Various Artists – Don’t Mess With Me, Baby ‘Cause The Trouble With Me Is You | Album Review

Various Artists – Don’t Mess With Me, Baby ‘Cause The Trouble With Me Is You

Koko Mojo Records

28 songs time-67:18

This installment from Koko Mojo Records concerns the love-hate relationships of men and women as told through mainly obscure rhythm & blues songs. This is a lively collection that includes many honking and wailing saxes along with the R&B crooners. Any fan of this genre or any fan of music will find much to enjoy here.

Bull Moose Jackson was apparently a very popular artist of his time and his “Watch My Signals” shows good evidence why that would be so. He is not only a hearty vocalist, but a good saxophone man as well. The biggest name here, Little Willie John, contributes “Leave My Kitten Alone” and “Look What You’ve Done To Me”. The first more well known, but both are top notch songs of that era. Another familiar name is Lonnie Brooks, who offers an uncharacteristically powerful vocal on “Mr. Hot Shot”, along with a stinging guitar.

Jack Dupree sings a jumping tune called “Stumbling Block”. The fact that there is no piano in the song and that I’m not too familiar with Champiom Jack Dupree, I’m not sure he it is one and the same. Morris Pejoe does the original version of “She Walked Right In”, a song I know from versions by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Professor Longhair. It’s classic jumping rhythm & blues. Rufus Brown does “Keep A Knockin'”, a song that derived it’s greatest fame from Little Richard’s rendition. Rufus changed it from “You say” to “Too bad” you can’t come in, but it’s a pretty faithful take and features some nicely wailing saxophone.

Some of the other standout songs include “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Little Irvin, “Women & Cadillacs” by Doc Starkes and “Betwix And Between” by Chuck Higgins. The prominent organ on Rudy Green’s “Hurry Hurry” is a bit of a change of pace for this genre. Big Red Mc Houston’s “I’m Tired” gets a tad risqué. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” is a doo-woppy Coasters style ditty. Baker Knight’s “Bring Back My Cadillac” is a rockabilly song with driving a driving tom-tom beat, tinkly piano, horns and an echoed vocal.

All in all this is a good representation of quality rhythm & blues music at the height of its powers. For the most part the sound quality and production is fine. I found only one minor case of a scratch presumably from a copied seventy-eight recording. The result here is a truly enjoyable listening experience.

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