Earl King: Come On: The Complete Imperial Recordings (2003)
Various independent record labels in New Orleans created and perfected a sound that would cross over from black to white audiences and vice versa. Earl King's work at both Specialty (home of Little Richard and Lloyd Price) and Ace (home to Frankie Ford and Huey "Piano" Smith) were nothing short of outstanding, but it was his work at Imperial (home to Fats Domino) with Dave Bartholomew that truly stands out. That is the subject of a new complete exploration on Okra Tone/Rooster Records.
Included on this retrospective are King’s Imperial hits “Come On (Parts 1 and 2)” (also known as “Let the Good Times Roll,” the motto of New Orleans), “Trick Bag” and “Always a First Time.” All of these sound as fresh and vibrant as the day they were released in the early 1960’s, displaying Bartholomew's exquisite touch and King's keen execution.
Also included in this collection are other historical recordings plus tracks that were never released. The April 13, 1961 sessions, which featured the great pianist James Booker plus Bartholomew and Wardell Quezergue, are particularly enjoyable. These recordings include “You Better Now,” “Mama and Papa,” plus the unreleased “It’s Wrong” and “Case of Love.”
While this is an excellent collection of a sometimes overlooked but unquestionably important artist, the producers sequenced the music in order of its recording date. This subtracts from a natural flow and makes it feel sometimes more like a historical document than a record. But that does not detract from the overall power and enjoyment you will feel when you press play.
Track Listing: 1. Love Me Now 2. The Things That I Used to Do 3. Come On (parts 1 and 2) 4. You
Personnel: Earl King
Record Label: Okra-Tone Records