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Blues & Gospel
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Elder Roma Wilson


JIMMY REED Recall SMDCD 232 Big Boss Man ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 36 tracks, highly recommended
Excellent, inexpensive introduction to the classic Vee-Jay recordings of Jimmy Reed who was the most popular down home bluesman of the mid to late 50s and early 60s. Along with B.B. King, Reed is one of the most influential bluesmen ever, and hit for hit, only King can beat him quantity-wise. His early sides for Vee Jay are wonderful; full of the relaxed guitar work, harp fills, and laid-back vocals that made him popular even among white audiences. Much credit must go to longtime guitarist Eddie Taylor and Reed's wife, Mary "Mama" Reed. The selection here ranges from 1955 through 1964 and includes most of of his R&B hits like You Don't Have To Go/ Ain't That Lovin' You Baby/ You Got Me Dizzy/ Little Rain/ Honest I Do/ I'm Gonna Get My Baby/ Hush-Hush/ Bright Light, Big City, etc as well as choice non-hits like his first recording, the wonderful High & Lonesome, the great instrumental Ends And Odds which includes blues violin by Remo Biondi the fine and frequently covered Take Out Some Insurance and more. Sound quality is excellent and some tracks are in stereo. Includes informative notes bu Neil Slaven but no discographical info. (FS)
JIMMY REED: Ain't No Big Deal/ Ain't That Lovin You Baby/ Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth/ Baby What You Want Me To Do/ Big Boss Man/ Boogie In The Dark/ Bright Lights, Big City/ Close Together/ Come On Baby/ Devil's Shoestring, The Pt 2/ Down In Mississippi/ Down In Virginia/ Found Love/ Going To New York/ Help Yourself/ High And Lonesome/ Honest I Do/ Hush Hush/ I Ain't Got You/ I'm A Love You/ I'm Going Upside Your Head/ I'm Gonna Get My Baby/ I'm The Man Down There/ Left Handed Woman/ Let's Get Together/ Little Rain/ My First Plea/ Odds And Ends/ Oh John/ Sun Is Shining, The/ Take Out Some Insurance/ When Girls Do It/ You Don't Have To Go/ You Got Me Dizzy/ You Upset My Mind/ You're Something Else

PAUL RISHELL & ANNIE RAINES Artemis 51570 Goin' Home ● CD $18.98
13 tracks, 51 minutes, excellent
Paul Rishell & Annie Raines serve up another disc of interesting songs, deft guitar work, tasteful harp, and more. Rishell's voice works well but he's not as convincing a singer on covers by Charley Patton (I'm Goin' Home/ Some Of These Days), Washington Phillips (I Had A Good Mother And Father), Charley Jordan (Hunkie Tunkie Blues), Blind Lemon Jefferson (Black Horse Blues), or William Moore (Ragtime Millionaire), although there's little doubt he knows guitar inside and out. Raines steps front and center on Ma Rainey's Black Eye Blues with a heartfelt vocal, and throughout, she offers her talents playing harp, piano, mandolin, and more. Magic Sam's Lookin' Good romps for seven-and-a-half minutes as an all-instrumental 'live' highlight. (CR)

BOBBY RUSH Deep Rush 1001 Folk Funk ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, 43 min, highly recommended
Funky blues-soul man Rush is at his hottest here, a surprising funk/boogie set reminiscent of John Lee Hooker (pre-Santana) & Canned Heat at their best. Even more surprising is the guitarist here is current bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart, best known for his country blues style. Perhaps even more surprising is the extensive harp playing by Rush. The set has a few re-workings, including a remake of his biggest hit, here called Chicken Heads-Refried. There's covers of Percy Mayfield's River's Invitation, Sonny Boy II's Ninety-Nine, a tune called Saints Gotta Move which is When The Saints Go Marching In & You Gotta Move. Rush also puts his personal stamp on a couple old blues standards - Voodoo Man is Somebody Hoodooed The Hoodoo Man updated, as is Ride In My Automobile to Too Many Drivers. VERY enjoyable! (GM)

