The 40 tracks compiled on this two-disc set represent the entire span of pianist and singer Leroy Carr's recording career that spanned a brief seven years, from 1928-1935. The material represented here – all but one of these tracks were recorded for the Vocalion label – features accompaniment by guitarist Scrapper Blackwell on all but one selection, and Josh White on a handful as well. Carr's material here ranges from the classic piano blues of the era that spawned Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith to vaudeville and hokum tunes made popular by artists like Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. Carr's voice is the haunting thing here; it's higher and very clear, sweet almost, as evidenced by most of these sides. But there was an edge, too; one that belied a kind of pathos underneath even the most cheery material – check "Mean Mistreater Blues" or "Bread Baker." But the darker material such as "Suicide Blues" (one of six previously unissued performances), "Straight Alky Blues," or "Shinin' Pistol," is strange and eerie given Carr's smooth approach. Carr may not be the most well-known bluesman of the era, but his contribution is profound and lasting. This collection puts to shame almost all others with the exception of the multi-volume complete recordings on Document.
So this is where we find our hero in 2003. Dropped from his major label and absent his trademark flowing golden locks, Vintage presents his fans with yet another set of standout ballads and standards done only the way the Bolton can. Kicking out the jams early on with "The Very Thought of You," the tone is set right away for the album as a perfect musical accompaniment to a romantic dinner. The smooth, sultry tone is brought to a rousing climax with his re-interpretation of Etta James' classic "At Last." The fun continues onward with "Daddy's Little Girl," which was featured prominently in an ad campaign. Vintage closes with the potent but loaded question of "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," a stunning finish to an album sure to appease even the most loyal of his fans.