Boogie Uproar: Texas Blues And R&B 1947-1954 Box set, Original recording remastered
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103 track survey of post World War II Texas jumping R&B and downhome blues from artists widely known and well documented (Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown) to the totally obscure (R B Thibadeaux) but each with their place in the jigsaw. Gatemouth Brown, who died in September 2005 aged 81, was the biggest star of this set and is appropriately represented with the most tracks (38) including his best sellers "My Time's Expensive", "She Walks Right In", "Dirty Work At The Crossroads", "Boogie Uproar", "Gate Walks To Board" and "Okie Dokie Stomp". His brother, James 'Wide Mouth' Brown, also appears but with only two tracks. Other artists are Goree Carter (35 tracks), Lester Williams (18 tracks), Nelson Carson and Zu Zu Bollin (4 tracks each) and R B Thibodeaux (his only known two tracks).
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Except for a few tracks by (probably) Goree Carter the rest feature a horn section typical of the era. Combined with an upfront guitar sound this is music that typifies the era and the locale. The styles of music range from slow blues-r&b to shuffles and everything in between. Of the people featured, 'Gatemouth' Brown is probably the most well-known. His career lasted well into the twentieth century,and he made several fine albums(One More Mile,Okie Dokie Stomp)which stand up to this day. His portion of this collection includes his Peacock Recordings,which are some of his finest(the well-known Okie Dokie Stomp)songs he ever recorded. On these tracks Brown's vocals are more urgent sounding(a good thing)than Walker's. Additionally,the arrangements for the band,especially the horns,make the sound much fuller than one would think by just reading the notes. This set even has a two-part beer ad Brown recorded in the early fifties. All things considered,these are probably the finest tracks he ever recorded and it's nice to have them in one set.
The other major artist in this set is Goree Carter. A fine guitarist and vocalist,he was a lot closer in both guitar and vocal style to T-Bone Walker than Brown. His career was short and primarily confined to Texas. This set includes a number of tracks that are closer to straight Texas blues,some with a small group and others with several horns. The debt he owed to Walker is obvious,but if you're a fan of T-Bone Walker these tracks are very enjoyable.
Lester Williams,who has 18 tracks in this collection,was a singer very much in the style of both Walker and Carter. The arangements are tight and swinging and if he isn't well-known that doesn't stop the music from being first-rate Texas style blues,again with horn arrangements.
Zuzu Bollin,another musician from the Walker school actually knew and learned from T-Bone Walker. Again the arrangements are typical and his voice is in emulation of Walker. It's interesting that well-known jazz musician David 'Fathead' Newman made his recording debut on the tracks in this set for Bollin.
The rest of the tracks in this set are taken up by James 'Widemouth'Brown,Nelson Carson and R.B.Thibadeaux. Brown's two tracks consist of a slower blues and one jump blues-aptly titled Boogie Woogie Nighthawk. Carson's tracks are a mixture of slow and fast songs,that while nothing exceptional,are good Texas/Walker style tunes. The two sides by Thibadeaux are a bit of a mystery as is the man. The only person in this set that doesn't play guitar,he never seemed to move past these tunes. Being critical,these are nothing to get excited over-what with their rather mundane arrangements and a vocal style none to exciting or expressive. However,it is nice to have things like this to keep the mind wondering-just who was he and what happened to him?
As usual the JSP folks have included fairly good notes,with each cd in it's own jewel case with their usual flimsy outer box. Saying that,I hope they continue putting these box sets out for a long time to come. The music,notes and the price are virtually unbeatable! If you're looking for information on other great JSP box sets,look for reviews under my name in the review section.
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