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Texas Blues Box set
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A lovingly compiled 5-CD set in a clambox with a informative 28 page booklet, this is the ultimate tribute to the first country blues superstar. Jefferson was biggest-selling male blues artist of his age and the 95 tracks included here, recorded primarily in Chicago between 1926 and his untimely death in 1929 include all his greatest works, including 'Match Box Blues', and 'Black Snake Moan' , which launched the whole Texas blues tradition . 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'. Disc five also includes an additional tracks from three of Jefferson's lesser known followers, Oak Cliff T-Bone, Willie Reed and Little Hat Jones
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On the surface, this set gives you every reason to be really excited. There are several multi-disc sets out there that claim to contain Blind Lemon Jefferson's complete recordings; and of course there are differences in their content, making the claims suspect or patently false. This set is (at the present) the most comprehensive available. As for sound quality, people debate over this issue, the role of efforts to mitigate noise in the source materials, etc., constantly, so anything I say will be subjective; but with that in mind, I'll just say that I think the sound quality of this set is solid. And the price is very very reasonable for what you supposedly are getting. So, yeah, this set looks great.
Except . . .the discs come with all kinds of problems: tracking issues, skips, etc.; and sound glitches at specific times in numerous tracks that are clearly in the digital domain and not associated with problems in the source material. When I ran into these problems with the first set I bought, I wrote to the Amazon Marketplace dealer that sold me the item. They sent me another, free of charge. And that one also had skips and tracking problems and so on; it also had the same digital glitches in the same spots of the same tracks. The fact that some of the problems are digital glitches occuring at the same times in the same tracks on different sets makes me suspect an issue in the disc masters, but I don't know.
I contacted Snapper, the company that put this set out. They expressed surprise, saying they were unaware of any problems with the set (which seems odd, given that others have been complaining about it on the web), and offered me a free CD from their catalog. But I wasn't interested in another CD from their catalog. I wanted to get a good Blind Lemon Jefferson set. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be in the cards: they've told me that there are no plans to re-release a fixed copy of this at present.
Furthermore, this is not a one-off issue. I'm about to leave a review on their complete Blind Willie McTell set that will read almost identically to this one, with the exception that I haven't contacted Snapper about that one yet.
Snapper apparently has some real issues with their products. I hope at some point they get them fixed, because this set *could* be a minor miracle. Instead, it's a major disappointment.
has great sound. The "Black Swan" issue is supposed to sound very good and I think I'll order that one now. And I'll probably cool down and order this one again as well.