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NEWSLETTER #136
Blues & Gospel
Isaiah Owens ->
Josh White
 

 

 
 
THE CALVIN OWENS SHOW Sawdust Alley 4233 Keeping Big Band Blues Alive ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 65 mins, recommended
Owens long list of musical credentials includes A & R Director and studio musician for the famed Duke-Peacock label and a very long stint as trumpet soloist and band director for B. B. King. Here, the 70-something Houston, Texas trumpeter leads roughly 40 musicians (in various aggregations) through a set of originals with an energy and power beyond that of most mortal blues albums. Owens musical sensibility may harken back to the 1940s but it spends most of its time in right now. Check the instrumental punch of Love On A Silver Platter and the cool sophistication of Why Can't I. Why isn't this guy more famous? (JC)

 
CHARLIE PATTON Yazoo 2069 The Best Of Charlie Patton ● CD $16.98
23 tracks, 72 minutes, essential
As long as mastering technology continues to evolve, the often stunning and strongly captivating material from Charley (or Charlie) Patton's catalog will likely see reissue on a repeating basis, but discussions about what label offers the best sound will also likely continue. Yazoo has done a remarkable job on this twenty-three track set, perhaps setting a standard in noise reduction, clarity, and clean sonics that could prove difficult to match. Patton's music suffered for years because of the scarce availability of usable sources to dub from, and although prior sets (on Catfish, Revenant, and JSP) showed improvements, the dedication and diligent efforts of Richard Nevins appear to have now outstripped the competition. Down The Dirt Road Blues/ Lord I'm Discouraged/ Moon Going Down/ High Sheriff Blues/ I'm Goin' Home and the balance have never sounded so good. (CR)

 
SISTER LUCILLE POPE & THE PEARLY GATES Atlanta International 10256 Live - Real Christians Stand Up ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Sister Lucille Pope Alexander is a truly superb gospel singer with a husky voice that is coupled with a searing intensity, devoid of histrionics, which will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. She started her recording career in the 60s and made some exceptional recordings for Nashboro in the 70s (sadly all out of print). The recordings here made live in the 90s shows that her the has changed very little - the arrangements are a little slicker and uses larger groups but the focus is on Lucille's singing and that is as powerful and moving as ever. She is accompaneid vocally and instrumentally by her group The Pearly Gates which includes several family members that she has worked with for many years. The songs are all originals and includes Praise Him/ Jesus On My Side (based on Psalms 118:6)/ God Will See You Through/ Clap Your Hands For Jesus/ Almighty God and others. Glorious stuff! (FS)

 
ROOMFUL OF BLUES Alligator 4900 Standing Room Only ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 50 minutes, very good
For those who recall Roomful Of Blues with Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Greg Piccolo, or Sugar Ray Norcia standing tall and commanding attention, for some, their glory days have become a thing of the past. There's little question that this 30-some-odd-year aggregation can still dish out some compelling music, but Chris Vachon's often rock-sounding guitar vocabulary can be irritating to a fault, and Mark DuFresne, although a solid and workman-like frontman, doesn't quite capture the magic as other vocalists before him have. Once a driving blues band with a foot firmly planted in vintage rock 'n' roll territory, of late they seem to more resemble rockers who delve into blues, and although they can still push the daylights out of swinging grooves, their grooves have less swing and often collide with hook-based rockers. (CR)

 
CLARA SMITH Retrieval 79030 The Essential Clara Smith, 1924-1929 ● CD $14.98
25 tracks, 77 mins, essential
Great collection of sides by this outstanding pre war singer. While maybe not the equal of that other great Smith, Bessie, she was not too far behind with a powerful and expressive style and great accompaniments from the likes of Coleman Hawkins, Don Redman, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green, Fletcher Henderson, Joe Smith, Bob Fuller, James P. Johnson and others. She also had some particularly fine songs like Freight Train Blues/ Done Sold My Soul To The Devil (And My Heart's Done Turned To Stone)/ Nobody Knows The Way I Feel Dis Morning/ Shipwrecked Blues and the wonderful Look Where The Sun Done Gone written by Stanley who composed eight of the songs on this compilation and is freuqnetly featured in the piano seat. Sound quality on these rare sides has never been better thanks to the technical wizardry of the late John R.T. Davies. (FS)
CLARA SMITH: Black Cat Moan/ Broken Busted Blues/ Court House Blues/ Deep Blue Sea Blues/ Done Sold My Soul to The Devil (And My Heart's Done Turn To Stone)/ Freight Train Blues/ Hot Papa/ It Won't Be Long Now/ Let's Get Loose/ Look Where The Sun Done Gone/ My John Blues/ Nobody Knows The Way I Feel Dis Morning/ Oh! Mr. Mitchell/ Papa I Don't Need You Now/ Race Track Blues/ Rock, Church, Rock/ Shipwrecked Blues/ Sobbin' Sister Blues/ Steamboat Man Blues/ Strugglin' Woman's Blues/ Texas Moaner Blues/ Tired Of The Way You Do/ Where Is My Man?/ You Can't Stay Here No More/ You Don't Know Who's Shakin' Your Tree

 
GEECHIE SMITH/ CROWN PRINCE WATERFORD Blue Moon 6046 Swingin' Small Combos Kansas City Style - Vol. 2 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks featuring two Kansas City based blues shouters. Little is known about singer/ trumpet player Vernon "Geechie" Smith though he recorded quite extensively as a sideman between 1939 and 1954. His 14 excellent cuts here, recorded between 1946 and 1954, are the only ones issued under his own name. The remaining 11 sides are by the excellent and better known Crown Prince Waterford though, except for one alternate take, are also available on Classics 5024.

