The Bottom Line
- Previously little-known gems.
- One or two more songs would have been nice.
- 12-song R&B compilation.
- Classic R&B gems.
- Well-known and obscure artists.
Guide Review - Review - 'Putumayo Presents: Rhythm & Blues'
Other noteworthy tracks are "'Cuz I'm Here," a beautifully sung relationship song that was recorded in 2006 by Ruthie Foster; and Catherine Russell's version of "Put Me Down Easy," a Sam Cooke-written song that was originally recorded by Cooke's brother in the early 1960s. Surprisingly, a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Wang Dang Doodle" by Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave fame), Keb' Mo and Angie Stone falls a little flat. The track, which was written in the early 1960s by Blues legend Willie Dixon, has been covered by everybody from Ted Nugent to the Pointer Sisters to the Grateful Dead over the years, but for some reason, the version here doesn't sound particularly fresh, which is odd considering how talented the individual vocalists are. The only other questionable choice here is the inclusion of "Before I Find the Right Girl for Me," by Rockie Charles, whose vocal similarities to Al Green straddle the line between loving homage and utter rip-off.
But despite the couple of bumps in the road, Putumayo's initial Rhythm & Blues music release is a welcome addition to the label's long line of quality compilation albums. If you've liked any of the label's previous releases - and they range in content from Jazz to Blues to Latin to children's music to much more - then you'll probably enjoy Putumayo Presents: Rhythm & Blues. Not only is it a fitting addition to the label's catalog, it's a fitting tribute to the original era of R&B music.