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Brother Joe May -> Stick(s) McGhee

PERCY MAYFIELD Raven 219 Blues Laureate - The RCA Years ● CD $19.98
Fabulous 25 track collection drawn from the sides recorded for RCA between 1969 and 1971 by this great singer and songwriter. All new songs from Percy including the great Highway Is Like A Woman and several witty topical songs (You Wear Your Hair Too Long/ Right On Young Americans). Percy is accompanied by top New York session musicians like Eric gales, Seldon Powell, Richard Tee, Chuck Rainey and others.

PERCY MAYFIELD Winner 445 Live ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 52 mins, highly recommended
Available again. It's not without reason that Percy Mayfield is called "The Poet Of The Blues" with his beautifully crafted, witty and intelligent, but never pretentious, lyrics that can strike at many nerves. In the last few years of his life he was no longer crafting new songs but his vocal skills were still strong with a great warmth. In those last years he frequently performed in the Bay Area and was a regular guest on Mark Naftalin's live radio show "Blue Monday Party" and the recordings on this excellent disc are drawn from shows over a two year period. Percy performs some of his most famous songs - River's Invitation/ Strange Things Happening/ Loose Lips/ The Highway Is Like A Woman and other, including of course, his most famous composition Please Send Me Someone To Love. Percy sounds relaxed and enjoying himself with frequent chucckles and asides. He is accompanied by top notch musicians, mostly Bay Area locals including Naftalin on piano, Pee Wee Crayton, Bobby Murray or Ron Thompson/ guitar, Dr Wild Willie Moore, Julian Vaught or Bobbie Webb/ sax and others. Recording quality is excellent and these last recordings by a blues legend are a sublime ending to a career that was often fraught with misfortune. (FS)

NORRIDGE MAYHAMS & THE BLUES CHIPS Document DOCD 5488 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, 1936 ● CD $15.98
NORRIDGE MAYHAMS & THE BLUE CHIPS: 'tain't No Use/ Ace In The Hole/ Ash Haulin' Blues/ Chippin' The Rock Of Blues/ Crying Holy Unto The Lord/ Drunk Woman/ Enuff To Run You/ Froggy Bottom/ Give Me That Old Time Religion/ I Want A Girl - Medley. Intro 'let Me Call You Sweetheart'/ I'm A Rattlesnakin' Daddy/ If I Had My Way/ Let's Get Drunk And Truck/ My Gal Sal/ My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race/ Nit Wit Serenade/ Nobody's Darling But Mine/ Oh! Monah/ Over, Children/ Pray For Me Sometime/ Sloppy/ Stay On The Right Side Of The Road/ Why Don't You/ Winter Soon Be/ Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

ROBERT MCCOY Delmark 759 Bye Bye Baby ● CD $14.98
21 tracks, 69 mins, essential
Fabulous collection of barrelhouse piano blues from Birmingham, Alabama singer & piano player Robert McCoy. McCoy started his musical career in the mid 20s inspired by the playing of his older brothers as well such artists as Clarence "Pinetop" Smith, "Cow Cow" Davenport, Jabo Williams and Leroy Carr. He performed regularly and although he never recorded under his own name he played on recordings by the likes of "Jaybird" Coleman, "Peanut The Kidnapper" and Guitar Slim. Like many others, economic conditions put an end to his musical careerin the 30s. He was discovered by 14 years old blues enthusiast Pat Cather in 1961 who recorded him on a number of occasions over the next few years and issued two now extremely rare albums on his own Vulcan label. The first 14 cuts here are beautifully recorded studio sides, five of them previously unissued, and the remaining seven tracks (6 of them previously unissued) were recorded "on location" and have inferior sound though featuring fine performances. On the basis of these recordings McCoy was a major talent - a wonderful and expressive singer and a sensational piano player with a rolling style that is both energetic and sensitive - you can hear the influences of some of the people he associated with but he is very much an original. His material is a fine mix of traditional based originals and original takes of songs from the repertoire of St. Louis Jimmy, Leroy Carr, Pinetop Smith and others. The opening cut Bye Bye Baby is a real stunner as is his take on Luke Jordan's Church Bell Blues and Leroy Carr's Gone Mother Blues. That McCoy didn't become a regular on the blues circuit is a real shame. A second CD of McCoy's recordings for Cather is in the works for which I can only say "hallelujah"! (FS)

