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swamp blues LP

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Product details

  • Vinyl
  • Label: EXCELLO
  • ASIN: B007N7P9ZE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By david on 18 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An instant classic when it was released as a double LP in the U.K. in 1970 by Mike Vernon's legendary Blue Horizon Records, Swamp Blues CD isn't technically an Excello Records product, but all of the veteran blues artists included in the set have strong ties to the Louisiana label. Vernon recorded everything included here in Baton Rouge over the course of four hot summer August days in 1970, and ended up breaking the two resulting LPs into a 12-song band set and followed it with a 12-song set that featured these blues artists working solo (in this CD reissue, obviously, the solo sides simply follow the band sides with no break in between). Not as loose and bayou atmospheric as Jay Miller's famous Excello productions, these tracks still have that swamp something going for them, and the whole collection is a wonderful testament to Excello's stable of blues artists. Highlights include Whispering Smith's funky "Cold Black Mare" and his harmonica-and-foot-stomp-accompanied "Baby Please Don't Go," Silas Hogan's wry "Dry Chemical Blues," Arthur "Guitar" Kelley's poignant "How Can I Stay When All I Have Is Gone," and Clarence Edwards' stark and acoustic "Cooling Board." Considered a stone cold classic in Britain, Swamp Blues should be afforded the same pomp it's due in the States. It's that good.
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By Bob Murray on 28 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable set. It was recorded in Baton Rouge in 1970 as an attempt by Mike Vernon to record a number of the more neglected musicians working in the swamp blues style at that time. Featured are Whispering Smith on harmonica, Silas Hogan, Clarence Edwards and Guitar Kelley on guitars, and Henry Gray on piano. All also sing. The first half of the C.D. consists of one of the featured men playing with a number of supporting musicians on guitar, bass and drums, and sometimes with one of the other guys also supporting. I can certainly hear Whispering Smith and Henry Gray on some tracks as backing musicians, but other than the featured artists the sleeve does not identify which men are on which tracks. The second half of the disc features the individual musicians solo.
None of the musicians were well known at the time, but became more so afterwards, which may or may not have been partly the result of this disc. However all were recognised musicians in their community and to some extent at least professionals.
The three guitarists are all absolutely typical of the style, very laid back, nothing flashy, with a relaxed rhythm. If you like the style you'll enjoy them, if you don't they won't convert you. Whispering Smith is a very fine harmonica player, not flamboyant, but effective on his solo features and as a member of a band. He's not Lazy Lester, but not far off.
The standout is Henry Gray. He has a musical history, having worked for many years in Chicago, and with Howlin' Wolf, and it shows. He plays beautifully as an accompanist on the group sides, knitting the whole thing together, and on the solo sides plays some forceful rocking instrumentals, and some deep down dirty blues. He really is a find.
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