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Sexy Ways: The Best of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 16, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

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Usually confined to the footnotes as the writer and originator of "The Twist," Ballard was in fact a key proto-rock & roller. His early-'50s hits like "Sexy Ways" and "Work with Me Annie" were not only so transparently libidinous that they made double-entendre into single- entendre, but were the very pinnacle of guitar-driven R&B. After several fallow years, Ballard returned in 1959 with "The Twist" followed by a string of wonderfully engaging R&B romps like "Finger Poppin' Time" and "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go," and near-soul ballads like "Teardrops on Your Letter." He really only had one groove, but it was a very, very good one. --Colin Escott

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Get It
  2. Work With Me Annie
  3. Sexy Ways
  4. Annie Had A Baby
  5. Annie's Aunt Fannie
  6. Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)
  7. It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)
  8. Open Up The Back Door
  9. Tore Up Over You
  10. Teardrops On Your Letter
  11. The Twist
  12. Sugaree
  13. Never Knew
  14. Look At Little Sister
  15. Finger Poppin' Time
  16. Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go
  17. Let's Go Again (Where We Went Last Night)
  18. The Continental Walk
  19. The Switch-A-Roo
  20. Nothing But Good


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B000003358
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,141 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I smile everytime I remember trying to muffle the radio under my pillow as a teenager in Houston back in the mid-50's. If my folks heard those lyrics, they would take the radio away forever! Then the media did an absurd thing: they banned 3 of the best songs, "Work With Me Annie", "Sexy Ways" and "Annie Had A Baby". Of all the nerve! One night several of my friends & I went to see The Midnighters play at Houston's El Dorado Ballroom. We were white guys during this most segregated of times, and the El Dorado Ballroom was for Black's. But they let us in anyway. The guitar player for The Midnighters was my idol: Cal Green. He started wailing on about a 10 minute solo and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Man, he was good. In Houston there were 2 excellent radio stations that played R&B: KYOK (DJ's - Dizzy Lizzy, Hotsy Totsy) and KCOH (DJ's - King Bee, Lonnie Rochan). What a time. What music. Sid Leake
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If your serious at all about popular music, you owe it to yourself to seek out the influences of your favorite artists. Growing up during the Sixties, I enjoyed listening to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and James Brown, to name a few. Eventually I worked my way back to discover Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and in the case of James Brown, I found Hank Ballard and The Midnighters.
Known primarily as the writer of "The Twist" (his version did reach No. 28, but was eclipsed by Chubby Checker's chart-topping version), Ballard had already sold millions of records in the Fifties, including the trilogy "Work With Me Annie" (1954), "Annie Had a Baby" and "Annie's Aunt Fannie" (1955). Despite these songs' suggestive lyrics which got them banned from many radio stations, each sold more than a million copies.
In addition to "The Twist," Ballard charted with several other dance tunes. "Finger Poppin' Time" went Top Ten in 1960. Other hits included "The Continental Walk" and "The Switch-A-Roo." His only other Top Ten was "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go." In 1990 Ballard was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as a performer.
Rhino does its usual outstanding job of presenting the artist's best material and Ballard's work on the King and Federal labels has never sounded better and the acompanying booklet is well written. [Several of Ballard's King releases are still available and each are worth seeking out, but if you're only going to get one CD, this is the one to own.] HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Format: Audio CD
This music falls between 50's R&B, jump blues, and r&r. In any case the stores usuually keep his music in the blues section, and that may be the best description of this appealign msuic. This music can be danced to in jitterbig style, and can be lindy hopped to as well.
Ballard has a sassy, and smooth voice, that is very appealing, band features sax, and it swings, jumps and rocks pretty hard. Appealing backup and group vocals are also featued, byt Hank is always the main vocie and star.
A very appeling group and if you liek earlier groups like Jouis Jordan & His Tymphani 5, or Wynonnie Harris, you're sure to love what foloowed in the 50's, with Hank & The Midnighters. Those wh ohave an appreciation for rockabilyl, wil lalso enjoy this cd, or thsoe whp like to like in the 50's tetro lifestyle, an exellent cd that featured Ballards humor and bigegst hits, and includes all the "Annie" songs which were in some ways parodies to the "Roll With Me Henry" song covered by Etta James.
GRAET CD!
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Format: Audio CD
Hank Ballard was one of the greats of the 50's R&B era. I saw him here in Denver, Colorado in 1985 at the Fairmont Hotel. I almost fainted when I saw him in the lobby - and when the show started, he was impeccably dressed in "all" white, right down to his socks! When you hear his music, you can't help but get up and do the "pony" or the twist" or do a slow drag to "Stay By My Side"...I was sad to hear of his death earlier this year. He is truly missed by me...
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Format: Audio CD
They say Dick Clark once referred to a song by this artist as "another nasty Hank Ballard song". Even so Clark had Ernie Evans do a cover version of Hank's song, "The Twist" two years after Hank did it. (Clark's then-wife had Evans change his name to Chubby Checker (as in Fat(s) Domino, get it?) The rest is history. Hank Ballard was born John Kendricks (related to Eddie of the Temptations? Both were from Detroit). His group, the Midnighters, started out without Hank as the Royals and a couple of years later Hank replaced another lead singer. The group had been first discovered by Johnny Otis, another famous name in rock and roll history. At one time the Royals had members Levi Stubbs (who would front The Four Tops for about 50 years) and the legendary Jackie Wilson. While much black music had clear but subtle references to sex, Hank's "Work With Me Annie" and "Annie Had a Baby" were more blatant and were rarely played on the radio They had a number of more conventional hits back to back in the early 60s but faded after that. I saw Hank Ballard at a New Year's Eve party as the main attraction about 1976; his wife I heard had helped him reinvigorate his career. You'll find all of his best on this package which I recommend. I still remember the thrill of first hearing that opening guitar riff on "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go". You'll enjoy this one. Hank Ballard passed away in 2003. He was 76.
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