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Maison De Blues 982 249 The Honeydripper's Duke's Mixture ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 49 mins, recommended From his first recording for Okeh in 1929 up to his death in 1984 there was rarely a year that Roosevelt Sykes was out of the studio but in spite of his considerable output his music was rarely less than excellent. This relaxed selection was recorded in Paris in 1970 and the first ten tracks were originally on the French Blue Star label and finds Roosevelt in fine form. A nice mix of blues/jazz standards (Going Down Slow/ St. James Infirmary/ Honeysuckle Rose, etc), a couple of deliciously raunchy songs (Ice Cream Freezer/ Dirty Mother For You), a duet with Memphis Slim on Lost My Boogie and even a couple of tracks with Roosevelt accompanying himself on acoustic guitar! There are seven bonus tracks included here that were recorded at the tail end of the session when some friends and booze showed up and is a little more ragged than the first ten tracks but is still fine with Roosevelt doing a couple of Fats Waller songs, Slim Gaillard's Flat Foot Floogie and Misty. Superb sound and affectionate notes by original producer Philippe Rault plus original notes by Mike Rowe. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Alligator ALCD 119 Crucial Live! Blues ● CD $7.98
13 tracks, 61 minutes, excellent
Compiled from thirteen different titles in the Alligator catalog, there's nothing here of the previously unissued sort, but it's sure makes for some great listening - and it's even better considering the budget-line pricing. Luther Allison (Cherry Red Wine), Hound Dog Taylor (Dust My Broom), Albert Collins (Tired Man), Koko Taylor (Going Back To Iuka), Lonnie Brooks (Born With The Blues), James Cotton (Born In Chicago), and Son Seals (Call My Job) have all recorded memorable 'live' outings for the label, and there's plenty more from Dave Hole (Short Fuse Blues), Delbert McClinton (Going Back To Louisiana), Lonnie Mack (Riding The Blinds), Elvin Bishop (My Dog), Saffire (Dump That Chump), and Little Charlie & The Nightcats (Eyes Like A Cat). (CR)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Arhoolie 515 Sacred Steel Instrumentals ● CD $12.98
14 tracks, 57 minutes, essential
Arhoolie is thankfully continuing with their Sacred Steel series of recordings, and this is a recent entry, it's just as mesmerizing as the previous examples featuring an all instrumental selection drawn from previous Sacred Steel releases. The steel guitar has an infectious quality to it as it's capable (in the right hands) of reaching heights a standard guitar can't quite match. Add to that the sacred, or religious, nature of these recordings ('live' and studio) and you're in for a treat. Sonny Treadway's Jesus Will Fix It For You, Willie Eason's When The Saints Go Marching In, Lamar Nelson's If I Couldn't Say A Word, Glenn Lee's Call Him By His Name, and The Campbell Brothers' End Of My Journey are more than enough to make it worth its weight in gold, but Robert Randolph, Aubrey Ghent, Lonnie Bennett, Rayfield Holloman, and Dante Harmon make it more of a true goldmine. Brilliant. (CR)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16700 Blowin' The Fuse - 1945- 26 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
Bear Family now enters the already extensive fray in reissuing blues and R&B tunes on a year by year basis. Being Bear Family they do it in great style though I do have some reservations. Unlike some compilations these are single CDs with 27 or 28 tracks per CD, arranged chronologically, featuring some of the biggest blues, R&B and vocal group hits of the year along with a handful of rarities making their first appearance on CD. Unlike other compilations these are licensed from the original owners wherever possible and are remastered from best available sources using the disc transfer and mastering skills of Dave Booth, Walter DeVenne, Bob Jones and Jurgen Crasser and the resulting sound is breathtaking with a clarity and presence absent from similar reissues on Indigo, Boulevard and Fremeaux. Each disc comes in a fold out digipack with a thick 72 page booklet with notes, photos, label shots, posters and other memorabilia and this is where my reservations come in. Although the booklets are beautiful to look at there is a lot of empty space and I think most of the content could have been condensed into booklets half the size which might no longer be a graphic designer's wet dream but might enable Bear Family to charge a lower price. The notes by Colin Escott are generally informative but sometimes seem rather cursory and it is really unforgivable that a lavish and expensive production like this doesn't have discographical information or even list chart positions.
This first volume opens with Cecil Gant's seminal recording of I Wonder and ends with Lionel Hampton's Beulah's Boogie. Along the way we hear gems from Joe Turner, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Four Clefs, Louis Jordan, Buddy Johnson, Joe Liggins, Hadda Brooks, Big Maceo, Gatemouth Moore, Wynonie Harris, Johnny Otis, Julia Lee, etc.
COUNT BASIE: Jimmy's Blues/ BIG MACEO: Things Have Changed/ HADDA BROOKS: Swingin' The Boogie/ ARTHUR CRUDUP: Rock Me Mama/ THE FIVE RED CAPS: Boogie Woogie On A Saturday Nite/ THE FOUR CLEFS: V Day Stomp/ PRIVATE CECIL GANT: I Wonder/ THE GOLDEN GATE QUARTET: I Will Be Home Again/ LIONEL HAMPTON: Beulah's Boogie/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Baby Look At You/ ERSKINE HAWKINS: Tippin’ In/ HELEN HUMES: Be-Baba-Leba/ IVORY JOE HUNTER: Blues At Sunrise/ HERB JEFFRIES: Left A Good Deal In Mobile/ BUDDY JOHNSON: That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch/ LOUIS JORDAN: Caldonia/ JULIA LEE: If It's Good/ JOE LIGGINS: The Honeydripper, Part 1/ JAY MCSHANN: Garfield Avenue Blues/ LUCKY MILLINDER: Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well?/ GATEMOUTH MOORE: I Ain't Mad At You Pretty Baby/ JOHNNY OTIS: Harlem Nocturne/ SISTER ROSETTA THARPE: Strange Things Happening Every Day/ JOE TURNER: S.K. Blues, Part 1/ T-BONE WALKER: Sail On Boogie/ COOTIE WILLIAMS: Somebody's Gotta Go

