This fine compilation, entitled BLOWING THE FUSE, brings together 29 popular R&B tunes from 1954. A veritable treasure trove of '50s R&B both known and obscure, the set includes, in addition to superb songs, an extensive booklet packed with historical notes and photos.
Blowing the Fuse is a killer series of compilation CDs issued by Germany's premier archivist label, Bear Family. Subtitled "R&B Classics That Rocked the Jukebox," each volume is compiled by year. 1954 was a boom year for jukeboxes across the United States as rhythm & blues and rock & roll maintained their collision course. This volume contains 29 affirmed classics of the early postwar years. The more well-known tunes of the era are given great balance by some nearly forgotten gems that are juxtaposed in the brilliant sequencing -- by producer Dave "Daddy Cool" Booth. Highlights from this volume are the Spiders' "I Didn't Want to Do It," the Cadillacs' "Gloria," the Chords' "Sh-Boom," Ray Charles' "It Should Have Been Me," and Dave Bartholomew's "Jump Children." The package is beautiful with Colin Escott's liner notes detailing every cut, accompanied by photographs and a lovely digipack. Sound quality is as good as it can be for archival material, making this a fine introduction to postwar R&B for the novice and a killer chronological listen for the connoisseur. ~ Thom Jurek