This is where we list some of the best and most popular releases from the past decade which you may have missed them the first time we listed them - or if you’re a new customer you may never have seen them. We hope you will find here some that will become your favorites.





BLACK ACE Arhoolie 374 I Am The Boss Card In Your Hand ● CD $13.98
23 tracks, very highly recommended
Texas bluesman Babe Karo Lemon Turner aka Black Ace was a delightful performer with his deep dark voice and lovely lyrical slide guitar playing for which he used a steel bodied guitar on his lap. This wonderful disc presents his complete recorded output 17 tracks recorded for Arhoolie in 1960 and 6 recorded in 1937. Even though Ace had not played for several years prior to his rediscovery you wouldn't know it to listen to his lovely melodic playing. His material is almost all original and is strong on slow to mid tempo songs - usual based on traditional themes but given a distinctive twist by Ace. 13 of the 1960 songs were previously on LP Arhoolie 1003 and most of the rest are previously unissued. On his 1937 recordings which includes several songs he remade for Arhoolie he he is accompanied by Smokey Hogg on second guitar which gives the performances a slightly different. But his 1960 performances are every bit as accomplished as his earlier ones and I'm surprised that Ace never made it onto the blues & folk circuit in the 60s - he was a substantial talent. Highly recommended. (FS)
BLACK ACE: 'Fore Day Creep/ Ace's Guitar Blues/ Ace's Guitar Breakdown/ Bad Times Stomp/ Beer Drinking Woman/ Black Ace/ Christmas Time Blues/ Drink On Little Girl/ Evil Woman Blues/ Golden Slipper/ Hitchhiking Woman/ I Am The Black Ace/ I've Been In Love With You Baby/ Little Augie/ Lowing Heifer/ New Triflin' Woman/ No Good Woman/ Santa Claus Blues/ Santa Fe Blues/ Trifling Woman/ Whiskey And Women/ You Gonna Need My Help Someday/ Your Legs' Too Little

COOKIE & THE CUPCAKES Ace CDCHD 142 Cookie & The Cupcakes ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, essential
I can't get enough of this disc - it's a classic. Cookie (Huey Thierry) and his band recorded a string of terrific sides for George Khoury's Lyric label in the late 50s and early 60s and this disc features most of them along with earlier sides recorded for Goldband. The band's music had a loping rhythm that was so poular in Louisiana and which is so appealing to listen to. Their approach defined what has become known as swamp pop and nobody did it better. They featured the powerful vocals of Cookie. Little Alfred (Babino) or sax man Shelton Dunaway with superb backup from the rest of the group. Their classic Mathilda is practically the anthem of swamp pop and there are other great originals here like the beautiful blues ballads Trouble In My Life/ I've Been So Lonely and Until Then and the more uptempo I'm Twisted/ I Cried and Close Up The Back Door. There are also some great covers of R&B hits like Got You On My Mind/ Betty & Dupree and The Great Pretender (the latter with a great vocal by Carol Fran) and versions of Louisiana hits like Sea Of Love and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do which are as good, if not better, than the originals. Superb sound and booklet with notes by Louisiana music expert Shane Bernard wraps up an exceptional package. It's not often that I enjoy listening to a 30 track CD from beginning to end but this one is a rare exception. Unequivocaly recommended, whatever your musical tastes. (FS)
COOKIE & THE CUPCAKES: Belinda/ Betty And Dupree/ Breaking Up Is Hard To Do/ Charged With Cheating/ Cindy Lou/ Close Up The Back Door/ Even Though/ Feel So Good/ Franko-chinese Cha Cha Cha/ Got You On My Mind/ Honey Hush/ I Almost Lost My Mind/ I Cried/ I Had The Blues/ I'm Twisted/ I've Been So Lonely/ Just One Kiss/ Married Life/ Mary Lou Doin' The Pop-eye/ Mathilda/ Sea Of Love/ Shake 'em Up/ Since Your Love Has Grown Cold/ Such As Love/ The Great Pretender/ Trouble In My Life/ Until Then/ Walking Down The Aisle/ Who Would Have Thought It

CROCKETT'S KENTUCKY MOUNTAINEERS B.A.C.M. 023 Classics Old Time String Band Music ● CD $14.98
19 tracks, highly recommended
Excellent string band recorded between 1928 and '31. In spite of the groups name they were actually based in Fowler, California (near Fresno) though the group's founder John "Dad" Crockett was originally from West Virginia. They were one of the first West Coast based string bands featuring the fine lead vocals of "Dad" and instrumental work from other family members on fiddle, guitar, banjo and occasional Jew's harp and bones. They perform fine versions of traditional songs and tunes like Cripple Creek/ Bile Them Cabbage Down/ Little Rabbitt/ Gambling Man/ Medley Of Old Time Dance Tunes/ I Was Born 10,000 Years Ago/ Skip To My Lou and others. There also a superb instrumental blues Fresno Blues which features just two guitars. (FS)
CROCKETT'S KENTUCKY MOUNTAINEERS: After The Ball/ Bile Them Cabbage Down/ Buffalo Gals Medley/ Convict's Lament/ Cripple Creek/ Fresno Blues/ Gambling Man/ Granny's Old Arm Chair/ Hard Cider Songs/ I Was Born 10,000 Years Ago/ In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree/ Little Rabbit (intro. Rabbit Where's Your Mammy)/ Medley Of Old Time Dance Tunes Pt. 1/ Medley Of Old Time Dance Tunes Pt. 2/ My Blue Eyed Girl And I/ Rosalee/ Skip To My Lou/ Sugar Hill/ The Lightning Express

FATS DOMINO Ace CDCHD 597 The Early Imperial Singles, 1950-1952 ● CD $18.98
30 tracks, 73 mins, essential
Before becoming a pop star in the mid 50s Antoine "Fats" Domino had been one of the leading lights on the New Orleans blues and R&B scene since the late 40s. With his pounding, rolling piano work and his delightful Creole drawl he made music that was immediately appealing. His recordings, produced by the multi talented Dave Bartholomew featured some of the best musicians in a city full of great musicians - Herb Hardesty, Red Tyler, Ernest McLean, Frank Fields, Wendell Ducoge and others. This disc presents both sides of his first 14 singles plus two bonus cuts from the same period that first appeared on LP. Domino had a hand in writing almost every song here and there is just one classic after another including the rolling The Fat Man which was a less provocative reworking of the NOLA favorite Junker's Blues, the searing Every Night About This Time, the storming She's My Baby and a whole lot more. Sound is exemplary and the booklet includes extensive notes by Fats' official biograpger Stuart Coleman. Only thing missing is a discography. If you can afford it you should get the Bear Family box with all of Fats's Imperial recordings - otherwise this is a perfect introduction to his early years. (FS)
FATS DOMINO: Boogie Woogie Baby/ Brand New Baby/ Careless Love/ Cheatin'/ Detroit City Blues/ Don't Lie To Me/ Dreaming/ Every Night About This Time/ Goin' Home/ Hey! La Bas Boogie/ Hide Away Blues/ How Long/ I'll Be Gone/ Korea Blues/ Little Bee/ No No Baby/ Nobody Loves Me/ Poor Poor Me/ Reeling And Rockin'/ Right From Wrong/ Rockin' Chair/ SheŐs My Baby/ Sometimes I Wonder/ The Fat Man/ Tired Of Crying/ Trust In Me/ WhatŐs The Matter Baby/ You Know I Miss You

