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Spark Records Story [Import]

Jerry Leiber, Leiber & StollerAudio CD

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1. Riot In Cell Block #9 - The Robins
2. Love Me - Willy & Ruth
3. One Bad Stud - The Honey Bears
4. King Solomon's Blues - Gil Bernal
5. I Gotta New Car - Big Boy Groves & Band
6. Bring It On Back - Mister Ruffin
7. I'm Tired Of Beggin' - The Sly Fox
8. Loop De Loop Mambo - The Robins
9. Farewell - Willy & Ruth
10. Easyville - Gil Bernal
11. Hoo-Doo Say - The Sly Fox
12. I Shall Not Fail - The Honey Bears
13. Whadaya Want? - The Robins
14. A Touch Of Heaven (Just Around The Corner) - Mister Ruffin
15. Midnight Special - Big Boy Groves & Band
16. My Four Women - The Sly Fox
17. Just Say The Word - Frankie Marshall
18. Soft Winds - Ernie Andrews
19. I Must Be Dreamin' - The Robins
20. No One Else Will Ever Know - Frankie Marshall
See all 30 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Before becoming fully established as national hit songwriters and producers with the Coasters, Elvis Presley, and others in the late '50s, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were two of the five partners in Los Angeles R&B indie label Spark. This collects 30 of the mid-'50s sides issued by the company, many of which were written and produced by Leiber and Stoller. In fact, this comprises the majority of Spark's output; it put out only 22 singles in all. Only three of these songs will be well-known: the Robins' classic comic R&B/rock numbers "Riot in Cell Block #9" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe," and Willy & Ruth's "Love Me," the original version of a song covered with considerable success by Presley in 1956. Just because the rest is damned obscure, however, doesn't mean it isn't worth checking out. Indeed, although Leiber and Stoller's talents had yet to blossom, this is a couple cuts above the norm for a mid-'50s R&B compilation. That's mostly because there's so much more humorous verve on this stuff than there was on much R&B and early rock that was immediately forgotten. The half-dozen cuts by the Robins (who, of course, evolved into the Coasters) are still the highlights, but there are exuberant jump blues and R&B novelties by the likes of the Honey Bears, Big Boy Groves & Band, and the Sly Fox (a raw bluesy cat by Spark's standards, or anyone's standards). Some routine ballads and straight R&B tunes are interwoven as well, but this is still recommended to both fans of Leiber and Stoller, and to R&B specialists looking for something that offers pleasure as well as scholarly insight. Blues harmonica player Garland the Great's "Strike a Match" was previously unreleased, and marks the first-ever appearance of this Leiber-Stoller composition. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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