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NEWSLETTER #139
Blues & Gospel
Billy Boy Arnold ->
Willie Mabon
 

 

CALENDAR

 
 
CLASSIC BLUES ARTWORK FROM THE 1920S Blues Images 206 2006 Calendar ● CD $16.98
The third of what is promised to be a series of 15 calendars using images discovered by collector John Tefteller. These are drawn from a cache of original artwork for advertisements printed in African-American newspapers in the late 20s and early 30s by the Paramount Record Company advertising their latest blues releases. Some of these have been published before from third generation microfilm - these are immaculate reproductions from the original artwork. The calendar includes sample song lyrics, brief biographies and birth and death dates for many blues artists. But wait! There's more! The calendar comes with a bonus CD featuring 16 rare blues tracks, mostly from the Paramount label, and including all the sides advertised plus three bonus tracks and includes recordings by Skip James, Willie Brown, Blind Blake, King Solomon Hill, Ma Rainey, Blind Roosevelt Graves & brother, Mattie Delaney, George Torey and others - all in pristine sound. It also includes full color inserts to enable you to make your own Classic Blues Artwork CD with a jewel case (jewel case not included) Since these would make such a great gift if you buy five or more calendars you can get them for $15.98 each! Calendar/ CD set counts as four CDs for shipping purposes.

 

NEW BOOKS

 
LOST DELTA FOUND - John W. Work, Lewis Wade Jones & Samuel C. Adams,Jr. - Rediscovering The Fisk University Study  edited by Robert Gordon & Bruce Nemerov ● BOOK $34.95
343 pages, hardbound, essential
Counts as seven CDs for shipping purposes
The authors were part of the same Library of Congress / Fisk University study that produced Alan Lomax's "The Land Where the Blues Began" and some of the greatest field recordings of all time, including Muddy Waters' first sessions. Little or nothing was known about the rest of the intended sociological study, and Lomax barely bothered to mention these scholars, although Work not only accompanied him but ran the recording machine and did some of the interviewing (including that of Waters). Editor Gordon found a portion of the manuscript-in Lomax's archives-while researching his excellent Muddy Waters biography, "I Can't Be Satisfied." What emerged from the further research done by he and Nemerov is the most detailed account known of the living conditions and social relationships in the pre-World War II Mississippi Delta. Work's extensive transcriptions and commentary constitute a fundamental document of blues musicology. Lomax did not suppress this material-it was genuinely lost-although he did take full credit for work that was only partially his. Whether or not you consider that important, "Lost Delta Found" is a fascinating and indispensable book. (Dave Marsh)

 
LOST SOUNDS Blacks & The Birth Of The Recording Industry, 1890-1919  by Tim Brooks ● BOOK $34.95
Paperbound, 634 pages, counts as 12 CDs for shipping
Now in paperback. Fascinating and important (and large) new book providing an in depth look at the African-American artists who recorded prior to 1920. The timeliness of this book was brought home by Columbia’s recent reissue of blues singer Mamie Smith where they stated that her 1920 recording of Crazy Blues was the first commercial recording by an African-American performer. They couldn’t be more wrong as this book documents dozens of artists who recorded before her with the very first commercial recording being by the, up to now, obscure George W. Johnson who first recorded in 1890 and who was one of the most popular recording artists of the 1890s. Based on more than 30 years of original research Brooks provides biographies and discussion of the recordings of Johnson and many other artists like The Unique Quartet, The Standard Quartet, Bert Williams (one table shows that sales of William’s recordings between 1918 and 1931 totaled almost 2,000,000), Thomas Craig, Carroll Clark, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Jack Johnson (the boxer), Apollo Jubilee Quartet, James Reese Europe, Dan Kildare, The Right Quintette, Wilbur C. Sweatman, Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake, W.C. Handy, The Four Harmony Kings and many others. Included are contemporary accounts from newspapers and journals, rare photos and lots of other ephemera plus an appendix by Dick Spottswood on Caribbean and South American recordings and a discography of available reissues on CD. This is a very readable effort as well as a labor of love loaded with information which will be new to most readers and will of profound interest to blues and jazz enthusiasts. See http://www.rootsandrhythm.com/roots/NEWSLETTER139/newsletter139_blues_2.htm for details of just released complementary CD set. Hardbound version is also still available for $65.00 - counts as 14 CDs for shipping.