BESSIE SMITH Proper BOX 78 Chattanooga Gal ● CD $25.98
Four CD retrospective of one of the greatest of all blues singers featuring 95 classic performances.
BESSIE SMITH: 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do/ A Good Man Is Hard To Find/ After You've Gone/ Alexander's Ragtime Band/ Any Woman's Blues/ Baby Doll/ Baby Have Pity On Me/ Baby Won't You Please Come Home/ Backwater Blues/ Beale Street Mama/ Black Mountain Blues/ Bleeding Hearted Blues/ Blue Spirit Blues/ Cake Walkin' Babies (From Home)/ Careless Love Blues/ Chicago Bound Blues/ Cold In Hand Blues/ Devil's Gonna Git You/ Dirty No-Gooders Blues/ Do Your Duty/ Don't Cry Baby/ Down Hearted Blues/ Dyin' By The Hour/ Dying Gambler's Blues/ Empty Bed Blues, Pt 1/ Empty Bed Blues, Pt 2/ Foolish Man Blues/ Gimme A Pigfoot/ Golden Rule Blues/ Gulf Coast Blues/ Hard Driving Papa/ Hard Time Blues/ He's Gone Blues/ He's Got Me Goin'/ Honey Man Blues/ House Rent Blues/ Hustlin' Dan/ I Ain't Goin To Play Second Fiddle/ I Ain't Got Nobody/ I Used To Be Your Sweet Mama/ I Want Every Bit Of It/ I'm Down In The Dumps/ I'm Wild About That Thing/ I've Been Mistreated And I Don't Like It/ I've Got What It Takes (But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away)/ It Makes My Love Come Down/ J.C. Holmes Blues/ Jazzbo Brown From Memphis Town/ Kitchen Man/ Lady Luck Blues/ Lock And Key/ Lonesome Desert Blues/ Lost Your Head Blues/ Me And My Gin/ Midnight Blues/ Money Blues/ Moonshine Blues/ Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)/ Nashville Woman's Blues/ Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl/ Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out/ On Revival Day/ One And Two Blues/ Please Help Me Get Him Out Of My Mind/ Poor Man's Blues/ Preachin' The Blues/ Put It Right Here (Or Keep It Out There)/ Rainy Weather Blues/ Reckless Blues/ Red Mountain Blues/ Safety Mama/ Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair/ Sinful Blues/ Sobbin' Hearted Blues/ Soft Pedal Blues/ Spider Man Blues/ Squeeze Me/ Sweet Mistreater/ Take Me For A Buggy Ride/ The Bye Bye Blues/ The Gin House Blues/ The St. Louis Blues/ The Yellow Dog Blues/ Them 'Has Been' Blues/ There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight/ Thinking Blues/ Trombone Cholly/ Weeping Willow Blues/ What's The Matter Now?/ Whoa, Tillie, Take Your Time/ Work House Blues/ Yes Indeed He Do!/ You Don't Understand/ You've Been A Good Ole Wagon/ Young Woman's Blues

WILLIE "BIG EYES" SMITH & THE JUKE JOINT ROCKERS Electro-Fi 3385 Bluesin' It ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 63 minutes, highly recommended
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith has a blues pedigree most others can only imagine having drummed behind Muddy Waters for years, as well as countless other contributions over a career that's been rolling for five decades. He's showing no signs of slowing down and "Bluesin' It" proves that solidly. Joined by high-caliber sidemen like Bob Stroger, Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne, Jack DeKeyzer and others, Smith lays a shuffling, driving backbeat (as usual) singing on four cuts (River's Invitation/ Nobody Knows/ Going Away Bay/ Don't Think I'm Crazy) while other vocals are handled by John Mays, DeKeyzer, Wayne, and Stroger. From hearty jump (Who Let The Cat Out), to raspy boogie (No. 9 Train), and slow rolling blues (Hard Times), this is a knock-down brawl by one of the finest drummers in the business. (CR)

