gospel groups of the 1950s, led by the extraordinary singer and songwriter Dorothy Love Coates, who was also their primary composer, as well as being a leading civil rights activist. The group was formed in the late 1940s and recorded briefly for RCA until being joined by Coates, and signing to Specialty, where they were a major influence on future rock ‘n’ roll luminary Little Richard. Their music was characterised by an energy and intensity which often transcended its spiritual foundations and took it very close to crossing over into secular soul and R&B styles.  This 70-track 3-CD collection comprises the A & B sides of releases on the RCA, Specialty, Andex and Savoy labels during this era, along with titles from their Savoy albums “A Gospel Concert” and “My Father’s Children” albums not otherwise released on singles. It also features their amazing 18-minute medley from the Great Shrine Auditorium Concert in 1955. This substantial collection captures the group at the peak of their powers in the core era of their career and it is an inspiring and uplifting showcase for their collective talents and particularly those of Dorothy Love Coates.

ARTIST: Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards  TITLE: All The Hits And More 1924-40 GENRE: Country CAT NO: ADDCD3498 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Cliff Edwards was a singer, musician and actor, who specialised in accompanying himself on the ukulele and acquired the nickname ‘Ukulele Ike’, which appeared on the record labels of most of his releases. His roots were in vaudeville and he specialised in jazzy renditions of vaudeville and pop standards, along with his stylised renditions of Broadway and Hollywood hits of the era, as well as pure novelty material. He also had movie roles, and is best-known for providing the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s animated movie “Pinocchio”. He had thirty hits during his career, which are all included in this 50-track 2-CD collection along with selected releases on the Banner, Pathe, Columbia, Brunswick, Vocalion, Melotone and Victor labels during these years, some where he accompanies himself on ukulele and others where he performs with his jazz group The Hot Combination, which on occasions including musicians like Red Nichols, Jimmy Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Adrian Rollini and Ray Bauduc. It features his No. 1 hits “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Singin’ In The Rain”, and other classics like “It Had To Be You”, “Paddlin’ Madeleine Home”, Dinah”, “Sunday”, “Mary Ann” and “When You Wish Upon A Star”, the last-named being his performance from “Pinocchio”, which was the final hit of his career. He was a highly individual and distinctive performer, and this collection offers an entertaining cross-section of his work.

ARTIST: Barbecue Bob TITLE: Barbecue Blues: The Collection 1927-30 GENRE: Blues CAT NO: ADDCD3499 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Born Robert Hicks in Georgia in 1902, Barbecue Bob was an early exponent of the Piedmont style of blues, and was a contemporary around the Atlanta scene of artists like Blind Blake, Josh White, Curley Weaver, Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss and others. He had a distinctive guitar style, using the “frailing” technique as well as using a bottleneck on a 12-string guitar, and acquired his stage name because he was working as a barbecue chef when he did his first recordings, and publicity shots featured him in his chef’s outfit. His career was tragically curtailed when he died from tuberculosis and pneumonia in 1931 at the age of 29. This 47-track 2-CD collection comprises a significant proportion of his career recordings on the Columbia label, and includes recordings with his brother Charlie “Laughing Charley” Lincoln, and with Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss as The Georgia Cotton Pickers. It includes his “Motherless Child”, a song regularly performed by Eric Clapton, along with his famous song “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues”, inspired by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. He is one of those blues artists who is not widely known but whose music helps to appreciate the nuances of the Piedmont blues tradition.

ARTIST: Skeets McDonald TITLE: Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes: The Singles Collection 1957-62 GENRE: Country CAT NO: ADDCD3500 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

Born Enos William McDonald in Arkansas in 1915, Skeets McDonald was a honky-tonk country and rockabilly singer, who acquired his nickname from calling mosquitoes “skeets” as a child.  He had a band in Detroit in the 1930s and after war service worked on radio in Dearborn, Michigan, where he made his first records for the Fortune label before moving to Los Angeles, performing on radio on Hometown Jubilee and Town Hall Party, and signing to Capitol. He is best known for his 1952 country No. 1 with Slim Willet’s “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes”, which Perry Como took to the top of the pop charts. This 58-track 2-CD collection comprises selected A & B sides on the Citation, Fortune, London, Mercury, Capitol and Columbia labels from these years, and features his No 1 country hit “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes” and his other hit from this era “This Old Heart”. It features not only country material but also forays into rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll, with Eddie Cochran playing guitar on Skeets’ recording of “You Oughta See Grandma Rock”. He went on to have a couple more hits in the 1960s, but this collection captures him during what was probably the primary era of his career, and it’s an enjoyable showcase for his particular brand of country

ARTIST: Hoosier Hot Shots TITLE: Breezin' Along: The Singles Collection 1935-46  GENRE: Easy Listening CAT NO: ADDCD3506 FORMAT: 2CD BUY HERE: £12.00

The Hoosier Hot Shots were a quartet of American musicians from Indiana, hence their name, although no-one knows the exact origins of the term ‘hoosier’ as applied to natives of Indiana. Their music defied categorisation, but largely comprised novelty material played in a style that somehow combined jazz, swing and country, using a variety of instruments, from brass and woodwind through to novelty implements like bicycle horns, bells and slide whistles. Their washboard and other artefacts from the band are now in the collection of the Indiana State Museum. They recorded novelty songs and versions of vaudeville and pop standards, powered by a frantic, freewheeling instrumental virtuosity, grounded in comedy and whimsicality but always brilliantly performed. They performed on stage, on radio and in movies and started to record in 1935. This 51-track 2-CD collection comprises selected recordings on the Vocalion, Banner, Melotone, Conqueror and Decca labels from these years, and features their hits “Breezin’ Along With The Breeze”, “Red Hot Fannie”, “The Man With The Whiskers”, “Annabelle”, “She Broke My Heart In Three Places” and “Someday (You’ll Want Me To Want You)”, along with classics like “Beer Barrel Polka”, “When There Are Tears In The Eyes Of The Potato” and “O-Hi-O”. It’s a thoroughly entertaining showcase for one of the most unusual acts of the era.