KEB DARGE AND LITTLE EDITH’S LEGENDARY WILD ROCKERS 2.

KEB DARGE AND LITTLE EDITH’S LEGENDARY WILD ROCKERS 2.

While Keb Darge has been a compiler of quality compilations since the late nineties, his life has revolved around music since the seventies. His career started as a record collector, then dancer, DJ, record compiler and label owner. Keb started his career Northern Soul DJ and is known for his love of soul, funk and R&B. Although it’s a career that’s taken a few twists and turns, Keb has always been an innovator, and is the founding father of “deep funk.” This had lead to him compiling several funk compilations for BBE Music. Indeed, it’s on BBE Music that Keb will release his forthcoming CD, Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2. This will be the third compilation from Keb Darge and Little Edith. Previously, they’ve released Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Rockin’ R&B in 2010 and 2011s Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers. If their forthcoming compilation Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2, which will be released on 10th July 2012 is as good previous volumes, then this compilation will be something special. Will this be the case? That’s what I’ll tell you, after I’ve told you about Keb Darge’s career.  

Keb, born in Elgin, Scotland, started collecting soul records in the seventies, before making the journey to the famous Wigan Casino. By then, Keb wasn’t just a record collector and dancer at the Casino, he was also a DJ. His DJ-ing career took him around Scotland, and to Wigan, DJ-ing at a club just round the corner from the Casino. Keb continued to DJ until he was twenty-two, when he moved to London. 

Having moved to London, Keb decided to quit DJ-ing. However, after promoters persisted in asking him to DJ, eventually, he relented, allowing London’s club-goers to experience the Northern Soul sound. Sadly, disaster struck for Keb in 1987, when he was divorced and had to sell his beloved record collection. With no records, Keb had to find a new career. This saw him try a variety of jobs to make ends meet. Then, when he rediscovered some records in his loft, this would change his career and life. 

These records that Keb discovered in his loft were what he called “junk records,” and were the beginning of what would become “deep funk.” This was 1989, the height of Acid House, when Keb started spinning these discs at The Wagclub, which specialized in Acid Jazz. After the night ended at The Wagclub, Keb met fellow DJ and record collector Snowboy. They transferred the deep funk night to another venue, but due to the popularity of house music, the night never gathered momentum. From there, they headed to Soho, where the night became hugely successful, with their new venue quickly establishing itself as a club. Keb continued to DJ at the Legendary Deep Funk night lasted until 2010, when he decided to quit. He still continues to DJ at a variety of venues, spinning his own unique brand of Northern Soul, rockabilly, early R&B and jump-blues. However, by 2010, Keb was busy compiling compilations for various labels and running Kay Dee, a label he founded with Kenny Dope.

By 2010, Keb Darge had compiled various compilations, including several volumes of his Legendary Deep Funk, plus Soul Spectrum, Funk Spectrum and Lost and Found with Paul Weller. Incidentally, 2010 saw the first instalment of Keb Barge and Little Edith’s R&B compilations, a new compilation, which Keb and his wife Edith had compiled. Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Rockin’ R&B was released to critical acclaim in 2010. The second volume Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers was released a year later in July 2011, containing numerous hidden gems. On 10th July 2012, Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2, will be released. It contains twenty-one slices of rare rockabilly and surf, from the late fifties and early sixties. Will these tracks be as good as those on the previous two volumes? That’s what I’ll tell you, after I’ve told you about some of the highlights of Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2.

My first choice from Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2 is The Excels’ Let’s Dance. This was The Excels only single, released on Norton Records and written by Danny Goode. With a roll of the drums, the track literally bursts into life. For two minutes, you’re treated to a combination of hissing hi-hats, a sizzling guitar solo and a vocal that’s delivered at breakneck speed. The track’s a compelling combination of energy and enthusiasm, demonstrating just what a great surf track should sound like. For anyone whose only exposure to surf music so far has been Dick Dale, The Surfaris or The Ventures, this shows another side to surf music.

One of the most infectiously catchy tracks on Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2 is The Brave’s Woodpecker Rock. From its opening bars, you’re totally enthralled. It’s a storming slice of rockabilly, and quite simply, it’s almost impossible to keep still. You’re almost driven to dance. Key to the track’s success are the drums, plus some of the best guitar playing on the album. One other important factor is a vocal, which is laden with emotion and passion. Occasionally, the vocalist apes Woody Woodpecker, bringing a smile to your face. All this results in a totally irresistible track, one you’ll never tire of hearing and one that’s infectiously catchy.

The Swanks’ Ghost Train was the B-side of The Excels’ Let’s Dance. Again, this was The Swanks only release, but given the quality of the track, if this is to be your only single, make it one as good as this. Frantic drum rolls open the track, giving way to the rhythm section and guitar. Quickly, the train rolls away from the station, the track reveals its delights. Here, the guitar playing is stunning, just what you want to hear on a surf track. It’s fast, crystalline and accurate, with the delay used very subtly. Sadly, too soon, the track is over, after just two short minutes. However, this is one Ghost Train you’ll want to ride not just once, but many times.

It seems that Keb Darge and Little Edith have been digging really deep, to unearth the twenty-one tracks on Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2. Another of the hidden gems they’ve unearthed in The Tempests’ Lemon Line. It was released on Lifetime Recordings and is another explosive slice of surf music.  