ESQUERITA Collectables 2713 Rockin' The Joint ● CD $15.98
28 tracks, 64 mins, essential
Reissue of Capitol 91871 which was issued in 1990 but only available for a few years. 28 piano poundin' pompadour pumpin' whoopin' flailin' and wailin' winners from the man Little Richard called "one of the greatest pianists". Depending on which story you believe, Little Richard learned more than just a few piano riffs from Esquerita, but these sides, recorded for Capitol in '58 and '59 (well after Little Richard's early hits) prove who was the REAL wild man of rock'n'roll. Esquerita was probably too wild to make it in the late 50's, but since then his cult status has been perpetuated by reissues of his material on numerous labels. His piano playing alone is the stuff of legend - sometimes in control, sometimes not, but always full of double-fisted intensity - and the alternately growling and shrieking vocals put it totally over the top. You'll never hear anything quite like this... (MB)

THE FISK UNIVERSITY JUBILLE QUARTE Archeophone 5020 There Breathes A Hope ● CD $38.98
Two CDs bound in 108 page 5 1/2"x 5" hardbound book, 49 tracks, 132 mins, very highly recommended
Another superb and incredibly important release from this wonderful label featuring the complete extant recordings of the pioneering and immensely influential Fisk University Jubilee quartet including all nine incredibly rare Edison cylinders and the four recitations of poems by revered African-American literary figure Paul Laurence Dunbar by James Myers. The selections are programmed as four mini-concerts and introduced by spoken excerpts from a 1983 interview with Rev. Jerome I. Wright, one of the last living Fisk students to have sung under John Work's direction. The origins of the Fisk Jubilee Quartet date to 1867 and they were active for many years performing spirituals but by the time John W. Work II joined the University in 1891 spirituals had fallen out of favor as they were considered painful reminders of slavery. Work toiled for three decades restoring the validity of spirituals as a powerful and meaningful expression of African-American songcraft. Although the precise singing of the Jubilee singers may seem "square" to those more used to the looser, more intense sound of gospel quartets a careful listen reveals the beauty and power of the songs and the emotional resonance of the harmonies and a number of these songs became gospel quartet standards (Roll Jordan Roll/ Swing Low, Sweet Chariot/ My Soul Is A Witness, etc.). As Tim Brooks points out in his recording notes, most of the recorded fare of the previous 20 years with a "jubilee" theme or African-American influence was parodic and often demeaning. With the Fisks, now black art, history, and culture were literally getting a fair hearing. The copiously illustrated book features a lengthy essay based on original research by Doug Seroff (one of the leading researchers on early African-American music) on the history of the group and the life and labors of John Work II. The booklet includes numerous previously unpublished photos, label shots, full discography and an in depth discussion of each session. Remastering is superb and the performances come through with clarity and warmth. If you have any interest in the history of African-American music this release is indispensible or you can just enjoy it for the beauty of the performances. (FS)

THE HACKBERRY RAMBLERS Arhoolie 7050 Early Recordings, 1935-1950 ● CD $13.98
26 tracks, 72 mins, essential
A joy from start to finish featuring the top Cajun string band of the 1930's, the Hackleberry Ramblers, led by fiddler Luderin Darbonne who is still leading the group at the age of 90! Eschewing the previously popular accordian sound and influenced by blues, Western swing and hillbilly string bands, Luderin and his singer/guitarists, Lennis Sonnier, Floyd and Lonnie Rainwater, and Edwin Duhon created an infectious, danceable sound that was extremely popular. These recordings, cut between 1936 and 1950 mix old time country and blues tunes like On Top of the World/ Just Got To To Hi-De-Hi and Neath the Weeping Willow (a fabulous performance with some lovely steel guitar), with Cajun numbers like Jolie Blonde/ J'ai Passe Devonde Ta Porte/ J'ai Pas Bien Fey,, and Jolie Fille. They always had a bluesy, but buoyant style that was in great demand and this great collection makes it clear why. Other tracks include Just Once More/ Mermentau Stomp/ Vinton High Society/ Wondering/ J'ai Pres Parley/ Drifting Along/ One Step De L'Amour/ Fair Pas Ca (their great version of "Trouble in Mind") and others. Sound is generally excellent though a few cuts are from worn 78s. Booklet has informative notes by Ben Sandmel. Wonderful stuff (JM/FS)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS JSP JSPCD 7705 All The Classics, 1946-1951 ● CD $28.98
5 CDs, 126 tracks, essential
This set covers the first five years of Lightnin's recording career, a time when he was at his creative peak. A variety of companies have previously re-issued some of these sides, notably EMI ["The Complete Aladdin Sessions") and Arhoolie ("The Gold Star Sessions Volumes 1 & 2"). All the Aladdin tracks are here apart from four with pianist Thunder Smith where Smith took the vocal, and all the Arhoolie/Gold Star material is included. The remaining titles cover 1950/1 when Hopkins recorded for the Sittin' In With, Jax and Mercury labels. By the time of his recording debut Hopkins had nearly twenty years' experience as a performer and all the elements of his style were firmly established. Transforming traditional blues themes into songs uniquely his own, his world weary vocal style was perfectly balanced by evocative, free flowing guitar phrases. Katy Mae/ Someday Baby/ Short Haired Woman/ Picture On The Wall/ Shotgun/ Fast Mail Rambler, many tracks here really are classics, and although his inspiration may have faltered on some of the early 50s cuts, the overall standard is excellent. Unfortunately these records were made for small town labels and often poorly produced. As a result at times they tend to have a slightly flat sound and occasionally suffer from acoustic problems. JSP have a good reputation for their remastering but on comparing these transfers with the EMI and Arhoolie reissues mentioned above I could detect no appreciable difference in sound quality. The sound improves on the later titles but by this time Lightnin' is saddled with a solitary bass player who plods along behind him and becomes pretty irritating. Still, Hopkins is in fine voice on these later sides, and there is much to enjoy on tracks like Give Me Central 209 or the Hooker-inspired Freight Train Blues. Altogether this is a very worthwhile package and is supported by notes from Neil Slaven which give fascinating insights into Lightnin's life and personality. As is often the case with small post war labels, discographical information is vague and unreliable, and even titles appear uncertain: at any rate there are a number of discrepancies in the titles used here compared with earlier reissues. Having said that it is great to have all this important music in one set at a bargain price. JSP have again delivered the goods. (DPR)
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Abilene/ Ain't It A Shame/ Airplane Blues/ All I Got Is Gone/ Appetite Blues/ Automobile/ Automobile Blues/ Baby Child/ Baby Please Don't Go/ Baby, You're Not Going To Make A Fool Out Of Me/ Bad Luck And Trouble/ Bald Headed Woman/ Beggin' You To Stay/ Big Mama Jump/ Black Cat Bone/ Bluebird Blues/ Broken Hearted Blues/ Can't Get That Woman Off My Mind/ Changing Weather Blues/ Coffee Blues/ Come Back Baby/ Contrary Mary/ Coolin' Board Blues/ Daddy Will Be Home One Day/ Dark And Cloudy/ Death Bells/ Dirty House/ Don't Think I'm Crazy/ Down Baby/ Down To The River/ European Blues/ Everybody's Down On Me/ Everything Happens To Me/ Fast Life/ Fast Mail Rambler/ Feel So Bad/ Freight Train Blues/ Give Me Central 209/ Goin' Back And Talk To Mama/ Gone With The Wind/ Good-bye Blues/ Gotta Move/ Grievance Blues/ Grosebeck Blues/ Have To Let You Go/ Henny Penny Blues/ Honey Honey Blues/ Howling Wolf Blues/ I Just Don't Care/ I Wonder Why/ I'm Begging You/ I've Been A Bad Man/ Ida Mae/ Jackstropper Blues/ Jail House Blues/ Katie Mae Blues/ Let Me Fly Your Kite/ Let Me Play With Your Poodle/ Lighting Blues/ Lightnin's Boogie/ Lightnin's Boogie/ Lightnin's Gone Again/ Lonesome Home/ Long Way From Texas/ Loretta Blues/ Mad With You/ Mercy/ Miss Loretta/ Miss Me Blues/ Mistreater Blues/ Moonrise Blues/ Morning Blues/ My California/ New Short Haired Woman/ New York Boogie/ Nightmare Blues/ No Good Woman/ No Mail Blues/ Old Woman Blues/ One Kind Of Flavor/ Organ Boogie/ Papa Bones Boogie/ Picture On The Wall/ Praying Ground Blues/ Racetrack Blues/ Rocky Mountain Blues/ Rollin' Blues/ Rollin' Woman Blues/ Sad News From Korea/ See See Rider/ Seems Funny Baby/ She's Almost Dead/ Shining Moon/ Short Haired Woman/ Shotgun/ So Long/ Somebody's Got To Go/ Someday Baby/ Sugar Mama/ T-Model Blues/ Tell It Like It Is/ Tell Me Boogie/ That Mean Old Twister/ Thinkin' And Worryin'/ Tim Moore's Farm/ Traveler's Blues/ Treat Me Kind/ Trying To Find A Friend/ Unkind Blues/ Unsuccessful Blues/ Untrue Blues/ Walking Blues/ What Can It Be/ Whiskey Blues/ Whiskey Headed Woman/ Why Did You Get Mad At Me/ Woman Woman/ Worried Life Blues/ You Caused My Heart To Weep/ You Don't Know/ Zologo

