Rare Mississippi blues from Ranie Burnette – recorded in the early 80s, but with a timeless style that takes us right back to the delta! The approach here is similar to some of the best Georgia rural blues of the time – very spare and stripped-down, with mostly just guitar and vocals from Ranie, often with some folksy undercurrents – and some occasional harmonica on two tracks from Abe Keg Young. There's no attempt to modernize the music at all, and the quality of Ranie's gritty guitar comes through beautifully in the space of the recording – on titles that include "Lonesome Moon Blues", "Gone Dead On You", "One String Baby", "Yonder Goes My Baby", "Shake Em On Down", and "Dough Roller Blues". LP, Vinyl record album
Searing early solo sides from James Cotton – material recorded in the late 60s, at a time when Cotton was really finding his groove! James serves up plenty of the sharp harmonica lines promised in the title, over backings that show plenty of influence from 60s soul as well – that new punch that bluesmen of his generation were using to push out their sounds in a fresher hybrid of initial Chicago electric modes! The notes on the set are a bit spare on details for the sessions, and the work's got a nicely rough-edged quality that almost feels live at times – or at least "live in studio". Titles include "Dealing With The Devil", "Polly Put The Kettle On", "V8 Ford Blues", "Jelly Jelly", "Feelin Good", "I Need You So Bad", "It Ain't Right", "Off The Wall", "There Is Something On Your Mind", and "The Creeper". CD
Gritty work from John Lee Hooker – a set recorded at the end of the 60s in Paris, at a time when that city was playing host to some of the hippest blues work of the decade! The style here is very much like John Lee Hooker of a decade before – simple, stark, and unadorned – with a slinky, dirty groove at the bottom of most tracks – vamped along by just a bit of bass and drums. The recording quality is a bit better than the old days, but never too slick or commercial – and Hooker's vocals are right out front with a real sense of presence and power. Titles include "I Feel Good", "Baby Baby", "Dazie Mae", "Stand By", "Going Home", and "Looking Back Over My Day". CD
Lightnin Hopkins at his best – a set that rings out with all his bold electric tones on the guitar, yet which also has the moody, stripped-down feel of a blues recording from a few decades before! The electricity really does a lot to deepen the tone – both in the echo from Hopkins' guitar, and in the way his vocals stretch out in the same space! There's no other backing at all – which makes for a moody feel, and a quality that lives up to the "folk" in the title – yet Lightnin also gives the whole thing a crackling sort of energy that's also very much in the best postwar blues mode. Titles include "Sick Feelin Blues", "Blues For My Cookie", "My Baby's Gone", "Lightnin's Special", "Nothin But The Blues", and "Don't Think Cause You're Pretty". LP, Vinyl record album
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
Wicked early work from Junior Kimbrough – sides that are quite different than some of his better-known recordings over the years! The material was cut in Memphis in 1966 by producer Quinton Claunch – and it's got a spare, rootsy quality that's totally great – slow moving drums underneath some echoey guitar – and great flat-nosed vocals from Junior that really send the tunes home – almost with a quality that makes you feel like he's humming the lyrics instead of singing them! Titles include two versions of "Feels So Good", plus "Meet Me In The City", "Lonesome In My Home", "Done Got Old", and "Feels So Bad". Very cool 10" LP package too! LP, Vinyl record album
Sweet electric blues from Albert King – recorded with some great full production, in a burning Memphis style that's got plenty of soul in the mix as well! The set's got a quality level that takes it past some of the cliche-ridden blues of the time – really soulful overall, with a sound that comes straight from the heart, and avoids any of the easy tricks that could mar such a session – proof that music like this could really sparkle in the hands of Stax Records – especially when the backing instrumentation features The Bar-Kays and Memphis Horns! Titles include "High Cost Of Loving", "Little Brother", "I'll Play The Blues For You (parts 1 & 2)", "Breaking Up Somebody's Home", "Angel Of Mercy", and "I'll Be Doggone". CD
Sweet electric blues from Albert King – recorded with some great full production, in a burning Memphis style that's got plenty of soul in the mix as well! The set's got a quality level that takes it past some of the cliche-ridden blues of the time – really soulful overall, with a sound that comes straight from the heart, and avoids any of the easy tricks that could mar such a session – proof that music like this could really sparkle in the hands of Stax Records – especially when the backing instrumentation features The Bar-Kays and Memphis Horns! Titles include "High Cost Of Loving", "Little Brother", "I'll Play The Blues For You (parts 1 & 2)", "Breaking Up Somebody's Home", "Angel Of Mercy", and "I'll Be Doggone". CD features four previously unissued bonus tracks – "Albert's Stomp", "I Need A Love", "Don't Burn Down The Bridge (alt)", and "I'll Play The Blues For You (alt)". CD
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
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
Howlin Wolf is really getting into his thing here – tightening it up a bit from his earliest years at Chess, and moving into a groove that would forever make him one of the key artists to record for the label! The raspy, rootsy feel of earlier years is still in place – but the recording quality's a bit better, and the tunes have a more unified feel – thanks partly to some classic compositions from Willie Dixon, whose work makes up a very big part of the album! Tunes were recorded between the years 1959 to 1962, and brought together for the record – and titles include "Shake For Me", "Spoonful", "Going Down Slow", "Down In The Bottom", "Wang Dang Doodle", "Red Rooster", and "Tell Me". LP, Vinyl record album
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