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SAM CHATMON

BLUES AT HOME VOL 2 - FIELD RECORDINGS FROM HOLLANDALE, MISSISSIPPI 1976-1982

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MBRIFAON (MB-CD102)

Open Your Book Daddy Got To Read With You, St Louis Blues, That's All Right, Stoop Down Baby, Baby Please Come Back To Me, Brownskin Woman (Big Road Blues), Prowlin' Ground Hog, Black Nights, Go Back Old Devil, I'm Crazy About Her Loving, Last Time Shaking In The Bed With Me, I Get The Blues When It Rains, Good Eating Meat, plus Sam is interviewed about the songs Prowlin' Ground Hog, Go Back Old Devil, Black Nights, Good Eating Meat and he also discusses producers and musicians and his reluctance to fly.

Sam Chatmon's career began with performances in medicine and minstrel shows in the early 30s with his brothers Lonnie Chatmon and Bo Carter when they formed the freewheeling Mississippi Sheiks. So by 1976, when he recorded most of the material for this CD, he'd been making music professionally for very many years (apart from the gap in the 1940s when he settled down to life on the farm in Hollandale). His big break came when the blues revival arrived in the early 60s and he recorded a few songs for the Arhoolie label and appeared in festivals across the country. He never stopped work from then on, recording until the late 80s for Blue Goose, Rounder, Flying Fish and the Italian label Albatros - which is where this CD comes in.

In 1976, record producer and blues fanatic Giambattista Marcucci recorded Sam at home playing and laughing among friends and neighbours, re-visiting old tunes like St Louis Blues, Go Back Old Devil, Brownskin Woman and putting a new slant on Lowell Fulson's Black Nights and the Jimmy Rogers version of That's Alright Mama. Sam, like his brother Bo Carter, was particularly fond of the double entendre, so he lets loose on a couple of old time rib ticklers with glee: Open Your Book, Daddy Got To Read With You has absolutely nothing to do with literature and his take of Stoop Down Baby grinds up Chick Willis's lascivious verses with even older versions stolen from Sleepy John Estes and others. It's all performed with good humour and Sam is in excellent voice - his hoarse howl soaring over dextrous guitar picking while his family and friends whoop with encouragement.

These recordings, made more than forty years after his first sessions, are filled with a vitality and vigour that doesn't let up. He really was a first rate steadfast bluesman and this CD captures him still selling the blues as good as he ever did.

 

Review Date: September 2009

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