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Various Artists Collections - Pre War Mississippi Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7719 Big Joe Williams & The Stars Of Mississippi Blues ● CD $28.98
5 CDs, 126 tracks, highly recommended
Charlie Patton may have died in 1934, but the six hours of often intense blues here show his spirit remained very much alive. Big Joe, whose 1935-51 work accounts for the first two discs, incorporated some of Patton's guitar style in his bass slapping and high treble notes, but his insistent rhythms were all his own. The unrestrained music of his 1935 sessions includes some of Joe's best work, although his vocals sound a little tight. His third session two years later sees Joe's voice more open and relaxed, and the start of a long association with the brilliant Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson. There are several versions of Joe's signature piece Baby Please Don't Go, autobiographical material like Mean Step Father Blues and adaptations from Patton, Jefferson, Estes and other luminaries. Nearly all this material was previously reissued on Blues Documents 6003/4, but the generally very good sound quality of those discs has been improved upon here, and an alternate take omitted from BDCD6004 is included. Six additional tracks from 1951 find Joe continuing to move closer to mainstream Chicago blues.
For the third disc, crank up the volume and enjoy the powerful, impassioned vocals and emphatic guitar style of Tommy McClennan. Tommy's limitations as a guitarist only add to the tension of his performances, and he manages the trick (he only had one, but it's a good one) of being exciting and amusing at the same time. Patton had a reputation for clowning during his live performances and on this disc McClennan delivers virtually a live performance in the studio, with self mocking injunctions to "play it right", teasing pauses before returning to his trademark rhythms and occasional laughter at the end of songs. The original engineers did a great job on these recordings and the remastering here matches the gold standard set by RCA's McClennan reissue (67430 - now deleted)
Disc four continues Mr McClennan's assault, and includes an alternate take of Bluebird Blues omitted from the RCA compilation. On his last recording, Boogie Woogie Woman, he is joined by playing partner Robert Petway who had a similar (if less frenetic) style and who was a better guitarist. Petway's complete works take up the rest of this disc and the start of disc five - he is mainly remembered for his composition Catfish Blues, his first recording, which became a blues standard. His work has previously been reissued on Document (DOCD 5671) and Wolf (WBCD 005) but the sound quality here is better. Next up on the final disc is Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards, lighter voiced and the most accomplished guitarist on this set. Twelve of Edwards' 1942 Library of Congress recordings are here, in much less blurry sound than the five previously released on Travelin' Man TM CD 07. The highlight is Water Coast Blues, a near six minute performance which "virtually summarized what Delta musicianship of the decade had to offer." Honeyboy knew Williams, McClennan and Petway and his recollections form the main source for Neil Slaven's excellent booklet notes, but little is known about Willie "Poor Boy" Lofton, another interesting performer who concludes this set. One of his most memorable efforts is Jake Leg Blues, a worthy contribution to the group of songs dealing with the evils of 1930s Jamaica Ginger. Sound is less noisy than on the Document reissue of Lofton's work (DOCD 5158), if a little restrained. All round an excellent set, very well presented. (DPR)
