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ATLAS - Just Playin' Rhythm & Blues
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ATLAS - Just Playin' Rhythm & Blues
ATLAS - Just Playin' Rhythm & Blues Storefront > CDs

ATLAS - Just Playin' Rhythm & Blues

Part Number: KAR-CD-005
Price: $11.95
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ATLAS – Just Playin’ Rhythm & Blues (Moiras/Kept Alive) CD

In the mid-sixties, the Rolling Stones and the Shadows were regarded as musical opposites, and never the twain shall meet. Which is a shame. But in Budapest, Hungary, things worked differently, as demonstrated by these recently-discovered 1965 recordings by Atlas, a young group whose repertoire included material by both bands without sounding remotely incongruous.

Fourteen of the CD’s 19 tracks were taped at a live performance at Buda Youth Park. As to be expected, the sound quality is a little rough, but given the circumstances it’s surprisingly well-balanced—certainly no worse than most amateur live recordings from this era. The group was adept in multiple styles: instrumental numbers like the Shadows’ “Wonderful Land” and the Dakotas’ “The Millionaire” are delivered with cool and tasteful precision, while R&B workouts like “Not Fade Away” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You” are lithe, loose and raunchy. Their version of the Stones’ “What A Shame,” with its marble-mouthed vocal and reverb tank guitar tones, is especially fine, as are “Farmer John,” with a blazing lead guitar break by Biro Gabor, and their raving take on the Kinks’ “I Gotta Move.” Atlas also perform a handful of self-composed instrumentals, including “Charlie,” a shakin’ Bo Diddley beat improv with the requisite thumbing drums and wailing harmonica, and, my top pick, “The Rocker,” with torrid guitar and harmonica battling it out over a sockin’ 12-bar backbeat. The CD is rounded out with five songs from a poor quality 1965 demo tape, including a second version of “The Rocker.”

The liner notes are in Hungarian, but the CD booklet includes a bunch of excellent photos of the group in action. By the time Atlas got around to making any records, they’d switched to more of a soul-based style, but they never again captured the excitement level of the early live recordings found here. Only 300 copies made. (MS)