VARIOUS ARTISTS                                                                                                                         Groove Jumping!                                                                                                                               Bear Family BCD 17388 AH

VARIOUS ARTISTS                                                                                                                               Still Groove Jumping!                                                                                                                           Bear Family BCD 17391 AH

Aptly described as “Rockin’ R&B Tracks from RCA’s Groove Label”, these CDs are reboots of two LPs that came out on the Detour label in the UK in 1983 and 1987. I missed out on the original vinyl releases and so I’m quite pleased to get my mitts on these! The artists run the gamut from known to unknown [Roy Gaines, Larry Dale, Tiny Kennedy, Mr. Bear, Piano Red, Buddy Lucas, Champion Jack Dupree, Big Boy Crudup, Sonny Terry, Mickey & Sylvia, Big John Greer, The Du Droppers, and The Five Keys] recorded by Victor mainly in NYC. I met Mr. Bear (vo/sax) back in the 60s in Harlem working behind the counter of Rainbow Records on 125th St., and Piano Red at my college fraternity homecoming weekend (among other occasions)! Larry Dale was one of what I refer to as the “NY Fendermen” that included Joe Richardson, Charles Walker, and Jimmy Spruill with not a Gibson among them!!

The roots of their plectral approach is heard in depth from the source here with Mickey Baker being the main guitarist on most of the NY sessions. He bushwhacked the way for all the others in the city to follow before moving permanently to France. Crudup’s cut is from his one late-in-the-career session at WGST in Atlanta with Robert “Steamboat Fulton” Lowe on electric guitar and rack harp, as opposed to his usual bass and drums in Chicago. Elsewhere, there’s much honking of saxes, a few vocal group efforts, and a number of solid blues – all good listening.

What can I say about this stuff? No cut went the hit route, although Mickey & Sylvia had their main moment with “Love is Strange”. Groove was phased out by Victor, along with the later Vik label – their last attempts to buy into the R&B marketplace flopped and left the way open to the indie labels who could react to changing tastes more quickly and distribute more effectively in so doing. So, no major hits, but, mate, there’s a lot of good music to be heard here. I hope that Bear Family issues the other LPs sourced from Victor – I really want the Champion Jack Dupree album with Larry Dale on guitar!


pub: THE BLUES TIMES; Jan 2015/#262 – p. 8.

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