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Mark Anderson (Victoria, BC, Canada)
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Memphis Blues 1928-1935
Memphis Blues 1928-1935
Price: CDN$ 21.26
4 used & new from CDN$ 21.26

5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete 1920s And 1930s Recordings Of An Important Memphis and Mississippi Bluesman, July 9 2014
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This review is from: Memphis Blues 1928-1935 (Audio CD)
Robert Wilkins (later the Reverend Robert Wilkins) is probably best known for his composition "That's No Way To Get Along," originally recorded at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee in September 1929. The Rolling Stones covered that song on their 1968 album Beggars Banquet under the name "Prodigal Son."

The Robert Wilkins original is on this album, along with Wilkins' complete recordings of the period 1928-1935.

By 1935 Robert Wilkins became uncomfortable with the drugs, alcohol and casual violence that frequently followed the blues scene and he left the blues to become an ordained minister. Many other former bluesmen who joined the clergy, like Ishman Bracey, abandoned the blues as "the Devil's music." Reverend Robert Wilkins didn't turn his back on the blues; he just used his blues talent to promote Christian themes.

After making the recordings on this CD, the Reverend Wilkins did not record again until he was rediscovered in the blues and folk revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His talent is still evident on a 1971 recording called Remember Me, which is available through Amazon. The Reverend Wilkins was in his 70s when he recorded Remember Me, but his voice had held up very well and his guitar playing was still first rate.

For anyone interested in the blues of the 1920s and 1930s, this CD is well worth having for Robert Wilkins' complete 1920s and 1930s recordings. It's released by Document Records, which specializes in early blues recordings and typically puts out a quality product but, IMHO, charges a bit too much for their CDs, at least in Canada. IMHO, Document Records should consider dropping their Canadian CD prices by a few dollars per CD. They'd probably sell more of them at a lower price per CD.

But despite that, this is a very worthwhile CD that is probably the best release of Robert Wilkins' complete 1920s and 1930s recordings.

Johnny Shines with Big Walter Horton
Johnny Shines with Big Walter Horton
Price: CDN$ 14.74
24 used & new from CDN$ 8.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 1960s Album From A Contemporary Of Robert Johnson, July 3 2014
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This is a very good 1960s electric blues album from Johnny Shines, a Mississippi bluesman who was a contemporary of Robert Johnson and who travelled occasionally with Robert Johnson in the 1930s. Johnny Shines had a fairly successful musical career as both a recording and performing artist.

This album features 12 recordings taken from two sessions recorded for Testament Records in 1966 and 1969. There are 7 tracks from a session in Los Angeles in January 1969 featuring: Johnny Shines, guitar and vocal; Big Walter Horton, harmonica; Luther Allison, guitar; Prince Candy, bass; Bill Brown, drums. The other five tracks are from a June 1966 session in Chicago featuring Johnny Shines, guitar and vocal; Big Walter Horton, harmonica; Otis Spann, piano; Lee Jackson, bass; Fred Below, drums.

There are some well known musicians among the session players on these recordings. Otis Spann and Fred Below were with Muddy Waters' band. Luther Allison, Otis Spann and Big Walter Horton had their own recording careers as blues players.

Overall, a very good recording. It's 12 tracks with a total plying time of just over 39 minutes.

If you like Chicago blues, you'll like this one.

Jelly Roll Morton: 1926-1930
Jelly Roll Morton: 1926-1930
Price: CDN$ 29.28
27 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Collection Of Jelly Roll Morton Recordings, With Very Good Re-Mastering And At A Reasonable Price, July 1 2014
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Jelly Roll Morton is one of the leading figures in American jazz of the 1920s and 1930s. This is an excellent collection of Morton's music recorded between 1926 and 1930.

JSP is doing a very good job of re-mastering and releasing comprehensive sets of the recorded output of many overlooked jazz and blues musicians from the 1920s through the early 1950s. JSPs re-mastering quality is typically very good.

This 5 CD Jelly Roll Morton set is up to JSP's usual standards. The music is great, the re-mastering is very good and the selection of tracks is comprehensive.

Jelly Roll Morton was one of the leading figures in jazz. This is a very worthwhile collection of his 1926-30 recordings at a reasonable price.

Remember Me
Remember Me
Price: CDN$ 15.33
9 used & new from CDN$ 15.33

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good CD Of One Of The Great, But Overlooked, Early Bluesmen, June 30 2014
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This review is from: Remember Me (Audio CD)
I was somewhat reluctant to order this CD when I first saw it on Amazon. I hadn't heard it, it was a bit pricey and I didn't recognize the name of label releasing it. I decided to risk checking it out anyway and it turned out to be a really good CD.

