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JSP (JSP4213 )

Lee Brown, Jerry McCain, Cleo Harves, Papa Lightfoot, Louis Campbell, Sammy Myers, Mr Honey, Andrew Thomas, KC Douglas, Haskell Sadler, Boogie Bill Webb, James Tisdom, Big Chenier, King Davis, Sonny Boy Johnson, Sidney Maiden, JD Edwards, Lefthand Charlie, Country Jim, Lewis Campbell, Buddy Lewis, Slim Green, Pete McKinley, Ernest McClay, Jerry Perkins, Hot Rod Happy, Jimmy Rogers, John Brim, Pinebluff Pete, Jimmy McCracklin, Buddy Lewis, Robert Lee Westmoreland.

All you've got to do is turn down the lights, grab a glass of beer and imagine you're in some small town juke joint in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas or an out of the way roadhouse in California listening to the men who played in these kind of places and had the good luck to make a record or two now and then. This is real regional black blues made for folks who went down to the juke to drink and dance and dig the sounds - and this 54 track CD set is full to the brim with the music they heard. In fact, it's another perfect JSP hand-picked collection compiled by Neil Slaven.

When these CDs arrived, I scanned the track listing and dipped in to hear some old favourites like Papa Lightfoot's stupendous harmonica boogie P.L. Blues, Sammy Myers' wonderfully tight version of Sleeping In The Ground, Willie Lane's starkly rural Prowlin' Ground Hog and Country Jim's sublime stuttering boogie I'll Take You Back Baby - not forgetting the raw, urgent Mercury Blues by KC Douglas; the original version that inspired Steve Miller and David Lindley to record theirs in the 70s. Then there's the unrelenting, tough, nasty sound of JD Edwards great sides Playboy Blues and Lonely Boy which included Buster Pickens and Lightnin' Hopkins on the session!

Along side the old favourites there are tons of items I'd never heard before and some of ‘em came as a revelation to me. Louis Campbell's lazy cakewalk The Natural Facts is stuffed with virtuoso playing from pianist Skippy Brooks and harpist Jimmy Johnson while Boogie Bill Webb digs deep into a John Lee Hooker boogie-style delivery on his controlled stomp Bad Dog. Country Jim's laid back Old River Blues is one of those unhurried back porch rural blues songs with some pretty wild guitar on the solo and Lee Brown And His Barbertown Boogie Woogie Cats demonstrate how they would undoubtedly have got the joint jumpin' with Horse Shoe Boogie - a wild workout featuring Lee on piano battling to be heard over Oliver Acorn's alto sax, Leroy Foster's guitar and Big Crawford's bass.

For real down home country blues you can't beat Louisianan Cleo Harves tune Crazy With The Blues. This one is just rudimentary guitar and bass playing but Harves cool, unhurried style and lazy vocal phrasing is simply irresistible. Big Chenier raises the temperature with his rockin' zydeco on Let Me Hold Your Hand, King Davis hardly takes a breath during the harmonica workout Waggin' Your Tail and Left Hand Charlie provides some of the heaviest, deepest blues on the entire set with his pounding guitar killer Miss My Lagnion. On the rockin' side, Robert Christian pops out some peculiar yet intriguing electric guitar runs on Jerry McCain's Chuck-Berry-style Bad Credit and Sammy Myers introduces more rock and roll flavoured blues with My Love Is Here To Stay - a bootin' little number with terrific fuzzy guitar from Tommy Lee Thompson and some forceful harmonica from Sammy himself.

I could go on all night about this great material and I haven't even mentioned Honeyboy Edwards with his ‘Mr Honey' sides, the early stuff from Jimmy Rogers and John Brim, Sonny Boy Johnson's weird vocals on Swimming Pool Blues or how Robert Lee Westmoreland comes across as the new Tommy McClennan!  There is an abundance of riches on these CDs and all I can say is - get this wonderful 2CD set and investigate it for yourself. It'll give you endless hours of enjoyment!

Ask for JSP4213

Only £11.00 plus p&p here at Red Lick


Review Date: May 2010

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