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Blues & Gospel
Tommy Ridgley - > Josh White



TOMMY RIDGLEY Acrobat ADDCD 3031 King Of The Stroll ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 44 tracks, highly recommended
Terrific collection of blues, R&B and black rock 'n' roll from this outstanding New Orleans singer, songwriter and bandleader featuring his entire recorded output cut between 1949 and 1959 including sides issued under his name as well as a couple of cuts as vocalist with the Dave Bartholomew Orchestra and a couple of cuts issued as by The Royal Playboys and The Shrewsbury Kid. All the sides through 1952 were produced by Bartholomew with such great New Orleans sidemen as Clarence Hall, Alvin "Red" Tyler, Salvador Doucette, Ernest McLean and others. For his 1953 & '54 sessions he recorded with different but great New Orleans sidemen including two tracks with Ray Charles on piano. After a couple of years without recordings he moved to Herald in 1957 and cut 19 sides - several not originally issued. These sessions were produced by Lee Allen - again with superb New Orleans musicians like Melvin Lastie, Red Tyler and others. A few of these tracks are rather forgettable rock 'n' roll novelties and whoever thought of having Tommy record Mairzy Doats should have had his head examined. Nonetheless most of these tracks are very fine. Soun d quality is excellent and there are informative notes by Bob Fisher and full discographical data. (FS)
TOMMY RIDGLEY: A Day Is Coming/ Alone But Not Lonely/ Anything But Love/ Baby Do Liddle/ Baby Do Liddle (Alt Take)/ Boogie Woogie Mama/ Booted/ Come Back Baby/ Come Home Baby/ Ding Dong School/ Early Dawn Boogie/ Good Times/ Got You On My Mind/ How I Feel/ I Live My Life/ Iíll Be True/ Iím Gonna Cross That River/ Iíve Got My Eyes On You/ Iíve Heard That Story Before/ Jam Up (Twist)/ Junie Mae/ Just A Memory/ Lavinia/ Lawdy Lawdy Lawd Pt 1/ Lawdy Lawdy Lawd Pt 2/ Lonely Man Blues/ Lonely Tune/ Looped/ Mairzy Doats And Dozy Doats/ Memory Melody/ Monkey Man/ Nobody Cares/ Once In A Lifetime/ Ooh Lawdy My Baby/ Real Gone Jam/ Shrewsbury Blues/ The Girl Across The Street/ Tina/ Tra La La/ Tra La La- Dave Bartholomew/ Whatícha Gonna Do/ When I Meet My Girl/ Wish I Had Never/ Woncha Gone

MARY STAFFORD & EDITH WILSON Archeophone 6006 Ain't Gonna Settle Down ● CD $27.98
The complete recordings of two of the earliest women blues singers to record. The obscure but highly regarded Mary Stafford recorded 14 tracks between 1921 and 1926 accompanied by various jazz bands. Edith Wilson is much better known and after the 33 tracks here recorded between 1921 and 1930 had an extensive career in the entertainment business though not in the recording studio and after retiring in 1966 she was persuaded to perform again and recorded several albums in the early 70s. Many of her sides here feature her in the company of Johnny Dunn's Original Jazz House while others find her in the company of musicians like Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Wilbur De Paris, Bubber Miley and others and, on two tracks, she is accompanied by white guitarist Roy Smeck. As usual for Archeophone the sound quality is impeccable and the set comes with a 32 page booklet with extensive, rare photos and full discographical data.
BUBBER MILEY AND HIS MILEAGE MAKERS (VOCAL BY E: Loving You the Way I Do/ The Penalty of Love/ MARY STAFFORD: Ainít Got Nobody to Grind My Coffee in the Morning/ Take Your Finger Off It/ Arkansas Blues/ Blind Man Blues/ Crazy Blues/ Down Home Blues/ Down Where They Play the Blues/ If You Donít Want Me Send Me to My Ma/ Iím Gonna Jazz My Way Right Straight Thru Paradise/ Iíve Lost My Heart to the Meanest Girl in Town/ Monday Morning Blues/ Royal Garden Blues/ Strut Miss Lizzie/ Wild Weeping Blues/ EDITH WILSON: (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue/ Iíll Get Even with You/ My Handy Man Ainít Handy No More/ My Man Is Good for Nothing but Love/ How Come You Do Me Like You Do?/ Muscle Shoals Blues/ Itís Gonna Be a Cold, Cold Winter/ Thereíll Be Some Changes Made/ Daddy, Change Your Mind/ Double Crossin' Papa/ Heís a Mean Mean Man (But Heís Good to Me)/ I Donít Know and I Donít Care Blues/ Dixie Blues/ Evil Blues/ Frankie/ He May Be Your Man (But He Comes to See Me Sometimes)/ He Used to Be Your Man but Heís My Man Now/ I Donít Want Nobody Blues/ Lonesome Mama Blues/ Mammy, Iím Thinking of You/ Nervous Blues/ Old Time Blues/ Pensacola Blues (Home Again Croon)/ Rules and Regulations "Signed Razor JimĒ/ Take It ‘Cause Itís All Yours/ The West Texas Blues/ Vampiní Liza Jane/ What Do You Care (What I Do)/ Birmingham Blues/ Wicked Blues