Robert Wilkins was a well known bluesman in Memphis in the 1920s and 1930s. He made some important recordings in the 1920s which cemented his place in blues history. The Rolling Stones recorded his song, Prodigal Son, on their Beggars Banquet album in 1968.

In the 1930s Robert Wilkins became appalled by the drunkenness, drugs and casual violence which he saw associated with the blues scene in Memphis and decided to become an ordained minister. Unlike like other early bluesmen, like Ishmon Bracey, who became ministers and completely renounced the blues as the Devil's music, Reverend Robert Wilkins took his blues prowess and converted it to religious themes. Wilkins' style was deeply rooted in Gospel music so it was a fairly straightforward transition to apply his blues talent to his religious vocation.

The music on this CD is devoted to Christian religious themes, which may deter some more secular blues fans from checking it out. But that would be a mistake; this is great music.

Twelve of the thirteen songs on this CD are studio recordings made in at Urban Sound Recordings in Bethesda, Maryland in August 1971. They are mostly Rev. Robert Wilkins compositions, but there's also a cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "You Gotta Move" (covered by the Rolling Stones on their Sticky Fingers album in 1971) and some traditional Gospel material like "Rock of Ages" arranged by Reverend Wilkins. The last track, "In The Army of the Lord," is a Reverend Wilkins composition recorded live at the Memphis Country Blues Festival in 1969.

The sound on this CD is very good. Reverend Wilkins was in his 70s when these recordings were made but his voice had held up well and his guitar playing was first rate.

The CD is 13 tracks with a total playing time of 45 minutes.

Overall, a very worthwhile CD of one of the great early bluesmen recorded later in his career with his talents still intact.

You might also want to check out Reverend Wilkins' son, the Reverend John Wilkins, who has a CD available on Amazon.

Good Morning Judge
Good Morning Judge
Price: CDN$ 13.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 10.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good CD Of Walter "Furry" Lewis Recorded In 1962 and 1967, June 30 2014
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This review is from: Good Morning Judge (Audio CD)
Walter "Furry" Lewis was a blues musician who achieved some success and recognition after recording in the late 1920 and then, like so many other great bluesmen of that period, faded into relative obscurity until being rediscovered during the blues and folk revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In the intervening years Furry Lewis worked as a garbage collector and street sweeper in Memphis, Tennessee. He made several recordings after being rediscovered about 1960; these tracks were recorded in Memphis by George Mitchell during two separate sessions, one on 1962 and the other in 1967. Furry Lewis was in his 60s when these tracks were recorded but his voice had held up well and his guitar playing techniques are well worth listening to.

This CD is well worth the attention of blues fans. It's one of the great 1920s bluesmen recorded on good quality recording equipment while his vocal and guitar skills were still abundantly clear.

This particular release is on Fat Possum Records. The sound is good and the playing time is just over 40 minutes.

Six Classic Albums Plus (4CD/digitally remastered)
Six Classic Albums Plus (4CD/digitally remastered)
Price: CDN$ 15.82
15 used & new from CDN$ 10.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Collection Of 1950s and Early 1960s Country & Bluegrass, June 28 2014
I wasn't familiar with the Maddox Brothers & Rose until I recently saw a documentary on California country music which featured a lot of material on the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakum but also had a short segment on the Maddox Brothers & Rose.

What I saw about Maddox Brothers & Rose in this documentary made me curious enough to check them out further, so I bought this collection as a way of checking out this band.

This turned out to be a really good CD collection. As advertised it is 6 albums with bonus singles.

CD1 contains two albums by Maddox Brothers & Rose: A Collection Of Standard Sacred Songs, originally released in 1959, and I'll Write Your Name In The Sand, originally released in 1961. CD2 contains 25 singles released by Maddox Brothers & Rose between 1952 and 1957. CD3 contains two albums by Rose Maddox: The One Rose and Glory Bound Train, both from 1960. CD4 contains two more Rose Maddox albums: A Big Bouquet Of Roses, originally released in 1961, and Rose Maddox Sings Bluegrass, originally released in 1962.

There's a lot of great material on these CDs, much of which may be more familiar as covers by later artists. As a few examples, Jim Dandy was a hit for Black Oak Arkansas, circa 1972, and Move It On Over was covered by George Thorogood & The Destroyers, circa 1978.

