FROM NEW ORLEANS plus Bobby Marchan & Paul Gayten (4CD Box Set)
JSP (JSP77140 )
This new JSP box set has been a real eye opener because, even though I've been a blues fan for decades, I have steadfastly overlooked Cousin Joe - more fool me!
Cousin Joe was a talented guitarist and piano player but surprisingly, he didn't play on any of the early sides here (could be because he wasn't in the Musicians Union) preferring instead to surround himself with classy musicians such as Hot Lips Page, Sidney Bechet, Sammy Price, Earl Bostic, Al Casey, Billy Butler, Earl Palmer, Herb Hardesty and Kenny Clarke to name but a few. So this box of 1940's material showcases his song writing talents and his ability to put highly original lyrics and witty catch phrases into some cracking blues tunes that simply sizzle with red hot New Orleans piano, big fat horn sections, stupendous arrangements and some of the purist undiluted blues vocalising the Crescent City has ever known. Check out numbers like the uncompromising toughness of Big Fat Woman, the humour on the rollicking piano boogie Chicken A La Blues, the deep growling rural flavour of Broken Man Blues and the wry mood of Wedding Day Blues and you'll see what I mean.
Cousin Joe's material dominates the bulk of the set but, lucky for us, there is just enough space to feature some great New Orleans R&B gems from Paul Gayten recordings that include Dave Williams, Annie Laurie, Freddie Kohlman and Lee Allen in the line-up. Plus we get Bobby Marchan staring on the final CD with 28 tracks made with the cream of New Orleans session men like Lee Allen, Edgar Blanchard, Huey Piano Smith and Robert Parker.
New Orleans R&B doesn't come any better than this! Don't pass this tremendous set by.
Ask for JSP77140
Review Date: April 2011