I picked this up from the Ely Saturday market for £3.
Recorded in 1962 on the Warner Brother’s label (‘The first name in sound’). The line up is:
- Bill Doggett on the ‘sizzling’ hammond
- Jim Powell, Ray Felder and Les Taylor take turns on sax
- Joe Benjamin on bass
- George Johnson on drums
- Bill Butler on guitar
Bill Doggett was a new name for me but the front cover looked good and a quick scan of the back notes convinced me to make the purchase.
After a couple of listens I can make the following observations:
- Despite the claims made by the back cover notes, this is an R&B, album, it ain’t jazz (nothing wrong with that, I’m more than partial to old-school R&B).
- The hammond is one of those instruments that either sound terrible or fantastic. This is clearly demonstrated on the album which swings from cheesy holiday-camp (i.e. Butlins) jolliness to raunchy get-down-and-boogie beat music.
Check out the album cover, it promises so much, you can understand why I had to have it, eh? Dig the photo of Bill taking it easy with a newspaper. Thrill to that typeface, oh, that typeface, love it!
Here’s some thoughts on each track:
- Swivel: Could be in Butlins or a backing track for a Benny Hill sketch. It’s kind of fun in a kitch way but you wouldn’t want to listen to it again. Actually it does improve slightly midway through but not enough to save it.
- Anniversary Song: Nice R&B intro with howling sax, I started tapping my foot to this one. The hammond makes its appearance half way through the track, sounding a little Butlins again. It’s the sax that makes this track, to be honest.
- Open the door, Richard: Doggett sings on this and it’s all pretty awful, sounds like a track on some kid’s birthday party album. The sax is the saving grace, again.
- Mr Lucky: More Butlins hammond, I’m not feeling Mr Lucky with this album at the moment.
- Let’s do the Continental: This is much little better, I could be in a Soho coffee bar with a latte in the early 60s. Nice.
- Pony Walk: Oh, two good tracks in a row, yeah, I could imagine dancing to this. hep!
- The Waltz you Saved for Me: Another good track, swinging in fact!
- Petite Fleur: More Butlins
- Later Baby Later: More R&B and this one is fun, Doggett on vocals again, sax wailing, straight-forward dance track, strong track, I bet this one got the crowd going.
- Po’ Boy: A nice bluesy beat propels this forward, one of the best tracks on the album
- Lucky: A cool modish sound, hammond sounds great, low down and sexy, just how it should be. Best track on the album? We’re finishing strong!
- Blues for Joe: More smokin’ hammond from Bill, wish all the tracks were more like this!
So there you go, a few duff tracks but overall an enjoyable slice of R&B. The good moments make me smile and that’s all I need in the end.
- Overall hepness: 2/5 (points deducted for cheesy hammond)
- Cover art: 3.5/5
- Condition of vinyl: 2.5/5
- Cost: 4/5
- Overall rating: 12 / 20
Here’s “Let’s Do the Continental“. Get down and boogie hepsters!
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