Rose Maddox had a great voice and the band backing her was comprised of some very good musicians. If you like country artists like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakum, then you'll probably like this California based country band which was a forerunner to the Bakersfield sound made famous by Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and others.

Overall, a very worthwhile CD with some really good 1950s and early 1960s country and bluegrass. This music stands the test of time and still sounds good.

The re-mastering is good and the sound quality is good throughout.

Complete Recordings 1929-34
Complete Recordings 1929-34
Price: CDN$ 28.37
21 used & new from CDN$ 28.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Worthwhile Collection Of Charley Patton's Complete Recordings For Paramount Records From 1929-34, June 27 2014
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Charley Patton is one of the most important figures in the history of the blues. Apart from being an extremely influential artist, he taught Howlin' Wolf to play and influenced many of the other early bluesmen, including Robert Johnson.

This JSP set includes all the material Charley Patton recorded for Paramount Records in various sessions between 1929-1934, including sessions in which Patton is backing other musicians, like Willie Brown, Louise Johnson and Son House. For other reviewers wondering why this set includes music from musicians other than Charley Patton, it includes those sessions in which Patton played behind others as well as Patton's own recording sessions.

Liner notes included in this set are decent. The sound is very good for material of this era, especially since the masters of many Paramount records were destroyed and thus many of these tracks have been taken from used records, rather than from the original masters.

Overall this is a very worthwhile Charley Patton set. Patton is one of the most important figures among the early bluesmen and this set is an excellent way of getting his complete Paramount recordings.

Plays W.C. Handy - Complete Edition
Plays W.C. Handy - Complete Edition
Price: CDN$ 21.72
21 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Essential Louis Armstrong Albums, June 26 2014
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Louis Armstrong was, and will remain, one of the greatest musicians in jazz. And this is one of the essential albums for anyone interested in Louis Armstrong. There is a less expensive, single CD version of Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy available but this 2CD Complete Edition Is worth the extra money.

The first CD has the original sessions recorded in July1954 and released on the album Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy. It finishes off with a 1950 recording of Bugle call Rag/Ole Miss, followed by a 1956 recording of Handy's St. Louis Blues with Louis Armstrong and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

The second CD has some alternate takes and partial alternate takes from the July 1954 sessions, an interview with W.C. Handy and two 1925 recordings of Bessie Smith, backed by Louis Armstrong, doing W.C. Handy's Careless Love and St. Louis Blues and two more recordings, from 1929 and 1930, of Louis Armstrong doing St. Louis Blues. They're worth the extra money for this Complete Edition versus the single CD version of Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy.

W.C. Handy was one of the most important composers in American music history and Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest jazz musicians among W.C. Handy's contemporaries. This recording of Louis Armstrong doing W.C. Handy compositions is one of the essential recordings for any jazz fan's collection. IMHO this is the best recording of W.C. Handy material by any musician.

Black Magic
Black Magic
Price: CDN$ 16.08
22 used & new from CDN$ 8.76

5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Blues Albums Of The 1960s - Worth A Place In Any Blues Fan's Collection, June 26 2014
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This review is from: Black Magic (Audio CD)
This is one of the best blues albums of the 1960s and, arguably, one of the classic blues albums of all time. It would certainly be on my list of the All Time Top 100 Blues Albums.

All the tracks on the album are very good; some of them, like "You Belong To Me," " San-Ho-Zay" and "I Just Want A Little Bit," have become blues standards.

This album was recorded in November and December 1968. It was Magic Sam's last studio album before his untimely death in 1969, aged 32.

If you're a blues fan, this one is well worth your attention.

Lead Me On
Lead Me On
Price: CDN$ 18.60
7 used & new from CDN$ 8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD Of Acoustic Guitar Blues, June 20 2014
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This review is from: Lead Me On (Audio CD)
I discovered Kelly Joe Phelps's music a few months ago when I borrowed a copy of his Brother Sinner And The Whale CD from my local public library. I liked that CD so much I bought my own copy and subsequently decided to check out some more of Kelly Joe Phelps' work.

This is the second Kelly Joe Phelps CD I've bought. I took a chance and bought this one without having heard it and it turned out to be a really good album.

This is just over 70 minutes of acoustic blues with Kelly Joe Phelps going solo on guitar and vocal.

Very good acoustic blues album. I've bought two Kelly Joe Phelps CDs and so far it has been two excellent CDs out of two.

I'll be buying more Kelly Joe Phelps CDs in the near future.

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