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NEWSLETTER #137
Blues & Gospel
Roy Milton ->
Sonny Boy Williamson
 

 

 
ROY MILTON Black & Blue 459-2 Instant Groove ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, 59 mins, recommended
The West Coast blues legend recorded in France in 1977 with a fine small group including pianist Ram Ramirez, teno saxist George Kelly and guitarists Billy Butler & Roy Gaines. This is a reissue of Black & Blue 33.114 from 1978 with five bonus unissued tracks and alternate takes. Though not the singer he was, Roy still sounds good on a selection of his old hits and other songs and, although it would have been nice to have a few more horns, the combo does and excellent job with some particularly nice guitar work from the two guitarists. (FS)

 
ROBERT NIGHTHAWK Document 32-20 6 Prowling With The Nighthawk ● CD $16.98
26 track collection of this brilliant and influential bluesman (Robert McCollum) including 14 of the sides recorded between 1937 and 1940 where he used the names Robert Lee McCoy, Rambling Bob and Peetie's Boy and 12 recorded between 1948 and 1952 when he had adopted the moniker Robert Nighthawk which he was to use the rest of his life. Includes Touch Luck/ Lonesome World/ Sweet Pepper Mama/ G-Man/ Kansas City Blues/ Black Angel Blues/ Maggie Campbell/ Feel So Bad/ Take It Easy Baby/ Annie Lee Blues, etc. Includes 12 page booklet with extensive notes by Jeff Harris and full discographical information.

 
ALEX SCHULTZ Severn 032 Think About It ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 53 minutes, highly recommended
A consummate blues guitarist whose playing speaks volumes with touches of Billy Butler, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and many other greats, Alex Schultz has carved out an impressive style of his own. Vocalists on this outing include Finis Tasby in top-shelf style on I Done Got Over It/ Think/ Walkin' And Talkin' and I Love The Woman, Lynwood Slim for No Use Knocking/ I Don't Want Your Money, Honey, and the searing Be Good, Be Gone, plus Tad Robinson for Let's Start Over Again/ Act Right, and Who Will The Next Fool Be. Schultz peppers the selections with brilliant guitar work, and on his three instrumentals; Big Time/ Lexington Express, and Rhumba & Orange, he recalls the Kent days of B.B. King without being a slavish imitator. Larry Taylor, Bill Stuve, Carl Sonny Leyland, The Royal Crown Horns, and others guest. Superb new blues! (CR)

 
MEM SHANNON Northern Blues 029 I'm From Phunkville ● CD $16.98
13 tracks, 70 minutes, excellent
With twelve of the thirteen tracks being Shannon originals, "I'm From Phunkville" stands out as a highly personal work for the artist and a musically rewarding set for the listener. Laced with smoldering grooves that run the gamut from straight blues (Sweet Potato) to New Orleans second-line funk (Swing Tiger Swing), Mem's voice makes definite impact on The Reason/ Perfect World/ Battle Ground/ No Religion, and more. Phunkville, a ten-minute workout, offers plenty of room for keyboard and guitar. Mem's playing has always been highly creative, and his acoustic work is shown to great effect on the stunning Lights Of Caracas (I Didn't Know). (CR)

 
JOHNNY SHINES Document 32-20 7 Live In Europe, 1975 ● CD $16.98
21 tracks, 75 mins, very good
The great Chicago bluesman recorded live in Vienna, Austria in 1975. Johnny is in good form though not as compelling as he can be though I'm sure he would sound better if the sound quality weren't so mediocre. The recording is very muffled and with very little dynamic range. It's a shame as he does a number of songs that I don't think available elsewhere like Rock Me Mama/ Got My Mojo Working/ How Long and St. Louis Blues and does a particularly fine version of 32-20 Blues that only uses the Robert JOhnson version as a starting point with Johnny making it uniquely his own. Booklet has extensive notes by Bob Groom and some great photos. (FS)

 
SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES Severn 033 Hands Across The Table ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 49 minutes, highly recommended
Sugar Ray Norcia's exceptional voice, top-shelf harp, and heartfelt songwriting skills are all front and center once again. Following the departure of guitarist Monster Mike Welch (who appeared on the band's Severn disc in 2003), Paul Size (ex-Red Devils) steps in with veterans Mudcat Ward, Neil Gouvin, and Anthony Geraci for a highly rewarding set of blues. Vintage Excello and classic Chicago sounds loom large for I Done Got Wise/ Livin' A Lie/ Cloud Cover/ (I'm Gonna Break Into) Folsom Prison/ I Won't Leave Home No More, and others, plus they tap into some rolling swing for River Stay Away From My Door, and a particularly moody West Coast vein on Dark Clouds Calling with Size showing his formidable skills to great effect. Blues as good as it gets! (CR)

