Often I receive review copies in the mail of upcoming releases, and there’s some entertainment value in opening the mailer and discovering what’s inside. As you might imagine, they’re not all masterpieces—but occasionally you end up with some nice surprises. Yesterday something showed up called Hipshakers, Vol. 3: Just a Little Bit of the Jumpin’ Bean. While the title didn’t give it away, I could tell by the 45 labels plastered across the cover that it was a King Records compilation (more accurately, King Records and its subsidiary Federal).
That’s the third compilation in a series devoted to songs released on a Cincinnati label whose depth of talent was remarkable. This Hipshakers includes some of the better-known artists— Little Willie John and Freddy King, for instance—as well as a bunch of names that, for me, were either less familiar or totally unfamiliar.
For me, that’s much of the fun of the compilation—tuning into artists whose output was sometimes limited to a handful of singles (or in some cases one). People like Tiny Topsy, a female singer who belts out “Just a Little Bit” like it was nobody’s business. Or El Pauling and the Royalton, a 5 Royales spinoff; their “Solid Rock” has a mean guitar lick and is a much an early rocker as it as an R&B dancer. Continue reading “A New King Records Compilation”