Blues & Gospel - New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011 - Arthur Adams  -> Magic Slim + Discography + Books + DVDs

 

New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011
Blues & Gospel
Arthur Adams  ->
Brother John Sellers + Books + DVDs

 

   

DVDS

 
HOWARD ARMSTRONG Criterion Collection 532 Louie Bluie ● DVD $24.98
Color, 93 mins, highly recommended
The first film from Terry Zwigoff, the acclaimed director of "Ghost Wolrd" and "Bad Santa" is a 60 minute documentary from 1985 on multi-instrumentalist, painter, poet and raconteur Howard Armstrong who is possibly best known as one-third of the wonderful black string band from the 1970s - Martin, Bogan & Armstrong.. Howard who was 75 years old at the time this was made, but looks much younger, talks about his eventful life and music, often in conversation with fellow musicians, illustrated with some of his gorgeous paintings. There are numerous clips of him performing on mandolin and fiddle, often with Ted Bogan who he first recorded with in 1934 under the name of "Louie Bluie & Ted Bogan" and they perform one of the tunes from that sessions - the much covered State Street Rag. Other musicians featured include Yank Rachell and Banjo Ikey Robinson. We also get a glimpse into Armstrong's amazing "A To Z Of Pornography" - a remarkable production blending words (in a beautiful cursive script), photos and artwork into something that is more art than sleaze. Beautifully filmed and edited this is a wonderful documentary that really give you a sense of the man. Being a Criterion release the video and audio quality are absolutely superb. Bonus features include a commentary by Zwigoff, 32 minutes of outtakes including three complete songs and a selection of stills. Includes 20 page booklet with an essay by film critic Michael Sragow and some of Howard's great paintings. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Arhoolie Foundation 205 Down Home Music - A Journey Through The Heartland, 1963 ● DVD $18.98
Black & White, 50 mins, essential
Truly amazing and priceless film footage shot by a German filmmaker Dietrich Wawzyn in the company of Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz in 1963. Most of the original negatives were lost or destroyed and this film was compiled from what remains and what remains is pretty incredible. Although there is only one performance from most of the performers and some of those are cut short (for reasons explained above) this is a chance to see the only film footage of some outstanding performers. The music is a mixture of blues, gospel, jazz, country and ethnic performance and includes (are you ready?!) - Jesse Fuller at his home in Oakland singing his iconic San Francisco Bay Blues; Mance Lipscomb singing and playing on his front porch in Navasota, Texas, Lightnin' Hopkins performing on the streets of Houston and for some friends, Hop Wilson performing in a club (sadly too short), Whistlin' Alex Moore playing boogie piano and doing his trademark whistling, Black Ace performing in his home in Dallas (possibly my favorite clip here), the Blind James Campbell String Band performing on the streets of Nashville, J.E. Mainer and his band performing in Concord, North Carolina, The Hodges Brothers at their farm in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi; down home gospel singer/ guitarist Rev. Louis Overstreet on the streets of Tucson and and at his church, George Lewis & His band performing at the then new Preservation Hall and accompanying vocalist piano player Sweet Emma Barrett, the Eureka Brass Band playing for a jazz funeral in New Orleans, Lowell Fulson and his band performing at a club in San Francisco; King Louis H. Narcisse at his church in Oakland and much more. Back in the 90s Yazoo issued a VHS video with 50 minutes of these performances but this has 50% more material, has been newly remastered for superior quality and has been carefully edited by Maureen Gosling to better evoke the spirit of the journey across America and as bonus feature includes a commentary track by Strachwitz describing the trip in detail with information on the many artists. An indispensible release for lovers of American vernacular music. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Folk Era 5104 Chasin' Gus' Ghost ● DVD $21.98
DVD, 140 min., very highly recommended
The chase is really a search made by director Todd Kwait for the nearly forgotten history of jug band music, and specifically for jug band pioneer Gus Cannon and everything his musical legacy touched, which is nearly everything. The journey leads Kwait around the world, including to Sweden and Japan, though a lot of time is spent in Louisville , Kentucky. John Sebastian (ex-Lovin' Spoonful) and the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir appear on camera frequently to explain the influence jug band music had on them and other 1960s groups. Kwait interviews Jim Kweskin, writer Samuel Charters, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, and others. He even has Taj Mahal reading quotes from Cannon as Cannon, Ken Burns style. An ambitious documentary that offers a coherent and highly entertaining history of a musical form that is more influential than most people, even most music fans, know. (JC)