GREG "FINGERS" TAYLOR Warehouse Creek 114 Hi Fi Baby ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, 44 minutes, excellent
While Greg "Fingers" Taylor may not have the finest voice among today's crop of harp-playing frontmen, he's well-worthy at delivering thick sounding harmonica blues. With aid from guitarists Doug Deming and Troy Gonyea, Taylor blows through an all-too-short 44 minute set covering Frankie Lee Sims (Hey Little Girl), Johnny Temple (Olds 98 Blues), Sam Myers (Sleeping In The Ground), and Elmore James (Fine Little Mama) as well as nods to Jerry McCain and Eddy Clearwater. Produced by Kim Wilson, who adds blistering harp on a pair (Wilson also garners a tip of the hat for assembling the tight backing unit), this is certainly well worth adding to your shelves. The crew manages to rip it up on the 1950s rockers and take it in the alley for the grinders in a lowdown blowdown harmonica blast. (CR)

OTIS TAYLOR Telarc 83601 Double V ● CD $17.98
12 tracks, 43 minutes, recommended
With an innate ability to craft songs that touch on real life, Otis Taylor's new Telarc disc "Double V stands up as another superb effort in his increasing catalog. Took Their Land/ Plastic Spoon/ Mama's Selling Heroin/ Sounds Of Attica/ He Never Raced On Sunday, and Buy Myself Some Freedom are just a few songs that beg to be heard, and there's plenty more like the painful 505 Train or It's Done Happened Again. The production is stark and stripped to bare bones while the musicianship and songwriting are both superlative throughout. With little more than Taylor's wrenching vocals, acoustic guitar, some bass, and cellos, this all original set is as good as it gets. (CR)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ace CDCHD 1003 The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions, Vol. 3 ● CD $18.98
26 tracks, 73 mins, essential
Third volume in this great series concentrating on the down home recordings made in the South by the Biharis for their Modern group of labels in the early 50s. 14 of the tracks were recorded in Sam Phillips' Sun studios including sides by Willie Nix, Howling Wolf, Robert Bland (aka Bobby "Blue" Bland with Junior Parker on harmonica and Matt Murphy/ guitar), Joe Hill Louis, Walter Horton, Jim Lockhart and Alfred "Blues King" Harris. Seven tracks were recorded in Arkansas featuring vocals by members of the King Biscuit Boys - pianist Robert "Dudlow" Taylor and drummer James "Peck" Curtis with guitarist W.C. Clay and two harmonicas - Sonny Boy Williamson and, probably, Frank Hawkins. The final five tracks are by the mysterious Dixie Blues Boys who were thought to have been recorded in the South but were actually recorded in Los Angeles in 1955 and whose identities have finaly come to light due to recent research though very little can be gleaned of their history. Nevertheless they did some fine small combo down home blues with two harmonicas. Only a handful of the tracks here were originally issued as 78s and a number are being issued here for the first time ever. Includes extensive notes by Jim O'Neal with much new information. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Arhoolie 515 Sacred Steel Instrumentals ● CD $12.98
14 track collection featuring instrumental versions of gospel songs played on the steel guitar by some of the finest exponents of the "sacred steel" style. These are drawn from previously released Arhoolie CDs and includes performances by Sonny Treadway, Lonnie "Big Ben" Bennett, Rayfield "Ray Ray" Holloman, Dante Harmon, Lamar Nelson, Glenn Lee, Robert Randolph and pthers.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Biograph BCD 113 Good Morning Blues ● CD $14.98
Back in stock. A collection of acoustic blues and gospel reissued from out of print Biograph LPs. There are 6 sides from 1940 by Leadbelly from what is thought to be a radio audition with introductions by Woody Guthrie. Mostly familiar Leadbelly titles. There are 4 gospel tracks from 1975 by the excellent and little known Dan Smith who sings and plays harmonica accompanied by Bessie Jones and some folk musicians who provide sympathetic support. Finally there are 5 tracks from 1971 by the great Reverend Gary Davis revealing both his secular and sacred sides. Excellent sound and informative notes condensed from the original album issues. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Buzzola 006 High Rollers - Vintage Gambling Songs, 1920-1952 ● CD $15.98
Another fun thematic collection with great graphics. This one is devoted to gambling and is about two thirds blues and one third country. It includes Whiskey, Women & Loaded Dice by Joe Liggins, Poker Woman Blues by Blind Blake, The Roving Gambler by Elton Britt. Dice's Blues by Bob Campbell, Skin Game by Peg Leg Howell, Railroadin' & Gamblin' by Uncle Dave Macon, All My Money Gone Blues by Roosevelt Sykes plus sides by The Dixon Brothers, Jimmie Rodgers, Big Joe Turner, Sammy Brown, Memphis Minnie and others - 18 tracks in all.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Buzzola 007 Juice Head Baby - Vintage Songs About Bars & Booze ● CD $15.98
