For anyone with even a passing interest in slide-guitar driven urban blues, this CD represents fantastic value. Twenty-two fabulous tracks by the late, great Elmore James, playing and singing at the height of his powers. These recordings date from 1959-62 when he was recording for Bobby Robinson's Fire, Fury and Enjoy labels in New York. They also feature the greatest manifestation of his backing band, the Broomdusters -cousin Homesick James on rhythm guitar, Little Johnny Jones on piano, JT Brown on tenor sax and Odie Payne on drums.
Though never a healthy man, and both shy and retiring by nature, Elmore James always gave 150% both in live performance and on record. His relentless, visceral slide playing and impassioned vocal delivery shine through on every track he ever recorded, and by all accounts his live shows were the stuff of legend. At a time when both Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf bestrode the Chicago clubs, Elmore James and the Broomdusters were always the hottest ticket in town.
Sadly, within a year of some of these recordings, Elmore James was dead. However the combination of fierce up-tempo boogies, and slow, brooding cuts gathered here show why he is as popular and influential today as he was in his lifetime. These are performances of the highest order from the man who wrote the book on slide guitar playing - and all for a bargain price.
Now that's value for money!