2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'm not sure this isn't my favorite in the series so far. There are a lot of fine tunes, and many I didn't know before: "King Size Papa" by Julia Lee, "Move Your Hand Baby," by Crown Prince Waterford, "Fine Brown Frame," by Nellie Lutcher, and "X-Temperaneaus Boogie," by Camille Howard. Classics like "Stormy Monday" and "Good Rockin's Tonight" add depth to the collection, which also includes the lovely "Tomorrow Night," by Lonnie Johnson (which some may know from Bob Dylan's version). I've got five or six volumes from this series and enjoy them all. Those not deeply immersed in the music may prefer the mid-fifties volumes with lots of familiar (and wonderful) songs, but collectors and aficionados will prefer sets like this one. Recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The "Blowing The Fuse" series of CD compilations stretches across 16 volumes from 1945 to 1960 and was then followed by Bear Family's equally magnificent "Sweet Soul Music" series of 10 sets from 1961 to 1970 (I've reviewed all 10 of those in detail too). Having been drawn in by the truly beautiful sound quality and presentation of the 'Soul' discs, I've laboured with all of these time-consuming R'n'B reviews because these reissues are the absolute business too...they truly are.
"Blowing The Fuse - 28 R&B Classics That Rocked The Jukebox In 1948" is on Bear Family BCD 16703 AS and was released November 2004 in Germany. Each US-based yearly compilation comes in a 3-way foldout card digipak sleeve. The left flap pictures an original record relevant to the year (1948 has the 78" to "A Little Bird Told Me" by Paula Watson on Supreme), the centre flap holds a 70 to 90 page oversized booklet that slips out so you can read it separately and the right flap a colour-themed CD that matches the outer packaging. As with the 10 "Sweet Soul Music" compilations, each of the 16 R&B spines makes up a whole photo when placed alongside each other (a fantastic black & white shot of a crowd of hip dudes and their gals dancing at some Saturday night bar). As you can see from the cover photos of these compilations too, the theme of people dancing and artists enjoying themselves is repeated right across all of these wonderfully restored photographs (they're from The Showtime Music Archive in Toronto). This 1948 issue has 72-pages in its booklet and the CD runs to a jam-packed 79:56 minutes.
THE SOUND and TRACK CHOICES:
Bear Family have gotten all the ORIGINAL master tapes from each record company (or the best disc available) and their resident expert JURGEN CRASSER has mastered them with care - and given their age and the wildly varying sources, the sound quality is uniformly great. But - it has to be said that in comparison to say 1951 to 1960, the sound on some of these tracks is a lot rougher, especially when it's off a 78". But - and this is the big but - it is massively improved over anything you've ever heard before.
1948 opens with a superb double-whammy - the incredibly clear pleading of Jimmy Ricks from vocal group The Ravens on "Write Me A Letter" where it's claimed that its wit and attitude literally ushered in the Rock 'n' Roll period (lyrics above) - and the giggle-inducing saucy double entendres of Julia Lee on Capitol where her man "...takes the doors off the hinges when he comes to call...". Instrumental jump tunes are in evidence on "Thirty-Five Thirty", "Long Gone" and the fantastic slaughter-them-in-the-aisles dancer of "Corn Bread" by Hal Singer.
Rough 78" sound comes in the shape of "A Little Bird Told Me" and "Long About Midnight" and the deathly slow vocals of The Orioles on "It's Too Soon To Know" are hard to take too. But it picks up big time with "Cadillac Boogie" by Jimmy Liggins (a sure fire floor filler) and the talking shuffle song "Hey Mr. Gatemouth" where Arnold Moore extols the joy of "...a great big car and a pocket full of dough...".
But then things jump straight into the legendary - twice - "I Can't Be Satisfied" by Muddy Waters and "Good Rockin' Tonight" by Wynonie Harris. Muddy's cultural atomic bomb changed so much (and not just for Chess Records), while Wynonie Harris' cover of Roy Brown's song is said to be the one a 13-year old Elvis Presley heard - and nothing has ever been the same since. As if sensing its importance, the King Records 78" is pictured alongside an early shot of Harris on Pages 30 and 31.
Genius choices go to "Move Your Hand Baby" by Crown Prince Waterford, which is more famous for who's not credited on the label - the extraordinary piano work of Pete Johnson throughout - long-time friend and cohort with the mighty Big Joe Turner. Another gem piano player is Camille Howard who was with Roy Milton's band - she gives us the boogie-woogie instrumental of "X Temperaneous Blues" - a fantastic listen that will you tapping your fingers on the table top uncontrollably. Then there's a pistol in the shape of Mabel Scott on "Elevator Baby". She's pictured on Page 45 and man what a firecracker she was - the kind of woman who would even excite her gay husband Charles Brown - she literally exuded sexy sophisticated Forties Rhythm 'n' Blues. But my absolute favourite is the lonesome-pine guitar of "Tomorrow Night" by Laurie Johnson - it's so good - it would be a huge R'n'B hit for LaVern Baker in 1955 on Atlantic and again for Joe Turner in 1959. Elvis also covered its quiet hurting vibe at Sun Records. 59-year old Laurie Johnson and his rare King 78" are pictured on Pages 26 and 27. And it all ends with a great double shot - a Louis Jordan duet with Martha Davis on the shuffling "Daddy-O", while Amos Milburn brings down the house in his famous "Chicken Shack Boogie". Brill...
I had thought that as this series receded towards 1945 (backward from 1950) that it would somehow go down on the quality front - how wrong I was. While fans of Rhythm 'n' Blues will know all the big names, it's the lesser-heard and unknown artists who slipped through the cracks that will enthral. This disc is a proper voyage of discovery and I love it for that.
Although slightly different in layout, like the "Sweet Soul Music" series, the booklet is to die for. There's an intro on Page 4 with the text for the songs beginning on Page 5 and ending on Page 69, so there's almost no wasted space. Each artist is pictured using quality publicity shots, and every now and then, a beautiful full colour plate of lesser-seen records and their label bag graces an entire page ("Call It Stormy Monday..." by T-Bone Walker on Black & White, "My Heart Belongs To You" by Arbee Stidham on RCA Victor and "Hop, Skip And Jump" by Roy Milton on Specialty are on Pages 12, 49 and 58). Each song then has an essay on its history by noted writer COLIN ESCOTT and because the booklet allows him to spread out on each song, the details come thick and fast - it's a fabulously entertaining and informative read.
To sum up - even though they're expensive as imports, I think once long-time collectors actually get their hands on even one of these compilations (no matter what the date) - they'll be irresistibly hooked. For the casual buyer just looking for a great one-stop account of R&B Music for a given year - "1948" is 'the' place to start.