VIOLA MCCOY Document DOCD 5416 Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 : 1923 ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 69 min., recommended
Vaudeville blues have not been favored by reissue companies, and now with this 1st volume (of 3), Document Records has offered the (near) complete recordings of Viola McCoy except for a few undiscovered titles. The late critic Derrick Stewart-Baxter was of the opinion (as I am) that she scarcely ever made a bad record. If it wasn't for the fact that we know very little about her, I'm sure her recordings would be better known. Until this series, all that was available was one track on Rosetta Records, and the rare Bateau Chinois/Ristic album. Accompanied mostly by pianist Porter Grainger, this volume contains the 1st recordings of Just Thinkin' (covered by both Edna Hicks & Sara Martin), Sad And Lonely Blues (covered by both Alberta Hunter & Edna Hicks) Strut Long Papa, Tain't No Telling What The Blues Will Make You Do (covered by Lena Wilson) and Wish I Had You (And I'm Gonna Get You Blues) (covered by both Fletcher Henderson and Hazel Meyers). As was the custom, she also recorded titles (dare I say, returning a favor!) associated with Ida Cox, Josie Miles, Monette Moore, Trixie Smith and Ethel Waters. (EL)
VIOLA MCCOY: Bama Bound Blues/ Bleeding Hearted Blues/ Chirpin' The Blues (8371-b)/ Chirping The Blues (80991)/ Gulf Coast Blues/ If You Want To Keep Your Daddy Home (11661)/ If You Want To Keep Your Daddy Home (8268)/ Just Thinkin' (a Blues) (8370-a)/ Just Thinkin' (blues) (11656)/ Laughin' Cryin' Blues (80912)/ Laughin' Cryin' Blues (8269-b)/ Long Lost Mama/ Michigan Water Blues/ Midnight Blues (a Wee Hour Chant)/ Mistreatin' Daddy (12029)/ Sad And Lonely Blues/ Strut Long Papa/ Taint No Telling What The Blues Will Make You Do/ Tired O' Waitin' Blues (81033)/ Tired O' Waitin' Blues (8355-a)/ Triflin' Blues (80990)/ Triflin' Blues (8329-b)/ Wish I Had You (and I'm Gonna Get You Blues) (8390)/ Wish I Had You (and I'm Gonna Get You Blues)(12032)

VIOLA MCCOY Document DOCD 5417 Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 : 1924-1926 ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 66 min., recommended
Continuing from volume 1, this set contains her original versions of I Don't Want Nobody That Don't Want Me, Mamma, Mamma (Don't Love Her Papa No More), Stomp Your Blues Away, and her two masterpieces, Ive Got The World In a Jug and If Your Good Man Quits You, Don't Wear No Black (with Fletcher Henderson's Jazz Five). As with the previous volume, McCoy also recorded titles associated with other singers of the day, including You Don't Know My Mind (with guitarist Charlie Dixon, and originally recorded by Virginia Liston) and How Come You Do Me Like You Do (originally recorded by Marjorie Royce). (EL)
VIOLA MCCOY: Buzzin' Around (take 2)/ Charleston Blues/ Clearing House Blues (take 2)/ Get Yourself A Monkey Man And Make Him/ How Come You Do Me/ I Ain't Gonna Marry, Ain't Gonna Settle Down/ I Don't Want Nobody That Don't Want Me (12946)/ I Don't Want Nobody That Don't Want Me (13147)/ I'm Saving/ I've Got The World In A Jug/ If Your Good Man Quits You, Don't Wear No Black/ It All For You/ It Makes No Difference Now (12948)/ It Makes No Difference Now (13012)/ Keep On Going (vocal Duet With Billy Higgins)(13805)/ Keep On Going (vocal Duet With Billy Higgins)(31699)/ Like You Do (take 2)/ Mama's Gone, Goodbye/ Mamma, Mamma (don't Love Her Papa No More)/ Memphis Bound (take C)/ Papa, If You Can't Do Better (i'll Let A Better Papa Move In)/ Shake That Thing/ South Street Blues/ Stomp Your Blues Away/ Strut His Stuff (vocal Duet With Billy Higgins)/ West Indies Blues/ You Don't Know My Mind (take 2)

VIOLA MCCOY/ JULIA MOODY Document DOCD 5418 Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 : 1926-1929 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 71 min., recommended
This, the final volume of Viola McCoy's recordings has our lady accomanied by stellar players like cornetist Rex Stewart (Fortune Teller), Canadian-born pianist Louis Hooper (Slow Up Papa) and pianist Cliff Jackson (Git goin'). But it's the songs again that (should) win you over : her version of Dyin' Crap Shooter's Blues (with Louis Hooper) holds up against Martha Copeland's original version, and those of us who only know versions by Blind Willie McTell/David Bromberg, should listen up and check out these great classic blueswomen. Also included are versions of Victoria Spivey's Black Snake Blues, and Rosa Henderson's Gay-Catin Daddy. The CD is completed with 13 titles by one Julia Moody, including her original versions of Cootie Crawl (with the awesome cornetist Joe Smith), Good Man Sam and Mad Mama's Blues. It's a shame we know nothing about her as nearly all of these 13 songs were only recorded by her. (EL)
VIOLA MCCOY: 'git' Goin' (take C)/ Back Water Blues/ Black Snake Blues/ Body And Soul (he Belongs To Me)/ Dyin' Crap Shooter's Blues/ Fortune Teller Blues (tak A)/ Gay-catin Daddy/ I Want A Good Man (and I Want Him Bad)/ If You Really Love Your Baby/ Mama Is Waitin' For You/ Slow Up Papa (take A)/ Some Day You'll Come Back To Me (take B)/ JULIA MOODY: Broken Busted, Can't Be Trusted Blues/ Don't Forget, You'll Regret/ Good Man Sam/ He'll Do You Wrong/ Jada Blues/ Last Night Blues/ Mad Mama's Blues/ Midnight Dan/ Police Blues/ Strivin' Blues/ That Chicago Wiggle/ The Cootie Crawl/ Worried Blues