 
HUBERT SUMLIN Tone-Cool 51609 About Them Shoes ● CD $16.98
13 tracks, 55 minutes, recommended
While many all-star aggregations fall short of their intended target, a great cast gathers for what can be looked at as a tribute to Muddy Waters (12 cuts were longtime McKinley Morganfield gems). The core band consists of Bob Margolin, David Maxwell, Mudcat Ward, Paul Oscher, and two rotating drummers, with guests including Eric Clapton, James Cotton, Keith Richards, David Johansen and others. I'm Ready/ Still A Fool/ Long Distance Call/ The Same Thing/ Don't Go No Farther/ Walkin' Thru The Park and much more. Hubert stamps his trademark guitar onto each track, and the band offers the necessary tough support. No lengthy guitar heroics, no extended harmonica flights, and thankfully, no vocal excesses which often belabor recordings of this sort. Hubert hasn't sounded this focused, forceful, or blistering in a good while. (CR)

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM WITH BIG TIME SARAH Arcola 1006 ARAH: Long Tall Daddy ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 52 minutes, highly recommended
Recorded nearly thirty years ago (May of 1976) in Seattle, Washington, blues piano's elder statesman (who was 70 at the time) laid down a terrific set of solo blues including many highlights. Earlier gems like Going Back To Memphis and The Devil Is A Busy Man get solid readings and he tears through Dust My Broom/ Prison Bound Blues/ The Dirty Dozens/ Roll And Tumble Blues with gusto. Big Time Sarah, Slim's 23-year old girlfriend at the time, appears on Long Tall Daddy and Got To See My Baby, and between songs, Sunnyland discusses some of the songs and their origins. A truly worthwhile disc with lengthy and detailed liner notes by Bill Berry. (CR)

 
 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16706 Blowin' The Fuse - 1951 - 28 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
The latets batch in this superb, if flawed, series of reissues of blues and R&B features 28 blues and R&B winners from 1951 including Amos Milburn, Piano Red, Johnny Otis, Lucky Millinder, The Dominoes, Lloyd Glenn, "Peppermint" Harris, Wynonie Harris, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf and more.
EARL BOSTIC: Flamingo/ TINY BRADSHAW: Walkin' The Chalk Line/ JACKIE BRENSTON AND HIS DELTA CATS: Rocket '88'/ CHARLES BROWN: Black Night/ THE CLOVERS: Fool, Fool, Fool/ MARGIE DAY: Little Red Rooster/ FLOYD DIXON: Telephone Blues/ THE DOMINOES: Sixty Minute Man/ THE FIVE KEYS: The Glory Of Love/ THE FOUR BUDDIES: Will Wait/ LLOYD GLENN: Chica Boo/ PEPPERMINT HARRIS: I Got Loaded/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Bloodshot Eyes/ JOHNNY HODGES: Castle Rock/ JOHN LEE HOOKER: I'm In The Mood/ HOWLIN' WOLF: How Many More Years/ THE JOHNNY OTIS ORCHESTRA: Rockin' Blues/ LOUIS JORDAN: Lemonade/ THE LARKS: Eyesight To The Blind/ JOE LIGGINS: Little Joe's Boogie/ AMOS MILBURN: Bad, Bad Whiskey/ LUCKY MILLINDER & ANNISTEEN ALLEN & JOHN CAROL: I'm Waiting Just For You/ JIMMIE NELSON: 'T' 99 Blues/ PIANO RED: Rockin' With Red/ THE TRENIERS: Go! Go! Go!/ JOE TURNER: Chains Of Love/ MUDDY WATERS: Long Distance Call/ JAMES WAYNE: Tend To Your Business

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16707 Blowin' The Fuse - 1952 - 29 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
This volume includes Big Joe Turner, John Greer, Elmore James, Dinah Washington, Fats Domino, Jimmy Forrest, Roy Milton, The Four Blazes, Varetta Dillard, Willie Mabon, etc.
JOHNNY ACE: My Song/ MARIE ADAMS: I'm Gonna Play The Honky Tonks/ TINY BRADSHAW: The Train Kept A-Rollin'/ CHARLES BROWN: Hard Times/ RUTH BROWN: 5-10-15 Hours/ THE CLOVERS: One Mint Julep/ VARETTA DILLARD: Easy, Easy Baby/ FATS DOMINO: Goin' Home/ THE DOMINOES: Have Mercy Baby/ JIMMY FORREST: Night Train/ THE FOUR BLAZES: Mary Jo/ ROSCOE GORDON: Booted/ JOHN GREER: Got You On My Mind/ THE GRIFFIN BROTHERS' ORCHESTRA: Weepin' And Cryin'/ WYNONIE HARRIS: Lovin' Machine/ ELMORE JAMES: Dust My Broom/ B. B. KING: 3 O'Clock Blues/ SMILEY LEWIS: The Bells Are Ringing/ LITTLE CAESAR: Goodbye Baby/ LITTLE WALTER: Juke/ WILLIE MABON: I Don't Know/ ROY MILTON: So Tired/ THE ORIOLES: Baby, Please Don't Go/ LLOYD PRICE: Lawdy Miss Clawdy/ THE RAVENS: Rock Me All Night Long/ THE SWALLOWS: It Ain't The Meat/ BIG JOE TURNER: The Chill Is On/ DINAH WASHINGTON: Wheel Of Fortune/ LESTER WILLIAMS: I Can't Lose With The Stuff I Use

