A great entry in the Chess Heritage Series at the end of the 60s – one that features rare 50s Chicago recordings by Elmore James, plus some even more obscure sides by lesser-known singer John Brim! James' style is well known, and well-executed here – rough and raw, but with a good sense of focus – on tracks that include "Whose Muddy Shoes", "I See My Baby", "My Best Friend", "The Sun Is Shining", "Madison Blues", and "Talk To Me Baby". Brim is great too – a singer we didn't know before this record, with an all-out kind of quality in his voice that's almost a bit like some of the rougher soul of the 60s at times. Brim sings "Lifetime Baby", "Ice Cream Man", "You Got Me", and "Rattlesnake". CD features two bonus tracks – an alternate of "The Sun Is Shining" and the track "Gary Stomp". CD
He may be blind, but he's plenty satisfied – and so are we, with this excellent package of rare 78rpm recordings from Willie Johnson! The sound quality is great – which is important, as Willie's got a style of guitar that's almost lighter in tone than some of his contemporaries – a deft thinness that really comes through well in this presentation of the music, really showing his skill on the strings. Vocals are surprisingly raw at points, making for a real contrast to the guitar – and titles include "I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole", "Praise God I'm Satisfied", "Dark Was The Night Cold Was The Ground", "When The War Was On", and "Mother's Children Have A Hard Time". LP, Vinyl record album
Hardly the surf album you might expect from the title – although the set is a killer batch of guitar instrumentals – with more than enough power to blow any west coast groups right off the beach! At this early point in his career, Freddie King is way more than just a blues guitarist, and his style here was a definite precursor to funk – hard, heavy, and with the kinds of little tricks that would be taken up a lot by other players in the funky 45 era. The recording quality is great, and really brings out the deeper tones in King's instrument – creating a great link between the earlier T Bone Walker generation, and lots of heavy guitarists to come. Tracks are all nice, and titles include "San Ho Zay", "Side Tracked", "Wash Out", "In The Open", "Heads Up", "Just Pickin", and "Swooshy". LP, Vinyl record album
Two years might be a short time for any artist to be in their "prime" – but the quality of these sides is so strong, they've supported the reputation of Furry Lewis for many many years! The set features wonderful low-key material recorded for 78s in the years 1927 and 1928 – all with Lewis on acoustic guitar, but working with an even greater emphasis on his voice – which has all these amazing inflections that so many other singers would copy over the years. Titles include Furry's classic two part "Kassie Jones" – plus "Jellyroll", "Why Don't You Come Home Blues", "Good Looking Girl Blues", "Mistreatin Mama", "Furry's Blues", "I Will Turn Your Money Green", and "Cannonball Blues". LP, Vinyl record album
Really great work from singer Willie Mabon – best known as a Chicago bluesman from the 50s, but an artist who's in even more soulful territory on these sublime sides from the 60s! Willie's got a quality here that really links together Chicago's blues and soul traditions – in a vibe that prefaces later work by singers like Tyrone Davis or Syl Johnson, but shares their similar sense of deep roots and modern swing. Mabon's a hell of a charismatic force on all these cuts – a singer really ripe for rediscovery, especially on this overlooked stretch of his career. The work was all done for the excellent USA label, and shares the genre-stepping quality of much of that imprint's best music – and titles include "Some More", "Something For Nothing", "Got To Have Some", "Just Got Some", "I'm The Fixer", "Too Hot To Handle", "Somebody Gotta Pay", and "Ruby's Monkey". CD
Landmark recordings from the legendary Blind Willie McTell – served up here on a host of classic sides originally recorded for the Columbia, Okeh, Vocalion, and Victor labels in the early 30s! The recording quality is surprisingly strong on most numbers – really able to capture the subtle vocal and acoustic guitar inflections that Willie can serve up like nobody else – a rich sense of presence and personality that still comes through all these many years later, and which may well resonate here on this beautiful pressing as strongly as on the original 78s! Titles include "Low Rider's Blues", "Razor Ball", "Southern Can Is Mine", "Stomp Down Rider", "Rough Alley Blues", "Mama Let Me Scoop For You", and "Searching The Desert For The Blues". LP, Vinyl record album
Just a few day's worth of music, but a crucial set of tracks from Blind Willie McTell – all material that was done in New York on a few days in September of 1933 – some of it released on important Vocalion label 78s, presented here with some other previously unissued alternate takes! Willie's vocals and guitar work are wonderful, and get only a bit of spare backing on additional guitar, mostly from Curley Weaver – in ways that really just support McTell's lead with a bit of rhythm. Recording quality is excellent, and tracks include "Broke Down Engine", "B & O Blues", "Weary Hearted Blues", "Lord Send Me An Angel", "Death Cell Blues", "Savannah Mama", "You was Born To Die", and "Dirty Mistreater". LP, Vinyl record album
Classic work by one of the first and greatest harmonica players on the Chicago scene of the postwar years – the amazing Snooky Pryor, a player who took the humble instrument to territory that rivals that of the tenor or alto saxophone! Most numbers here have acoustic accompaniment on guitar and piano – and a rough-edged, back-room quality that's grittier than even the better-known Windy City work of the time – much more underground than work on Chess or Vee Jay. Titles include "Snooky & Moody's Boogie", "Telephone Blues", "Boogy Fool", "Hold Me In Your Arms", "Stop The Train Conductor", "Real Fine Boogie", and "Eighty Nine Ten". CD
Jimmy Reed —
Found Love ... LP Vee Jay, Late 50s. New Copy (reissue)....
Just Sold Out!
Seminal work from the legendary Jimmy Reed – spare and bluesy numbers that were some of the best work coming out of Chicago at the time! There's a snapping quality to the rhythms here that was a keen inspiration to generations of better-known artists – and in a way, it's amazing to go back to these originals to hear how spare and earthy Jimmy's original recordings were. Titles include "Big Boss Man", "Found Love", "Meet Me", "Hush Hush", "I'm Nervous", "Going By The River (parts 1 & 2)", and "Come Love". LP, Vinyl record album