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R&B Hipshakers Vol 1 The 5 Royales
  • R&B Hipshakers Vol 1. Teach Me To Monkey (2lp)-1 R&B Hipshakers Vol 1. Teach Me To Monkey (2lp)-2
    2LP VAMPI 150
    20,00€ NOT AVAILABLE
  • R&B Hipshakers Vol 1. Teach Me To Monkey (cd)-1 R&B Hipshakers Vol 1. Teach Me To Monkey (cd)-2
    CD VAMPI CD 122
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Uptempo and danceable collection of R&B and early soul from the Federal and King vaults, compiled by renowned DJ Mr Fine Wine (Downtown Soulville, WFMU). First volume of our new series, sure to keep you dancing in the months ahead. Most tracks have never been reissued.

I wasn't even close to being a twinkle in my dad's horn-rimmed eye in 1961. But I have to conclude that there's something special about that year for me. When compiling Vampisoul's dip into King Records' deep, deep rhythm-andblues vaults, I realized that I'm a sucker for the sounds of '61. And, well, '62 too. Not that other years slightly earlier and later aren't represented as well, but… fully a quarter of the tracks herein are from 1961. What happened then? President Kennedy happened then, for one thing, inaugurated on January 20. Also: chimps and their perhaps marginally more civilized human cousins in space; Roger Maris eclipsing the Babe, albeit with a conceptual asterisk; Jets vs Sharks on the West Side; the Cold War in full swing; a hot war in Vietnam just starting to smolder, though few Americans had even heard of the place yet. And brilliant black musicians making timeless records for a Cincinnati, Ohio family of labels - gibbling and gobbling down Broadway, implanting indelible, stinging guitar lines in the public consciousness, and making folks do the ginger snap like there was no tomorrow, which I'm sure there didn't always seem to be.

This collection of genuine King and Federal R&B sides encompasses crazy dances (the impossible-but-highly-entertaining-to-picture 'Slummer The Slum'; 'Posin'', which beat Madonna to the voguing punch by some 30 years); intense guitar instrumentals (what can you say about a label employing so many superstar guitar slingers that even Freddie King probably has to fight for a spot in one's top 3, what with Johnny Watson, Ike Turner, Mickey Baker and Lowman Pauling staking pretty strong claims for inclusion themselves?); inspired forays into mind-altering whimsy ('Hog Killin' Time', the first of a trilogy of swinetingling masterpieces by Eddie Kirk, along with 'The Hawg' on Volt and 'The Grunt' on Fortune); the timeless ode to male horniness 'One Zippy Zam'; and hook-filled, honest-togoodness love songs (try to get 'I Don't Know About You' out of your head - or your heart).

We can argue endlessly about the appropriateness of one's mom teaching one to monkey. If it's polite, sober propriety you're after, look elsewhere. For a raucous and potentially life-changing R&B dance party in a box, though, you'll find TEACH ME TO MONKEY to be just the thing.

Mr Fine Wine
WFMU's "Downtown Soulville"
New York City, 2010

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