TINY BRADSHAW - THE JUMPIN' BEAT FOR THE HIP KIDS
Released 2022 on Jasmine Records Reviewed February 2023
Myron Carlton "Tiny" Bradshaw (September 23, 1907 – November 26, 1958) will forever be remembered as the man who gave Rock ‘n’ Roll “The Train Kept A-Rollin’” although it was the version by Johnny Burnette’s Trio that maybe most people remember because of its influence to many bands from the 1970’s rockabilly scene to Led Zeppelin. This compilation focuses on Tiny’s recordings for the legendary King label based in Cincinnati during the years 1949 to 1955 which was his most successful period of his relatively short career.
Review The album opens with Gravy Train from 1950 and is a nice R&B track with a swing to it driven by the bass and piano and a wild sax break in the middle. This sets the tone for the rest of the album nicely. Track 2, “Boodie Green” is also from 1950. “Walkin’ The Chalk Line”, track 3, reached number 10 the American R&B charts. Track 4 is a previously unreleased alternate take of this hit. Both versions have some great piano playing from Jimmy Robinson. “Well Oh Well” hit number two in the R&B charts in 1950 and was in the charts for 21 weeks. Agreat piece of early rock and roll! Track 6, Butterfly” is a ballad, that has been mastered from a rather scratchy disc but it does show another dimension to Tiny’s work proving he wasn’t just a “blues shouter”. Track 7 gets backing to the rocking stuff with one of my favourites, “Breaking Up The House” also from 1950. Track 8, “If You Don’t Love Me, Tell Me So” was the “B” side of “Breaking Up The House”. Tiny duets with Mary Lou Greene on this ballad. “Walk That Mess”, track 9, was his last release in 1950 a year that saw him establish himself as a successful band leader and recording artist. “Snaggle Tooth Ruth” (track 10) was not released at the time. It’s a good rocking novelty track that brings to mind another pioneer of jump blues and rock and roll, Louis Jordan and his hit “Saturday Night Fish Fry”. Track 11 is “Bradshaw Boogie” which was the B side of “Walkin’ The Chalk Line”. A great double sider! “Two Dry Bones On The Pantry Shelf” from 1951 is track 12 and it’s another great piece of jump blues with a humorous lyric. Great “good time music” which sadly didn’t chart. Track 13, “The Blues Came Pouring Down” as the title suggest is a bluesy number issued in 1953. “I’m A Hi-Ballin’ Daddy” at track 14 is Tiny’s first “train based” recording from 1951. As the lyrics say “we’re going to roll and rock”! Track 15 is an alternate take and I like both versions! Tracks 16 ad 17 are different takes of “Built Like A Railroad Track”. I love the lines “we gonna drink some mash and talk some trash tonight”! Agin it’s the bass and sax that feature in both versions with some nice piano playing too. Both tracks are good rockers. Track 18 is “T-99”, a fine example of blues shouting from 1951. “The Train Kept A-rollin’” is track 19 and the cherry on this cake that is a fine collection of Tiny’s recordings. It is hard to understand why this wasn’t a hit when it was released in 1951. Track 20 - “Knockin’ Blues” is, as the name suggests, a blues song and was the “B” side of “The Train Kept A-rollin’”. Tracks 21 “Soft” is from 1953 and features Red Prysock on tenor saxophone. This made number 3 in the R&B charts. “Strange”, track 22 is a ballad and was the “B” side of “Soft”. Track 23, “Hold On Josie” was recorded in 1953 but not released at the time. It’s mid-tempo blues song. Tracks 24 to 29 are all instrumentals with the emphasis on swing rather than rock and roll. “Powder Puff” (24) is a swing/jump blues instrumental that was issued in 1953 as the “B” side of “Ping Pong” which is not on this album. Track 25 is an alternate take of “Later” issued as King 4664. “Overflow” (26), “Spider Web” (27) and “Cat Fruit” (28) are from 1954. Track 29, “Pompton Turnpike” was Tiny’s penultimate release on King issued in 1955. Sadly his later recording failed to achieve any chart success. Tiny suffered his first stroke in 1954 and his health declined before he finally dies in Cincinnati on 26 November 1958 at the age of 51. Summary and Recommendation Anybody who has an interest in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll and music in general should have at least one collection of Tiny Bradshaw’s recordings in their collection and this CD fits the bill perfectly! In addition to some great music the sleeve notes are interesting and informative. This is an excellent release from Jasmine. Jailhouse John Alexander, February 2023