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16701 Blowin' The Fuse - 1946- 27 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
27 tracks from 1946.
BIG MACEO: Chicago Breakdown/ THE BLUES WOMAN: Voo-It! Voo-It!/ RED CALLENDER TRIO: Red Light/ THE CATS'N JAMMER THREE: I Cover The Water-Front/ KING COLE TRIO: (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66/ ARTHUR CRUDUP: So Glad You're Mine/ THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS: Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'/ LIONEL HAMPTON: Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Wynonie's Blues/ ERSKINE HAWKINS: After Hours/ THE INK SPOTS: The Gypsy/ BULL MOOSE JACKSON: I Know Who Threw The Whiskey (In The Well)/ LOUIS JORDAN: Buzz Me/ Choo Choo Ch'Boogie/ ANDY KIRK: I Know/ JULIA LEE: Gotta Gimmie Whatcha' Got/ JOE LIGGINS: Got A Right To Cry/ JAY MCSHANN: Voodoo Woman Blues/ ROY MILTON: R.M. Blues/ JOHNNY MOORE'S THREE BLAZERS: Drifting Blues/ VELMA NELSON: If I Were A Itty Bitty Girl, Part 1/ BILL SAMUELS: Port Wine/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Sunny Road/ JOE TURNER: My Gal's A Jockey/ EDDIE VINSON: Cherry Red Blues/ T-BONE WALKER: Come Back To Me Baby/ DINAH WASHINGTON: Joy Juice

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16702 Blowin' The Fuse - 1947- 28 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
28 tracks.
ALBERT AMMONS: Swanee River Boogie/ THE BIG THREE TRIO: Signifying Monkey/ FIVE BLAZERS: Chicago Boogie/ HADDA BROOKS TRIO: That's My Desire/ CLARENCE BROWN: Guitar In My Hand/ WALTER BROWN: W.B. Blues/ SAVANNAH CHURCHILL: I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You)/ ARTHUR CRUDUP: That's All Right/ LIONEL HAMPTON: Blow Top Blues/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Time To Change Your Town/ BILL JOHNSON: Don't You Think I Ought To Know/ LOUIS JORDAN: Boogie Woogie Blue Plate/ Let The Good Times Roll/ ANNIE LAURIE: Since I Fell For You/ JULIA LEE: (Opportunity Knocks But Once) Snatch And Grab It/ NELLIE LUTCHER: He's A Real Gone Guy/ JACK MCVEA: Open The Door Richard!/ AMOS MILBURN: Down The Road Apiece/ ROY MILTON: True Blues/ JOHNNY MOORE'S THREE BLAZERS: New Orleans Blues/ GENE PHILLIPS: Big Legs/ THE RAVENS: Ol' Man River/ CLARENCE SAMUELS: Lollypop Mama/ JOE TURNER: Sally Zu-Zaz/ EDDIE VINSON: Old Maid Boogie/ T-BONE WALKER: Bobby Sox Blues/ PAUL WILLIAMS SEXTET: Hasting Street Bounce/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Shake That Boogie

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16703 Blowin' The Fuse - 1948 - 28 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
28 tracks.
THE BIG THREE TRIO: You Sure Look Good To Me/ ROY BROWN: Long About Midnight/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Good Rockin' Tonight/ CAMILLE HOWARD: X-Temperaneous Boogie/ IVORY JOE HUNTER: Pretty Mama Blues/ BULL MOOSE JACKSON: I Love You, Yes I Do/ LONNIE JOHNSON: Tomorrow Night/ LOUIS JORDAN: Daddy-O/ Run Joe/ JULIA LEE: King Size Papa/ JIMMY LIGGINS: Cadillac Boogie/ NELLIE LUTCHER: Fine Brown Frame/ AMOS MILBURN: Chicken-Shack Boogie/ ROY MILTON: Hop, Skip And Jump/ BILL MOORE: We're Gonna Rock/ GATEMOUTH MOORE: Hey Mr. Gatemouth/ THE ORIOLES: It's Too Soon To Know/ THE RAVENS: Write Me A Letter/ MABEL SCOTT: Elevator Baby/ HAL SINGER SEXTETTE: Corn Bread/ ARBEE STIDHAM: My Heart Belongs To You/ JOE SWIFT: That's Your Last Boogie/ SONNY THOMPSON: Long Gone, Part 2/ T-BONE WALKER: Call It Stormy Monday/ CROWN PRICE WATERFORD: Move Your Hand, Baby/ MUDDY WATERS: I Can't Be Satisfied/ PAULA WATSON: A Little Bird Told Me/ PAUL WILLIAMS SEXTETTE: Thirty-Five Thirty

