Living Country Blues: An Anthology

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Today much of the South looks like Anywhere, USA, with K Mart, Home Depot, and McDonald's spreading across the landscape like garish vines. But scratch beneath the strip malls and mega-stores and you can find traces of the rich culture from which R&B, jazz, and rock sprouted: the country blues. Some of these rural singers and players, many of whom are descendents of blues musicians of the '30s and '40s, are brought together in the celebratory three-CD set LIVING COUNTRY BLUES. Recorded in 1980 on porches and in living rooms from Washington, D.C. to the Mississippi Delta by two German blues devotees, the material was released in ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Today much of the South looks like Anywhere, USA, with K Mart, Home Depot, and McDonald's spreading across the landscape like garish vines. But scratch beneath the strip malls and mega-stores and you can find traces of the rich culture from which R&B, jazz, and rock sprouted: the country blues. Some of these rural singers and players, many of whom are descendents of blues musicians of the '30s and '40s, are brought together in the celebratory three-CD set LIVING COUNTRY BLUES. Recorded in 1980 on porches and in living rooms from Washington, D.C. to the Mississippi Delta by two German blues devotees, the material was released in Europe but has never been available in the States.
Mississippi native James "Son" Thomas opens the first disc, "Mississippi Moan," with an X-rated version of "Catfish Blues," his whispery voice -- particularly seductive on high notes -- accompanied only by the rhythmic ringing of his guitar. Sam Chatmon, once a member of the popular '30s string band the Mississippi Sheiks, lifts the level of the music to the lyrical with his jazzy singing on "Sittin' on Top of the World." The closeness shared by gospel and blues is exemplified in the music of Boyd Rivers and Cora Fluker. Rivers, who was a blues man until the holy spirit called him to follow the path of his uncle, gospel singer Cleophus Robinson, creates a rawer Delta sound with a droning guitar and tortured-soul singing on "You Gonna Take Sick and Die" while Fluker, who preaches in a church in her front yard, rocks your soul with "Move Daniel."
The gentler sounds of east coast blues fill disc two, titled "Lonesome Road Blues," with cuts from the internationally known duo Cephas and Wiggins, as well as material from more obscure performers such as D.C. street singer Flora Molton. The pleasing, rolling sound of Guitar Frank's six-string and mellow vocals on "Lonesome Road Blues" gives way to the more percussive playing of Archie Edwards on "The Road is Rough and Rocky." Edwards, who ran a D.C. barbershop where the quality of the jam sessions easily matched that of the Jheri curls, was with Mississippi John Hurt for several years, which is reflected more in his singing than his strumming. Guitarist Cephas and harp player Wiggins contribute an airy version of "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad," and Wiggins joins Molton's Truth Band for the closing cut, "Vacation in Heaven," which is closer to old timey mountain music than the blues.
Disc Three, "You Got to Move," is the most diverse set, with music ranging from the Mississippi hill sounds of Othar Turner and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band on "Granny Will Your Dog Bite" to the devilish Delta playing of guitarist CeDell Davis on the sexually charged "Let Me Play with Your Poodle" and Joe Savage's mournful a capella singing on "Joe's Prison Camp Holler," a tale of his imprisonment at the notorious Parchman Farm. From Tennessee comes harmonica legend Hammie Nixon whose subtle style, is stunningly displayed on "Viola Lee Blues," and slide guitarist Lottie Murrell's laid back but dramatic version of "Spoonful."
Son Thomas, Archie Edwards, and many of the other artists on LIVING COUNTRY BLUES have passed away since recording for the German blues enthusiasts, but the material they contributed is a testament to the resiliency of regional music and the culture from which it springs. Folk blues still lives off the back roads, in urban pockets and around the fringes of the New South.
