On this excellent release from the World Music Network's ever-reliable Rough Guide series, a host of unknown early blues artists get their due. While Robert Johnson, Son House, and a handful of other greats from the 1920s and '30s have become widely recognized icons of the pre-war blues era, so many lesser-known, though no less talented, players have slipped through the cracks. Opening with Henry Thomas' spirited "Fishing Blues" (complete with a pan flute solo), The Rough Guide to Unsung Heroes of Country Blues winds its way through a series of wonderful and obscure country-blues gems.
Memphis was the town blues musicians passed through on their way to Chicago. But some of them stayed and the record companies sent their mobile units to record them. Over a three-year period from 1927, an astonishing amount of talent was recorded: local stars like the Memphis Jug Band, Frank Stokes, Cannon’s Jug Stompers, Jim Jackson, Furry Lewis, Robert Wilkins, Bukka White, Memphis Minnie, Joe Callicott and Sleepy John Estes.
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.
As the repository of the earliest phase of Frank Sinatra's solo career, 1943-1952, Columbia Records is usually thought to be at a disadvantage against the more accomplished work the singer recorded for Capitol Records and his own Reprise imprint. But in two albums released on the same day in 2003, Sinatra Sings Cole Porter and Sinatra Sings Gershwin, Columbia's Legacy division expands on its studio recordings of Sinatra by borrowing airchecks from the collection of Charles L. Granata, and thereby improves its holdings. Sinatra would not seem at first blush to be the ideal interpreter of Porter, if only because his rough-and-tumble background is always visible beneath his careful intonation, while Porter's lyrics are redolent of wealth and comic condescension. But Sinatra sang "Night and Day" in his first solo session in 1942 and went on to perform Porter throughout his career, often achieving near-definitive readings. The ground on which they met was intellectual rather than social: Porter was at heart a wit, and Sinatra understood the jokes, while emphasizing what emotional content there was, giving it a greater sincerity than the songwriter might have intended. This collection effectively mixes a bunch of studio recordings with previously unreleased radio performances that find Sinatra ranging over many different Porter moods.
Filling in a gap in Frank Sinatra's history, Legacy's 2015 box A Voice on Air collects over 100 radio broadcasts recorded between 1935 and 1955. This is the first collection to chronicle this era – over 90 of its 100 tracks are previously unreleased – and it's pulled from a variety of sources, including the Sinatra estate's vaults, the Library of Congress, and the Paley Center for Media, each strand assisting in sterling re-creations of original broadcasts from Frank's bobbysocks days, World War II, and the nascent saloon singer of the '50s. Sinatra wound up singing some of these songs in the studio but not necessarily in these arrangements, a wrinkle that would be tantalizing enough but a good portion of A Voice on Air is devoted to songs he only sang on the air.