DAVID EDWARDS: Army Blues/ Hellatakin' Blues/ Just A Spoonful/ Roamin' And Ramblin' Blues/ Spread My Raincoat Down/ Stagolee/ Tear It Down Rag/ Water Coast Blues/ Wind Howlin' Blues/ Worried Life Blues/ You Got To Roll/ You Got To Roll (levee Camp Song)/ WILLIE LOFTON: Beer Garden Blues/ Dark Road Blues/ Dirty Mistreater/ It's Killin' Me/ Jake Leg Blues/ My Mean Baby Blues/ Poor Boy Blues/ Rainy Day Blues/ TOMMY MCCLENNAN: . It's Hard To Be Lonesome/ Baby Don't You Want To Go/ Baby, Please Don't Tell On Me/ Black Minnie/ Blue As I Can Be/ Bluebird Blues/ Bluebird Blues (take 2)/ Blues Trip Me This Morning/ Boogie Woogie Woman/ Bottle It Up And Go/ Brown Skin Girl/ Classy Mae Blues/ Cotton Patch Blues/ Cross Cut Saw Blues (take 1)/ Cross Cut Saw Blues (take 2)/ Deep Blue Sea Blues/ Des'e My Blues/ Down To Skin And Bones Blues/ Drop Down Mama/ Elsie Blues/ I Love My Baby/ I'm A Guitar King/ I'm Going Don't You Know/ It's A Crying Pity/ Katy Mae Blues/ Love With A Feeling/ Mozelle Blues/ Mr. So And So Blues/ My Baby's Doggin' Me/ My Baby's Gone/ My Little Girl/ New "shake 'em On Down"/ New Highway 51/ New Sugar Mama/ Roll Me, Baby/ Shake It Up And Go/ She's A Good Looking Mama/ She's Just Good Huggin' Size/ Travelin' Highway Man/ Whiskey Head Man/ Whiskey Head Woman/ You Can Mistreat Me Here/ You Can't Read My Mind/ ROBERT PETWAY: Bertha Lee Blues/ Catfish Blues/ Cotton Pickin' Blues/ Don't Go Down Baby/ Hollow Log Blues/ In The Evening/ Left My Baby Crying/ Let Me Be Your Boss/ My Baby Left Me/ My Little Girl/ Ride 'em On Down/ Rockin' Chair Blues/ Sleepy Woman Blues/ BIG JOE WILLIAMS: 49 Highway Blues/ Baby Please Don't Go/ Baby Please Don't Go/ Baby Please Don't Go (alternate Take)/ Bad And Weakhearted Blues/ Bad Heart Blues/ Banta Rooster Blues/ Break 'em On Down/ Brother James/ Crawlin' King Snake/ Delta Blues/ Don't You Leave Me Here/ Drop Down Blues/ Highway 49/ His Spirit Lives On/ House Lady Blues/ I Know You Gonna Miss Me/ I Won't Be In Hard Luck No More/ I'm A Highway Man/ I'm Getting Wild About Her/ Jivin' Woman/ King Biscuit Stomp/ Little Leg Woman/ Mama Don't Allow Me/ Mean Stepfather Blues/ Meet Me Around The Corner/ Mellow Apples/ My Grey Pony/ North Wind Blues/ Overhauling Blues/ P Vine Blues/ Peach Orchard Mama/ Please Don't Go/ Providence Help The Poor People/ Rootin' Ground Hog/ She Left Me A Mule/ She's A Married Woman/ Somebody's Been Borrowing That Stuff/ Somebody's Been Worryin'/ Someday Baby/ Stack Of Dollars/ Stack Of Dollars/ Stepfather Blues/ Throw A Boogie Woogie/ Vitamin A/ Wanita/ Whistling Pines/ Wild Cow Blues/ Wild Cow Moan/ Worried Man Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP 7702 Charley Patton & Associates - Complete Recordings ● CD $28.98
5CDs, 92 tracks, 285 minutes, essential
The importance of Charley Patton seems to have crested with three box sets in the last two years. Catfish entered in early 2001 with their well done, yet inexpensive, 3-disc set (now deleted) and Revenant finished out the year with an elaborate and costly 7-CD masterpiece (now deleted). JSP hands in yet another Patton box, this time five CD's with close to five hours of playing time. Chronologically laid out, disc one contains Patton's fourteen tracks as well as four from Buddy Boy Hawkins dating to the June, 1929, session in Richmond. Disc two gathers sixteen of the sides Charley delivered in October of 1929 in Grafton, Wisconsin, along with Edith North Johnson's four piano offerings, while the third disc in the set also stems from the same session; Patton's even dozen are coupled with four from Henry 'Son' Sims. Disc four compiles the stunning sixteen tracks from the June, 1930 date, where Patton brought along Son House, Willie Brown, and Louise Johnson. House is spellbinding for three two-part masterpieces; My Black Mama/ Preachin' The Blues, and Dry Spell Blues, while the test of Walkin' Blues sounds absolutely better than ever. Brown's pairing of Future Blues and M&O Blues is breathtaking as well, and Louise Johnson's five show a driving pianist not afraid to get in the alley with the two-part All Night Long. The fifth CD has a few additional Patton cuts from the same date plus Wheeler Ford's powerful vocals fronting the Delta Big Four in May, while the balance is made up of Charley's final sessions. He traveled to New York in late January of 1934, and over three days, he and Bertha Lee delivered a dozen sides. While there's not a lot of gloss and shine to the JSP box, it does offer incredible value. Granted, it doesn't measure up to Revenant's expensive polish it wins in the bargain sweepstakes. Sound quality is far better than what many Patton devotees have ever heard. (CR)
