31 July 2009

Little Willie John - Heaven All Around Me, The Later King Sessions 1961-63

The later King sessions! I didn't want to upload this just yet, I'd rather have done it chronologically. I haven't gotten the earlier works yet, this is beautiful and it was sitting in my collection too long already.

Proto-soul. Close to soul but somehow not fully there but it's in his vocals though. His presentation is powerful and energetic, lifting even the tackiest song to greater heights. And this is someone who recorded 'Fever' and 'I need your love so bad' before.

Born in 1937, he died in 1968, but managed to record a lot of music. This album contains his last work released during his life because he was imprisoned in 1966 (but also released on bail, later). He thus died before he could be a true soul great but I have no doubts he'd be one.

AFAIK no real big hits on this CD or songs made memorable by others, like the tracks mentioned above. A variety of different styles, the music is mostly easily dated by the arrangements and backing vocals. But King was an excellent label and the material is good allowing Little Willie John to show how good he was. Fantastic stuff for anyone into 50's music and early 60's soul.

It's an Ace release with usual qualities: enough to read with plenty of details. The booklet contains two more shots from a session which also produced the cover pic. And lots more single-labels of course which is complete nonsense: King labels all look the same and are blue unless it's a "First Edition" and then they're orange. Why bother to whine again about this? Because on the back of the booklet we find another picture: click. Just a few of those and I promise I'll stop complaining about the pics of labels, ok?

I need to get my act together, update this blog more often and get more Little willie John. Don't count on any of this happen at all/soon, but it can be beautifully combined and it's one of the best ideas I've had in a long time. Can't wait? Ace has 3 more releases, "The Early King Sessions", "The King Sessions" and "Nineteen Sixty Six: The David Axelrod & HB Barnum Sessions" which would give you pretty much everything.
Ace, 2009

Little Willie John - Heaven All Around Me, The Later King Sessions 1961-63