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16708 Blowin' The Fuse - 1953 - 29 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
Includes Ruth Brown, Big Maybelle, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, B.B. King, Willie Mabon, Johnny Ace, The Orioles, The Clovers, Amos Milburn, etc.
JOHNNY ACE: The Clock/ FAYE ADAMS: Shake A Hand/ BIG MAYBELLE: Gabbin' Blues/ TINY BRADSHAW: Soft/ RUTH BROWN: (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean/ RAY CHARLES: Mess Around/ THE CLOVERS: Good Lovin'/ FATS DOMINO: Please Don't Leave Me/ THE DU DROPPERS: I Wanna Know/ THE FIVE ROYALES: Baby Don't Do It/ EARL FOREST: Whoopin' And Hollerin'/ THE FOUR TUNES: Marie/ BULL MOOSE JACKSON: Big Ten-Inch Record/ JESSE AND MARVIN: Dream Girl/ BUDDY & ELLA JOHNSON: Hittin' On Me/ B.B. KING: Please Love Me/ JIMMY LIGGINS: Drunk/ LITTLE JUNIOR'S BLUE FLAMES: Feelin' Good/ LITTLE WALTER: Blues With A Feeling/ WILLIE MABON: I'm Mad/ CLYDE MCPHATTER AND THE DRIFTERS: Money Honey/ AMOS MILBURN: One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer/ JOE MORRIS: I Had A Notion/ THE ORIOLES: Crying In The Chapel/ THE ROYALS: Get It/ SHIRLEY AND LEE: I'm Gone/ WILLIE MAE "BIG MAMA" THORNTON: Hound Dog/ JOE TURNER: Honey Hush/ DINAH WASHINGTON: T.V. Is The Thing (This Year)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16709 Blowin' The Fuse - 1954 - 29 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
Includes The Crows, Faye Adams, The Five Royales, The Clovers, Cozy Eggleston, Muddy waters, Big Joe Turner, The Drifters, Dave Bartholomew, The Charms, etc.
JOHNNY ACE: Saving My Love For You/ FAYE ADAMS: I'll be true/ DAVE BARTHOLOMEW: Jump Children/ RUTH BROWN: Oh What A Dream/ THE CADILLACS: Gloria/ RAY CHARLES: It Should Have Been Me/ THE CHARMS: Hearts Of Stone/ THE CHORDS: Sh-Boom/ THE CLOVERS: Lovey Dovey/ SUGAR BOY CRAWFORD: Jock-A-Mo/ THE CROWS: Gee/ THE DRIFTERS FEATURING CLYDE MCPHATTER: Honey Love/ COZY EGGLESTON: Big Heavy (Blue Lights Boogie)/ THE FIVE ROYALES: I Do/ GUITAR SLIM: The Things That I Used To Do/ SHIRLEY GUNTER & THE QUEENS: Oop Shoop/ THE HARP-TONES: A Sunday Kind Of Love/ JOE HOUSTON: All Night Long/ HOWLIN' WOLF: Evil Is Goin' On/ BUDDY & ELLA JOHNSON: I'm Just Your Fool/ B.B. KING: You Upset Me Baby/ LITTLE WALTER AND HIS JUKES: You're So Fine/ THE MIDNIGHTERS: Work With Me Annie/ THE ROBINS: Riot In Cell Block #9/ THE SPANIELS: Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite/ THE SPIDERS: I Didn't Want To Do It/ BIG JOE TURNER: Shake, Rattle and Roll/ MUDDY WATERS: I Just Want To Make Love To You/ CHUCK WILLIS: I Feel So Bad