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS & OTHERS JSP JSPCD 7790 Lightnin' Special ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 106 tracks, highly recommended
After the essential Volume 1 (JSP 7705 - $28.98) the story continues with Lightnin's work for Mercury, Decca, Herald, TNT and Chart between 1951-56. Lightnin' accounts for the first two CDs here, providing a mixture of evocative slow blues - the guitar a second voice, filling out the lyrics - and rocking boogies full of over-amped excitement. Neal Slaven, who provides the excellent booklet notes, highlights Lightnin's sides for TNT on the second disc as among his best work from any period, and listening to tracks like Late In The Evening you know he is right. On the closing tracks of disc two drummer L.C. Williams takes over vocal duties, and sounds like Lightnin' with a heavy cold. Hopkins provides some memorable piano for Williams on Trying, Trying, while elsewhere it is his guitar accompaniments that shine. The third disc opens with the first twelve recordings by Lil' Son Jackson whose slightly soft, confiding voice and strongly rhythmical guitar style was deservedly popular in its day. Jackson subsequently made recordings with backing bands, but here he is alone and the better for it. Manny Smith who follows was a less polished, but still competent performer whose only session has a similar feel to a prison field recording. The disc closes with three of Lightnin's first recordings with Thunder Smith which were missing from Volume 1, and another three where Smith was accompanied by guitarist Luther Stoneham. Smith was a good pianist but despite Lightnin' offering some deft Scrapper Blackwell like touches as on West Coast Blues the performances are rather spoiled by Smith's rough, nasal vocals. I first heard the superb Western Rider Blues by Soldier Boy Houston on an old Melodeon LP. The sleeve notes said "This seems to be the only recording by the Texas singer.... who was killed in the Korean war." The anonymous writer was wrong on both counts. Recent research has filled in some details of Soldier Boy's life, and on the fourth disc we have the whole of his great first session reissued for the first time. Several of these sides have strongly autobiographical lyrics and it is fascinating to have this blues cipher spring to life. In contrast to the bouncy rhythms and light tenor voice of Mr Houston, two of the other singer guitarists on the final disc, J.D. Edwards and Frankie Lee Sims, have a more urban sound, J.D. in particular being a strong and expansive singer. The most interesting though is Ernest Lewis, whose Rosa Lee with its attenuated vocal lines and Shake 'Em On Down are among the highlights of the set. On Little Mae Belle Lewis plays some of the guitar figures of influential Texan Funny Papa Smith, but courts disaster when a harmonica player joins him on No More Lovin'. This unrehearsed /improvised quality is also a feature of a few of the band sides, but the overall standard is very good. Many of these tracks have of course been issued several times before, notably on the excellent box set "Down Home Blues Classics - Texas 1946-1954" (Boulevard Vintage 1012 - $24.98) which duplicates 31 tracks here. (A further seven tracks appear on Boulevard Vintage 4003 - now deleted). Despite such duplications JSP's combination of very good sound, well compiled material and a very satisfying format has much to offer. (DPR)
J.D. EDWARDS: Cold In The Evening/ Cryin'/ Hobo/ Playboy Blues/ West Coast Blues/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Ain't It A Shame/ Bad Things On My Mind/ Blues For My Cookie/ Cemetery Blues/ Crazy ‘Bout My Baby/ Don't Need No Job/ Don't Think ‘Cause You're Pretty/ Early Mornin' Boogie/ Evil Hearted Woman/ Finally Met My Baby/ Grandma's Boogie/ Had A Gal Called Sal/ Happy New Year/ Highway Blues/ Hopkins Sky Hop/ I Love You Baby/ I'm Wild About You Baby/ Late In The Evening/ Leavin' Blues/ Life I Used To Live/ Lightnin' Jump/ Lightnin's Boogie/ Lightnin's Special/ Lonesome In Your Home/ Mad As I Can Be/ Merry Christmas/ Moanin' Blues/ Moving On Out Boogie/ Mussy Haired Woman/ My Baby's Gone/ My Little Kewpie Doll/ My Mama Told Me/ Nothin' But The Blues/ Please Don't Go Baby/ Policy Game/ Remember Me/ Shine On Moon/ Sick Feeling Blues/ Sittin' Down Thinkin'/ That's Alright Baby/ The War Is Over/ They Wonder Who I Am/ Walkin' The Streets/ What Kind Of Heart Have You/ What's The Matter Now/ Wonder What Is Wrong With Me/ SOLDIER BOY HOUSTON: Dallas Bebop Blues/ Going To The West Coast/ Hug Me Baby/ In The Army Since 1941/ Lawton, Oklahoma Blues/ Lawyer Houston Blues/ Out In California Blues/ Western Rider Blues/ LIL' SON JACKSON: Bad Whiskey - Bad Women/ Cairo Blues/ Evil Blues/ Freedom Train Blues/ Gambling Blues/ Gone With The Wind/ Ground Hog Blues/ Homeless Blues/ Milford Blues/ No Money, No Love/ Roberta Blues/ Talkin' Boogie/ ERNEST LEWIS: In My Girlish Days/ Little Mae Belle/ Loudella/ No More Lovin'/ Rosa Lee/ Shake ‘Em On Down/ West Coast Blues/ What Wrong Have I Done/ MANNY NICHOLS: Forgive Me/ Forgive Me Baby/ No One To Love Me/ Tall Skinny Mama Blues/ Throw A Little Boogie/ Walkin' Blues/ Walking Talking Blues/ Worried Life/ FRANKIE LEE SIMS: Cross Country Blues/ Don't Forget Me Baby/ Home Again Blues/ Single Man Blues/ THUNDER SMITH: Big Stars Are Falling/ Can't Do Like You Used To/ Cruel Hearted Woman/ Little Mama Boogiea/ Santa Fe Blues/ West Coast Blues/ L .C. WILLIAMS: Boogie All The Time/ Fannie Mae/ Hole In The Wall/ So Sorry/ Strike Blues/ The Lazy J/ Trying, Trying/ You Can't Take It With You Baby/ You'll Never Miss The Water