T-MODEL FORD Mudpuppy 001 Jack Daniel Time ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, recommended
Fine set of Missi ssi ppi juke joint blues featuring 83 year old James "T-Model" Ford who previously had several albums on Fat Possum. Ford is presented in several settings - solo acoustic, electric guitar accompanied by legendary drummer from the Jelly Roll Kings, Sam Carr and with a small group including harmonica player Terry Bean and drummer Lee Williams. Ford's material is a mix of covers of blues favorites along with original songs b ased on traditional themes. Ford's singing and playing are solid and hypnotic and the varied arrangements make for an entertaining selection. (FS)

RUFUS THOMAS Document DOCD 5683 Tiger Man - Earliest Recordings, 1950-1957 ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 53 mins, highly recommended
Legendary singer, dancer, comedian, DJ and all-around entertainer Rufus Thomas' early days in front of a recording mi ke are covered here. From his first recordings for small-time Dallas, Texas label Star Talent and Nashville label Bullet to tenures on Chess and Sun, Thomas demonstrates that he was so much more than Walkin' the Dog. There are four previously unissued tracks including the driving Who's That Chick and the down 'n dirty Double Trouble from his first session which are exceptional. There's other R&B/blues gems like Beer Bottle Boogie/ Night Workin' Blues/ Juanita, and Walkin' in the Rain to savor. Although it's true that traces of his later, more 'novelty' oriented recordings can be heard in songs like the previously unissued Sun cut I'm Off That Stuff and his Sun hit Bear Cat with hot guitar from Joe Hill Louis and Floyd Murphy, this music is not to be taken lightly and Thomas deserves your respect and ears! (GMC)

GEORGE VANN Blue Moon 6056 The Blues Singing Drummers, Vol. 1 ● CD $16.98
27 tracks, recommended
Collection of sides recorded between 1944 and 1947 by various groups featuring drummer and singer George Vann, originally from Oklahoma. The groups are varied and the material ranges from syrupy ballads to jumping R&B and on the latter Vann sounds a little like Joe Turner. In addition to the vocals there are a couple of nice vocals and some of the vocals are taken by other singers like Mata Roy and Betty Hall Jones. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Acrobat ACMCD 4210 Texas Gospel, Vol. 2 - Be What You Are ● CD $15.98
Acrobat's second collection of gospel quartet singing recorded for the Duke and Peacock labels features 24 tracks from 1953 and '54 - most making their first appearance on CD - The Christland Singers, Southern Tones, Sunset Travelers, Mid South Singers, Heaven Bound Four, Southern Wonders and The Christian Travelers.
THE CHRISTIAN TRAVELLERS: Make More Room For Jesus In Your Heart/ Oh What A Saviour/ Only A Pilgrim/ Well Done/ THE CHRISTLAND SINGERS: Am I Too Close/ Keep Me Pt. 1/ Keep Me Pt. 2/ Someday Somewhere/ THE HEAVEN BOUND FOUR: I'm Giving Up This World/ There's A Hand Gone Before/ THE MID SOUTH SINGERS: Lord Come And See Me/ Will Meet You In The Morning/ THE SOUTHERN TONES: Be What You Are/ I'm Going On In His Name/ It Must Be Jesus/ Just A Closer Walk With Thee/ My Mind On Jesus/ The Dying Sinner/ THE SOUTHERN WONDERS: How Much More Can I Bear/ I'll Fly Away/ THE SUNSET TRAVELLERS: I'm Building A Home/ My Number Will Be Changed/ Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down/ Yes Yes I've Done My Duty

