Ballard Hank & The Midniters
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Ballard Hank & The Midniters - Unwind Yourself: The King Recordings 1964-1967 (CD)€18,00
The R&B star’s surviving 1964-67 King recordings, reissued in their entirety for the first time.
“Unwind Yourself” focuses on the period in Hank Ballard’s long career that has remained relatively under the radar in the CD era. It features every surviving record he made between early 1964 and late 1967, a period during which soul took over from R&B and his King label-mate James Brown spearheaded the funk revolution. Ballard made every effort to remain up-to-date but struggled to get his records heard by a wide audience. Whatever reasons DJs might have had for ignoring them, it surely was not the quality of the records or Ballard’s performances, which are first-rate throughout.
While this collection is aimed primarily at soul and funk fans, there are lots of choice R&B cuts to grab the attention of those who enjoy music of an earlier vintage. The vast majority of the tracks here have never been reissued. All but three are presented in the straight-ahead mono sound of the original King singles and albums. The remaining three are heard in genuine stereo (rather than pesky 2-track, with vocals on one channel and everything else on the other). Featured musicians include Lonnie Mack, Beau Dollar and a host of other Cincinnati notables, not to mention James Brown himself. The CD booklet offers a vast array of original labels, album sleeves and beautiful period photos, some of which have never been seen before.
The loose chronology of the track listing enables the listener to hear how capably Ballard moved with the times, and what a pity it was he didn’t find a newer, younger audience to enjoy these selections in the way earlier fans had relished ‘The Twist’ and ‘Work With Me Annie’.
Ballard Hank & The Midniters - Let`s Go Again (CD)€15,00
Jasmine’s chronological survey of Hank Ballard’s King 45’s which ended in 1959 on the previous volume ’Come and Get It’ (JASCD 568) and this new set continues that theme opening in 1960.
29 classics featuring the hits, ’Finger Poppin’ Time’, ’Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go’ and the ’The Continental Walk’.
Superb soul from one of the most influential R&B artists of the era at the peak of their success. Simply another must have collection from Jasmine. So let’s go, let’s go, let’s go again!
Ballard Hank & The Midniters - Come On And Get It 2CD- The Singles Collection 1954-1959 (CD)€18,00
Loistava peruskokoelma! Hank Ballard was one of the most influential R&B artists of the 1950s and the man who wrote and first recorded ’The Twist’. He was also a major inspiration for James Brown during this period.Includes both sides of all of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters singles recorded between 1954 and 1959 which amounts to a whopping 58 tracks including 9 US chart hits such as: ’Work With Me Annie’ and ’Sexy Ways’.This is the first time that all of the groups singles have ever been presented in one package. In addition are fully detailed liner notes explaining Hank Ballard and his groups rise from R&B stars to pop stars.
Ballard Hank & The Midniters - Nothing But Good (1952-1962) 5CDBox+ BOOK (CD)€110,00
YKSI PARHAISTA R&B ARTISTEISTA!! ODOTETTU BOXI! Hank Ballard and The Midnighters were the first professional vocal group young James Brown ever witnessed in person.
He vowed one day soon he’d be onstage doing the very same thing.
Long before The Temptations, Four Tops, and Spinners made Detroit ground zero for soulful male vocal groups, the city
spawned Hank Ballard & The Midnighters.
They were the Motor City’s first nationally successful R&B group despite their risque 1954 R&B chart-topper Work With
Me Annie and its equally raunchy smash followup Annie Had A Baby being banned from most U.S. radio airwaves.
Ballard’s singularly dynamic lead tenor and the muscular harmonies and uproarious onstage hijinks of the Midnighters
were enormously influential to everyone from The Contours to James Brown. In 1958, the group cut the original version
of The Twist, which Hank wrote, only to see Chubby Checker score one of the biggest smashes of the era with a
soundalike cover. Ballard and his crew got a measure of revenge by cutting a slew of early ’60s dance hits for
Cincinnati-based King Records, most notably Finger Poppin’ Time, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, and The Hoochie
Coochi Coo. There have been several greatest hits compilations by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters over the years, but never
anything on the all-inclusive scale of Bear Family’s new boxed set by the group. Its five jam-packed discs open with
Hank’s earliest appearances as lead singer of The Royals before collecting every song The Midnighters recorded from
1954 through 1962, first for King’s Federal subsidiary and from ’58 on for the parent King logo. Though he could belt the
blues with livewire intensity (and does here), Ballard’s group was primarily concerned with rocking the house. They were
one of the first vocal groups to record with their own band, initially led by blistering Houston guitarist Cal Green, whose
solos are frequently mind-boggling.
This mammoth collection unearths several previously unreleased titles including a 1960 rendition of Wynonie Harris’
Keep On Churnin’ (’Til The Butter Come), a selection of unheard alternate takes, and a slew of obscure 45s and album
tracks that have consistently eluded CD reissue until now. Also aboard is the demo of The Twist that the group cut for
Miami producer Henry Stone prior to re-signing with King.
Never has the recorded legacy of the late Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer been treated with such loving care and respect,
and never have he and his group sounded better!
Ballard Hank & The Midniters - Dancin And Twistin (CD)€18,00
King And Federal recordings. Loistava 24 biisin kokoelma, paremmilla soundeilla kuin koskaan aikaisemmin.
By John Broven
This is the first time that Hank Ballard’s dance classics, recorded for Federal and King between 1955 and 1969, have been gathered together in one collection.
Some projects do not come to fruition overnight and this compilation is a case in point. The idea germinated way back in 1992, when Paul Harris and I took the opportunity to interview Hank about his dance records before his successful appearance at the Blues Estafette in Utrecht, Holland. Eight years on, and I think the wait has been worthwhile. The music sounds great and the stories hold up well.
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters were at the forefront of the dance crazes that proliferated at the turn of the 1960s. The bedrock of the genre was The Twist, written by Hank himself, although Chubby Checker’s cover version snatched eternal glory. Hank’s original cut of The Twist is included here, along with his other big hits Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, The Continental Walk and Finger Poppin’ Time (the 45 version, not the one with the oft-reissued 40-second edit).
But there is much more, starting with four releases in the name of the Midnighters from 1955 to 1957 including Henry’s Got Flat Feet (Can’t Dance No More). After The Twist hit paydirt, Hank enjoyed a golden streak with no less than 10 other dance hits between 1960 and 1962. Inevitably, there was a cooling off period as the dance craze abated and the soul era began to bite. But, adaptable as ever, Hank proceeded to give his new dance songs a soul beat, notably Funky Soul Train and the James Brown-type Butter Your Popcorn.
This set is sure to appeal to fans of rock ’n’ roll oldies, vocal group collectors and dancers alike. Get those hips swivelling and come on, baby, let’s do the Twist!