ELMORE JAMES Charly SNAJ 722 King Of The Slide Guitar - Complete Chief & Fire Sessio ● CD $24.98
Three CDs, 63 tracks, essential
Back in stock at a lower price. This wonderful three CD box is a repackaging of Charly CPBOX 301 and features all of Elmore's Fire/Fury recordings (including alternates) plus his great Chief sides from '57 and the Trumpet recording of Dust My Broom. Together with the Ace box and the (now deleted) Chess CD they comprise this great bluesman's entire output under his own name. The 24 page booklet accompanying the set includes a biography with photos and a discography of these sessions. If you don't already have these superb sides you owe it to yourself to get what are some of the greatest blues recordings of the late 50s and early 60s - music that sounds as fresh and vital today as it did 50 years ago. (FS)
ELMORE JAMES: (My) Bleeding Heart/ Anna Lee/ Baby, Please Set A Date/ Back In Mississippi (Conversation)/ Bobby's Rock/ Can't Stop Loving My Baby/ Coming Home/ Cry For Me Baby/ Done Somebody Wrong/ Dust My Broom/ Dust My Broom/ Dust My Broom/ Dust My Broom (I Believe My Time Ain't Long)/ Early One Morning/ Elmore Jumps One (Up Jumped Elmore)/ Elmore's Contribution To Jazz/ Everyday I Have The Blues/ Find My Kind Of Woman (Take 1)/ Find My Kinda Woman/ Fine Little Mama/ Go Back Home Again/ Got To Move/ Got To Move (She's Got To Go)/ Hand In Hand/ Hand In Hand (Take 1)/ Hand In Hand (Take 3)/ Held My Baby Last/ I Believe/ I Can't Stop Lovin' You/ I Gotta Go now/ I Have A Right To Love My Baby/ I Need You (Baby)/ I'm Worried/ It Hurts Me Too/ It Hurts Me Too/ Knocking At Your Door/ Look On Yonder Wall (Look Up On The Wall)/ Make My Dreams Come True/ Mean Mistreatin' Mama (Take 1)/ Mean Mistreatin' Mama (Take 1)/ Mean Mistreatin' Mama (Take 2)/ Mean Mistreatin' Mama (Take 3)/ My Baby's Gone/ My Kind Of Woman/ One Way Out/ Person To Person/ Pickin' The Blues (Manhattan Slide)/ Rollin' and Tumblin'/ Shake Your Moneymaker (Take 1/2)/ She Done Moved/ So Unkind/ Something Inside Me/ Standing At The Crossroads/ Strange Angels/ Strange(r) Blues (Alt. Take)/ Stranger Blues/ Sunnyland Train/ Take Me Where You Go/ Talk To Me Baby/ The Sky Is Crying/ The Twelve Year Old Boy/ Twelve Year Old Boy/ You Know You Done Me Wrong/ You Know You're Wrong

BUDDY JONES B.A.C.M. 014 Police Officer & Honky Tonk Singer ● CD $14.98
20 tracks, 57 mins, highly recommended
If you don't buy this you'll be arrested! A terrific collection of bluesy western swing by this fine singer, guitarist and songwriter accompanied by a hot band. Band members are not identified but usually included the likes of Buster Jones (Buddy's brother), Bob Dunn, Moon Mullican and others. One cut features a duet with his good friend Jimmie Davis and one track, the raunchy, Butcher Man Blues is a fine example of talking blues. No duplication with Cattle 206. (FS)
BUDDY JONES: Actions Speak Louder Than Words/ Butcher Man Blues/ Carry The Good Work On/ Dear Old Sunny South By The Sea/ Don't Ever Leave Me Alone/ Ease My Troubled Mind/ Every Day Blues/ Gonna Change My Business All Around/ I Wish I'd Never Met You/ I'll Get Mine Bye And Bye No. 2/ I'm Gonna Get Me A Honky Tonk Baby/ Mean Hangover Blues/ Mean Old Sixty Five Blues/ Ragged But Right/ Red River Blues/ She's A Hum Dum Dinger/ She's Selling What She Used To Give Away/ Shreveport County Jail Blues/ What Is Life Lived Alone/ You've Got Just What It Takes

NIC JONES Topic TSCD 411 Penguin Eggs ● CD $14.98
9 tracks, essential
A year after recording this masterpiece in 1980 Nic Jones was involved in a near fatal car accident which effectively terminated the career of one Britain's most talented folk performers. Although he has recovered to a greater extent than was thought possible it is unlikely that he will ever be a professional performer again. Jones was superb - a warm distinctive singer, a brilliant and innovative guitarist and an excellent fiddle player. He also had an unerring knack for picking rarely heard songs (mostly traditional) that subsequently became folk club staples. The opening song Canadee-i-o features some of his most imaginative guitar playing (his arrangement of this song was borrowed by Bob Dylan on his "Good As I Been To You" album), the almost jaunty performance of the tragic The Drowned Lovers has fine instrumental accompaniments by Tony Hall/ melodeon and Bridget Danby /recorders who appear on several other songs. You won't be able to resist singing along with the chorus on the beautiful The Little Pot Stove and Farewell To The Gold. The intense The Humpback Whale is a dazzling evocation of the life of the whaler while the lovely instrumental Planxty Davis shows a quieter side to Nic's music. Transfer to CD is excellent but it's unfortunate that Topic refrained from adding notes. (FS)

BUELL KAZEE B.A.C.M. 027 Legendary Kentucky Ballad Singer ● CD $14.98
22 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended
A number of Buel Kazee tracks have appeared on various compilations but this is the first CD reissue exclusively devoted to this his fine and important ballad singer. Kazee, who was a trained singer, accompanied himself on banjo and recorded seminal versions of songs like Butchers Boy/ East Virginia/ Lady Gay/ Wagoner's Lad/ The Moonshiner and others. This set also features tracks with guitar and violin accompaniment, some duets with Carson Robison and some gospel songs with Frank & James McCravy as The Blue Ridge Gospel Singers. Wonderful stuff. (FS)
BUELL KAZEE: Don't Forget Me Little Darling/ East Virginia/ Faded Coat Of Blue/ I'm Alone In This World/ If You Love Your Mother/ Lady Gay/ Little Mohee/ Old Whisker Bill, The Moonshiner/ Poor Orphan Boy/ Redwing/ Roving Cowboy/ Snow Deer/ The Blind Man/ The Butcher Boy/ The Cowboy Trail/ The Cowboy's Farewell/ The Dying Soldier/ The Orphan Girl/ The Ship That's Sailing High/ The Wagoner's Lad/ Toll The Bells/ Why Not Tonight

