Waters' The Real Folk Blues and More Real Folk Blues, combined here onto one CD, were not exactly random collections of tracks – the quality was too consistently high for them to just have been picked out of a hat. Still, it was a pretty arbitrary grouping of items that he recorded between 1947 and 1964. In fact, they hail from throughout his whole stint at Chess, virtually; at the time these albums were first issued, though, all of the material on More Real Folk Blues was from the late '40s and early '50s. They didn't exactly concentrate on his most well-known songs, but they didn't entirely neglect them either, including "Mannish Boy," "Walking Thru the Park," "The Same Thing," "Rollin' & Tumblin' Part One," "She's Alright," and "Honey Bee," amongst somewhat more obscure selections. So ultimately, this disc's usefulness depends on your fussiness as a collector – if it's the only Waters you ever pick up, you'll still have a good idea of his greatness, and if you don't mind getting some tracks you might already have on more avowedly best-of sets, you'll probably hear some stuff you don't already have in your collection.
Most popular to theater audiences from his title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's version of The Phantom of the Opera, Michael Crawford was in fact a star of the British stage and screen for almost two decades before that. Born in Wiltshire, England, in 1942, he began singing in the school choir and, while still a teenager, changed his name from Dumble-Smith to the more charismatic Crawford and began working in radio, television, and film. After first stepping on the London stage in the early '60s, Crawford's first regular television series was the BBC's 1960s show Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life…
Randy (born Veronica Crawford) is a brilliant American soul singer who had a UK top five hit (Street life) as un-credited vocalist with the Crusaders in 1973, then had two UK top five hits (One day I'll fly away, Almaz) in the eighties as a solo singer. Randy never achieved this level of success in her homeland. Apart from those three major hits, Randy had two other UK top twenty hits (You might need somebody, Rainy night in Georgia) and several minor hits, three of which (Imagine, Secret combination, One hello) are included here. Most of the songs here are originals but, with her outstanding voice, Randy is a great interpreter of other people's songs, as this collection shows. This collection truly is the very best of Randy Crawford, one of the finest soul singers there has ever been.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. When Ray Charles' musical director has the words "blues" and "soul" in large type on the covers of his own releases, there's a strong chance that's what the listener will find inside. The Mr. Blues set from 1968 is Crawford and a small horn section playing rocking blues riffs with a crack rhythm section. Instrumental R&B doesn't get much hipper. Crawford's tough but lyrical sound – informed by a bebopper's command and facility – is tailor-made for this blues-charged music. Highlights include the title track, a cool, finger-popping "Route 66," a sleazy, churning "Lonely Avenue," and a couple of no-nonsense Crawford originals. A middle-of-the road "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)" is the only departure from the set's satisfyingly gritty feel.