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1935-1936 4
1935-1936 4
Price: $16.31
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in the series for sure, February 21, 2015
This review is from: 1935-1936 4 (Audio CD)
There are thirteen volumes in Document's "Complete Recorded Works" series, and this fourth volume chronicles Big Bill Broonzy's 1935 and 1936 recordings. There are solo numbers, two songs recorded with the Chicago Sanctified Singers, and a slew of sides recorded with pianist "Black Bob" Hudson. Bassist Bill Settles appears on several of these, and vol. 4 collects the most urban and sophisticated music Big Bill had recorded up till then.
It's not a career-spanning overview, of course, but this particular volume contains a lot of Big Bill's best (and best-known) songs, and the fidelity is quite good, all things considered. An energetic "I Can't Make You Satisfied", the rollicking "Keep Your Hans off Her", and the defiant "Good Liquour Gonna Carry Me Down" are just a few of the highlights...Really, there are so many of them! "You Know I Need Lovin'" swings and swaggers, and we get early versions of "Match Box Blues" and "Bricks in my Pillow", as well as an amazingly dirty "Bull Cow Blues". Apparently the (white) guys who marketed this stuff really had no idea - either that or they figured that the public didn't.

The newcomer would of course be best served by a good Big Bill-compilation. He was a brilliant guy, Big Bill; clever, funny, and one hell of a musician. One of the most important figures in the transition from country blues to urban blues, indeed, and one of the most prolific as well. And for those who want to dig deeper than, say one single or double disc compilation, this is a great collection of music from the early part of Big Bill's best years.
Four and a half stars. Terrific stuff!

Blues At Sunset (Live At Wattstax)
Blues At Sunset (Live At Wattstax)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunset,'s all good, April 13, 2009
This 1973 live album brings together five sides from a 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with four sides from Albert King's 1973 performance at the Montreux Blues and Jazz Festival.

King is in fine form on both sets; the opening "Match Box Blues" is slightly truncated, but we get the full version during the Montreux performance, and virtually everything else is excellent. Tight, focused performances of songs like "Got To Be Some Changes Made", and "Breaking Up Somebody's Home", and the sizzling instrumental "Watermelon Man" are among the highlights, and the Velvet Bulldozer himself plays some truly inspired lead guitar on several of these tracks.

Nobody should attempt to cover Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor", really, not even Albert King, and a couple more up-tempo numbers, and maybe a good pianist to replace the wussy-sounding organ, would have made this a slighty stronger and more varied set.
But it's hard to fault what is here, really. Overall this album is not quite as strong as the 1968 "San Francisco Trilogy" ("Live Wire/Blues Power", "Wednesday Night in San Francisco", and "Thursday Night in San Francisco"), but that particular set is quite extraordinary, and "Blues at Sunset" is well worth picking up in its own right. This particular rendition of "Got To Be Some Changes Made" is probably the finest I've ever heard, and King picks up the twelve-minute "Stormy Monday" with a couple of truly scorching solos. Mmm...solos!

The rest of the Montreux performance is available on the "Blues at Sunrise" CD, by the way, and that one is even better. Why they didn't release the complete concert on the same album is anybody's guess; it was about an hour and a quarter and would have made a terrific double live LP.
But hey, you can just pick up this one and "Blues at Sunrise", too, and you'll have the L.A. sides as well, and everybody wins, right? ;-)

Wednesday Night In San Francisco
Wednesday Night In San Francisco
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars. A terrific companion volume to "Live Wire/Blues Power", April 12, 2009
This album consists of performances recorded during the same series of concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium which produced the classic 1968 LP "Live Wire/Blues Power", and it is hardly less wonderful.

The opening track is shamelessly titled "Watermelon Man", but it is really just an introduction and half a minute of riffing (so don't buy that particular mp3). There are in fact no overlaps at all between "Live Wire/Blues Power" and "Wednesday Night in San Francisco", or between either of those two and the third volume in this unofficial series, the equally enjoyable "Thursday Night in San Francisco".
Albert 'King' Nelson is backed by a tight four-piece band, no horns, and he is in excellent form. Some listeners may have heard one of his less inspired recordings and wondered what the deal was with this left-handed guitar player, but here there's no doubt. This is sizzling blues guitar playing of the highest order...the eight-minute "Why You So Mean To Me" sets the tone, and King continues to tear through one scorching solo after another. I can see that some reviewers are complaining about the sound as usual, by the way, but to me it's completely satisfactory.

