A RICHER TRADITION - COUNTRY BLUES AND STRING BAND MUSIC FROM 1923 - 1942
During the time that Red Lick was being moved from Porthmadog to Cardiff, JSP Records have been busy bees releasing an outstanding bunch of box sets and single CDs. Needless to say, there are too many of them to review in full here but among the excellent series of releases is this little beauty, including tracks by Tarter & Gay, Bullet Williams, Rabbit Brown, Freezone, Virgil Childers, Jim Jam, Dixieland Jug Blowers, South Street Trio, Alabama Sheiks, Mae Glover, Gitfiddle Jim, Arthur Pettis, John Byrd, Eli Framer, Andrew & Jim Baxter, Daddy Stovepipe and many many more.
In his usual informative and enlightening sleeve notes, Neil Slaven explains the thinking behind this collection of superior and invigorating blues by musicians "unaffected by passing fashion, who knew how to have a good time". Buy the box set, revel in his writing and rave about the music.
Some of the best ever blues recordings are here from Rabbit Brown's "James Alley Blues" (the godfather of Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street") to Harvey Hull and Cleve Reed's dippy "France Blues" and Louie Laskie's "Teasin' Brown Blues" with its adventurous guitar. There are outstanding country blues numbers such as Mattie Delaney's vigorous guitar demonstration on "Tallahatchie River Blues", Charlie Kyle's unusual 12 string doodling on "No Baby" and the spectacular guitar of Lonnie Johnson backing Mooch Richardson on "Helena Blues". Other great performances come from Luke Jordan whose beautiful vocals accentuate his quirky guitar work on "If I Call You Mama", William Harris on the motoring "Never Drive A Stranger From your Door" and Elizabeth Johnson & Her Turpentine Tree-O providing an eccentric backing of cornet, guitar and percussive clicking on "Sobbin' Woman Blues". "Knoxville County Stomp" is a vivacious piece of work by the Tennessee Chocolate Drops and Andrew and Jim Baxter drop by with "Bamalong Blues" - a perfect piece of fiddle and guitar music from 1927. You get a hundred sides and there ain't a dud among ‘em.
Review Date: July 2008