Various – Texas Blues – Early Blues Masters from the Lone Star State – 4CD
LONE STARS? NOT HERE
It revels in its decription as the Lone Star State, but Texas seems to have produced more than a few blues stars from the very start. Here’s a selection.
Many Texas blues musicians renounce the florid - condensing their material into a single narrative or melodic line to deliver the essence of the blues message. These men are masters of that special genre.
The tracks date from the years between 1927-1939 - a classic era for country blues.
The election and sleeve notes were undertaken by Neil Slaven - a guarantee of good listening.
Henry Thomas: 1. John Henry - 2:46 2. Cottonfield Blues - 2:49 3. Arkansas - 2:48 4. The Fox and the Hounds - 2:38 5. The Little Red Caboose - 2:49 6. Bob McKinney - 2:55 7. Red River Blues - 3:06 8. Honey, Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - 2:52 9. Run, Mollie, Run - 2:53 10. Shanty Blues - 2:55 11. Woodhouse Blues - 2:49 12. Jonah in the Wilderness - 2:56 13. When the Train Comes Along - 2:58 14. Bull Doze Blues - 3:26 15. Don't Ease Me In - 3:00 16. Texas Easy Street - 3:09 17. Texas Worried Blues - 3:17 18. Fishin' Blues - 2:44 19. Old Country Stomp - 2:53 20. Charmin' Betsy - 3:03 21. Lovin' Babe - 3:07 22. Railroadin' Some - 3:18 23. Don't Leave Me Here - 3:27 Pete Harris: 24. Jack O'Diamonds - 2:04 25. Is You Mad at Me? - 2:45 26. Blind Lemon's Song - 2:51 27. Carrie - 1:20
Ramblin' Thomas: 1. So Lonesome - 2:46 2. Hard to Rule Woman Blues - 3:04 3. Lock and Key Blues - 2:37 4. Sawmill Moan - 2:56 5. No Baby Blues - 2:49 6. Ramblin' Mind Blues - 2:50 7. No Job Blues - 3:12 8. Back Gnawing Blues - 3:02 9. Jig Head Blues - 3:17 10. Hard Dallas Blues - 3:03 11. Hard Dallas Blues - 3:00 12. Ramblin' Man - 3:07 13. Poor Boy Blues - 2:28 14. Good Time Blues - 3:07 15. New Way of Living Blues - 3:04 16. Ground Hog Blues - 2:54 17. Shake It Gal - 2:42 18. Ground Hog Blues No. 2 - 3:15 19. Little Old Mama Blues - 3:06 Willie Reed: 20. Dreaming Blues - 3:04 21. Texas Blues - 3:17 22. Leavin' Home - 2:51 23. Goin' Back to My Baby - 2:49 24. Some Low Down Groundhog Blues - 2:50 25. All Worn Out and Dry Blues - 3:10
Oscar Woods: 1. Fence Breakin' Blues - 3:14 2. Home Wreckin' Blues - 3:15 3. Evil Hearted Woman Blues - 3:07 4. Lone Wolf Blues - 3:13 5. Don't Sell It (Don't Give It Away) - 2:58 6. Muscat Hill Blues - 2:51 7. Don't Sell It (Don't Give It Away) - 2:33 8. Baton Rouge Rag - 2:28 9. Jam Session Blues - 2:37 10. Low Life Blues + 2:33 11. Token Blues - 2:33 12. Come On Over to My House Baby - 2:26 13. Looke Here Baby, One Thing I Got to Say - 2:25 14. Sometimes I Get to Thinkin' - 3:03 15. Don't Sell It - 2:11 16. Sometimes I Get to Thinkin' - 3:03 17. Boll Weevil Blues - 2:35 Smith Casey: 18. Shorty George - 3:18 19. Santa Fe Blues - 4:23 20. Hesitating Blues - 4:29 21. Two White Horses Standing in Line - 2:36 22. Jack O'Diamonds - 1:45 23. Mournful Blues - 2:17 24. East Texas Rag - 2:10
Coley Jones: 1. Army Mule in No Man's Land - 2:49 2. Traveling Man - 3:34 3. Drunkard's Special - 3:18 4. The Elder's He's My Man - 3:07 Dennis "Little Hat" Jones: 5. New Two Sixteen Blues - 2:58 6. Two String Blues - 3:11 7. Rolled from Side to Side Blues - 3:04 8. Hurry Blues - 3:09 9. Little Hat Blues - 3:12 10. Corpus Blues - 3:15 11. Kentucky Blues - 3:14 12. Bye Bye Baby Blues - 3:09 13. Cross the Water Blues - 3:15 14. Cherry Street Blues - 3:23 Jesse Babyface Thomas: 15. Down in Texas Blues - 3:08 16. My Heart's a Rolling Stone - 2:56 17. Blue Goose Blues - 2:35 18. No Good Woman Blues - 2:57 Black Ace: 19. Trifling Woman - 2:50 20. Black Ace - 2:48 21. You Gonna Need My Help Some Day - 2:36 22. Whiskey and Women - 3:04 23. Christmas Time Blues - 2:47 24. Lowing Heifer - 3:03
1. AllMusic - Steve Leggett
Blind Lemon Jefferson was the first bona fide blues performer to be recorded when he sat down in front of a microphone in the spring of 1926, and the very first line of the first song that Jefferson tracked went "well, the blues come to Texas, lopin' like a mule," which is an apt description, since early Texas blues musicians were a varied and stubborn lot, but there was a certain joyful boldness in their playing, and as a group, they rivaled the more celebrated Mississippi Delta blues contingent. This four-disc set from Britain's JSP Records collects what is essentially the complete recorded works of several early Texas (and western Louisiana) blues performers who recorded in the 1920s and 1930s, including Henry Thomas, Pete Harris, Willard "Ramblin'" Thomas, Willie Reed, Oscar "Buddy" Woods, Smith Casey, Coley Jones, George "Little Hat" Jones, Jesse "Babyface" Thomas, and Black Ace (Babe Kyro Lemon Turner aka Lemon Turner). You can hear the strong influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson on several of these musicians, especially Pete Harris and Smith Casey (although Casey's proto-talking blues, "Army Mule in No Man's Land," included here, is as singular as they come), both of whom were recorded by Alan Lomax, but performers like Henry Thomas, who often featured pan pipes and a banjo-derived guitar style known as rapping, are closer to the archaic sound of traveling medicine show minstrels than to the emerging blues style of the time. There is a wealth of tracks here, but a couple of things stick out at first hearing, including the fine slide guitar tone of Ramblin' Thomas; the minor-chord, open-tuning lap slide style of Buddy Woods, who flirts with a kind of early form of Western swing; and the jaun.tiness of Little Hat Jones, whose songs "Kentucky Blues" and "Bye Bye Baby Blues" are simply a delight. Everything here is available elsewhere from labels like Yazoo and Document, but there is something to be said for having all of these early bluesmen together in one package, and that makes this set well worth seeking out for serious fans of early blues.
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