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When My Mama Was Living

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Audio CD, October 30, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Labor Records presents an album that pays tribute to one of the last giants of country blues whose passing ended that illustrious period of raw-boned, original talent. This is the first release of tracks originally recorded in the mid-70s, featuring Louisiana Red in the most pure and unadulterated period of his career. Also featured is the rarely recorded guitar wizard Lefty Dizz as well as Peg Leg Sam, the astounding harmonica player whose skills were developed during his years as a wandering hobo.


These are the kinds of blues you listen
to when you want to hear the real deal.
It's from the heart, the soul, the earth,
and the human condition. With its
sparse musicianship and no nonsense
rustic style, it's a fitting tribute to a blues
legend that will undoubtedly hit you
where you live.

Here is a great country blues singer you're unlikely to know. He was born in 1932, according to notater Kent Cooper. 'His mother died soon after his birth and his father was hanged five years later. He passed through a variety of orphanages until, years later, his grandmother brought him to Pittsburgh to live with her. His first guitar was a cheap construct his grandmother found in a local hock shop.' He learned blues on the streets, performed them there sometimes and accompanied himself on guitar and harmonica (i.e. playing harp in between sung song lines). These recordings were made in the '70s, some with a harp player named Peg Leg Sam, some with a Chicago guitarist named Lefty Dizz. He lived much of his adult life in Germany which explains his lack of renown here. Listen to the disc, though, and you'll hear a first-rate country blues performer reminiscent of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry in first-rate recordings. Red died in late February. --The Buffalo News, Jeff Simon

Louisiana Red (Iverson Minter) died earlier this year in February at age 79. The vocalist, harmonica player and guitarist recorded more than 50 albums. On the new release When My Mama Was Living (Labor), Minter is heard on unreleased masters and alternate takes from the mid-1970s. This is Delta blues minimalism at its finest, since most tracks feature just Minter wailing away with spare accompaniment. On several tracks, he's joined by harmonica player Peg Leg Sam, guitarist Lefty Diaz and pianist Kyril Bromley. Sample Got a Girl With a Dog Won't Bark, Going Down to Georgia and You Got to Move. Music so rich and on time that they didn't need a drummer., Mark Meyers

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 30, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Labor Records
  • ASIN: B00925TA3W
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,403 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dean R. Brierly on November 3, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Were he alive today, Louisiana Red wouldn't stand a chance on one of the wretched singing competitions that pollute the television landscape. That's both an indictment of contemporary music culture and a testament to the gutbucket power and soulful integrity of the late, great bluesman. Red lived a fascinating and at times harrowing life that informs every bar of every song he wrote and performed. He lost his parents when he was a child, was raised in a succession of orphanages, learned to play guitar from a street musician, and lived the hardscrabble life of a traveling musician while in his teens. He made his first recording in 1949, hung out with legends like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, and eventually carved out a prolific career that resulted in more than 50 albums. In honor of Red's recent passing, Labor Records has released this CD of 16 previously unreleased tracks that capture him at his peak. Recorded in the mid-1970s, half are originals written by Red and Kent Cooper; half are standards that Red stamps with his inimitable style: stark, haunted and filled with a lifetime's pain and disappointment. Yet one can also hear a survivor's strength and spirit in tunes like "Walk All Over Georgia" and "King Bee" that make listening to Red a transformative, uplifting experience. Stripped down to the essentials -- vocals, guitar, harmonica -- this is blues in the raw, as pungent and powerful as a shot of redeye.
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