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Hank Ballard & The Midnighters Hank Ballard - Rocks (CD)

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1-CD (Digipak) with 36-page booklet, 30 tracks. Total playing time approx. 79 min. It...more

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters: Hank Ballard - Rocks (CD)

1-CD (Digipak) with 36-page booklet, 30 tracks. Total playing time approx. 79 min.

  • It was Hank Ballard who, with his band, created The Twist in the late '50s, the greatest dance theme yet invented.
  • Bear Family Records® now dedicates a CD album to Hank Ballard & The Midnighters in the long-lasting 'ROCKS' series.
  • Ballard had taken the U.S. charts by the mid-'50s with numbers like Work With Me Annie and Annie Had A Baby.
  • Producer Nico Feuerbach and author Bill Dahl have compiled the most successful and best rocking R&B numbers as well as the stunning twist hits from the King/Federal catalog into an utterly danceable project.
  • Extensive, lavishly illustrated booklet with expert liner notes by Bill Dahl and carefully remastered recordings from the Gusto Records archives.   

Early in their long stint at Cincinnati’s King/Federal Records, Hank Ballard and his high-stepping Midnighters specialized in risqué double-entendre grinders - Work With Me Annie, its inevitable sequel Annie Had A Baby, Sexy Ways - that daringly pushed the bounds of propriety as they sailed up the mid-1950s R&B charts like rockets. As the tumultuous decade neared its conclusion, Hank and his bawdy Detroit-based crew invented the greatest dance theme of ‘em all, The Twist, embarking on a slew of additional workouts after that. 

Both phases of the group’s vast recording legacy are represented in abundance on ‘Hank Ballard and The Midnighters Rock,’ its highlights also encompassing Finger Poppin’ Time, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, and The Hoochi Coochi Coo. Get out your dancing shoes for this one - Chubby Checker may have ultimately won the Twisting wars, but Hank Ballard and The Midnighters were rocking houses coast to coast long before Chubby ever even saw the inside of a recording studio, and that mindset permeates this disc. When it came to rock and roll dance fare, Hank and his rowdy group were the living end!  

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Ballard, Hank - Hank Ballard - Rocks (CD) CD 1
01Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's GoHank Ballard
02Work With Me AnnieHank Ballard
03That WomanHank Ballard
04Stingy Little ThingHank Ballard
05BroadwayHank Ballard
06Ring-A-Ling-A-LingHank Ballard
07Are You ForgettingHank Ballard
08Sweet Witchie TitchieHank Ballard
09Shaky MaeHank Ballard
10SugareeHank Ballard
11Sexy WaysHank Ballard
12I Feel That-A-WayHank Ballard
13Annie Had A BabyHank Ballard
14Tore Up Over YouHank Ballard
15Don't Ever Change Your Pretty WaysHank Ballard
16Finger Poppin' TimeHank Ballard
17Don't Let Temptation (Turn You Round)Hank Ballard
18Henry's Got A Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)Hank Ballard
19That House On The HillHank Ballard
20Annie's Aunt FannieHank Ballard
21I'm Crying Mercy, MercyHank Ballard
22The Hoochi Coochi CooHank Ballard
23The Switch-A-RooHank Ballard
24I'm YoungHank Ballard
25The TwistHank Ballard
26Rock, Granny, RollHank Ballard
27The FloatHank Ballard
28We'll Never Meet AgainHank Ballard
29Looka HereHank Ballard
30Big Red SunsetHank Ballard
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters Original material that was often more than a little... more
"Hank Ballard & The Midnighters"

Hank Ballard & the Midnighters

Original material that was often more than a little lyrically naughty, perpetually tight vocal harmonies, crazy choreography—Hank Ballard’s Midnighters were the toast of Detroit’s R&B vocal group scene prior to the rise of Motown. Hank knew the value of keeping an exceptional lead guitarist in the group. Over the course of the ‘50s, they went from Arthur Porter (soloist on their 1954 smash Work With Me, Annie) to young Texan Cal Green (see Disc Three) to Billy Davis. Like the rest of the group a denizen of Detroit, Davis came into the Midnighters in 1959, when Green was sent up the river for marijuana possession.

Mississippi-born Billy proved his worth tenfold on the slashing two-chorus solo gracing Look At Little Sister, cut August 6, 1959 at King’s Cincinnati studio  with John Faire on the other guitar, pianist Jimmy Johnson, tenor saxist Hank Moore, fantastic electric bassist Navarro Hastings, and either George DeHart or Philip Paul on drums. Along with lead tenor Ballard, the Midnighters were tenor Henry Booth, baritone Lawson Smith, and bass Norman Thrasher, who recalled the origins of Look At Little Sister for the liner notes to Bear Family’s five-CD Ballard boxed set ‘Nothing But Good—The Federal/King Recordings 1952-1962’:

 "We were in Kansas City when Hank come up with the song," says Thrasher, a member of the Serenaders and Royal Jokers before joining the Midnighters.

The diminutive Detroit native Ballard, born John Henry Kendricks on November 18, 1927, joined the group, then billed as The Royals, in 1952 after it had made its first session for King’s Federal imprint. Ballard proved the group’s best source of material, penning their ’54 breakthrough smash Work With Me, Annie, the raunchy followup Sexy Ways, and the biggest dance song of its time, The Twist, which the group waxed for King with Hank newly front-billed in 1958. Right after that came more irresistible dance fare: Finger Poppin’ Time, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go, and The Hoochi Coochi Coo, 1960-61 smashes all penned by Ballard.

Perhaps in part due to the massive cash infusion from the publishing on The Twist, King boss Syd Nathan loyally stuck with Hank long after the hits dried up and the Midnighters broke up in 1963. Ballard finally rejuvenated his career due to James Brown’s production prowess in ‘68 with his black power anthem How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet). When he went back out on tour in the ‘80s with a new edition of the Midnighters, Ballard once again installed Davis as his guitarist. Ballard died March 2, 2003 in Los Angeles, having seen the whole world twisting (even if Chubby Checker ended up demonstrating the moves).

 

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!

Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!

 

 

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Tracklist
Ballard, Hank - Hank Ballard - Rocks (CD) CD 1
01 Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go
02 Work With Me Annie
03 That Woman
04 Stingy Little Thing
05 Broadway
06 Ring-A-Ling-A-Ling
07 Are You Forgetting
08 Sweet Witchie Titchie
09 Shaky Mae
10 Sugaree
11 Sexy Ways
12 I Feel That-A-Way
13 Annie Had A Baby
14 Tore Up Over You
15 Don't Ever Change Your Pretty Ways
16 Finger Poppin' Time
17 Don't Let Temptation (Turn You Round)
18 Henry's Got A Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)
19 That House On The Hill
20 Annie's Aunt Fannie
21 I'm Crying Mercy, Mercy
22 The Hoochi Coochi Coo
23 The Switch-A-Roo
24 I'm Young
25 The Twist
26 Rock, Granny, Roll
27 The Float
28 We'll Never Meet Again
29 Looka Here
30 Big Red Sunset