JIMMY MCCRACKLIN & HIS BLUES BLASTERS Ace CDCHD 720 The Modern Recordings, 1948-1950 ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, 73 mins, essential
Jimmy McCracklin is an important and prolific West Coast singer, piano player and songwriter who is still performing 50 years after these recordings were made. He is a superb and expressive singer and a fine piano player whose slow blues (Deceivin' Blues/ Love When It Rains/ I Think My Time Is Here/ Bad Condition/ Oh! I'm Love, etc) harken back to the mournful style of Walter Davis but in a modern setting. In contrast, his up tempo rockers (Reelin' & Rockin'/ Josephine/ Blues Blasters Shuffle/ Gotta Cut Out, etc) rock like crazy. Jimmy is accompanied by some superb musicians including guitarists Robert Kelton (a dazzling and underrated musician) and the great Lafayette Thomas, drummer Little Red and, on some cuts, saxophonist Maxwell Davis. On a number of tracks Kelton & Thomas both play and the interplay between the two makes for ecstatic listening. This great compilation includes a number of alternate takes or unissued songs including two beautiful demos from a worn acetate with just Jimmy & piano. As always for Ace, sound quality is superb and their informative notes by Ray Topping. The only disappointment is the lack of discographical information except for the limited info in the notes - there's really no excuse for a release this significant. (FS)
JIMMY MCCRACKLIN: 1942 Boogie/ Bad Condition Blues/ Bad Health Blues/ Bad Health Blues (demo)/ Beer Drinkin' Woman/ Blues Blasters' Shuffle (instrumental)/ Cold Hearted (take 2)/ Crying Blues/ Deceivin' Blues/ Deceivin' Blues (alternate take)/ Don't Mistreat Me (Take 1)/ Gotta Cut Out/ Hamburger Joint/ I Think My Time Is Here/ I'll Get A Break Some Day/ Josephine/ Just Won't Let Her Go/ Love When It Rains aka Rainy Weather Blues/ Mistreating Me (demo)/ Oh! I'm In Love/ Racket Blues (take 2)/ Reelin' & Rockin' Aka Rockin' All Day/ Up And Down Blues/ You Deceived Me/ Your Heart Ain't Right

JIMMY MCCRACKLIN Ace CDCHD 993 Blues Blastin' - The MOdern Recordings, Volum 2 ● CD $18.98
The second volume of Jimmy's great Modern recordings features 12 songs recorded in 1954/55 including two previously unissued plus six alternate takes of songs that were on Ace 720 from his earlier sessions of 1948/49. It also includes six sides featuring some of Jimmy's musical associates - Jerry (aka Lafayette) Thomas, JOhnny Parker and Baby Pee Wee Parham.
JIMMY MCCRACKLIN: Blues Blasters Boogie/ Cold Hearted (take 1)/ Couldn't Be A Dream/ Darlin' Share Your Love (oh Baby)/ Decievin' Blues (take 3)/ Don't Have To Worry Aka Jumpin' In The Heart Of Town/ Give My Heart A Break Aka You Don't Seem To Understand/ Gonna Tell Your Mother/ Hamburger Joint (take 3)/ I Got Eyes For You/ I'll Get A Break Someday (take 1)/ I've Got A Feeling/ It Ain't No Use/ Let's Get Together/ Lost Mind Aka Standing In The Back Door Crying/ My Mother Said/ Oh! I'm In Love (take 2)/ People Are Wondering Label/ Please Forgive Me Baby/ Rockin' All Day (take 1)/ That Ain't Right/ The Panic's On/ Tired Of Everybody/ What You Did To Me

JIMMY MCCRACKLIN Courtney CRCD 5000 The Rockin' Man ● CD $18.98
29 track collection of sides from the 40s and early 50s - Rockin' Man/ You're The One/ I'm Gonna Have My Fun/ Hear My Story/ She's Gone/ I Can't Understand LOve/ I Wanna Make Love To You/ I Don't Want No Woman/ I'm The One/ Rock & Rye, Part 1 & 2/ Farewell, etc. Great music though some tracks have an overly processed sound.
JIMMY MCCRACKILN: Beer Tavern Girl/ Blues For The People/ Farewell/ Hear My Story/ Hello Baby/ House Rockin' Blues/ I Can't Understand Love/ I Don't Want No Woman/ I Need Your Lovin'/ I Wanna Make Love To You/ I'm Gonna Have My Fun/ I'm The One/ It's All Right/ Love For You/ Pleasin' Papa/ Rock And Rye Part 1/ Rock And Rye Part 2/ Rockin' Man/ Savoy's Jump/ She Felt Too Good/ She's Gone/ That's Life/ The Cheater/ True Blues/ We Could Make It A Go, I Know/ What's Your Phone Number/ You're The One