 
TALKIN' TO MYSELF Blues Lyrics, 1921-1942  by Michael Taft ● BOOK $24.95
Paperback, 718 pages, counts as 8 CDs for shipping purposes
Sing along with Charley Patton! This fascinating book is an update of the 1983 publication "Blues Lyric Poetry - An Anthology" and features the lyrics of more than 2,000 blues songs recorded between 1921 and 1942. The book is arranged alphabetically by artist and then chronologically by date of recording for each song. There are very brief biographies of each artist plus recording date, matrix number and original issue number. Artists include country, urban and vaudeville with a leaning towards country blues performers. Since the original goal of the project was to conduct a computerized concordance of the song lyrics the author "streamlined" the lyrics, leaving out line repetitions, spoken asides, etc. which is quite a major drawback and could have fairly easily be rectified with a little extra work (at least the line repetitions could). However this is still a valuable insight into the poetry if the blues form - the literary quality of the lyrics that make them such an important part of American literature.

 
 

NEW DVDS

 
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted all DVDs offered are in NTSC format which means that they will not play on a European DVD players unless you have a multiple format player.
   
 
BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND Malaco DVD 9036 Live On Beale Street ● DVD $19.98
17 "tracks," about 1 hour, recommended
Bland always had a growl on reserve that came out when he rolled up his sleeves and got down to business on a song. But now, post triple bypass surgery, that growl is a calculated, guttural explosion that sounds like a medical condition. It would be foolish to expect his voice to be as good as it was back in the Duke/Peacock days or even the MCA days, and it isn't. But it still sounds pretty decent as he walks that line between blues and soul. The orchestra features the guitar virtuosity of Ray Neal as well as a tight horn section that includes Joe Hardin (tmp), Stan Abernathy (tmp), Morris Atchison (sax), and Al Thomas (tmb). The songs represent the best of a long and remarkable career, including I Pity The Fool, St. James Infirmary, Further On Up The Road, Stormy Monday, and 24 Hours Of The Day, with the last two featuring guest assistance from Johnnie Taylor and Bobby Rush. Bland plays to a small, well-heeled crowd; they know the songs by heart and occasionally join in. He dedicated You've Got To Hurt Before You Heal to his wife, who is apparently in attendance. It's your basic love fest. And why not? Bland is a legend and deserves to be. (JC)

 
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA Eagle Eye 39036 Go Tell It On The Mountain - Live In New York ● DVD $19.98
DVD, 16 "tracks," 125 min., recommended
Tuxedo clad with red bow ties, the Blind Boys, including three original members (Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott), are joined by many of the guests on the GTIOTM CD, reprising their roles live at New York's Beacon Theatre. But it isn't Mavis Staples on Nobody's Fault But Mine or Aaron Neville on Joy To The World, or Chrissy Hynde on In The Bleak Midwinter or Michael Franti on Little Drummer Boy that steals the show. It's Carter. On I I Had A Hammer he jumps up and down like a man half of half his age. And when he goes out into the audience, he has them eating out of his hand. The energy level of this xmas show waxes and wanes, and the Blind Boys are clearly not as young as they used to be, but Carter sounds and acts like he is. Just in time for xmas. (JC)