WILLIE BROWN: Future Blues/ M and O Blues/ THE DELTA BIG FOUR: God Won't Forsake His Own/ I Know My Time Ain't Long/ I'll Be Here/ Jesus Got His Arms Around Me/ Moaner Let's Go Down in the Valley/ Watch and Pray/ We All Gonna Face the Rising Sun/ Where Was Eve Sleeping?/ WALTER "BUDDY BOY" HAWKINS: A Rag Blues/ How Come Mama Blues/ Snatch It and Grab It/ Voice Throwin' Blues/ SON HOUSE: Dry Spell Blues, Pt. 1/ Dry Spell Blues, Pt. 2/ My Black Mama, Pt. 1/ My Black Mama: Pt. 2/ Preachin' the Blues: Pt. 1/ Preachin' the Blues: Pt. 2/ Walkin' Blues/ EDITH NORTH JOHNSON: Honey Dripper Blues No.2/ Nickel's Worth of Liver Blues No. 2/ That's My Man/ LOUISE JOHNSON: All Night Long Blues (Take 1)/ All Night Long Blues (Take 2)/ By the Moon and Stars/ Long Ways from Home/ On the Wall/ BERTHA LEE: Mind Reader Blues/ Oh Death/ Troubled 'Bout My Mother/ Yellow Bee/ CHARLEY PATTON: 34 Blues/ A Spoonful Blues/ Banty Rooster Blues/ Bird Nest Bound/ Circle Round the Moon/ Devil Sent the Rain Blues/ Down the Dirt Road Blues/ Dry Well Blues/ Elder Green Blues (Take 2)/ Elder Green Blues (Take 2)/ Frankie and Albert/ Going to Move to Alabama/ Green River Blues/ Hammer Blues (Take 1)/ Hammer Blues (Take 2)/ Hang It on the Wall/ Heart Like Railroad Steel/ High Sheriff Blues/ High Water Everywhere, Pt. 1/ High Water Everywhere, Pt. 2/ I Shall Not Be Moved/ I Shall Not Be Moved/ I'm Goin' Home/ It Won't Be Long/ Jersey Bull Blues/ Jesus Is A-Dying (Bed Maker)/ Jim Lee: Pt. 1/ Jim Lee: Pt. 2/ Joe Kirby/ Lord, I'm Discouraged/ Love My Stuff/ Magnolia Blues/ Mean Black Cat Blues/ Mean Black Moan/ Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues/ Moon Going Down/ Pea Vine Blues/ Pony Blues/ Poor Me/ Prayer of Death, Pt. 1/ Prayer of Death, Pt. 2/ Rattlesnake Blues/ Revenue Man Blues/ Runnin' Wild Blues/ Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues/ Shake It and Break It (But Don't Let It Fall, Mama)/ Some Happy Day/ Some Summer Day/ Some of These Days I'll Be Gone/ Some of These Days I'll Be Gone (Take 2)/ Stone Pony Blues/ Tom Rushen Blues/ When Your Way Gets Dark/ You're Gonna Need Somebody When You Die/ HENRY "SON" SIMS: Be True, Be True Blues/ Come Back Corrina/ Farrell Blues/ Tell Me Man Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5672 Field Recordings Vol. 15 - Mississippi 1941-1942 ● CD $15.98
Most welcome new volume in Document's field recordings series features 23 tracks recorded in Mississippi in 1941 and 1942 including tracks by the legendary Sid Hemphill and group (Hemphill/ vocal & fiddle with banjo and guitar), a beautiful blues from David Edwards, field hollers and interviews with Charles Berry who worked with Muddy Waters in those days, solo unaccompanied gospel from Manuel Casey, gospel singing with group from Roxie Threadgill and Mrs. Johnson (thought by Alan Lomax to be Robert Johnson's mother!), a wonderful unexpurgated Hitler Toast from an unidentified singer and an interview with and quills tuning and playing from Alec Askew.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5577 Field Recordings, Vol. 3 - Mississippi, 1936-42 ● CD $15.98
30 tracks including 7 featuring fife and drum band led by Sid Hemphill plus Old Train Caller From New Orleans, Jeff Webb, Samuel Brooks, Ora Dell Graham, Thomas "Jaybird" Jones and others including Thomas J. Marshall doing a "cornfield holler" which he calls an "Arwhoolie" - hence the label name.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5578 Field Recordings, Vol. 4- Mississippi & Alabama,1934-42 ● CD $14.98
44 tracks - mostly unaccompanied with the exception of Blind Jesse Harris who accompanies himself with some very rudimentary accordion

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7715 Legends Of Country Blues ● CD $28.98
5 CDs, 104 tracks, essential
What a line up! Disc A - Skip James in 1931, recording blues so unique they might have come from a parallel universe, followed by the blistering intensity of Son House's Paramount session. Disc B - the historic Son House Library of Congress recordings. Disc C - Bukka White singing Shake 'Em On Down with the police waiting to arrest him, later drawing on his prison experiences and producing "the last great country blues session" with Washboard Sam. Disc D - Tommy Johnson, a man who probably never asked for a cool drink of water in his life, at least not if Sterno cooking fuel was available, but who nevertheless produced beautiful, evocative blues, unerringly sung and with brilliantly conceived and executed guitar parts. Disc E - Ishmon Bracey, Johnson's playing partner and a fine singer who was capable of producing effective and memorable blues in his own right.