JIMMY MCCRACKLIN Gunsmoke 3109 Tell It To The Judge ● CD $14.98
17 tracks, 65 mins, recommended
This new album from blues legend McCracklin is enjoyable if a bit confusing. Some of the recordings are new but there are also a couple of his 60s Imperial sides including the classic Think, there are five cuts from his early 90s albums on Bullseye Blues and some tracks (I don't know how many) from his out of print Evejim album cut in the 80s. All but one of the songs are McCracklin originals - some with a topical message but most dealing with affairs of the heart but all of it demonstrating McCracklin's great skills as an inventive and, often playful, songwriter and after more than 50 years in the music biz he still has that great soulful voice. Sidemen include Pee Wee Ellis, leon Haywood, Lowell Fulson, Smokey Wilson (listed as Smokey Robinson!), Dr. Wild Willie Moore and others. There are occasional intrusions of string and synthesizer's but most of the arrangements are appropriate. Good stuff. (FS)

FLOYD MCDANIEL Delmark 671 Let Your Hair Down ● CD $14.98
17 tracks, 66 mins, very good
Singer/ guitarist McDaniel has a musical career dating back to the washboard band The Rhythm Rascalas in the 30s. Since then his career included a long spell with the Chicago group the Four (later Five) Blazes in the 40s & 50s, backing Sam Cooke in the late 50s, playing with a rock group in the 60s and working with one of the many Ink Spots groups in the 70s! On this enjoyable disc he is accompanied by the 7 piece band The Blues Swingers led by tenor saxophonist Dave Clark. Together they recreate the sound of the smooth, jazzy, hip big band blues and R&B of the late 40s. The material is mostly familiar blues, pop & jazz standards like Blue Mood/ Strange Things Happening/ St. Louis Blues/ Sent For You Yesterday/ R.M. Blues and others including a couple of new versions of songs he recorded with the Four (or Five) Blazes. Floyd is an engaging, warm singer and a solid, if not particularly imaginative, guitarist and the instrumental arrangements are spot on. Nothing to here to really set the pulses racing but an evocative and musically top notch collection. (FS)
FLOYD MCDANIEL: Beale Street Baby/ Blue Mood/ Caldonia/ Christopher Columbus/ God Bless The Child/ I Want A Little Girl/ It Don't Mean A Thing/ Let Your Hair Down/ Mary Jo/ Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out/ R.m. Blues/ Raggedy Ride/ Sent For You Yesterday/ St. Louis Blues/ Strange Things Happening/ West Side Baby/ Why Life's Got To Be This Way

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Arhoolie 304 Mississippi Delta Blues ● CD $12.98
Fierce singing and stinging slide guitar from the Delta's Fred McDowell in the best from Arhoolie 1021 & 1027 (Delta Blues, Vols. 1 & 2). Includes the great You Gotta Move, later recorded by the Stones, 2 cuts with his teacher, Eli Green, and some searing playing from a great bluesman.
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL: 61 Highway/ Black Minnie/ Brooks Run Into The Ocean/ Bull Dog Blues/ Do My Baby Ever Think Of Me/ Fred's Worried Life Blues/ Frisco Line/ I Ain't Gonna Be Bad No Mo'/ I Heard Somebody Call/ Kokomo Blues/ Louise/ Mama Don't Allow/ My Trouble Blues/ Shake 'Em On Down/ That's Alright/ When I Lay My Burden Down/ Write Me A Few Lines/ You Gonna Be Sorry/ You Gotta Move

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Arhoolie 424 Good Morning Little Schoolgirl ● CD $12.98
22 tracks, 77 min, highly recommended
A Fred McDowell album, particularly if it's on Arhoolie, hardly needs reviewing - the man was just consistently magnificent with his soulful vocals and stinging slide guitar. Even though many of the songs are familiar from other recordings, Fred's performances are always rewarding. The first 11 sides (two previously unissued) are all solo blues - Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/ Fred's Rambling Blues/ I Walked All The Way From East St. Louis/ Gravel Road Blues and others. The remaining 11 tracks, all previously unissued, are gospel songs and Fred is joined by his wife and members of his church congregations on spine chilling performances of Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ I'm Going Over The Hill/ Amazing Grace/ You Gotta Move and other sacred staples. Superb sound throughout and affectionate notes by Chris Strachwitz. (FS)
FRED & ANNIE MAE MCDOWELL: Amazing Grace (*)/ Bye And Bye (*)/ FRED MCDOWELL: Don't Look For Me On A Sunday/ Drop Down Mama/ Early This Morning (Write Me A Few Of Your Lines) (*)/ Fred's Rambling Blues/ FRED & ANNIE MAE MCDOWELL: Get Right Church (*)/ FRED MCDOWELL: Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/ Gravel Road Blues/ I Looked At The Sun/ I Walked All The Way From East St. Louis/ FRED & ANNIE MAE MCDOWELL: I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (*)/ I'm Going Over The Hill (*)/ I'm So Glad, Got Good Religion (*)/ It's A Blessing (*)/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning (*)/ FRED MCDOWELL: Little Girl, Little Girl, How Old Are You/ FRED & ANNIE MAE MCDOWELL: Look Way Down That Lonesome Road (*)/ FRED MCDOWELL: Red Cross Store Blues/ FRED & ANNIE MAE MCDOWELL: When The Saints Go Marching In (*)/ FRED MCDOWELL: Where Were You When The Rooster Crowed 'Fore FRED/ FRED & ANNIE MAE MCDOWELL: You Gotta Move (*)

