Catbone Jukin’ and Bar-B- Cue’n Blues
Bar-B-Cue’n Blues /Jukin’
Jan 10, 2012
By Grant Britt
You may have heard the tunes before, but you never heard ‘em sound better. The folks running Catbone Records describe themselves as “Real Music People with real track records” and offer previously unreleased tracks of blues and r&b artists, refurbished and re-mastered. The particular tracks they feature you may not have heard, but in most cases the songs are many of the artists’ signature tunes. For the second part of their 5-part blues series, Jukin’ and Bar-B Cue ‘N Blues, Howlin’ Wolf and James Cotton are featured prominently with a couple of Muddy and Jimmy Reed tunes thrown in the mix along with one from John Lee Hooker.
Even though the version of Wolf’s “Built for Comfort” presented here on Bar-B Cue’n is not quite as bombastic as the one from his ’71 classic London Sessions, it’s still a keeper, with Wolf’’s gravely rumble rattling the speakers.
Little Richard was never a blues artist by any stretch of the imagination. But the track “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got” puts the flamboyant, self-proclaimed originator of rock and roll in a whole new spotlight. It’s pure soul, Richard howling like a gut-shot cat, barely suppressing his trademark falsetto screams struggling to escape as he delivers the tune Solomon Burke style. It’s a mesmerizing performance, from the ‘65 Vee Jay 45 rpm single, written by Don Covay and with Covay singing harmony, featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar and Billy Preston on organ. It’s a real treasure you won’t find in any other collection or compilation.
Also of interest is Hooker’s “Sally Mae,” with his spoken introduction explaining that it was one of the first songs he ever played , taken from a melody that he heard his stepfather play, then rewrote and became a big hit for him in 1948.
Jukin’ has more Wolf and lots of Cotton including a very soulful rendition of “There Is Something On Your Mind,” backed with supportive yips and yowls from the band, that rivals Bobby Marchan’s original.
The only downside is that Catbone doesn’t provide any info on the cuts’ history – you have to do your own detective work. But aside from that, there’s no other reason to complain. All the compilations are solid tracks with no filler, and the cuts are pristine, re-mastered and restored to their original mint condition. This is quality work that you’ll want on the top shelf in your collection.