All of this material has of course already been issued on CD, some of it on several labels, which makes JSP's claim that the sound has been "remastered for unprecedented listening quality" worth examining. Starting the comparison with the Skip James, Son House, Tommy Johnson and Ishmon Bracey reissues on Document, the recordings here have fewer clicks and pops, and a lower level of residual surface noise. Compared to the fuller sounding (but noisier) Yazoo reissues of Skip James, JSP still emerge well ahead on points. In fact the quality of their remastering on sides like James' Devil Got My Woman or Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues is so good it is difficult to believe you are listening to Paramount recordings. The Son House Library of Congress recordings have a similar sound to the version on Travelin' Man CD 02, but the intrusive crackling on those transfers has been removed.
When it comes to the Bukka White disc however, JSP's claim is harder to sustain. The studio sessions have decent enough sound, if lacking the crispness of the long deleted Catfish set, but there must have been a problem in sourcing the two field recordings Sic 'Em Dogs On and Po' Boy. The sound on these tracks is poor, whereas a good condition copy of the 78 was available to Catfish, and to Document when preparing Mississippi Blues and Gospel (DOCD 5320). (Document have subsequently issued all the Bukka White sides on DOCD 5679.) Despite the problem with these two sides, JSP have done another great service in producing a set of this quality. In this series they are trying to extend the market for some wonderful music, and if this shows in some of the packaging and booklet notes as it does here we should not be too critical. (At least full discographical information is included, which is more than some reissue companies are able to manage.) If you already have this material, this set offers four CDs of sound quality upgrades at a bargain price - if you haven't, treat yourself to some of the most inspired and moving blues ever recorded. (DPR)
ISHMAN BRACEY: Brown Mama Blues/ Brown Mama Blues/ Bust Up Blues/ Family Stirving/ Farish Street Rag/ Four Day Blues/ Four Day Blues/ Heavy Suitcase Blues/ Jake Liquor Blues/ Leavin' Town Blues/ Leavin' Town Blues/ Left Alone Blues/ Louisiana Bound/ Mobile Stomp/ Pay Me No Mind/ Saturday Blues/ Stranger Blues/ Suitcase Full of Blues/ Too Damp to Be Wet/ Trouble Hearted Blues/ Trouble Hearted Blues/ Where My Shoes At?/ Woman, Woman Blues/ SON HOUSE: Am I Right or Wrong/ American Defense/ Camp Hollers/ Country Farm Blues/ Delta Blues/ Depot Blues/ Dry Spell Blues, Pt. 1/ Dry Spell Blues, Pt. 2/ Fo' Clock Blues/ Government Fleet Blues/ Jinx Blues, Pt. 1/ Jinx Blues, Pt. 2/ Key of Minor/ Levee Camp Blues/ Low Down Dirty Dog Blues/ My Black Mama, Pt. 1/ My Black Mama, Pt. 2/ Pony Blues/ Preachin' the Blues, Pt. 1/ Preachin' the Blues, Pt. 2/ Shetland Pony Blues/ Special Rider Blues/ Special Rider Blues/ Walkin' Blues/ Walking Blues/ Walking Blues/ SKIP JAMES: 22-20 Blues/ Be Ready When He Comes/ Cherry Hall Blues/ Cypress Grove Blues/ Devil Got My Woman/ Drunken Spree/ Four O'Clock Blues/ Hard Luck Child/ Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues/ How Long Buck/ I'm So Glad/ If You Haven't Any Hay Get on Down the Road/ Illinois Blues/ Jesus Is a Mighty Good Leader/ Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues/ Special Rider Blues/ What Am I to Do Blues/ Yola My Blues Away/ TOMMY JOHNSON: Alcohol and Jake Blues/ Big Fat Mama Blues/ Big Road Blues/ Black Mare Blues/ Black Mare Blues/ Bye Bye Blues/ Canned Heat Blues/ Cool Drink of Water Blues/ I Wonder to Myself/ Lonesome Home Blues/ Lonesome Home Blues/ Lonesome Home Blues/ Maggie Campbell Blues/ Ridin' Horse/ Slidin' Delta/ BUKKA WHITE: Aberdeen Mississippi Blues/ Black Train/ Bukka's Jitterbug Blues/ District Attorney Blues/ Fixin' to Die Blues/ Good Gin Blues/ High Fever Blues/ I Am in the Heavenly Way/ New Frisco Train/ Panama Limited/ Parchman Farm Blues/ Pine Bluff, Arkansas/ Po' Boy/ Promise True and Grand/ Shake 'Em on Down/ Sic 'Em Dogs On/ Sleepy Man Blues/ Special Stream Line/ Strange Place Blues/ When Can I Change My Clothes

VARIOUS ARTISTS Yazoo 2002 Masters Of The Delta Blues ● CD $15.98
A spectacular collection of 23 Mississippi Delta blues tracks by some of the greatest exponents of the music - Son House, Kid Bailey, Tommy Johnson, Bukka White, Willie Brown, Ishmon Bracey, Louise Johnson, Bertha Lee. Almost all these recordings have already been reissued on CD by Document or Travelin' Man although the sound here is significantly improved and a few of the noisier sides have been mastered using the No Noise treatment. The disc also features a 16 page booklet with detailed informative notes by Don Kent and some nice photos. If you already have the Document releases, this is not absolutely essential, but, on its own merits is a truly superb release. (FS)
KID BAILEY: Mississippi Bottom Blues/ Rowdy Blues/ ISHMAN BRACEY: Brown Mama Blues/ WILLIE BROWN: Future Blues/ M And O Blues/ SON HOUSE: Dry Spell Blues, Part 1/ Dry Spell Blues, part 2/ My Black Mama, part 1/ My Black Mama, part 2/ Preachin' The Blues, part 1/ Preachin' The Blues, part 2/ Walking Blues/ LOUISE JOHNSON: Long Way From Home/ On The Wall/ TOMMY JOHNSON: Big Fat Mama Blues/ Button Up Shoes/ Canned Heat Blues/ Lonesome Home Blues/ Maggie Campbell Blues/ BERTHA LEE: Mind Reader Blues/ Yellow Bee/ BUKKA WHITE: I Am In The Heavenly Way/ Promise True And Grand

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5320 Mississippi Blues & Gospel : 1934-52 Field Recordings ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 65 mins, recommended
An exciting collection of field recordings made for the Library Of Congresss by Mississippi blues and gospel artists recorded between 1934 and 1942. It includes the two magnificent sides by Bukka White which have been reissued before but apparently this is the first time they have been remastered at the correct speed. The disc opens with some incredibly exciting gospel music recorded in church - some by Rev. McGhee who may be the same Rev McGhee who recorded commercially for Victor. There are a couple of unaccompanied field hollers from Charles Berry - a beautiful singer who also recorded with Muddy Waters on his Library Of Congress recordings and three tracks by William Brown - a truly outstanding singer and guitarist - what a shame he only recorded these three tracks. Also featured on this disc are Willie "61" Blackwell, George Boldwin, Lucious Curtis, Willie Ford, The Frazier Family and Blind Pete & Partner. Lots of good music though the sound quality on some of these deteriorating acetates is pretty grim. (FS)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Wolf WSE 111 Mississippi Blues 1928-1935 ● CD $11.98
23 tracks, recommended Great collection of recordings from artists working in the Jackson, Mississippi area including Willie Harris, Mississippi Bracey, "Big Road" Webster Taylor, Arthur Pettis, The Mississippi Moaner and Louise Johnson.