We get a powerful, driving rendition of "I Get Evil" (Tampa Red's "Don't Lie To Me", in fact), including two wonderful solos, and one of the few live recordings of King's classic "Born Under A Bad Sign" from the album of the same name. "Personal Manager" is perhaps a bit too subdued vocally, but the first solo in particular is a scorcher, and there are no stale ballads here, no funk or run-of-the-mill soul stompers, just gritty, electrifying blues.

"Wednesday Night in San Francisco" is a terrific set, one of the best in Albert King's cataloge. His playing is fresh and imaginitive all the way through, the material is uniformly strong, and even eight and nine minute songs like "Got To Be Some Changes Made" and the soulful "Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong" don't overstay their welcome.
A truly inspired album. Highly recommended.

Calling All Blues
Calling All Blues
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some great stuff, but a little too much pop and much too little harmonica, too, April 10, 2009
This review is from: Calling All Blues (Audio CD)
These late-50s and early-60s recordings for Mel London's Chief, Profile, and USA labels are available in a number of different guises. The Paula label has one, P-Vine has one, and Fuel Records released this rather handsomely pacakaged and nicely annotated collection back in 2000.

There is no major difference between any of them, though. The P-Vine disc (titled "Messin' With The Kid") has a couple more tracks, alternate takes to the masters, but it's basically all the same stuff.
Producer Mel London provides some of the songs himself; the rest is mostly Wells' own originals, with a few covers of songs by Willie Dixon and Tampa Red added to the mix. And there's some juicy prime rib here, or prime Junior as it is. The sizzling 1961 single "Messin' With The Kid" is one of Wells' very best and most intense vocals performances, and the title track is a smouldering instrumental featuring slide guitarist Earl Hooker (and it's one of the few to really feature Wells' harp as well). And we get a terrific, gritty cover of "It Hurts Me Too", too, and a powerful slow blues, "I'm A Stranger".

It's a shame that London decided to downplay Junior Wells' harmonica, though, especially when he does it in favour of a hideous-sounding organ. Wells was a terrific, powerful singer, and this set presents Junior Wells the singer rather than Junior Wells the harpist, which is certainly good enough. But we could have had both his singing and his harmonica playing, which would have been better!
Songs like "You Don't Care", "I'll Get You Too," the too-sweet "One Day", and the inane "I Need a Car" are too much pop and mainstream rock n' roll for me, and probably for most other blues fans as well, which means that this set doesn't match Wells' earliest and much tougher recordings, the phenomenal early- and mid-50s sides gathered on "Blues Hit Big Town".

Still, fans of Mr Amos Blakemore will want to pick up this set in one form or another. You could have made a much stronger package by cutting half of these tracks, leaving just the cream of the crop, but it doesn't hurt to have them, of course, and any blues fan should have the original "Messin' With The Kid" in their collection. Just don't expect this to match the overall quality of "Blues Hit Big Town", or "Hoodoo Man Blues" for that matter.

Grits Ain'T Groceries
Grits Ain'T Groceries
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but soulful set by Little Milton, April 10, 2009
This review is from: Grits Ain'T Groceries (Audio CD)
A running time of 38 minutes isn't impressive, even by LP age standarts, but what's here is very enjoyable, a nice collection of soul and blues.

"Grits Ain't Groceries" was recorded in 1972 at the Summit Club in Los Angeles with a sympathetic backing band which included a horn section led by MIltons nephew, trumpeter Joseph Campbell. Milton performs the first three songs without his guitar, resulting in a slightly sluggish and over-long "Let Me Down Easy", but then comes the title track, a tight, punchy "Grits Ain't Groceries (All Around The World)" which is one of the highlights of the disc. Willie Dixon's classic "I Can't Quit You Baby" is another, a smouldering slow blues with Little Milton himself playing lead guitar. And a swaggering, energetic rendition of Milton's own "That's What Love Will Make You Do" is perhaps the best song on the album.