 
MAHALIA JACKSON Audio Fidelity 9904 Mahalia Jackson Sings ● DVD $9.98
DVD, B&W, 14 "tracks," 44 min., highly recommended
Recorded (apparently) in the mid-1950s for American television, this footage finds the Queen of Gospel in superb voice. The set is almost bare, the lighting minimal, thus focusing attention exactly where it belongs, on Jackson. She is accompanied now by piano, now by organ, now by small combo (unidentified but more than qualified). Songs include Just As I Am, I Believe, Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho, Highway To Heaven, The Lord's Prayer, I Ask The Lord, and the almost bluesy . Sadly, the DVD comes without notes or information about the performances, and without any bonus material. And the last couple seconds of the last song are clipped. Worthwhile anyway. (JC)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
BILLY BOY ARNOLD Electro-Fi 3392 Consolidated Mojo ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 52 min, excellent
Back in '92 I got to see an explosive set at the San Francisco Blues Fest by the great Billy Boy backed up by Mark Hummel's band (fact I never knew - he got his first harp lesson from the original Sonny Boy Williamson, who was murdered a few days later, & took his name out of respect). Shortly after, Hummel got Billy Boy in the studio & with Rusty Zinn on guitar, in one day captured some fine versions of stuff from the archives of Billy & Sonny Boy. Includes a version of I'm A Man (Billy played harp on Bo Diddley's original - he was the original harpist in Bo's band) with some lyrics not heard in other recorded versions, Billy's signature tune I Ain't Got You, the dozens song Dirty Muther Fuyer, plus My Heart Is Crying/ Me & Piney Brown/ Low Down Blues, etc. (GM)

 
THE BELLS OF JOY Acrobat 4207 The Collection ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 56 mins, highly recommended
Gorgeous collection of quartet gospel singing recorded for Peacock between 1952 and 1954 by this outstanding quartet from Austin, Texas led by A.C. Littlefield who still leads a group with the same name today. Originally known as the Starlight Singers they changed to The Bells Of Joy in 1950. They were in the vanguard of a more modern quartet style with a more intense vocal style, effective use of call of response and use of guitar and drums to accentuate the rhythm. At their first session they cut the uptempo Let's Talk About Jesus which was a massive gospel hit. Since most of the members of the group were unwilling to tour following their hit Littlefield joined forces with The Southern Tones who became the new Bells Of Joy. Whatever the line up their singing was superb - Littlefield did many of the leads with others featuring Clem Reed or Vernon Maynor on the early sides and Sam Cooke influenced Robert Dawkins on the later sides. This collection features all their issued side from this period as well as eight originally unissued sides that first appeared on a long out of print Japanese LP and are every bit as good as the issued sides and in fact the unissued No More Sorrow with searing lead by Clem Reed is probably my favorite track here. Excellent sound and informed notes by Opal Louis Nations round out an exceptional release. (FS)

 
EDDIE BOYD Sonet 986 925-3 The Sonet Blues Story ● CD $13.98
Reissue of 1974 Sonet/ GNP album with two bonus alternate takes by fine Chicago singer, songwriter and piano player. The set was recorded in Chicago with several Swiss musicians plus veteran jazz drummer Ed Thigpen. Performances are generally fine though Peps Persson's is sometimes too over the top for my liking.

 
ROY BROWN Ace CDCHD 1072 Good Rockin' Brown - The King & Deluxe Acetate Series ● CD $18.98
24 tracks, 67 mins, essential
Ace does it again! Some time ago they acquired the rights to reissue King and DeLuxe recordings made between 1944 and 1951 from the original 16 inch acetates which have remained untouched for many years. These acetates, many thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire, have been transferred the Ace's headquarters in London and Ace stalwarts Tony Rounce and Peter Gibbon have been slowly working their way through them since December 2004 finding the original first generation recordings of many classic sides, loads of unissued material as well as previously unknown recordings. They are starting what promises to be an extensive series of reissues drawn from these acetates with this great collection of primo blues shouter Roy Brown. This CD presents one take of every surviving acetate recorded by Brown in 1947 at Cosimo Matissa's J&M studio in New Orleans. It opens with a previously unissued alternate take of his first hit Good Rockin' Tonight which is very different from the issued version. It also includes unissued alternates of two other early classics Mighty Mighty Man and Miss Fanny Brown plus seven issued sides and a whopping 14 songs previously unissued in any form. These unissued songs are every bit as good as the issued recordings ranging from the intense slow blues I'm the Man Who Sings The Blues and Jailhouse Blues to the hard rocking Farm Town Gal and Looking For A Woman. Sound quality is stunning and there informed notes by Rounce. Coming soon from Ace is a whole CD of previously unissued demos by Brown from the same year - wow! (FS)