VARIOUS ARTISTS JSP JSPCD 7781 Mississippi Blues, Rare Cuts 1926-1941 ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, essential
Utterly fantastic collection of Mississippi country blues. JSP has already issued some sets featuring the big names in Mississippi blues (JSP 7702 - "Charlie Patton & Associates - Complete Recordings", 7715 - "Legends Of Country Blues" and JSP 7719 "Big Joe Williams & The Stars Of Mississippi Blues" - $28.98) but this set features lesser known artists - many who only recorded a couple of songs but what recordings they were - in many cases the equal of recordings made by the more well known figures. At first I was taken aback that the set is not organized by artist or chronologically but then I realized what a smart move that was - like those old OJL or Yazoo LPs we collected in the 60s and 70s you never know what's going to come next but you can be sure that it will be great. Mississippi blues is noted for its intensity and there's no shortage of that here with incredible tracks like Jim Thompkins' Bedside Blues - his only issued recording but a truly monumental performance with a vocal reminsicent of Robert Johnson and a unique plangent slide guitar style. Why oh why didn't he record more? Then there's the magnificent William Harris who recorded about a dozen sides though only a few of them have been found - his I'm Leavin' Town and Bullfrog Blues with their hypnotic churning rhythm are among my all time favorites. The Mississippi Moaner (Isaiah Nettles) takes Blind Lemon Jefferson material and tunrs it into pure Mississippi blues. On the more unusual front we have Walter Rhodes who accompanies himself on primitive accordion accompanied by Pet & Can on guitars or the intriguing Willie '61" Blackwell - a somewhat limited musician who makes up for it with truly fascinating lyrics. We also get songs and alternate takes only discovered in recent years of Son House, Blind Willie Reynolds and Robert Johnson and so much more from the like of Garfield Akers, The Mississippi Jook Band, Geeshie Wiley, Freddie Spruell (possibly the first Mississippi country bluesman to record), Joe McCoy, Charlie McCoy, Mose Andrews, J.D. Short, Bogus Ben Covington, Buddy Boy Hawkins, Robert Lockwood, George Torey, King Solomon Hill and more. There's not a single track that's less than excellent and many are truly outstanding. Sound is as good as one can expect for on some of these extremely rare records and brief notes by Neil Slaven help round out an exceptional package. This is one of those few box sets where you can play all the CDs one after another without the slightest trace of boredom. (FS)
GARFIELD AKERS: Cottonfield Blues Pt 1/ Cottonfield Blues Pt 2/ Dough Roller Blues/ Jumpin' And Shoutin' Blues/ MOSE ANDREWS: Ten Pound Hammer/ Young Heifer Blues/ KID BAILEY: Mississippi Bottom Blues/ Rowdy Blues/ WILLIE '61' BLACKWELL: Bald Eagle Blues/ Chalk My Toy/ WILLIE 61' BLACKWELL: Don't Misuse Me, Baby/ WILLIE '61' BLACKWELL: Four O'Clock Flower Blues/ Machine Gun Blues/ Noiseless Motor Blues/ Rampaw Street Blues/ She's Young And Wild/ MISSISSIPPI BRACEY: Cherry Ball/ I'll Overcome Someday/ Stered Gal/ You Scolded Me And Drove Me/ SAM BUTLER: Devil And My Brown Blues/ Jefferson County Blues/ Poor Boy Blues/ You Can't Keep No Brown/ JOE CALICOTT: Fare Thee Well Blues/ Traveling Mama Blues/ SAM COLLINS: Devil In The Lion's Den/ Loving Lady Blues/ The Jail House Blues/ Yellow Dog Blues/ BOGUS BEN COVINGTON: Adam And Eve In The Garden/ Boodle-De-Bum Blues/ MATTIE DELANEY: Down The Big Road Blues/ Tallahatchie River Blues/ WILLIAM HARRIS: Bull Frog Blues/ Early Mornin' Blues/ I'm Leavin' Town/ Leavin' Here Blues/ BUDDY BOY HAWKINS: Jailhouse Fire Blues/ Number Three Blues/ Shaggy Fog Blues/ Snatch It Back Blues/ KING SOLOMON HILL: My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon/ Tell Me Baby/ Times Has Done Got Hard/ SON HOUSE: Clarksdale Moan/ Mississippi County Farm Blues/ ROBERT JOHNSON: Traveling Riverside Blues Tk 1/ ROBERT LOCKWOOD: Black Spider Blues/ I'm Gonna Train My Baby/ Little Boy Blue/ Take A Little Walk With Me/ MISSISSIPPI JOOK BAND: Barbecue Bust/ Dangerous Woman/ Hittin' The Bottle Stomp/ MISSISSIPPI MOANER: It's Cold In China Blues/ Mississippi Moan/ MISSISSIPPI JOOK BAND: Skippy Whippy/ CHARLIE McCOY: Baltimore Blues/ Last Time Blues/ Motherless And Fatherless Blues/ JOE McCOY: Evil Devil Woman Blues/ Look Who's Coming Down The Road/ Meat