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Arhoolie 441 This Ain't No Rock 'n Roll ● CD $12.98
18 tracks, 77 mins, highly recommended
More wonderful Mississippi country blues from one of the masters. The first 8 tracks here were originally issued on Arhoolie 1046 and are some of the first to feature Fred on electric guitar. They are a superb set of performances, recorded in 1969, with Fred accompanied by Mike Russo on acoustic guitar, John Kahn/ bass and Bob Jones/ drums who do a very sympathetic job accompanying Fred on songs like My Babe/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ Diamond Ring/ Dankins Farm and others. The rest of the disc features tracks recorded at Chris Strachwitzes house a year earlier and are lmost like a warm up for the later recordings since they feature Fred on electric guitar with accompaniment by John Francis on drums. It is easy to see why they were no issued earlier - the sound quality is not up to Arhoolie's usual high standards and the drum accompaniments are tentative and not always appropriate. Still, even though it's not Fred at his best it's still worth a listen. (FS)
FRED MCDOWELL: Bye, Bye Little Girl/ Dankin's Farm/ Diamond Ring/ Ethel Mae Blues/ Going Away, Won't Be Gone Long/ Going Down That Gravel Bottom/ I Heard Somebody Calling Me/ I Wonder What Have I Done Wrong/ I Worked Old Lu And I Worked Old Bess/ Jim, Steam Killed Lula/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ Levee Camp Blues/ Mama Said I'm Crazy/ Meet Me Down In Froggy Bottom/ My Baby/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ Worried Now, Won't Be Worried Long/ You Ain't Treatin' Me Right

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Arhoolie 501 The Best Of Mississippi Fred McDowell ● CD $12.98
Great 18 track collection of this magnificent Mississippi Delta bluesman recorded for Arhoolie between 1964 and 1969. Most of the tracks are drawn from previously issued Arhooolie CDs with two previously unissued songs froma live concert. Includes Write Me A Few Of Your Lines/ Levee Camp Blues/ Fred's Worried Life Blues/ Meet Me Down In Froggy/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ Shake 'Em On Down/ I Wish I Was In Heaven Sittin' Down/ I Looked At The Sun/ You Gotta Move, etc.
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL: Do My Baby Ever Think Of Me/ Fred's Rambling Blues/ Fred's Worried Life Blues/ Going Away/ Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/ I Looked At The Sun/ I Wish I Was In Heaven Sittin' Down/ Intro: Shake 'em On Down/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ Kokomo Blues/ Levee Camp Blues/ Louise/ Meet Me Down In Froggy Bottom/ My Baby/ My Bottleneck/ Shake 'em On Down/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ Won't Be Gone Long/ Write Me A Few Of Your Lines/ You Gatta Move

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Capitol 33919 I Do Not Play No Rock 'n' Roll - The Complete Sessions ● CD $19.98
2 CDs, 90 mins, 19 tracks, very good
Back in print at a lower price. Well, Fred McDowell may claim that "I do not play no rock 'n 'roll", but when he got a groove going he rocked and rolled better than just about anyone you can think of. This two CD set features all the recordings cut by this great Mississippi bluesman in the Malaco studios in 1969 with bass and drums. Nine of the cuts were originally issued on Capitol, eight were on a short lived album on the Just Sunshine label and the remainder have never ben issued before. Fred is in good form playing electric guitar and his repertoire here is mostly familiar material like Baby, Please Don't Go/ Kokomo Me Baby/ Red Cross Store/ 61 Highway/ Jesus Is On The Mainline/ Write Me A Few Of Your Lines, etc. Bass player Jerry Puckett and drummer Dulin Lancaster do a competent job of backing Fred. These recordings are probably more noteworthy for the fact that by being on a major label they gave Fred more exposure than the specialist labels he had recorded for rather than that they are particularly exceptional McDowell recordings. For Fred at his very best you should check our his Arhoolie or Testament albums. (FS)
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL: 61 Highway/ Baby Let Me Lay Down/ Baby Please Don't Go/ Baby Please Don't Go (Alt.)/ Drop Down Mama/ Everybody's Down On Me/ Eyes Like An Eagle/ Glory Hallelujah/ Good Morning Little School Girl/ Jesus Is On The Mainline/ Kokomo Me Baby/ Long Line Skinner/ Mortgage On My Soul/ My Baby She Gonna Jump And shout/ Rap/Louise/ Red Cross Store/ Somebody Deeps Callin' Me/ Someday/ That's All Right Baby/ Write Me A Few Of Your Lines

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Hightone 8151 Heritage Of The Blues ● CD $11.98
12 tracks, very good HighTone's introductory disc in their "Heritage of the Blues" is a fine primer for those unfamiliar with Mississippi Fred McDowell. Produced by the late Pete Welding and recorded between 1963 and 1968, four cuts feature Fred's wife Annie Mae along with Hunter's Chapel Singers of Como, MS. Goin' Over The Hill/ Just A Little More Faith/ You Got To Move, and Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning are worth the price of admission alone. The balance of the set finds McDowell working out on Waiting For My Baby/ The Girl I'm Loving/ Diving Duck Blues/ My Baby Don't Treat Me Like Human Kind/ Jim Steam Killed Lula/ Pea Vine Special/ Down On Dankin's Farm, and Going Down South, Carry My Whip. No real surprises, just solid bottleneck guitar and heartfelt vocals, but at less than 40 minutes, it's far too short. (CR)

