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Blues & Gospel
Chris Thomas King -> Big John Wrencher

VARIOUS ARTISTS Smithsonian Folkways 40134 Classic Blues From Smithsonian Folkways ● CD $11.98
Budget priced compilation of blues tracks drawn from the extensive Folkways catalog. Most, but not all, are drawn from currently available CDs - Sonny Terry & Bronwie McGhee, Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon, K.C. Douglas, Lead Belly, Champion Jack Dupree, Edith North Johnson & Henry Brown, Cat Iron, Lightnin' Hopkins, Henry Townsend, David "Honeboy" Edwards, Elizabeth Cotten, The Original Chambers Brothers and more - 26 tracks in all.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Vestapol DVD 13002 Legends of Bottleneck Blues Guitar ● CD $22.98
DVD 15 tracks, 58 mins, recommended
Now on DVD. There's nothing quite like the keening sound of the slide guitar and this splendid collection of film clips presents 6 authentic masters - Son House (2 songs), Johnny Shines (2), Fred McDowell (5), Jesse Fuller (3), Mance Lipscomb (1) and Furry Lewis (1). Except for one 1965 clip of House all are in color and recorded between 1968 and 1970 for the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives. All the artists are in fine form though Johnny Shines seems a little uncomfortable and his performances are a bit restrained. Son House is the very antithesis of restrained and his powerful performances have such an intensity that they are emotionally draining. Fuller does a couple of eerie instrumentals using a medicine bottle as a slide. Visual quality is excellent, sound quality is a bit rough but it's all worth while. An invaluable collection. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Vestapol DVD 13004 Legends Of Traditional Fingerstyle Guitar ● CD $22.98
DVD 21 performances, 58 mins, color/ black & white, highly recommended
Now on DVD. A terrific collection of traditional songs and tunes performed by 9 performers - black and white. The common link to al the performances is the strong blues element throughout. Merle Travis displays his influential picking style on 3 songs from 1951 Snader transcriptions. Sam McGee was an influential performer from an earlier generation and he and brother Kirk are in fine form on 3 tunes from the Wilburn Brothers TV shows including a tremendous version of Railroad Blues that Sam had previously recorded more than 30 year earlier. Roscoe Holcomb may not be the most impressive guitarist here but was an incredible singer and his Poor Wayfaring Stranger is truly spine chilling. Elizabeth Cotten demonstrates her unique style on four performances including her trademark song Freight Train. Doc Watson is in stunning form on two solo performances from 1966 and there are 3 fine performances from 1980 where he is joined by son Merle and bassist Michael Coleman. Merle contributes some nice slide lick on Mississippi John Hurts Got The Blues, Cant Be Satisfied. Also featured are Mance Lipscomb, Josh White, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry and Rev. Gary Davis (with harmonica accompaniment by Larry Johnson). Another most worthwhile addition to your video library. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Vestapol DVD 13038 Legends Of The Delta Blues ● CD $22.98
DVD Now on DVD. 62 minute video featuring performances in black & white and color by Son House, Bukka White, Johnny Shines & John Lee Hooker.


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