MISTAKES WERE MADE - 5 Years Of Raw Blues, Damaged Livers & Questionable Business Decisions (2CD)
Broke & Hungry (BH13008)
Odell Harris, Duck Holmes, Junebug Jefferson, Terry "Harmonica" Bean, Pat Thomas, The Mississippi Marvel, Terry "Big T" Williams, Bill Abel, RL Boyce, LC Ulmer, T-Model Ford.
Jeff Konkel has been travelling the back roads of Mississippi for the last six years hunting for genuine black blues musicians to record for his label Broke & Hungry. As you'll discover when you dip into this terrific anthology of album cuts and never-before-issued material and hear the positive cornucopia of the many styles of blues found in Mississippi today, he's been pretty successful. Half of the 30 tracks are the choicest cuts from the Broke & Hungry catalogue and the other half are unissued gems and outtakes or songs specifically recorded for this collection. There are a hundred minutes of music in all.
Odell Harris cranks up his electric guitar for a live version of Train I Ride which simply bounces along with Odell in high spirits, shouting out the lyrics while his guitar chonks along Fred McDowell-style as the drummer beats the hell out of his kit. Pat Thomas, son of the great bluesman Son Thomas has inherited his father's high-pitched, reedy vocal style and although his guitar work is pretty rudimentary, his off-the-wall delivery is intriguing - especially on his dad's theme tune Beefsteak Blues (from his album His Father's Son) and resist his weird timings and rheumy vocals on the juke joint romp Woke Up This Morning if you can. RL Boyce's Ain't It Alright is one huge mess of jagged guitar licks that circulate around a slamming drumbeat that doesn't let up! Bill Abel sits on his back porch and plays some unbelievable licks on a one string guitar on the aptly named The Mississippi Diddley while Duck Holmes of Bentonia stunningly recreates his delicate version of Skip James' I'd Rather Be The Devil and an archaic arrangement of Eyesight To The Blind and then T-Model Ford gets real lowdown for his acoustic version of Hi Heel Sneakers.
In 2008 Broke & Hungry released the film M For Mississippi which showcased most of the artists here. One day, just before the cameras were packed away, LC Ulmer walked in and started playing music that left the crew spellbound. This song, Rosalee, is a brilliant seven minute display of marvellously inventive semi-electric guitar picking involving beautiful melodic runs and a curiously spell binding vocal style unlike any other I've heard. Label boss Jeff Konkel tells us that LC recorded one masterpiece after another that day but this is the only track they've released. Maybe that's where the ‘questionable business decisions' of the title comes in. I hope he's working on putting the rest of the session out soon. In the meantime, grab a beer and sit back and listen to this excellent collection of the real country blues of Mississippi as it sounds today.
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Review Date: April 2011