Sunday, March 13, 2011

1968-1970 Stay With We: The Best Of NRBQ

Columbia Legacy CK 52432 (OOP as of 3/13/11)
Vic Anesini: Remastering, Remixing.

This compilation is made up of material recorded and released on NRBQ's first two released albums, "NRBQ" and "Boppin' The Blues," and also features a single mix, remixes, and unreleased material for the first two records. Sound quality is uniformly excellent compared to the original vinyl releases.

Title Composer Time
1 C'mon Everybody [Single Version/Mono] (Recorded 19690714) Capehart, Cochran 2:40
2 I Say Gooday Goodnite (Recorded 19691009 Previously Unreleased) Ferguson 1:27
3 Flat Foot Flewszy (Recorded 19690822) Ferguson, Ferguson 4:42
4 Have You Heard Adams (Recorded 19690822 Previously Unreleased) 1:42
5 Rocket Number Nine (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Ra 3:04
6 I Didn't Know Myself (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Ferguson 2:14
7 Mama Get Down Those Rock & Roll Shoes (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Adams 2:37
8 Kentucky Slop Song (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Adams 5:38
9 Tina (Recorded 19690822) St. Nicholas 1:21
10 Step Aside (Recorded 19691006) Ferguson 1:16
11 You Got Me Goin' (Recorded 19700406 Previously Unreleased) Sanders 2:32
12 Dogwood Winter (Recorded 19691106 Previously Unreleased) Ferguson 1:30
13 Time & Place (Recorded 19690813 Previously Unreleased) Dixon, Dixon 4:32
14 Stomp [Original Version] (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album Previously Unreleased) Ferguson 1:56
15 Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard (Recorded 19691007) Adams 1:38
16 Open All the Windows (Recorded 19691106 Previously Unreleased) Adams 0:46
17 Fergie's Prayer (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Ferguson 2:35
18 You Can't Hide (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) St. Nicholas 1:52
19 Hey! Baby (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Cale, Channel, Cobb 3:19
20 Tragic Magic [Original Version] (Recorded 19691106 Previously Unreleased) Adams, Wood 2:18
21 Ain't It All Right (Recorded 197007) Adams, Ferguson 2:23
22 Stay With We (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Adams 3:38
23 C'mon Everybody [LP Version] (Recorded 196812 for Debut Album) Capehart, Cochran 3:05
24 Down in My Heart (With King Curtis) (Recorded 19690822) Public Domain 2:52

Review by Lindsay Planer

The first incarnation of the New Rhythm & Blues Quintet recorded a pair of highly original and underrated albums during their all too brief stint with Columbia Records in 1968-1969. These include a self-titled release as well as Boppin' the Blues, which was a collaborative effort with rockabilly legend Carl Perkins. Highlights from those recordings, as well as a few previously unissued nuggets, make their CD debut on this single-disc anthology. Although primarily known as a four-piece band, NRBQ actually began as a quintet playing a formidable blend of roots rock and obscure jazz covers, as well as an abundance of highly inventive originals. This musical cornucopia has remained at the heart of the "the 'Q" for well over three decades. Face it, this is a band that covered a song by the Chipmunks. NRBQ's first two albums reflected a sonically rich and multi-textured palette by establishing the bandmembers as top-shelf interpreters of early rock favorites, such as their pungent and otherwise rousing version of Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" and a funky loose rendition of Bruce Channel's 1962 chart-topper, "Hey! Baby." The influence of space jazz master Sun Ra -- especially on Terry Adams(keyboard/vocals/harmonica) -- became a running motif in their live performances, although "Rocket Number Nine" was one of the few Ra numbers they ever recorded. The original material -- mostly from the pen(s) of Adams and/or Steve Ferguson (guitar/vocal) -- is in many ways more vibrant and well executed, with an additional urgency seemingly absent from NRBQ's cover songs. These range from quirky rock & roll rave-ups such as "I Say Gooday Goodnite," "Kentucky Slop Song," and the surreal Three Stooges paean "Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard" to the serene and remarkably sensitive "Fergie's Prayer" and "I Didn't Know Myself." Two of the best tracks on this compilation are the previously unreleased original instrumentals "Dogwood Winter" and "Tragic Magic" -- the latter of which would turn up on NRBQ's third long-player, Scraps, after the band was unceremoniously dumped by Columbia.

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