"Don't Fish In My Sea" is a compilation of twenty songs recorded in the nineteen-twenties by Blues artist Ma Rainey, including the song after which this record is named.
I became aware of Ma Rainey's music about three or four years ago, when I was exploring an interest in Blues and Jazz music and wanted to better acquaint myself with the female performers in these genres.
Listening to Ma Rainey sing, I would say her voice is somewhere in the middle of the contralto range, more salty than sweet, kind of rough and gravelly, with a ribald, raunchy quality to it. She can move up and down the scales of her vocal range, and has the ability to sustain a note.
Some of these tracks sound like a more urban style of Blues, which sounds quite similar to the Bluesier side of Jazz, with instrumental arrangements centred around piano with trumpets, guitars and other instruments woven into it. Other tracks sound more like rural, roots, country style Blues, dominated by picked and strummed guitar. Notable examples of the country-blues style include Shave 'Em Dry, Farewell Daddy Blues and Big Feeling Blues. The latter, like Ma and Pa's Poorhouse Blues, sounds like it's a duet with a male singer, presumably Ma's husband Pa Rainey.
The production quality is what you can expect from this era, although I'd hazard to say it is a better example of nineteen-twenties record quality. I like that they've kept it as it was, rather than do what other distributor's of Rainey's music have done and digitally "cleaned" it, which makes it sound tinny, thin and mutilated. Leaving the hiss and the fizz of the original recording gives an authentic of-its-era feel, and leaves the songs in tact, rather than damaging them like an artefact ruined through careless and heavy handed excavation.
This item has an attractive case, with plastic CD tray adhered to semi-rigid card outer casing. There's some background information about the tracks on the inlay, offering a bit of context to the songs, such as when they were recorded, where they were recorded, and what musicians played on them. The cover doubles as an envelope and there's a booklet inside it.
There's a brief biography of Ma Rainey on the first three pages of the booklet, focusing on her career in music and entertainment. The rest of the booklet is a catalogue of other Blues and Blues-related records that the company stocks.
The cover says the songs were recorded in the nineteen-twenties and nineteen-thirties, but the inlay sleeve says they were recorded between nineteen-twenty-three and nineteen-twenty-eight, so a bit of conflicting information there but it's not a big deal.
I am pleased with this product, I think it's good value for money, and I'd recommend it to others.