VARIOUS ARTISTS Acrobat ACMCD 4263 The Jaxyson Records Story ● CD $15.98
Incredible collection of blues and gospel recorded for the tiny Jaxyson label in Oakland, California in the late 40s. Not only have most of these 25 tracks not appeared on CD, 13 have never been issued in any form and were turned up a few years ago on acetates being sold at a swap meet - 7 of them by unknown artists. The rest includes tracks by Black Diamond, Goldrush, Johnny Fuller, Charles White, The Rainbow Gospel Singers, etc. More details next time.
SUSAN BENNETT: Singing In My Soul/ BLACK DIAMOND: Lonesome Blues/ JOSEPH BUTLER: Texas Blues (T.P. Railer)/ BROTHER JOHNNY FULLER: I Must Tell Jesus/ JOHNNY FULLER: From Bad To Worse (incomplete)/ GOLDRUSH: All My Money Is Gone/ Hold That Train, Conductor/ THE GOSPEL TRUMPETS: Constantly Abiding/ Good Morning To Heaven/ REV. L.H. NARCISSE: I'm Going To Tell God/ What Could I Do/ THE RAINBOW GOSPEL SINGERS: On The Battlefield/ Today/ SISTER RITA: Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet, Gabriel/ UNKNOWN ARTIST: Goin' Back Down In Old Mobile/ Iíll Meet You in the Morning/ Jaxyson Scratch/ Say A Word/ Stand By Me/ Standing On Jordan/ Weep Below, Children, (Weep No More)/ CHARLES WHITE: Didn't It Rain/ Stand By Me/ How Long/ Well Done

VARIOUS ARTISTS Acrobat 9011 The Trilon Records Story, 1946-1948 ● CD $28.98
Three CD set, 81 tracks, highly recommended
Another imaginative new release from the good folks at Acrobat and compiler Opal Louis Nations comprising around two thirds of the output of this small West Coast label. A mix of blues, R&B, jazz, jive, gospel and more pop flavored items. Although some of this has been out before, there is quite a lot that's new to CD. The best known artists here are the great bluesmen Lowell Fulson and Jimmy McCracklin bu there lots of other fine titles from artists like Turner Willis, Snookum Russell & His Orchestra, Norman Davis & His Orchestra, Viviane Green & Her Trio, The Wright Brothers Jubilee Singers (superb acapella gospel), The Four Aces (harmony and jive), Paramount Gospel Singers, The Vagabonds (Italian-American novelty group with hot accordion), Rising Star Gospel Singers, Johnny Ingram & His Rhythm Czars and others. Considering the rarity of many of these recordings the sound quality is fine and booklet has an informative history of the label from Opal Louis Nations and a listing of all known releases on the label. (FS)
VERNON ALLEY & HIS ORCHESTRA: For You/ NORMAN DAVIS & HIS ORCHESTRA: Stop That Dancing Up There/ THE ESQUIRES: Mary Had A Little Lamb/ THE PHIL FORD FOUR: Dames Are All The Same/ Frustrated Francis/ THE FOUR ACES: Ain't It A Crying Shame/ Cherie/ Garbage Man/ Gumbo/ I Wonder I Wonder I Wonder (part 1)/ I Wonder I Wonder I Wonder [part 2]/ I'll Never Let You Go Again/ I'm Crying All The Time/ Put Your Cards On The Table/ Richard Ain't Gonna Open That Door/ Richard's Jam/ St Louis Boogie/ There's A Rumor Going On/ This Little Chick Went To Market/ LOWELL FULSON: Fulson Boogie (instrumental)/ Highway 99/ Jelly Jelly/ Let's Throw A Boogie Woogie/ Mean Woman Blues/ Tell Me Baby/ Trying To Find My Baby/ Whiskey Blues/ 9:30 Shuffle/ Thinking Blues/ BOB GEDDINS: Irma Jean Blues/ VIVIANE GREENE & HER TRIO: Honey Honey Honey/ Jades Of Green/ Love Me Love Me Love Me Or Leave Me/ Two Loves Have I/ Unfinished Boogie/ ALLEN GREENE & THE VIVIANE GREEN TRIO: Since I Fell For You/ JOHNNY INGRAM & HIS RHYTHM CZARS: Jubudy/ Red Light Gotta Go/ Ridin' Hi/ Streamlined Baby/ JIMMY MCCRACKLIN: Big Foot Mama/ I Can't Understand Love/ Listen Woman/ Miss Minnie Lee Blues/ Playin' On Me/ Rock 'n' Rye [part 1]/ Rock 'n' Rye [part 2]/ South Side Mood [instrumental]/ When I'm Gone/ VIDO MUSSO: Vido's Bop/ Checkerboard/ Day I Left Alsace Lorraine/ Gone With Vido/ Unfinished Boogie/ Vido In A Mist/ On The Mercury/ THE PARAMOUNT GOSPEL SINGERS: Dig A Little Deeper/ THE PARAMOUNT SINGERS: Lord Hold My Hand/ THE PARAMOUNT GOSPEL SINGERS: Low Down The Chariot/ THE PARAMOUNT SINGERS: Nobody Knows The Trouble I See/ THE PARAMOUNT GOSPEL SINGERS: Peace In The Valley/ Standing In The Safety Zone/ Will The Circle Be Unbroken/ Working On The Building/ THE RISING STAR GOSPEL SINGERS: John The Revelator/ One Day/ Something Within Me/ What Could I Do Without The Lord/ JACK ROSS & HIS ORCHESTRA: Put The Blame On Mame/ SNOOKUM RUSSELL & HIS ORCHESTRA: Be Bop That's The Kick I'm On/ I'm A Shy Guy/ THE TUNE MIXERS: Baby What Are You Gonna Do/ THE VAGABONDS: I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate/ Ragged But Right/ Swing Low Sweet Chariot/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ TURNER WILLIS: Reenlisted Blues/ THE WRIGHT BROS. JUBILEE SINGERS: Blessed Quietness/ THE WRIGHT BROTHERS GOSPEL SINGERS: Gospel Train/ THE WRIGHT BROS. JUBILEE SINGERS: Jonah/ THE WRIGHT BROTHERS GOSPEL SINGERS: Jordan's Stormy Banks