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
ARTHUR ADAMS PM Record Company 60301 Soul Of The Blues ● CD $16.98
11 tracks, 43 mins, highly recommended
We recently reviewed Arthur Adams' brand new release on Delta Groove but have just come across this obscure 2003 release we hadn't seen before and it's a beauty. A superb collection of soul flavored blues, bluesy soul and even some bluesy rock 'n' roll featuring Arthur's wonderful gospel inflected vocals and dazzling guitar playing. All the songs were written by Arthur or co-written with co-producer Will Jennings. Among the highlights on this superb set are the powerful title song and the hard driving rocker Gonna Catch You Tonight which is a bit like early Chuck Berry and features a breathtaking guitar solo. In contrast is the lovely Look For Me which is almost like a country ballad. An outstanding release from a brilliantly talented performer. (FS)

 
ALABAMA MIKE Juke House 021 Day To Day ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, recommended
The second album from Bay Area bluesman Alabama Mike is another solid outing of down to earth gritty blues featuring his very powerful vocals. He is mostly accompanied by an energetic small group with guitars, bass and drums plus the occasional horn, keyboard or harmonica. Seven of the tracks are fine originals by Mike commenting on the contemporary human condition but strongly rooted in tradition. There are four well chosen covers including a hard driving rendition of Son House's Death Letter Blues. Well worth a listen. (FS)

 
ELVIN BISHOP Delta Groove 138 Red Dog Speaks ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 40 mins, recommended
Elvin Bishop seems to be as prolific as ever, releasing close to an album a year since 2004. This album of all new material finds Bishop in his good-time blues and boogie mode. "Red Dog" would be the name of the well-traveled guitar that accompanies Bishop on the cover. Red Dog is pretty old, kind of funky, and looks like it has seen and done a hell of a lot, just like Bishop himself. The songs that Bishop sings on are pretty entertaining, but it's when he gives over the vocals to John Nemeth (who's also got a new album out that I have heard good things about) and takes Red Dog out for a stroll that the album really shines, especially on their cover of Jimmy Cliff's Many Rivers To Cross. A number of other current blues notables pop-up throughout, like Tommy Castro, Roy Gaines, and even Buckwheat Zydeco. Fans of Elvin Bishop and modern blues should love this album. (JM)

 
LUCILLE BOGAN (BESSIE JACKSON) Blues Documents BDCD 6036 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 1 (1923-30) ● CD $15.98
21 tracks, 61 min., highly recommended
Back in stock. Lucile Bogan was her real name and she made her first recordings in the 20s as Lucille Bogan but when she started recording again in the 30s after the depression her name was changed to Bessie Jackson. She was one of the most soulful singers ever to record and she sang some interesting and unusual lyrics singing convincingly and often about sex, prostitution, whiskey and such. The first six vaudevillish OKeh sides from '23 are filled with unpleasant surface noises and Bogan's voice is high and not terribly compelling. But what's a completist to do? The rest of the tracks here were cut for Paramount and Brunswick between 1927 and 1930 and find her voice deeper and much more soulful and sound quality is much better though occasionally pretty noisy. She is accompanied by superb musicians on these sessions like Cow Cow Davenport, Papa Charlie Jackson, Will Ezell, Tampa Red and others and the songs are compelling and moving and bring up themes she would return to in her later sides. Among the highlights are Kind Stella Blues/ Jim Tampa Blues (with great banjo from Papa Charlie Jackson who also adds comments)/ Cravin' Whiskey Blues/ Woman Won't Need No Men/ Coffee Grindin' Blues/ Pot Hound Blues and the intriguing New Way Blues but all are great. (FS)

