The fourth of five volumes (the first four are two-CD sets) that reissue all of Bessie Smith's recordings traces her career from a period when her popularity was at its height down to just six songs away from the halt of her recording career. But although her commercial fortunes might have slipped, Bessie Smith never declined and these later recordings are consistently powerful. The two-part "Empty Bed Blues" and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (hers is the original version) are true classics and none of the other 40 songs (including the double-entendre "Kitchen Man") are throwaways. With strong accompaniment during some performances by trombonist Charlie Green, guitarist Eddie Lang, Clarence Williams's band and on ten songs (eight of which are duets) the masterful pianist James P. Johnson, this volume (as with the others) is quite essential.
On the third of five volumes (the first four are double-CD box sets) that reissue all of her recordings, the great Bessie Smith is greatly assisted on some of the 38 selections by a few of her favorite sidemen: cornetist Joe Smith, trombonist Charlie Green, and clarinetist Buster Bailey. But the most important of her occasional musicians was pianist James P. Johnson, who makes his first appearance in 1927 and can be heard on four duets with Bessie, including the monumental "Backwater Blues." Other highlights of this highly recommended set (all five volumes are essential) include "After You've Gone," "Muddy Water," "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," "Trombone Cholly," "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair," and "Mean Old Bed Bug Blues." The power and intensity of Bessie Smith's recordings should be considered required listening; even 80 years later they still communicate.
In the 1970s, Bessie Smith's recordings were reissued on five double LPs. Her CD reissue series also has five volumes (the first four are double-CD sets) with the main difference being that the final volume includes all of her rare alternate takes (which were bypassed on LP). The first set (which, as with all of the CD volumes, is housed in an oversize box that includes an informative booklet) contains her first 38 recordings. During this early era, Bessie Smith had no competitors on record and she was one of the few vocalists who could overcome the primitive recording techniques; her power really comes through.
This is an album that should not have worked. LaVern Baker (a fine R&B singer) was joined by all-stars from mainstream jazz (including trumpeter Buck Clayton, trombonist Vic Dickenson, tenor-saxophonist Paul Quinichette and pianist Nat Pierce) for twelve songs associated with the great '20s blues singer Bessie Smith. Despite the potentially conflicting styles, this project is quite successful and often exciting. The arrangements by Phil Moore, Nat Pierce, and Ernie Wilkins do not attempt to re-create the original recordings; Baker sings in her own style (rather than trying to emulate Bessie Smith), and the hot solos work well with her vocals.
This document of Smith's first year in the studio reveals a blues giant in full command of her talents. And while later dates - especially the epochal 1925 sessions with Louis Armstrong - offer more in the way of the era's horn-blowing royalty, these early sides nicely showcase Smith in the unadorned company of a variety of top pianists like Clarence Williams and Fletcher Henderson. The Empress of the Blues flexes her vocal muscle throughout, ranging from Broadway fare like "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" to the dark-hued rumblings of "Graveyard Dream Blues." She also revels in the provocative ambiguities of "Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll" and puts her stamp on the future blues warhorse "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do…
100 songs by the Blues' biggest names from the genre's golden period of 1920-1962. This set contains the artists and songs that changed the musical landscape forever and influenced almost everything that followed. This set comes with a 28 page illustrated booklet including discographical information and an essay about this fascinating subject. The perfect snapshot for anyone interested in the genre or those wanting to know how modern rock music was formulated.
To the outside observer, Looking Glass were one of the luckiest bands to come up during the early '70s – and doubly so, coming out of New Jersey in 1972 with a number one hit, three years before anyone was thinking about Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and getting radio play on the song that has carried over into the oldies and '70s nostalgia boom over the decades since. Ironically, the bandmembers were never entirely happy with either the hit or the nature of the success that it brought them, mostly because it didn't represent what Looking Glass actually sounded like.
These Charly, UK sets are not easy to find. Their sets are generally made with great care and pride. 151 Chess and Sun recordings- it is entitled "Complete" although it does not contain two very non-essential albums from the period (The Super Super Plus Band from 1967 and the 1968 Cadet album aka "Howlin' Wolf Didn't Like This Album"- and with good reason; both are quite disposable and unnecessary), plus a conversation; this is all from Sun and Chess, his very best stuff, the real essential recordings without a bad track in the lot.
The Amadeus were the most successful and highly-regarded Quartet of the 20th century. Benefitting from the jet aeroplane and from the record industry s ability to reach out to world, they dominated chamber music making for nearly 40 years.
Essentially a vehicle for Hammond organ maestro Mick Weaver, late 60s British band Wynder K. Frog specialised in funky club Soul/Jazz. Hailing from Bolton, Lancashire, but based in London for much of their career, Mick and the band made three albums for Island Records between 1966 and 1970. These have long been coveted by Mod collectors and fans of the prestigious Island label. For the first time ever, all three LPs - Sunshine Super Frog (mono, 1966), Out Of The Frying Pan (stereo, 1968) and the US-only Into The Fire (stereo, 1970) - appear on one package, accompanied by a host of rare non-album tracks, previously unissued material, a track from a BBC radio session and two stereo mixes from the soundtrack to the 1968 film The Touchables…