Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Classic Blues Artwork From the 1920's - Calendar/CD

I've been collecting these educational and informative calendars for a number of years now and always dig the excellent selections of blues rarities on the accompanying CD. The calendar is packed with amazing photos and artwork from the musicians and their record labels and the recordings include some of the rarest (along with some easier-to-find numbers) ditties around.

Of course, being this early, there are a lot of solo acoustic blues included, such as the upbeat "Cottonfield Blues" (Parts 1 and 2) by Garfield Akers, Jed Davenport's instro take on the much-covered "How Long, How Long Blues" which also includes some exceptional harmonica, the legendary Memphis Minnie makes a couple of appearances, including the sassy title cut, Frank Palmes performs with just his voice and harp on "Ain't Gonna Lay My "ligion Down", the mythical Charlie Patton adds "Lord I'm Discouraged" (a nice, clean recording, as some of his numbers are pretty scratchy these days), Blind Leroy Garnett plays some fine boogie-woogie piano in "Louisiana Glide" and the moody master Skip James gives some fantastic playing and uniquely high pitched moans on "Illinois Blues".

Blind Joe Reynolds gets a bit preachy in his excellent, upbeat rag "Nehi Blues" (railing against "knee high" dresses on women), the always great Big Bill Broonzy goes under the last name Johnson for "I Can't Be Satisfied", Joe Williams tries to capture Satan in "Mr. Devil Blues" (guitar/harp workout), there's a bit of country honk in the Mobile Strugglers fiddle-led "Fattenin' Frogs", Blind Willie Johnson's acoustic guitar gospel "Let Your Light Shine On Me" gives his unique take on this famous number, Blind Gussie Nesbit continues in this gruff, gospel style for "I'll Just Wring My Hands and Cry" and  "Motherless Children", and Memphis Minnie returns with her superior guitar work in her sexy hit "Bumble Bee".

Garnett makes a piano comeback in "Chain 'Em Down", Reynolds' "Outside Woman Blues" is the number made famous by Cream in Disraeli Gears (I love hearing the originals of these songs that we've heard for decades), Skip James (speaking of Cream covering old blues artists) comes back with "Yola My Blues Away", Patton gives us "I'm Going Home", Broonzy joins Frank Braswell (as "The Western Kid") for "The Western Blues", the Strugglers retain their country charm in "Memphis Blues", and Ishman Bracey ends the set with two haunting solo acoustic numbers, "Woman Woman Blues" and "Suit Case Full of Blues".

As I said, I love these collections and this is no exception. Always worth getting for the great music and cool calendar!