 
EDDIE BOYD BGO BGOCD 867 And His Blues Band Featuring Peter Green ● CD $17.98
16 tracks, 52 min, recommended
Recorded in England in 1967 and released originally on Decca, these sessions find the pianist and singer mixing new material with a few reworked originals from his days at Chess Records and tossing in some well-chosen blues evergreens. His backing band is of some (perhaps for some, primary) interest here since it includes Peter Green (guitar), John McVie (bass), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), and John Mayall (harmonica). Tony McPhee's slide work brightens Boyd's take on the Elmore James classic Dust My Broom, a standout cut on the album. When Boyd is on his own (e.g., Letter Missing Blues), his piano work can be a bit plodding, but the band sharpens his sound considerably, as Ain't Doin' Too Bad and other cuts will confirm. A fine, if unspectacular, addition to Boyd's CD catalog. (JC)

 
R.L. BURNSIDE Wolf 120.921 Rollin' & Tumblin' - The King Of Hill Country Blues ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, recommended
Fine collection of sides by Tate County, Mississippi country bluesman R.L. `Rule' Burnside recorded in 1975, 1989 and 1991. R.L. Burnside may not have had too much original material and may not be a guitar virtuoso but he certainly laid down some of the funkiest low down blues of the 1980s and 90s. Drawing on traditional Missisippi songs, songs he learned in his youth and songs from the repertoire of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and others he accompanies his rough hewn vocals with gritty acoustic and electric guitar, sometimes playing tasty slide. With so many Burnside releases out you will probably be familiar with his repertoire and there are no surprises here but R.L. was in good form on songs like Fireman Ring The Bell/ Poor Black Mattie/ Poor Boy/ 44 Pistol/ Long Haired Doney/ I Be's Troubled/ Boogie Chillen, etc. Most of the cuts were recorded in informal settings and there's a fair amount of ambient background sounds which either add or detract from the performances depending on your viewpoint. Set ends with a two minute interview. (FS)

 
LEROY CARR & FRIENDS JSP JSPCD 77125 When The Sun Goes Down, 1934-1941 ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 91 tracks, very highly recommended
The most welcome follow up to JSP 77104, the first two CDs on this set feature the remainder of this great artists' recordings, the third disc features two artists influenced by Carr and the fourth disc features other artists from the 20s and 30s interpreting or providing the inspiration for Carr's songs. The Carr recordings were made between August 1934 and February 1935 - the last just a couple of months before his premature death. Although Carr's battle with alcoholism may have been taking a toll on his body his music was unaffected and, in fact, his music had become more intense and introspective and he had pretty much abandoned the novelty numbers and pop songs he had featured early in his career. Blackwell's fantastic guitar playing tended to become more prominent as the recordings progressed and it becomes very clear what a big influence his playing was on many later musicians - the fabulous I Believe I'll Make Change is an almost instrumental showcase for Blackwell's playing. There may not have been a whole lot of variety in the performances during this period but the cumulative effect of hearing these recordings is to be impressed by how many times Carr and Blackwell would press new wrinkles into their mix. His final session for Bluebird in February, 1935 features some of his most beautiful and mournful performances - it's interesting to compare the mood of his performance of Big Four Blues at this session with the version recorded two months earlier for Vocalion. For the final four tracks Scrapper Blackwell sits out and Leroy performs on his own ending with the sublime and prophetic Six Cold Feet In The Ground - he was dead two months later. The third disc features two of the artists most influenced by Leroy - Bumble Bee Slim and Bill Gaither who both pay tribute to their influence - Slim with The Death Of Leroy Carr (which includes Scrapper on guitar) and Bill Gaither with The Life of Leroy Carr . Both artists are very fine - I particularly like Gaither. Disc four features artists interpreting Leroy's songs or singing songs that provided inspiration for Leroy including Stovepipe No. 1 & David Crockett, James "Stump" Johnson, Madlyn Davis & her Hot Shots, Florence White, Tampa Red, Lucille Bogan, Walter Davis and others and ends with Scrapper's own tribute to Leroy - My Old Pal Blues. Great music, fine sound and informative, if sometimes confusing, notes. (FS)

 
GRADY CHAMPION Earwig 4963 Back In Mississippi Live At The 930 Blues Cafe ● CD $16.98
New album of high energy blues featuring Mississippi born singer and harmonica player and former rapper Grady Champion accompanied by a tough band with energetic, and sometimes excessive, guitar work from Eddie Cotton Jr. was recorded live in Mississippi in 2007. Eight of the songs were written or co-written by Champion and the rest are old favorites like I'm Ready/ Baby What You Want Me To Do and Spoonful.