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Original Blues Classics OBCCD 535 Long Way From Home ● CD $12.98
This is a reissue of Milestone 93003 originally issued in 1968. To my mind there can never be too much Fred McDowell - he was a truly magnificent performer and possibly the greatest blues discovery of the 60s. A rich, powerful and expressive singer he was also a unique and brilliant guitarist whose playing embodied some of the most hypnotic rhythms to be heard anywhere. He was also a brilliant slide guitarist. What makes this collection somewhat unique is that it includes several songs that Fred had not recorded elsewhere. In addition to his unique interpretations of traditional songs like Poor Boy, Long Way From Home/ Milk Cow Blues and Sail On Little Girl it also includes less familiar items like The Train I Ride/ Millionaire's Daughter Blues/ You Drove Me From Your Door, etc but all of it is superb. (FS)

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Rounder 2138 Mississippi Fred McDowell ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 75 mins. essential
Previously available as an import on Flyright FLYCD 14 - this Rounder edition has new notes by Tom Pomposello. It's a sensational collection of 20 tracks recorded by this magnificent Mississippi blues singer and slide guitarist for Dick Spottswood in 1962. He was in tremendous form and although the technical quality is not quite up to the standard of some of his later recordings these are among his most spirited performances and feature several songs not recorded by him elsewhere. 14 of the tracks were originally issued on Heritage 302 - the remaining have not been issued before. Songs include Done Left Her/ The Girl That I'm Lovin'/ On The Frisco Line/ I Rolled And I Tumbled/ John Henry/ Trouble Everywhere I Go/ Someday Baby and others. It also includes a rare instrumental from Fred - the eerie Como. Essential material from a major blues artist. (FS)
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL: All The Way From East St. Louis/ Como/ Done Left Here/ Goin' Down To The River/ Good Morning Little School Girl/ Highway 61/ I Rolled And Tumbled/ I've Been Drinking Water Out Of (A) Hollow Log/ John Henry/ Kokomo Blues/ Left My Baby Standing/ Milk Cow Blues/ On The Frisco Line/ Red Cross Store Blues/ Shake 'Em On Down/ Someday Baby/ The Girl That I'm Lovin'/ Trouble Everywhere I Go/ Trouble Everywhere I Go (alternate version)/ Write Me A Few Lines

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Shout Factory 30256 Heroes Of The Blues - The Very Best Of Mississippi Fred McDowell ● CD $13.98
16 tracks, 49 minutes, recommended
Another pleasure in the long line of Mississippi Blues is the music of Fred McDowell, a slide guitarist and singer, who although around during the height of recording in the 1930s, did not make his appearance on record until the late 1950s. While the 49 minutes of playing time is considerably less than the other discs in the series, the material is stellar with a mix of standards (Been Drinkin' Muddy Water Out Of A Hollow Log/ Pea Vine Special/ Drop Down Mama) and religious titles (Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed and Get Right, Church!) while Johnny Woods adds incredible harp to Shake 'Em On Down and the small band assistance on 61 Highway. Nicely compiled and annotated by Frank Scott. (CR)
FRED MCDOWELL: 61 Highway/ Drop Down Mama/ Get Right, Church/ I‘ve Been Drinking Water Out Of A Hollow Log/ Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning/ Kokomo Blues/ Louise/ My Baby/ On The Frisco Line/ Pea Vine Special/ Red Cross Store/ Shake em On Down/ Trouble Everywhere I Go/ Write Me A Few Lines/ You Gotta Move

MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL Snapper Blues 035 London Calling ● CD $9.98
14 tracks, 64 min, highly recommended
Originally released on one and half Red Lightnin' LPs, this stunning performance captured Fred McDowell at his peak in front of a small stage at The Mayfield Hotel, London, UK. in 1969. Accompanying himself on electric guitar he performs stellar versions of some of his trademark songs like 61 Highway/ Red Cross Store/ Write Me Of A Few Of Your Lines and Shake 'Em On Down as well as a couple of less frequently performed songs like Evil Hearted Woman/ I Asked For Whiskey, She Brought Me Gasoline (actually a version of Big Road Blues) and Standing At The Burying Ground. On the traditional spiritual When I Lay My Burden Down he shares the vocal with Britain's finest blues singer Jo Ann Kelley who works extremely well with Fred though occasionally the lyrics get jumbled. At one point Fred announces "I'm really enjoying myself here tonight" - you will too! These recordings have been reissued on CD several times before so you may want to check your collection. (FS)
MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL: 61 Highway/ Evil Hearted Woman/ Glory Hallelujah/ I Asked For Whiskey, She Gave Me Gasoline/ Kokomo Blues/ Louise/ My Babe/ My Baby Done Me Wrong/ Red Cross Store Blues/ Shake 'Em On Down/ Standing At The Burying Ground/ Waves Of The Water/ When I Lay My Burden Down/ Write Me A Few Of Your Lines

