CHUCK WILLIS "Let's Jump Tonight!" The Best Of 1951-1956 Okeh Label

Before he donned his jeweled turban as "The King of the Stroll" and topped the charts with rock & roll hits like "C.C. Rider" and "It's Too Late," Chuck Willis was a bona fide R&B star and one heck of a songwriter to boot. Let's Jump Tonight contains Willis's essential R&B tracks from that period (1951-56), along with some exciting previously unissued tracks. Willis was a master vocalist who could swing effortlessly from heartrending ballads to rollicking jump blues. His plaintive singing and intuitive phrasing on songs like "My Story," "I Feel So Bad," and "You're Still My Baby" showcase a soulful jukebox balladeer in his prime. Willis delivers a stirring interpretation of Fats Domino's style on "Going to the River," and on wild tunes like "Rule My House" and "Blow Freddy Jackson" his full-throated shouting is every bit as powerful as the roof-raising sax solos he sets up. Thrilling music from a very influential R&B stylist. --Ken Hohman, AllmusicChuck Willis, known more for his later work on Atlantic, including the huge hit "C.C. Rider", was one of the best songwriters of the 50's and a tremendously talented singer capable of delivering uptempo romps and tender ballads with effortless style and grace. "Let's Jump Tonight" collects a whopping 26 sides recorded for OKeh when he was at his most versatile as a singer and a huge star in that still segregated world of rhythm & blues.
For the most part early 50's R&B despite being among the most influencial music of the 20th Century (spawning something called "rock 'n' roll" which you may have heard of) gets shafted when it comes to recognition, and because of that it generally has few CD's available to document it, with those that do exist being increasingly hard to find. Willis typifies this snubbing. His equally impressive Atlantic years retrospective, "Stroll On" seems to have disappeared from print and his OKeh material is only sporadically available, and never has had all those songs in one place. Any fan of the vital precursor to rock 'n' roll should grab this if they have the chance before it too vanishes.
These 26 songs show Willis as a masterful writer, from storming rockers ("Wrong Lake To Catch A Fish", "Loud Mouth Lucy") to sweet ballads ("My Story" and the oft-covered "Don't Deceive Me") and swinging rhythms ("You're Still My Baby" and the famed "I Feel So Bad", which Elvis Presley worshipfully covered right down to the glitches in the early 60's). Each song is filled with sly lyrics telling a clever story, rhythms that were instantly in a groove, and delivered in a voice capable of nailing any mood.
Getting a complete discography of Willis is difficult, even if all his previous CD collections were still widely available. "Stroll On" gathers all the Atlantic sides, but to get each song he cut for OKeh from '51-'56 requires some detective work. This disc however is the best place to begin that worthwhile quest. It has excellent, informative liner notes, a great 50's style-poster cover and pristine sound (you can hear the echo of movement during the brief intimate discussion between the producer, band and Chuck preceeding "Lawdy Miss Mary"). Each song is absolutely magical. One listen to this disc for the unfamiliar and Chuck Willis will be in your heart forever. (Blues World magazine)

01 Be Good Or Be Gone 02 Let's Jump Tonight 03 Can't You See 04 It's Too Late Baby 05 I Rule My House 06 My Baby's On My Mind 07 Loud Mouth Lucy 08 My Story 09 Wrong Lake To Catch A Fish 10 Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go) 11 My Baby's Coming Home 12 Going To The River 13 I Feel So Bad 14 You're Still My Baby 15 What's Your Name 16 Keep A Knockin' 17 If I Had A Million 18 My Heart's Been Broke Again 19 I Don't Mind If I Do 20 Blow Freddy Jackson 21 If I Were You 22 Lawdy Miss Mary 23 Search My Heart 24 One More Break 25 Bless Her Heart 26 Charged With Cheating
...served by Gyro1966...

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