Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Kansas Joe McCoy And Memphis Minnie - One In A Hundred - 2002.
Joe McCoy was such a prolific recording artist that it comes as something of a shock to realise that this is the first time a complete album has been devoted to his work. Mississippi born singer/guitarist Joe was allegedly the first musician in that state to own and play a National steel guitar. But he is perhaps best known as the first husband of Memphis Minnie, with whom, under the name of Kansas Joe, he recorded hundreds of songs in the early 1930s. The first ten numbers on this CD represent a typical selection of their work from this period, with their twin guitars complementing each other beautifully to provide a distinctive, driving sound, the first track ('When the Levee Breaks') even inspiring a hugely successful cover version some forty years later by the British band Led Zeppelin, and in 2006 by Bob Dylan. Joe and Minnie sometimes sang together, sometimes separately, the tracks featuring just Joe's voice mainly being the ones selected here.
Joe also recorded with his brother Charlie, another fine guitarist and mandolin player, and several of their couplings are included here, including 'Going Back Home Blues', 'Meat Cutter Blues', and the superb 'Evil Devil Woman Blues', the latter apparently influenced by Skip James's recording of a few years earlier. (The two artists also had another song in common with when Skip recorded a version of Joe's 'Cherry Ball Blues'.) Joined by brother Charlie, Joe recorded under the name of 'The Mississippi Mudder', and other of his pseudonyms included 'The Georgia Pine Boy', 'Hallelujah Joe' (on religious renderings), and 'Big Joe' (with a washboard band, as heard on 'I Love You Baby').
The booklet's discographical notes draw a complete blank on the two songs 'My Babe, My Babe' and 'You Done Tore Your Pants With Me', but I can reveal that they were most probably recorded by Joe under yet further noms de disque as 'Bill Wilber' and 'The Palooka Washboard Band', respectively.
A very welcome first solo release by a versatile though neglected artist.
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mp3 128 kbps - 39 Mb