A few more up-tempo numbers would have been nice, though; four slowies in a set of just six songs are too many, and this would have been a more exciting record with just one or two more fast or even mid-tempo songs.
It's not that Milton doesn't do a great job with these slow tunes. The album closer, a seven-minute "Walking The Back Streets And Crying" is a terrific performance, but it's also one which was probably more exciting if you were actually there.
Still, fans of Little Milton shouldn't hesitate. There are certainly enough excellent performances here to make it worth your while, enough for some 3½ stars or thereabout.

Texas Tornados- Live from Austin, TX
Texas Tornados- Live from Austin, TX
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Que pasa? The Texas Tornados, that's what!, April 9, 2009
Tex-Mex supergroup The Texas Tornados played rock n' roll, R&B, Mexican folk, swing, boogie, ballads, and smaltzy country weepers with the same enthusiasm.
They were a brand new band when this 1990 session was recorded, a part of the PBS music series Austin City Limits, and they swing their way through a 74-minute set of Tornados tunes and songs from the back catalogues of the various members: "Sir Douglas", the great Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Flaco Jimenez, and Baldemar Huerta - better known as Freddy Fender.

Backed by an additional fine musicians, the Tornados happily serve up their unique Tex-Mex dish, from the country ballad "Larado Rose" and Doug Sahm's joyous late-60s pop-rocker "Mendocino", to a pretty convincing cover of bluesman Jimmy Reed's (always erroneously titled) "Baby What You Want Me To Do". He sang "baby, why you wanna let go", Jimmy did.
The four musicians mostly take turns performing the lead vocals; sometimes two or three singers will create an impromptu vocal harmony. The band is tight, even if the overall sonic image is perhaps a bit too unvaried, always dominated by either Jimenez' accordion or Augie Meyers' Vox organ. And you can tell that everybody on that night was enjoying themselves, the band included. They swing mightily on "Wasted Days And Wasted Nights", sung in a fragile tenor by Freddy Fender and on the rollicking "Who Were You Thinkin' Of", the old Sir Douglas Quintet-number which had been resurrected on their debut album, released only a few months earlier. We get a joyous rendition of "the San Antonio national anthem", as announced by Augie Meyers, the half-English, half-Spanish "Hey Baby Que Paso". And heads will have been bopping insanely to "Mathilda" for sure, and feet stomping with equal vigour to Doug Sahm's melodic up-tempo romp "Adios Mexico".

Okay, so 74 minutes of this may sound to start a little bit stale if you're not a hardcore fan, sure, and newcomers should probably start with the slightly more accessible "The Best of the Texas Tornados", or the group's eponymous debut album (which is pretty much played here in its entirety anyway).
But those who are fans will find a treasure trove of delightful, spirited performances here, played with passion and gusto by a brand-new band of grizzled veterans!

Nothin' But the Blues/White, Hot & Blue
Nothin' But the Blues/White, Hot & Blue
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. In more ways than one, April 8, 2009
Bunching these two albums together like this doesn't do much for credibility, does it? Eh, a twofer. Can't be too great.
But guess what? It is.

"Nothin' but the Blues" is the older of these two albums by a year. It came out in 1977, the same year as Muddy Waters' excellent comeback-album "Hard Again", which Johnny Winter produced and played on. And here Johnny gets to borrow the mighty Muddy Waters Blues Band, leading them through a well-arranged set of his own compositions, and a powerful rendition of Muddy's "Walkin' Thru The Park".

Johnny Winter handles the lead vocals himself (except on "Walkin' Thru The Park"), and while his characteristic voice may take some getting used to for the newcomer, it suits these purposely traditional blues compositions pretty well.
Winter plays guitar as well, of course, and a little bit of bass and drums, and his acoustic steel guitar playing is particularly delightful.
Highlights include the acoustic slide guitar workout "TV Mama" (not the Big Joe Turner song), the swaggering, harp-driven "Tired Of Tryin'", the thumping, groovy "Bladie May", and the fine "Sweet Love And Evil Women", a showcase for "Steady Rollin'" Bob Margolin, whose shimmering lead guitar lines wind their way all around Winter's gruff, throaty vocals. There are a couple of forgettable numbers here which keep "Nothin' But The Blues" from getting a top rating, but most of these nine tracks are among the finest blues tunes Winter has ever recorded.

