Rounder Records has released the complete catalog of the pivotal New Orleans R&B labels, Ric Records and Ron Records. All 140 songs released by the labels on 45 RPM singles, by artists such as Johnny Adams, Eddie Bo, Al Johnson and Irma Thomas, will be released on seven 20-song digital albums.
In addition, in conjunction with the Numero Group and Ace Records, Rounder will release a box set of ten 45 RPM records of almost all newly discovered material, including the audition recording by Johnny Adams for his first recording, "I Won’t Cry."
Between 1958 and 1962, the Ric and Ron labels captured the sound of a unique period in New Orleans music, when the first era of classic R&B was waning, and before the sounds of funk and soul music became the city’s new signature. In these recordings, you can hear incipient funk in Eddie Bo, and the sanctified sensibility of soul music in everything Johnny Adams sang. It was, in every sense, its own era, when shuffling second-line parade beats laid the foundation for a new and uniquely New Orleans groove, and musicians broke free of the strictures of standard jump blues and 6/8 ballads.
The box set, From the Vaults of Ric & Ron Records: Rare and Unreleased Recordings 1958-1962, affords us an incisive window into the workings of these small but significant record labels, with, among other treasures, demo recordings of Eddie Bo's “Every Dog Has Its Day” and Al Johnson’s “Carnival Time.” In the finished recordings, also included, there is a high level of musicianship and craft, with arrangements by Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack and guitarist Edgar Blanchard. The sound of the records, often made in Cosimo Matassa’s legendary studio, is superb, especially with these new transfers made from the original tapes. And hearing this music on these new records is just the way they were intended to be heard, one song at a time at 45 RPM.
The songs on the box set, which is limited to a worldwide edition of 1,500, will not be available digitally for the time being. They include:
Johnny Adams: “I Won’t Cry” (audition),* “Who Are You” (audition),* “My Baby Done Closed the Door” (demo),* “No Way Out for Me,”* Walking the Floor Over You”*
Edgar Blanchard & The Gondoliers: “Blues Cha Cha,”* “Bopsody in Blue”*
Eddie Bo: “Nothing With Out You,”* “Satisfied With Your Love,”* “Every Dog Has Its Day,” “Every Dog Has Its Day” (demo),* “Ain’t You Ashamed,”* “I'll Do Anything for You”*
Al Johnson: “Carnival Time, Carnival Time” (demo),* “Lena, Let Come What May”(demo)*
Barbara Lynn: “Found My Good Thing,”* “Question of Love”*
Paul Marvin: “Hurry Up” (alternate take),* “Goofer”*
The complete Ric and Ron recordings are available at all digital stores.
The box set is distributed in the U.S. by the Numero Group, and in the U.K. by Ace Records.