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16704 Blowin' The Fuse - 1949 - 27 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
27 tracks
CLARENCE BROWN: Mary Is Fine/ ROY BROWN: Rockin' At Midnight/ RUTH BROWN: So Long/ CHARLES BROWN TRIO: Trouble Blues/ PEE WEE CRAYTON: Texas Hop/ LARRY DARNELL: For You My Love/ T.J. FOWLER: T.J. Boogie/ WYNONIE HARRIS: All She Wants To Do Is Rock/ JOHN LEE HOOKER: Boogie Chillen/ BULL MOOSE JACKSON: Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me/ LOUIS JORDAN: Saturday Night Fish Fry, Part 1&2/ ANNIE LAURIE: Cuttin' Out/ JULIA LEE: The Spinach Song (I Didn't Like It The First Time)/ STICK MCGEE: Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee/ BIG JAY MCNEELY: Deacon's Hop/ AMOS MILBURN: Roomin' House Boogie/ RED MILLER: Bewildered/ THE ORIOLES: Tell Me So/ JIMMY PRESTON: Rock The Joint/ TODD RHODES: Pot Likker/ SUGAR CHILE ROBINSON: Numbers Boogie/ SISTER ROSETTA THARPE: Up Above My Head/ T-BONE WALKER: T-Bone Shuffle/ DINAH WASHINGTON: Baby Get Lost/ PAUL WILLIAMS: The Hucklebuck/ JIMMY WITHERSPOON: Ain't Nobody's Business, Part 1/ BILLY WRIGHT: Blues For My Baby

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16705 Blowin' The Fuse - 1950 - 26 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
28 tracks
ARCHIBALD: Stack-A'Lee, Parts 1 & 2/ CALVIN BOZE: Safronia B./ TINY BRADSHAW: Well Oh Well/ CLARENCE BROWN: Boogie Rambler/ ROY BROWN: Love Don't Love Nobody/ RUTH BROWN: Teardrops From My Eyes/ GOREE CARTER: Come On Let's Boogie/ FATS DOMINO: The Fat Man/ LOWELL FULSON: Blue Shadows/ LLOYD GLENN: Old Time Shuffle Blues/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Sittin' On It All The Time/ ROY HAWKINS: Why Do Things Happen To Me/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Shotgun Blues/ IVORY JOE HUNTER: I Almost Lost My Mind/ LOUIS JORDAN: Blue Light Boogie, Part 1&2/ JEWEL KING: 3 x 7 = 21/ JOE LIGGINS: Pink Champagne/ PROFESSOR LONGHAIR: Mardi Gras In New Orleans/ EDDIE MACK: Hoot And Holler Saturday Night/ PERCY MAYFIELD: Please Send Me Someone To Love/ ROY MILTON: Information Blues/ JOE MORRIS: Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere/ JOHNNY OTIS: Double Crossing Blues/ JIMMY PRESTON: Oh, Babe!/ THE RAVENS: Count Every Star/ DOC SAUSAGE: Rag Mop/ JOE TURNER: Still In The Dark/ T-BONE WALKER: Strollin' With Bones