JERRY LEE LEWIS Bear Family BCD 15420 The Definitive Edition Of His Sun Recordings 1956-1963 ● CD $169.98
8 CDs, 246 tracks, essential
This is it - rock'n'roll's version of the Rosetta stone, the Blarney stone, Stonehenge and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. When you graduate from the greatest hits collection this is the foreboding door that beckons. This 8 CD box set of Sun & Phillips recordings has expanded upon the 209 track LP version, adding a further 35 cuts. Everything is programmed in chronological order so you can hear the way Jerry Lee develops a song, which actually isn't all that often since he usually knocked 'em off in one take. The 4 takes of High School Confidential and the 3 takes of Milkshake Mademoiselle is about as indulgent as it gets. The sessions begin with the November, 1956 session that produced his first Sun 45 Crazy Arms/ End Of The Road and ends with a pair of August, 1963 dates where Sam Phillips has Lewis rockin' up a variety of music styles on tunes like Hong Kong Blues , Love On Broadway and Carry Me Back To Ol' Virginia , with strings and chorus, an approach they'd tried throughout the 60's. In between there were close to 200 songs cut, most with the nucleus of Lewis on piano, Roland Janes on guitar and J.M. Van Eaton on drums. There are dozens of astounding numbers here and virtually everything else is fascinating due to Lewis' unique stylistic approach to the wide variety of material he tackled. Who else but Jerry Lee would have the audacity to shake it up on Old Time Religion , Hand Me Down My Walking Cane , Deep Elem Blues and even The Marines' Hymn . You'll get to hear some outrageous studio patter and even the legendary religious discussion with Sam Phillips during the recording of Great Balls Of Fire . So in a nutshell, you get 246 songs, original versions of all Sun singles, tons of unissued stuff, all remastered from the mastertapes plus a deluxe LP size booklet with fantastic vintage photos and an up to date (1989) discography of everything in the Sun vaults. Jerry Lee's quest to put his personal stamp on every tune ever recorded (see the Bear Family Mercury reissues for the continuation) includes Frankie & Johnny/ Matchbox/ Ubangi Stomp/ Ooby Dooby/ Settin' The Woods On Fire/ Hound Dog/ Jambalaya/ Sweet Little Sixteen/ What'd I Say/ Mexicali Rose/ Be Bop A Lula and on and on.... AE

JIM RINGER Folk Legacy 47 Waiting For The Hard Times To Go ● CD $16.98
14 tracks, essential
Back in print. This 1972 debut from Jim Ringer is one of my favorite American Folk albums of the 1970s. Ringer was a superb singer with a rich, warm and very melodic voice but with gritty honesty to it. On this superb album he performs a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs. His subsequent albums featured mostly original songs but this only has one original and it's a knockout - the title song - it's one of those honest reflections on life that is as relevant today as it was in 1972. Another significant original contribution from Jim is his setting of the 19th century poem California Joe written by cowboy poet "Captain Jack" Crawford to a beautiful original tune. Among the other superb songs he covers are Otis Pierces Every Bush And Tree, George Jones's Ground So Poor That Grass Won't Grow and two from his good friend and inpiration Bruce "Utah" Phillips including the gorgeous anthemic I Believe If I Lived My Life Again with Phillips contributing harmonica. There are also songs from John Prine, Willie Nelson and Jean Ritchie along with several traditional songs. Jim is given vocal and instrumental support by friends like Mary McCaslin, Jay Ungar, Jon Wilcox and others. This is one of those perfect albums where every song is a gem and, although not a thematic album, each song seems to seamlessly flow into the next. Because of the current economic climate Folk Legacy has decided to reissue this as a CD-R only and if you want the notes with lyric transcripts you will need to send them $2.00 but that doesn't detract from the necessity of owning it. (FS)

STUFF SMITH Progressive PCD 7053 The 1943 Trio ● CD $15.98
16 tracks, 39 min. essential
Unbelievable! This session, recorded on November 17, 1943 in Chicago by Milt Gabler (of Commodore fame) as part of the World Broadcasting System Jam Session Series, reveals itself as an incredible treasure-trove of jazz. Smith, a much-underrated violinist, is accompanied by Jimmy Jones on piano and John Levy on bass and radiates singularly effortless swing on every single cut. His stylish intros, offhand quotes and exuberant upper-register fiddling are absolutely marvelous. Smith is cooly backed by Jones (perhaps best known for his later work with Ella) and Levy; the former an accomplished accompanist, the latter unobtrusive but rock steady. Wonderful sound because the tapes have been remastered by audio ace Jack Towers. Loving liner notes by Frank Driggs. Need I say more? An absolutly essential document! (PL)