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 16710 Blowin' The Fuse - 1955 - 29 Classics That Rocked The Jukebox ● CD $24.98
The final colume in this series features LaVern Baker, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Little Walter, The Nutmegs, The Jacks, Shirley & Lee, The El Dorados, The Turbans, The Robins, etc.
JOHNNY ACE: Pledging My Love/ LAVERN BAKER: Tweedlee Dee/ CHUCK BERRY: Maybellene/ LOUIS BROOKS: It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)/ NAPPY BROWN: Don't Be Angry/ RAY CHARLES: I Got A Woman/ BO DIDDLEY: Bo Diddley/ FATS DOMINO: Ain't It A Shame/ THE EL DORADOS: At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)/ LOWELL FULSON: Reconsider Baby/ GENE AND EUNICE: Ko Ko Mo/ THE JACKS: Why Donít You Write Me?/ ETTA JAMES: The Wall Flower (aka Roll with Me Henry)/ LITTLE WILLIE JOHN: All Around The World/ SMILEY LEWIS: I Hear You Knocking/ LITTLE RICHARD: Tutti Frutti/ LITTLE WALTER AND HIS JUKES: My Babe/ CLYDE MCPHATTER AND THE DRIFTERS: What'cha Gonna Do/ JAY MCSHANN'S ORCHESTRA: Hands Off/ THE MOONGLOWS: Sincerely/ THE NUTMEGS: Story Untold/ THE PENGUINS: Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)/ THE PLATTERS: Only You/ JIMMY REED: You Don't Have To Go/ THE ROBINS: Smokey Joeís Café/ SHIRLEY & LEE: Feel So Good/ THE TURBANS: When You Dance/ BIG JOE TURNER: Flip, Flop and Fly/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Donít Start Me To Talkiní

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Blue Note (Europe) 799 099-2 Blue Boogie ● CD $11.98
Fine collection of boogie woogie, piano blues and stride piano recorded for Blue Note in the 30s and 40s - Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson, James P. Johnson, Sammy Benskin, Art Hodes, Earl Hines and Art Tatum.
ALBERT AMMON3: Bass Goin' Crazy/ ALBERT AMMONS: Boogie Woogie Blues/ Boogie Woogie Stomp/ Chicago In Mind/ Twos And Fews/ SAMMY BENSKIN: The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise/ EARL HINES: The Father's Gateway/ ART HODES: Funny Feathers/ Jug Head Boogie/ PETE JOHNSON: Barrelhouse Stomp/ Vine Street Blues/ MEADE "LUX" LEWIS: Bass On Top/ Honky Tonk Blues/ The Blues Part 1/ Variations On A Theme Part 1: 19 Ways Of Playing A Chorus/ ART TATUM: Aunt Hagar's Blues

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Delmark 780 This Is Blues Harmonica, Vol. 2 ● CD $14.98
16 tracks, 61 minutes, recommended
Delmark's second harp compilation (the first being DE-746) again proves the small instrument a powerful one. Chicago heavyweights dominate - Junior Wells' Tomorrow Night, Big Walter's Back Home To Mama, Shakey Jake's That Ain't It (with sizzling Magic Sam guitar), Alfred "Blues King" Harris' Miss Ida, Louis Myers' That's Alright, and Big Wheeler's Chicago Winter Weather Blues. The blessing is these are all alternate takes. Other tone powerhouses are Carey Bell for Blues Rhumba, Mad Dog Lester Davenport on West Side Blues, Little Sam Davis' Devil's Trail, and Eddie Burns' Hastings Street Special - amplified gems all. Walto Pace's Fox Chase/ Lost John and Hammie Nixon's Love Grows In Your Heart show the acoustic side of the instrument to be just as satisfying. Others include Mark Hummel, Little Walter, Little Mac Simmons, and Tad Robinson. (CR)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Document 9002 Document Shortcuts, Vol. 2 - If You Take Me Back ● CD $10.98
Another fine sampler drawn from Document's extensive catalog of blues, gospel, old time country and jazz reissues. Most of the tracks are black blues or gospel with an occasional old time country or jazz track. It includes both familiar and obscure artists and tracks have been well chosen so that even the familiar artists are often represented by unfamiliar titles. 21 tracks including Bukka White, Skip James, Jimmy peters And Ring Dance Singers, Rev. Lonnie Farris & The Gospel Flames, Muddy Waters, Fiddlin' John Carson, Johnny Dunn & His Band, The Harmony Four, Big Joe (McCoy) & His Washboard Band, Bumble Bee Slim, Blind John Davis and others. Brief introductory notes and full discographical info including information on which Document titles the tracks are drawn from. It should be noted that a number of the CDS listed are not currently available.
ELDER CHARLES BECK: Rock And Roll Sermon - Part 1/ TEDDY BUNN: King Porter Stomp/ GEORGE DAVIS: Flesh Crawling Blues/ HATTIE ELLIS & "COWBOY" JACK RAMSEY: Desert Blues/ PERLINE ELLISON: Razor Totin` Mama/ GRAYSON & WITTER: Little Maggie With A Dram Glass In Her Hand/ HALL JOHNSON CHOIR: Lord, I Can Ride/ HIGHTOWER'S NIGHT HAWKS: Boar Hogs Blues/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Walkin` The Streets/ SON HOUSE: Mister Suzie-q/ ELDER A. JOHNSON: God Don`t Like It/ JUNIOR FOUR QUARTET: I`m On My Way/ KIRK & SAM MCGEE: Brown`s Ferry Blues/ MEMPHIS JUG BAND: I Can Beat You Plenty/ LITTLE BROTHER MONTGOMERY: Vicksburg Blues/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Hot Boogie (too Hot To Handle)/ JESSE (BABYFACE) THOMAS: Another Fool Like Me/ THREE STRIPPED GEARS: Black Bottom Strut/ BIG JOE WILLIAMS: Wild Cow Moan/ RALPH WILLIS & BROWNIE MCGHEE: Sportin` Life`

