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Before the Blues, Vol. 2: The Early American Black Music Scene

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Nathan Bush
The title of this compilation, Before the Blues, may be a deceiving one, particularly as it comes from Yazoo Records, a label that specializes in the earliest music of the genre. While the performances here date back to the first commercial recordings made during the mid-'20s, the blues, as a musical form, was probably born a good 20 years earlier, at the turn of the century. Maintaining a looser format than many of their compilations, Before the Blues follows the music from the juke joint on a Saturday night to church the next morning. Included are tracks from some of the most popular musicians of the period Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Memphis Jug Band, and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Nathan Bush
The title of this compilation, Before the Blues, may be a deceiving one, particularly as it comes from Yazoo Records, a label that specializes in the earliest music of the genre. While the performances here date back to the first commercial recordings made during the mid-'20s, the blues, as a musical form, was probably born a good 20 years earlier, at the turn of the century. Maintaining a looser format than many of their compilations, Before the Blues follows the music from the juke joint on a Saturday night to church the next morning. Included are tracks from some of the most popular musicians of the period Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Memphis Jug Band, and Frank Stokes, as well as curios from little-known performers. At one end of the spectrum, there is the raw, earthy mountain music of Frank Jenkins' "ng Cowboy," the violin and vocal performance that closes the collection. At the other is Tommy McClennan's "Deep Sea Blues," the song Muddy Waters and Jimi Hendrix among many others would record as "Catfish Blues." Though his performance is loose, McClennan's guitar sounds ripe for urban electrification. In the process of migrating to the city, the music witnessed the extinction of rural string combos like the Memphis Jug Band. "K.C. Moan" is an example of the type of material they recorded before the pressure to adapt brought jazz influences into their music. By the 1940s, the commercial heyday of this music had come and gone. Never again would companies seek out recordings like "Cold Morning Shout" an otherworldly blend of fiddle, banjo, and guitar by the Southside Trio or the deep gospel of slide guitar master Blind Willie Johnson. Thanks to Yazoo, the music has been preserved with the best possible fidelity. As always, songs have been arranged according to listenability. Boundaries of style and chronology are ignored, with the gaps filled in by extensive liner notes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/19/1996
  • Label: Yazoo
  • UPC: 016351201621
  • Catalog Number: 2016
  • Sales rank: 101,445

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Dallas Rag (2:57)
  2. 2 How Long (3:17)
  3. 3 Skin Game Blues (3:06)
  4. 4 K.C. Moan (2:33)
  5. 5 Just A Spoonful (2:40)
  6. 6 Doggone My Good Luck Soul (3:08)
  7. 7 There's A Brown Skin Girl Down The Road Somewhere (2:54)
  8. 8 You're Going to Leave the Old Home, Jim (3:04)
  9. 9 Deep Blue Sea Blues (3:01)
  10. 10 Cold Morning Shout - South Street Trio (3:09)
  11. 11 Been Listening All the Day (2:35)
  12. 12 Mississippi Boweavil Blues (3:07)
  13. 13 I'll Lead a Christian Life - Golden P. Harris (3:18)
  14. 14 The Old Folks Started It (2:43)
  15. 15 Vine Street Drag (3:02)
  16. 16 Nobody's Fault But Mine (3:12)
  17. 17 Last Kind Words Blues (3:02)
  18. 18 Guitar Stomp (2:54)
  19. 19 Jack O'Diamond Blues (2:49)
  20. 20 Reuben Oh Reuben (2:59)
  21. 21 Memphis Stomp - The Blue Boys (3:05)
  22. 22 On The Wall - Louise Johnson (3:02)
  23. 23 Roving Cowboy - Frank Jenkins (2:55)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Blind Lemon Jefferson Track Performer, Bottleneck Guitar
Blind Willie Johnson Guitar, Track Performer
Lonnie Johnson Fiddle
Tommy McClennan Guitar, Track Performer
Memphis Jug Band Track Performer
Charley Patton Guitar, Track Performer
Frank Stokes Track Performer
Sam Harris Guitar
Howard Armstrong Fiddle
Sonny Scott Guitar, Track Performer
Dallas String Band Track Performer
Carl Martin Guitar
Tewee Blackman Guitar
Nap Hayes Guitar, Mandolin
Lulu Jackson Guitar, Track Performer
Coley Jones Mandolin
Charley Jordan Guitar, Track Performer
Walter Roland Guitar, Track Performer
Will Shade Vocals
Blind Joe Taggart Guitar, Track Performer
Marco Washington Bass
Willie Tyson Piano
Alfred Martin Guitar
Emry Arthur Guitar, Track Performer
The Blue Boys Track Performer
Eck Robertson Fiddle, Track Performer
Peg Leg Howell Track Performer
Matthew Prater Guitar, Mandolin
Hattie Hudson Vocals, Track Performer
Roland Martin Bass
Minnie Wallace Vocals, Track Performer
Louise Johnson Track Performer
Geeshie Wiley Guitar, Track Performer
South Street Trio Track Performer
Golden P. Harris Vocals
Frank Jenkins Banjo, Fiddle
Technical Credits
Blind Willie Johnson Composer
Memphis Jug Band Contributor
Frank Stokes Contributor
Dallas String Band Contributor
Texas Alexander Composer
Don Kent Producer, Liner Notes
Richard Nevins Producer, Liner Notes, Remastering
Robert Cooksey Contributor
Bobby Leecan Contributor
The Blue Boys Contributor
Joan Pelosi Art Direction
Peg Leg Howell Contributor
Louise Johnson Composer, Contributor
Unidentified Prisoner Composer
Traditional Composer
South Street Trio Contributor
Tennessee Chocolate Drops Contributor
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