THE STANLEY BROTHERS Copper Creek 101 Shadows Of The Past ● CD $15.98
15 tracks, 35 min, highly recommended
Reissue of a Copper Creek LP from the 1990s, this CD features recordings from various concerts by The Stanley Brothers between the years 1956 and 1962, including many selections never commercially recorded by this great band, included Going To The Races/ I Hope You Have Learned/ Thinking Of The Old Days/ White House Blues, and Long Journey Home. Wonderful stuff, featuring various band line-ups, all of them outstanding. Three cuts feature the too little heard fiery mandolin of Bill Napier, great fiddler Chubby Anthony is prominently featured in another line-up, as are guitarist George Shuffler, mandolinist Curly Lambert, and bassists Jack Cooke and Chick Stripling. (RP)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Archeophone 1003 Stomp And Swerve - American Music gets Hot ● CD $14.98
27 tracks, 78 min, highly recommended
The soundtrack for David Wondrich's book of the same title (available from Roots & Rhythm for $17.95) , this shows the progression of early American recorded music from its beginnings with The Edison Concert Band doing The El Capitan March in 1897 to the wonderous Clarence Williams Hot 5's classic Cake Walking Babies From Home from '25, with the unbeatable combination of Louis Armstrong & Sidney Bechet in the front line. In between there's all manners of early acoustically recorded music from rag-time to the VERY politically INcorrect "coon tunes" which some may find very offensive. From there it's on to the blues, with the very 1st blues recording Crazy Blues by Mamie Smith ('25), the earliest jazz - The Original Dixieland Jass Band- Livery Stable Blues ('17), old timey - Uncle Dave Macon - Old Dan Tucker ('25). With 28 page booklet. (GM)
HARRY C. BROWNE AND THE PEERLESS QUARTETTE: Carve Dat Possum/ ARTHUR COLLINS AND VESS L. OSSMAN: All Coons Look Alike To Me/ THE COLUMBIA ORCHESTRA: I Thought I Was A Winner, Or, I Don't Know, You Ain't So Warm/ JOSEPH P. CULLEN AND WILLIAM G. COLLINS: Twin Star March/ THE EDISON CONCERT BAND: El Capitan March/ EUROPE'S SOCIETY ORCHESTRA: Castle House Rag/ EARL FULLER'S FAMOUS JAZZ BAND: A Coon Band Contest/ W. G. HAENSCHEN AND T. T. SCHIFFER: Sunset Medley (a Bunch Of Blues/babes In The Woods)/ ART HICKMAN'S ORCHESTRA: Rose Room/ LANIN'S SOUTHERN SERENADERS: Shake It And Break It/ SILAS LEACHMAN: The Fortune Telling Man/ UNCLE DAVE MACON: Old Dan Tucker/ POLK MILLER AND THE OLD SOUTH QUARTETTE: Watermelon Party/ ORIGINAL DIXIELAND 'JASS' BAND: Livery Stable Blues/ VESS L. OSSMAN: Maple Leaf Rag/ OSSMAN-DUDLEY TRIO: St. Louis Tickle/ ARTHUR PRYOR'S BAND: A Coon Band Contest/ DAN W. QUINN: Ain't That A Shame/ MAMIE SMITH AND HER JAZZ HOUNDS: Crazy Blues/ SOUSA'S BAND: At A Georgia Camp Meeting/ LEN SPENCER: You've Been A Good Old Wagon But You Done Broke Down/ SOPHIE TUCKER: Some Of These Days/ VAN EPS BANJO ORCHESTRA: Sans Souci/ THE VERSATILE FOUR: Circus Day In Dixie/ BERT WILLIAMS: Nobody/ CLARENCE WILLIAMS' BLUE FIVE: Cake Walking Babies From Home/ THE ZON-O-PHONE CONCERT BAND: The Smiler (a Joplin Rag)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 17279 Street Corner Symphony - Complete Story Of Doo-Wop Vol1 ● CD $24.98
30 tracks, 87 mins, essentia
 Bear Family does it again! After documenting the key R&B recordings in their "Blowing The Fuse" series and the key country records in their "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Country Music" they now turn their attention to doo wop with the first 5 of 15 volumes to document the development of the music from 1939 through 1963. This first volume is devoted to the roots of doo-wop with recordings made by black vocal groups between 1939 and 1949. It opens with the classic If I Didn't Care by The Ink Spots featuring the quavering lead of Bill Kenney and the group's approach would be followed by many groups in the ensuing years. Other important early sides like Till Then by The Mills Brothers (1944), I Sold My Heart To The Junkman, P.S. I Love You by The Four Vagabonds (1947) are included and the late 40s saw the emergence of groups who would have profound impact on the sounds emerging in the 50s like Sonny Til & The Orioles, The Ravens, The Four Tunes and The Robins. Lots of other fine groups are included like The Cats And The Fiddle, Dusty Brooks & His Four Tones, Melody Masters, Five Bars, Scamps, Syncopators, etc. Sound quality is superb though a few tracks are from very rare and noisy 78s and the package is rounded out with an 82 page booklet with detailed notes on every performance by Bill Dahl and photos of every group. Another class production all the way from Bear Family. (FS)
THE 5 RED CAPS: I Learned A Lesson I'll Never Forget/ THE BASIN STREET BOYS: I Sold My Heart To The Junkman/ THE BIG THREE TRIO: After Awhile/ DUSTY BROOKS AND HIS FOUR TONES: Play Jackpot/ THE CATS 'N' JAMMER THREE: I Cover The Water-Front/ THE CATS AND THE FIDDLE: I Miss You So/ THE CHARIOTEERS: A Kiss And A Rose/ THE DEEP RIVER BOYS: Recess In Heaven/ THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS: Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'/ THE DIXIEAIRES: Go Long/ THE FIVE BARS: I'm All Dressed Up With A Broken Heart/ THE FOUR ACES: I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder, Part 2/ THE FOUR BLUES: It Takes A Long Tall Brown Skinned Gal/ THE FOUR KNIGHTS: Wrapped Up In A Dream/ THE FOUR ROCKETS: Loch Lomond/ THE FOUR TUNES: You're Heartless/ THE FOUR VAGABONDS: P.S. I Love You/ THE GOLDEN GATE QUARTET: Atom And Evil/ THE INK SPOTS: If I Didn't Care/ BILL JOHNSON AND HIS MUSICAL NOTES: Don't You Think I Oughta Know/ THE JUBALAIRES WITH ANDY KIRK AND HIS ORCH.: I Know/ THE MELODY MASTERS: My Baby/ THE MILLS BROTHERS: Till Then/ THE ORIOLES: It's Too Soon To Know/ THE RAVENS: Ol' Man River/ THE ROBINS: If It's So Baby/ THE SCAMPS: Solitude/ THE SHADOWS: I've Been A Fool/ THE SYNCOPATORS: River Stay Away From My Door/ DEEK WATSON AND HIS BROWN DOTS: Sentimental Reasons

VARIOUS ARTISTS Bear Family BCD 17280 Street Corner Symphony - Complete Story Of Doo-Wop Vol2 ● CD $24.98
30 tracks, 80 mins, essential
This disc is devoted to the year 1950 - a transitional year - the pioneering groups like The Delta Rhythm Boys, The Cats And The Fiddle and The Mills Brothers were still active but waning in popularity, the groups with newer stylings like The Ravens, Orioles, Robins and Steve Gibson & The Redcaps were consolidating their popularity and important new groups who would modernise the style like The Dominos with the incredibly influential lead of Clyde McPhatter, The Clovers and The Five Larks (born out of the gospel group The Selah Jubilee Singers). All these are here with seminal recordings along with great sides by lesser known groups like The Beavers, Three Riffs, Four Buddies, Blenders, The Flames (later to become The Hollywood Flames) and others. Another spectacular collection including soulful ballads and rocking numbers with magnificent sound and 80 pages of notes and photos. (FS)
THE 5 LARKS: My Heart Cries For You/ THE BEAVERS: I'd Rather Be Wrong Than Blue/ THE BLENDERS: Gone (My Baby's Gone)/ THE CAP-TANS: Chief, Turn The Hose On Me/ THE CAROLS: Please Believe In Me/ THE CATS AND THE FIDDLE: Do You Love Me/ THE CLOVERS: When You Come Back To Me/ THE COLEMANS: I Don't Mind Being All Alone/ THE DELTA RHYTHM BOYS: If You See The Tears In My Eyes/ THE DOMINOES: Do Something For Me/ THE DOZIER BOYS: She's Gone/ THE FLAMES: Young Girl/ THE FOUR ACES: Who Was There To Blame/ THE FOUR BLUES: As Long As I Live/ THE FOUR BUDDIES: I Will Wait/ THE FOUR TUNES: Old Fashioned Love/ STEVE GIBSON AND THE RED CAPS: I'll Never Love Anyone Else/ THE JUBALAIRES: A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes/ THE MASTERKEYS: Mr. Blues/ THE MILLS BROTHERS: Nevertheless/ THE KING ODOM FOUR: Lover Come Back To Me/ THE ORIOLES: At Night/ THE JOHNNY OTIS ORCHESTRA WITH THE ROBINS: Turkey Hop, Part 1/ THE RAVENS: Count Every Star/ I Don't Have To Ride No More/ THE RIVALS: Rival Blues/ THE SHADOWS: I'll Never, Never Let You Go/ THE STRIDERS: Cool Saturday Night/ THE THREE RIFFS: Jumping Jack/ THE WHISPERS: I've Got No Time

