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The Downhome Blues Sessions Vol.5: Back in the Alley 1949-1954

Various Artists Audio CD

Price: 13.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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1. Hard Times - JOHNNY FULLER
2. It's Your Life - JOHNNY FULLER
3. I've Done Everything I Can - WALTER ROBERTSON
4. Johnny's Low Down Blues aka Train, Train Blues - JOHNNY FULLER
5. This Is The End aka The End - JAMES REED
6. My Mama Told Me - JAMES REED
7. Dr Brown - - JAMES REED
8. I Think My Time Is Here (Take 1) - JIMMY MCCRACKLIN & HIS BLUES BLASTERS
9. Josephine (Take 6) - JIMMY MCCRACKLIN & HIS BLUES BLASTERS
10. Beer Drinkin' Woman (Take 4) - JIMMY MCCRACKLIN & HIS BLUES BLASTERS
11. I'm Prison Bound aka Doing Time Blues - LOWELL FULSON
12. My Baby Left Me aka Some Old Lonesome Day - LOWELL FULSON
13. You Had A Good Man (Take 2) - ROY HAWKINS
14. Just A Poor Boy (Take 2) - ROY HAWKINS
15. You Better Hold Me - JAMES REED
16. Oh People - JAMES REED
17. My Love Is Real - JAMES REED
18. I Walk All Night - JOHNNY FULLER
19. Back Home - JOHNNY FULLER
20. Sputtering Blues - WALTER ROBERTSON
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

* After a lengthy hiatus, the Modern Down Home series returns with a package that upholds and often surpasses the standards set by the first four volumes. This one concentrates on artists from the Bay Area of California and offers some of the most unvarnished and basic down home recordings of the whole series.

* None of these tracks or takes are currently available on Ace CDs (in fact, very few have been issued prior to this release).

* Jimmy McCracklin and Lowell Fulsom are the most familiar names but the other artists are very collectable with their original singles and 78s almost impossible to find and no less noteworthy musically.

* A high class offering in every respect, and one that that will spur fresh interest in the previous volumes, as well as Ace's extensive Lowell Fulsom, Roy Hawkins and Jimmy McCracklin catalogues.


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Doom-Laden Blues 14 Feb 2009
By Curtiss Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Here is volume 5 of Ace's Downhome Blues Session series, culled from the vaults of Modern Records, the label that broke B.B. King. While none of the music on this CD sounds anything like B's great 1950's sides, it does sound like some of the most doom-laden, down-and-out urban blues urban recorded.

That's because much of it was recorded by the late Afro-American entrepreneur and music impresario Bob Geddins in the Bay Area during the late 1940's and early 1950's, then leased to the Bihari Brothers at Modern who released it on their own labels. Geddins hung out in the clubs and hoods of Oakland and SF locating talent (and this CD contains loads of talent) which would likely never have seen a recording studio had he not been around.

Some of this material was re-released on vinyl in the early 70's on the short-lived Kent-label series (also owned by Modern) that featured regional blues, but this CD fleshes out many titles & alternates that never saw the light of day back then. There really is not a bad track here, and there are some really outstanding ones (Johnny Fuller's "Hard Times", Walter Robertson's "Sputtering Blues", Jimmy McCracklin reprising "Beer Drinkin' Woman"). At 26 titles for around $18 bucks, you get your money's worth.

A couple of infuriating points that dragged this one down from 5 stars to 4 is Ace's habit (on this series at least) of not listing the session musicians and exact recording dates when known, in the same place as the track listing. On this CD for example, when you look at the list of song titles and the artist, you'd think that each title was a solo only recording. In fact every track is a band recording (according to my ears anyway), but where are the names of the other band members? Even Revenant Records publishes more info than Ace, and Revenant had a lot less to work with from the get-go.

C'mon Ace Records; these sets are really aimed at serious blues collectors and there is no excuse for leaving the details off, or for burying them in the text of the liner notes. The other issue with Ace is that most of the e-commerce sites hawking their CD's do not feature any sound samples. For that you have to go to the Ace home site in the UK, where if you are lucky, you'll get to hear 30 seconds of 3 songs out of the 25 that exist for any given CD.

If you do purchase this CD and the northern-California blues sound from Bob Geddins' treasure trove appeals to you, check out more fine material of this ilk on Acrobat Music's, "The Cava-Tone Records Story", "Bob Geddins' Irma Records Story", and "The Big Town Records Story". You will get the blues.
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