These were Miss Peaches’ first recordings from the mid-1950s, recorded for the legendary Los Angeles label. Discovered by bandleader Johnny Otis as a teenager, originally, James had mixed success cutting “answer records” for Hank Ballard “Annie” hits with releases like “The Wall Flower” and “Hey! Henry”. When that ran its course, she responded to Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man” with “W-O-M-A-N”.
When she did get her thing together, despite her youthfulness, James could really worry a song. Case in point is “Crazy Feeling,” which is done in the tradition of labelmate Johnny “Guitar” Watson. She was also capable of rocking awhile, as “That’s All,” “Shortin’ Bread Rock” and “Tough Lover” demonstrate very well. Unbeknownst to many, James lived in New Orleans briefly, and during her stay, waxed a session down at Cosimo Matassa’s Studio. The sound is a rapid departure from the West Coast sound she promoted previously. The highlights of the New Orleans sessions were the brilliant Harold Battiste/Eddie Bo-penned “The Pickup,” where James duets with Plas Johnson’s saxophone. “The Marketplace” is also memorable, as it’s got the unique New Orleans Spanish tinge. Interestingly, this was one of the first sessions Allen Toussaint played on.
Sadly, there are no liner notes, and the photos in the booklet were taken nearly a decade after these sides were recorded. Still, as they used to say “it’s what’s in the groove that counts.” This one’s definitely got that.