 
ROY BROWN/ PROFESSOR LONGHAIR/ DAVE BARTHOLOMEW JSP JSPCD 7756 New Orleans R&B ● CD $28.98
Four CD set of New Orleans blues and R&B featuring two CDs worth of Roy Brown, one CD of Dave Bartholomew and one of Professor Longhair.
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW: Ah Cubanas/ Ain‘t Gonna Do It/ Bad Habit/ Bum Mae/ Carnival Day/ Country Boy/ Country Boy Goes Home/ Dave‘s Boogie Woogie/ Frantic Chick/ Girt Town Blues/ Going To Chow/ Good Jax Boogie/ High Flying Woman/ High Society Blues/ In The Alley/ Messy Bessie/ Mr Fool/ Poppa Stoppa Theme Song/ She‘s Got Great Big Eyes/ Stardust/ Sweet Home Blues/ That‘s How You Got Killed Before/ The Golden Rule/ Tijim/ Twins/ ROY BROWN: Answer To Big Town/ Bar Room Blues/ Beautician Blues/ Big Town/ Boogie At Midnight/ Brown Angel/ Butcher Pete - Pt. 1/ Butcher Pete - Pt. 2/ Bye Baby Bye/ Cadillac Baby/ Deep Sea Diver/ Double Crossin‘ Woman/ Dreaming Blues/ End Of My Journey/ Good Man Blues/ Good Rockin‘ Man/ Good Rockin‘ Tonight/ Hard Luck Blues/ Hurry Hurry Baby/ I Feel That Young Man‘s Rhythm/ I‘ve Got The Last Laugh Now/ Judgement Day Blues/ Lolly Pop Mama/ Lonesome Lover/ Long About Sundown/ Long ’bout Midnight/ Love Don‘t Love Nobody/ Midnight Lover Man/ Mighty, Mighty Man/ Miss Fanny Brown/ Miss Fanny Brown Returns/ Money Can‘t Buy Love/ New Rebecca/ Please Don‘t Go/ Rainy Weather Blues/ Riding High/ Rock-a-bye Baby/ Rockin‘ At Midnight/ Roy Brown‘s Boogie/ Special Lesson No. 1/ Sweet Peach/ Teenage Jamboree/ The Blues Got Me Again/ Too Much Loving Ain‘t Good/ Train Time Blues/ Travelin‘ Man/ Whose Hat Is That/ Woman‘s A Wonderful Thing/ Wrong Woman Blues/ ’fore Day In The Morning/ PROFESSOR LONGHAIR: Bald Head/ Ball The Wall/ Been Foolin‘ Around/ Between Midnight And Day/ Boyd‘s Bounce/ Bye Bye Baby/ Byrd‘s Blues/ East St. Louis Baby/ Hadacol Bounce/ Her Mind Is Gone/ Hey Little Girl/ Hey Now Baby/ Hey Now Baby/ In The Night/ Longhair Stomp/ Mardi Gras In New Orleans/ Mardi Gras In New Orleans/ Oh Well/ Professor Longhair Blues/ Professor Longhair‘s Boogie/ She Ain‘t Got No Hair/ She Walks Right In/ Tipitina/ Walk Your Blues Away/ Who‘s Been Fooling You/ Willie Mae

