JUKE JOINT BLUES 3
JSP (JSP77150 )
Slim Harpo, Lightnin' Slim, Jerry McCain, Jimmy Rogers, Smokey Hogg, Eddie Taylor, Johnny Beck, Pete McKinley, Eddie Kirkland, John Lee Hooker, J.D. Edwards, Willie Nix, Dan Pickett, Homesick James, Big Joe Williams, Boogie Bill Webb, Earl Hooker, Luther Stoneham, Lost John Hunter, Big Boy Spires, Country Jim, Pinetop Slim, Jimmy Reed, Leroy Johnson, L.C. Greene, Manny Nicholls, Little Sam Davis & loads more.
Over recent years, nothing has sold at Red Lick quite as consistently well as the great series of JSP box sets. And among these JSP box sets, the biggest sellers have been JSP7796 and JSP4213 - the first and second volumes in this sensational series of down home blues as heard in the side-of road juke joints, out-of-the way taverns and other establishments that black Americans frequented in pursuit of entertainment, refreshment and various forms of human companionship.
Now we can all now rejoice as Volume 3 has arrived - a further 104 rough-hewn examples of tough, down-and-dirty (and, almost by definition) great blues and rhythm and blues tracks from the golden age of the late'40s and early ‘50s when blues singers and musicians were grappling with the extra dynamics brought to their sounds by electrification and amplification. For some, this was just a useful tool to make their existing sound louder, for others it offered the opportunity to create a whole different context altogether to play their blues.
The vibrancy and urgency of recordings from these times still excites - from the opening salvo of Slim Harpo's I'm A King Bee right through to an aptly-titled closer, Boogie by Boogie Bill Webb. In between, you get plenty of artists exploring the potential of the new amplified sound (Ludella by Jimmy Rogers, with Muddy and Little Walter beavering away in support, being a prime example), while others - such as the great but lugubrious Lightnin' Slim - were content to stay within the musical tradition they knew, albeit now playing a bit louder.
As with the previous volumes, you get familiar names and classic tracks, interspersed with amazing new finds rarely (or ever) heard before. Having just found out of the recent passing of Jerry McCain, it was great to have here both his stonking harmonica on the instrumental Steady and his original version of She's Tough (if you recall the Fabulous Thunderbirds version of this track on their debut album you will want to hear Jerry's original).
So, its another big thanks to JSP (and compiler Neil Slaven who also contributes entertaining and informative notes) for another magnificent set in a seriously great series. Let's just hope Volume 4 is in the pipeline!
Review Date: April 2012