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Charly SNAJ 723 Vee-Jay Records - Chicago Hit Factory ● CD $34.98
4 CDs, 115 tracks, 5 hours 14 mins, highly recommended
Great collection of blues, R&B, soul, doo-wop, gospel and a little jazz and rock 'n' roll from between 1954 and 1966 recorded for America's premier black owned label of the time. The first two discs feature some of the most popular and well known recordings presented in chronological order featuring The Spaniels, Floyd Jones, The El Dorados, Jimmy Reed, Eddie Taylor, The Delegates, The Orioles, Gene Allison, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, John Lee Hooker, Rosco Gordon, Jerry Butler, The Flamingos, The Five Royales, The Dukays, Gene Chandler, Birdlegs & Pauline, Wade Flemons, Jimmy Cross, Little Richard and others. The other two discs feature some of the lesser known but equally fine recordings from both well known and obscure artists including The Rhythm Aces, Red Holloway, Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams, The Spaniels, Dee Clark, The El Cincos, The Prodigals, Leonard Carbo, Kip Anderson, Hoyt Axton, J.B. lenoir, Wynton Kelly, The Swan Silvertones, Christine Kittrell, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Reed, Gene Chandler, The Caravans, Victoria Valdez and others. This has all been out before but this is a particularly fine selection with excellent sound and the set comes with a 40 page illustrated booklet with notes by Roger Dopson and Clive Anderson but no discographical info (or even release numbers). (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Delmark 780 This Is Blues Harmonica, Vol. 2 ● CD $14.98
16 blues harmonica gems from the vaults of Delmark including well known and obscure artists - Junior Wells, Carey Bell, Walto Pace, Little Walter, Alfred "Blues King" Harris, Little Sammy Davis, Big Wheeler, Eddie "Guitar" Burns and others. Includes several previously unissued tracks and alternate takes.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Elap 41029-2 Texas Blues Greats ● CD $18.98
Three CD set with 60 tracks of Texas blues, mostly ranging from the 40s to the the 70s, drawn from the archives of the infamous Roy Ames. One disc is devoted to "Country Blues" and includes sides by Mance Lipscomb, Billy Bizor, Manny Nichols, Texas Alexander, Leroy "Country" Jackson, Willie Lane, Frankie Lee Sims, Lightnin' Hopkins, Riley Taylor, Ramblin' Thomas (misidentified as Jesse Thomas) and others. One disc is devoted to "Boogie Blues" - up tempo blues, mostly from the 40s and 50s including Albert Collins, Hubert Robinson, Joe Fritz, Sideways Sumlin, Carl Campbell, Sammy Harris, Clarence "Bon Ton" Garlow, Connie McBooker, Fats Mizzell, Lightnin' Hopkins and more. The third disc is entitled "Electric Blues" and includes a number of rock blues flavored items from the 70s along with tracks from the 50s and 60s - T-Bone Walker, Percy Mayfield, Joe "Papoose" Fritz, King Ivory, Lighnin' Hopkins, Henry Hayes, Albert Collins, Ted Hawley & Juke Boy Bonner, Joey LOng, Royal Earl, etc.
TEXAS ALEXANDER: Crossroads/ LOU ANN BARTON: Young And Dumb/ D.C. BENDER: Boogie Children/ BILLY BIZOR: T Model Ford/ JAMES BOLDEN: Deep Blue/ JUKE BOY BONNER: A Distant Feel/ Life's Highway/ MR. BROWN: Ain't Got Much/ CARL CAMPBELL: Gettin' High/ GOREE CARTER: My Best Bet/ ALBERT COLLINS: Collins Shuffle/ The Freeze/ RATTLESNAKE COOPER: Rattlesnake Blues/ JOHNNY COPELAND: Travelling Man Blues/ SONNY BOY FRANKLIN ORCHESTRA: Merry Go Round/ JOE FRITZ: I'm A Stepper/ JOE "PAPOOSE" FRITZ: I'm A Stepper/ CLARENCE "BON TON" GARLOW: I'm In A Boogie Mood/ CLARENCE "CANDY" GREEN: Green's Bounce/ PEPPERMINT HARRIS: Black Widow Spider/ Penthouse In The Ghetto/ SAMMY HARRIS: Fatso/ TED HAWLEY & JUKE BOY BONNER: Trying To Keep It All Together/ HENRY HAYES: Hayes' Boogie/ Picking My Baby's Bones/ SMOKEY HOGG: Penitentiary Blues/ CHRIS HOLZHAUS: Long Sad Letters/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: How Does It/ Pine Gum Boogie/ Rainy Day In Houston/ Stinkin' Foot/ War Is Starting Again/ LEROY "COUNTRY" JACKSON: Log House On The Hill/ CONRAD JOHNSON: Fly Chick Bounce/ KING IVORY: You Don't Love Me No More/ LITTLE BROTHER WILLIE LANE: Howling Wolf Blues/ Too Many Women Blues/ WILLIE LANE: Prowlin' Ground Hog/ MANCE LIPSCOMB: Buck Dance/ JOEY LONG: Shove It Up Your Heart/ LONNIE LYONS: Sneaky Joe/ PERCY MAYFIELD: Gone Astray/ CONNIE MCBOOKER: Shout Baby Shout/ FATS MIZZEL: Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu/ MR. HONEY: Build A Cave/ Who May Your Regular Be/ MANNY NICHOLS: Walking Talking Blues/ HUBERT ROBINSON: Boogie The Joint/ ROYAL EARL: Talking Guitar/ CLARENCE SAMUEL: She Walk, She Walk, She Walk/ Low Top Inn/ FRANKIE LEE SIMS: Single Man Blues/ SIDEWAYS SUMLIN: The Freeze/ RILEY TAYLOR: Long Lonesome Road/ Amazing Grace/ RAMBLIN' THOMAS: No Job Blues/ T-BONE WALKER: She's My Old Time Used To Be/ L.C. WILLIAMS: Jelly Roll/ LESTER WILLIAMS: Wintertime Blues/ L. C. WILLIAMS WITH LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: All Through My Dreams/ JOHNNY WINTER: Sloppy Drunk Blues

