FEELING GOOD written by Herman Parker / LOVE MY BABY written by Herman Parker / PLEASE LOVE ME written by B.B. King, Sam Ling / BOOGIE CHILLUN written by John Lee Hooker / DUST MY BROOM written by Robert Johnson, Arr Elmore James / ROCKIN’ AND ROLLING written by Melvin Jackson / HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN written by Willie Dixon / WOKE UP THIS MORNING written by B.B. King, Jules Taub
All tracks written by Ike Turner, except:
Track 16: written by Sylvia McKinney & Rose Marie McCoy
Track 18: written by Joe Josea, Ike Turner
Track 19 & 20: written by Jules Taub & Sam Ling
Track 22: as mentioned
Track 1 previously released on the 1959 single "Ho Ho" (Stevens 107)
Track 2 previously released on the 1984 Red Lightnin’ album (RL 0047)
Track 3 & 4 previously released on the 1965 single "The New Breed" (Sue 138)
Track 5-16 previously released on the 1962 album "Dance with Ike & Tina Turner’s Kings of Rhythm"
Track 17 previously release on the 1987 Ace album (CHA 232)
Track 18-22 previously released on the 1963 album "Rocks The Blues“
Rock and blues guitarists alike owe a gargantuan debt to Ike Turner. His ferocious whammy-bar hammering, choppy chording, and ultra-aggressive string-bending solos were way ahead of their time from the mid-1950s onwards. Yet the man himself has never taken his audacious guitar chops all that seriously.
Even after all these years and adulation from a legion of bedazzled admirers, he considers himself first and foremost an expert boogie pianist who purchased an electric guitar during the early 1950s out of sheer necessity more than anything else. Encountering some difficulty finding a reliable axeman for his combo, the Kings of Rhythm, Ike strapped on a Stratocaster and cut loose (besides, his girlfriend Bonnie was accomplished on the ivories). "It sounds like I was a guitar player," humbly demurs Ike. "But I'm not."
Ah, but we know better. In actuality, Ike laid down some of the most daring and exciting blues guitar solos of the 1950s and 1960s. And if you've yet to savour this Clarksdale, Mississippi native in his pre-Tina prime, look no further than Ace's first ever all-instrumental collection from Ike. It's a superb non-stop celebration of Ike Turner the Stratocaster master, featuring sides from the Bihari brothers' Flair and Crown logos, Juggy Murray's Sue imprint, and microscopic Stevens Records of Granite City, Illinois.
In March of 1954, between producing a variety of vocals for the Biharis in Clarksdale, Turner waxed a handful of marvellous instrumentals. Included was a curious marathon medley, eventually issued under the title All The Blues All The Time, that found Ike and his crew accurately recreating the grooves of B.B. King, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Junior Parker, and John Lee Hooker.
By the time he briefly surfaced at Stevens in 1959, Ike Turner's credentials as a certified guitar monster were entirely in order - as the blazing Ho Ho and his first version of Prancin' eloquently attest. Though his hitmaking activities with Tina began to relegate Ike's wild guitar antics to the background from 1960 on, he found time to cut an instrumental album for Sue in 1962 showcasing the Kings of Rhythm at their fire-breathing, take-no-prisoners hottest.
Twistin' The Strings (another jaw-dropping workout that Kent inexplicably shelved in '64) and both halves of his funky '65 Sue gem The New Breed add to the unassailable digital testimony herein. This splendid disc proves that Ike Turner's long reign as blues guitar royalty is entirely justified - even if he has yet to be fully convinced himself!
By Bill Dahl
Tracks 1 & 2, Stevens recordings, St Louis 1959
Ike Turner (guitar) Fred Sample (piano) Jesse Knight jr. (bass guitar) John Wings (drums)
Tracks 5-16, Sue recordings, Clayton 1962
Ike Turner (guitar) prob. Eddie Silvers, Rasheed Ishmael (tenor saxophones) Marvin Warwick (baritone saxophone) McKinley Johnson (trumpet) Fred Sample (piano) Jesse Knight jr. (bass guitar) Thomas "TNT" Tribble (drums)
Tracks 18-22, Modern recordings, Clarksdale 1954
Ike Turner (guitar & piano) Eugene Fox, Bobby Fields (saxophones) Jesse Knight jr. (bass guitar) Willie Sims (drums)
Note: Personnel unknown for "Twistln The Strings" (recorded at Cosimo Recording Studios, New Orleans, 31 August 1964) and "The New Breed" (recorded in Los Angeles, 1965)
Compiled by John Broven
Produced by Joe Bihari (Modern recordings) and Ike Turner (Stevens and Sue recordings)
Package designed by Brian Burrows
Front cover photograph courtesy of Michael Ochs Archive