18 tracks recorded between 1925 and 1953 - mostly blues along with a couple of country songs. Includes Drunk by Jimmy Liggins, Drink Up Light Up by Nelson Alexander, Get High by La Melle Prince, Ruckus Juice & Chitlin by The Memphis Jug Band, Hittin' The Bottle Stomp by The Mississippi Jook Band, Drunkard's Special by Coley Jones, Death At The Bar by Kitty Wells plus tracks by Marvin Phillips, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Lucille Bogan, Melvin Smith, The Little Walter Trio and others.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5675 Field Recordings, Volume 16 - Boll Weevil Here ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
A most welcome entry in this series featuring performances collected by John and Alan Lomax in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas between 1934 and 1940. A mix of unaccompanied and accompanied performances - the latter including a fine version of Boll Weevil Rag by singer/ guitarist Charles Griffin. There are several other songs about the boll weevil including Richard Amerson, Vera Hill, the remarkable Willie George Albertine King, Irvin "Gar Mouth" Lowry and Al (Chicken Dad) valentine. This also features the only performance recorded by country bluesman Ernest Rogers who was recorded at the Angola prison farm - a superb singer and guitarist - what shame they didn't record more by him. There's also the excellent harmonica/ washboard duo Ellis Evans & Jimmy Lewis and a fascinating group Seven Boys with Home Made Instruments doing two fine blues with vocal, harmonica, kazoo, washboard and percussion. Wilson Jones (aka Stavin Chain) is a vocalist and guitarist accompanied by fiddler Octave Amos. Their instrumental work is very ragged but includes some fine songs including the long murder ballad Batson. Other performers include Annie Brewer, Oakdale Carriere and Finous (Flat Foot) Rockmore. Sound quality is as good as can be expected from the old,worn and sometimes damaged acetates and booklet includes informative notes by Bob Groom. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document 9001 Document Shortcuts, Vol. 1 - God Don't Like It ● CD $10.98
20 track introduction to the wealth of great music available on over 800 CDs in the amazing Document catalog. Mostly black blues and gospel with the occasional jazz and white country title. There are some familiar names here (Memphis Jug Band, Son House, Little Brother Montgomery, etc) along with a whole lot of lesser known names (Jesse Thomas, Hall Johnson Choir, Hattie Ellis & "Cowboy" Jack Ramsey, Elder Charles Beck, JUnior Four Quartet, etc) which gives one an idea of what these artists sound like before taking the plunge on a "complete recordings in chronological order" release. Even if you have an extensive collection of Document releases you will probably find a few pleasant surprises.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Dust-To-Digital 02 Where Will You Be Christmas Day? ● CD $16.98
24 tracks, 74 mins, highly recommended
Terrific collection of vintage recordings of Christmas songs featuring recordings made between 1917 and 1959 and featuring a broad spectrum of music and sentiments including blues (Lead Belly, Walter Davis, Bessie Smith, Lightnin' Hopkins, etc.), gospel (Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified Singers, Rev. J.M. Gates, etc), calypso (Lord Executor, Lord Beginner), country (The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Fiddlin' John Carson, etc), jazz (McKinney's Cotton Pickers), American-Italian (Pasquale Feis), sacred harp (Alabama Sacred harp Singers) and more. Excellent sound, attractive packaging and full discographical info adds up to one of the best collections of songs about Christmas out there. (FS)
ALABAMA SACRED HARP SINGERS: Sherburne/ BUTTERBEANS AND SUSIE: Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree)/ LEROY CARR: Christmas in Jail (Ain't That a Pain?)/ FIDDLIN' JOHN CARSON AND HIS VIRGINIA REELERS: Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over/ REV. EDWARD W. CLAYBORN (THE GUITAR EVANGELIST): The Wrong Way to Celebrate Christmas/ COTTON TOP MOUNTAIN SANCTIFIED SINGERS: Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn/ WALTER DAVIS: Santa Claus/ NORMAN EDMONDS: Breaking Up Christmas/ PASQUALE FEIS: Tu Scende Dalle Stelle (Pastorale di Natale)/ REV. J. M. GATES: He Was Born in a Manger/ MARY HARRIS: Happy New Year Blues/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Happy New Year/ PAWLO HUMENIUK: Dance under the Willows (Tanec Pid Werbamy)/ LOS JIBAROS: Décimas de Nacimiento/ KANSAS CITY KITTY: Christmas Morning Blues/ BUELL KAZEE: Lady Gay/ LEAD BELLY: Christmas Is A-Coming/ LORD BEGINNER: Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning/ LORD EXECUTOR: Christmas Is a Joyful Day/ MADDOX BROTHERS AND ROSE: Jingle Bells/ MCKINNEY'S COTTON PICKERS: Gee, Ain't I Good to You/ KELLY PACE, AARON BROWN, JOE GREEN, MATTHEW JO: Holy Babe/ BESSIE SMITH: At the Christmas Ball/ VERA HALL WARD: The Last Month of the Year