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Document 9003 Document Shortcuts, Vol. 3 - My Babe ● CD $10.98
Another fine collection of 20 cuts from previously issued Document CDs. Includes Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Sonny Boy Williamson, One String Sam (amazing Detroit musician covering Little Walter's My Babe accompanying himself on one string slide guitar and it was a commercial release not a field recording!), Williamson Brothers & Curry, Doctor Clayton, The Harlem Hamfats, Andrew "Smokey" Hogg (one of his pre war recordings singing very much like Peetie Wheatstraw), Ramblin' THomas, Herschel Brown (fine white "talking blues"), Ida Cox & her All Star Band, Shoe Shine Johnny (Johnny Shines) and others.
BARBECUE BOB: Jambooger Blues/ BIG BILL BROONZY: How You Want It Done?/ HERSCHEL BROWN: New Talking Blues/ DOCTOR CLAYTON: Black Snake Blues/ IDA COX & HER ALL STAR BAND: Hard Times Blues/ ARTHUR "BIG BOY" CRUDUP: Where Did You Stay Last Night?/ THE FOUR BLAZES: Chicago Blues/ THE HARLEM HAMFATS: Hamfat Swing/ ANDREW "SMOKEY" HOGG: Kind Hearted Blues/ PROFESSOR HULL'S ANTHEMS OF JOY: Everybody Talkin' 'bout Heaven Ain't Goin' There/ JAZZBO TOMMY & HIS LOWLANDERS: Blaze Face Cow/ THE MEMPHIS NIGHTHAWKS: Wild Man Stomp/ THE NORFOLK JAZZ QUARTET: Stand By The Bedside Of A Neighbor/ ONE STRING SAM: My Baby Ooo/ MARYLIN SCOTT: I Got What My Daddy Likes/ JOHNNY SHINES: So Glad I Found You/ SONNY TERRY: Harmonica & Washboard Breakdown/ RAMBLIN' THOMAS: Ground Hog Blues/ SONNY BOY WILLAMSON: Mellow Chick Swing/ THE WILLIAMSON BROTHERS & CURRY: Gonna Die With My Hammer In My Hand

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Eddie's 1001 Boogie Woogie Playgirl ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Excellent collection of obscure Texas jump blues and boogie most of it making it's first appearance on CD, Tracks are mostly drawn from small Texas labels like Folk Star, Freedom, Eddie's, Selective, GruVtone and others as well as more prominent entities like Peacock, Sittin' In With and Savoy. Artists include Willie Holiday, Teddy Reynolds, James Freeman, Henry Hayes Orch., Fatso Bently (actually pre war blues singer Gladys Bently who I don't think is actually from Texas but fits right here), Joe Houston & His Orch., Elmore Nixon, Madonna Martin, Little Willie Littlefield (doing the fine title songs which, in spite of the title, is actually a slow blues), Buck Jones and Orch and others. Sound quality is fine and the four page booklet gives brief notes on all the performers. A nice complement to the three CD series of Texas urban blues on Acrobat (4003, 4004 & 4005 - $13.98 each). (FS)
FATSO BENTLY: Fourth Of July Boogie/ June-teenth Jamboree/ JAMES FREEMAN: Her Lover Man/ You're Gonna Need Me/ HENRY HAYES & BAND: Bowlegged Angeline/ THE HENRY HAYES ORCH: Forgive Me Baby/ Over Here, Pretty Baby/ WILLIE HOLIDAY: I've Played This Town/ My Woman Put Me Down/ JOE HOUSTON: Come Back Baby/ Cornbread & Cabbage Greens/ THE JOE HOUSTON TRIO & ORCH: Your Little Girl Is Gone/ DAVID LEE JOHNSON & ALFRED S. LEVY: Hemlock Blues/ BUCK JONES & ORCH: I've Tried So Hard To Please You/ LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: Boogie Woogie Play Girl/ Little Willie's Boogie/ My Best Wishes/ MADONNA MARTIN: I Ain't The Same Old Fool/ Rattlesnakin' Papa/ ELMORE NIXON: Shout And Rock/ TEDDY "CRY, CRY BABY" REYNOLDS: Summer's On Its Way/ Why, Baby, Why?/ HUBERT ROBINSON: Got The Boogie Woogie Blues/ CLARENCE SAMUELS & ORCH: Low Top Inn