 
THE DIXIE HUMMINGBIRDS Shout 68 A Christian Testimonial- Their 1st Album Plus Bonus 45s ● CD $18.98
26 tracks, 67 mins, very highly recommended
The Dixie Hummingbirds originated in Greenville, S.C. in 1928, and became one of the nation's foremost dual-lead singing quartets after WWII. The group's long recording career stretches back to the Decca label (1939). In 1952 when the guys signed to Peacock Records, they were comprised of James Davis, manager and baritone; Ira Tucker, lead baritone; "Willie" Bobo, bass; Beechy Thompson, tenor; James Walker, lead baritone; and Howard Carroll from Philly on guitar and that's the group featured on this incredible collection which reissues their first Peacock LP from 1959 which partly consisted of previously issued singles plus 14 additional tracks drawn from singles issued between 1953 and 1959. Both leads are superb and the material ranges from the sublime Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen to the hand clapping Devil Can't Harm A Praying Man. It also their two part gospel novelty Let's Go Out To The Programs where they imitate popular gospel groups of the day like The Soul Stirrers, Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi, The Caravans, Staple Singers and others. Quartet gospel singing at its very best. Although many of these tracks were recently reissued on the "Texas Gospel" albums the sound here is superior and this includes the album cuts which were not on those collections. (FS)

 
CHAMPION JACK DUPREE Avid 1006 Two Classic Albums Plus 40s & 50s Singles ● CD $16.98
2 CDs, 62 tracks, 158 mins, highly recommended
Champion Jack Dupree was one of the great New Orleans Barrelhouse piano players and one hell of a Blues singer. He told it like it was and had no problem singing about the down and dirty parts of life - Can't Kick The Habit/ Junkers Blues/ Bad Whiskey and Wild Women/ Drunk Again - as well as the heartbreak, trials, and tribulations - T.B. Blues/ Bad Life/ Death of Big Bill Broonzy, and so on. This collection gathers together his classic albums "Blues From The Gutter" (1959), with his "Natural & Soulful Blues" (1961), along with a bunch of fantastic singles from the 1940's and '50s. The singles tracks are from releases on the Continental, Red Robin, King and Groove & Vik labels, plus a few alternate takes from the Groove & Vik sessions. Dupree had great accompaniment throughout these sessions, with Brownie McGhee on the Continental tracks, McGhee, Sonny Terry, and Stick McGhee on the Red Robin tracks, Willis Jackson and Mickey Baker on the King Tracks, Alexis Korner, and many more throughout. If you don't have much Champion Jack Dupree, than this would be a fantastic starting point, so many of his best recordings are featured here. (JM)

 
THE FISK UNIVERSITY JUBILLE QUARTET 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)

 
CECIL GANT Blue Label 92912 Bullet Boogie ● CD $16.98
23 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
Back in stock. If the seven CDs on Blue Moon featuring all the recordings of Cecil Gant is too much this single disc devoted to a selection of recordings made for Nashville's Bullet label might be just the ticket. Gant was a fine performer with a distinctive voice and a brilliant piano player who could wail up a storm on a boogie. His repertoire consisted of blues, boogie, jivey jazzy songs and ballads - his biggest hit was the frequently covered ballad I Wonder. The tracks here, recorded between 1946 and 1948, are mostly blues, boogie and jive featuring Cecil accompanied by a small group which apparently consisted of white Nashville jazz musicians. It includes his two hits on Bullet - both in the blues ballad vein - Another Day Another Dollar and I'm A Good Man But A Poor Man - the latter another song covered by other artists. Other fine tracks include Nashville Jumps/ Anna Mae/ Boozie Boogie/ Three Little Girls/ Cecil's Jam Session/ My Little Baby/ What's The Matter/ Bullet Boogie, etc. Excellent sound and informative notes from Fred james. (FS)

