Monday, October 1, 2012

VA - Kent Harris' R & B Family

Los Angeles singer, songwriter, and producer Kent Harris was involved with plenty of R&B, rock & roll, and soul records on a variety of (mostly small) labels in the 1950s and 1960s. He also had connections to various show business celebrities, DJing for a while on XERB, which also had Wolfman Jack; in addition, one of his sisters went into the Platters, another marrying Redd Foxx. This 25-track collection of recordings with which he was affiliated in some fashion stretches from the mid-'50s to the late '60s, including a few done by himself. None of the cuts (ten of which were previously unreleased) were hits, and none of the artists well known, unless you count Adolph Jacobs, who played guitar on some early Coasters hits. In its way, this is a snapshot of the rawer underside of the Los Angeles R&B side as it went through various changes in an era when rock and soul underwent massive upheavals, traveling from jump blues and comic rock & roll novelties through girl groups and funky soul, though it doesn't contain much of extraordinary merit. These are fair recordings in a variety of styles, often with a bluesier bent than much Southern Californian R&B and soul of the time, though not ones that establish a particularly identifiable sound for Harris-related material. The most notable exception is Harold Jackson & the Jackson Brothers' "The Freedom Riders," a rousing 1961 single exhorting listeners to get on the civil rights train to a jazzy cha-cha-cum-R&B beat. Sometimes the inspirations for some of these tunes are obvious, like Dimples Jackson's "Love Came Tumbling Down" ("Fever") and Johnny Gosey's "Double Locks" (Harris' own "Cops and Robbers," not included here). Not a bad compilation, but one whose interest is largely limited to specialists in the corners of early Los Angeles R&B.

Kent Harris R&B Family album was released Apr 03, 2012 on the Ace Records Uk label. .2012 collectionAs Boogaloo & His Gallant Crew, Kent Harris cut the original version of Bo Diddley's 'Cops and Robbers' and shot to prominence when it was proved that his version of 'Shoppin' For Clothes' was the original one, purloined by Leiber and Stoller for the Coasters. Kent Harris R&B Family music CDs He was a major mover in black music in LA, appearing as DJ Stumblin' Blue on XERB, Wolfman Jack's station. Kent Harris R&B Family songs He also had a string of record shops called Target Records in Southern California. Kent Harris R&B Family album His family included three sisters: Marcene ("Dimples"), Beverly and Betty who performed as the Harris Sisters. Dimples was the most prominent and it was on the flip of two of her 45s for the Trend label in 1954 that Kent first sang as Ducky Drake. Then came the Boogaloo 45s. Dimples continued to record under several different names and is featured on 'Love Came Tumbling Down' which she wrote with husband Harold Jackson who is also featured on the stunning 'Freedom Riders'; both are very in-demand 45s for the new R&B dance crowd. Ace.

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