Cutter Blues/ When The Levee Breaks/ ARTHUR PETTIES: Good Boy Blues/ Out On Santa Fe Blues/ Quarrellin' Mama Blues/ Revenue Man Blues/ That Won't Do/ Two Time Blues/ BLIND JOE REYNOLDS: Cold Woman Blues/ BLIND WILLIE REYNOLDS: Married Man Blues/ BLIND JOE REYNOLDS: Ninety Nine Blues/ BLIND WILLIE REYNOLDS: Third Street Woman Blues/ WALTER RHODES: Leaving Home Blues/ The Crowing Rooster/ JELLY JAW SHORT: Barefoot Blues/ Grand Daddy Blues/ Snake Doctor Blues/ FREDDIE SPRUELL: 4A Highway/ Don't Cry Baby/ Let's Go Riding/ Milk Cow Blues/ Mr Freddie's Kokomo Blues/ Muddy Water Blues/ Way Back Down Home/ Your Good Man Is Gone/ JOE STONE: Back Door Blues/ It's Hard Time/ ELVA THOMAS & GEESHIE WILEY: Motherless Child Blues/ JIM THOMPKINS: Bedside Blues/ GEORGE TOREY: Lonesome Man Blues/ Married Woman Blues/ OTTO VIRGIAL: Bad Notion Blues/ Got The Blues About Rome/ Little Girl In Rome/ GEESHIE WILEY: Last Kind Words Blues/ Over To My House/ Skinny Leg Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5157 Mississippi Blues, Vol. 1 (1928-37) ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 75 min., recommended
Complete works of several relatively obscure country blues artists associated with the Mississippi Delta, mostly recorded in 1930. Biographical info is scarce -- it isn't even know, for example, if "Big Road" Webster Taylor was black or white--but talent abounds. This set is especially notable for its inclusion of rarely represented blues women. Mattie Delaney, who recorded only 2 songs, accompanies herself on guitar on the wonderful Tallahatchie River Blues/ Down The Big Road Blues, while the superb pianist Louise Johnson contributes 4 sides, including All Night Long Blues/ By The Moon And Stars. The work of Uncle Bud Walker, Mississippi Bracy, Geechie Wiley & Elvie Thomas, The Mississippi Moaner (Isaiah Nettles - a Mississippi bluesman influenced by Blind Lemon Jefferson), and Mose Andrews is also here in full. Sound quality, with a few very noisy exceptions, is pretty good. And the music is consistently fine. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5158 Mississippi Blues, Vol. 2 (1926-35) ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 74 min., good
The complete work of the almost completely mysterious Arthur Petties (Pettis?) is here, all 6 songs. His style is reminiscent of Big Bill Broonzy or vice versa depending on who you believe. Then Chicagoan Freddie Spruell (a.k.a. Papa Freddie), who was one of the earliest Delta-styled blues man to commit his art to wax, offers 10 cuts, including Muddy Water Blues/ Low-Down Mississippi Bottom Blues/ Let's Go Riding. The disc is rounded off with Willie "Poor Boy" Lofton's 8 sides, cut in '34-35, with perhaps the best being the jazz-inflected It's Killing Me and Dirty Mistreater. Sound quality varies but is usually decent. Not as compelling as Vol. 1, but well-worth hearing. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5671 Mississippi Blues, Vol. 3 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 66 mins, highly recommended
Wonderful collection featuring three Mississippi blues artists. Robert Petway was an exciting bluesman from around Yazoo city with a style very much like his friend Tommy McClennan with a powerful gravelly voiced, energetic guitar work on his steel bodied National and spoken asides and exclamations. The 14 tracks here are from 1941 and '42 and represent his entire output which includes the first recording of Catfish Blues which has since become a blues standard. Other songs include Rockin' Chair Blues/ Let Me Be Your Boss/ Sleepy Woman Blues and others including the great Boogie Woogie Woman where he is joined on second vocal by McClennan. Hollandale bluesman Eugene Powell aka Sonny Boy Nelson performs 6 songs under his own name and accompanies his wife Missisippi Matilda on 3. Powell is outstanding throughout both in his singing and his imaginative guitar playing - joining the proceedings on second guitar is Willie Harris who probably takes the lead vocal on Low Down. Matilda is a bit of a weird singer with a high squeaky voice but her three tracks are quite appealing. A few cuts sound pretty rought but sound quality is generally satisfactory. Booklet has informative notes by Chris Smith. (FS)