 
HENRY GRAY Blind Pig 8013 Lucky Man ● CD $9.98
13 tracks, 36 mins, very highly recommended
What a delight to finally have this great 1990 album on CD. This was the first U.S. album by this brilliant Louisiana piano player who moved to Chicago in the 40s and illuminated so many great Chicago blues records of the 50s and early 60s (Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Billy Boy Arnold, etc.) and I believe his pianist skills were second only to Otis Spann. This album features him performing a mixture of original songs along with those from the repertoire of Fats Domino, Jimmy Rogers, Big Maceo, J. B. Lenore and others. He is accompanied by an excellent small group with Steve Freund on guitar and Willie Smith on drums. Although Henry is not a great singer he is an effective one, his piano playing skills are intact, and his playing on slow or medium tempo items like the title song, Cold Chills/ Mean Old World or Out On The Road has that lovely rolling, cascading quality that one rarely hears anymore and is simply spine chilling.(FS)

 
EARL HOOKER Blue City 1325 Earl Hooker And His Blue Guitar ● CD $17.98
32 tracks, 79 mins, very highly recommended
Earl Hooker was considered by many of his peers in Chicago to be among the finest blues guitarists in the city and this collection goes a long way to prove it. Whether playing his trademark and lyrical single string slide guitar or doing some fleet fingered picking he always played with style, taste and feeling. This set features most of the singles issued under his name between 1953 and 1965 along with several cuts accompanying vocalists like Johnny O'Neal and Harold Tidwell and originally unissued sides recorded for Sun in 1953. The Chicago recordings find him the company of sidemen like Junior Wells/ hca, A.C. Reed/ ts, Johnny "Big Moose" Walker/ piano and organ, Fred Below/ drums and others. Much of the set is instrumental since Earl wasn't much of a vocalist. This set includes Earl's moody slide instrumental Blue Guitar which Chess subsequently used as a backing track for Muddy Waters' You Shook Me! Also includes Wild Moments/ Blues In "D" Natural/ Do The Chicken/ Rockin' With The Kid/ Tanya/ Swear To Tell The TRuth/ Trying To Make A Living/ So Many Hard Times/ The Drive/ Chicken and much more. Considering Hooker's importance it's a shame there are no notes or discographical info but music is great and sound is fine. (FS)
EARL HOOKER: Blue Guitar Blues/ Blue Guitar-1/ Blue Guitar-2/ Blues In 'D' Natural/ Chicken/ Do The Chicken/ Dynamite/ Frog Hop/ Guitar Rhumba/ Happy Blues/ How Long Can This Go On/ Move On Down The Line/ Off The Hook/ Race Track/ Rockin' With The Kid/ Rocking Wild/ Senorita Senorita/ Shake 'Em Up/ So Many Hard Times/ Swear To Tell The Truth/ Sweet Angel/ Sweet Soosie/ Tanya/ That Man/ The Drive/ The Hucklebuck/ These Cotton Pickin' Blues/ Trying To Make A Living/ Universal Rock/ Wild Moments/ Win The Dance/ Yea Yea

 
BIG WALTER HORTON JSP JSPCD 2305 Blues Harmonica Giant ● CD $25.98
Fabulous three CD set devoted to one of the greatest postwar blues harmonica players and one of the few rivals to Little Walter in playing ability though, unfortunately, he wasn't the singer that Little Walter was. The first disc and part of the second features all the recordings made between 1951 and 1956 under his own name including many tunes and alternate takes not originally issued. The rest of the second disc features his work as an accompanying musician - first in Memphis behind performers like Joe Hill Louis, Mose Vinson and Willie Nix and subsequently in Chicago where he accompanies Johnny Shines, Tampa Red and Sunnyland Slim. The third CD is the first CD release of JSP 1071 featuring a live set from 1973 with Carey Bell on harmonica and some vocals and John Nicholas on guitar.

