The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Dust My Rhythm & Blues, album review: 'Lyrics that will have you crying into your beer'

Flair's remastered original is brash, beguiling and best played loud

John Clarke
Monday 09 December 2013 18:47
Comments
Flair's 'Dust My Rhythm & Blues'
Flair's 'Dust My Rhythm & Blues'

When electrified blues and rhythm & blues first took hold in the black music market in the late 1940s and early 1950s it wasn’t the major labels that catered for this raunchy, exuberant and confident musical hybrid.

Instead, it was immigrant families such as the Chess brothers in Chicago and the Biharis in Los Angeles who saw there were demands to be catered for and money to be made.

The Biharis (originally from Hungary) started their Modern label in the forties and added the subsidiary Flair a few years later.

Its music was brash, beguiling and best played loud, whether it was Ike Turner (years before he met Tina) with the insistent 1954 instrumental “Loosely” or Louisiana guitarist Clarence “Bonton” Garlow extolling the delights of “Route 80” down to New Orleans.

But striding through this two-CD set like the colossus he was, is Elmore James, the guitarist many consider to be one of the finest bluesmen of the post-war era. It wasn’t just his influential and imitable guitar playing that attracts but a voice and lyrics that can have you crying in your beer or rocking the house down. Just try his definitive “Dust My Blues” or the majestic “Standing at the Crossroads” for starters.

Elsewhere there’s the delights of Richard Berry (the man who was to bring us the first version of “Louie Louie”) with the prison drama “The Big Break” and Carlos Santana’s father-in-law Saunders King with the more mellow “Quit Hangin’ Around Me”. Juke joint heaven.

Dust My Rhythm & Blues: The Flair Records R&B Story 1953-1955 (Ace) is available for £17.77 from amazon.co.uk

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in