WILLIAM HARRIS: Low Down/ MISSISSIPPI MATILDA: A & V Blues/ Happy Home Blues/ Hard Working Woman/ SONNY BOY NELSON: If You Don't Believe I'm Leaving Baby/ Long Tall Woman/ Lovin` Blues/ Pony Blues/ Street Walkin'/ ROBERT PETWAY: Bertha Lee Blues/ Boogie Woogie Woman/ Catfish Blues/ Cotton Pickin' Blues/ Don't Go Down Baby/ Hollow Log Blues/ In The Evening/ Left My Baby Crying/ Let Me Be Your Boss/ My Baby Left Me/ My Little Girl/ Ride `em On Down/ Rockin' Chair Blues/ Sleepy Woman Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5682 Mississippi Blues, Vol. 4 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 62 min., highly recommended
Originally released on vinyl in 1987, this CD reissue includes extra tracks, including take 1 of Robert Johnson's Traveling Riverside Blues, released originally on Document's Too Late Too Late Blues, Volume 11 (DOCD-6525). It offers 11 Johnson performances in total ("the alternate takes and bonus tracks"), including 4 originally unissued sides (Phonograph Blues, Cross Road Blues, Drunken Hearted Man, and the aforementioned Traveling Riverside Blues from his 1936 San Antonio sessions. Sound quality is quite good too. The booklet notes call Robert Lockwood Jr. the son of Johnson's "regualr girl friend." Lockwood learned guitar from Johnson and absorbed his style in the process. Lockwood's earliest, rare 1941 recordings waxed for Bluebird are included here, namely <>Black Spider Blues, I'm Gonna Train My Baby, Little Boy Blue, and Take A Little Walk With Me. Also included are both sides of Mercury 8260 (I'm Gonna Dig Myself A Hole and Dust My Broom) from a 1951 Chicago session; and both sides of JOB 1107 (Aw Aw Baby (Sweet Home Chicago) and Sweet Woman From Maine) also cut in Chicago, this time in 1955. And the complete recorded works--all 4 songs--of Otto Virgil are here too (and worth hearing too), recorded in Chicago in 1935 for Bluebird. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Yazoo 2007 Mississippi Masters - Early American Blues Classics ● CD $15.98
GARFIELD AKERS: Cottonfield Blues pt 1/ Cottonfield Blues pt 2/ Dough Roller Blues/ JOE CALICOTT: Fare Thee Well Blues/ MATTIE DELANEY: Down the Big Road Blues/ Tallahatchie River Blues/ JOHN D. FOX: The Moaning Blues/ Worried Man Blues/ WILLIAM HARRIS: Bullfrog Blues/ Hot Time Blues/ Kansas City Blues/ KING SOLOMON HILL: Gone Dead Train/ Whoopee Blues/ BLIND JOE REYNOLDS: Outside Woman Blues/ Third Street Woman Blues/ ELVIE THOMAS: Motherless Child Blues/ OTTO VIRGIAL: Little Girl in Rome/ GEESHIE WILEY: Last Kind Words/ Skinny Legs Blues/ Pick Poor Robin Clean

VARIOUS ARTISTS Blues Documents BDCD 6013 Mississippi String Bands & Associates 1928-1931 ● CD $15.98
With so much attention being paid nowadays to straightforward Delta blues, some offspring forms of the time, like blues-based string bands, are often given short shrift. This 76-minute CD features 24 string band tunes from Alec Johnson, The Mississippi Mud Steppers, The Mississippi Blacksnakes, and Sam Hill, the last name a pseudonym for a great lost bluesman. These wry, sprightly tunes have some wild accompaniment (Charlie McCoy accompanies most of the performers on mandolin and guitar), but on the whole they sound friendlier than most of the great Delta blues of the time, in part because so many of these numbers were cut by friends and families. These recordings are early examples of later blues stylings, and they were also precursors of many country styles: some of the songs on this set sound more like Jimmie Rodgers than Charley Patton. You're in for a surprise - highly recommended. JG)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Document DOCD 5002 Son House And The Great Delta Blues Singers, 1928-30 ● CD $15.98
Fantastic Mississippi country blues collection featuring the early recordings of Son House, Willie Brown, Kid Bailey, Garfield Akers, Joe Calicott, Jim Thompkins, Blind Joe (Wille) Reynolds and Rube Lacy - wow!
GARFIELD AKERS: Cottonfield Blues (part 1)/ Cottonfield Blues (part 2)/ Dough Roller Blues/ Jumpin' And Shoutin' Blues/ KID BAILEY: Mississippi Bottom Blues/ Rowdy Blues/ WILLIE BROWN: Future Blues/ M And O Blues/ JOE CALICOTT: Fare Thee Well Blues/ Traveling Mama Blues/ SON HOUSE: Dry Spell Blues, part 1/ Dry Spell Blues, part 2/ My Black Mama, part 1/ My Black Mama, part 2/ Preachin' The Blues, part 1/ Preachin' The Blues, part 2/ Walking Blues/ RUBE LACY: Ham Hound Crave/ Mississippi Jail House Groan/ BLIND JOE REYNOLDS: Married Man Blues/ Nehi Blues/ Outside Woman Blues/ Third Street Woman Blues/ JIM THOMPKINS: Bedside Blues


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