 
BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO Shout Factory 34072 100% Fortified Zydeco ● CD $11.98
10 tracks, 41 min., essential
Originally released in 1983 on Black Top Records (BT-1024), this album is a classic of the form. Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr., learned his accordion chops from Clifton Chenier himself, and on I've Had Trouble With The Blues and others, he wears that influence proudly. Dural's music is a driving, dance-floor friendly gumbo of blues, R&B, funk, soul, Cajun, Creole-French, pop, and kitchen sink, and this album is that varied. Zydeco rarely gets any better than this. (JC)

 
CHARLES CALDWELL Fat Possum 102 Remember Me ● CD $13.98
11 tracks, 40 mins, recommended
Fine minimalist country bluesman from Coffeyville, Mississippi recorded in 2002 - a year before his death at the age of 60. Caldwell is a powerful singer and a basic but effective guitarist. His songs are mostly originals though strongly based on traditional elements. Most tracks feature him accompanied by a drummer and a couple of tracks feature "mixing" though this is kept fairly discreet. Worth a listen. (FS)

 
CHICAGO BLUES REUNION Out The Box 3016 Buried Alive In The Blues ● CD $21.98
CD: 14 tracks, 63 min., highly recommended; DVD with music and interviews
Recorded live at Fitzgerald's in 2004 in, of all places, Chicago, this CBR album is a welcome helping of blues by a group that has a veritable blues who's who for a lineup, including Barry Goldberg (ex-Electric Flag, ex-Steve Miller Blues Band, ex-Barry Goldberg) on Hammond B-3, Nick "The Greek" Gravenites (ex-Butterfield Blues Band, ex-Electric Flag) on vocals and guitar, Sam Lay (who played with Little Walter, Muddy Waters, and every bluesman you can name, as well as with Bob Dylan) on drums and vocals, Harvey Mandel (ex-Canned Heat, one-time candidate for the Rolling Stones) on lead guitar, Tracy Nelson (ex-Mother Earth) on vocals, and Corky Siegal (ex-Siegal-Schwall Band) on harmonica and vocals. The title track, which Gravenites wrote for Janis Joplin (who died the night before she was scheduled to go into the studio and lay down the vocal track), is among the finest moments, although the songs featuring Nelson's vocals (Walk Away, Miss You Like The Devil, All The Help I Can Get, New Truck) make wonderful listening too. An album of solid blues from performers who obviously feel the music in their bones. And as good as it is, the DVD is actually better. Not only does it contain the concert footage of many of the songs on the album, but the extensive interviews with band members, Buddy Guy, B.B. King (who sincerely refers to Michael Bloomfield as "like a son"), music writer Joel Selvin (filling in historical blank spaces), and others, essentially become a documentary about the blues' newfound popularity with white audiences in the 1960s, and a good documentary, at that. (JC)

 
CHAMPION JACK DUPREE WITH T.S. MCPHEE Ace CDCHM 1063 Dupree 'n' McPhee - The 1967 Blue Horizon Session ● CD $13.98
16 tracks, 42 mins, recommended
A bit of an oddity in Champion Jack's catalog - he doesn't play any piano on this album! He is accompanied only on acoustic guitar by British guitarist Tony "TS" McPhee of the group The Groundhogs. Only a few of these tracks have been out before and and once you adjust to the different sound the disc is really quite enjoyable with Jack in fine voice and McPhee doing a fine job accompanying him - occasionally playing some tasteful slide. In this setting Jack does quite a few songs he hadn't recorded before. Tracks include Get Your Head Happy/ Papa Told Mama/ Who was Here A While Ago/ Baby Don't Put Me Out/ My Darling/ Talk All In My Sleep/ My Home In Mississippi, etc. One track Black Snake Breakdown is an instrumental by McPhee. (FS)

