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BLUES & GOSPEL
T-Lou -> Baby Tate

T-LOU & HIS ZYDECO BAND
T-MODEL FORD
T.V. SLIM
BLIND JOE TAGGART
TAIL DRAGGER
TAJ MAHAL
TAMPA RED & BIG MACEO
TAMPA RED
 

T-LOU & HIS ZYDECO BAND Maison De Soul 1047 Super Hot ● CD $15.98

 
T-MODEL FORD Fat Possum 80303 Pee-Wee Get My Gun ● CD $13.98

 
T.V. SLIM Official 5560 Flatfoot Sam ● CD $17.98
31 tracks, 73 mins, essential
T.V. Slim was a fine and unique bluesman who, had he not been killed in a car crash in 1969, would have most certainly stepped out of the obscurity that has engulfed him. This CD features almost his entire recorded output cut between 1957 and 1968 in Louisiana and Los Angeles, mostly on his own label Speed. He was an excellent singer with a dark, powerful voice and a brilliant and witty songwriter who achieved some modest sucess with songs about the folk rascal he created "Flatfoot Sam" ("always in a jam"). There are also a couple of songs about Henpecked Joe and the only known blues about dinner etiquette, the hilarious Don't Reach Cross My Plate ("a cat reached cross my plate/ got his coat sleeve in my gravy") plus his paean to the blues Don't Knock The Blues with some great blues fiddle. There is a tremendous variety in the songs and arrangements including tracks with just acoustic guitar, just piano or hot small combos with guitar and sax. Slim was a real talent and deserves to be much better known. (FS)

 
BLIND JOE TAGGART Document DOCD 5153 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 1 (1926-28) ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 70 min., recommended
Josh White said Taggart was the 2nd meanest man he'd ever met and not even blind...Cataracts. At any rate, Blind Joe Taggart was apparently the first "guitar evangelist" (read: religious country blues guitarist) to put his act on shellac. His early Vocalion sides are generally excellent, especially Keep On The Firing Line, but his Paramount efforts are paramount. Some of them, anyway. The notes call Goin' To Rest Where Jesus Is/ Been Listening All The Day "Two of the most intriguing recordings in the history of American folk music." Intriguing claim, that. Some secular sides recorded under pseudonyms have been included, though Blind Percy may or may not be the real (Blind) McCoy. (JC)

 
BLIND JOE TAGGART Document DOCD 5154 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 2 (1929-34) ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 78 min., recommended
The problem with this vol. of Taggart's collected work is that often the most interesting songs have the poorest sound quality. Guess it only makes sense that the best 78s got played the most, or something like that. So Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down/ I Ain't No Sinner Now/ Pressin' Up That Shiny Way all sound like hell. Great hell, though. The 4 here by Blind Gussie Nesbit are pleasant and unspectacular. The 1929 recordings of Rev. Edward Clayborn are a nice addition to his earlier work (compiled on DOCD-5155) but add nothing indispensable or unusual. Given all of that, this is still worth hearing, if you don't mind separating the wheat from the tares. (JC)

 
TAIL DRAGGER Delmark 728 American People ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, 60 mins, very good
Enjoyable set of Chicago blues by performer who has been active on Chicago blues scene for many years - I think that this is his first solo album. He's a good singer and a decent songwriter and most of the songs here are his own. However his vocal style is very strongly influenced by Howling Wolf and at times sounds little more than a blatant imitation. The band with him are very good - particularly guitarists Johnny B. Moore and Rockin' Johnny. If he stuck with his own voice more it would be a more enjoyable effort. (FS)

 
TAIL DRAGGER & HIS CHICAGO BLUES BAND St. George 7706 Crawlin' Kingsnake ● CD $14.98

 
TAJ MAHAL Private Music 82139 Phantom Blues ● CD $15.98
New album of mostly blues & R&B favorites - Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes/ The Hustle Is On/ Fanning The Flames/ Ooh Poo Pah Doo/ Don't Tell Me/ What Am I Living For?/Let The Four Winds Blow, etc. With guest appearances from Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt.

