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Angola Prisoners' Blues
     

Angola Prisoners' Blues

 
In the '50s, Harry Oster made several recordings of African-American inmates at the penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. These sessions are primarily remembered for the discovery of Robert Pete Williams, but Oster also found several other acoustic blues performers of merit. Several of them are featured on this 20-track, 80-minute CD (which includes three tracks by

Overview

In the '50s, Harry Oster made several recordings of African-American inmates at the penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. These sessions are primarily remembered for the discovery of Robert Pete Williams, but Oster also found several other acoustic blues performers of merit. Several of them are featured on this 20-track, 80-minute CD (which includes three tracks by Williams). Although these singers had hard daily lives and went through hard times before they were jailed, this is hardly a downer record. It's largely first-class acoustic blues with a relaxed (if sometimes sad) dignity. The lyrics are sometimes related to prison life, as in Robert Pete Williams' minor-keyed "Prisoner's Talking Blues" and Guitar Welch's "Electric Chair Blues." Yet much of the material is simply the usual songs of struggle and hope common to the blues, mixed in with some a cappella, spiritual-flavored cuts by female prisoners, and one male vocal group performance clearly derived from doo wop. Guitar blues is the predominant style, though, and country-blues fans will find much to enjoy here, whether they're interested in the folklore aspect or not. Thirteen of the tracks on the CD version were previously unreleased.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/16/1996
Label:
Arhoolie Records
UPC:
0096297041925
catalogNumber:
419
Rank:
86858

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Roosevelt Charles   Vocals,Track Performer
Robert Pete Williams   Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
Otis Webster   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Thelma Mae Joseph   Vocals,Track Performer
Hogman Maxey   Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
Guitar Welch   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Clara Young   Vocals,Track Performer
Odea Mathews   Vocals

Technical Credits

W.C. Handy   Composer
Martha E. Koenig   Composer
Harry Oster   Engineer,Liner Notes
Chris Stachwitz   Liner Note Art
Chris Strachwitz   Producer,Liner Notes
Spencer Williams   Composer
Wayne Pope   Artwork
Hally Wood   Composer

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