Two discs 76,73 minutes each approximately. The sound has been remastered and is warm and fairly clean-what is missing in crispness is made up in atmosphere,which in this case is just fine. Each disc is in it's own jewel case that slip into a cardboard holder. The notes are in depth about Gordon's life and recording history.
Rosco Gordon was an unusual performer. He was not the most professional of singer/arrangers. His band was never all that "on the mark" when it came to starting (or for that matter,ending) a solo,or even ending a tune on time and all together. Gordon often said his recordings were actually "demos" that should never have been released. Besides Gordon on vocals and piano,he usually employed at least two saxes, guitar,drums,and bass. Probably the most well known musician here is the great but underrated Pat Hare on guitar,on a couple of tracks. These sides were all done in Memphis,at Sam Phillips Sun Records during the years 1951-1955. The only exception is on disc one,tracks 23 and 24,which were recorded in Houston in 1952. Obviously Phillips heard something in Gordon's playing because he recorded quite a few tracks and even released four singles during his time there. The sound would probably be closest to good time blues/r&b. Gordon could sing with great energy and then turn around and sound akin to Charles Brown,with his smooth voice. It's interesting that Gordon's music helped change the course of West Indian music,in both the styles of ska and then reggae. This is evident in songs like NO MORE DOGGIN' and MARIA. His loping beat was adopted into both styles of music,which can be easily heard.
As I said earlier,his style was pretty ramshackle,with solos teetering on the edge of sometimes literally falling apart. However,this is what is so engaging about these recordings. They have a feel of being thrown together as they played. Apparently Phillips studio at the time was similarly ramshackle,which contributed to the overall sound. But underneath all this is some pretty fine small group r&b/blues.
If you have never heard Gordon,this is a good collection of some of his best tracks all in one nice package. This is music that is a good example of what people were listening to in this era,and hearing these sides will put you right back there. Play this loud with your favorite beverage!