Friday, June 25, 2010
Five Albums You Might Have Missed
Carol Fran & Clarence Hollimon - Soul Sensation (Black Top Records) 1992 - If you're a regular reader at Blues Bytes, you know that I am a Black Top Records fanatic. About the time I started listening to the blues, Black Top was one of the labels that regular provided much listening pleasure. Their specialty was recording artists from the Gulf Coast area (Houston to New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Mississippi) that had not recorded in ages. Through Black Top, I was able to track down artists like Roy Gaines, James "Thunderbird" Davis, the Neville Brothers, Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers, Grady Gaines, and one of my all time favorite guitarists, Clarence Hollimon. Hollimon played on many of Black Top's releases over the years, and his wife, Carol Fran, recorded in the 60's and had a few R&B hits. Eventually, they were given their own release at Black Top, and it was a fun mix of blues, R&B, zydeco, and whatever else they could throw in the stew. Hollimon was known as a guitarist, and he had some fine instrumentals here, but he also took the mic occasionally and proved to be a solid vocalist in a Jimmy Reed or Mel Brown style. He and Fran released two discs for Black Top, and one more for JSP before Hollimon's death in 2000. Unfortunately, Black Top folded in the late 90's, but some of their releases have been reissued in the last couple of years. Hopefully, someone will give Soul Sensation the reissue treatment soon. Here's Fran and Hollimon at the 1993 Chicago Blues Festival. Divided into three songs, the first three or four minutes is a typical Hollimon instrumental with a title taken from Hollimon's nickname, "Gristle."