Hands Off! 1950-1956 Modern Studio Recordings

Hands Off! 1950-1956 Modern Studio Recordings


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What to do with the output of several women singers who recorded for one of the foremost R&B labels of the early to mid-'50s, but didn't really record enough to merit a single-artist CD of their work for the company? Ace Records, which has released many compilations from the Modern vaults, comes up with a logical solution on the Hands Off! compilation, grouping them all together on this 27-track disc. Nine songs are featured by Donna Hightower; five by Helen Humes, the most celebrated performer on the anthology; two by Zola Taylor, most famous for joining the Platters soon after these tracks were cut; and six and five respectively by Dolly Cooper and Linda Peters, who according to the liner notes are likely different names for the same vocalist. Spanning the years 1950-1956, on the whole it's decent, period R&B with elements of jazz, jump blues, and doo wop, though it doesn't often catch fire. Hightower's portion is about the most interesting, as she's a solid singer of up-tempo material and provides what's easily the CD's standout cut, a cover of the lively, sassy Jay McShann-Priscilla Bowman hit "Hands Off." Humes' tracks are all from 1951 and are all, with one exception, previously unissued alternate takes. She has the jazziest feel of any of the singers, though she gets into relatively earthy blues on "I Ain't in the Mood," an "answer" record to John Lee Hooker's smash "I'm in the Mood." Cooper and Peters, who as previously noted might well be the same singer, offer more routine doo wop-flavored sides on the verge of making the transition into the rock & roll era, though more so on the Cooper cuts than the ones credited to Peters. Taylor's tracks, taken from both sides of a 1954 single, are pretty unimpressive early doo wop, though she'd be the singer from this group to experience the greatest commercial success when she joined the Platters shortly afterward. As is customary for Ace, the annotation and sessionography are first-rate in their thoroughness.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/28/2007
Label: Ace Records Uk
UPC: 0029667029124
catalogNumber: 1163
Rank: 97729

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Helen Humes   Vocals
Donna Hightower   Vocals
James Cook   Guitar
Harper Cosby   Bass
Harold Grant   Guitar
Jewell L. Grant   Alto Saxophone
Charles Hamilton   Bass
Harry D. Jones   Trumpet
Willard McDaniel   Piano
Dick Nash   Trombone
Jesse Sailes   Drums
Mitchell "Tiny" Webb   Guitar
Bill Douglass   Drums
Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis   Leader,Tenor Saxophone
Herman Mitchell   Guitar
Henry Gruen   Alto Saxophone
Dolly Cooper   Vocals
Danny Crisp   Alto Saxophone
Edgar Ennis   Drums
Chet Ricord   Drums

Technical Credits

Helen Humes   Composer
Jay McShann   Composer
Ben Pollack   Composer
Claude Thornhill   Composer
Donna Hightower   Composer,Cover Photo
Cadets   Vocal Group
Priscilla Bowman   Composer
Georg Brunis   Composer
Paul Mares   Composer
Linda Peters   Composer
Cole Porter   Composer
Zola Taylor   Composer
Billy Vera   Photo Courtesy
Tony Rounce   Liner Notes
Joe Josea   Composer
Jules Taub   Composer
Walter Melrose   Composer
Sidney Wyche   Composer
Sam Ling   Composer
Mayme Watts   Composer
Johnny Olenn   Photo Courtesy
Dolly Cooper   Composer

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