At the turn of this year I wrote about Lost & Found: Real R'n'B & Soul, a compilation that BBE Records out out with the curative skills of Keb Darge and Paul Weller. That release wasn't the first time Darge had been called upon to do some diggin' for the label though, and it won't be the last either, especially with the release of Legendary Rockin’ R&B, which is set to come out at the end of this month.
For those of you unfamiliar with Keb Darge, he's a Scot who's a master DJ that specializes in 60's and 70's northern soul and deep funk. And you don't need to check out one of his sets to figure that out, simply listen to any of the superb compilations that he's assembled and you'll know that the man knows his music and has got a knack for picking out songs that deserve to see the light of day again.
Much like his last work with Paul Weller, this comp pulls together twenty R&B tracks from the 50's and 60's, songs that reveal the roots of a genre that would later widen and spawn soul and funk. Discerning listeners will also note a few tracks that bear a resemblance to rockabilly, another genre that was finding it's way in the south at the same time R&B and soul was developing in the deep south (which is why it should come as no surprise that Darge has also previously released a compilation devoted to rockabilly: Lost & Found: Rockabilly & Jump Blues). Listening to the songs here, it's amazing how wide a spectrum there is, even in the early days of the genre. The album opens with the Civil Rights inspired The Freedom Riders. It's not long before you hear the rockabilly connection though on cut four, Junior Wells' Lovey Dovey Lovey One. You'll find the kitschy Love Blood Hound, complete with someone making vaguely hound-like sounds! Then there is Zindy Lou, a song that sounds like it was influenced by Martin Denny and the Exotica craze of the 50's.
Of course much of the material here will sound like rock & roll to many listeners for good reason. Elvis was listening to this stuff when he started out on his journey to being the King of Rock and Roll (and some might say "borrowing" from it as well). This album does a great job in taking you back to a time when so much music was growing parallel from similar sources, and is proof that the offspring have more in common then most people assume.