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Goldies 63305 Blues Time ● CD $11.98
Two CDs, 28 tracks, recommended
Excellent budget priced two CD set from Portugal featuring tracks drawn from the Chess/ Checker catalogs. All the usual suspects are here but the set includes some less commonly reissued material like Memphis Minnie's 1953 Checker recording of Me & My Chauffeur with Little Walter on harp, Otis Spann's great, originally unissued, I'm Leaving You with it's New Orleans sound and the unedited version of Buddy Guy's Stone Crazy. It also features Big Bill Broonzy, B.B. King, Albert King, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf (from his London sessions), Muddy Waters (two tracks - one from the London sessions), John Lee Hooker, Washboard Sam, Willie Mabon, J.B. Lenoir, Sonny Boy Williamson, Otis Rush (his classic So Many Roads, So Many Trains which has one of my all time favorite guitar solos) and more. Excellent sound but no notes. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS High Water/HMG 6520 Memphis Blues Bands And Singers In The 1980s ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 52 minutes, highly recommended
Much like a coinciding review of the new/old release of The Fieldstones' long-shelved "Mud Island Blues" CD, this compilation provides another hefty look at Memphis Blues between 1981 and 1986, with only three tracks previously having been issued. The Fieldstones have three cuts (Little Bluebird/ Sneaking In The Dark), the Hollywood All Stars contribute four (Long Way From Home/ Mary Jo/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ Dirty Work Going On), The Blues Busters another three (Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson/ Your Mother Been Talking To You/ Jailhouse Rock), Jane Hamilton & The Prime Tyme Band two (What I've Lost/ I'm Going To Be A Good Girl), and Huebert Crawford & The King Riders Band offer one (King Riders Boogie). Definitely worth making room on the shelves for. (CR)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7737 Blind Willie Johnson & The Guitar Evangelists ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 96 tracks, highly recommended
It is over ten years since the issue of The Complete Blind Willie Johnson (Columbia 52835 - $19.98). For this chronological reissue of the work of the greatest of all pre war gospel artists JSP have adopted a different format, breaking up Blind Willie's sessions with sessions by some of his contemporaries, in the final disc adding performances which show his influence on the post war gospel scene. It is a format which works very well, even while it illustrates the gulf which separates the other practitioners from Mr Johnson. These are complete recordings except in the case of A.C and Mamie Forehand and Reverend Edward W Clayborn, where because of space limitations alternate takes previously issued on Document are omitted. Clayborn, dubbed The Guitar Evangelist, opens the set, and he is an effective performer, although his fondness for a two beat rhythm on the bass strings can become a bit tedious. Elsewhere the single session of husband and wife A.C and Mamie Forehand has a sedate charm, Blind Willie Harris who opens the third disc is almost certainly Richard "Rabbit" Brown in religious mode, and the final disc offers some fun in the form of the Reverends Utah Smith and Anderson Johnson. Utah Smith, who has something of Blind Willie's vocal power, is a showman, hurling notes from his heavily amplified guitar. Reverend Johnson, until sadly tamed by an A&R man, is also willing to test the sonic boundaries as his first version of God Don't Like It demonstrates. Their material draws on pre war sources and this sense of continuity gives the compilation a satisfying cohesiveness.
There is though only one star, one utterly compelling performer. Blind Willie's magnificent first session which closes disc one combines the power of tracks like I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole and If I Had My Way I'd Tear The Building Down with the meditative slide masterpiece Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground, later to become the become the stuff of soundtracks and the "Sounds Of The Earth" discs carried by the Voyager satellites. This pattern - a class act blowing away all that has gone before - repeats itself on the subsequent discs. Discographical information is limited to a list of recording dates, and as is often the case with this series there is a disconnection between the notes for each CD and the artists on it. The notes themselves, by Keith Briggs, are also hampered by the fact that very little is known about most of these performers. Sound quality is very good throughout, allowing for the usual acoustic vagaries of some of the post war recordings. The only tracks with significant noise are those by A.C and Mamie Forehand, where sound is very similar to that on the remastered version of Document DOCD 5054. The most important comparison though is with the Blind Willie reissue on Columbia, and here JSP is the clear winner. The hiss on the Columbia transfers is significantly reduced, the vocal attack seems even stronger and the guitar is beautifully presented, a credit to the original recording engineers as well as an excellent remastering job. There may still be a couple of copies of Dark Was The Night in interstellar space, but I bet they don't sound this good. (DPR)
REV. EDWARD W. CLAYBORN: A Letter From Father/ Bye and Bye When The Morning Comes/ Come And Go With Me To My Father's House/ Death Is Only A Dream/ Everybody Ought To Treat Their Mother Right/ God's Riding Through The Land/ I Have A Home In The Sky/ I Heard The Angels Singing/ I Shall Not Be Moved/ If My Saviour Holds My Hand I Will Go/ In Time Of Trouble Jesus Will Never Say Goodbye/ Jesus Is Sweeter Than Honey In The Comb/ Jesus Went On Man's Bond/ Jesus Will Make It Alright/ Just Beyond The Jordan River/ Let Jesus Lead You/ Let that Lie Alone/ Men Don't Forget Your Wives For Sweethearts/ O Lord I'm In Your Care/ The Gospel Train Is Coming/ The Wrong Way To Celebrate Christmas/ Then We'll Need That True Religion/ There'll Be Glory/ This Time Another Year You May Be Gone/ When I Lay My Burden Down/ Where Shall I Be When The First Trumpet Sounds?/ With My Saviour I Shall Be/ You Never Will Know Who Is Your Friend/ Your Enemy Cannot Harm You/ Your True Friends/ DENNIS CRUMPTON & ROBERT SUMMERS: Everybody Ought To Pray Some Time/ Go I'll Send Thee/ A.C. & BLIND MAMIE FOREHAND: Honey In The Rock/ I'm So Glad Today/ Mothers Prayer/ Wouldn't Mind Dying If Dying Was All/ BLIND WILLIE HARRIS: Does Jesus Care?/ Where He Leads Me I Will Follow/ BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON: Bye And Bye I'm Goin' To See The King/ Can't Nobody Hide From God/ Church, I'm Fully Saved Today/ Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground/ Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right/ Go With Me To The Land/ God Don't Never Change/ God Moves On The Water/ I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole/ I'm Gonna Run To The City Of Refuge/ If I Had My Way I'd Tear This Building Down/ If It Had Not Been For Jesus/ It's Nobody's Fault But Mine/ Jesus Is Coming Soon/ Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed/ John The Revelator/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ Let Your Light Shine On Me/ Lord, I Just Can't Keep From Crying/ Mother's Children Have A Hard Time/ Praise God I'm Satisfied/ Sweeter As The Years Roll By/ Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There/ Take Your Stand/ The Rain Don't Fall On Me/ The Soul Of A Man/ Trouble Will Soon Be Over/ When The War Was On/ You'll Need Somebody On Your Bond/ You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond/ REV. A. JOHNSON: Death In The Morning/ Do You Call That Religion?/ God Don't Like It/ God Don't Like It (alt.)/ I Don't Know How To Get Along Without The Lord/ I'm Gonna Do My Best/ If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again/ Jesus Loves Us All/ Let That Liar Pass On By/ Lord Will Make A Way/ Run Children Run/ The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow/ LONNIE MCINTORSH: Arise And Shine/ How Much I Owe/ Sleep On Mother Sleep On/ The Lion And The Tribes Of Judah/ BLIND BENNY PARIS: Hide Me In The Blood Of Jesus/ I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me/ REV. UTAH SMITH: Glory To Jesus, I'm Free/ God's Mighty Hand/ I Got Two Wings/ I Want Two Wings/ Take A Trip/ Two Wings/ REV. I. B. WARE WITH WIFE & SON: I Wouldn't Mind Dying (But I Gotta Go By Myself)/ You Better Quit Drinking Shine/ WILLIE MAE WILLIAMS: Don't Want To Go There/ Where The Sun Never Goes Down

