A long-overdue look at the mini-soul empire of Leo
Gooden – an tiny little enclave in East St Louis that was making some mighty hip music in the early 60s! Gooden wore many hats at the time – politician, club owner, and local businessman – but he also put together his own band and record label, and worked in a very hip mix of R&B and 60s soul jazz modes! Through his nightclub, The Blue Note, Gooden came into contact with a variety of great musicians, both national and local – and he brought their inspiration to play on sessions recorded here for his LG family of labels – issued on a handful of singles and two rare LPs. Although rough-edged at times, these tracks have a really great sound – kind of a grittier take on the Prestige Records groove of the 60s – helped out by musicians who include Oliver Nelson and Hamiet Bluiett – and singers who include Albert King and Charles Drain. The package is a bit loose on discographical details, but definitely includes all the best moments from these mighty years on the East St Louis scene – and the full story in the notes more than helps to fill in the gaps in Gooden's compelling tale. The titles by Leo
– Gooden's group – are all hip jazz instrumentals, often with a strong mix of Hammond, guitar, and tenor – and these titles include "Hold It", "Sunrise Serenade", "Something You Got", "Tippin", "Johnnie Come Marching Home (Country Style)", "Minor Over Matter", "Mop Water", "Fredrick's Dream", and "Cookin With Chezie Mae". Other cuts include "COD" and "Worsome Baby" by Albert King, "So Glad" and "Stop & Think About It Baby" by Charles Drain, "Winkee Do" and "Ugly Ugly" by Leo
Gooden, and "Let's Do The Cat" by Jamie Ross.