VARIOUS ARTISTS Blues Legacy 5067 Lost & Found, Vol. 1 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, recommended
First of three CDs drawing on recordings made by legendary British jazzman Chris Barber of blues and gospel performers that he arranged to tour Britain in the 50s and early 60s. Most of this material has never been issued before. The first 10 tracks here feature the great gospel singer and guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in December 1957. Rosetta performs solo, with the jazz band and does a couple of duets with the band's singer Ottilie Patterson. Unfortunately Rosetta's guitar is not miked and her great playing is almost inaudible. The band do a fine job accompanying her and Ottilie does some nice singing too. The remaining 13 tracks are from the same location in April 1958 featuring the ubiquitous Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee who perform some of their most popular numbers - Midnight Special/ Hooray, Hooray, This Woman Is Killing/ How Long, How Long Blues/ Cornbread, Peas And Black Molasses, etc. On their last couple of numbers they are joined by Barber's band and Ottilie Patterson. Apart from the miking of Rosetta's guitar the sound quality is excellent and the 8 page booklet has extensive notes. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Blues Legacy 5068 Lost & Found, Vol. 2 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, highly recommended
The second volume is a knockout highlighted by a fine 10 track set by Muddy Waters at th Manchester Free Trade Hall in October, 1958. For most of the set Muddy is accompanied by the great Otis Spann and Chris Barber's drummer Graham Burbridge. They do fine versions of Hoochie Coochie Man/ Long Distance Call/ Blues Before Sunrise/ I Can't Be Satisfied and others. Although Muddy's guitar is sadly undermiked his vocals are superb as is Spann's consummate piano work. They end with a rousing version of Walkin' In the Park with the whole Barber band. There are six tracks from a 1958 broadcast by Sonny & Brownie which includes a rare guitar instrumental by Brownie showing what a fine musician Brownie was. There are three fine sides from 1959 by Champion Jack Dupree and the disc ends with a previously unissued studio recording from 1962 featuring Louis Jordan duetting with Ottilie Patterson on a fine version of T'ain't Nobody's Business. The sets include introductions by Barber which are interesting if sometimes a bit pompous. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Blues Legacy 5069 Lost & Found, Vol. 3 ● CD $15.98
29 tracks, 80 mins, highly recommended
Another great collection of mostly previously unissued live recordings from the 60s by great bluesmen from the vaults of Chris Barber. This volume starts with the great Chicago singer and harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson recorded in 1964. A down home Chicago bluesman with a British Dixieland band may seem a little incongruous but, for the most part, it works well and Sonny Boy gets a chance to show his familiarity with jazz on tunes like C-Jame Blues and When The Saints Go Marching In. He also does some of his popular tunes like Help Me/ Bye Bye Bird and Pontiac Blues and duets with Barber band singer Ottilie Patterson on This Little Light Of Mine. From the same year we have Howlin' Wolf and Hubert Sumlin with Barber's band doing four great performances including Howlin'For My Baby and Take A Walk With Me. Jimmy Witherspoon is featured on two different dates - one from 1964 Festival and the other from a 1980 radio broadcast. The earlier sides find Jimmy at the peak of his powers showing that he was one of the all time great blues shouters, the 1980 session finds 'Spoon somewhat more restrained but still in fine form. Another worthwhile addition to this invaluable series. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Blue Label 42502 Juke Joint Jump - A Boogie Woogie Celebration ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 55 mins, highly recommended