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5076 In Chronological Order - Vol. 4 (1930-1931) ● CD $15.98
This volume featuring 24 sides recorded between July, 1930 and October, 1931 is a bit of a mixed bag. Highlights are the two cuts by The Hokum Jug Band with the wonderful vocals of Frankie Jaxon - low points are the 4 dull vocals by Sweet Papa Tadpole with Tampa and Tom Dorsey accompanying (great artist name though)! Most of the rest feature Tampa and Tom and are enjoyable enough but a bit repetitive and frequently marred by being dubbed from very noisy 78s. A couple of fine guitar solos round out this set which is far less essential than the first 3 volumes. Notes by Teddy Doering don't have a whole lot to say. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5077 In Chronological Order - Vol. 5 (1931-1934) ● CD $15.98
The fifth volume features 23 tracks recorded between October 1931 and March 1934. Part way through this period his long time partner Georgia Tom Dorsey quite playing the blues and devoted the rest of his life to gospel music where he became an important pioneer. The first 8 tracks are still with Dorsey and offer little that hasn't been heard in the previous volumes. There are two lovely solo performances Turpentine Blues and Western Bound Blues from 1932 and then we jump to 1934 where he is joined by the brilliant piano player Black Bob. This also marks the first appearance of his kazoo playing which to appear on his subsequent records with greater frequency and, to my ears, adds little of any consequence. Apart from the kazoo his recordings with Bob are superior to his later sides with Dorsey. The disc ends up with two of Red's lovely slide guitar instrumnentals. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5206 Complete Recorded Works, Volume 6 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 67 mins, recommended
If you've already digested the first 5 volumes on Document devoted to Tampa Red covering the period 1929 to 1934 (Document 5073-5077 - $17.50) here is the first of 15 (!!) volumes covering the rest of his recording career. This collection features 20 songs recorded at three sessions between June 1934 and February 1935 - there are two take of a couple of songs. Most of the tracks find him accompanied by piano players Black Bob or Henry "45" Scott plus occasional second guitar or jug. Although Tampa's dreaded kazoo makes an occasional appearance it's mostly powerful vocals and his distinctive single string slide guitar work. The material is varied and includes a couple of topical items Christmas And New Years Blues and Stockyard Fire. One interesting thing - I'll Get A Break Someday is not by Tampa - I would assume that it's Carl Martin who has a session listed right after Tampa's - a fine cut whoever it is though. Sound is generally good though a few tracks are from pretty worn pressing. Notes by Alan Balfour. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5207 Complete Recorded Works, Volume 7 ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 75 mins, recommended
These cuts were recorded at five sessions between July 1935 and August 1936. Another nice collection from the prolific Hudson Whittaker though some stylistic changes are evident - not necesarrily for the best. The most aggravating is the fact that Tampas' kazoo playing is more in evidence. I personally feel that a little kazoo goes a long way. The material is moving away from straight blues and includes some jazzy and pop songs inspired by the popularity of people like Fats Waller and Cab Calloway. On many of these songs he is accompanied by a lively small band with Arnett Nelson on clarinet. Tampa's lovely single string slide guitar is much less in evidence here though his playing on tracks like Keep On Dealin' is as good as ever. On two tracks Tampa plays piano with Willie B. James on guitar and they do an uncanny duplication of the Leroy Carr/ Scrapper Blackwell style. A number of cuts here are from pretty worn pressings but most of it is acceptable. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5208 Complete Recorded Works, Volume 8 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 68 mins, very good
More mid 30s Tampa stuff switching between straight blues with Tampa playing piano accompanied by Willie B. James on guitar and a more uptown sound with the The Chicago Five. Pleasant but not exactly memorable material. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5209 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol 9 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 69 mins, very good
A diverse, if not particularly exciting, selection recorded at 3 sessions between October 1937 and June 1938. Half the tracks are pretty much straight blues featuring Tampa on guitar or piano with accompaniments by Willie B. James/ guitar or Black Bob/ piano. The other half are a mixture of jazz, pop and swing songs with accompaniment by a small group The Chicago Five - much of this material is rather pedestrian. Highlight of this is the lovely Seminole Blues with some fairly atypical slide guitar from Tampa. There is also an early recording (maybe the first?) of a song which has become a blues standard Love With A Feeling. Decent notes and sound. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5210 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol 10 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 66 mins, very good
Twenty two tracks drawn from five sessions between June 1938 and November 1939. The emphasis here is on straight blues with fine sides like When Bad Luck Is On You/ Bessemer Blues/ Please Don't Throw Me Down, etc. There is also some more jazzy stuff and a couple of hokum numbers. The earliest cuts feature Black Bob on piano while the rest have the ubiquitous Blind John Davis. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5211 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol 11 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 65 mins, recommended
Another enjoyable collection of sides from the extremely prolific Tampa Red, his guitar and that damned kazoo! The first 14 tracks find him in the familiar company of pianist Blind John Davis and are in a more straight ahead blues vein than some of his prior recordings. It also includes the first versions of songs that have become blues standards - Anna Lou Blues (better known as Anna Lee)/ Don't You Lie To Me and It Hurts Me Too. The third session here from November 1940 is a bit of a departure being his first recordings in more than 5 years to feature no other accompaniment besides his own guitar (and usually kazoo) and there are some terrific tracks here ranging from the jazzy The Jitter Blues to the wonderful intense blues Hard Road Blues. Good sound and informative brief notes from Alan Balfour. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Document DOCD 5213 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol 13 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 65 mins, recommended
Tampa, under the guidance of the astute Lester Melrose, continues his post war career. The first three sessions from 1945 and early '46 find him once again in the company of the brilliant Big Maceo's whose wonderful rolling piano are the perfect complement to Tampa's singing and guitar. The songs are excellent and include a remake of his 1928 recording Corrine and the outstanding Crying Won't Help You which has been recorded by a number of bluesmen including Robert Nighthawk. The rest of the disk features 3 sessions from late 1946 and 1947 and features Tampa in the company of a small jump band with Blind John Davis on piano and one or two horn players. The singing and playing is competent enough but doesn't have the spirit of the earlier sides. (FS)

 
TAMPA RED Wolf WBJ 001 Keep Jumping ● CD $14.98
Well there's no shortage of Tampa Red reissues around but here's another one covering a diversity of sides recorded between 1934 and 1953. The tracks from 1934 to 1947 feature Tampa in various settings with musicians like Blind John Davis, Ransom Knowling, Sax Mallard, Big Crawford, Judge Riley, Bob Call & others and is fairly typical stuff. The material recorded between 1950 and '52 is generally more interesting, featuring the wonderful piano and occasional second vocal of the magnificent Johnny Jones plus the solid rhythm of Ransom Knowling & Odie Payne. There are also 2 tracks from 1953 with similar personnel, plus Sonny Boy Williamson or Big Walter Horton on harp! 19 selections in all. (FS)

 

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