From the get-go, when drum rolls open the track, there’s no let up in the energy The Tempests expend. They place as if their lives depend on their performances. Hissing hi-hats and then a searing lead guitar enters, played with passion. Up and down the fretboard fingers fly, never missing a note. Meanwhile, the rest of the band provide the heartbeat to a blistering and brilliant slice of surf music.

Two years after forming his band, Larry Donn recorded the track he’s best known for Honey Bun in 1959. Since then, Larry has always been involved in music, still playing rockabilly over fifty years later. When you hear Honey Bun, you’ll realize just why, back in the late fifties, people thought he’d a great future ahead of him. Not only is his vocal full of emotion and passion, but his band play with a similar passion and energy. Key to this are the occasional flourishes of piano, chiming, sizzling guitars and the driving rhythm section that accompany Larry. Sometimes, his vocal bears uncanny resemblance Elvis, something that’s often been said of Larry. So good is this track, that after hearing it, people will want to hear much more of Arkansas’ Larry Donn. 

Bobby Lawson’s If You Want My Love was released by the Mack Record Company in October 1958. Since then, it has graced many a compilation. Mind you, given how good a track this is, it’s no wonder it’s so popular with compilers. It’s two of the best minutes on Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2. Guitars open the track, before the drums and standup bass enter. Then when Bobby’s vocal enters, it’s accompanied by bursts of a train’s whistle that punctuate the arrangement. Later, things get even better, with guitar and piano solos raising the stakes even higher. Right up to the crashing cymbal that closes the track, Brian and his band don’t miss a beat, on what his the best track on the compilation. So good is this track, it’s almost worth buying the album for it alone. 

The first time I heard Allen Page’s She’s the One That’s Got It, I was struck by how similar Allen’s vocal is to Eddie Cochran’s. Even the song’s structure even has similarities to Eddie Cochran’s Something Else. Once you hear the track, you’ll realize what I mean, and it’s certainly a track that’s well worth hearing. When the track opens, Allen’s almost dismissive, sneering vocal is answered by the crashing guitars, before later, soaring backing vocalists answer his call. Later, wave upon wave of guitar solos unfold, with Allen’s vocal riding atop these cascading waves of guitars. Of the many highlights of  Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2, this is very definitely one of them.

Come Halloween, Bryan ‘Legs’ Walker with His Walkin’ Talkin’ Sax’s Trick Or Treat is the perfect track to play at your Halloween party. It’s moody and dark, with plenty of surprises in-store for the unsuspecting listener. As the track reveals its hidden charms, the vocal is barked out, before the band start to swing. With a combination of standup bass, drums, percussion and piano, the band swing, before Bryan’s Walkin’ Talkin’ Sax makes its grand entrance. It rasps and howls, screaming above the rest of the arrangement, competing with Bryan’s vocal.They combine to make Trick Or Treat the perfect soundtrack for Halloween. 

Dubb Pritchett & The Rock-a-Taires’ is the final track on Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2. This track could only have been made in the fifties, given its sound. It’s like something you’d hear during a movie like The Last Picture Show at the local dance. Just chugging guitars and a standup bass accompany Dubb when the track opens. His vocal has a Southern twang, is droll and delivered in sharp bursts. When his vocal drops out, the band take over. They certainly don’t disappoint. The chugging and chiming guitars and bass are joined by fiddles that give this rockabilly track a country flavor. Although quite unlike other tracks on the compilation, it has one thing in common…quality.

Earlier I posed the question whether Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2 would match or better the quality of their two previous compilations? Well, I can say that somehow, they’ve done it again, bettering their two previous compilations. This can’t have been easy, given the quality of their two previous compilations. Not only that, but with so many compilations being released, it’s getting even harder to release a compilation with tracks that most listeners won’t have heard. However, given Keb Darge’s encyclopedic knowledge of all things, soul, funk and R&B, he knows where there are a few musical treats lying undiscovered. Many of the twenty-one slices of surf music and rockabilly that feature on Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2 are extremely rare and are almost impossible to track down. However, often, people equate rarity with quality. Although that’s not always the case, it is here. From the first time I played Keb and Little Edith’s latest offering, I was enthralled. It’s like taking a journey back in time, to the fifties and early sixties, where you relive the delights of surf music and rockabilly. For the uninitiated and newcomers to to this series, Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2 is going to a journey and indeed, experience to savor. I’m sure that once you’ve discovered Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2, you’ll be wanting to discover the two previous volumes, Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Rockin’ R&B and Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers. For those of you who can’t wait until 10th July 2012 until the release of Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Wild Rockers 2, then you can always enjoy the delights of the two previous volumes. Standout tracks: The Brave Woodpecker Rock, The Tempests Lemon Line, Bobby Lawson If You Want My Love and Allen Page She’s the One That’s Got It.

KEB DARGE AND LITTLE EDITH’S LEGENDARY WILD ROCKERS 2.

2 Comments

  1. blondie


    All the bestest you 2 xx

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for sharing the clip of Timi Yuro’s It’ll Never Be Over For Me. It’s a real Northern Soul classic, one of my favourite tracks. Thanks for that
      Best Wishes,
      Derek

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