Reissue of Columbia 64988 originally issued in 1996 and long deleted plus two bonus cuts. Another splendid collection in the outstanding "Roots & Blues" series this one focusing on that upbeat blues style called boogie woogie. The expected people are all here along with a few surprises. Three of the giants of boogie woogie piano - Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons are featured as a trio on the classic two part Boogie Woogie Prayer, Johnson is also featured as a soloist on Boogie Woogie and accompanies Big Joe Turner and joins trumpeter Harry James in the Boogie Woogie Trio. Other pianists featured include Memphis S lim, Freddie Slack (the great Down The Road Apiece with the Will Bradley Trio on which he also plays celeste), Charlie Spand, Champion Jack Dupree (an unissued alternate take of Dupree Shake Dance) Jimmy Yancey, Willie "Long Time" Smith and surprisingly Art Tatum who lends his distinctive styling to Tatum Pole Boogie. We hear boogie woogie guitar from Curley Weaver and Calvin Frazier (the latter from the Library Of Congress), boogie woogie organ from Sir. Charles Thompson (my least favorite track), Red Saunders & His Orchestra do a big band boogie on a previously unissued version of Meade Lux Lewis's seminal Honky Tonk Train Blues. The Adrian Rollini Trio do a very different version of the same tune with vibes. The bonus cuts by Charlie Spand and Faber Smith with Jimmy Yancey from 1940 are superb additions. A well thought out collection with excellent sound and new notes from Neil Slaven. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Blue Label 42542 Raunchy Business : Hot Nuts & Lollypops ● CD $16.98
22 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Another reissue of a long deleted album from Columbia's "Roots & Blues" series. A collection of dirty blues from the Columbia archives - mostly of the double etendre vein but it does include the frequently reissued and totally explicit Shave 'Em Dry by Lucille Bogan. This track is a totally joyous and evocative tribute to the joys of sex and, in spite of ht egraphic language, is actually less obscene than some of the leering double etendres evident elsewhere. The set also includes the relatively innocuous issued version of the song. Other delicacies include Sam-The Hot Dog Man by Lil Johnson, Wipe It Off by Lonnie Johnson with Spencer Williams, He's Just My Size by Lillie Mae Kirkman, My Pencil Wont Write No More by Bo Carter, Driving That Thing by The Missisippi Sheiks, Lollypop by Hunter & Jenkins, You Got To Give Me Some Of It by Buddy Moss and others to captivate and tittilate. Bonus cuts are horny Frog by Big Bill Broonzy and Caught Us Doing It by The Hokum. Booklet has new notes by Neil Slaven. Most of these tracks have been reissued before but not with such good clean (ahem!) sound. (FS)
BARREL HOUSE ANNIE: If It Don't Fit (Don't Force It)/ LUCILLE BOGAN: Shave 'Em Dry, I/ Shave 'Em Dry, II/ BIG BILL BROONZY: Horny Frog/ BO CARTER: Banana in Your Fruit Basket/ My Pencil Won't Write No More/ BERNICE EDWARDS: Butcher Shop Blues/ THE HOKUM BOYS: Caught Us Doing It/ HUNTER AND JENKINS: Lollypop/ Meat Cuttin' Blues/ LIL JOHNSON: Get 'Em from the Peanut Man (Hot Nuts)/ My Stove's in Good Condition/ Sam-The Hot Dog Man/ LONNIE JOHNSON: The Best Jockey In Town/ Wipe It Off/ Furniture Man Blues, pt.1/ Furniture Man Blues, pt.2/ LILLIE MAE KIRKMAN: He's Just My Size/ THE MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS: Bed Spring Poker/ Driving That Thing/ BUDDY MOSS: You Got to Give Me Some of It