And, amazingly, 1978's "White, Hot & Blue" is even better. It is, to me, at least, the best studio album Winter has ever recorded, although it must be said that I am very much partial towards his blues albums rather than his somewhat more generic rock n' roll records.

"White, Hot & Blue" features Winter's excellent renditions of Jimmy Rogers' classic "Walkin' By Myself" and Junior Wells' signature tune "Messin' With The Kid", as well as a couple of fine originals.
Johnny Winter's playing is absolutely superb, fresh and exhilarating, and virtually everything here is top-notch. The tough, slinky groove of "One Step At A Time" and the salacious slide guitar-workout "Slidin' In". The acoustic Delta-styled "Nickel Blues" and the slow Little Walter-original "Last Night", which features some fine harp playing by Pat Ramsey. And the sizzling album closer, a tremendous cover of Jimmy Reed's slow boogie "Honest I Do", a superbly groovy rendition with tasty guitar playing from Johnny Winter and a sizzling harp solo, probably the best Jimmy Reed-cover I have ever heard.

It's a shame that those who already own one of these records can't just go out and buy the other one without having to pick up a cheap-looking twofer package like this one. It's a shame, in fact, that these two excellent, smouldering hot CDs haven't long since been remastered and presented in shiny new deluxe editions.
But be that as it may, these are two of John Dawson Winter III's very, very best efforts. A must-have for fans of Winter's bluesiest material. I can't recommend this music enough, really.

Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quo at the top of their game. Their finest hour, plain and simple, April 8, 2009
This review is from: Live (Audio CD)
Taped over three nights at Scotland's leading live venue, the Glasgow Apollo, these classic 1976 recordings finds Status Quo at the top of their game.

The band had tentatively moved from psychedelia to hard rock and boogie rock a few years earlier, and they were touring in support of their latest LP, "Blue for You", so a standart concert would probably have included more than two songs from that particular album. But when you make a live album you want it to reflect more than just the sound of your latest album being played on stage, right? At least that's what the Quo did, and they succeeded, too. There have been several live albums since this one, and good ones, too, but none of them capture the power of early Quo quite as well as this one.

"Live" is 83½ minutes of tough, fiery, exciting hard rock from just before Quo went soft in the 80s and became a pop-rock band rather than a hard rock band. (Yeah, sorry, but that's what happened, and you know it!)
The 70s was the decade of the double live album, and this one is one of the more succesful ones for sure. I'm not a huge Quo fan, I'm too young to remember them in their 70s prime, but to me, this is a good as they ever got, and they're very, very good indeed!
The drums bite, the bass rumbles potently, and the guitars churn out one heavy blooze-n-boogie-riff after another. And it's all impressively tight, never once does the band sound like they're about to go off the rails or trail off into meaningless improvisations. Even on the 14-minute "Roadhouse Blues" and the 16-minute "Forty-Five Hundred Times" they stick together like glue.

On this 2005 CD reissue that I'm listening to, the playing order has been corrected to reflect the original set list, so disc two opens with "Roll Over Lay Down" and closes with "Bye Bye Johnny", and the original show closer, "Forty-Five Hundred Times", is now the last track on disc one.
And what a "Roll Over Lay Down" it is! The lyrics are trite, yes, and the band's singers weren't that great either, but you won't care. Not when the music is this exhilarating.
And there are plenty of other highlights, of course. "In My Chair" is one of the finest blues-rock numbers the Quo ever did, a dense, powerful grind, and it is followed by (or juxtaposed by) "Little Lady", a joyous up-tempo romp which then bleeds into the swaggering riff-rocker "Most of the Time" with its scorching guitar solo.
"Is There a Better Way" is here as well, as is the driving "Don't Waste My Time" and the pure blues "Junior's Wailing", and you can just imagine the crowd going wild to this thundering rendition of "Caroline".

Nowhere else is the power of the original Status Quo so well captured. There may not be as many radio-friendly pop songs as on their 80s "You're in the Army Now" or anything like that. But seriously - this is so much better!
This album rocks like very few others, and whatever else they might have become later on, "Live" showcases the mighty Quo in all their swaggering, hard-rocking glory.