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7744 Chicago Is Just That Way: 1938-1954 ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 112 tracks, over 5 hours, recommended
Splendid collection of Chicago blues which focuses on the transition from the older styles to the sound which we associate with the golden age of Chicago blues in the early 50s. It shows that the transition was not exclusively the province of the new arrivals from the South but also the older performers adapting to the increasing urbanization of their local audience. The first disc is exclusively devoted to Tampa Red whose songs and guitar style were an influence on many up and coming artists - we hear him in the late 40s and early 50s in the company of the brilliant piano player Johnny Jones and drummer Odie Payne (who both went on to work with Elmore James) and bassist Ransom Knowling. His performances are as exciting and vital as any of the young bucks and his last couple of RCA sessions in 1953 find him in the company of up and coming harmonica stars Sonny Boy Williamson and Walter Horton. The other three discs provide a mix of older and younger performers and although much of it has been out before it's nice to hear the music in this context and there are a number of tracks that are making their first appearance on CD. Artists include Big Maceo, Johnny Shines (his fabulous originally unissued Columbia recordings), Jazz Gillum, Muddy Waters (his unissued Columbia sides and his first commercial recording issued under the name of James "Sweet Lucy" Carter), Big Boy Crudup, Floyd Jones, Johnny Williams, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Roosevelt Sykes, Snooky & Moody, Lillie Mae & The House Rockers, Little Walter, Eddie Boyd (doing the collection's theme song), Jimmy Rogers (his originally unissued version of That's All Right), Snooky Pryor, Baby Face Leroy Foster, Tony Hollins, Robert Lockwood and others. Sound quality is generally fine though a few tracks exhibit excessive digital noise reduction. Includes informative notes by Neil Slaven putting it all into perspective. (FS)
BIG MACEO: Big City Blues/ Do You Remember/ Just Tell Me Baby/ Kidman Blues/ One Sunday Morning/ EDDIE BOYD: Blue Monday Blues/ Chicago Is Just That Way/ BIG BILL BROONZY: I Love My Whiskey/ Leavin' Day/ Southbound Train/ Water Coast Blues/ LEE BROWN: Horse Shoe Boogie/ Lowland Blues/ Round The World Boogie/ Ruby Moore Blues/ ARTHUR "BIG BOY" CRUDUP: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/ That's All Right/ BABY FACE LEROY FOSTER: Boll Weevil/ Red Headed Woman/ Rollin' And Tumblin' 1/ Rollin' And Tumblin' 2/ JAZZ GILLUM: A Lie Is Dangerous/ Look What You Are Today/ Roll Dem Bones/ The Blues What Am/ JIMMIE GORDON: Jumping At The Club Blue Flame/ My Woman's A Pearl Diver/ TONY HOLLINS: Crawlin' King Snake/ Wine-O-Woman/ FLOYD JONES: Hard Times/ Keep What You Got/ School Days/ Stockyard Blues/ LILLIE MAE & THE HOUSE ROCKERS: Lovin' Man Blues/ LITTLE WALTER: Bad Acting Woman/ Blue Baby/ I Want My Baby/ Just Keep Loving Her/ ROBERT LOCKWOOD: (I'm Gonna) Dig Myself A Hole/ Dust My Broom/ WILLIE MABON: Boogie Man/ It Keeps Rainin'/ MEMPHIS MINNIE: Kidman Blues/ Why Did I Make You Cry/ MEMPHIS SLIM: (Now I) Got The Blues/ Don't Ration My Love/ Grinder Man Blues/ Mistake In Life/ JIMMY ROGERS: I'm In Love/ Little Store Blues/ Ludella/ That's All Right/ JOHNNY SHINES: Delta Pine Blues/ Evil Hearted Woman Blues/ Ride, Ride Mama/ Tennessee Woman Blues/ SNOOKY & MOODY: Boogie/ Telephone Blues/ ST. LOUIS JIMMY: Coming Up Fast/ Going Down Slow/ I Ain't Done Nothing Wrong/ One Doggone Reason/ SUNNYLAND SLIM: 5 Foot 4 Gal/ Brown Skin Woman/ I've Done You Wrong/ Jivin' Boogie/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Candy Man Blues/ Lowland Blues/ Savoy Boogie/ Why Should I Cry/ TAMPA RED: 1950 Blues/ Big Stars Falling Blues/ Boogie Woogie Woman/ But I Forgive You/ Don't Blame Shorty For That/ Early In The Morning/ Evalena/ Got A Mind To Leave This Town/ Green And Lucky Blues/ I Should Have Loved Her More/ I Won't Let Her Do It/ I'll Never Let You Go/ I'm Gonna Put You Down/ If She Don't Come Back/ It's A Brand New Boogie/ It's Good Like That/ Love Her With A Feelin'/ New Deal Blues/ Please Mr Doctor/ Pretty Baby Blues/ Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is/ Rambler's Blues/ She's Dynamite/ So Crazy About You Baby/ Sweet Little Angel/ That's Her Own Business/ Too Late Too Long/ When Things Go Wrong With You/ SIPPIE WALLACE: Bedroom Blues/ Buzz Me/ MUDDY WATERS: Burying Ground Blues/ Hard Day Blues/ Jitterbug Blues/ Mean Red Spider/ JOHNNY WILLIAMS: Worried Man Blues/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Better Cut That Out/ Bring Another Half A Pint/ JOHNNY YOUNG: Money Taking Woman/ MAN YOUNG: Let Me Ride Your Mule/ My Baby Walked Out

