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Reviews Written by
Mark Anderson (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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Good Morning Judge
Good Morning Judge
Price: CDN$ 13.99
19 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$ 15.59
14 used & new from CDN$ 9.45

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$ 22.56

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$ 21.74
20 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$ 15.90
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
6 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.

Fritzel's New Orleans Jazz Band
Fritzel's New Orleans Jazz Band
Price: CDN$ 19.94
16 used & new from CDN$ 13.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Dixieland Jazz CD From A New Orleans Club Band, June 12 2014
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During a recent trip to New Orleans a friend and I wandered through the French Quarter looking for bands playing authentic New Orleans Dixieland jazz. After wandering down Bourbon Street past many clubs featuring bands doing classic rock covers (doing those covers well, mind you, but we wanted to listen to Dixieland jazz in New Orleans' French Quarter, not 1970s cover bands) we heard Dixieland jazz coming from a Bourbon Street bar called Fritzel's.

We went in and found this band playing. These guys are the Fritzel's house band and, for traditional New Orleans Dixieland jazz, they're the real deal. We spent a few hours listening to them one night and then went back to Fritzel's again the next night for another session. The music was great both nights although the band members, with the exception of the drummer, were different each night. Apparently Fritzel's house band has a core group of musicians who alternate nights on stage.

Fritzel's New Orleans Jazz Band has three CDs available; this one is their first CD, originally released in 2009. The band sells their CDs at Fritzel's during their performances for $20 (I bought two at Fritzel's) but if you can't get to Fritzel's on Bourbon Street, Amazon is probably the most accessible source.

I've rated all three Fritzel's New Orleans jazz Band CD's on Amazon. I've given the other two 5 stars and this one four stars by comparison, since I like the other two better. But don't let that put you off buying this one; it's still a really good Dixieland jazz CD.

If you like Dixieland jazz, this band is well worth checking out.

Delta Crossroads
Delta Crossroads
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 21.11
23 used & new from CDN$ 2.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Album From The Only Musician Taught To Play Guitar Personally By Robert Johnson, June 6 2014
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This review is from: Delta Crossroads (Audio CD)
This is an excellent album but also a very interesting concept.

Robert Lockwood Jr. was the only guitarist known to have been taught how to play by blues legend Robert Johnson, who often stayed with Lockwood and his mother in Helena, Arkansas. Robert Johnson influenced many guitar players but Robert Lockwood Jr. is the only one known to have been taught to play by Robert Johnson personally. Robert Lockwood Jr. travelled with Robert Johnson in the 1930s and later became a well known bluesman himself.

This CD features Robert Lockwood Jr. covering several Robert Johnson standards, along with some other blues standards like CC Rider and Keys To The Highway, and then rounding out the album with several original Robert Lockwood Jr. compositions. It's very interesting to hear Robert Johnson material performed by someone who actually played professionally with Robert Johnson and who is only person known to have been taught to play by Robert Johnson. Great concept for an album.

All the material on the CD is first rate. The CD was recorded in 2000, toward the end of Robert Lockwood Jr.'s life (he died in 2006), but he is in fine form here. His voice held up well over the years and his guitar playing is excellent. He is playing 12 string on this album.

The CD is just over 61 minutes total playing time. The sound is very good and Robert Lockwood Jr. is in top form throughout.

This is a well recorded CD of music by one of the last 1930s bluesmen who lived to see the 21st century. Robert Lockwood Jr.'s musical talents lasted into his old age and that really shows on this CD.

Highly recommended.

Bricks In My Pillow
Bricks In My Pillow
Price: CDN$ 15.94
19 used & new from CDN$ 9.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Blues From 1951 And 1952 Sessions, June 4 2014
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This review is from: Bricks In My Pillow (Audio CD)
Robert Nighthawk is a bluesman I'd often read about in books about blues history, but I'd never actually heard his music. The books said he'd played with people like Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters so I decided to check out Robert Nighthawk's music by actually buying one of his CDs.

I decided to try this one as an introduction to Nighthawk since it was on the Delmark label and, in my experience, Delmark recordings tend to be good quality.

This one is no exception. This is very good material and the sound is good for music recorded in 1951 and 1952. Robert Nighthawk was a very good guitar player and vocalist.

The sidemen on the sessions are not all known; perhaps the original notes of the sessions have been lost. The liner notes say it is Roosevelt Sykes or Bob Call on piano for the 1951 session and Curtis Jones on piano for the 1952 session with Ransom Knowling on bass for both sessions. It is possibly Jump Jackson on drums for the 1951 session but the drummer on the 1952 is not known.

Overall, a very good CD. If you like blues, you might want o check out this Robert Nighthawk CD. After hearing this one, I'll be checking out some other Robert Nighthawk material.

A Special Life
A Special Life
Price: CDN$ 18.49
29 used & new from CDN$ 13.07

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another High Quality John Mayall Album. There Aren't Many Octogenarians Making Music Of This Calibre, June 2 2014
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This review is from: A Special Life (Audio CD)
This John Mayall CD was recorded in November 2013 and released in May 2014. Mayall hasn't released a new studio album for several years; Mayall's last studio album was Tough, released in 2009.

This is a very good album. If you like Mayall's previous work you'll like this one.

The personnel line up in Mayall's has changed slightly since his last album; there's a new bass player for this album. Other than that the line up is same as his last album, Tough. Mayall's bands are always high quality and this line up is no exception.

John Mayall is now in his eighties and has been recording since the 1950s. His voice has held up really well and his playing is still first rate. I only hope my creative energies are still as sharp as John Mayall's seem to be when I'm in my 80s.

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