VARIOUS ARTISTS Columbia Special Products 23734 Great Blues Guitarists : String Dazzlers ● CD $7.98
Budget priced reissued of Columbia 47060 originally issued in 1991 and long out of print. A collection of 20 performances featuring some of the great blues guitarists of the 20s and 30s including Lonnie Johnson by himself, Lonnie Johnson & Eddie Lang (including an accompaniment to Texas Alexander), Sylvester Weaver, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Casey Bill Weldon, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Joshua White and Tampa Red. It includes a couple of alternate takes not available elsewhere.
TEXAS ALEXANDER: Work Ox Blues/ BIG BILL BROONZY: Getting Older Every Day/ How You Want It Done?/ BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON: Black Snake Moan/ BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON: It's Nobody's Fault But Bine/ When The War Was On/ LONNIE JOHNSON: Away down in the alley blues/ I love you, Mary Lou/ A handful of riffs/ Bull frog moan/ Hot fingers/ BLIND WILLIE MCTELL: Georgia rag/ Warm it up to me/ TAMPA RED: Denver blues/ SYLVESTER WEAVER: I'm busy and you can't come in/ Untitled/ Untitled/ CASEY BILL WELDON: Guitar swing/ JOSHUA WHITE: Little brother blues/ Prodigal son

VARIOUS ARTISTS Smithsonian Folkways 40194 Classic African American Gospel ● CD $11.98
24 tracks, highly recommended
Superb, budget priced collection of black gospel drawn from the extensive archives of the Smithsonian Folkways label covering the period 1946 through 1999 - many not on CD before. The majority of the recordings are from the 50s and 60s which is fine by me since some of the more efforts from the 90s are a little too slick for my liking. The material is very varied and among the artists featured are Horace Sprott (unaccompanied rural gospel), The Fisk Jubilee Singers (legendary group whose origins date back to the 1870s performing a version of When I Was Sinking Down - aka Wondrous Love - a moving minor key song rarely heard in the African-American tradition), Little Brother Montgomery (legendary blues singer and piano from hsi only gospel session), The Thrasher Wonders (acapella gospel group - two of their members later went on to become part of the great R&B group The Drifters), Reverend Willie Gresham & His Congregation (powerful live performance from 1977), Sister Ernestine Washington (superb singing with accompaniment from Bunk Johnson's band), Two Gospel Keys (sanctified gospel duet accompanying themselves on guitar and tambourine), Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi Mass Choir, Madison's Lively Stones (brass band gospel!) and more. Superb sound and 30 page booklet with extensive notes by Kip Lornell. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Soul Jazz 107 Soul Gospel ● CD $21.98
18 tracks, 60 mins, highly recommended
This collection of Black Gospel runs the gamut from soul-stylings of Clarence Smith and Irma Thomas to the pro-Disco of Dorothy Morrison, to the blues of Bobby Bland, to the folk roots of Odetta. The time frame of these tracks range from 1965 to 1980, but it's the sheer diversity of the music that makes the CD a wonderful listen. The Marion Gaines Singers' cover of Bill Withers' Grandma's Hands and Kim Weston's dynamic take on Eleanor Rigby stand as proof that "gospel" doesn't necessarily have to adhere to strict conventions of what it is or could be. With tracks from Aretha Franklin, Staple Singers, Marion Williams, Sweet Inspirations, and Voices of East Harlem, this set is well compiled and downright inspirational. Perfect for your own private Sunday revival meetings, or just for an extra does of right-on-ness! (GMC)
JO ARMSTEAD: Too Many More/ GOSPEL ARTISTICS: Lord Is It/ BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND: Let's Get Together/ JESSY DIXON: Love Lifted Me/ ARETHA FRANKLIN: Lee Cross/ MARION GAINES SINGERS,: Grandma's Hands/ QUEEN ESTHER MARROW: Mama/ DOROTHY MORRISON: I Can't Go Without You/ ODETTA: Pastures of Plenty/ DELLA REESE: Compared to What/ CLARENCE SMITH: Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child/ THE SONS OF TRUTH: I Dont Know Where We're Headed/ THE STAPLE SISTERS: Tripping on Your Love/ THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS: Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday/ IRMA THOMAS: In Between Tears/ THE VOICES OF EAST HARLEM: New York Lighting/ KIM WESTON: Eleanor Rigby/ MARION WILLIAMS: I Shall Be Released