VARIOUS ARTISTS El Toro 104 Welcome Back To Town ● CD $15.98
A collection featuring live performances of blues and R&B drawn from various sources including Hot Lips Page with Fats Waller, T-Bone Walker, The Four Joes & A Jane, Cootie Williams Orch., Joe Turner, Helen Humes, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dinah Washington, Floyd Dixon, Jimmy Jackson All Stars, Rabon Tarrant with Jack McVea's Combo, Johnny Otis Orch. and others.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Hip-O DVD 02937 American Folk Blues Festival, 1962-1969, Volume 3 ● CD $18.98
DVD 18 tracks, approximately 70 minutes, essential
Following up with the first two commercially authorized Hip-O releases of The American Folk Blues Festival in DVD format, the third volume is another essential addition to any personal blues library. Performances include Big Mama Thornton kicking off the proceedings with a fine version of Hound Dog with Buddy Guy providing some riveting guitar, Roosevelt Sykes sitting alone at the piano for a storming Gulfport Boogie, Buddy Guy's funky Out Of Sight, and Doctor Isaiah Ross clanging his way through a motivated Feel So Good. Big Joe Turner's Flip, Flop And Fly seems somewhat off kilter with the band never quite catching fire, but Skip James is stunning (All Night Long and Crow Jane), Bukka White roars (Got Sick And Tired), and Son House is marvelous (Death Letter Blues). Hound Dog Taylor (Wild About You) and Koko Taylor (Wang Dang Doodle) are both joined by Little Walter on harp, who looks quite healthy despite it being about a year before his death, while Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee are featured on three cuts (Stranger Blues/ Burnt Child/ Gonna Move Across The River) before a finale with Helen Humes (The Blues Ain't Nothing But assisted by T-Bone Walker, Memphis Slim, Sonny and Brownie, and others. The bonus tracks are Earl's Boogie from Earl Hooker while the pair of tracks from Muddy Waters (Long Distance Call/ Got My Mojo Working) are actually not AFBF footage. One minor quibble is that Muddy's Long Distance Call isn't complete and it cuts in mid-song. Rob Bowman's liner notes are detailed and informative (there's also a hint of another upcoming volume), and the DVD also features previously unseen photos. Superb quality! (CR)

