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  Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm: Ike's Instrumentals The Soul Selector

Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm: Ike's Instrumentals

Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm
Ike's Instrumentals

      Prancing  The Rooster  Cuban Getaway


ACE 782

Oh yes indeed!! All you guitar hero fanatics, those who consider the fretwork of Mr. Clapton, Hendrix, SRV or whoever as having sprung from the brow of genius---Bucky, get an ear-full of the innovative and ferocious perfect master IKE TURNER. Yeah, Ike’s star has been badly tarnished by all those reports of domestic abuse of one-time spouse Tina from 30 years ago, but it’s time to give credit where it’s due, and English label Ace is providing prima facie evidence to those who, uh, can listen without prejudice to this wild-man’s slice and dice on the six strings. Culled from A&B-side 45 cuts as well as album sides spanning the years 1954-1965, Ike’s Instrumentals is the pure driving edgy, stinging whammy-bar style he perfected while leading his Kings of Rhythm in the 50s.

This music places him at the very,very top of world guitar stylists. He was already a driving piano man/talent scout/songwriter/bandleader in Mississippi when these earliest sides were cut, and by the time, five years later, when he was performing and recording in the St. Louis area, the components of his style were all in place. Brash, confident, reverb-washed, blasted from his Fender Stratocaster, Ike ranged from R&B stomps to rock and country instrumentals(‘Steel Guitar Rag’ was always one of his favorites). Always with an eye to the current dance craze, Turner would play bluesy leads over ensemble arrangements tailor-made for teen sock-hops, even turning in a great version of his hit w/ Tina, ‘It’s Gonna Work Out Fine’. On ‘Cuban Getaway’ his tremelo-ed guitar is featured on a blues rumba, musical perfection clocking in at a mere 2 minutes 38 seconds. Except for an almost 9-minute medley of blues themes worked out in the studio in 1963, virtually all these cuts come in well under three minutes, the definition of Shakespeare’s claim that ’brevity is the soul of wit’. Even the medley, called ‘All the Blues All The Time’, is a precision display by Ike of Mississippi-gone-to-Chicago songs, all built on archetypal blues themes--- from Dust My Blues to Woke Up This Morning, Stop-time figures, John Lee Hooker patterns, to B.B. King single string leads, all laid down in diamond-hard brilliance.

What a set. And guess what? Here in St. Louis on December 16th, 2000, on a sub-zero night, Ike Turner stole the show in front of a full-house at the newly-opened Pageant Music theatre. Along with Little Milton Campbell, Johnnie Johnson, Tyrone Davis, and the toast of blues talent in the city, Ike Turner paid tribute to Oliver Sain in a way that let everyone know he is still the baddest cat there is. Watching Turner direct a large ensemble with his eyelids, shoulders, chin---what you may call body language---was a great thrill. If you want a big slice of his guitar prowess, pick up ‘Ike’s Instrumentals’.

No one does it like Ike!



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