16 tracks, 39 min., essential
Finally back in print. Good recordings of rural gospel are always a rare treat, and this 1966 reissue, featuring superb slide guitarist Fred McDowell, his wife Annie, and the Hunter's Chapel Singers of Como, Ms., is about the sweetest thing this side of heaven. In the genre vocal group recordings are particularly scarce, and the practiced quartet/ quintet arrangements of songs like I Got Good Religion/ Just A Little More Faith/ Amazing Grace/ When You Come Out Of The Wilderness and an absolutely entrancing You Got To Move make this CD required listening. I've Been Converted/ Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning continue the Delta spiritual tradition of vocal and bottleneck guitar duets, with McDowell's spooky whine taking on amazingly lifelike qualities in the remastered mix. The guitarist goes solo on a powerful unissued performance of Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed, and sings a hair-raising The Lord Will Make A Way. (MB)

FRED MCDOWELL & JOHNNY WOODS Fat Possum 80364 Mama Says I'm Crazy ● CD $18.98
11 tracks, 43 mins, essential
Fabulous collection of sides recorded by George Mitchell in 1967 featuring Fred in the company of excellent Mississippi harmonica player Johnny Woods. Woods was an old friend of Fred's but was an elusive character and rarely recorded. Woods's chugging harmonica is a perfect accompaniment to Fred's emphatic vocals and pulsing, rhythmic and soaring slide guitar work on songs like Shake 'Em Down (possibly the best version of this song often recorded by Fred)/ Mama Says I'm Crazy/ Red Cross Store/ John Henry and others. Woods also contributes a couple of fine vocals ranging the traditional Long Haired Doney to a wonderful country blues interpretation of Ray Charles's I Got A Woman. Most of these sides were issued many years ago on LPs on the British Revival and American Rounder label but this is their first appearance on CD and appears to include a few previously unissued sides. (FS)

CHARLIE "SPECKS" MCFADDEN Blues Documents BDCD 6041 Complete Chronological Recordings 1929-37 ● CD $15.98 $11.98
20 tracks, 62 mins, recommended
I bet you never expected to see a whole CD of Charlie "Specks" McFadden? No neither did I? But here we have a collection of 20 songs performed by this fine but utterly obscure performer. Apart from the fact that he was from St. Louis and got his nickname from the glasses he wore not much else is known. He was a fine singer with a high, expressive voice and recorded for a number of labels between 1929 and 1937 and on most of his recordings was accompanied by the brilliant piano of Roosevelt Sykes. Aprt from two 78s that have never been found this disc presents his entire output. He was best known for his songs Groceries On The Shelf (about an early supermarket chain) and People People and he recorded four versions of the former and thre of the latter. There are other good songs here including Gambler's Blues/ Weak-Eyed Blues, the always topical Times Are Tight and Lonesome Ghost Blues but it's all worth a listen. Don't let the obscurity put you off. Sound is generally good and there are notes by Mike Rowe. (FS)
CHARLIE "SPECKS" MCFADDEN: Broken Down Blues/ Don't Bite That Thing/ Friendless Man/ Gambler's Blues/ Groceries On My Shelf (91208)/ Groceries On The Shelf (l-155)/ Groceries On The Shelf No. 2/ Harvest Moon Blues/ Hold It Where You Got It/ Last Journey Blues/ Lonesome Ghost Blues/ Low Down Rounders Blues/ Misunderstood Blues/ People People (91209)/ People People Blues (l-154)/ People, People (76832)/ Piggly Wiggly Blues/ Times Are So Tight/ Weak-eyed Blues/ Yellow Woman Blues

TOM MCFARLAND Arhoolie 9055 Travelin' With The Blues ● CD $9.98
13 tracks, 53 min., highly recommended
A West Coast bluesman in the musical tradition of B. B. King, the late Tom McFarland earned his reputation playing in clubs in Portland, Seattle, and Oakland. His first album, originally released on Arhoolie in 1978, is reissued here with 3 extra tracks. An expressive guitarist and singer, McFarland was the rare blues guitar slinger who wrote his own material. His best-loved Going Back To Oakland shows off his subtle yet powerful guitar playing to its best effect, while the rocking blues of Street Walking Woman is the kind of song that must have pounded a place like Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland until the walls throbbed. The extra tracks sound like they're from the same sessions as the album, with Tom's Boogie the most fun. (JC)

BROWNIE MCGHEE Smithsonian Folkways 40034 The Folkways Years 1945-1959 ● CD $15.98
Brownie McGhee recorded six Folkways albums, showcasing the country blues master in the period between his early days as a Blind Boy Fuller-style guitarist/ singer, and his second career as one of the best known rediscovered bluesmen. Eleven of the 15 songs on this hour-long disc are solo pieces; three of the remaining pieces feature McGhee's longtime collaborator, harmonica player Sonny Terry; all the tracks showcase McGhee's direct and steadfast singing and playing styles. The marvelous Just A Dream is a previously unreleased guitar/ piano duet that is the only cut here which does not have excellent sound. This is a fine, representative collection with very good liner notes. (JG)
BROWNIE MCGHEE: 'Fore Day Creep/ Betty And Dupree/ Can't Help Myself/ Careless Love/ Cholly Blues/ Daisy/ Grievin' Hearted Blues/ Hangman's Blues/ I'm Gonna Tell God How You Treat Me/ Just A Dream/ Living With The Blues/ Long Gone/ Me And Sonny/ Pallet On The Floor/ Pawn Shop Blues/ Raise A Ruckus Tonight/ Rising Sun

