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Angola Prisoners' Blues

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/16/1996
  • Label: Arhoolie Records
  • UPC: 096297041925
  • Catalog Number: 419

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Prisoner's Talking Blues (5:10)
  2. 2 Stagolee (3:40)
  3. 3 Electric Chair Blues (5:08)
  4. 4 Black Night Is Fallin' (4:27)
  5. 5 Some Got Six Months (3:44)
  6. 6 I'm Gonna Leave You Mama (2:48)
  7. 7 I'm Lonesome Blues (4:00)
  8. 8 Angola Bound (5:50)
  9. 9 Worried Blues (4:23)
  10. 10 Josephine (5:11)
  11. 11 Soldier's Plea (2:55)
  12. 12 The Moon Is Rising - Odea Mathews (2:03)
  13. 13 I'm Still in Love with You (1:48)
  14. 14 I Miss You So - Vocal Group (3:39)
  15. 15 Hello, Sue - Jody "Butterbeans" Edwards (1:10)
  16. 16 Fast Life Woman (4:09)
  17. 17 Careless Love (2:39)
  18. 18 Have You Ever Heard the Church Bells Tone (2:38)
  19. 19 61 Highway (4:26)
  20. 20 Strike at Camp I (9:34)
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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
Clifton Chenier Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
Wayne King 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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