 
REV. JOHNNY L. JONES Dust-To-Digital 017 The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta ● CD $25.98
Twp CDs, 40 tracks, highly recommended
Immensely exciting collection of black church music featuring singer/ preacher Rev. Johnny L. Jones recorded live at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Atlanta between 1957 and 2007. Jones recorded his services for rebroadcast on his radio program and the selection here is drawn from more than 1000 tapes made over a 50 year period. The performances feature Jones singing accompanied by his congregations, excerpts of some of his sermons and songs featuring leads by female members of his congregation plus a number of commercials from his radio show presented by Jones. Material includes traditional favorites I Know I've Been Changed/ Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child/ My Lord Is A Rock In A Weary Land along with other songs that I assume are by Rev. Jones himself. Accompaniments usually consist of guitar, bass and drums with occasional other instruments. The recordings are amateur and so technical quality is not the greatest and there is occasional distortion but the rawness and power of the performances comes through loud and clear! Includes 12 page booklet with notes on his life and career by Jones himself and some photos. (FS)

 
LOUIS JORDAN Jasmine 151 The Rock 'n' Roll Years ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 52 tracks, highly recommended
By the time Louis Jordan signed RCA's Vik subsidary in 1955 he was no longer the star who had hit after hit in the 1940s and early 50s but as shown on these sides recorded between 1955 and 1958 he was still an exceptional performer and I'm sure these recordings sold well to his large and loyal following. This set features all the recordings cut by Louis for RCA's X subsidiary in 1955 and 1956 including four tracks that are previously unissued. The first 12 tracks on disc one feature all his Vik/ X recordings (four originally unissued) and is a bit of a transition from his earlier Decca and Aladdin recordings featuring Jordan on a selection of hard driving big band R&B like the raucous Rock Do And Roll Call, the powerful Hard Head, Baby Let's Do It Up/ Baby You're Just Too Much, etc, novelty songs like Chicken Back and It's Been Said and the occasional pop ballad like Where Can I Go. He subsequently moved to Mercury and the rest of disc one features all his Mercury singles along with orginally unissued tracks while disc two features the two Mercury LPs "Somebody Up There Digs Me" where he did new versions of some of his classic sides and "Man We're Wailin" featuring a varied selection of sides. His first couple of Mercury sessions were cut in New York with a storming back up group including Sam "The Man" Taylor on tenor, Mickey Baker on stunning guitar, Ernie Royal/ trumpet and others. These sessions were arranged by veteran Ernie Wilkins and a young Quincy Jones. The redone versions of his hits often have a more contemporary, urgent sound than the original recordings and Louis is perfectly comfortable in these settings as he is on the singles from these sessions. Several of the other sessions for Mercury are with unknown musicians and there are some good as well as some drab performances. The "Man We're Wailin'" LP comes from an August 1957 session in Los Angeles with the not always thrilling Hammond organ of Jackie Davis but featuring fine sax from Louis and guitar by Irving Ashby. A fine set of performances from a legendary performer with excellent sound and informative notes from Bob Fisher. (FS)
LOUIS JORDAN: A Day Away From You/ A Man Aint A Man/ A Man Aint A Man/ Aint Nobody Here But Us Chickens/ Baby Lets Do It Up/ Baby Youre Just Too Much/ Bananas/ Because Of You/ Beware Brother Beware/ Big Bess/ Caldonia/ Cat Scratchin/ Chicken Back/ Choo Choo Ch Boogie/ Dont Let The Sun Catch You Crying/ Early In The Morning/ Ella Mae/ Fire/ Got My Mojo Working/ Hard Head/ I Cried For You/ I Dont Want To Set The World On Fire/ I Found My Peace Of Mind/ I Hadnt Anyone til You/ I Love You So/ I Never Had A Chance/ I Want To Know/ Is You Is Or Is You Aint My Baby/ Its Been Said/ Im Gonna Move To The Ourskirts Of Town/ Ive Found My Peace Of Mind/ Knock Me A Kiss/ Let The Good Time Roll/ Morning Light/ Rock And Roll Cal/ Rock Doc/ Route 66/ Run Joe/ Salt Pork West Virginia/ Saturday Night Fish Fry/ Slo Smooth And Easy/ Sunday/ Sweet Hunk Of Junk/ Sweet Lorraine/ Texas Stew/ Thats What True Love Can Do/ The Jamf/ The Nearness Of You/ The Slop/ Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)/ Where Can I Go/ Wish I Could Make Some Money