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7737 Blind Willie Johnson & The Guitar Evangelists ● CD $28.98
Four CD set with 96 tracks featuring the complete works of a number of guitar playing gospel singers from the late 20s to the early 50s including the greatest of them all.
REV. EDWARD W. CLAYBORN: A Letter From Father/ Bye and Bye When The Morning Comes/ Come And Go With Me To My Father's House/ Death Is Only A Dream/ Everybody Ought To Treat Their Mother Right/ God's Riding Through The Land/ I Have A Home In The Sky/ I Heard The Angels Singing/ I Shall Not Be Moved/ If My Saviour Holds My Hand I Will Go/ In Time Of Trouble Jesus Will Never Say Goodbye/ Jesus Is Sweeter Than Honey In The Comb/ Jesus Went On Man's Bond/ Jesus Will Make It Alright/ Just Beyond The Jordan River/ Let Jesus Lead You/ Let that Lie Alone/ Men Don't Forget Your Wives For Sweethearts/ O Lord I'm In Your Care/ The Gospel Train Is Coming/ The Wrong Way To Celebrate Christmas/ Then We'll Need That True Religion/ There'll Be Glory/ This Time Another Year You May Be Gone/ When I Lay My Burden Down/ Where Shall I Be When The First Trumpet Sounds?/ With My Saviour I Shall Be/ You Never Will Know Who Is Your Friend/ Your Enemy Cannot Harm You/ Your True Friends/ DENNIS CRUMPTON & ROBERT SUMMERS: Everybody Ought To Pray Some Time/ Go I'll Send Thee/ A.C. & BLIND MAMIE FOREHAND: Honey In The Rock/ I'm So Glad Today/ Mothers Prayer/ Wouldn't Mind Dying If Dying Was All/ BLIND WILLIE HARRIS: Does Jesus Care?/ Where He Leads Me I Will Follow/ BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON: Bye And Bye I'm Goin' To See The King/ Can't Nobody Hide From God/ Church, I'm Fully Saved Today/ Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground/ Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right/ Go With Me To The Land/ God Don't Never Change/ God Moves On The Water/ I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole/ I'm Gonna Run To The City Of Refuge/ If I Had My Way I'd Tear This Building Down/ If It Had Not Been For Jesus/ It's Nobody's Fault But Mine/ Jesus Is Coming Soon/ Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed/ John The Revelator/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ Let Your Light Shine On Me/ Lord, I Just Can't Keep From Crying/ Mother's Children Have A Hard Time/ Praise God I'm Satisfied/ Sweeter As The Years Roll By/ Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There/ Take Your Stand/ The Rain Don't Fall On Me/ The Soul Of A Man/ Trouble Will Soon Be Over/ When The War Was On/ You'll Need Somebody On Your Bond/ You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond/ REV. A. JOHNSON: Death In The Morning/ Do You Call That Religion?/ God Don't Like It/ God Don't Like It (alt.)/ I Don't Know How To Get Along Without The Lord/ I'm Gonna Do My Best/ If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again/ Jesus Loves Us All/ Let That Liar Pass On By/ Lord Will Make A Way/ Run Children Run/ The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow/ LONNIE MCINTORSH: Arise And Shine/ How Much I Owe/ Sleep On Mother Sleep On/ The Lion And The Tribes Of Judah/ BLIND BENNY PARIS: Hide Me In The Blood Of Jesus/ I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me/ REV. UTAH SMITH: Glory To Jesus, I'm Free/ God's Mighty Hand/ I Got Two Wings/ I Want Two Wings/ Take A Trip/ Two Wings/ REV. I. B. WARE WITH WIFE & SON: I Wouldn't Mind Dying (But I Gotta Go By Myself)/ You Better Quit Drinking Shine/ WILLIE MAE WILLIAMS: Don't Want To Go There/ Where The Sun Never Goes Down