BROWNIE MCGHEE & SONNY TERRY Original Blues Classics OBCCD 561 At The 2nd Fret ● CD $12.98
10 tracks, 46 min., recommended
By the time that this fine set was recorded, live, in 1962, these two blues stalwarts had moved out of the world of blues, through the world of rhythm and blues, and on into the world of folk music. Their combination of sophisticated guitar work and urgent backwoods harmonica worked well in all three arenas, but seemed particularly attractive to appreciative folk audiences like this one. Among the featured tracks here are Evil Hearted Me/ Barking Bull Dog/ Backwater Blues/ Motorcycle Blues, and I Woke Up One Morning And I Could Hardly See. A pleasure from start to finish. Excellent stereo sound, with original cover art and liner notes. (DH)

BROWNIE MCGHEE & SONNY TERRY Smithsonian Folkways 40011 Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry Sing ● CD $15.98
Remastered, repackaged version of Folkways 232 originally issued in 1958 featuring this ever popular duo with Gene Moore/ drums.

BROWNIE MCGHEE & SONNY TERRY Vestapol DVD 13056 Red River Blues ● DVD $23.98
DVD. Various filmed performances of this fine and popular duo throughout the years including two songs filmed for the Library Of Congress in 1948 (one with Woody Guthrie), songs performed on Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Quest" TV show, a 1973 performance on BBC TV and more.

SONNY TERRY & BROWNIE MCGHEE/ MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT, Shanachie DVD 607 ETC. Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest ● DVD $18.98
DVD, 24 "tracks," approx. 2 hours, highly recommended In the recent Scorsese documentary on Dylan, only once did brother Bob ever seem to care genuinely about anyone's opinion of his music when he went electric, and that opinion belonged to Pete Seeger. Seeger's television show circa 1967 is remarkable for its total lack of slickness. No one will ever again be free to invite interesting musicians (some famous, some obscure) of wildly diverse styles and backgrounds and just let them play. No product placement, no one pushing his latest album. The first show here features Sonny Terry & Browning McGhee trading songs with Seeger (although most of the time they join in on each other's songs), including McGhee's amusing original I Couldn't Believe My Eyes and the wonderful Don't Pity Me. Terry's amazing harp playing is a joy to witness and hear, and his vocal performance on Leadbelly's Rock Island Line helps to make it a highlight of the show. McGhee is his usual soft-spoken and charming self. In the second episode of Rainbow Quest, Seeger sits around a table with Mississippi John Hurt, Hedy West, and Paul Cadwell as each takes turns playing for the others. Hurt (who had recently been "rediscovered" and rerecorded) comes across as the gentlest of souls, modest and more than capable of some very fine guitar work. Hedy West, a Georgia-based folk singer performs in English (Cotton Mill Girl and German Ballad Of William Moore while accompanying herself on 5-string banjo. Caldwell, who never worked as a professional musician, specializes in old-style, nylon-string (he uses fishing line) banjo, performing ragtimes and cakewalks as few people have ever heard. (There's even a brief round-table discussion of the origins of the cakewalk!) It's a blessing that Seeger saw fit to make these performances available to posterity. (JC)

20 tracks, 52 mins, very good
Entertaining, if somewhat lightweight, collection of blues from King focussing on the recordings of Granville Heneley "Stick" McGhee, younger brother of Brownie McGhee. He had a hit for Atlantic in 1949 with the much covered Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Drinking Wine and his 1953 & '55 sessions for King featured several variations on the same theme like Jungle Juice/ Whiskey, Women & Loaded Dice and Double Crossing Liquor. The rest of the material on which he is accompanied by New York session musicians like Sir Charles Thompson, Mickey Baker, Jimmy Wright and others is more novelties like The Wiggle Waggle Woo, blues ballads and the odd straight blues. The disc features four cuts by "Big Tom Collins" - a group that included Brownie McGhee & Jack Dupree who each take two of the vocals. These are the best cuts here. The disc is rounded out with four cuts by Ralph Willis accompanied by Brownie and Sonny Terry - pleasant enough but not the equal of his earlier recordings. (FS)
STICK MCGHEE: A Real Good Feeling/ Blues In My Heart And Tears In My Eyes/ Dealin' From The Bottom/ Do Right/ Door Bell Blues/ Double Crossin' Liquor/ Get Your Mind Out The Gutter/ Gonna Hop On Down The Line/ Head Happy With Wine/ Heart Breaking Woman/ Heartache Blues/ I'm Doin' All The Time/ Jungle Juice/ Little Things We Used To Do/ Sad, Bad, Glad/ Six To Eight/ The Wiggle Waggle Woo/ Watchin' My Stuff/ Whiskey Women And Loaded Dice/ Why'd You Do It


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