Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
Mississippi blues by the master
on 27 August 2006
When the Mississippi blues giant, Eddie 'Son' House was rediscovered in 1964 he was 62 years old and had given up music some 16 years previously. Practice soon restored much of his original mastery and he was signed up the following year by John Hammond for a Columbia Records session. The LP that emerged comprised the first nine of these tracks, and represented a powerful come-back, with stand-out numbers 'Death Letter', 'Empire State Express', and 'Levee Camp Moan', as well as the unaccompanied 'John The Revelator'.
In 1992 a double CD was released, with the original nine tracks supplemented by an additional seven unreleased titles as well as five alternate takes. But what should have been an occasion for celebration turned out to be disappointing in the extreme. The new material was a pale shadow of that previously issued, and many critics thought it would have been better left in the vaults.
The present single CD includes just five of the originally unreleased titles, and so offers some kind of compromise, with the worst of the 'new' material being omitted. Of that retained, perhaps 'Pony Blues' disappoints the most. The delivery is extremely hesitant and stumbling, in direct contrast to Son's superb 1942 recording of this classic that he learned from his old friend Charley Patton. 'Motherless Children' suffers in the same way, and Son coughs and wheezes his way through a depressing version of 'Downhearted Blues'. Only 'President Kennedy', to the same melody as his 1942 'American Defense', and 'Yonder Comes My Mother' with, presumably, the added guitar of Al Wilson, in any way compare with the quality and power of the first nine tracks which more than justify the purchase of this mid-price CD.