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Rounder 1830 Deep River Of Song - Louisiana - Catch That Train & Testify ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 69 mins, essential Not listed when it first came out. Another fantastic collection of recordings the Alan Lomax collection. It includes a couple of familiar names - Leadbelly (including a particularly moving version of GoodnIght Irene recorded at Angola in 1934) and Jelly Roll Morton (talking, singing, playing and bragging). The rest of the artists are obscure but includes some amazing ring shouts including the French Creole form known as "jure" plus blues, primitive zydeco and work songs. Sound quality from worn acetates is outstanding and the 40 page booklet has extensive notes by John Cowley plus lyric transcripts and translations of the French songs. Another glorious addition to this great series. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Stompin' 322 Stompin', Vol. 22 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, highly recommended
Stompin' are back with another two great albums of up tempo blues and R&B - this one featuring sides from the late 40s and the 50s. More than half the tracks here have been out before on CD but sound and overall production here is superior with handsome eight page foldout booklet with notes on all the performances and full color label shots of all the titles. Includes Billy Fair and Orch., Big Sheba (the great Soft Soapin' Mama), Willie Hunter, Roosevlt Wardell (early blues side from renowned jazz pianist), James B. Berry & Monroe Tucker's Orch., Sammy Cotton, Dorothy Ellis, Paul Bascomb, Sticks McGhee, Jimmy Butler, Rubberlegs Williams, Sherman Brooks & The Blue Tones, etc.
PAUL BASCOMB: Don't Put My Bizness In The Street/ Pink Cadillac/ GIL BERNAL: Keep Those Wonderin' Eyes Off My Baby/ JAMES B. BERRY & MONROE TUCKERS ORCH: Long Note/ BIG SHEBA: Alphabet Blues/ Soft Soapin' Mama/ SHERMAN BROOKS & THE BLUE TONES: Cool Daddy Blues/ JIMMY BUTLER: Trim Your Tree/ SAMMY COTTON: I An't Gonna Worry My Life Anymore/ Back Bitin'/ NELDA DUPUY: Riding With The Blues/ DOROTHY ELLIS: Drill Daddy Drill/ BILLY FAIR: Boogie In The Morning/ I'll Be True To You/ WILLIE HUNTER: I'm In Love With You Baby/ Willie's Blues/ PATTI JEROME: No Mama, No Papa/ PRO MC CLAM: Boot Um/ BROWNIE MC GHEE: All Night Party/ STICKS MC GHEE: You Gotta Have Something On The Ball/ BOB MITCHELL: Standing On The Corner/ CHARLES RENE: I've Got The Blues/ ROOSEVELT WARDELL: She Drinks Too Much Wine/ RUBBERLEGS WILLIAMS: Goin' Back To Washington Corner 7th and "T"/ TASSO ZACHARY AND HIS ORCH: Louisville, KY

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Stompin' 323 Stompin', Vol. 23 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 51 mins, highly recommended
Only 22 tracks on this one but just about every one rocks like crazy. Material ranges from the mid 50s to late 60s and includes Joe Boots & His Band, Prince Love & His Royal Stewart (possibly a Sly Stone pseudonym on the great topical Don't Want No More), Slim Cole, Jimmy Raye, Ben Hughes, Harvey & Doc (the totally crazed Oh, Baby!!), Sherman Williams & His Band, Tommy Lomonte, Big Red McHouston (actually Mickey Baker on the great I'm Tired), Citations 7, Shirley Ann Lee, Slim Saunders and more. (FS)
JOE BOOTS & HIS BAND: Rock 'N' Roll Jungle Girl/ Well Alright/ THE CITATIONS 7: Justine/ SLIM COLE: They Call Me Slim Cole/ THE FABULOUS SILVER TONES: Dimples/ EVELYN FREEMAN: Didn't It Rain/ HARVEY & DOC: Oh, Baby!!/ BEN HUGHES: Sack/ SHIRLEY ANN LEE: How Can I Lose/ TOMMY LOMONTE: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah/ BIG RED MC HOUSTON: I'm Tired/ MR. BLUES & JOHNNY BIRD ORCH: The Last Laugh Will Be On You/ ELROY PEACE & BOW RIBBONS: Quick Like/ PRINCE LOVE & HIS ROYAL KNIGHTS: Don't Want No War/ JIMMY RAYE: Hey Let's Dance/ SLIM SAUNDERS: Get Away/ Let's Have Some Fun/ THE SILVERTONES: Midnight Thunder/ SONNY'S NU KAT ORCHESTRA: She Is Mine/ SHERMAN WILLIAMS & HIS BAND: I Lost My Baby/ GEORGE YOUNG: Buggin' Baby/ Shaking Shelley