All Music Guide - Cub Koda
A three-disc set of recordings produced by music researcher Axel Kuestner and recording engineer Siegfried A. Christmann in 1980. This is one of the last of an exhaustive batch of field recordings made in the 20th century by Christmann. The music is pulled from 14 vinyl LPs issued originally on the L+R label in Germany, and features artists who often never recorded again after these sessions, along with better-known but still peripheral names like Son Thomas, Boogie Bill Webb, Cephas & Wiggins, Hammie Nixon, CeDell Davis, Eddie Cusic, and the late Lonnie Pitchford. The music is uniformly excellent throughout the 60 tracks presented, the sounds varying from acoustic to electric, almost always in a solo setting and literally brimming with raw energy. From broom scrapings to fife and one-string electric guitar playing to more conventional guitar work, there is a phenomenal cross section of styles and some wonderful listening in the four hours of music collected here. A solid recommendation.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/28/1999
  • Label: Evidence
  • UPC: 730182610529
  • Catalog Number: 26105
  • Sales rank: 158,978

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Catfish Blues - James "Son" Thomas (6:28)
  2. 2 Bye Bye Blues (2:46)
  3. 3 Gonna Cut You Loose (2:45)
  4. 4 You Gonna Take Sick and Die - Boyd Rivers (3:39)
  5. 5 Maggie Campbell Blues - Bill Webb (3:14)
  6. 6 Sitting on Top of the World (2:59)
  7. 7 Move Daniel - Cora Fluker (1:51)
  8. 8 My Babe - Otha Turner (2:18)
  9. 9 Boogie Chillen (5:10)
  10. 10 Bull Cow Blues - James "Son" Thomas (4:02)
  11. 11 Stop and Listen Blues (2:48)
  12. 12 Swing, Swing (1:23)
  13. 13 Jazz Boogie Woogie - Stonewall Mays (2:49)
  14. 14 Jesus on the Mainline - Boyd Rivers (3:38)
  15. 15 Shake Your Moneymaker (2:38)
  16. 16 Rock Me Mama - Cleveland Jones (2:07)
  17. 17 Big Road Blues - Bill Webb (2:33)
  18. 18 My Daddy Was a Jockey (4:25)
  19. 19 That's the Boogie (1:08)
  20. 20 Vicksburg Blues (3:36)
  21. 21 Mississippi Moan (6:29)
  22. 22 When I Lay Down My Burden - Otha Turner (4:02)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Lonesome Road Blues - Guitar Frank (5:25)
  2. 2 Baby Please Give Me a Break (2:57)
  3. 3 The Road Is Rough and Rocky (4:32)
  4. 4 Come on in My Kitchen - Guitar Slim (3:18)
  5. 5 Bye and Bye I'm Goin' to See the King - Flora Molton & the Truth Band (2:52)
  6. 6 Chimney Hill Breakdown - Guitar Frank (2:31)
  7. 7 Railroad Bill - Guitar Frank (4:00)
  8. 8 Chicken Can't Roost Too High for Me (2:44)
  9. 9 Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad (4:04)
  10. 10 Do Lord Remeber Me (2:24)
  11. 11 Jelly Roll Baker - Guitar Frank (3:47)
  12. 12 I'm Feelin' Lonesome - Guitar Slim (4:44)
  13. 13 My Old Schoolmates (3:02)
  14. 14 Lonesome Home Blues - Guitar Slim (4:09)
  15. 15 T for Texas (Blue Yodel No. 1) (2:37)
  16. 16 Diggin' My Potatoes - Guitar Frank (4:19)
  17. 17 Vacation in Heaven - Flora Molton (4:51)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Granny, Will Your Dog Bite? - Otha Turner (2:25)
  2. 2 I Laid and I Wondered - Cleveland Jones (3:21)
  3. 3 I Can't Stand It - Flora Molton & the Truth Band (3:21)
  4. 4 Mr. Freddie Blues (4:17)
  5. 5 Corrina, Corrina (1:52)
  6. 6 Rollin' and Tumblin' - Lattie Murrell (1:45)
  7. 7 She's Tailor Made - Charlie Sangster (3:16)
  8. 8 The Hounds - Sam Shields (2:02)
  9. 9 You Got to Move - Boyd Rivers (3:19)
  10. 10 Let Me Play with Your Poodle (3:58)
  11. 11 Viola Lee Blues (3:22)
  12. 12 Joe's Prison Camp Holler (3:36)
  13. 13 When the Saints Go Marching In - Otha Turner (3:17)
  14. 14 Spoonful - Lattie Murrell (3:36)
  15. 15 You Got to Do the Boogie Woogie (3:12)
  16. 16 Trouble Late Last Night - Lattie Murrell (4:12)
  17. 17 Dry Bones in the Valley - Cora Fluker (3:06)
  18. 18 I Got a Gal 'Cross the Bottom - Lattie Murrell (3:25)
  19. 19 Soon One Mornin' (2:09)
  20. 20 Levee Camp Holler (2:38)
  21. 21 Precious Lord - Boyd Rivers (3:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sam Chatmon Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Hammie Nixon Track Performer
Walter Brown Vocals, Track Performer
Guitar Slim Vocals
Archie Edwards Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer, Resonator
CeDell Davis Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
John Cephas Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
James "Son" Thomas Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Eddie Ware Drums
Phil Wiggins Harmonica, Track Performer
Bill Webb Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Lonnie Pitchford Electric Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Flora Molton Tambourine, Vocals, Cabasa
Napoleon Strickland Harmonica, Track Performer
Joe Savage Vocals, Track Performer
Eddie Cusic Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Arzo Youngblood Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Memphis Piano Red Piano, Vocals
Larry Wise Harmonica
Cora Fluker Guitar, Vocals
Cleveland Jones Bass
Stonewall Mays Guitar, Vocals
Boyd Rivers Guitar, Vocals
Charlie Sangster Guitar, Vocals
Sam Shields Harmonica
R.L. Boyce Drums
Otha Turner Fife, Vocals, Track Performer
Technical Credits
Walter Vinson Composer
Lonnie Chatmon Composer
Jerry Gordon Liner Notes, Reissue Executive Producer
Matt Murman Mastering
Roger Seibel Mastering
Brett J. Bonner Liner Notes, Reissue Producer
Horst Lippmann Executive Producer
Mark Castle Art Direction
Axel Kuestner Producer, Liner Notes, Compilation Co-Producer
Siegfried A. Christmann Producer, Engineer, Engineering, Compilation Co-Producer
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