VARIOUS ARTISTS Sub Rosa 268 O, Run Into Me, But Don't Hurt Me ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, very highly recommended
A particularly nice collection of pre-war blues by female singers concentrating on some of the lesser known urban performers. These have all been out before on Document but the "complete chronological" approach is not always conducive to entertaining listening. The tracks are presented chronologically starting in 1923 with the plaintive vocals of Anna Jones accompanied by Fats Waller on piano and ending with Memphis Minnie's great 1930 recording of I'm Talking About You No. 2. Apart from Minnie the other familiar name is Lucille Bogan with four wonderful soulful and raunchy performances including the great and infrequently reissued Pot Hound Blues and Coffee Grindin' Blues. Other outstanding performers include Virginia Liston, Monette Moore (with superb band including Rex Allen on cornet and Ernest Elliot on clarinet), Martha Copeland, Margaret Johnson (with accompaniment from guitar/ harmonica duo Leecan & Cooksey and pianist Mike Jackson) and Jenny Pope (with accompaniments from Tom Dorsey and Tampa Red) but it's all excellent and definitely worth your time. Sound quality is generally excellent, the set comes in a digipack with enthusiastic notes by Guy Marc Hinant and discographical details (not always completely accurate). With so many labels rehashing the same stuff again and again this is a most welcome release. (FS)
LUCILLE BOGAN: Black Angel Blues/ Coffee Grindin' Blues/ Pot Hound Blues/ Tricks Ain't Walking Anymore/ MARGARET CARTER: Come Get Me Papa Before I Faint/ I Want Plenty Grease In My Frying Pan/ MARTHA COPELAND: Stole My Man Blues/ ROSA HENDERSON: Get It Fixed/ LENA HENRY: Low Down Despondent Blues/ LIL JOHNSON: Never Let Your Left Hand Know/ You'll Never Miss Your Jelly/ MARGARET JOHNSON: Dead Drunk Blues/ Second-Handed Blues/ ANNA JONES: Trixie Blues/ VIRGINIA LISTON: I'm Gonna Get Me A Man, That's All/ MEMPHIS MINNIE: I'm Talking About You/ MONETTE MOORE: Somebody's Been Lovin' My Babe/ JENNY POPE: Bull Frog Blues/ Doggin' Me Around Blues/ Tennessee Workhouse Blues/ Whiskey Drinking Blues/ COLETHA SIMPSON: Down South Blues/ IVY SMITH: Sad And Blue/ Third Alley Blues

JOSH WHITE Blue Label 42452 Blues Singer, 1932-1936 ● CD $16.98
21 tracks, 64 min, very highly recommended
Josh White - guitarist, songwriter and folk singer (a term he preferred over blues singer) - first recorded with the guitar evangelist Blind Joe Taggart. A simple listen to these 1928-1929 recordings will convince you that even at age 15, the teenage Josh White was already skilled in finger picking. His recordings were carefully listened to by Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller and Buddy Moss and this release includes 21 examples of his early recordings originally issued In Columbia's award winning "Roots 'N Blues" series. Between 1932-1936, 69 titles were recorded, and for this CD, producer Larry Cohn has included one side from his first recording release Black And Evil Blues, as well as one of his most powerful blues protest songs, Low Cotton, with the immortal introductory line "I been pickin' low cotton/ no high cotton can I see" - a perceptive reference to both the price and size of a cotton crop. Welfare Blues and Silicosis Is Killin' Me are two other examples of how his early years on the road influenced his views on hardships. A few of his gospel recordings, released under the name Joshua White (The Singing Christian), are also included as well as sides with accompaniment by pianist Walter Roland (Black Man) and Clarence Williams (Milk Cow Blues). This set should not be missed by true country blues guitar fans. This release includes one bonus track - the superb I Believe I'll Make A Change and new notes by Neil Slaven. (EL)


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