EDDIE "CLEANHEAD" VINSON Proper Intro 2056 Kidney Stew Blues - A Proper Introduction ● CD $9.98
25 tracks, 75 min, highly recommended
Excellent overview of Cleanhead's early career. The alto saxist/blues shouter started with ex-Ellingtonian Cootie William's Orch. & is heard on three tunes from this period, '44-45, including the tune that made him nearly a household name, Cherry Red Blues. From there it was his own orchestra, '45-52, which included such greats as Clark Terry, Buddy Tate, Wynton Kelly, Milt Buckner & Charlie Rouse. Includes his big hits Cleanhead Blues/ Alimony Blues/ Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red/ Old Maid Boogie & the title tune. With 8 page booklet. (GM)

SHARRIE WILLIAMS & THE WISEGUYS Crosscut 11080 Hard Drivin' Woman ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 61 minutes, excellent
When people say she's a voice to be reckoned with, they aren't lying. Sharrie Williams might be relatively unknown, but things should begin to turn following her new release on Crosscut. "Hard Drivin' Woman" features a small band (guitar, piano, bass, and drums) with a huge sound thanks to great production (although the manufactured lead guitar sound is irritating in spots). Aside from I'd Rather Go Blind (which burns with passion), the balance of the disc is all original material that fuses blues, gospel, soul, riveting R&B and more with Williams belting out the vocals. She may be a little raw in spots but it's part of what makes this so enjoyable from beginning to end. It's not straight-up traditional blues, but if your tastes run to modern sounding records with a deep sense of blues at the core, this is bound to satisfy. (CR)

ELDER ROMA WILSON & HIS HARMONICA Arhoolie 429 This Train ● CD $9.98
20 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Not a new release but now part of Arhoolie's budget series. What a wonderful album! Blues and gospel fans have long speculated about the incredible 1948 Gotham release Lily Of The Valley/ Better Get Ready by Elder Wilson & Family featuring gospel songs accompanied only by three harmonicas. Some years ago 4 unissued titles from the sessions turned up and then a few years ago Elder Wilson himself was found living in Mississippi and all became clear. The three harmonicas were Elder Wilson himself and his two sons aged 11 and 13. Not only is Elder Wilson still alive but he is singing and playing as well as ever at the age of 84! This wonderful album features all six cuts from 1948 along with 14 new recordings. Wilson's material is mostly traditional gospel though some of them have been given a topical edge as witness Ain't It A Shame. The new recordings are just Wilson and his harp and while I miss the intertwining of the three harmonicas, his singing and playing are stunning. The last couple of cuts feature Elder Wilson at his Church in Abideen, Mississippi - he plays amplified harp here and the singing and encouragement of the congregation results in some spellbinding music. (FS)
ELDER ROMA WILSON: Ain't It A Shame/ Amazing Grace/ Better Get Ready/ Climbing Jacob's Ladder/ Death Ain't Nothing But A Thief And A Robber/ Get Away Jordan/ Give Me My Flowers While I Live/ Gonna Wait Till A Change Come/ Got Just What I Wanted/ Have You Tried Jesus/ He's Alright/ I Don't Care What Skeptics Say/ I'm So Glad, Trouble Won't Last Always/ Lily Of The Valley (Stand By Me)/ Motherless Children/ My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race/ The Lord Will Make A Way, Yes He Will/ This Train/ This Train Is A Clean Train/ This Train Is A Clean Train/ Trouble Everywhere


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