Henry Townsend – Original St. Louis Blues – Live
Henry Townsend was the last living “real” St. Louis Blues Artist. He died 9 years ago and in his last years he still played on all Blues Festivals! He was both a master of the guitar and piano Blues. He played and recorded with John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Robert Lee McCoy and Big Joe Williams. After world war II he played with Roosevelt Sykes and his wife Vernell. These recordings have been done in 1980 when Henry Townsend was on a tour in Austria – now they are documents of a Blues Style which is no more existent!
1. Sloppy Drunk - 2.13 2. M&O Blues - 3:30 3. Come on in My House - 3:56 4. All My Money Gone - 3:34 5. Old Clock Tickin' - 4:24 6. 44 Blues (Live) - 2:35 7. Why We Love Each Other - 3:59 8. Going Down Slow - 3:14 9. Cairo Blues - 3:04 10. Rollin and Tumblin - 4:19 11. Guitar Talkin' - 1:57 12. When the Sun Rise - 4:02 13. I Cry All Night - 2:57 14. Got to Go - 3:55 15. Moanin and Cryin' - 2:51 16. I'm Sorry My Heart - 5:34 17. Biddle Street - 2::12
1. www.bluesblastmagazine.com - Marty Gunther
When Henry Townsend passed at age 86 in 2006, the music world lost the last surviving member of the early blues community of St. Louis. But audiences everywhere get to enjoy him again in top form in this loving tribute from Wolf Records, captured live on the label’s home turf in Austria 21 years before he died.
Lovingly dubbed “Mule” because of his sturdy build, was born in Mississippi and raised in Cairo, Ill., but ran away from home at age 10 to the future home of the Gateway Arch. Equally gifted on piano and guitar, he walked into a recording studio for the first time at age 20, and was the only musician of his generation to be captured on disc in every decade from the 1920s through the 2000s, with his music appearing on most of the major labels of his time, including Paramount, Columbia, Bluebird and Brunswick.
Townsend’s piano style – influenced by Roosevelt Sykes, with whom he toured — fused St. Louis shuffles with barrelhouse, ragtime and jump, while his guitar picking drew comparisons to Charley Patton because of his unconventional style. His tenor vocal delivery harkened back to blues shouters, and his vivid memories provided invaluable material for researcher Paul Oliver, whose work in the ‘50s and ‘60s exposed the history of the blues to a worldwide audience.
Recorded in Linz, Lienz and Kufstein, Austria, on three consecutive nights in November 1980, this session captures Townsend in solo acoustic performance alternating from song to song on each instrument, assisted by wife Vernell, a blues and gospel singer in her own right, who handles vocals on two cuts. He’s on guitar for the familiar “Sloppy Drunk,” written by Sonny Boy Williamson, to kick off the set, accompanied by the audience with eager rhythmic clapping before delving into the Willie Brown classic, “M&O Blues,” on the keys.
Three originals — “Come On In My House” with an extended guitar solo, “All My Money Is Gone,” a song for piano written during the Great Depression, and “Old Clock Tickin’” – precede a version of the Sykes standard, “44 Blues.” Vernell steps to the mike for a duet on the original “Why We Love Each Other” before delivering the St. Louis Jimmy warhorse “Going Down Slow” by herself while her husband dazzles on the ivories.
A pair of early blues standards — Henry Spaulding’s “Cairo Blues” and “Rollin’ And Tumblin’,” penned by Hambone Willie Newbern – follow before Townsend launches a run of seven more originals — “Guitar Talkin’,” “When The Sun Rise,” “I Cry All Night,” “Got To Go,” “Moanin’ And Cryin’,” “I’m Sorry My Heart” and “Biddle Street” – to conclude the set.
This CD is a must for fans of old-time blues. It captures a first generation superstar at the top of his game, recorded in a manner that displayed his talent superbly. Pick it up. You won’t be sorry you did.
2. www.lahoradelblues.com/criticas.htm - 2015.10.09
El legendario e histórico cantante, guitarrista y pianista Henry Townsend, originario exponente del sonido blues de San Louis, nos presenta de la mano del impagable sello austriaco Wolf Records, diecisiete extraordinarios blues grabados en directo en 1980 mientras efectuaba una gira por Austria. En este disco Townsend va alternando la guitarra con el piano en el más puro estilo honky-tonk de los años treinta y lo hace con una naturalidad y una sobriedad magistrales, llena de una sincera autenticidad, tal y como únicamente los verdaderos maestros y pioneros sabían hacerlo, porque ellos no solamente son parte de la historia del blues, sino que atesoran esa esencia única, dinámica y singular que les distingue del resto, en una palabra ellos son el blues y Henry fue una parte de esa historia viva del blues. Simplemente daré una pincelada sobre este artista. Henry murió hace nueve años y hasta los últimos años de su vida estuvo activo tocando en diversos festivales, teatros y auditorios. Henry Townsend tocó y grabó con John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Robert Lee McCoy y Big Joe Williams. Después de la II Guerra Mundial lo hizo junto a Roosevelt Sykes y su esposa Vernell Townsend. Este disco constituye un documento único e irrepetible de un estilo de blues, desgraciadamente hoy ya desaparecido. IMPRESCINDIBLE.
Legendary and historical singer, guitar and piano player and one of the greatest and original representatives of St. Louis blues sound Henry Townsend gives us seventeen superb blues recorded live in 1980 while he was touring Austria, thanks to the priceless work of Austrian label Wolf Records. In this album Townsend alternates guitar with piano, playing in the real thirties honky-tonk style and he does it with a mastery natural and restrained way, filled with a sincere legitimacy only the true masters and pioneers can do, because they not only are part of the blues history, but also gather the unique and dynamic essence which makes them be different from other musicians. In short words, they are the Blues with capital letters where Henry’s name shines as part of the living blues history. Simply let me give a brief comment on this artist. Henry died nine years ago but he remained
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