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Night Train 7027 Music From And Inspired By Devil In A Blue Dress ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 57 min., recommended Back in stock. Don't be misled by the title here. This is not the authorized soundtrack for the popular attempt to revisit film noir. It is instead several numbers used in the film, plus lots of other similar music, offered by the company that now owns the rights to that music. So we get Ain't Nobody's Business by Jimmy Witherspoon, Rain in My Eyes by Joanne Shaw, and Chic Boo by Lloyd Glen, all of which are featured in Devil in a Blue Dress. Additional numbers, the majority of the program, include Poor Man Blues by the Johnny Otis Band, Back Home Blues by Lowell Fulson, Worried Blues by Floyd Dixon, How Wrong Can a Good Man Be by Percy Mayfield, I'll Do Anything But Work by Ray Charles, and Changeable Woman Blues by Charles Brown. A particularly fine program all in all, with a rather gaudy cover painting which includes a generously endowed blond in, of all things, a blue dress. (DH)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Panic 100 Just Shuckin' Around, 1953-1965 ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 56 mins, very good
Another collection of obscure blues, R&B and black rock 'n' roll featuring sides cut in Los Angeles in the 50s and early 60s - many making their first appearance on CD. Not as strong as some other similar collections because of the overabundance of forgettable novelty songs (No Hootenanny/ Twisted/ Teenage Jamboree/ Twisted, etc) though are also some more memorable songs like Billy Stafford's Papa Shotgun, Kid Thomas & Joe Bennet's fine You Heard What I Said with fine harp and guitar, the hot instrumental Part Time by Hank Moore, the title song by Slim Henry and others. Sound is excellent and 12 page booklet has decent notes and some photos. (FS)
GIL BERNAL: The Whip/ L.A. BROWN: No Hootenanny/ THE COCOAS: Flip Your Daddy/ THE DUSTERS: Teenage Jamboree/ WILLIE EGANS: Rock And Roll Fever/ FRANKIE & THE DELL STARS: Don't Shine Me On/ CHUCK GREY: Rock And Roll Is On My Soul/ SLIM HENRY: Just Shuckin' Around/ CHUCK HIGGINS: Blacksmith Blues/ GUS JENKINS: Jealous Of You Baby/ J.J. JONES: Aw Shucks/ LITTLE FREDDIE AND DON (MORRIS): Too Fat/ LITTLE JOHNNY MCCALL: Half Ton Tillie/ HANK MOORE: Part Time/ PAUL PRESTON: Twisted/ CHARLES SIMS (FILLMORE SLIM): Take A Bath/ BILLY STAFFORD: Papa Shotgun/ BOB STARR: My Girl Back In L.A./ FLASH TERRY: Cool It/ KID THOMAS & JOE BENNETT: You Heard What I Said/ THE TORMENTORS: Didn't It Rain/ WILLIAM "THUNDERBIRD" WALKER: Thunderbird/ K.C. MOJO WATSON: Love Blood Hound/ JOHNNY WRIGHT: Wine Head