 
ALBERT KING Stax 32765 The Definitive Albert King ● CD $18.98
Two CDs, 34 tracks, 122 mins, highly recommended
Considering that the other two blues guitar KIngs, B.B. and Freddie have had lavish box sets devoted to their careers it is inexplicable that the other great KIng, Albert hasn't received the same treatment. He was easily one of the biggest names in electric blues guitar and has influenced countless other six-stringers; Otis Rush, Robert Cray, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few. His recordings for the Stax label are treasured by many for their sheer power as well as the trademark razor-sharp guitar tone that King achieved from his Gibson Flying V, played upside-down (left-handed). And, of course, he was a great singer too. This two CD set starts with his first R&B hit recorded for Bobbin in 1961 and ends with his 1984 version of Dust My Broom recorded for Stax's new owner Fantasy Recordings - the rest is drawn from his extensive output for Stax recorded between 1966 and 1975 and includes all his classic R&B hits - Laundromat Blues/ Born Under A Bad Sign/ (I Love) Lucy/ Angel Of Mercy/ I'll Play The Blues For You/ Breaking Up Somebody's Home, etc along with album cuts and originally unissued titles. The famed Stax house band is on board for many of the tracks, making for truly powerhouse performances - it's only a shame they didn't include another half a dozen tracks which would have easily fit and they could have left out Albert's less than stellar renditions of Hound Dog and Honky Tonk Woman. Still, if you don't have much by Albert this is a great way to get a retrospective of his most productive period. Now, can we have a box set, please? (FS)

 
FREDDIE KING Bear Family BCD 16778 Texas Flyer, 1974-1976 ● CD $139.98
Complementing Bear Family BCD 16979 (Seven CD box - $194.98) this completes the reissue of all of Freddie's studio recordings along with four discs of scorching live performances. The first disc feature all of Freddie's studio recordings made for RSO between 1974 and 1976 including several unissued cuts including a version of the Jimmy Rogers classic That's All Right. The other four discs features a series of scorching live performances, many never before released including one set recorded just 1 1/2 months before his tragic death in December 1976. Bear Family have carefully compiled the live performances to avoid an overabundance of duplicated songs. The live performances include You Can Run, But You Can't Hide/ The Things I used To Do/ Big Leg Woman (With A Short Short Mini Skirt)/ Ain't No Sunshine/ Little Bluebird/ Woman Across The River/ Key To The Highway/ You Sure Look Good To Me/ Boogie Funk/ You're The One/ Going Down/ Call It Stormy Monday/ Meet Me In The Mornng/ Hide Away and many more. Includes 80 page LP sized hard cover book.

 
AL KING & ARTHUR ADAMS Ace CDCHD 1292 Together - The Complete Kent And Modern Recordings ● CD $18.98
21 tracks, 54 mins, highly recommended
Ace hasn't been putting out too many blues releases lately but this one is a knockout featuring the complete mid/ late 60s Modern recordings of two outstanding urban bluesmen. Al King (Alvin Smith) started recording in 1951 and was a seasoned pro by the time he started recording for Modern in 1967. Al was a superb singer with a warm easygoing style, a little like Lowell Fulson and an excellent songwriter who drew on the contemporary urban experience to fashion witty and soulful songs - often with a catchy loping tempo. He is accompanied by a superb band produced by veteran musician and producer Maxwell Davis with the added bonus of the superb guitarist Arthur Adams who really melts the frets on Get Lost and Without A Feeling. Al has the first dozen cuts and then turns over the vocals to guitarist Adams for nine songs including duets with Edna Wright and Mary. Arthur is a more intense vocalist and his performances show strong influences of contemporary R&B and soul sounds full of gritty and exciting guitar work. After leaving Modern, Arthur spent the next 30 years working primarily as a session guitarist for any number of major performers before returning to a solo career in the the late 90s and has released several fine and highly acclaimed albums. Great music, great sound and 16 page booklet with informative notes from Tony Rounce. (FS)