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7738 It's Hotter In Hawaii - Early Hits From A Unique Musica ● CD $28.98
Four CD set featuring 105 tracks of vintage Hawaiian music with emphasis on hot steel guitar work. It features artists from Hawaii as well performers from the American mainland and since the music became popular worldwide we also hear some performers from Europe, Argentina, Mexico and elsewhere. It includes some of the greatest and most influential exponents of the genre including performers like Sol Ho'opii, Frank Ferera, Tau Moe with Wife & Family, Roy Smeck, Master's Hawaiians, Kanui & Lula, King Bennie Nawahi, The Hawaiian Quintette, Jim & Bob, Kalama's Quartet along with lots of lesser known artists. If you already have all the albums of Hawaiian music on Rounder, Yazoo, Arhoolie, T.O.M., Harlequin, etc. then you probably have most of the recordings here though I think there are a few tracks making their first CD appearance here. If you don't have all the other reissues this is an excellent and inexpensive way to get a great cross section of recordings. Sound quality is excxellent. It's too bad that the notes are so cursory.
SAM ALAMA: Ama Ama/ H.M. BARNES & HIS BLUE RIDGE RAMBLERS: Honolulu Stomp/ BEZOZ HAWAIIAN ORCHESTRA: Pame Sti Honolulu/ BILTMORE HOTEL TRIO: Clownin' The Frets/ BILTMORE ORCHESTRA: Kaui Kahio/ GINO BORDIN HAWAIIAN ORCHESTRA: Caresses Venitiennes/ SOL K. BRIGHT: Tomi Tomi/ CORAL ISLANDERS: Na Lei/ S. CORTES Y SUS HAWAIINOS: Caperucita/ Lirios/ EMERY COURNAND: Why My Craf Vex With Me/ EDDY'S HAWAIIAN SERENADERS: Down In Waikiki/ FRANK FERERA: Honolulu March/ In The Heart Of Hawaii/ Maui/ Melani Anu Ka Makani/ St. Louis Blues/ Cielito Lindo/ Iko Okamuko/ FERERA, FRANCHINI & LUFSKY: One-Two-Three/ FRANCHINI & DETTBORN: Palakiko Blues/ HANAPI TRIO: Indiana March/ HAUULEA ENTERTAINERS: 12th Street Rag/ Ellis March/ Railroad Blues/ HAWAIIAN QUINTETTE: Akahi Hoi/ Pua I Mohala/ HAWAIIAN SONGBIRDS: Happy Hawaiian Blues/ HAWAIIAN SILVER QUARTET: Honolulu March/ HAWAIIAN SERENADERS: Honolulu Stomp/ HAWAIIAN SILVER QUARTET: Kawahau/ HAWAIIAN TRIO: La Paloma/ My Hawaii (You're Calling Me)/ O Sole Mio/ Valse Bleu/ HILO HAWAIIAN ORCHESTRA: Hula Love Medley March/ HONOLULU PLAYERS: Mindinao March/ SOL HOOPII: Hawaiian March/ Lady Be Good/ Lehua/ Lepe Ula Ula/ Pidgin English Hula/ Uheuhene/ JIM & BOB: By The Waters Of Minnietonka/ Chimes/ Hula Blues/ Song Of The Range/ KALAMA'S QUARTET: Pehea Hoi Au/ KAMSKU & KAWAIHAE: King Kalakaua March/ KAMSKU & KAWALHAE: Pua Lima Waltz/ KANE'S HAWAIIANS: Hilo/ KANUI & LULA: My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua/ KEAUMOKA LOUIS: Garden Of Paradise/ Penei No/ JOE KEAWE & HIS HARMONY HAWAIIANS: Hookipa Paka/ My Little Grass Shack/ GEORGE KEOKI DAVIS: Slack Key Hula/ KING, QUEEN, JACK: Stack-O-Lee/ RAY KINNEY & HIS ROYAL HAWAIIANS: Coral Isle/ Kauna Kea/ WALTER KOLOMOKU: Medley Of Old Time Waltzes/ GEORGE KU TRIO: Kuu Lei/ Na Ali'l/ Na Pua O Hawaii/ SAM KU WEST: Hawaiian Hula/ WangWang Blues/ LAWSON'S HAWAIIANS: Drifting And Dreaming/ LES LOUPS: La Portena Es Una Papa/ HELEN LOUISE & FRANK FERERA: K'alu Luliluli/ Kai Maia O Ka Madi/ LUA & KAILI (IRENE WEST'S ROYAL HAWAIIAN: Drowsy Waters/ Kohala March/ MASTER'S HAWAIIANS: Blue Sparks/ Hawaiian Stormy Weather/ MOANA SERENADERS: E Mama Ea/ He Mea Nui/ TAU MOE'S HAWAIIAN JAZZITES: U Like, Noa Like/ M.K. MOKE: Moana Chimes/ JAMES MOLKEHA: Maui Girl/ KING BENNIE NAWAHI: Waikiki Waltz/ PAT PATTERSON & HIS CHAMPION REP RIDERS: The Cat's Whiskers/ ROLAND PEACHY & HIS ROYAL HAWAIIANS: China Boy/ Goodby Blues/ MM. RIVIERES HAWAIIANS: E Mama Ee/ Ellis March/ La Lupe Ua Sola/ Mai Kai No Kauai/ Paahana/ RODNEY ROGER'S RED PEPPERS: Milenburg Joys/ ANDY SANELLA: Blues Of The Guitar/ Sliding On The Frets/ ROY SMECK: 12th Street Rag/ Bugle Call Rag/ Hilo March/ Kalima Walk/ Limehouse Blues/ Twilight Echoes/ TOMMY SOLOMON: Old Timer's Hula/ SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS: Liliu E/ DANNY STEWART: Les Femmes d'Amerique/ TAMARI TAHITI: Parari'i Pararara'i/ TRUETT & GEORGE: Ghost Dance/ UNKNOWN GERMAN ORCH: The Road To Paradise/ CHARLIE WILSON: Palolo/ JIMMY YATES' BOLL WEEVILS: Smiles