Live At Montreux 1992
Live At Montreux 1992
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars. Perhaps the best live Albert Collins I've heard, April 7, 2009
This review is from: Live At Montreux 1992 (Audio CD)
Only seven tracks here, but "Live at Montreux" still clocks in at almost an hour, thanks to lenghty - but generally not overlong - renditions of "Put the Shoe on the Other Foot", "Too Many Dirty Dishes", and Collins' own "Lights Are On (But Nobody's Home)".

"Iceman" Albert Collins would sadly die from liver cancer the year after this album was recorded, but he is still in top form here. His crisp, stinging lead guitar lines are as good as anything I've ever heard him do; both his playing and his singing are totally focused, as is evident on the tight, punchy "Iceman" and the swaggering "Honey Hush" that open the set. Check out that fiery solo on the latter number!

Albert Collins is backed by a second guitarist, bass, drums, keyboards, and supremely funky bassist Johnny B. Gayden, as well as a tenor sax and a trumpet. Saxist Jon Smith gets off a couple of excellent, jazzy solo (the one on "Lights Are On" is particularly terrific), and the entire band lay down a beautiful canvas of sound for Collins to paint on.
The set list is a highly effective mix of tight, rocking numbers like the irresistable "If You Love Me Like You Say", and slow blues like "Too Many Dirty Dishes". And Albert Collins' playing is as fresh and inspired as anything I've ever heard from him; his lenghty solos on songs like "Honey Hush" and "Dirty Dishes" offer ample proof as to why Collins was so highly rated amongst blues guitar lovers.

There is plenty of live Albert Collins out there, but this is as good as any of it. The album closer, the instrumental "Frosty", is a bit unfocused, perhaps, but everything else is from the top shelf. Collins' music always had more than a touch of funk and soul to it, and that funk element won't be to the liking of all blues fans, but if you're into the Master of the Telecaster, don't hesitate to pick this one up.

Smokestack Lightnin: Live in Germany 1964
Smokestack Lightnin: Live in Germany 1964
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars. Lacking in fidelity, but there is so much of everything else here...!, April 7, 2009
This recording documents Howlin' Wolf and the Wolf Gang's November, 1964 concert in Bremen, Germany. It has been issued and reissued, packaged and repackaged many times, and this 2001 Collectors Blues CD is no better and no worse than most, although, to me, the 2003 Acrobat edition titled "Rockin' the Blues" perhaps has a bit of an edge sonically.

Chester Arthur Burnett, the Howlin' Wolf, was in his mid-fifties when this concert was taped, but he was still in his prime, and his incredible voice has lost none of the power of his earlier years. He sings with passion and precision, indeed both his and the entire band's performances are completely focused.
And what a band it is...Wolf's magnificent long-time lead guitarist Hubert Sumlin is there, Chess songwriter-producer-arranger Willie Dixon plays the bass, the drum kit is more than ably handled by Clifton James, and the great Sunnyland Slim is prominent on piano.

The fidelity is less than excellent no matter which packaging of this concert you get; there is not near enough seperation of the instruments, and the drums lack presence in the overall sonic image. But it is certainly not terrible; Wolf's vocals and Sunnyland Slim's piano in particular are well recorded and quite crisp, all things considered, and Sumlin's guitar cuts right through the murk.

Wolf and the gang open with a rollicking "Shake for Me", followed by that powerful slow grind which Chess Records released as "May I Have A Talk With You", but which Wolf announces as "Love Me". Both are top-notch performances, and they're followed by an explosive "Dust My Broom".
We also get Wolf's "Howlin' For My Darlin'" and the classic "Forty-Four" (or "Forty-Four Blues"), and the latter, a muscular, seven-minute swagger, is perhaps the best song on the entire disc, the perfect blues song if there is such a thing. A magnificent vocal by Wolf, and the band follows him perfectly.

You should be aware that there are one or two albums out there which feature a few more tracks than this one, including one of Wolf's best original songs, "Killing Floor". But those extra tracks are NOT live recordings, and they have nothing to do with this 1964 concert; they are merely outtakes from Wolf's early-70s London Sessions album, so don't be fooled!
Again, there are many versions of this concert released by numerous record labels, and this is no worse than most of them. The fidelity leaves something to be desired, but everything else is so good that no Wolf fan - indeed, no fan of genuine, gritty Chicago blues - should be without this in one form or another.

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