 
SNOOKS EAGLIN Smithsonian Folkways 40165 New Orleans Street Singer ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 68 mins, essential
Though Snooks has had a lengthy career singing in front of blues bands and doing a great job, the solo acoustic recordings he made for folklorist Harry Oster between 1958 and 1960 are my favorites. This wonderful set reissues Folkways 2476 originally issued in 1959 and is newly remastered and includes 8 bonus unissued cuts that are every bit as good as the originally issued sides. Snooks's repertoire at the time was mostly covers of blues favorites along with country songs and some jazz. Although familiar material, Snooks's seductive languorous vocals and dazzling original guitar work on 6 or 12 string breathe new life into warhorses like Walking Blues/ I Got My Questionnaire/ Mama, Don't You Tear My Clothes/ One Room Country Shack and others. A particular favorite is his rendition of Lead Belly's Rock Island Line whose lyrics only approximate the original but swings like crazy! There are a couple of superb instrumentals which demonstrate the breadth of Snooks's improvisatory skills. Superb sound and a 28 page booklet with in depth notes by Elijah Wald round out this indispensable package. (FS)

 
SNOOKS EAGLIN Sonet 986 926-1 The Sonet Blues Story ● CD $13.98
Reissue of 1971 album originally issued on Sonet & GNP with three bonus unissued tracks. 15 solo sides with Snooks on acoustic or amplified guitar covering blues, R&B, pop and rock 'n' roll favorites along with some originals. Includes Boogie Children (sic)/ Lucille/ Good News/ Pine Top's Boogie-Woogie/ I Get The Blues When It Rains/ Tomorrow Night/ Shake A Hand/ Win Your Love For Me, etc.

 
BILLY "THE KID" EMERSON Black Tulip 2636430 Don't Start Me Lying ● CD $17.98
26 track collection from this fine versatile artist featuring recordings made between 1954 and 1967 for a variety of labels - Don't Start Me To Lying/ Tomorrow Never Comes/ The Pleasure Is All Done/ You Never Miss The Water/ Holy Mackeral Baby/ I'll get You Too/ I get That Feeling/ The Whip, Parts 1 & 2/ I Did The Funky Broadway, Parts 1 & 2, etc.

 
THE FIVE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA Metro 162 Sanctify My Soul - 25 Gospel Greats ● CD $11.98
25 tracks, 64 mins, highly recommended
Fine 25 track introduction to the music of one of the greatest gospel groups featuring the soaring lead vocals of the great Clarence Fountain. Nine of these tracks are from their earliest recordings for Coleman and Gospel recorded between 1948 and '51 when they were helping to pioneer the more intense "hard" gospel sound. The performances are basically acapella with gentle guitar accompaniments and features some brilliant performances like Honey In The Rock/ Leave Your Burden There/ I Want My Crown/ Blessed Be The Name and others. A more extensive selection of these recordings is available on Flyright 946 ($16.98). The remaining 16 tracks are drawn from their classic recordings made for Vee-Jay in he early 60s with almost the same group line up but with more extensive instrumental backup and more histrionic performances from Fountain including some sermonizing and screaming but still great. A couple of these tracks are from their more pop oriented sessions but the rest is all great including a version of one of their theme songs I Can See Everybody's Mother. (FS)

 
BLIND ARVELLA GRAY Conjuroo 001 The Singing Drifter ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 55 mins, highly recommended
Most welcome reissue of only full length album by street singer Arvella Gray recorded in 1972 with four bonus unissued sides. Gray was born in Texas in 1906 and lost his sight along with two fingers on his left hand under uncertain violent circumstances. He settled in Chicago in the 40s where he made a living singing on the streets with his metal bodied National Dobro most notably on the bustling Maxwell Street market but in other locations too. Like many street singers his repertoire was varied and this album opens with a fine version of the country song More Pretty Girls Than One and includes his trademark song - a seven minute version of the traditional John Henry with nice slide guitar. The rest of the set is mostly traditional gospel songs (Take Your Burdens To The Lord/ Standing By The Bedside Of A Neighbor/ Stand By Me/ If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again, etc), an excellent blues combining elements of traditional blues lyrics and two fascinating unaccompanied work songs. Beautifully remastered from original tapes the CD includes 16 page fold out booklet with photos and notes by Cary Baker who was responsible for getting Arvella into the studio and original producer David Wylie. (FS)

