Thursday, 5 March 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week - Number 47

Dennis Binder - Early Times (Modern 930)

Dennis Binder was a singing piano pounder from Rosedale, Mississippi who'd recorded in Chicago and Memphis in the early '50s. By 1954 he was working with the Delta dynamo Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm having apparently ventured into Clarksdale with his band to challenge Ike and his guys to a battle of he bands. I'm not sure who won the battle, but Ike was impressed enough to take Binder into a Clarksdale, MS studio with Jesse Knight, Willie Sims and a twin tenor sax attack of Eugene Fox and Bobby Fields. They recorded a quartet of tracks that had quality stamped on every note. A tribute to Early Times whiskey the song is powered by Ike's boogie guitar riff and the vamping saxes doing the da na na - da na na that was to be all the rage for future show closures. Binder's vocals had that hypnotic, almost lazy feel that was not unlike another Turner frontman, Jackie Brenston. Within twelve months Turner and Binder had parted following a dispute over pay. Ike had bigger troubles down the road, but for the moment he was recording some of the best music in the south, be it tough r'n'b or gut-wrenching blues. Best place to find Early Times is the Rhythm Rockin' Blues: Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm CD on Ace (CDCHD553) which showcases the extraordinary work Ike Turner was producing at this time. Binder has now turned 80 but is still playing, amazingly having his first album released just two years ago. I knew whiskey was good for you.

Recommended downloads: The New Orleans style I Miss You So and the slower call-and-responce barroom baller, You Got Me Way Down here, both from the same session as Early Times.

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