Bam-A-Lam: The R&B Recordings 1950-1962

Bam-A-Lam: The R&B Recordings 1950-1962

by Mickey ChampionMickey Champion


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A journeywoman singer in the West Coast 1950s R&B/jump blues style, Mickey Champion wasn't able to get a hit over the course of a career that saw her do time with numerous notable indie labels, including Modern, Aladdin, Dootone, and King. This 24-track compilation mainly spans the sides she cut for those companies in the early to mid-'50s, also including a couple duets with Roy Milton; cuts on which she sang by the Nic-Nacs and Jimmy Witherspoon; and five previously unreleased recordings. Champion had a bold, assertive vocal delivery, but the material she had to work with was pretty average for the genre. One very notable exception was the salacious "I'm a Woman," more famous as done by Peggy Lee but bluesier in Champion's 1955 version; such is the strength of Champion's interpretation that it's a surprise it hasn't shown up on more various-artists blues anthologies. "Bam-a-Lam" is also notable, showing her edging toward rock & roll by singing in what sounds almost like a Little Richard-influenced style. Otherwise this is mostly one for 1950s blues/R&B specialists, mixing uptempo numbers and ballads.

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