 
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Sonet 986 925-8 The Sonet Blues Story ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 51 mins, good
Reissue of 1974 Sonet/ GNP album with two bonus, previously unissued, tracks. Lightnin' sounds pretty good but he is accompanied by a drab and heavy handed drummer and bass player and an unimaginative harmonica player who really drag things down. (FS)

 
MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT Fuel 2000 61407 D.C. Blues - The Library Of Congress Recordings, Vol. 1 ● CD $19.98
Two CDs, 35 tracks, 109 mins, essential
Shortly after the rediscovery of country blues legend John Hurt in 1963, Dick Spottswood took him to the Library Of Congress to explore his repertoire. Over a period of a week he recorded dozens of songs - including remakes of his classic recordings and many others he sang as a young man including gospel songs, original songs, traditional songs and more. Some of these recordings were issued on several albums on Flyright and Heritage and now Fuel 2000 is taking an in depth look at these magnificent sides with the first of two double CDs of these recordings. Though 70 years old Hurt sang and played with all the authority that he exhibited when he first recorded more than 30 years previously and his lovely fluid fingerpicking style was to become a big influence on many aspiring guitarists. A number of the songs here were to become a standard part of John's repertoire over th next few years (he died in 1966) while others are unique to these sessions. Among the performances here are Avalon Blues/ Trouble I've Had All My Day/ Stockwell/ Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me/ Louis Collins/ Slidin' Delta/ Pallet On The Floor/ Spanish Flangdang/ Oh Mary Don't You Weep/ Over In The Glory Land/ Where Shall I Be, etc. Includes booklet with informative notes by Bill Dahl. Wonderful music from a talented and gentle performer. (FS)

 
MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT Fuel 2000 61495 D.C. Blues - The Library Of Congress Recordings, Vol. 2 ● CD $19.98
Two CDs, 37 tracks, highly recommended
The second volume is not quite as strong as the first - there is a higher proportion on songs John had not recorded elsewhere and it seems that he was not as familiar with some of the songs here and he occasionally stumbles over lyrics or guitar parts. Nevertheless there are some fine performances here and John's singing and playing are almost always a delight. Includes Monday Morning Blues/ Salty Dog/ Waiting For You/ Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord/ I'll Fly Away/ I'm Satisfied/ Four O'Clock Blues/ Alabama Bound/ Frankie No. 2/ You Got To Get Ready, etc. (FS)

 
LONNIE JOHNSON Collectables 2897 The Very Best Of Lonnie Johnson ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 68 mins, highly recommended
Lonnie was a master musician whose outstanding guitar work influenced many, and whose voice, although sweet by blues standards, was always warm, soulful and well blended with his instrument. Lonnie's sides for King (1947-'52) borrowed more from the popular R&B idiom than from straight ahead blues, but nevertheless, this remarkable man's talent shone through. His first session for King yielded the biggest hit of his lengthy career - Tomorrow Night which managed to top the R&B charts. He had several other hits on King over the next couple of years but none of those are included here. His remake of his old favorite Jelly Roll Baker is supposedly accompanied by a large band but I only hear the piano and bass that was present on most of the tracks here. His version of Careless Love from August 1948 is strictly solo and is a real beauty. Later sessions have a drummer added and the last couple of sessions features a small band with horns. Classy music throughout from a true original in Black music. (FS/ OLN)

 
B.B. KING Ace CDCHM 1049 The Great B.B. King ● CD $13.98
18 tracks, 54 mins, highly recommended
The latest in this great series reissuing B.B.'s original Crown Lps with bonus cuts features a reissue of Crown 5143 issued in 1960 to cash in on the success of the two part Sweet Sixteen - one of his all time great performances. The rest of the album was filled out with other classic sides recorded between 1954 and 1960 including such monster sides as Quit My Baby/ Sneakin' Around/ Ten Long Years/ Whoe Lotta Love and others featuring B.B. at his peak. The eight bonus cuts include a couple of single sides including his rock 'n' roll song Bim Bam (B.B.'s least favorite recording) and the rest is previously unissued alternate takes and stereo mixes including the forgettable string laden Young Dreamers but the rest are all superb. Usual impeccable sound from Ace and informative notes from John Broven. (FS)

