Various Artists: Teach Me to Monkey (Vampisoul/Southbound)

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Carol Ford: Your Well Ran Dry (1964)
Various Artists: Teach Me to Monkey (Vampisoul/Southbound)

Chris Kenner wasn't kidding when he wrote Land of 1000 Dances in '62 – which became a minor hit for Cannibal and the Headhunters, then the wicked Wilson Pickett and dozens of others.

In the early 60s it seemed like America was kicking up a new dance craze – the Monkey, the Pony, the Jerk, the Mashed Potato, the Watusi – every other week and teen magazines had pages devoted to teaching kids how to do them. The Twist – from the song originally by Hank Ballard and taken to international audiences by Chubby Checker – was probably the least great dance phase.

Ballard turns up on this fun collection which scoops up 20 thoroughly enjoyable old r'n'b dancefloor tracks from those years just before the Beatles changed the landscape.

Here is sax-driven, finger-snappin' black r'n'b-cum-pop from the great Little Willie John, The 5 Royales (with the peculiar The Slummer the Slum), Charles Brown, Freddy King, Willie Dixon, and Johnny “Guitar” Watson . . . and many of these haven't seen reissue for almost five decades.

Great singing, but also some staggering guitar playing throughout too.

A real ear-opener and party starter.

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