Acrobat Music

Acrobat releases continue to gather positive reviews in the specialist press

Acrobat releases continue to gather positive reviews in the specialist press

Acrobat releases regularly get positive reviews in influential magazines covering the specialist and collectors’ spectrum, such as In-Tune, Vintage Rock, The Jazz Rag, Now Dig This, Blues & Rhythm, UK Vibe, Country Music Magazine. One other place where reviews regularly appear is on the respected US-based on-line magazine at, where reviewer George Harris writes about music across not only jazz, but blues R&B, nostalgia and pop genres. Here are some extracts from his recent comments of Acrobat releases - you can find his prolific output of reviews at

The Early Years: Complete Motown Releases 1960-62         Mary Wells          ACMCD4400      

Before Diana Ross or Martha Reeves, the queen of Motor City soul was Mary Wells. This album features in her early R&B years before crossing over into a more pop sound in the mid 60s. She had a warm and sensuous voice, always holding back a bit in delicious restraint, drawing you as she leaned away….. For some reason, this early period of Motown ages better than the latter years, maybe because of the doo wop and earthiness of the genre. An important vocal oasis. 

The Complete Singles & Albums 1958-62  James Darren  ADDCD3305          

Although largely forgotten today due to the onslaught of the British Invasion that obscured all the bowdlerized Elvis replacements, James Darren was at one time a major film and recording star….. He first became popular for adolescent girls due to his boyish charm and songs like the hits “Goodbye Cruel World” and  “Gidget,” but as this two disc, 57-track collection reveals, he had an impressive run as a man destined for the Vegas Rat Pack, with some swinging albums in the Pre-Beatles 60s…… This album is going to surprise you, and will definitely stump your friends on a Blindfold Test. Check it out!

The Complete Early Years 1955-58               Dakota Staton  ADDCD3306       

Singer Dakota Staton mixed jazz and R&B in a style that sounded like she scribbled “For A Good Time Call…” on every juke joint in America. Her delivery was a mix of Ruth Brown’s earthiness and Dinah Washington’s sass, with a dash of Sarah Vaughan’s brightness and clarity with the subtlety and nuance of a Whoopee Cushion. She swung hard and swung often, with this two disc, 55 song collection from her Capitol label days delivering some of the sassy grooves to hit your ears….. Staton had a style that could feel comfortable dressed up and uptown or with dirt under the nails and oozing with BBQ sauce. That was her allure and she wore it well; this one’s a treat for those who are tired of today’s singers that have technique, but no feeling.

The Capitol Years 1946-51             Tex Williams   ADDCD3317          

Along with Bob Wills and Merle Travis, the golden baritone vocalist Tex Williams was one of the most prodigious and successful of the Western Swing artists. And did he swing! This two disc album features his post Spade Cooley years, ranging from 1946-51, and the 54 tunes range from hard hitting Count Basie-esque pulses to fun and frivolous polka’s and a barrel full of fun novelty tunes that mix hilarious tales with bopping strings and horn. But the real joy of this genre are all of the toe tapping tongue in cheekers such as “The Traveling Salesman Polka,” “Never Trust A Woman” the totally and wonderfully politically incorrect “Don’t Telephone, Don’t Telegraph (Tell A Woman)”. They would win you over with a smile, and then swing so hard your shoes would wear out doing the two step. When did country and pop music stop being this enjoyable?

The Horace Silver Collection 1952-56         The Horace Silver Trio and Quintet             ADDCD3310       

While the sounds on this 2 disc set by piano legend Horace Silver may sound like mainstream jazz to our 21st Century ears, at the time they were groundbreaking affairs. The heat seeking missile of bebop separated the men from the boys, as well as the music fans from the dance floor as jazz became either too fast or too slow for lindyhoppers to cut a rug. Horace Silver teamed up with drummer Art Blakey to puree the new sounds into something a bit more palatable, with a detectable backbeat and toe tapping rhythm. Here we have the nascent sounds of hard bop, as Silver, Blakey and a rotating team of bassists including Curley Russell, Gene Ramey and Percy Heath start creating a new canon of songs and sounds…….These 31 tunes are the perfect preface to Silver’s book of jazz.

The Singles Collection 1947-62     Percy Mayfield   ADDCD3301       

A master of the blues in both pen and voice, Percy Mayfield (1920-1984) was one of the most important figures in the R&B scene in the 40s and 50s….. This two disc set features the A and B sides of his singles for labels Gru-V-Tone, Supreme/Swing Time, Speciality, Chess and Imperial among others. His voice is silky smooth all throughout, making a rich contrast to the earthy sounds by his back up bands….. A must for fans that want their ballads drenched in blue.

The Howard McGhee Collection 1945-53  Howard McGhee                   ACQCD7138   

While most people may recognize the names of bebop progenitors Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie  Parker and Thelonious Monk, for some reason trumpeter Howard McGhee gets little notice. He was one of the very first beboppers, arguably on the very first recording with Coleman Hawkins, producing the hit “Stuffy.” This four disc, 93 song set will hopefully set the (literal) record straight, as it contains some of the most exciting sounds that eventually became the heat seeking missile of modern jazz….. this collection has more excitement and inspiration than 10 mp3s of whatever you are downloading from today’s navel gazing artists. No fusion, no confusion.

©2008 Acrobat Music