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Big Joe Turner - Live 1983

  by Lisa Torem

published: 6 / 4 / 2014

Big Joe Turner - Live 1983
Label: Retroworld
Format: CD


Masterly rock and roll on reissue of live album recorded in 1983 two years before his death from pioneering blues musician Big Joe Turner

With Lee Allen and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on sax, Johnny Taylor on guitar, Dennis Riggs on drums, Gene Taylor on piano and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson on vocals and sax, Big Joe Turner blasts his booming voice on behalf of the universe at large on 'Big Joe Turner Live 1983'. Turner spent a major part of his life in the business. In his native Kansas City, he performed with pianist Pete Johnson at The Kingfish and The Sunset clubs. In New York, he worked with piano chieftains Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. He also recorded and performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, Art Tatum and Sammy Price. Too, he appeared in the American Folk-Blues Festival: The British Tours 1963-1966. A big and tall man with a voice to match, he was dubbed the “Boss of the Blues”. He was most well known, of course, for 1954’s groundbreaking ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’, which truly launched rock ‘n’ roll according to many experts. A few years later, ‘Corrina, Corrina’ made a gigantic splash. Turner was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 On this impressive album, Turner croons with strength and poise. He does ‘Chains of Love’ which was co-written by Ahmet Ertegun. The then Atlantic Records shogun had a great ear and knew how far his artists could go with the right ammunition. Turner co-wrote the silky ‘Cherry Red’ and penned ‘Honey Hush’, a shuffling sing-along with outrageous sax and ‘Early One Morning’ with its stylish charm, on his own. Every song swings, some more than others, but they are all consistently injected with energy and deserve bragging rights for exceptional vocal and instrumental nuances. Under the Encore section, ‘Cherry Red’ feat. Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson is the solitary minor-tinged ballad and Turner really brings it home. The longest and most comprehensive solo is on Ertegun’s aforementioned ‘Chains of Love’. There’s the close-knit phrasing and whimpering sax of Lee’s Blues and exuberant call and response on ‘Walkin’ With Mr. Lee', both worked up effusively with Lee Allen & Band. ‘Somebody’s Got To Go’ is a crowd-pleasing grand slam. The live audience must have felt the smoking hot melody wafting…‘Hide and Seek’ is soaked in sax and spicy piano. Turner wails like there’s no tomorrow. Groove on the wonderful piano intro. and mid section of classic 'Corrina, Corrina'. Kudos to Gene Taylor for his magic touch. ‘Roll ‘Em Pete’ is a clattering boxcar come to life and, of course, Turner’s spin on ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’ is much more masterful than Bill Haley’s watered down version. This album is great background music for a soiree and for an uninterrupted hour of pleasure.

Track Listing:-
1 Hide & Seek
2 Corrina, Corrina
3 Chains Of Love
4 Honey Hush
5 Shake, Rattle & Roll
6 Early In The Morning
7 Roll 'Em Pete
8 Around The Clock Blues
9 Cherry Red (feat. Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson)
10 Somebody's Got To Go (feat. Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson)
11 Lee's Blues
12 Walkin' With Mr. Lee

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