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Yazoo 3002 The Best There Ever Was - Legendary Early Blues Perform ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 62 mins, essential
A who's who of the finest early rural blues guitarists from the 1920s and '30s and a sampler of the wonderful Yazoo catalog, this collection makes the perfect place to start a blues roots discovery. This set offers 20 of the greatest performing their finest, including Tommy Johnson's classic Big Road Blues, Skip James' unearthly Cypress Grove, Blind Lemon Jefferson's Prison Cell Blues, Charlie Patton'sIt Won't Be Long, Frank Stokes' What's The Matter Blues, Blind Willie McTell's Mama Tain't Long Fo' Day (featuring some remarkable slide guitar) and others. The ladies are represented by Memphis Minnie performing Outdoor Blues and Geeshie Wiley singing the memorable Last Kind Word Blues. Excellent photos (especially of Skip James) and informative booklet notes. Sound quality on these old recordings is as good or better as anyone is likely to hear. For those who don't know what they're missing. (JC)

 
CLARA WARD & THE WARD SINGERS Liquid 8 12134 When The Gates SWing Open ● CD $7.98
12 tracks, 34 mins, essential
In spite of the lack of any notes and the mistitling (the group was actually called the Clara Ward Specials when these recordings were made) this is a fabulous collection of sides by made by Clara with the Specials (Lil Davis, Frances Steadman, Frances, Thelma Jackson) for Gotham between 1950 and 1954. Clara and her groups advocated the toe-tapping, tambourine-bashing, church-wrecking, born-again brand of gospel and there are lots of exciting performances here including How I Got Over/ Faith Moves Mountains/ One Way Street/ On That Great Judgment Morning/ God Moves In A Mysterious and others. Guide Me O Though Great Jehova and There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood are real spine chillers featuring Clara solo with just organ accompaniment. Joining Clara and the Specials are a great instrumental group usually including piano, organ and drums and one track has some soaring steel guitar. Glorious stuff at a bargain price. (FS)

 
MUDDY WATERS Acrobat 4045 Screamin And Cryin' - Live In Warsaw, 1976 ● CD $13.98
16 tracks, 79 minutes, good - with reservations
There's a glut of 'live' Muddy Waters available and this is no recently-unearthed rarity as it's been previously issued on a handful of bootleg labels. This is strong Muddy Waters as we came to know him in his Blue Sky years - joined by Bob Margolin, Jerry Portnoy, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Pinetop Perkins, Calvin Jones and Willie Smith - but the deficiencies in sound are often a stronger point than the solid music. Mastering is pretty much non-existent with random peaks and valleys in levels and distortion ruins Pinetop's piano (along with Muddy's voice on occasion). If you're looking for late-period efforts from Chicago's blues king, grab the recent reissues from Sony - "Hard Again", "I'm Ready", "King Bee" and "Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live" - all with bonus tracks and far more sound purchases than this sonic abomination. (CR)

 
KENNY "BLUE BOSS" WAYNE Electro-Fi 3388 Let It Loose ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 47 minutes, excellent
If you're familiar with the Blues Boss, this is another winner that's bound to please. If you're not yet schooled in Wayne's approach, "Let It Loose" is a fine place to begin. He blazes through smoking boogie woogie (Blackberry Wine), touches on Louis Jordan-inspired humor (Joogie To The Boogie), mines the soul/R&B genre (Wishing Well), and plows through storming blues, from shuffles (I Never Will Forgive You and Mean Streak) to slow grinders (Don't Rush To Judge Me) and does it all exceptionally well. He also pays tribute to Amos Milburn on Blue and Lonesome/ Let Me Go Home Whiskey and Bewildered. The small band behind him (varying sidemen) offers muscular support throughout. (CR)

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON BGO BGOCD 603 Down And Out Blues/ In Memorium ● CD $17.98
24 tracks, essential (if you don't already have them) 24 tracks by one of the greatest of Chicago bluesmen recorded for Checker between 1955 and 1965. The first 12 tracks were issued on the 1959 LP "Down & Out Blues" and the latter 12 were on 1964's "Real Folk Blues" which was issued in the U.K. shortly after his death as "In Memorium" (sic). If you don't already have these great sides this is a must featuring Sonny Boy's great vocals and harmonica on his wonderfully inventive songs like Don't Start Me To Talkin'/ The Key (To You Door)/ Fattening Frogs For Snakes/ 99/ One Way Out/ Checkin' Up On My baby/ Bring It On Home/ Dissatisfied/ Too Old To Think and more accompanied by the likes of Otis Spann, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Lockwood Jr., Willie Dixon, Fred Below, Luther Tucker and others. Superb sound and booklet includes original LP notes plus new notes by Tony Russell. (FS)

 
   

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