This set begins with Boyd's debut ("I Had To Let Her Go"/"Kilroy Won't Be Back") recordings from 1947, and then samples a good cross section of Boyd's work from this era. This is just a sampling of Boyd's fairly large body of work from this period. The sound is fine--clean yet it still has the feel of the recording period. The booklet lists the song titles and date recorded. There's a three page essay on Boyd and his music during this period. This set is somewhere between 3 and 4 "stars" depending on your like/dislike for blues piano/vocals from this era. I happen to like both Boyd's piano work and his vocal style, so it's closer to 3 1/2- 4 "stars" for me.
Boyd is probably best known for his two albums he recorded in England in the late 1960's ("7963 South Rhodes" and "Eddie Boyd and his Blues Band") with members of Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall, Aynsley Dunbar, and others. But this set is focused on his early work--something that many blues fans haven't heard much of. If you've heard the great Roosevelt Sykes from this same period, you'll recognize his influence on Boyd--which is a good thing. Also included is Boyd's big hit "Five Long Years" from 1952. Boyd's work can also be heard on the JSP set "Rockin' This House" (beware of duplications) along with other contemporary blues pianists. If you're a fan of blues piano you should do yourself a favor and check the JSP set out.
This set (the first 17 tracks) collects all of Boyd's sides (except one, "Baby Come Back To Me", which I don't think has ever been released) for the Victor label, and tracks from the Regal, Herald, J.O.B., Chess, Bea & Baby, and Keyhole labels. Also included are a number of tracks "not originally released" from several of the above labels. But the unissued sides aren't here as filler. There's a number of fine gems included which are as good as the released tracks.
Boyd had a smooth vocal style and (when called for) an energetic piano style. But he could handle slower tunes with equal aplomb. His small/medium size bands usually had at least a honking tenor sax if not more horns, or a guitar to help fill in the holes and take short solos. Various tracks include musicians like J.T. Brown, Willie Dixon, Ransom Knowling, Bill Casimir, Alfred Eakins, Robert Junior Lockwood, and other unidentified musicians. But no matter who was in the band, the quality of playing was always very good. The arrangements are good examples of the period, and Boyd's vocals fit them like a glove. In this early period Boyd still had some of that down home feel to his vocals--a sound he would lose slightly in the late 60's on the two albums mentioned above. But if you're a fan of those English albums you'll find much to like on this early set of Boyd's.
I have to confess that I've been a fan of Boyd's ever since I happened across those early vinyl albums with Fleetwood Mac, Mayall, and other English blues luminaries way back in the late 1960's. And I've never stopped playing those sides--which are available as " Eddie Boyd The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions"--since that time. So I may be a bit biased toward this set. But there's some good post-war blues here which fans of blues piano should check into. You may be surprised.