Delta Blues Original recording remastered
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Twenty formative tracks from the king of the Delta Blues, recorded in Wisconsin and Mississippi in 1930, 1940 and 1941. Includes the classics 'Preachin' the Blues', 'Walking Blues' and 'The Pony Blues'. With informative notes and session details this set is part of the Complete Blues series, described by Uncut magazine as ' a dazzling, comprehensive story of the blues...the most user-friendly compendium on the market'.
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This is the fine work of a blues man who was honing his craft when even Robert Johnson couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, and some of these songs have arguably aged better than some of the more iconic blues standards out there. Buy the album and hear it for yourself, and at £3.99 it;s a steal!
This disk collects together all of the tracks cut by this influential blues man in 1930 and 1940/1. Material here is raw, from the heart, and based in hard experience (like Ledbelly, Son House had served time in jail for murder before starting to record). The music is impassioned, and the lyrics searing. A definite must for any blues fan.
The tracks here have been remastered as much as possible, and are technically OK, but bear in mind the age of the recordings. There is a nice booklet with a brief essay about Son's life. This, along with `Father of the Delta Blues' and `At Home', covering his two major sessions in the sixties, will give you the complete recorded work of Son House.
According to the sleeve notes, the first seven tracks are from 1930. Though no expert, I'm almost positive that track 1 "Walkin' Blues" is actually the 1941 version. It's Son with backing band and backing vocals. I have read that there is a 1930 version, but I don't think this is it. The next six tracks are from 1930, parts one and two of: My Black Mama, Preachin' the Blues and Dry Spell blues. Part one of these tracks are on many compilations but part two are less common. They are based around the same guitar parts but have different lyrics. My Black Mama part 2 has many of the lyrics that were later used in Death Letter. The 1930 tracks are uniformly excellent, though that word hardly does them justice.
The next five tracks are all from 1941, all with backing band.
The last eight tracks are from 1942, and are solo recordings.
Being already familiar with quite a few of these songs, I was somewhat disappointed with the other, lesser-known ones. For one thing, lyrics and riffs are recycled endlessly, that's just the nature of the music, I guess, but it means you don't need to hear all the songs. The 1942 material is weak in comparison with the rest, as well. There's just some energy missing from these performances that is present in the earlier ones.
As an introduction to Son House, I think a compilation that also includes 60's recordings would be best. That said, and though I think some of the stuff on this cd is inessential, it also contains some of the greatest blues performances you are ever going to hear: My Black Mama, Preachin' Blues and Walkin' Blues, for example.
"The Blues aint nothing but a lowdown aching chill,
If you aint had 'em, I hope you never will."
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