Friday, December 02, 2005

H-Bomb Ferguson: Mary Little Mary (Federal 45-F1350)

Whewww, doggie, here's one of the finds of the year for sure! This is what's commonly referred to in collector circles as a "black rocker." Well, rock it sure does! It's not quite in the 5-star screamer category like, say, Kid Thomas or Little Ike, but for swingin' and stompin', it more than holds its own.

A little bit about H-Bomb Ferguson, he was born to a minister in 1931 and like so many others, his introduction to music came with gospel, which he started singing and playing as a child. But what he really liked was the rhythm and blues sounds played at local night spots, so when he was able to break free from his parents, he began playing the music he loved.

His early recording career can best be described as sporadic, recording for Derby, Atlas (where he first used the "H-Bomb" monicker" and Savoy in the early fifties, then, after a virtual three-year absence, re-emerged with a backing group, The Mad Lads, and recording several more sides. This 1959 cooker for the Cincinatti-based Federal label, was one of his last sides for nearly 25 years. He would once again re-emerge in the mid 80s with the help of Rick James, and has been recording and performing ever since.

Which brings us back to "Mary Little Mary." It opens with a pounding piano/bass backdrop to which Mr. Ferguson's vocals come in and take over. The vocals are in a gruff shouting manner and they kick the song over perfectly. Add a little sax to the mix and you've got yourself a winner. And don't forget the sax solo, either.

What else can I say? What else do I need to say? Some records work their magic on you with just the right amount of punch. This is one of them. If there are any other H-Bomb Ferguson records out there I ought to hear, well, turn me on to 'em. In the meantime, I'm going to crank this one up and dig it a couple hundred more times.

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