 
ALBERT KING WITH STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN Stax 31839 In Session ● CD $18.98
CD - 7 tracks+ talking/ DVD Set - 8 tracks + talking, highly recommended
Previously only available as a CD, the original video footage of this Canadian TV show from 1983 has now turned up and so we now can listen and watch and each format features several tunes not on the other. A unique meeting between a master & his most able pupil with the two trading licks on a umber of songs. The 1st recorded meeting between these 2 legends, done when Stevie Ray was just breaking big with playing on David Bowie's #1 hit Let's Dance & recording his debut LP. Albert was in between his last 2 Fantasy studio LPs, "San Francisco '83" & "I'm In A Phone Booth, Baby" - in fact, it's Albert's band from those LPs, Tony Llorens (keys), Gus Thornton (b), Michael Llorens (d) that backs the 2 guitar slingers on these tunes. Highlight is the 15 minute Blues At Sunrise, which Albert recalls recording at the Fillmore "with Janis & Jimi", & has Stevie do his best Hendrix imitations. The tunes range from covers (Call it Stormy Monday/ Texas Flood/ Don't Lie To Me) to King tunes (Born Under A Bad Sign/ Match Box Blues/ Overall Junction), even Stevie's new hit single Pride & Joy. (GM/ FS)

 
BILLY "RED" LOVE Bear Family BCD 17149 Gee ... I Wish - The Sun Years, Plus ● CD $21.98
26 tracks, highly recommended
Superb collection of Memphis urban blues recorded in the Sun studios between 1951 and '54 featuring the little known but highly talented singer and piano player Billy "Red" Love. Billy only had three official releases under his own name - two on Chess and one a one sided tribute to Hart's Bread issued by the Hart's Bread company. He is also the vocalist on Juiced issued on Chess as by Jackie Brenston even though Brenston doesn't appear on it! Fortunately Love was regular visitor to the Sun studio and this includes many originally unissued tracks and a fair number of alternative takes. Billy was a outstanding vocalist equally comfortable with a boogie like Gee I Wish or an intense slow blues like Way After Midnight. He was accompanied by superb Mmephis musicians like guitarists Calvin Newborn, Pat Hare and the underrated Charles McGowan, sax players like Charles Walker, Harvey Simmons, Richard Sanders and more. In addition to his solo work here he was also a session pianist on many blues & R&B tracks cut at Sun and was the leader of Roscoe Gordon's band for a number of years. The 48 page booklet includes the first extensive biography of Love's life and a detailed discussion of his recordings along with great rare photos and label shots. And, of course, being Bear Family, the sound is above reproach. (FS)

 
MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS Blind Pig 5098 Anything Can Happen ● CD $16.98
2005 album by superb Chicago blues singer/ guitarist - I'm A Bluesman/ Goin' To Mississippi/ Please Don't Dog Me/ Mind Your Own Business/ Shake It/ Get Your Business Straight, etc.

 
MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS Blind Pig 5125 Midnight Blues ● CD $16.98
13 tracks, 47 min., very highly recommended
Blistering Chicago blues that tears it up from the Morris Holt-penned opener (Let Me Love You) to the Muddy Waters covers (You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had, Crosseyed Cat) to Willie Dixon's Spider In My Stew and on and on--just check out the fiery slide work on Give Me Back My Wig. Aside from his regular Teardrops, the list of "Guest Teardrops" reads like a who's who of blues, and includes James Cotton, Lonnie Brooks, Elvin Bishop, Gene Barge, and Otis Clay. One of the finest blues alums released in 2008 and not to be missed. (JC)

 

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