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7754 Atlanta Blues - Big City Blues From The Heartland ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 101 tracks, essential
Not sure about the subtitle though. What about the pre-blues, country dance tunes, gospel songs, old time medleys, vaudeville songs? Still, there are also some excellent blues, such as My Mamma Was A Sailor by Julius Daniels, which opens this set. Daniels was a fine singer and guitarist who must have had an amazing repertoire, judging from the few titles he recorded. He certainly leaves you wishing he'd recorded more. Someone who did was Curley Weaver, and here are his complete pre war recordings, plus six tracks from 1949. [Contrary to the impression given in Neal Slaven's otherwise informative booklet notes, Weaver did make some further recordings in the company of Blind Willie McTell. These were reissued, in superlative sound, on Blind Willie McTell / Pig 'n Whistle Red, Biograph 30171 Weaver was a talented if not particularly distinctive performer whose first session produced No No Blues, a very effective song with a driving guitar part and on which he sounds remarkably like Barbecue Bob. By the time though you have heard another three versions plus two with different lyrics you will probably have had enough of it. Unfortunately appreciation of his pre war work is hampered in many cases by poor sound quality. There are no such problems with discs three and four. The third features Peg Leg Howell, whose recordings blues historian Paul Oliver rates "among the most important documentations of the early blues". Fair comment, but it is odd that, apart from the complete works on Matchbox (MBCD 2004/5), Howell has been largely neglected by other reissue companies, at least in recent times. He had a gift for refashioning songs he had learned in rural Georgia (including white country music) as well as for original compositions like the excellent Low Down Rounder's Blues. On such solo sides his fingerpicking was varied, and his heavy voice with its lugubrious tone was well suited to his blues. Elsewhere he was supported by his "gang" of street musicians including the rough "alley fiddle" of his friend Eddie Anthony. Some of Howell's best work has few equivalents in pre war blues, like Coal Man Blues with its street vendors' cries or Please Ma'am, an "over and over" song pleading against rejection, where the repetition of a few phrases becomes like some kind of extended mantra. There is plenty to enjoy in all these tracks, from Beaver Slide Rag, a perfect country dance tune, to the acknowledged masterpiece of Skin Game Blues. The final disc concludes Peg Leg's legacy and presents other recordings by members of his gang. Highlights include Georgia Crawl by Henry Williams and Eddie Anthony and the second session of Anthony (recording as Macon Ed) with guitarist Tampa Joe, which culminates with Warm Wipe Stomp (worth having just for the title!). Vaudeville singer "Sloppy" Henry provides variety and a memorable Canned Heat Blues before songster Lil McClintock delivers Furniture Man and Don't Think I'm Santa Claus. McClintock's performances were representative of an older style in 1930 but still sound wonderfully fresh today (an alternate take of Furniture Man, omitted here, was on Document DOCD 5160. "Sloppy" Henry's other sessions were on Document DOCD 5380 and 5482). Sound quality shows a worthwhile improvement on corresponding Document/Matchbox reissues, and is generally very good apart from some worn Curley Weaver sides. The sound of two postwar Weaver tracks duplicated on Biograph 30171 is however slightly better on the Biograph reissue. Finally, the format of discs three and four here represents an improvement over the Matchbox discs, in that all the Peg Leg Howell sides are presented together rather than being split up by recordings of his associates. Altogether this is another important set, full of fascinating and unique recordings. (DPR)
JULIUS DANIELS: Can't Put The Bridle On The Mule This Morning (Take 1)/ Can't Put The Bridle On The Mule This Morning (Take 2)/ Crow Jane Blues/ I'm Goin' To Tell God How You Doin'/ My Mamma Was A Sailor/ Ninety-Nine Year Blues (Take 1)/ Ninety-Nine Year Blues (Take 2)/ Richmond Blues (Take 1)/ Richmond Blues (Take 2)/ Slippin' And Slidin' Up The Golden Street (Tak 3)/ Slippin' And Slidin' Up The Golden Street (Take 2)/ THE GEORGIA BROWNS: Decatur Street 81/ It Must Have Been Her/ Joker Man/ Next Door Man (Take 1)/ Next Door Man (Take 2)/ Tampa Strut/ Who Stole De Lock/ 'SLOPPY' HENRY: Canned Heat Blues/ Long, Tall, Disconnected Mama/ Royal Palm Special Blues/ Say I Do It/ PEG LEG HOWELL: Away From Home/ Ball And Chain Blues/ Banjo Blues/ Beaver Slide Rag/ Broke And Hungry Blues/ Chittlin' Supper/ Coal Man Blues/ Doin' Wrong/ Fairy Blues/ Fo' Day Blues/ Hobo Blues/ Low-Down Rounder Blues/ Moanin' And Groanin' Blues/ Monkey Man Blues/ New Jelly Roll Blues/ New Prison Blues/ Papa Stobb Blues/ Peg Leg Stomp/ Please Ma'am/ Rock And Gravel Blues/ Rolling Mill Blues/ Sadie Lee Blues/ Skin Game Blues/ Tishamingo Blues/ Too Tight Blues/ Turkey Buzzard Blues/ Turtle Dove Blues/ Walkin' Blues/ MACON ED & TAMPA JOE: Everything's Coming My Way/ Mean Florida Blues/ Tantalizing Bootblack/ Tickle Britches/ Try That Thing/ Warm Wipe Stomp/ Worrying Blues/ Wringing That Thing/ LILLIE MAE: Bootie Wah Bootie/ Buggy Jail House Blues/ Mama Don't Want It/ Wise Like That/ LIL MCCLINTOCK: Don't Think I'm Santa Claus/ Furniture Man/ Mother Called Her Child To Her Dying Bed/ Sow Good Seeds/ CURLEY WEAVER: . Tricks Ain't Walking No More/ Baby Boogie Woogie/ Birmingham Gambler/ Black Woman/ Brown Skin Woman/ City Cell Blues/ Dirty Deal Blues/ Dirty Mistreater/ Early Morning Blues/ Early Morning Blues/ Empty Room Blues/ Fried Pie Blues/ I Keep On Drinkin'/ It's The Best Stuff Yet/ Leg Iron Blues/ My Baby's Gone/ No No Blues/ No No Blues (Take 1)/ No No Blues (Take 2)/ No No Blues (W. Eddie Mapp)/ Oh Lawdy Mama/ She Don't Treat Me Good No More/ Some Cold Rainy Day/ Some Rainy Day/ Sometime Mama/ Sweet Petunia/ Ta Ta Blues/ Ticket Agent/ Tippin' Tom/ Trixie/ Two Faced Woman/ Wild Cat Kitten/ You Was Born To Die/ HENRY WILLIAMS & EDDIE ANTHONY: Georgia Crawl/ Lonesome Blues

ROBERT PETE WILLIAMS Arhoolie 394 Vol 1 - I'm Blue As A Man Can Be ● CD $13.98
15 tracks, 69 mins, essential
See Volume 2 below for full details.
ROBERT PETE WILLIAMS: Angola Special/ Church On Fire #2 (*)/ Come Here Baby/ Help Me On My Way(*)/ I'm Blue As A Man Can Be/ Just Tippin' In (*)/ Levee Camp Blues/ Louise/ Motherless Children Have A Hard Time/ Pardon Denied Again (*)/ Please Lord/ So Much Is Happenin' In This Wicked ROBERT PETE/ Texas Blues/ This Wild Old Life (*)/ Two Wings (*)/ Up And Down Blues

ROBERT PETE WILLIAMS Arhoolie 395 Vol 2 - When A Man Takes The Blues ● CD $13.98
14 tracks, 72 mins, essential
Discovered in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1959 by folklorist Harry Oster, Robert Pete Williams was one of the greatest and most unique blues discoveries of the period. He was an incredibly moving singer and a totally original guitar player whose modal technique and eccentric rhythm bears little resemblance to coventional blues guitar techniques but is eminently suitable to his free-form and often improvised vocal lines. Most of the material on these two discs were recorded by Oster in 1959 and 1960 when Robert was still in jail along with a few tracks recorded for Chris Strachwitz in 1970. Half of the recordings have never been issued before including his versions of a number of traditional and original gospel songs intended for a gospel album which never materialised. Even when singing familiar material like Two Wings, Louise or Motherless Children Have A Hard Time the material becomes uniquely his own. Most of the songs are originals and were often improvised on the spot including a couple about his life in Angola Pardon Denied Again and Levee Camp Blues that will not leave you unmoved. His ultimate masterpiece Prisoner's Talking Blues is not here but is promised for a future release. He plays both six and 12 string guitar and the second volume includes an 11 minute monologue in which he talks about his life, the inspiration for his music and how he ended up in prison for murder. Unfortunately, this ends too soon, as the tape ran out. First volume has interesting, if somewhat pompous, notes by Henry Kaiser and the second has notes by Chris Strachwitz. Robert Pete made beautiful, moving and challenging music - no easy listening here. If you can only get one then volume 1 has a slight edge but they are both essential releases. (FS)
ROBERT PETE WILLIAMS: All Night Long (*)/ Blue In Me/ Death Comes Creepin' In Your Room (*)/ Dyin' Soul/ Hot Springs Blues (Peetie Wheatstraw Blues) (*)/ I Got The Blues So Bad/ I Had Trouble (*)/ I Want To Die Easy (*)/ Robert Pete Williams Monologue (*)/ Santa Fe Blues/ Sinner Don't You Know (*)/ This Train Is Heaven Bound (*)/ When A Man Takes The Blues (*)/ Wife And Farm Blues (Take 2) (*)

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