Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tampa Red - You Can't Get That Stuff No More

Hudson Woodbridge, sometimes Whittaker, better known in the music world as Tampa Red, was an
accomplished and influential blues slide guitar player, who became known as "The Man With the Gold Guitar" due to his National steel resonator instrument. While mostly concentrating on blues music, the man was first and foremost an entertainer and delved into many styles, particularly the early "hokum"/minstrel/ almost slapstick type of bawdy tunes, along with Dixieland-influenced numbers, pop and R&B. He became popular through some of his work with Georgia Tom ("It's Tight Like That" being their first big hit) as well as his solo career.

This CD collects 24 tracks, mostly written by Red, and showing his versatility and variety of styles. The accompanying booklet gives you a brief description of his career but not much detail on the songs. Opening with "Uncle Bud", we hear Red's slide work immediately in this rather silly hokum piece, presumably done with Georgia Tom, as is "But They Got It Fixed Right On". I really enjoy the guitar work and interplay with piano on "Grievin' and Worryin' Blues" and his "Turpentine Blues". He claims credit for the oft-covered "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and who am I to argue with his authorship? In this version we get some boogie-woogie piano and a kazoo solo! The solo guitar "Hard Road Blues" obviously influenced many bluesmen to come - although the kazoo would later be replaced with instruments like a harmonica. "Boogie Woogie Dance" is appropriately titled and highlights Tampa's finger-picking combined with slide while "Voice of the Blues" is a blues led by Georgia Tom.

More hokum in "Give It Up Buddy" (nice slide work), nice slide blues in "This Ain't No Place For Me", "You Got to Reap What You Sow", "Seminole Blues" before we get more bouncy hokum in "I'll Kill Your Soul" (similar to "You Rascal You") and Dixieland stylings in "She Said It", with clarinet and kazoo dueting. Some lascivious lyrics in the bluesy "She Loves Just Right" and fine guitar playing in his cover of "Bumble Bee".  More great blues in "Taking It and Make My Getaway", "Travel On", "Moanin' Heart Blues", a bit more jazz influence in "I Want to Swing" and "The Way to Get the Low Down", back to the slide for "Prison Bound Blues", more hokum in "Mean Old Tom Cat" before closing with another classic blues in "Western Bound Blues".

Excellent playing and singing and fine songs in a multitude of styles here - another new fave!