Tuesday, March 22, 2011

V.A. - Alabama Blues 1927-1931

Along with Austria's Document, blues re-issue label Yazoo has done a great deal to reassemble the faded history of American country blues music. While they have received great acclaim for anthologies of blues greats like Charlie Patton, Skip James, and Blind Willie Johnson, they've also compiled the work of a number of more mysterious figures. Enter Alabama Blues: 1927-1931. The collection focuses on the output of two largely unknown players: Clifford Gibson, a guitar player who spent a great deal of time in the St. Louis area, even backing Jimmie Rodgers on recordings for Victor, and the even more obscure Edward Thompson. The set is fleshed out with sides from harmonica wizard Jay Bird Coleman (perhaps the biggest name here), George "Bullet" Williams, Marshall Owens, and Barefoot Bill. Gibson's recordings are most notable for some fine guitar playing, his mediocre vocal abilities failing to distinguish him from many of his contemporaries. Edwards has a stronger vocal presence, almost overshadowing his rough but competent lines. Of the bluesmen who join them on this disc, Williams stands out with "The Escaped Convict," an otherworldly piece that combines fierce harp playing with vocal hollering. At the time they were made, these recordings were nothing less than bids by the musicians for wider fame outside their local circles. Unbeknownst to them, however, they were also bids for a place in musical history; a place Yazoo has reserved for them. While this music is not the recommended introduction to the genre, it will no doubt be a revelation for country blues collectors.

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mp3 128 kbps - 40 Mb

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