Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Best of Excello Records

Excello Records was a label specializing in blues, rhythm'n'blues and rockabilly from the early 50's through the mid 70's. This compilation pulls some of their best from '54 through '66, and that's some damn fine stuff!

Starting with Arthur Gunter's original "Let's Play House" that Elvis later covered and hit big with, you know what you're getting into - down'n'dirty, sweaty, rockin' blues! From there we get the sexual r'n'b strut of Louis Brooks and the Hi Toppers' "It's Love Baby", the Marigolds boppin' doo-wop in "Rollin' Stone", the Blues Rockers doing their Bo Diddley-esque "Calling All Cows" (nice distorted harp here), Rudy Green rocks it with the upbeat "My Mumblin' Baby" (this is rock'n'roll baby!), Guitar Gable's percussion-heavy instro "Congo Mambo", Clarence Samuels' smokin' hot blues "Chicken Hearted Woman" (man, dig that guitar!), and Johnny Jano gives us pure, southern rockabilly in "Havin' a Whole Lot of Fun".

The Gladiolas had a doo-wop smash with "Little Darlin'", Lonesome Sundown gives us a terrific blues in "My Home is a Prison", Jerry McCain is just plain nutz in the demented "My Next Door Neighbor", Lillian Offitt coos sweetly on the blues groover "Miss You So", Al Ferrier has a rockabilly bopper in "Hey! Baby", Joe Hudson serves up swampy r'n'b in "Baby Give Me a Chance", Leroy Washington has a piano-pumpin' blues with "Wild Cherry", Guitar Gable returns for the Fat Domino-ish "This Should Go On Forever" (great solo!), Lazy Lester's "I Hear You Knockin'" (covered recently by the Rank Outsiders) is another fine blues, the appropriately named King Crooners croon a doo-wop ballad "Now That She's Gone", and Lightnin' Slim swings in "Rooster Blues".

Carol Fran is sweetly sexy in the soulful "One More Chance", Jay Nelson swings heartily in "Don't You Want a Man Like Me", Hooks Coleman dishes a riffy r'n'b'er with cool guitar in "Fine Young Girl", Slim Harpo was Excello's biggest star and here is his first hit, the swampy "Rainin' In My Heart" (the Pretty Things did justice to this one), Charles Sheffield's "I Would Be a Sinner" is a sax driven piece of Fats Domino-like swamp-pop, Robert Garret cuts some fantastic blues guitar in "Quit My Drinkin'", Bobby Jay turns the standard "Red Sails in the Sunset" to a soul ballad, Silas Hogan's "Everybody Needs Somebody" continues in the swampy/blues style, Lightnin' Slim shows his mastery of the blues in "Bad Luck Blues" (a early version of "Born Under a Bad Sign"), Slim Harpo's massive hit "Baby Scratch My Back" should certainly need no introduction and the comp closes with Shy Guy Douglas' struttin' his stuff in the bluesy "Long Gone".

A lot of these record company collections can be spotty at best, but this is pretty damn solid all the way through for anyone who digs 50's blues, r'n'b and rockabilly - and who doesn't?!