Bill Justis's main claim to fame came in 1957 when he composed and recorded Raunchy for Sun Records in Memphis. It was the legendary label's all-time biggest selling instrumental, settling at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Although Justis later concentrated on arranging for and producing other artists he did record some albums under his own name, including at least eight in the 1960s for the Smash label in which he covered top instrumental hits.
For more on Justis and his Smash recordings read these previous posts: Justis1, Justis2, Justis3.
A Taste of Honey/The In Crowd (1966) was Justis's final LP for Smash. The formula is the same -- cover versions of instrumental hits.
Among the tunes is Guitar Boogie popularized in the 1940s by Arthur (Guitar Boogie) Smith. He recorded it in 1945 for the small Super Disc label. But it didn't become a hit until MGM re-released it three years later after purchasing Super Disc. Smith claimed he had picked up the boogie rhythm from a Tommy Dorsey recording.
Guitar Boogie, re-titled Guitar Boogie Shuffle, was revived in the rock 'n' roll era when a Philadelphia group, The Virtues, had a hit with it in 1959. In the U.K, it was a version by Bert Weedon that made the chart.
Justis's recording of Guitar Boogie is interesting because it seems to draw influences from Smith, The Virtues and Tommy Dorsey. The big band horn arrangement complements the guitar lead very nicely.
Bill Justis's Smash recordings remain unavailable on CD or as legal downloads. But they do pop up now and again on blogs or from other sources. The LPs themselves seem to be quite common and are often for sale online. They'll even turn up in thrift stores now and again.
To close, another selection from one of Justis's Smash albums. Mexico was a hit in 1961 by Nashville bassist and orchestra leader Bob Moore.
The Last Word: Arthur (Guitar Boogie) Smith died at his Charlotte, N.C., home on April 3, 2014, two days after his 93rd birthday.