 
LITTLE FREDDIE KING Fat Possum 1022 You Don't Know What I Know ● CD $15.98
More grungy sounding blues from Fat Possum with that typical Fat Possum sound - this time featuring McComb, Mississippi singer/ guitarist. A mix of originals and covers and typical of Fat Possum a couple of tracks feature some scratching - if you like that sort of thing. King sounds like a decent performer but it's hard to tell since everything is recorded through that Fat Possum filter.

 
EDDIE KIRKLAND Blue Suit 119 Democrat Blues ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 16 tracks, 75 min., highly recommended
Not necessary to make concessions for Kirkland just because he's 80-years-old or so. His version of the blues--wild, driven, soulful--still kicks butt. On the first CD Kirkland is joined by Dave Ray (gtr.), Fuzzy Samuels (b.), and Andre Wright (dm.), and the four turn on the juice for a set of mostly originals, including the mischievous I Got My Bloodshot Eyes On You and the spare and mournful Ten Commandments, as well as covers of Elmore James' Must've Done Something Wrong and Lil' Son Jackson's Rockin' And Rollin'. The "Bonus Disc" (The "Hastings Street Grease Sessions) recorded July 8, 1998, feature a different line up, that includes Emmanuel Young on guitar and Harmonica Shah on "Beer Patrol." The songs are taken from Hastings Street Grease: Detroit Blues Is Alive! Vol. 1 & 2, except for I Want To Marry You, which is previously unreleased. (JC)

 
LITTLE ESTHER Collectables 2896 The Best Of Little Esther ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, highly recommended, but..
This is a fabulous collection featuring 25 of the 32 sides Litlle Esther Phillips recorded for Federal in 1951 and 1952. The only drawback is that Classics is reissuing the complete early recordings in chronological order and so all the cuts here plus more are available on Classics 5066 and 5147 ($14.98 each). On the other hand this has superior packaging and most of it is sourced from master tapes wheras the Classics are from 78s. Either way you'll get some great blues and R&B with Esther backed by John Otis and his gang including duets with Clyde McPhatter & The Dominoes, Bobby Nunn and Little Willie Littlefield. (FS)
LITTLE ESTHER PHILLIPS: Aged And Mellow/ Better Beware/ Bring My Lovin' Back To Me/ Cherry Wine/ Cryin' And Singin' The Blues/ Flesh Blood And Bones/ Heart To Heart/ Hollerin' And Screamin'/ Hound Dog/ I Paid My Dues/ I'll Be There/ I'm A Bad, Bad Girl/ Last Laugh Blues/ Lookin' For A Man (to Satisfy My Soul)/ Love Oh Love/ Mainliner/ Ramblin' Blues/ Ring-a-ding-doo/ Saturday Night Daddy/ Somebody New/ Tell Him That I Need Him So/ The Crying Blues/ The Deacon Moves In/ Turn The Lamps Down Low/ You Took My Love Too Fast

 
TRUDY LYNN Isabel 640102 Blues Power - Trudy's Blues ● CD $21.98
9 tracks, 65 min., recommended
Lynn's deep, soulful brand of blues drew the attention of a wide audience on Ichiban Records in the late 1980s. While on tour with the Chicago Blues Festival in Europe, Lynn recorded these tracks live at Jazz Club Lionel Hampton, Hotel Meridien, Paris, Dec. 19-20, 2001. And while she sounds convincing when she sings "I'll empty your pockets/fill you with misery" on Leonard Feathers' Empty Gal Blues and even more so on Dorothy Labostrie's You Can Have My Husband (who, apparently, is her bass player), Carl Weathersby's fiery guitar work is at least half the fun of listening to this. A solid set. (JC)

 

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