by admin  7th Nov 2012 Comments [44]

(Ace, UK) CD

During the two-year period covered here, Ike Turner was one hell of a busy mofo. He recorded in any studio he could find while his popular revue was out on the road, which by most accounts was around nine months of the year. From ‘63-‘65, Ike and Tina records came out on Sue, Kent, Warner Brothers, Sonja, Loma, and Modern Records. He also recorded members of his revue, leading to releases on Sputnik, Sony, Teena, and Modern. Sorting out those sessions is a particularly daunting task. Compiler Brian Nevill’s superb annotation manages to make sense of it all.

Then again, one could always forgo the details and simply surrender to Ike’s powerhouse groove, not a bad strategy when the music is as raw and funky as it is here. The performers are led by the magnificent Tina herself, turning in an impassioned “All In My Mind” that takes Maxine Brown’s familiar tune to a different place entirely. Her cover of Eddie Boyd’s “Five Long Years” is suitably rough and tumble. Ikette Jessie Smith adds down home grit to her New Orleans-styled “They Ain’t Lovin’ Ya,” a duet with fellow Revue member Vernon Guy. Another Ikette, Venetta Fields, contributes a smoldering piano blues called “Through With You.”

Jackie Brenston shows up on the bouncy soul number “In Love,” backed by the Ikettes, as well as a slow blues originally done by Billy Gayles on Federal, “I’m Tore Up.” Brenston and Turner had an off and on working relationship going all the way back to their classic “Rocket 88” hit back in 1951. The other singers and musicians all acquit themselves well throughout. The relative lack of polish and production hurt the commercial potential of these mostly unreleased recordings, which is exactly what makes them so appealing.

I like Ike! (Dave Gnerre)



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