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Savoy Jazz 17446 Stompin' At The Savoy - The Originl Indie Label ● CD $39.98
Four CD set featuring jump blues, R&B, doo-wop and a few cuts of down home blues recorded between 1944 and 1961 for the Savoy label or the National label, which Savoy acquired in 1957.
FAYE ADAMS: Step Up and Rescue Me/ CHUZ ALFRED: Rocking Boy/ THE BEALE STREET GANG: Fat Stuff Boogie/ BIG BERTHA: Little Daddy/ BIG MAYBELLE: Blues Early, Early Parts 1&2/ Candy/ TINY BRADSHAW: Take the Hands Off the Clock/ NAPPY BROWN: Don't Be Angry/ Is It Really You?/ Little by Little/ Little by Little/ PETE BROWN: Pete Brown's Boogie/ TOMMY BROWN: Cheatin' Women/ DOLLY COOPER: I Wanna Know/ SAMMY COTTON: Nobody/ COUSIN JOE: Weddin' Day Blues/ JIMMY CRAWFORD: That Ain't Right/ THE CUBS: Why Did You Make Me Cry?/ THE DEBUTANTES: Just Leave It to Me/ VARETTA DILLARD: Easy, Easy Baby/ Johnny Has Gone/ Mercy Mercy Percy/ THE DREAMS: Darlene/ BILLY ECKSTINE: Prisoner of Love/ H-BOMB FERGUSON: Good Lovin'/ DUSTY FLETCHER: Open the Door, Richard Parts 1&2/ THE FOUR BUDDIES: I Will Wait/ T.J. FOWLER: Red Hot Blues/ Got Nobody to Tell/ SLIM GAILLARD: Slim's Jam/ THE GAY POPPERS: You Better Believe/ WILBERT HARRISON: Don't Drop It/ HENRY HAYES ORCHESTRA: Frogive Me Baby/ BILLY HOPE: Bad Time/ HELEN HUMES: Helen's Advice/ JESSE & BUZZY: Going Back to Orleans/ THE JIVE BOMBERS: Bad Boy/ PETE JOHNSON: Atomic Boogie/ EARL JOHNSON (EARL KING): Beggin' At Your Mercy/ ALBINIA JONES: Evil Gal Blues/ KANSAS CITY JIMMY: Cheatin' Women/ KING CARL: Sure Like to Rain/ BILLY LAMONT: I Got A Rock & Roll Gal/ ANNIE LAURIE: Stop, Don't Go/ LITTLE DANNY: Mind on Loving/ LITTLE ESTHER & MEL WALKER: Cupid's Boogie/ LITTLE TERRY: Shake Me Up, Baby/ EDDIE MACK: Keyhole Blues/ BROWNIE MCGHEE: Anna Mae/ My Fault/ STICKS MCGHEE: Things Have Changed/ DEACON MCNEELY: Deacon's Hop/ MISS RHAPSODY: Hey Lawdy Mama/ MISS SHAREROPPER (LAVERNE BAKER): I want to Rock/ GATEMOUTH MOORE: I Ain't Mad at You, Pretty Baby/ WILD BILL MOORE: We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll/ BILLY NELSON: Pack, Shack and Stack/ JOHNNY OTIS: Harlem Nocturne/ Midnight in the Barrel House/ Double Crossing Blues/ Rockn' Blues/ All Nite Long/ HOT LIPS PAGE: Uncle Sam Blues/ DOC POMUS: My Good Pott/ SAMMY PRICE: Honky Tonk Caboose/ Rib Joint/ THE RAVENS: Rickey's Blues/ Write Me A Letter/ THE ROAMERS: Chop, Chop, Ching a Ling/ BENNY ROBERTS: Thriller Diller Poppa/ THE ROBINS: If It's So Baby/ LITTLE JIMMY SCOTT: Don't Cry Baby/ MARILYN SCOTT: Straighten Him Out/ HAL SINGER: Corn Bread/ Hot Rod/ EMITT SLAY TRIO: My Kind of Woman/ THE TOPPERS: If Money Grew on Trees/ JOE TURNER: My Gal's a Jockey/ S.K. Blues Part 1&2/ EARL WILLIAMS: Let's Make Love Tonight/ PAUL WILLIAMS: The Huckle Buck/ Thirty Five Thirty/ BILLY WRIGHT: Stacked Deck/ THE X-RAYS: I'll Always Be in Love With You

 

VARIOUS ARTISTS Wolf WSE 117 The Best Of Country Blues Women, Volume 1 ● CD $12.98
25 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
In spite of the title this is not really country blues but rather small group urban blues though several artists are of rural origin. If features five tracks each by five different singer recorded between 1923 and 1930 including many tracks not readily available except on the comprehensive Document reissues. It includes tracks by Kansas City vocalist Lottie Beaman (aka Lottie Kimbrough aka Lena Kimbrough) in a variety of setting, obscure but fine St. Louis vocalist Luella Miller with accompaniments including Lonnie Johnson on guitar and in one case violin. Johnson is also featured accompanying the magnificent Victoria Spivey on three of her tracks including the spine chilling T-B Blues. The great Lucille Bogan (aka Bessie Jackson) is featured on five of her earliest sides from four different sessions including the wonderful Jim Tampa Blues with stellar banjo work and comments from Papa Charlie Jackson. Other tracks by her include accompaniments by Will Ezell, Tampa Red and Charles Avery including the bizarre New Way Blues (what is she singing about?). The set ends with five sides by Sippie Wallace, member of a talented Texas family, brother Hersal Thomas appears on piano on Devil Dance Blues along with cirnetist Joe "King" Oliver. A few tracks are from worn 78s but sound is generally fine and booklet has informative notes on the artists and full discographical info. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Wolf 120.807 Chicago's Best West & Southside Blues Singers, Vol. 2 ● CD $16.98
15 tracks, very good
15 tracks of Chicago blues recorded between 1987 and 2004 including some infrequently recorded artists. Some decent performances though nothing really stands out. (FS)
GEORGE BAZE: Hush Hush/ Park My Car/ LEFTY DIZZ: Bad Avenue/ I Could Get My Hands On You/ JOHNNY LAWS: I You Cannot Be True, I Don't Need You/ LOVIE LEE: Ain't No Hand Me Down/ Tell Me Baby/ HIP LINKCHAIN: Goin Away Blues/ Saddle My Pony/ FOREE SUPERSTAR MONTGOMERY: Standing At The Crossroads/ Wonder Why/ LARRY TAYLOR: Bad Boy/ My Baby's Gone/ Yes, I Love You/ EDDIE TAYLOR JR.: Ride 'em On Down

 
JOSH WHITE Rhino Handmade 7879 The Elektra Years ● CD $41.98
Two CD limited edition (2500 copies) set featuring 38 tracks recorded by Josh for Elektra between 1955 and 1962 plus his 1933 recording of Lay Some Flowers On My Grave. Produced for this reissue by Elektra president Jac Holzman the set comes in a tri-fold digipack sleeve with a booklet with rare photos and liner and track notes by White biographer Elijah Wald.

   

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